It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Tamara Deutscher, whose counsel and encouragement have meant so much to this Review over a period of a quarter of a century.
In the early and mid sixties the editors felt privileged to be able to call upon the political experience and wisdom of Tamara and her husband, Isaac. Their Marxism, tempered by the bitter experiences of the thirties and forties, embodied outstanding integrity, steadfastness and lucidity. After Isaac’s death in 1967, Tamara continued their life’s work, reflecting on the fate of the Russian Revolution and the socialist tradition.
Tamara contributed fifteen essays to the Review between 1968 and 1987, constituting a remarkable critical panorama of trends within Soviet society and, especially, the Soviet intelligentsia. The memoirs of Anatole Marchenko and Nadezhda Mandelstam allowed her to explore the contrasting worlds of worker and writer. The 1970 manifesto issued by Sakharov, Medvedev and Turchin led her to timely conclusions concerning what would be needed for a genuine democratic reform in the Soviet Union. Essays by Amalrik and Solzhenitsyn prompted analysis of the forms of oppositional demoralization and despair generated by bureaucratic stasis. In a recent review article on Grossman’s Life and Fate, Tamara reflected on the traumas of war and terror. Though she escaped on one of the last ships to leave the south of France for Liverpool in 1940, her own experiences, and the losses suffered within the circle of her family and friends, added depth to her understanding of these terrible times. Tamara also wrote for us following visits to China and Ceylon. She contributed a memoir of her collaboration with E.H. Carr, and two articles about her native Poland. Elsewhere she contributed a preface to David King’s portfolio, Trotsky, and wrote about Rosa Luxemburg, whose characteristic universalism she found admirable and salutary.
Tamara encouraged the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize committee to identify new and creative work in the Marxist tradition, and was especially gratified when the prize was awarded to a young Soviet author, Boris Kagarlitsky, for his book The Thinking Reed.
Tamara’s generosity and judgement will be sorely missed. Her serenity, consideration and insight made her an irreplaceable guide and friend. The classical socialist traditions and values she upheld so courageously remain, through her example, a vital inspiration.