Communists and Suspected Communists, including Russian and Communist sympathisers

In this release

Samuel Aaronovitch

Catalogue reference: KV 2/42684273
Date range: 11 September 1939–16 July 1964

Aaronovitch moved from London to Northampton in 1940. He used his home as a base from which to travel the country to gives talks on left wing themes, often using a different name. On 11 August 1941 he received a 10 shilling fine for writing ‘Unite against Fascism!’ on a road sign. Aaronovitch then relocated to Glasgow, taking a job at the Rolls-Royce factory in Hillington. He was appointed the Communist Party’s District Literature Organiser, and liaised with future Communist Party of Great Britain leader Johnny Gollan. He soon progressed to be Scottish propaganda organiser.

In March 1945 it was reported that Aaronovitch had separated from his wife, Bertha, and planned to marry Kristine Uren. He returned to London later that year and acted as an agent for Communist Party election candidates before becoming Assistant National Education Organiser in 1946 (KV 2/4268).

When Aaronovitch published a book with K. Aaronovitch entitled ‘Crisis in Kenya’, there was an interest in his sources (KV 2/4269). In 1947 he joined National Cultural Committee and the National Jewish Advisory Committee in 1947, and in 1952 he visited Italy. The emergence of his brother Joe created an interest in his parentage (KV 2/4270). In 1955 he became secretary of the Communist Party’s Central London area.

(KV 2/4268 and KV 2/4273 have been digitised)

Edward Palmer Thompson

Catalogue reference: KV 2/42904294
Date range: 04 November 1943–02 January 1963

These five files relate to E.P. Thomson, the Marxist historian, author of ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ and peace campaigner. Thompson first came to the attention of the Security Service in 1943 while serving in the army. He stated to the authorities that once he had finished fighting fascism abroad he would then concentrate on fighting it at home.

After the war, Thompson was a vocal supporter of the Balkan communists. His brother Frank had been killed while serving with the Bulgarian partisans. Thompson was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s (CPGB) Historian’s Group and was active in the party’s educational work. Following Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in February 1956, Thompson resigned from his District Committee citing his lack of confidence in the political integrity of the CPGB. He became further disillusioned after the Soviet invasion of Hungary later that year.

His publication of ‘The Reasoner’, an unofficial communist journal with an editorial condemning Soviet intervention, led to his suspension from the party. He resigned from the CPGB rather than issue an apology. The files also contain comment by fellow party members on Thompson’s biography of William Morris, his history on the English working class that was overdue with the publishers and his appearance on BBC television that led to criticism by several party members.