Mikhoels, Solomon Mikhailovich

(1890–1948)
   The greatest Yiddish actor of his generation, Mikhoels was used by the Soviet regime to raise funds and popular support in the United States during World War II. Following the war, Mikhoels and his colleagues in the Jewish theater came under suspicion for Zionism. In late 1947 Joseph Stalin ordered MGB officers to murder Mikhoels and make his death look like an accident. On the evening of 13 January 1948, Mikhoels was beaten to death and his body repeatedly run over by a truck. Mikhoel’s death marked an upswing in Soviet anti-Semitism and the beginning of a widespread purge of Jews from the security service, the foreign ministry, and the army. In 1953 Lavrenty Beria announced that Mikhoels had been murder by Viktor Abakumov, Beria’s rival. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev gave further details about Mikhoels’s murder, placing the blame where it deserved to be, with Stalin.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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