Friday, May 6, 2011

Communist Activities in the Cleveland, Ohio, Area (con't.)


United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, Washington, D.C.

PUBLIC hearings

The subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities reconvened at 2 p.m., Hon. Francis E. Walter (chairman) presiding.

Subcommittee members present: Representatives Walter, Doyle, Scherer, Johansen, Bruce; also present Representative Schadeberg.

The Chairman. Call your next witness.

Mr. Nittle. Would Julia Brown please resume the stand?


Mr. Nittle. Mrs. Brown, the committee would like to turn briefly to the organization of the Communist Party structure in Cleveland, Ohio. This committee last November received a great deal of testimony with respect to the Comnuuiist Party organization nationally and with respect to its international ties. Your long experience in the Communist Party would indicate that you miglit well add some details, at least, to our store of knowledge, or miglit confirm certain conclusions that can be reached based upon such testimony. The evidence indicates that the party today persists as it was originally conceived by Lenin, and slavishly operates upon the principles laid down by him. Lenin pointed out that the party was not a party of reform. He confirmed that it was not a democratic party, but a revolutionary organization, organized for rebellion and agitation and must therefore be, and I now quote Lenin :
* * A small, compact core, cousistiug: of reliable, experienced and hardened workers, with responsible agents in the principal districts and connected by all the rixles of strict secrecy * * *
He further stated that it must consist of people who "will devote to the revolution not only their spare evenings but the whole of lives," and must consist chiefly of persons engaged in revolutionary activities as a profession. This kind of party, he declared, must be organized "from the top," a "strictly centralized," chain-of-command type of organization, and disciplined like an army. We should like to record your experience, and in order to establish your further competency to testify, at least with respect to certain echelons of the Communist Party hierarchy, I ask you the question : Did you obtain an official position of leadership of any kind in the Cleveland area organization of the Communist Party?

Mrs. Brown. I was treasurer of five clubs in the Northeast Section, and also treasurer of the Sojourners for Truth and Justice.

Mr. Nittle. As treasurer of five clubs, you may well be described as section treasurer ; is that correct?

Mrs. Brown. Yes. That is right.

Mr. Nittle. Who was the chairman of the section during the time you were section treasurer?

Mrs. Brown. Jean Krchmarek.

Mr. Nittle. When did you become section treasurer?

Mrs. Brown. In the middle l950's.

Mr. Nittle. And remained as section treasurer until when?

Mrs. Brown. Until 1960.

Mr. Nittle. And did Jean Krchmarek, who is the wife of Anthony Krchmarek, the Ohio party chairman, remain also as section leader during the period you were acting as section treasurer?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, she did.

Mr. Nittle. Was she acting in that capacity at the time you left Cleveland and went to the West Coast?

Mrs. Brown. She was.

Mr. Scherer. Is that the witness who just testified here a few moments ago?

Mrs. Brown. This afternoon she testified.

Mr. Nittle. What was the location of this section? What area did it cover in Cleveland?

Mrs. Brown. Well, the central area was included in the Northeast Section, and it was in the Glenville area of Cleveland.

Mr. Nittle. May we refer to the section of which you were treasurer then, hereafter, as the Northeast Section of the Communist Party organization in Cleveland?

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle.. Did you have what was known as a Section Committee?

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle. What did that consist of?

Mrs. Brown. It consisted of the heads of the five clubs and officers of the section.

Mr. Nittle.. The Section Committee, did I understand you to say, consisted of the heads or leaders of each of the five clubs and the section officers?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. When the leadei-s of tlie five clubs would meet together with you and Jean Krchmarek, that was known as a Section Committee meeting?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Scherer. These meetings you are talking about — can you distinguish them from the social gatherings that you talked about?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, sir. Yes, indeed.

Mr. Scherer. Were they entirely different?

Mrs. Brown. Entirely different. The section and club meetings are secret meetings that no one else can attend.

Mr. Scherer. But the social gatherings, you said this morning, are attended by Communists and non-Communists?

Mrs. Brown. Well, mostly Communists; a few non-Communists.

Mr. Scherer. That is where you said they raised money?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Scherer. I was wondering how they raised money at these social gatherings.

Mrs. Brown. Well, they sold liquor and food.

Mr. Scherer. Sold liquor?

Mrs. Brown. And food ; drinks and food. They sold them by the drinks.

Mr. Scherer. Did they raise their money any other way?

Mrs. Brown. Well, they did have a donation at the door, too.

Mr. Scherer. Is that all?

Mrs. Brown. Well, that is all I can think of at this time.

Mr. Nittle. The club leaders who met with you and Jean Krclimarek at a meeting, which would be called a Section Committee meeting — would that group have any privileges with respect to laying down club policy?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. What matters would you discuss in section meetings?

Mrs. Brown. Well, just how to operate the clubs, and the distributing of leaflets, and the different social affairs that were to be given to raise money for the clubs and the Communist Party, and what places to infiltrate, and directions for infiltration.

Mr. Nittle. Who told the club leaders in the section meetings what was to be done?

Mrs. Brown. Jean Krchmarek was the head of the section, and the orders came from Jean Krchmarek.

Mr. Nittle. Do you mean to say that the final decision rested with Jean Krchmarek, when you say that orders came from her?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, for the section ; yes, indeed ; and then they were handed down to the leaders of the clubs.

Mr. Nittle. So that the section meeting was simply a means of bringing the club leaders into conference with Jean Krchmarek, so that she could direct them as to the activities they would undertake?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. Now, where did Jean Krchmarek get her orders?

Mrs. Brown. Well, I didn't see anyone give Jean Krchmarek her orders, but I am sure she got them from the next top, which was the state, or the district.

Mr. Nittle. Was that her husband, Anthony Krchmarek, chairman of the Communist Party of the State of Ohio, that you are referring to?

Mrs. Brown. Anthony Krclimarek is the husband of Jean Krchmarek, yes.

Mr. Nittle. Where would her husband, Anthony Krchmarek, get his orders?

Mrs. Brown. Anthony Krchmarek would get his orders from the national office, in New York.

Mr. Nittle. So that the orders originated at the national headquarters of the Communist Party, were then transmitted down to the Ohio District of the Communist Party, the chairman of which was Anthony Krchmarek. He would pass that order down to the section leader, who was Jean Krchmarek, and she would pass this order down, then, to the club leaders, who wouki inform finally the people who constituted the clubs, the rank and file.

Mrs. Brown. That is correct. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. I might note for the record, Mr. Chairman, that the committee hearings last November showed where the National Committee of the Communist Party got its orders. I think the hearings conclusively established that the orders to the headquarters of the National Committee of the Communist Party in the United States came directly from Moscow.

Mr. Doyle. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the registration and disclosure provisions of the Internal Security Act of 1950, in its recent decision in the case of the Communist Party of the United States, Petitioner v. Subversive Activities Control Board (367 U.S. 1), decided June 5, 1961. At page 111 f ., the Supreme Court pointed out that the Congress in 1954 enacted the Communist Control Act (68 Stat. 775), which declares in its second section : The Congress hereby finds and declares that the Communist Party of the United States, although purportedly a political party, is in fact an instrumentality of a conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States.
. . . [T]he policies and programs of the Communist Party are secretly prescribed for it by the foreign leaders of the world Communist movement. . . . [I]ts role as the agency of a hostile foreign power renders its existence a clear present and continuing danger to the security of the United States. . . .
At page 112, the Supreme Court declared : First: We have held, supra, that the congressional findings that there exists a world Communist movement, that it is directed by the Communist dictatorship of a foreign country, and that it has certain designated objectives, inter alia, the establishment of a Communist totalitarian dictatorship throughout the world through the medium of a world-wide Communist organization, §2(1), (4), are not open to re-examination by the Board. We find that nothing in this violates due process.

Mr. Nittle. As section treasurer, did you actually have anything to do with party policy?

Mrs. Brown. No, indeed, I did not.

Mr. Nittle. Did you get your orders also from Jean Krchmarek?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, I did.

Mr. Nittle. What were your duties as treasurer of the section?

Mrs. Brown. Well, when we would have the section meetings, the heads of the clubs would pay dues, give me the dues from the club members, with 10 percent taken out; and then I would take out 20 percent and give it to the state treasurer.

Mr. Nittle. Who was the state treasurer?

Mrs. Brown. Betty Chaka.

Mr. Nittle. C-h-a-k-a?

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Doyle. Who got the 10 percent?

Mrs. Brown. The chibs kept the 10 percent and the section kept 20 percent ; and we used that for parties and

Mr. Doyle. Did you handle that money, or was it someone else?

Mrs. Brown. I handled the money that I received. I always kept the 20 percent, and the other was given, whenever I felt like taking it to her, Betty Chaka, the state treasurer.

Mr. Nittle. Who was the husband of Betty Chaka?

Mrs. Brown. Ed Chaka.

>Mr. Nittle. Also known as Edward Chaka?

Mrs. Brown. Edward Chaka.

Mr. Nittle. Mr. Chairman, I think the record should show that Edward Chaka was a member of the National Conunittee of the Commmiist Party, and that he was in attendance at the 17th National Convention of the Communist Party in December 1959, which was held in New York City. He attended that convention as a delegate from the Ohio District of the Commmiist Party. Did you know Edward Chaka?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, I did.

Mr. Nittle. How long have you known Edward Chaka?

Mrs. Brown. I have known Edward Chaka since 1948.

Mr. Nittle. Did you deliver this money personally to Betty Chaka?

Mrs. Brown. I certainly did.

Mr. Nittle. And she was the state treasurer?

Mrs. Brown. She was.

Mr. Nittle. Could you tell us the names of the leaders of the five clubs in that section? I just want the names of the leaders.

Mrs. Brown. Ruth Lend was one.

Mr. Nittle. You have already identified her, yes.

Mrs. Brown. Harry Spencer.

Mr. Nittle. Of course, you have stated he was a Communist club leader.

Mrs. Brown. That is right. Sally Clark was a chairman.

Mr. Nittle. Sally Clark, C-1-a-r-k?

Mrs. Brown. Yes. And of course Bert Washington, who is deceased.

Mr. Nittle. Bert Washington was at one time a club leader? When did he die?

Mrs. Brown. Well, sometime in 1960. And there were Laura and Fred O'Neal.

Mr. Nittle. Was Jean Krchmarek a club leader, as well as acting in her capacity as section chairman?

Mrs. Brown. Well, you hardly knew what leadership Jean Krchmarek was in, because she led everything and everyone, as far as the clubs were concerned.

Mr. Nittle. Was a gentlemen named Hugh Statten in your area?

Mrs. Brown. At one time Hugh Statten was in the club, in a club office. But he moved back to Chicago.

Mr. Nittle. Wlio succeeded him, if anyone?

Mrs. Brown. Well, it was the central area that Hugh Statten had charge of. He was sent from Chicago by the Communist Party to Cleveland, to reorganize the Negroes in the central area and in Cleveland proper.

Mr. Nittle. I believe you have also spoken of a Harry A. Spencer, did you?

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle. What position did he occupy?

(At this point Mr. Walter left the hearing room.)

Mrs. Brown. He was one of the leaders of his club. I think it was the 124 Club.

Mr. Nittle. In what section was that located?

Mrs. Brown. In the Northeast Section.

Mr. Nittle. That was in your section as well?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, it was.

Mr. Nittle. You mentioned an Edith and Lloyd Gaines as being active in the party.

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle. Were they in your section?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. Would you regard them as club leaders in that area?

Mrs. Brown. Oh, yes.

Mr. Nittle. Now, did you have occasion to attend any state conventions of the Communist Party?

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle. The state convention was the next highest level above the section?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. This is where leaders obtained their information as to party policy to carry down to the section level?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. So that as treasurer and a section leader, you were selected as a delegate to the state convention?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. Was it at the state convention that the delegates had an opportunity to learn what orders the state party chairman was instructed to give you?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. Then at the state convention, the only matter you would debate was how to carry out the orders received from higher headquarters, which was the national grouping?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Doyle (presiding). And you were elected to attend the state party convention in Ohio while you were an FBI informant?

Mrs. Brown. Oh, sure. That was the only time I did my work, when I was with the FBI.

Mr. Doyle. Did not any of your brother or sister Communists suspect you were an informant for the FBI?

Mrs. Brown. Well, I am very sure they didn't know it. One or two had accused me of writing names down at one of the state conventions, and claimed that I was under suspicion, but they never let up on me. They still kept using me.

Mr. Nittle. You have indicated that the Communists in party meetings usually met secretly. How did they maintain their secrecy when they would have to meet in larger numbers at a state convention?

Mrs. Brown. Well, you had to be known us a Communist. You had to be a Communist, and somewhat of a dedicated Communist, to be elected to the state convention; state meetings, if you want to say. And there would always be someone at the door to let you in, and they would know always whether you were a Communist or not.

Mr. Nittle. Were you delegates, who attended the state convention, ever explicitly informed or clearly informed of the place where the meeting was to convene?

Mrs. Brown. Not often. Maybe once I was informed. But I have stood on the sidewalk in the cold and snow for hours, waiting for someone to pick me up to take me to the meeting. They don't tell you where the meetings are. They have them at secret places, and the members are picked up and carried to this place.

Mr. Nittle. I noted you indicated that the club meetings usually took place in private homes.

Mrs. Brown. Yes.

Mr. Nittle. I believe some of the evidence here has indicated that these meetings lasted into the late hours of the evening and the early morning of the next day.

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Scherer. Which ones went on that long? The social, or the business meetings?

Mrs. Brown. Well, they had social affairs and business meetings, mixed. They would have a business meeting early in the evening in the party, and then after the party was over, they would have another meeting, sometimes in the early mornings, 6 and 7 o'clock, where some would go from the meeting to their jobs to prepare for meetings the next evening.

Mr. Scherer. What would you do all that time?

Mrs. Brown. Well, they are just like termites. They are working all the time.

Mr. Nittle. What kind of place would be selected for the state conventions?

Mrs. Brown. Some hall, secret hall, where they thouglit no one would know they were there, very often some hall — that is what I learned — on Kinsman Avenue. And then they began to stop them from having it there, and they began to have it at some other secret place where I have been at least three or four times. But as a rule, I never went directly there on my own.

Mr. Doyle. What do you mean by that answer?

Mrs. Brown. Well, I mean that most of the times I was picked up by a Communist and driven there in their car.

Mr. Scherer. You mean you didn't know in advance where the meeting was to be held?

Mrs. Brown. No, I did not.

Mr. Johansen. Well, how many persons out of a group that were meeting — how many of those individuals would know where the meeting was? Just one person?

Mrs. Brown. Well, maybe a few of the heads, the state heads, would naturally know ; and maybe Jean Krchmarek would know.

Mr. Johansen. It would be one of your superiors in the hierarchy?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct, yes. That is right.

Mr. Doyle. But there would not be a large attendance at these meetings? Perhaps 25 or 50 people?

Mrs. Brown. Well, 50 would be a large attendance. Maybe 20; and never over 30, I don't think they can trust 50 of them.

Mr. Nittle. This is the assemblage of what Lenin has described as the hard-core workers, the hardened workers, who were bound to rules of secrecy?

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Nittle. Persons you have described as dedicated Communists ; termites was another expression you used to describe them.

Mrs. Brown. That is correct.

Mr. Scherer. Were there more women than men, usually, at these meetings?

Mrs. Brown. Just about 50-50.

Mr. Nittle. Can you recollect some of the persons who were in attendance from the Ohio area at the state convention meetings with you?

Mrs. Brown. Well, Frieda Katz, Dave Katz, Jean Krchmarek and Anthony Krchmarek, and Martin and Sally Chancey, the Winters girl, Sally Winters, Pearl Levin, Regina Sokol, and others.

Mr. Nittle. Did Ethel Goodman attend any of the state convention meetings?

Mrs. Brown. Yes, Ethel had attended.

Mr. Nittle. Counsel, the reporter is asking for a 3-minute recess, so the committee will stand in recess. That will also give the witness a short rest.

(Short recess.)

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