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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 23 9. Nurturing the Root of the Revolution

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-10-03 21:23 댓글0건




[Reminiscences]Chapter 23 9. Nurturing the Root of the Revolution




9. Nurturing the Root of the Revolution 


 Revolution does not only mean struggle; it means both struggle\and life. Fusing struggle\and life\and creating a beautiful life through struggle, thus achieving social progress\and prosperity, is the revolution that communists aspire to.

Even amid hardships that are beyond human imagination, the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters created a noble\and beautiful life that only communists can conceive of,\and built a morally ideal community everywhere they went. While struggling, they loved\and married. There were poems, songs, tears\and laughter in their lives.

Entering the 1940s, our revolution flourished, acquiring new meaning\and content. The birth of the second generation of our revolution gave us fresh hope\and delight in the decade when we were advancing towards the final victory of the anti-Japanese revolution.

Kim Jong Il was born at dawn on February 16, 1942, in the Paektu secret camp.

His birth was the most auspicious event in my family. rom the bottom of our hearts Kim Jong Suk\and I blessed Kim Jong Il, who was born as a man of Korea, hearing the roar of gunfire on the battlefield.

When he was born, I thought how glad my father\and mother would have been if they had been alive! They would have loved him as dearly as my grandfather\and grandmother had loved me. People say that one loves one’s grandchildren more dearly than one’s own children. But Kim Jong Il’s grandparents died long ago.

He had great-grandparents, but as they were in my hometown far away, I could not let them know about the birth of their great-grandson.

In my childhood I basked in the love of all my family. Every member of the family of ten took loving care of me as the pillar of the family. The villagers’ love for me was also great. They must have taken care of me more kind-heartedly probably because I was an offspring of a family devoted to the independence movement.

But Kim Jong Il did not enjoy such love. There were no neighbouring houses in the area of the Paektu secret camp\and the training base in the Soviet Far East region\where he spent most of his early childhood. We spent our youth in log-cabins\or in tents with no address,\and sometimes in the open covered with snow\and ice.

In his childhood Kim Jong Il lived among soldiers. He was loved by my comrades-in-arms, even though they were not his family. He grew up in the love of the guerrillas more than in my love.

The guerrillas did not hide their delight at his birth, saying that he would make another General on Mt. Paektu. Kim Chaek always called him “Little General”.

Seeing a new generation of our revolution born in the flames of the anti-Japanese revolution\and growing up as vigorously as the birch trees on Mt. Paektu, all the soldiers of the KPRA became convinced of the bright future of the Korean revolution\and, with strength, courage\and fighting will increased one thousandfold fought even more staunchly to liberate their country.

Seeing my comrades-in-arms regarding his birth as an auspicious event for everyone,\and their loving care for him, I warmly felt that their genuine love for my family was being handed down to the next generation.

As I said before, I have lived all my life in the love of my comrades. I owe to these comrades\and the people all my ability to lead the revolution\and construction in good health until now.

Since taking leave of my mother at the age of 14, I have lived among the people\and my comrades. In the days of the anti-Japanese revolution, in the days of building a new country,\and in the days of the Fatherland Liberation War, my comrades faithfully helped\and protected me without wavering. They became human shields, protecting me rom bullets, rom rain\and snow, and rom illness. When I was suffering mental pain, they inspired me with strength.

Whenever I was exhausted\or in pain, the first thing I did was call on my comrades\and the people. They gave me fresh strength, opened blocked roads for me\and inspired me with confidence that I could perform any task, however difficult.

Now I will tell you about an event in our life at the training base in the Soviet Far East region.

In the winter of the year in which the IAF were\organized\and we stayed at Camp North, it snowed heavily in the Soviet region\and in Manchuria. The snowfall was so heavy that even wild animals would come to human habitations in search of food. Traffic was held up for some days by the knee-deep snow.

At that time Kim Il, who had been on a small-unit mission, returned to the camp with a heavy sack of rice\and met Kim Jong Suk. Saying that he had obtained the rice because bread was the staple food in the camp, he asked Kim Jong Suk to serve the Commander with cooked rice at each meal\and not to use it for any other purpose.

It was not the first time that Kim Il had obtained rice for me. Though he ate uncrushed maize everyday, he always tried to have cooked rice served to me without fail.

Each time the supply department rationed out rice in small amounts, Ryu Kyong Su would give his ration to Kim Jong Suk, saying she should cook rice for me without saying anything about it.

The revolutionary camaraderie\and communist morality between my comrades-in-arms\and me was expressed after Kim Jong Il’s birth as moral obligation for Kim Jong Suk\and Kim Jong Il.

Soon after Kim Jong Il’s birth Kim Jong Suk made clothes for him by shortening some of our uniforms.

The circumstances were no different when we were at the training base. In those days the Soviet people were not eating their fill, because of the war. Their slogan was to eat little, sleep little\and wear humble clothes. So it was impossible to obtain clothes, quilts\or bonnets for the baby. The women guerrillas gathered bits of cloth\and patched them together into a quilt. Kim Jong Il used that quilt until the day of national liberation.

Whenever they saw my son under that quilt, my comrades-in-arms felt very sorry for him. That sight weighed on Rim Chun Chu so heavily that when he returned to the motherland for a holiday while working in Northeast China after Korea’s liberation, he brought with him 500 blankets\and gave them to Kim Jong Suk\and me as a present. We donated all the blankets to the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School.

The circumstances were very difficult, but the soldiers of the KPRA looked after Kim Jong Suk\and Kim Jong Il with the utmost devotion.

The women guerrillas especially took much trouble. They lent willing hands to Kim Jong Suk.

From his childhood, Kim Jong Il followed the army closely\and liked the world of soldiers. So when they met him, my comrades would put their army caps on his head. Some carved pistols out of pieces of wood while working in the enemy area\and gave them as presents to Kim Jong Il.

When we were staying in the Far East region, my house was situated near our barracks, unlike at the Paektu secret camp; so when they were at leisure after training\and on holidays many soldiers called at my house\and played with Kim Jong Il, teaching him to walk, giving him rides on their shoulders\and teaching him songs. Sometimes they would take him to the Amur River\and show him ships cruising up\and down\and the migratory birds flying away.

Kim Jong Il had an unusual start to life, as, born to guerrillas, he grew up in clothes impregnated with powder smoke, eating army rations\and hearing shouts of military command.

He was upright\and full of guts rom his boyhood, partly because he was endowed with these qualities, but more importantly because he grew up valiantly, free rom constraint, learning the truth of life\and struggle, among the fighters who had the strongest sense of justice\and strongest faith in the world.


He was precocious, probably because he grew up under the influence of the guerrillas. Their noble feelings\and emotions became rich nourishment for his mind\and their mettle as soaring as the peak of Mt. Paektu added flesh\and blood to his manly personality.

Men soldiers were no less enthusiastic about helping Kim Jong Suk\and Kim Jong Il. They would visit my house\and try their best to do something for Kim Jong Suk. As was the case in the Paektu secret camp, at the training base in the Far East region nourishing food was not readily available. Everybody was leading a hard life, tightening their belts; even though one wanted to help others, it was often impossible to do so.

At this time, Rim Chun Chu\and many others would save little by little the bread rationed out to them\and give it to Kim Jong Suk. Everybody went hungry to assist the front fighting against the German invaders, but they gave bread to her every day.

Kim Jong Suk would eat part of the bread\and keep the remainder before giving it back to them.

Once Rim Chun Chu went to Manchuria carrying a wireless set on a mission. Keeping wireless contact with Headquarters, he conducted political work for some months. He performed his mission with credit,\and when he returned to the training base, he brought dozens of eggs with him. It was very far rom our training base to the place of his political work\and, worse still, the path was not a paved avenue; it was a path through a forest of bayonets. How difficult it must have been for him to carry a bundle full of eggs while carrying a wireless set at the same time in the shadow of death!

When he appeared in front of us with the eggs, I was truly moved by his devotion to Kim Jong Suk\and Kim Jong Il.

As a matter of fact, Rim Chun Chu\and Kim Jong Suk had been friends for a long time. When Kim Jong Suk had been attending night school in Fuyandong, Rim Chun Chu\and Kwak Ji San had taught there. Rim had given much medical help to the local people. Kim Jong Suk’s family too received medical treatment rom him. When she fell ill once, Rim Chun Chu had treated her, I was told.


Not only in his days in the IAF but all his life Rim Chun Chu did his best for the good of my family–Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Il\and me.

When the country was liberated, he made every effort to find out the\whereabouts of Kim Jong Suk’s relatives. Regarding it as his duty to introduce the lives\and exploits of Kim Jong Suk, my younger brother Kim Chol Ju,\and Kim Jong Suk’s younger brother Kim Ki Song to the younger generation, he collected materials on them for several years\and on this basis wrote many books about them.

He was a representative intellectual who helped me with knowledge while fighting with arms in hand. Endowed with profound knowledge, he made records right rom the early days of the anti-Japanese armed struggle.

He started writing history when he took notes on my talk to the cadres of the Party\and Young Communist League at Chaoyangchuan, Yanji County. rom that time on, as a historian of the KPRA, he participated in important conferences such as those held at Nanhutou, Nanpaizi\and Xiaohaerbaling,\and made faithful records of them.

He contributed several articles to the publications connected with the Comintern.

One year The Pacific carried an interview by its special correspondent with Rim Chun Chu. Reading the interview, I found out that he had boasted a lot about my unit to the correspondent of the magazine.

Rim said the KPRA had succeeded in every battle because of wise planning, elusive tactics, promptness, accuracy\and bravery. He also said that our soldiers were strong in the spirit of independence, cultured\and optimistic.

The correspondent wrote that Rim Chun Chu had contributed articles about the fighting achievements of the KPRA\and the story of the heroic death of Kim Kum Sun.

Rim Chun Chu said to his comrades-in-arms now\and then: “It is important to make use of our own publications. It is good to compile reports\and documents for the Comintern;\and it is also important to record the fighting achievements of the revolutionary army. But what is more important is to keep a systematic record of the history of Commander Kim in the communist movement\and national liberation struggle of Korea. Poor as my writing skill is\and shallow as my knowledge is, I will write Comrade Kim Il Sung’s biography\and hand it down to posterity.”

There were many in our guerrilla army who rendered services to the revolutionary cause with arms but few who, with a firm faith, made records of the history of the guerrilla army voluntarily\and left them to posterity as Rim Chun Chu did.

Rim Chun Chu was an experienced political worker who had been engaged in Party work for a long time. This notwithstanding, we pay more tribute to him as a writer\and historian than as a political worker because his achievement in formulating our revolutionary history is an incomparably great exploit. With rich materials he put our revolutionary history in\order\and brought to it profound depth of thought.

He could testify to the course of the anti-Japanese armed struggle because he kept a diary in those days.

If Rim Chun Chu, a writer\and historian, had not kept the materials on the anti-Japanese armed struggle, a great part of the history of our activities would never have seen the light of day.

He played a great role not only in systematizing our revolutionary history but in giving wide publicity to it. Doing Party work with the South Phyongan Provincial Party Committee after liberation he told Jo Ki Chon16, Jong Kwan Chol17\and other intellectuals a lot about the Battle of Pochonbo\and other activities of our anti-Japanese guerrillas.

He rendered great service to enriching the archives of the history of our Party by writing books\and many reminiscences on the revolutionary traditions.

He swept away all obstacles to defend\and brighten the revolutionary ideology\and history of his leader\and the revolutionary traditions of our Party.

In our days in the IAF he delivered political lectures on The Tasks of Korean Communists, a treatise I had written. Some of the foreign commanding personnel asked him to reconsider the matter of including the treatise in the curriculum. But he continued his lectures on the treatise, saying, “We have long acclaimed Commander Kim Il Sung as the leader of the Korean nation. What’s all this fuss when I am giving lectures on my leader’s work?”

He showed great concern over my health.

When he was the secretary of the Party committee of a regiment, he once informed me about what had been discussed at a meeting. The decision was that I must not carry my knapsack with me. I admonished him, a man with many years of revolutionary service, for discussing such a thing at a meeting.

He answered, “This is the will of the Party members. If they see you carrying a knapsack, other people will scorn us. You should accept the opinion of the masses.”

He has been just as faithful to the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong Il as he was to mine.

What, then, made him a revolutionary who respected his leader\and the leader’s successor so ardently\and remained so faithful to their leadership? It was because he, like Kim Hyok, Cha Kwang Su\and Kim Chaek, knew full well, rom his life experience, the harmfulness of factions\and felt to the marrow of his bones how precious the leader was.

Kim Jong Il regarded him highly as a member of the first generation of the revolution. He loved Rim Chun Chu\and showed the utmost consideration for him.

One year Rim, who had been ambassador to a foreign country, returned to the motherland after having a dispute with the authorities of that country over an issue of principle. The factionalists\and worshippers of great powers who were entrenched in the Party raised a fuss that this matter should be called to account\organizationally, saying it was an unprecedented diplomatic incident.

But Kim Jong Il picked peaches in the garden of our house\and sent them to him, saying that he had demonstrated the mettle of Korea to modern revisionists. He highly praised Rim Chun Chu for not only having authenticated, rom the early days of his revolutionary activity, the struggle of many revolutionary fighters who had fought shoulder to shoulder with him, incorporating it in the historical treasure store of our Party, but also having finished the writing of Reminiscences of the Days of the Anti-Japanese Armed Struggle, a book worthy of being considered a national treasure, while working as a diplomatic envoy in a foreign country, thus establishing\and systematizing the anti-Japanese armed struggle as the history of our struggle, the history of the struggle of the KPRA.

While writing, Rim Chun Chu received much assistance\and encouragement rom Kim Jong Il. In the course of this, he was moved by Kim Jong Il’s human appeal\and followed\and respected him as his mentor\and leader. rom that time he reported all problems arising in\and out of his work to Kim Jong Il\and acted according to his decisions.\wherever he went, he delivered public lectures\and wrote books on Kim Jong Il’s greatness.

In the late 1960s, when Rim Chun Chu was engaged in writing, the matter of succession to the revolutionary cause, especially the successor, became the focal point of argument\and the demand of the times in the arena of the international communist movement.

Choosing the right man as successor is a fundamental question that decides the future of the revolution\and construction, the country\and people. We can take many examples of revolutions\and countries going to ruin because of having chosen wrong successors.

The basic factor that enabled the Soviet people to build their country into a world power in a short span of time after the October Revolution was that Lenin had chosen a good successor. Stalin, faithful comrade\and disciple of Lenin, was loyal to the cause of his leader throughout his life. After Lenin’s death, Stalin made a six-point pledge in front of his coffin. In the course of leading the revolution\and construction subsequently he carried out all his pledges. When the German invaders were at the gates of Moscow, he had the other Politburo Members\and cadres evacuated, but he himself remained in the Kremlin, commanding the fronts.

When Stalin was alive, everything went well in the Soviet\union. But things began to go astray after Khrushchev came to power. Modern revisionism appeared in the Soviet Party,\and the Soviet people began to suffer rom ideological maladies. He forgot the care with which his leader had brought him up: he vilified Stalin on the excuse of personality cult, expelled rom the Political Bureau of the Party all the veteran revolutionaries loyal to Stalin\and deprived them of their Party membership.

Once, while visiting the Lenin Mausoleum, Rim Chun Chu encountered Molotov on Red Square in Moscow, after he had been removed rom office. Molotov advised him to carry forward the ideology\and achievements of his leader faithfully without falling prey to revisionism, taking the precedent of the Soviet Party into consideration.

At that time, Rim Chun Chu keenly realized that if the issue of successor was not settled properly, both the revolution\and the Party would perish, he said later.

As the bitter lessons of history teach us, the essential quality of the successor is his loyalty\and moral duty to the leader\and his cause. Loyalty to the leader cannot exist separated rom moral obligation. Loyalty\and moral duty to the leader are the first\and foremost qualities his successor must possess.

Moreover, the successor needs high qualifications\and ability to lead the revolutionary cause pioneered by the leader in accordance with his ideas\and intentions.

Our people marvelled at the unusual ability\and revolutionary principle Kim Jong Il displayed in establishing the leader’s ideological\and leadership system,\and at his indomitable will\and vigour, as well as the noble loyalty\and filial devotion he showed in defending\and putting into effect the leader’s lines\and plans. They have deeply realized that Kim Jong Il is the very successor capable of carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Juche\and consummating it, true to their leader’s ideas\and intentions.

Our people have long respected\and supported him.

In supporting him, the veterans of the anti-Japanese revolution are in the van now as they were before. They have acclaimed him as the only successor to me because they are firmly convinced that only when he leads the Party, state\and the armed forces can a bright future be ensured for the nation,\and the revolutionary cause of Juche pioneered on Mt. Paektu be carried forward\and consummated without the slightest deviation. That they have acclaimed him as my successor means that the armed forces have held him up as the leader of the nation.

Rim Chun Chu, along with Kim Il, Choe Hyon\and O Jin U, have taken the lead in acclaiming Kim Jong Il as the head of our Party\and state.

The anti-Japanese revolutionary veterans have unanimously acclaimed him as my successor because, before all else, they were attracted by his human appeal. Kim Il has always said there will be no one in the world who is as loyal\and dutiful as Kim Jong Il is. Rim Chun Chu has said that there will be no one who respects the revolutionary forerunners as heartily\and defends the revolutionary traditions as ardently as Kim Jong Il does\and that no great man of ideology\and leadership will be his equal. O Jin U has said that Kim Jong Il is the general of generals who displays unexcelled audacity\and outstanding intelligence. Choe Hyon\and Ri Jong San have often said that Kim Jong Il is a man of the richest human sympathy.

Ri Ul Sol also is a long-time assistant to Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Il\and me.

I still remember him clearly when he was my aide-de-camp after liberation. He would make a security check early in the morning\and take breakfast with Kim Jong Il in the kitchen of my house. He was on quite intimate terms with Kim Jong Il in his boyhood.

When I was going on a field-guidance trip, he would take Kim Jong Il with him. He always understood his needs\and looked after him.

I still remember when I met Kim Jong Il in Sinuiju during the war. He came to see me after a long period of evacuation. At that time he asked Ri Ul Sol, my chief aide-de-camp, to take good care of me in place of his mother. His words are still ringing in my ears.

Why does Kim Jong Il still trust him\and why is he so grateful to him? It is because Ri Ul Sol took care of him after his mother died.

Kim Jong Il was bereft of his mother when he most needed parental care.


To make matters worse, he\and his sister had to take leave of me for some time because of the war. As I went here\and there to reconstruct the economy after the war, I failed to take good care of them. It was Ri Ul Sol\and other comrades-in-arms of mine who looked after them as their parents would do in the place of their kinsfolk when they were spending their childhood lonely, missing their mother, who had passed away.

In the summer of 1953 I visited the Soviet\union with a Party\and government delegation.

Before we left Moscow after completing our itinerary, the Soviet side gave a farewell banquet in our honour. The watermelons served at the banquet tasted especially good. After the party I went back to my lodgings. Ri Ul Sol, who was packing a carton, was very embarrassed to see me. I asked him what it was. He hesitantly replied that he had packed a watermelon for my children. The watermelon in the cardboard box was as large as a pot.

Kim Jong Il was very delighted to get the watermelon. Saying how good it would be if our people who had suffered hardship in the war had a taste of this watermelon, he suggested growing watermelons rom its seeds. rom the next year, together with Ri Ul Sol, he began to grow watermelons rom the seeds of that watermelon in my garden. The watermelons thrived\and spread far\and wide.

Ri Ul Sol took leave of his parents at a young age,\and lived all his life by my side. While fighting the imperialists, big-power chauvinists, reactionaries\and factionalists as my bodyguard for decades, he experienced difficulties of every deion, tasting the sweets\and bitters of life. In the course of this he became a man of great fortitude.

Soon after the conference at Khabarovsk I sent Pak Yong Sun\and Ri Ul Sol to Voroshilov for a short training course in wireless operation,\ordering them to come back straight to the unit after the course.

While I was operating in the area northeast of Mt. Paektu\and in the homeland in command of a small unit, Ri Ul Sol, having finished the course, was making preparations to return to the unit.

On the day he received a commendation at the review of the short course, a high-ranking Soviet officer told him to make preparations to go to Korea, saying it was an\order rom the Comintern.

Ri Ul Sol was quite puzzled at the\order.

The Soviet officer explained, “You are trustworthy. Songjin, to which we attach strategic importance, is your hometown. Settle down there\and send us wireless reports of the enemy movements.”

He refused to obey the\order, saying that, though he wanted to work in his native town, he had been\ordered by his Commander to return to the unit after the short course to teach wireless operation.

The officer tried to persuade him the next day again. He said they would get Comrade Kim Il Sung’s permission later. Apparently he attempted to influence the young man in the name of the Comintern.

Ri Ul Sol retorted, “I can’t go anywhere before executing the\order my Commander gave me. We have spilt much blood because wireless communication was not available to us. You may not know it, but in\order not to repeat that experience I must return to the unit quickly, as my Commander\ordered.”

In those days we were in the Soviet Far East region temporarily,\and the IAF had not yet been formed, so there was no unified system of command. The KPRA\and the NAJAA were acting independently under their own command system.

In this situation, it was unreasonable for a Soviet officer to attempt to divert Ri Ul Sol for another purpose in the name of the Comintern\and without prior consultation with us.

Ri Ul Sol’s refusal to accept any other\order before executing his Commander’s was an expression of his unswerving loyalty to me.

Ever since his days in the Children’s Company, he has been devoting his life to the work of protecting me,\and he has never acted against my will\or neglected his duty. Awake\or asleep, he has thought only about me\and has done everything for my health\and personal safety.

When I was fishing in the Wukou River in 1939, he protected my back with a machine-gun.


He ensured my security also after liberation.

During the war there were several counterrevolutionary elements near the Supreme Headquarters. Strictly confidential information directly affecting the destiny of the country was transmitted to the Americans by Pak Hon Yong\and Ri Sung Yop.

In the summer of 1952 Ri Sung Yop made his stooges call dozens of American planes by wireless to Konji-ri\where the Supreme Headquarters was situated. The planes combed the location of the Supreme Headquarters. They\dropped a big time bomb near the building of the Supreme Headquarters, close by my quarters.

Ri Ul Sol called an emergency meeting of my aides-de-camp\and bodyguards,\and they decided to try to remove the bomb at the risk of their lives. Turning in their Party membership cards, they removed it to a valley.

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