Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Hugo Gellert: Comrade Gulliver

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GREED IS A VIRTUE



MY good friend, Mr. Keen, with whom I had become acquainted during his visit to our Soviet Union, greeted me as I stepped off the boat. He escorted me to an automobile that seated only two. He slipped my knapsack into a square opening in the rear end of the car and off we drove.

At the entrance of a luxurious building, a man of great dignity received us. He was attired in a gorgeous uniform and looked like a Czarist general. Elevators glided up and down. We got off at the sixteenth floor, where Mr. Keen lived. It seemed to me that he had gathered treasures from the four corners of the earth. American Indian blankets, African masks, Maori carvings, Persian pottery and Chinese paintings were on display. He opened a door and said: "This is your room." A bath-robe, bathing suit and slippers were prepared for me. "Put them on," he said, "and we will jump down for a swim.

After a good swim in the colorfully tiled pool, which was located in the basement of the building, we returned to the apartment to dress. "Your attire is too outlandish for America," he said. "You must have a new outfit." He opened a door in his bedroom. A bright electric light automatically illuminated a huge closet bulging with clothing. "What is this?" I asked in surprise. "A clothing co-operative?" "Yes, it is that for the present, since I want you to help yourself to some of my clothes." "Does everyone in America own as many clothes as you do?" I asked. "No -- some own more -- others go almost naked," answered Mr. Keen. Then I said: "Please forgive me if I seem impertinent, but is greed permissible in America?

Mr. Keen chuckled, "Permissible? Why, its a mark of distinction. The more an individual possesses, the greater the honor and respect accorded him."

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