Red History Archive

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Hugo Eberlein

31.07.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

I hope you liked my previous articles within the series about the “Red Rebels” about Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni, Lidia Dan and others. So far I have been writing about Red women. So here is a story about a man, a German Communist, Hugo Eberlein. As with the previous heros, I came across him, 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 him in the book. A good-looking and charismatic Hugo Eberlein was born in 1887 in Germany. A prominent communist and leading German anti-militarist, he supported the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. However only a few years later, he disagreed with Lenin’s politics of the Red Terror and preferred to settle in Germany and devote his time to German Socialists. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Hugo decided that he would be safer in Russia. In 1937, four years after arriving in Moscow, he was sent to GULAG.  He was shot four years later, in 1941, at the beginning of war between Russia and Germany. Bertram Wolfe wrote in his book Strange Communists I Have known, that it has been suggested that Hugo Eberlein was married to a daughter of Lenin and Inessa Armand. (It has never been proved that Lenin and Armand had a child). Wolfe further writes that when Eberlein was send to GULAG in 1937, his wife disappeared. […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Alexandra Kollontai

14.08.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

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 Alexandra Kollontai. As with the previous heros, I came across her, 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. Angelica and Alexandra have always been good friends. They have met in the early 1900s. They kept in touch for the rest of their lives and remained good friends  even after Angelica left Russia in 1921 disagreeing with Lenin’s politics of the Red Terror and becoming a persona non-grata and dangerous friend particularly for such a high-ranking apparatchik as Alexandra. Compared to many other “Red rebels” the name of the beautiful and liberated Alexandra is well-known. For a woman of her time, Alexandra (born in 1872 in St Petersburg) had a remarkable fate. Known for liberated views on sex and marriage, she divorced her husband; went to study political economics at the University of Zurich (one of the few universities in Europe which accepted women at the end of the 19th century), married for the second time to a man much younger than herself; a few men tried to commit suicide because of her; she was among a few high-ranked Soviet apparatchiks who have never been arrested and […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Anna Kuliscioff

29.01.2016 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

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 Rebel, is 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 […]

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The Baffling Fate of Edda Mussolini

18.09.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

I hope you liked my previous articles with the series “Red Rebels” about Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni, Hugo Eberlein and others. Here is a story of an interesting woman, who was certainly a rebel though not exactly a red rebel, Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. As with the previous heroines, I came across Mollie 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 my book. For a long time it was thought that Edda was a daughter of Angelica. Edda was born in 1910. When she was born her parents Rachel and Benito were not married. Her birth certificate stated: Mother unknown. As she was born during the time when Mussolini spent quite a bit of time with Angelica many thought that Edda was Angelica’s daughter and Rachele agreed to take care of her. Indeed Edda was a rebellious and interesting woman. She was one of the first women in Italy to drive a car and wear pants. She also openly confessed that her favorite writers were Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. She did not get along with her mother Rachele, a traditional Italian woman who stayed at home and did not enjoy being out in public and in her spirit resembled more Angelica. In January 1944 her husband was executed for dissenting from […]

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Dining with the Lenins

11.09.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

Summer went by so fast that I forgot about time and my blog for a couple of weeks. Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff by McFarland Publishers in September, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica, her life, friends, favorite recipes and her pass time. Angelica’s life was full with interesting and compelling events. Undoubtedly one of the main events was her dinner with Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya. Few people if any have ever dined with the Lenins. In fact Angelica mentioned two such dinners, one of them was described in much detail in her autobiography My Life as a Rebel. The dinner took place in October of 1918, in the suburbs of Moscow, Gorky, where the head of the young Soviet state was recovering after an attempt on his life. Here is what she wrote: “On a little converted balcony,” she described the dinner in her memoirs, “… we ate a bit of bread, a tiny slice of meat, and some cheese – which I had brought from Sweden – and drank a glass of tea with a small piece of sugar.” Pointing at the food, Lenin, as if apologizing in front of Angelica for such abundance, explained that it was sent by the workers from all over Russia who wished him a quick […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Bianca Tosconi-Pittoni

29.05.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Writing No Comments

I hope you liked my first two articles published within the eries of articles about the Red Rebels – about Louise Berger and Raya Dunaevskaya. Here is a story of another exceptional woman, Bianca Tosconi-Pittoni. As with the two previous heroines, I came across Bianca 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. Angelica must have known Bianca since Bianca’s birth. Angelica was a good friend of Bianca’s father, Valentino Pittoni, a German Socialist Deputy in Trieste who represented Italy. The two women remained good friends until Angelica’s last days. Bianca Tosconi-Pittoni was one of the most beautiful female revolutionaries I have encountered during my research on Angelica Balabanoff. She was stylish, elegant and slender. She was born in 1904 in Trieste. Avant-garde and intelligent, Bianca decided to study medicine, but managed to complete only three years of university. In 1927 upon finishing her 3rd year she was obliged to move to Paris. With Mussolini coming to power, the lives of socialists were put into danger in Italy.In Paris, Bianca wasn’t just a socialist activist. She became the Secretary of Filippo Turati, a leader of the Italian socialists in exile. Bianca was a real Red Rebel. Not only was she beautiful, but she was daring and courageous as well. In 1938 she was one of the few women to join the International Brigade to fight the Spanish Civil war in […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Raya Dunaevskaya-Fench

15.05.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Lifestyle No Comments

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 […]

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The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Louise Berger

27.03.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Lifestyle No Comments

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 […]

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Tina Modotti – a Red Woman-Photographer

16.01.2015 Posted in Red History No Comments

January 5 was the birthday of Tina Modotti. I would like to mark the date of birth of this remarkable Red woman with a few words, even if it is a couple of weeks late. The legendary Tina! Many women who strive to succeed would have like to live Tina’s life. Passion, beauty, talent, accomplishment, love and mystery – were all a part of the destiny of this Italian photographer, model and actress. Born in Italy in 1913, she moved to the US in 1923 where she eventually met the photographer Edward Weston, quickly/soon becoming his favorite model. The two moved to Mexico, where she met Manuel Alvarez Bravo who helped her to develop her talent as a photographer. She also became good friends of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who painted her in his frescos, as well as Pablo Neruda, who dedicated a poem to her. It was in Mexico that Tina decided to join the Communist party. Accused of an attempt on the life of the Mexican President, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, in 1929, she was forced to leave the country. At the beginning of the 1930s she lived in Moscow and then in Spain, becoming an active antifascist. Eventually her ban on visiting Mexico was lifted and Tina moved back to her ‘adoptive homeland,’ where she died in 1942. The circumstances of her death are unclear. Officially she died of heart failure. Many suggested that her death was orchestrated by those who thought she knew too much about […]

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Reds by Warren Beatty

6.12.2013 Posted in Red History No Comments

Just wanted to mark the 32nd Anniversary of the Reds, a beautiful and captivating epic film released by Warren Beatty on December 4, 1981. The motion picture tells the story of John Read (played by the charismatic Warren Beatty), a famous American journalist, and his wife Louise Bryant (the fun-loving and splendid Diane Keaton) who leaves her traditional husband to live with the revolutionary and unconventional John Read. Passionate about the revolution, both travelled to Russia during the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks has just seized the state power of Russia. Inspired by the events, John Read wrote the bestseller of the time, Ten days that shook the World, describing the Revolution. A few years later, disillusioned with the Revolution, he tried to leave the country but died of kidney failure before he had the chance to flee. He is the only American to be buried at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. The film is over three hours long. Since Beatty was unable to obtain permission to shoot in Moscow and St Petersburg he was forced to shoot the film in nearby Finland. But it is such an emotional, daring picture and the actors perform their roles so well that I did not see the time pass. The film also features the unusual and touching testimonies of witness who personally knew John Read and Louise Bryant, including among others the American Writer Henry Miller, author a well-known work Tropic of Capricorn. The witnesses of Read’s and Bryant’s lives, many […]