A Red Rebel from Cuba or a story of an amazing woman.
I hope you liked my previous articles within the series about the “Red Rebels” about Raya Dunaevskaya, Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni and others. Here is a story of a wonderful woman, whose name is completely forgotten today, Lidia Dan. As with the previous heroines, I came across Lidia Dan, while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, due to be published by McFarland Publishers in September, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. Due to the lack of space I was unable to write about her in the book. Born in 1878 in Odessa, she was a sister of the leader of the Mensheviks, (who stood against Lenin and the Bolsheviks), Julius Martov, and the wife of a Menshevik Fyodor Dan. All her life she dreamt about a better future for her country first by supporting Lenin starting from the 1900s, a later when she was expelled from Russia in 1922 together with her brother and husband by fighting against him and the Bolsheviks. Though totally unknown compared to other female revolutionaries, she lived a brave and courageous life. She left behind very sweet, naïve and nonetheless most interesting memoires (in Russian, to read click here) about her early years when she lived together with Lenin, her family and other revolutionaries in Switzerland describing their daily routine, how they worked, what they ate, and what they did intheir free time. After leaving Russia she never got used to life in a foreign country leading a lonely and impoverished existence. […]
I hope you liked my first article about Louise Berger written within the series of articles about the Red Rebels. Today I would like to say a few words about Raya Dunaevskaya whose 105th birthday we celebrated two weeks ago (a real revolutionary, Raya was born on Labour day – May 1). I came across Raya Dunaevskaya while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel, due to be published by McFarland in September. Both women were good friends. Unfortunately, due to the lack of space in my book, I was unable to write about Raya. Raya Dunaevskaya was born in 1910 in a small village, Yaryshev, in the Vinnitsiya area, at the time a part of the Russia Empire, today’s Ukraine. (Regretabbly I did not find any photos of her which are copyright free and which could be published in my blog.) Raya’s fate was unusual from the start. At the aged of 12 she immigrated with her family to the U.S. where she joined the communist movement as a child, becoming an active member in the American Communist Party youth organization. She was expelled at age 18 and thrown down a flight of stairs after suggesting to her comrades that they should find out Trotsky’s response to his expulsion from the Soviet Communist Party. A year later she joined a group of independent Trotskyists in Boston. She also advocated for birth control and legal abortion. In 1937, when she […]
I’m starting a new series of articles about Red Rebel personalities in history. The aim is to tell about lives of those whose names have been largely forgotten. Nonetheless they all lived unique, interesting and at times curious lives. I came across most of these personalities while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, due to be published by McFarland in September. During her life, Angelica met many people, who wanted to make a difference, change society and leave a mark in history. Due to the lack of space many of them are not mentioned in my book. Nevertheless their breathtaking life-stories are worth to be told. The heroine of my first article is Louise Berger. I do not know whether Angelica knew her personally but she must have heard about Louise and they certainly had a few friends in common. Louise Berger was born in Latvia, at that time a part of Russia. The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown. The official sources say that she has been born at the beginning of 1890s. But it might have been earlier. Around 1905 she moved to Western Europe and eventually to the US where she became friends with a renowned anarchist Emma Goldman. A member of the Anarchist Red Cross, Louise was one of the founders of Latvian Anarchist Group. Not much is known about her life in the US until 1914 when a self-made bomb had prematurely exploded in her apartment in New York. It […]