Boven Digoel was a camp in colonial Dutch East Indies where Indonesian communists were exiled for their participation in a failed revolution in 1927. Terezín was a Nazi-built camp in Bohemia for the European Jews. Lenin was read and quoted in both camps—in Dutch, German, Czech, and other languages. Only a few internees had a Moscow experience and read or quoted Lenin in Russian. This essay presents the camps as a moment of radical translation. It was the crucial presumption of this translation that there could be nobody but Lenin for the people in the camps—or perhaps, to put it a better way—that there could be nobody but the people of the camp to conceive Lenin. Only when “born to them,” Lenin could grow into the particular militancy and need of the camps to say the world in a totally new—the only appropriate—code.

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