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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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economist. We were all at the National Hotel together. I remember they had an American jazz orchestra at the National Hotel--three Russians playing American music. It was so awful--we used to send over tips to persuade them to stop playing.

When I came home I was so excited about Russia that I persuaded my partner, Donald, to go over the next year, but that winter the Kirov purges had started. When Donald shoved off, I gave him letters to eight of the people who had befriended me, that I'd gotten to know quite well--especially this wonderful couple who were the Lunt and Fontanne of Russia. Seven of the eight people had disappeared completely, and the eighth one made it very clear that he didn't want to see Donald! It was now dangerous to talk to an American. In a single year the whole climate changed--from 1934 to 1935. When we were there, Americans were feted and welcomed. By 1935 the foreigners were feared.


Have you ever been back?


No, I'm going to go next year. I've been back to Israel, but I've never been back to Russia.


It will be fun to go back, though.


Oh, yes. The laughs we had in Russia! We learned a few words. I could say, “Gde vbornia?" which meant, “Where's

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