By letter dated February 1942, [redacted], Tupper Lake, New York, advised the Albany Office that ERICH FROMM and his wife, rented a house there during the summer of 1941. They gave their address as 44 Central Park, New York City. They were reported to have left in the house, at Tupper Lake, after moving out, an RCA Victrola Record, which had a label with the "print of two hands, one griping the wrist of the other which holds a dagger with the emblem of the Nazi Party on the blade, and also on the same side, the words ‘United Front’". The information contained in this letter from the [redacted] at Tupper Lake, has been previously furnished to the New York Office.
If you want to be stunned and unsettled, do a few searches for “[twentieth-century US scholar, scientist, writer, artist, dancer, actor, journalist you admire] FBI.” You might turn up nothing, but you’ll probably be surprised more than once by what you find. Decades later, we still don’t know the extent of surveillance, harassment, and interference by the FBI since its inception, and probably never will.
I’ve barely begun reading the FBI reports on Erich Fromm over the past few weeks. The quote above comes from the second of a six-part file on the psychiatrist, writer, democratic socialist, and anti-nuclear activist. It’s easy from a distance to shrug this all off as a ridiculous misdirection of time and resources. But the damage done to lives, careers, relationships, and science is incalculable.
I recently discovered that the letters and autobiographical writings of the great sociologist C. Wright Mills, superbly edited by his daughters,