Introducing Menachem Begin, prisoner of Stalin's secret police
Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum and memorial, has a new artifact in its collection: the KGB file of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Begin was arrested in September 1940 by the Soviet Union's secret police, who were then known as the NKVD. He was 27 and serving as the head of Betar Poland, the country's largest Zionist movement, at the time.
The NKVD compiled a thick file, no fewer than 150 pages, about the future Israeli prime minister. It includes a photo of the young Begin in a suit and tie, his home address and many other private pieces of information regarding his personal life.
The file also mentions Begin's law studies at Warsaw University, his law apprenticeship, that his father was a civil servant and that his mother was a homemaker. It also mentions Begin's membership in a Revisionist Zionist movement, which he had been active in from 1930 to 1939.
The new edition of White Nights also contains most of these particulars.