On November 6, 20 years of the publication of a reference work on communist terror: “The Black Book of Communism”, published by Harvard University Press in France.
This work was carried out by a team of professors and researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research, the most important scientific institution in France. For a long time I wanted to transfer to an entry the numbers of assassinated by the communism indicated by that book for each country, updating them as far as possible, because in the last two decades that totalitarian ideology has continued to cause deaths in various parts of the world. I offer here a list by countries, ordered by those who have had a greater number of victims. I quote “The black book of communism” by its initials, TBBOC. The numbers that I indicate in large letters are the result of adding to the estimates of that work those of other more recent studies.
Numbers by country:
TOTAL: More than 120 million dead
China: 82 million dead
TBBOC gives an estimate of 65 million deaths and divide this number as follows:
Thus, we could be facing figures of up to 82 million dead and only in the People’s Republic of China.
USSR: more than 21 million dead
TBBOC estimates in 20 million deaths in the USSR, divided this estimate as follows:
However, I miss TBBOC some facts that raise that figure even more. I add a few here, next to the sources:
Adding all these facts, we would be talking about more than 21 million deaths in total in the USSR.
North Korea: 4.6 million dead
At the beginning of the book, TBBOC figures in 2 million deaths due to North Korean communism. In the chapter devoted to that brutal dictatorship, he gives more detailed estimates:
To this we must add those who are killed when they try to flee the country, those killed by starvation (TBBOC cites estimations of the German Red Cross that calculate 10,000 child deaths per month due to hunger in North Korea) and 500,000 deaths due to diseases and for bad nutrition. But it must be remembered that TBBOC was published in 1997. In 1999, Pyongyang recognized 220,000 people killed by hunger since 1995 because of the floods that year. A report published in August 1999 by the United States Institute for Peace estimates the effects of that famine on between 2 and 3 million deaths. So, we could be talking about a total of 4.6 million deaths to date, and that’s not counting the Korean War of 1950-1953, caused by the North Koreans.
Vietnam: 3.8 million dead
TBBOC figures in 1 million deaths the result of communist repression first in North Vietnam and then throughout Vietnam after the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam. However, Professor Rudolph Rummel points out that political violence would have meant 3.8 million deaths in the country, of which 1.25 million would have been victims of murders.
Cambodia: 2.4 million dead
TBBOC estimates at 2 million Cambodians killed during the genocide provoked by the communist regime of Pol Pot. However, Professor Rudolph Rummel estimates that 2.4 million men, women and children were killed by the Khmer Rouge.
Afghanistan: 1.5 million dead
TBBOC points out that after the communist coup of 1978, on April 29 of that year there was a first purge of non-communist military that left 3,000 dead. Repression against opponents of the new regime killed another 10,000 people. After the rebellion of the Islamic mujahideen, the USSR intervened militarily in the country, undertaking a savage repression against the rebels, destroying entire villages and massacring men, women and children. TBBOC calculates between a million and a half and two million victims of that war.
Yugoslavia: 1,172,000 dead
TBBOC figures around one million deaths caused by the establishment of communism in Yugoslavia, and that in a country with 15.5 million inhabitants. The book does not give more details of this figure. In 2009 the Serbian government formed a state commission that published the names of 55,973 people killed during the communist purges of 1944 and 1995, including 27,367 Germans, 14,567 Serbs and 6,112 Hungarians. Between 1949 and 1956 4,000 prisoners were killed in the Goli Otok prison, according to a report by the Balkan Caucasus Osservatory published in 2008. In 2007 The New York Times reported the existence of 100,000 graves in Slovenia containing the remains of victims of communist repression in that part of the former Yugoslavia. Many of the tombs were dynamited by the communists themselves to leave no trace of their killings. Professor Rudolph Rummel estimates that the victims of communism in Yugoslavia would be divided in this way:
We would be talking, therefore, of 1,172,000 deaths.
East Germany: 815,000 dead
TBBOC speaks of 756 condemned to death in the badly called Democratic Republic of Germany (GDR) during the communist dictatorship. Benjamin Valentino, in “Final Solutions, Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century” (2004), figures from 80,000 to 100,000 deaths caused by the communist repression there since 1945. Rudolph Rummel estimates in 70,000 those murdered by the GDR. A study published by the German government in 1989 estimated 270,000 Germans killed by Soviet war crimes, as well as 205,000 deaths among Germans sent to forced labor camps in the USSR since 1944. In addition, Helke Sander and Barbara Johr, in “BeFreier und Befreite” (2005), calculated at 240,000 German women dead as a result of their violation at the hands of Soviet soldiers. In total we would be talking about 815,000 deaths.
Mozambique: 729,000 dead
TBBOC points out that between 1975 – the year in which Frelimo’s communists came to power, which still remain in that country – and 1985, 600,000 people died of hunger in Mozambique, according to UNICEF data. Another 8,000 died of hunger in the spring of 1989. Famines were caused largely by political corruption, which appropriated humanitarian aid. The professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 3,000 the dead ones by the guerrilla of the Frelimo between 1964 and 1975, and in 118,000 the assassinated ones after the ascent of that communist group to the power. We would be talking, therefore, of at least 729,000 deaths.
Ethiopia: 725,000 dead
TBBOC numbers between 200,000 and 300,000 people dying of hunger during the communist dictatorship established in Ethiopia between 1974 and 1991 with support from the USSR and Cuba. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 725,000 the deaths between 1974 and 1987.
Romania: 435,000 dead
TBBOC does not give a total figure of communist repression in Romania. Benjamin Valentino, in “Final Solutions, Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century” (2004), figures in 60,000 to 300,000 deaths caused by communist repression since 1945, both by political repression and by the forced collectivization of agriculture. The professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 435.000 the dead ones by the Romanian communism.
Czechoslovakia: 262,082 dead
TBBOC does not give an estimate of deaths for Czechoslovakia under communist rule. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates 197,000 deaths between 1945 and 1948 and 65,000 deaths between 1948 and 1968. To this we must add that a secret report by the communist government, declassified in 1990, estimated at 82 dead in the repression of the Prague Spring 1968 at the hands of the Warsaw Pact troops. In total we would be talking about 262,082 dead.
Venezuela: more than 252,000 dead
After the coming to power of Hugo Chávez in 1999, an authoritarian regime was established in the Caribbean country whose party, the PSUV, is inspired by Marxism-Leninism. The Venezuelan socialist regime has had the support of Cuba. In June 2015, the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) estimated that between 1999 and May 2015 there were 252,073 violent deaths in the country. Since then, violence has continued to dominate the country, with the government repressing opposition demonstrations, which caused more than 100 deaths due to the repression in the first half of 2017.
Poland: more than 235,000 dead
TBBOC gives some figures about the communist repression in Poland. I indicate them and expand them below:
Hungary: 210,000 dead
TBBOC figures in 200,000 dead Hungarians among the more than 600,000 who were deported by the Soviets. The ephemeral Soviet Republic of Hungary (May-August 1919) is not mentioned, however. In the few months that it lasted, the revolutionary courts established by the communists executed 590 people (according to Tibor Hajdu in “The Hungarian Soviet Republic”, 1979). To this we must add 2,000 members of the single party purged and executed between 1948 and 1956 (according to Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries in “A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change”, 2007) and another 5,000 non-party executed ( as RJ Crampton points out in “Eastern Europe in the twentieth century and after”, 1997). In addition, between 2,500 and 3,000 insurgents were killed during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (of which between 1,800 and 2,000 in Budapest) according to the report submitted to the UN in 1957. In addition, 229 people were executed after the uprising. So, we would be talking about a total of about 210,000 deaths.
Angola: 125,000 dead
TBBOC does not offer estimates on the total number of deaths caused by the communist guerrilla of the MPLA, supported by Cuba and the USSR. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates 125,000 deaths between 1975 and 1987.
Colombia: 105,419 dead
According to the Unified Registry of Victims of the Government of Colombia, the conflict provoked by the communist terrorists of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) has caused 103,089 deaths by terrorist attack. In addition, the terrorists of the ELN (National Liberation Army, a Marxist-Leninist group) are responsible for 2,330 murders according to the National Center for Historical Memory of Colombia. Between both communist groups add 105,419 dead, and that without counting the deaths in combats against these terrorist gangs.
Albania: 100,000 dead
TBBOC does not give a total figure of communist repression in Albania. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates 100,000 dead by the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha.
Rhodesia / Zimbabwe: more than 50,000 dead
In Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the terrorists of the People’s Liberation Army of Zimbabwe, a Marxist-Leninist group supported by the USSR, killed 102 civilians by shooting down two flights of Air Rhodesia (in one of them, the terrorists killed in the accident site itself to 10 passengers who had survived). Another Communist terrorist group, the Maoists of the National Liberation Army of Zimbabwe, supported by China and headed by Robert Mugabe, participated in various terrorist acts, being known for their savagery. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 19,000 the deaths caused by these guerrillas between 1970 and 1979. After the rise of Robert Mugabe to power in 1980 a communist dictatorship was established in the country, until his dismissal in November 2017. During that period they succeeded in the country, all kinds of human rights violations, including the massacres of Gukarahundi, which according to Geoff Hill in “The Battle for Zimbabwe: The Final Countdown” (2005), have caused 30,000 deaths. In total, we are talking about total figures that far exceed the 50,000 dead.
Laos: 45,000 dead
This small country of Southeast Asia, sparsely populated, suffered a bloody Civil War between 1963 and 1975 between the constitutional monarchy then in force and the communist guerrillas of Pathet Lao, supported by North Vietnam and the USSR. The communists won the contest, and still remain in power through a single-party communist dictatorship. TBBOC cites the figure of 45,000 killed and starved provided by Laotian refugees.
Bulgaria: 31,150 dead
TBBOC numbers between 30,000 and 40,000 deaths caused by the brutal communist repression unleashed since 1944 by the communists and the Soviet occupation forces, especially against local personalities, mayors, teachers, priests and merchants. A report from the Hannah Arendt Center in Sofia in 2010, produced in collaboration with professors Dinyu Sharlanov and Venelin I. Ganev, provides the following figures:
In total we would be talking about 30,880 dead. Dinyu Sharlanov, in “History of Communism in Bulgaria” (2009), figures in 31,000 deaths between 1944 and the end of communism in the country in 1989. To this we must add that on April 16, 1925 members of the Communist Party of Bulgaria perpetrated a brutal attack against the Church of St. Nedelya in Sofia, blowing up the roof of the temple and killing 150 people.
Cuba: 73,000 dead
TBBOC calculates between 15,000 and 17,000 dead in Cuba because of executions since 1959. To this must be added the 7,000 rafters who have died trying to flee the island by sea. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 73,000 those killed by the Cuban communist regime between 1959 and 1987.
Peru: 37,840 dead
TBBOC calculates between 25,000 and 30,000 those killed by the Maoist guerrilla Sendero Luminoso. The Commission of Truth and Reconciliation created in 2001 calculated between 24,823 and 37,840 the number of victims of that communist terrorist group.
Mongolia: 35,000 dead
An estimate of Hiroaki Kuromiya in “Stalin’s Great Terror and the Asian Nexus” (2014), corresponding to the Stalinist repression from 1937 to 1939. The figures would include the execution of 18,000 Buddhist monks at the hands of the Soviets.
Philippines: 22,799 dead
In 1969, three Marxist-Leninist groups began a terrorist offensive: the Bagong Hukbong Bayan (New People’s Army), the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, with the support of certain communist countries (North Korea, China and Nicaragua) and terrorist groups and communist parties from several countries. According to data from the Philippine Army, this terrorist offensive caused 22,799 deaths between 1969 and 2002.
Greece: 15,401 dead
The rush to ensure the dominance of postwar Greece led the National Liberation Army of Greece (ELAS), controlled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), to provoke a civil war in 1943 against other groups of the Greek resistance against the Nazism. In 1946 the KKE boycotted the first free elections after the war, and in 1947 organized a provisional government: a full-blown coup d’état, supported by the communists of Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. There was a new civil war in which the communists were defeated in October 1949 and the KKE was outlawed. According to a report published by the Greek General Staff in 1985, the communists caused 15,291 deaths to the Greek armed forces and 210 dead to the British. Decades later, between 1975 and 2002, the Revolutionary Organization November 17, Marxist ideology, perpetrated more than a hundred attacks killing 23 people.
Nicaragua: 5,000 dead
TBBOC does not offer estimates of the total number of deaths caused by the Sandinista regime between 1979 and 1990. Professor Rudolph Rummel estimates 5,000 deaths caused by that regime between 1979 and 1987.
Spain: at least 4,176 dead
TBBOC dedicates a whole chapter to Spain, citing the 500 deaths caused by the communists in their clashes with anarchists and socialists in May 1937 in Barcelona. It does not mention, however, the massacre of Paracuellos, led by the communist Santiago Carrillo in 1936 and in which at least 2,750 victims were already identified, among them 50 children, according to the historian Ricardo de la Cierva (“El cementerio de Paracuellos del Jarama “, 1972). To that we should add other crimes committed by communists on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War. It would also be necessary to add to this list of deaths the murders perpetrated by terrorist bands of Marxist ideology: ETA (829 murdered, being the first a girl of only 22 months), the GRAPO (88 murders), the FRAP (6 murders), the MIL (a murder), the EGPGC (a murder) and the Front d’Alliberament de Catalunya (a murder).
Argentina: 1,501 dead
According to data from the Argentine Army, between 1969 and 1979 terrorist bands of Marxist-Leninist ideology Montoneros and Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), which merged in 1973, perpetrated more than 6,200 attacks, more than 1,700 kidnappings and 1,501 murders.
South Yemen: 1,000 dead
Although TBBOC does not mention it, South Yemen was a communist dictatorship between 1967 and 1990. Professor Rudolph Rummel calculates in 1,000 deaths caused by that regime.
Israel: 83 dead
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP) and the Nihon Sekigun (Japanese Red Army), two terrorist groups of Marxist-Leninist ideology, perpetrated in 1972 a massacre at the Lod Airport, killing 26 people. In addition, the PFLP has assassinated 21 other people in Israel in various attacks perpetrated between 1969 and 2014. Another terrorist group of Marxist-Leninist ideology, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FDLP), murdered 36 people in Israel – one part of them children- between 1974 and 1975.
Uruguay: 66 dead
Between 1967 and 1972, the National Liberation Movement-Tupamaros, a terrorist group composed largely of Maoist communists, perpetrated a multitude of attacks in which 66 people were killed.
West Germany and West Berlin: 35 dead
The Baader-Meinhof-Gruppe or Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) was a terrorist group of communist ideology, supported by East Germany, which between 1968 and 1993 perpetrated 31 murders in West Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany, according to Jan Oskar Engene points out in “Terrorism in Western Europe: Explaining the Trends Since 1950” (2004). Another German terrorist group with communist ideology, the Revolutionäre Zellen (Revolutionary Cells), was responsible for a murder. In addition, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group of Marxist-Leninist ideology, perpetrated three murders in West Germany in 1969 and 1977.
United States: 10 dead
In the USA, several terrorist groups of communist ideology have acted:
Photo: Ariel López. Flags: Wikimedia.