date of birth Archive

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Angelica’s Ten Birth Dates – Extract from the book

26.08.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that my biography about Angelica Balabanoff  The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by  McFarland Publishers in June. Sometime into my research about the life of Angelica Balabanoff, determined more than ever to write an interesting book about this amazing woman (see my previous articles about Angelica), I had to establisher her date of birth. Date of birth was evidently a delicate issue for Angelica. She used every opportunity to change it. One of her passports claimed her birth date as 4 August 1877, another stated 14 July – obviously implying the day of surrender of the Bastille. When registering at the New University of Brussels, in the student registration form, she wrote a date that looked like it could have been 26 April 1897 or 1847. Later, when registering for the second year her of her studies, she neglected to put any date at all, while other students dutifully provided this information. The file in the Swis Federal Archives in Berne provided two dates – 8 August 1877 and 4 May 1875. When questioned about her date of birth by the Swiss Federal agents who realised that they had one date too many, she answered that she was “not sure herself about the exact date of birth”. French counter-espionage file started on Angelica in 1933 in Paris indicated 4 May 1875 as her date of birth in the Swiss file, probably relying on the information provided by the Swiss police. More […]