Security Service release: Communists and suspected communists, including Russians and communist sympathisers
Lawrence Cecil Adler (KV2/3496) 07/07/1951 - 25/11/1958
Harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler was reported in 1951 to have been a member of the American Communist Party and involved with several organisations investigated by the California Committee on Un-American Activities. In 1950, Adler filed a libel suit against an individual who accused him of being a communist sympathiser, something 'no genuine communist would indulge in', notes the file. Under cross-examination during the trial, Adler defended the right of Communist Party members to hold, without interference, any job not connected to national security and said communists should not be deprived of their livelihoods. However, the jury failed to reach a verdict and the case was dismissed in 1951.
Adler is considered one of the best harmonica players to have ever lived and in his later career played with the likes of Elton John, Kate Bush and Sting. One note expresses concern that if Adler were allowed to settle in the UK, 'the Communist Party would make every effort to exploit his name as an entertainer'. However, another paper notes that Adler has been a regular visitor to the country for the past 15 years and had not come to adverse notice, adding that it was 'exceedingly unlikely he will engage in political activities'.
File KV2/3496 is available to view on Discovery.
Frank Strauss Meyer (KV2/3501) 28/01/1931- 03/08/1955
Described by one Oxford University communist contemporary as 'The founder of the student Communist Party movement in the UK', Meyer was formerly a Princeton alumnus. He arrived in the UK in August 1928 and enlisted at Balliol College, Oxford, in October 1929. On graduating he transferred to the London School of Economics (LSE) to read for a PhD, but was expelled from the LSE in March 1934 for selling copies of the 'Student Vanguard', a left-wing student newspaper he founded, and was subsequently deported in June 1934.
During his time in the UK, he was founder and first President of the Communist Front organisation the 'October Club', a committee member of the Oxford University Labour Club, and President of the Marxist Society and Students Union at LSE. John Cornford, a prime mover in the establishment of student communism at Cambridge in the 1930s, was a protégé of his at the LSE. From his return to the USA in 1934 until 1945, when he was converted to Catholicism by Mgr. Fulton Sheen, Meyer was active in student-related communist affairs. He appeared as a witness before the Subversive Activities Control Board in 1952.
Stephen Walter Pollak (KV2/3507-11) 22/04/1938 - 08/02/1960
Alias Stephen Saul SKUP, alias Saul SKUP: Czech/German, naturalized British. A Communist, Pollak's adventurous career included service in the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1938), during which he was wounded and partially paralysed. Two years under an assumed identity of 'Skup' in the Balkans (1939-1941), arrest and internment in India (1941-1946), and two years in Czechoslovakia (1946-1947) where he acquired a British wife, Eileen Gaston. He finally settled in the UK. In his autobiography 'Strange land behind me', published in 1951, he acknowledged his past Soviet and communist links, describing his break with communism due to interference from Moscow and the crimes committed by the Red Army, which he witnessed in Soviet-occupied Germany. Pollak spent most of his career as a freelance journalist, writing for the New Statesman, Tribune and others as well as editing various publications. These included United Nations News and World Jewry, the latter in the course of his work with the World Jewish Congress.
Jacob Bronowski (KV2/3523 - 3524) 18/10/1939 - 28/09/1959While working at University College Hull, Dr Jacob Bronowski came to the Security Service's notice in 1940 as a member and speaker at meetings of bodies with strong communist influences. An ardent player of chess, he was a member of Hull Chess Club. Although no investigations could confirm definite connections with the Communist Party, one police officer described him as, 'a communist in everything but name'. He later became Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Works, then Director of Research at the National Coal Board as well as a successful broadcaster and science writer, best known for his 1970s documentary series, 'The Ascent of Man'.
File KV2/3523 is available to view on Discovery.