Julius Epstein (author)

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Julius Epstein (1901–1975) was a journalist and scholar, an Austrian Jewish émigré who fled Europe in 1938, worked during World War II in the Office of War Information, and after the war became a prominent American anti-communist researcher and critic of the Soviet Union.[1] As a Research Associate at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University, over the course of 20 years Epstein amassed the documentation to write Operation Keelhaul, the first account of the Allied policy of forcibly repatriating several million persons to the Soviet Union and countries within its sphere of influence after World War II.


Epstein was the son of Alice Epstein-Strauss,[2][3] grandson of Adele Strauss,[4] the third wife of "Waltzking" Johann Strauss II. A native of Vienna, Epstein was educated at the Universities of Jena and Leipzig in Germany. He left Germany on March 17, 1933, and lived for a time in Prague, Czechoslovakia. When that country was threatened by Hitler in 1938, he fled with his wife and son to Zurich, and in March 1939 the Epstein family arrived in New York City. Epstein was accredited to the United Nations as foreign correspondent for a number of Swiss newspapers and also contributed articles on the growing crisis in Europe to American magazines. In 1942 he joined the staff of the Office of War Information as Language Editor. After the war he was appointed New York correspondent for a group of newspapers in West Germany and also contributed articles to German magazines as well as to U.S. periodicals including Plain Talk, Human Events, and National Review. His appointment to the Hoover Institution came in 1963, as an assistant to Dr. Stefan Possony, who conceived the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative.[5] Three years later he was named full professor of international affairs by Lincoln University in San Francisco. Epstein died July 3, 1975, in Palo Alto, California. He was survived by his widow, Vally, and a son, Peter Stevens.[6]


Lost Cosmonauts[edit]

In 1962, during the height of the Cold War, Epstein publicly alleged that the Soviet Union had lost at least a dozen cosmonauts in undisclosed space disasters.[7] Epstein claimed this was known to the U.S. government, but that the State Department did not want “to embarrass the Russians” by revealing it.[8] Rather, charged Epstein, "Washington's silence appears to be motivated by the strong desire to hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil about the U.S.S.R."[9] Epstein called on the U.S. government to publicly disclose the extent of its knowledge of Soviet space losses: "Now is the time for the government to make the deaths public for the sake of accurate history."[10]

Zur Problematik des Geheimnisverrates[edit]

Schweizer Monatshefte: Zeitschrift für Politik, Wirtschaft, Kultur Bd. 43 1963-1964 Hitler/Stalin-Pact, Katyn-massacre, Austrian State Treaty Article 16

Operation Keelhaul[edit]

In Operation Keelhaul (1973), Epstein revealed in detail the forced repatriation at the end of World War II of some four million Soviet citizens, expatriated White Russians (who had emigrated from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and thus never had been Soviet citizens), and other Eastern Europeans to the Soviet Union and to those countries within its sphere of influence after 1945. These people – Red Army POWs and civilians captured by the Nazis along with followers of General Andrei Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army – were all considered to be traitors by the Soviets, and were severely persecuted. Most were condemned to lengthy prison terms, including in the Gulag, and many were executed—including some who were summarily executed on the spot of their handover to the Soviets, within earshot of British and American troops.

Described by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as “the last secret of World War II,” the forced repatriation was agreed upon in a secret codicil to the Yalta Agreement and was kept from the public for decades after World War II had ended. Epstein first became aware of Operation Keelhaul in 1954, while doing other research at a government archive. After being told the files notated in the card catalogue as “383.74: Forcible Repatriation of Soviet Citizens – Operation Keelhaul” were classified,[11] Though he was already able to expose Roosevelt/Truman administration perfidy by 1957,[12] he would have to labor for 20 years to acquire the files necessary to write his comprehensive treatment on the subject, including suing the government to force them to de-classify and release the files.[13]

Register of the Julius Epstein Papers 1939-1975[edit]

Julius Epstein Papers

Published Works[edit]

  • The Case Against Vera Micheles Dean and the Foreign Policy Association. 1947.
  • The Mysteries of the Van Vliet Report: A Case History. Chicago: Polish American Congress, Inc., 1951.
  • Operation Keelhaul: The Story of Forced Repatriation from 1944 to the Present. Old Greenwich: Devin-Adair, 1973.


  1. ^ "Herbert Romerstein, "Cover Up for Those Who Committed Mass Murder."". Victimsofcommunism.org. 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  2. ^ de:Johann Strauss (Sohn)#Strauss.E2.80.99 .E2.80.9EArisierung.E2.80.9C und Nötigung seiner Stieftochter, 1875-1945
  3. ^ "Todfallsaufnahme" Alice Meyszner (Strauss Epstein)
  4. ^ Adele Strauss 1856-1930
  5. ^ ""12 Russian Cosmonauts Claimed Killed," The Spokane-Review, 5/2/1967". News.google.com. p. 16. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  6. ^ Julius Epstein, Author, 74, Dies; Wrote of Forced Repatriations, N.Y. Times, July 5, 1975, at 16.
  7. ^ "Bob Considine, "Here's Red Roster of Lost Astronauts," The Evening News, July 8, 1965". News.google.com. p. 6A. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  8. ^ ""Were twelve cosmonauts killed?", The Windsor Star, 5/1/1967". News.google.com. p. 15. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  9. ^ Julius Epstein, "Soviet Space Losses: U.S. Public Not Properly Informed," Los Angeles Times, 10/4/1967, p. A5.
  10. ^ ""12 Cosmonauts Killed, US Historian Believes," Milwaukee Sentinel, 5/1/1967". News.google.com. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  11. ^ ""Operation Keelhaul: What Really Did Happen?", The Morning Record,". News.google.com. 1972-10-30. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  12. ^ Julius Epstein (1957), "Repatriation; Threat to America", The American Mercury 
  13. ^ ""More Light on 'Keelhaul,'" The Nevada Daily Mail,". News.google.com. 1972-12-13. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-08-19.