The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Anna Kuliscioff

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29.01.2016 Posted in History, Writing No Comments

Anna Kuliscioff 1908

I have not published in my blog since last September. The reason for this is that I have lost someone very dear to me,  not to forget the recent dreadful events in Paris. Tyring to cope with my grief I was unable to keep many of my commitments. So here am I, 4 months later starting to write again in my blog. Not only I missed it, but my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebelis due to be published by McFarland Publishers in March.

I hope you liked my previous articles within the series about the “Red Rebels” about Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni, Hugo Eberlein and others. I would like to say today a few words about Anna Kuliscioff. Not only Anna was an extraordinary woman but she had her birthday this month on January 9. So Happy Birthday Anna!

Anna Kuliscioff played an important role in Angelica’s life. One of the chapters in my book is partially devoted to her. So I could not find a better way to tell about her than by quoting from my book:

“A few years Angelica’s senior, Anna Moiseyevna Rosenstein originated from a well-off Ukrainian family in the Crimea. Her adoptive name, Kulisceva, stood for “a woman from a far-off Eastern land.” She was a known beauty. Those who had met her when she was young reminisced about her natural elegance and good looks, her blue eyes, “blond thick, wavy hair and very white skin.”

Contrary to Angelica, Anna did not give up her family inheritance. Elegantly dressed, her wardrobe included a wide selection of white cotton high-collar and lace infill blouses which her maid arranged in a spacious dressing room next to black tailored suits – fitted jackets with three-quarter-length inset, braided and embodied, cuffed sleeves, and ankle-length matching skirts.

Dubbed “the most intelligent man of Italian Socialism,” Anna was a prominent feminist, a socialist leader and a doctor. After attending the universities of Zurich in Switzerland and Naples and Pavia in Italy, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, she opened one of the first medical practices for poor women in Milan. Anna was also a talented politician. Some said that her partner Filippo Turati, a Milanese lawyer, poet and socialist, with whom Anna had established the PSI, did nothing without consulting her first.

In our day, Anna could have made a career as a Member of Parliament. In her time she was limited to developing the most elaborate strategies and giving instructions while remaining in her salon, but she was not admitted into ‘big’ politics.

Anna had one of the most exquisite Milanese salons. It was situated on 23 piazza Duomo, near the Duomo Cathedral, in one of the palazzos above the arcades of Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II (one of the arcades still bears a plaque with her name). For years it remained the place to meet in Milan if one was considered a socialist. Attending the weekly gatherings, participating in discussions and sitting on or next to Anna’s by-then-legendary emerald velvet sofa were absolute musts.”

To learn more about Angelica Balabanoff please consult the page About Angelica.

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