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Column, December 20, 1935, Page 2


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Viola Ilma

            "I'm more of a Communist than any Communist I know," Miss Viola Ilma told us in a private interview in her home, "and that's a rash statement."

            It was Miss Ilma who organized the Youth Congress held at New York University last summer and who was ousted by the liberal leaders of the Congress after her attempt to establish herself as a virtual dictator of the delegates.

            Her statement is amazing; and was so even when Gertrude Stein made it. It is a dangerous statement, too, when we compare it with other remarks of a political nature made by Miss Ilma, such as:

            "Communism is inevitable, so is Fascism, which is the last crutch of Capitalism.. ."

            "I am opposed to Communism and Fascism, and am attempting to lead the youth to real democracy...."

            "The left wingers have no technique. We should be as seductive as the industrialists. All life, as well as love, is boring from within...."

      "If I had to take an N.Y A. job counting cockroaches I'd go and join the Communist party ..."

            "I haven't made my mind up yet, but when I do, I'll go to Russia. see Stalin, and come back with a job ... ."

            So the tall, blond twenty-five year old Viola Ilma, self-styled "enlightener" of apathetic youth, expressed her very ambiguousand paradoxical political opinions. She fights the inevitable: she is more of what she is opposed to than those whom she opposes; her tactics are to be as seductive as a boll weevil's, as obvious as a demagogue's. In order to understand Miss llma's ideology we must look into the activities in which she has engaged in the past.

            Miss Ilma first became interested in the economic difficulties of youth while editing Modern Youth several years ago. She said that the magazine. was a clearing house for youth's problems. It failed, however, and Miss Ilma took a trip abroad.

            On September 7, l933, Viola Ilma set sail for Germany, the land of her birth, with letters of introduction to Hanfstaengl and Baron von Schmidt-Pauli, propaganda ministers. These letters were from Edward A. Rumley, who during the war was suspected' of being a German agent. They introduced her as an American journalist who would awaken the United States to the true character of Germany. These facts, as well as the interviews between Miss Ilma and Nazi leaders, were exposed by John L. Spivak in the November 13, 1934 issue of the New Masses, in an attempt to show that the "American youth leader" was a product of German propaganda and fmances.

            "Rot," Miss Ilma told us, "Love came along. It. wasn't even love. A man asked me to go to Europe with him and I said swell. He is a Jew. I didn't expose his name because he is married."

            After the European jaunt, Miss Ilma called a Youth Congress in August of 1934 at New York University. Rebelling against her dictatorial methods and sensing Fascist dangers, the liberal groups at the Congress wrested it from her control. The body they organized became the American Youth Congress.

            Miss Ilma is at present editing and publishing a magazine called Voice of Youth, which terms itself "a timely challenge to young men and women and to those interested in youth problems to express themselves on what they are thinking." The Voice of Youth's primary aim is to clarify issues, present all points of view, and in all things to remain non-parlisan,

            It sounds interesting; it sounds fine, It would be both if it did not reflect the un- INCOMPLETE


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May 20, 2004