The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, February 28, 2005

Freedom fighters of the SS

Yesterday's Scotland on Sunday reveals that in the late 1940s the small East Lothian town of Haddington was the base for nearly a thousand members of the SS recruited by MI6 for anti-Soviet operations. According to Douglas Macleod, author of a forthcoming book on the subject:
"Between 1948 and 1951 they worked as agricultural labourers but all the time through the Scottish League for European Freedom a number of them were being screened and trained as agents.

"As agents they were dropped into the Soviet Union to take part in a civil war that had been raging between the Ukrainian nationalists, many of whom had thrown their lot in with the Nazis during the Second World War, and the Soviets."
These "Western-minded, disciplined, honourable and loyal men", as the British government called them, may not have met quite the welcome they expected. Their missions were organised by Kim Philby.

Beyond the forests

Imagine a remote part of Europe. Its very name is associated with a superstition so gross that bigotry itself would scoff at it. Suppose that, centuries ago, a public debate among scholars converted the king and people of the region to a rationalistic, tolerant, liberal and humane Christian heresy, and that this heresy persisted as the people's faith despite the persecutions of church and state, of nationalists and communists. Imagine this heresy - with its own churches and seminaries, clergy and congregations, saints and martyrs - being the unquestioned creed of generations, and surviving to this day.

It sounds like some alternate-history invention, but it's the true story of the Unitarians of Transylvania.


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