Herbert Romerstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Herbert Romerstein
Born(1931-08-19)August 19, 1931
Brooklyn, New York
DiedMay 7, 2013(2013-05-07) (aged 81)
Occupation(s)ex-communist, federal government employee, historian, author
ChildrenShari, David, Vicky, Becky
RelativesWilliam Romerstein (brother)

Herbert "Herb" Romerstein (August 19, 1931 – May 7, 2013) was an American ex-communist and historian who became a writer specializing in anticommunism and was appointed Director of the U.S. Information Agency’s Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation and Active Measures. As an author he is best known for his book The Venona Secrets (written with Eric Breindel).[1]


Herbert Romerstein was born in 1931 in Brooklyn, New York into a Jewish family of Sam (1883 – 6 October 1946) and Rose (29 March 1909 – 27 March 1970) Romerstein.[1] Two years after his cheder, while still in high school in Brooklyn he joined the Communist Party USA.[2][3]


Romerstein worked for anticommunist newsletter Counterattack

Romerstein gained employment with C. Ludwig Baumann, "a retail furniture establishment."[4]

In 1949, as the Truman administration continued its crackdown on communists, the party's denials that it had ever intended to overthrow the US "knocked the props from under all my teaching... Stop this shilly-shallying, I yelled at one of my party bosses."[2] During the Korean War, Romerstein left the party for accusing South Korea of attacking North Korea,[2][3][5] and he fought in that war.[6]

In September 1950, Romerstein had become a research analyst and investigator for American Business Consultants, publishers of the anticommunist newsletter Counterattack[4] as well as for Bookmailer, which published his first book, Communism and Your Child, in 1962.[7]

On April 12, 1951, Romerstein, at "19 1/2", testified before the Senate Sub-Committee on Internal Security regarding Communist infiltration into the American Communications Association and United Office and Professional Workers (now Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, or RWDSU).[4] The same year, he also testified before the Subversive Activities Control Board.[citation needed]

From 1965 to 1983, Romerstein served as a staff member for the US House of Representatives and worked as investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC),[3] as minority chief investigator for the House Committee on Internal Security,[3] and on the staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.[8][9]

In 1983, he joined the Reagan administration full-time as a director of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency.[3][5][10][11] He served in this capacity until President Reagan left office in 1989.[12]

Thereafter, he became director of the Center for Security Research at the Education and Research Institute (ERI).[8] ERI's board members include Ralph Bennett, M. Stanton Evans, Patrick Korten, James C. Roberts, Allan H. Ryskind, and Terrence M. Scanlon.[13] Later, he worked at the Institute of World Politics as a specialist on espionage, Soviet political warfare, international terrorism, and internal security.[7]

He conducted research in both U.S. and foreign archives, such as the Ukrainian archives in 1992 and the archives of the Communist International in Moscow, Russia, in 1993.[8]

In 1992, Romerstein and Ray Kerrison reported in the New York Post that Oleg Kalugin had identified I. F. Stone as a Soviet agent, developed in The Venona Secrets, co-authored with Eric Breindel.[3][14] [15]

Romerstein defined counterpropaganda as "carefully prepared answers to false propaganda with the purpose of refuting the disinformation and undermining the propagandist."[16]

Personal life and death[edit]

Romerstein was married to Pat Romerstein. Their children include Shari, David, Vicky, and Becky (Les) Rhoads. He moved to Clinton, Maryland, in the early 1970s.[17][2]

Romerstein died on May 7, 2013, age 81.[17][18]

He was buried on May 9, 2013, at the Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Adelphi, Maryland.[6] Surviving him were his wife, four children, a dozen grandchildren, brother Bill, and a niece and a nephew.[17]


In January 2013, the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University acquired his collection of papers. According to the archive, after being processed and registered the Romerstein papers will be Hoover's largest collection on communist subversion and the activities of communist front organizations, complementing its previous holdings of papers of the Subversive Activities Control Board and William T. Poole.[7][9]



"A monograph prepared for the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate."
  • Official Guide to Confederate Money & Civil War Tokens, Tradesmen & Patriotic, with Grover Criswell. New York: HC Publishers (1971).
  • Soviet Support for International Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: Foundation for Democratic Education (1981).[20]
  • The World Peace Council and Soviet "Active Measures". Washington, D.C.: The Hale Foundation (1983). ISBN 0935067019, 978-0935067019.
  • Grenada Documents: An Overview and Selection. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (1984).
  • Soviet Active Measures and Propaganda: "New Thinking" & Influence Activities in the Gorbachev Era. Toronto: Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution, and Propaganda (1989).
  • The KGB Against the 'Main Enemy': How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates against the United States, with Stanislav Levchenko. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books (1989).[21]
  • The KGB Enters the 1990s. Alexandria, VA: Center for Intelligence Studies (1990).
  • Soviet Agents of Influence. Intelligence Issues Series No. 3. Alexandria, VA: Center for Intelligence Studies (1991).
  • Heroic Victims: Stalin's Foreign Legion in the Spanish Civil War. Washington, D.C.: Council for the Defense of Freedom (1994).[22]
  • The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors, with Eric Breindel. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing (2000).[23]
  • Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda, with Martin Manning. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (2004).
  • Stalin's Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government, with M. Stanton Evans. Old Saybrook, CT: Tantor Media (2012).

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home | Silver Spring, MD". Hinesrinaldi.tributes.com. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Muravchik, Joshua (July 2013). "The Man Who Knew Everything". Commentary. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, Brian C. (May 10, 2013). "Remembering Herb Romerstein". The American Spectator. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Subversive Infiltration of Radio, Television and the Entertainment Industry. US GPO. 1952. pp. 255–258. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kengor, Paul (May 14, 2013). "Remembering Herb Romerstein". The Jewish Press. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Kincaid, Cliff (May 13, 2013). "The Wit and Wisdom of Herbert Romerstein". Accuracy in Media. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Herbert Romerstein Collection Comes to the Hoover Archives". Hoover Institution. January 13, 2013. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c "Romerstein Heads Center". Education and Research Institute. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Davenport, Tim (May 26, 2018). "The Socialist Convention: My Collecting Acquaintance Herb Romerstein Remembered". Debs Project blog. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "Herbert Romerstein, Director (Former), U.S Information Agency". C-SPAN. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  11. ^ "Herbert Romerstein". Simon & Schuster. November 13, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  12. ^ "Remembering Herb Romerstein."Public Diplomacy Council Commentary, December 7, 2016. Archived from the original.
  13. ^ "Home". Education and Research Institute. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  14. ^ "How Many I. F. Stones were there?". New York Post. July 20, 1992.
  15. ^ Romerstein, Herbert; Breindel, Eric (2000). The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89526-275-2.
  16. ^ Romerstein, Herbert (2008). ""Counterpropaganda: We Can't Do Without It," in Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare". IWP Press. p. 135.
  17. ^ a b c "Death Notice: Herbert Romerstein". Washington Post. May 9, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Montgomery County Death Notices through May 10". Silver Spring Patch. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  19. ^ Benson, George S. "Reds’ Appeal to Youth." Review of Communism and Your Child, by Herbert Romerstein. The Salem News (May 26, 1962), p. 4.
  20. ^ Blaufarb, Douglas S. "Terrorist Trends and Ties." Review of Soviet Support for International Terrorism, by Herbert Romerstein. Problems of Communism (May 1982), pp. 73-77.
  21. ^ Crozier, Brian. "Right Books". Review of The KGB Against the "Main Enemy", by Herbert Romerstein and Stanislav Levchenko. National Review, vol. 41, no. 24 (December 22, 1989), p. 46.
  22. ^ Crozier, Brian. "Books in Brief." Review of Heroic Victims: Stalin's Foreign Legion in the Spanish Civil War, by Herbert Romerstein. National Review (September 26, 1994), p. 74.
  23. ^ Hoar, William P. "Reds in the White House." Review of The Venona Secrets, by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel. The Claremont Review of Books (Summer 2001), p. 9.
  24. ^ Romerstein, Herbert; Garbus, Martin. "'The Attack on I.F. Stone': An Exchange". New York Review of Books (December 3, 1992). Archived from the original. Retrieved December 1, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]