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. Until the end of her days (she died in 1963 in New York) she exchanged letters with Angelica. The coorespondence is kept mainly in the INHA, Amsterdam. In these letters both friends recall the past, gossip about the prominent Soviet political leaders which they personally knew, all in all a very interesting correspondence of two people who had known each other for over 60 years. What I find impressive about Lidia Dan is that despite remaining in a shadow of her family and other more known personalities she contributed towards the society making a difference to the world in this lifetime.
To learn more about Angelica Balabanoff, go to the page About Angelica