NDSU Libraries publishes book on persecution in the former Soviet Union

Feburary 1, 2003

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to announce publication of this important work, Hide Me Within Thy Wounds: The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the USSR. The author writes in the Introduction: "On coming to power in 1917, the Bolsheviks condemned religion as the `opium of the people', and persecution of the Church became for many years an integral part of domestic policy in the Soviet Union."

"As early as January 1918 they issued a decree on the separation of Church and state, and the laws deriving from it deprived all religious groups of judicial rights and declared their possessions of property of the nation. Such degrees provided the justification for the mass seizure and destruction of churches, punitive measures against the clergy and hounding of believers for their religious convictions. The records of the `organs' show that while 2,429 priests were arrested in 1923-1924, the figure grew to 19,812 in 1931-1932. The warriors for ideological purity made no distinctions. All groups suffered: Orthodox and Catholic, Lutherans, Baptists and other Protestants, Mennonites, Moslems, and Buddists."

This book describing Soviet persecution of priests and believers of various persuasions, is devoted to the Catholics. The history of persecution of the Catholic Church in Russia from 1918 to its almost complete annihilation in 1939, when only two function Catholic churches remained, has been described in other books. The distinctive feature of this book is that it makes available for academic study and public judgment previously inaccessible material from the central and regional archives of the Russian Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Ukrainian Central State Archives of Public Administration, and the archives of security service in the republics of the former USSR.

This account of the fate of Catholic clergy and laity caught up and crushed in the machine of repression draws on material from investigation records and personal files of prisoners, aggregate returns of general Soviet camp administration (GULAG), and instructions and coded telegrams of the secret police.

To purchase "Hide Me Within Thy Wounds", send $35 plus $3 postage payable to NDSU Library. Mail to Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Hide Me Within Thy Wounds Book, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo ND 58105-5599.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller