Fanya Baron

This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fanya Baron
פאַניאַ באַראָן
Photograph of Fanya Baron, seated
Baron in pre-revolutionary Russia
Born
Freida Anisimovna Greck

1887 (1887)
Vilnius, Russian Empire (now Lithuania)
Died30 September 1921(1921-09-30) (aged 33–34)
Cause of deathExecution by shooting
Years active1915–1921
OrganizationNabat
MovementAnarchism
Criminal chargesAnti-Soviet agitation
Criminal penaltyCapital punishment
SpouseAron Baron
Children1

Fanya Anisimovna Baron (1887 – 30 September 1921) was a Lithuanian anarchist revolutionary. She spent her early life participating in the Chicago workers' movement, but following the Russian Revolution in 1917, she moved to Ukraine and participated in the Makhnovist movement. For her anarchist activities, she was arrested and executed by the Cheka.

Biography[edit]

Growing up in the US[edit]

Born in 1887 as Freida Anisimovna Greck, Fanya at a young age moved with her family from the Russian Empire to the United States, where they took the name "Grefenson".[1] In Chicago, she began a relationship with the exiled Russian anarchist Aron Baron, with whom she participated in the local workers' movement led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).[2] There she spent most of her time and money distributing anarchist propaganda in the factory that she worked in.[3] During a workers' demonstration on 17 January 1915, Fanya was physically assaulted by police and arrested,[1] but was bailed out by the American activist Jane Addams.[4]

Moving back to Europe[edit]

With the outbreak of the February Revolution, Aron and Fanya Baron returned from their North American exile.[5] They moved to Kyiv, in Ukraine, where they participated in the local workers' movement.[6] In the wake of the October Revolution, the couple then moved to Kharkiv,[7] where they participated in the establishment of the Nabat, a confederation of Ukrainian anarchists.[8] Spurred to action by the political repression against the anarchist movement, she travelled throughout Ukraine to organise workers and peasants, provide prisoner aid and spread the influence of the Nabat.[3] Baron herself was also a delegate to every one of the Nabat's congresses and conferences, both when they were legal and when they were held clandestinely.[9]

The Nabat went on to join the Makhnovshchina and officially backed Nestor Makhno's Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine.[10] Following the defeat of the White movement at the siege of Perekop in November 1920, the Bolsheviks turned on their anarchist allies, launching a surprise attack against them on several fronts.[11] On 25 November 1920,[2] members of the Nabat, including Aron and Fanya Baron, were arrested in Kharkiv and transferred to Russian prisons.[12] In prison, Fanya was beaten by the guards and kept in squalid conditions.[3]

Prison break[edit]

On 10 July 1921,[2] Fanya joined a prison break launched by a cell of the Underground Anarchists.[13] She managed to escape from Ryazan prison and went to Moscow,[14] where she lived on the streets until her discovery by Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. With their aid,[15] Fanya found refuge with her brother-in-law Semion Baron,[16] a member of the Communist Party.[17] She confided in Semion that she planned to break her husband out of prison, and he promised to help her,[15] with Berkman reporting that she kept in high spirits as the preparations for the prison break went forward.[18] But on 17 August 1921,[2] she was discovered and arrested by the Cheka,[19] before she was able to carry out her plans.[20]

She joined her husband and a dozen other Russian anarchists in Taganka prison,[21] at a time when the founding congress of the Profintern was underway.[22] In an attempt to attract the attention of the foreign syndicalist delegates,[23] the anarchists imprisoned at Taganka staged a hunger strike, which Fanya joined.[24]

Persecution and execution[edit]

Despite formal protests made to the Bolshevik leadership, the accusations of political repression were repeatedly denied by the authorities,[25] with Leon Trotsky declaring "We do not imprison the real anarchists, but criminals and bandits who cover themselves by claiming to be anarchists."[26] Sustained international and domestic pressure forced the government to relent, with Lenin ordering the release of anarchist political prisoners, on the condition they leave the country.[27] On 17 September 1921,[28] most of the anarchist prisoners were released and scheduled for deportation,[29] but Fanya Baron and Lev Chernyi were kept behind bars.[30] Baron herself was accused of a number of criminal acts, including counterfeiting of the Soviet ruble,[31] banditry[32] and terrorism.[9] The Russian anarchist historian Volin denied the charges against Baron and Chernyi, claiming that the alleged counterfeiting had actually been committed by agents of the Cheka.[31]

On the night of 29–30 September 1921, Fanya Baron was executed by the Cheka.[33] According to Emma Goldman, she had resisted her fate until the last moment, having to be carried by Cheka officers to the spot of her execution.[34] Goldman attempted to protest the execution, but was dissuaded by her friends and eventually left the country, thoroughly disillusioned with the Russian Revolution.[35] After 18 years in prison,[36] Aron Baron himself was executed during the Great Purge.[37]

Over the years, Baron's death became symbolic of the Russian anarchists who fell victim to Soviet political repression.[1] Decades after her execution, the Sydney-based Jura Books named its library after Fanya Baron.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Heath 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Dubovik 2004; Heath 2009; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  3. ^ a b c Goldman 1924, pp. 93–94; Meyer 2007.
  4. ^ Ashbaugh 1986, p. 177; Heath 2009.
  5. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 205; Heath 2009; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178; Woodcock 2003, p. 59.
  6. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 205; Dubovik 2004.
  7. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 205; Dubovik 2004; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  8. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 205; Dubovik 2004; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  9. ^ a b Dubovik 2004.
  10. ^ Avrich 1971, pp. 207–209; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  11. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 222.
  12. ^ Avrich 1971, pp. 222–223; Dubovik 2004; Heath 2009; Meyer 2007; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  13. ^ Dubovik 2004; Heath 2009.
  14. ^ Dubovik 2004; Goldman 1924, pp. 93–94; Goldman 1934, p. 917; Heath 2009; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  15. ^ a b Goldman 1934, pp. 917–918.
  16. ^ Goldman 1924, pp. 93–94; Goldman 1934, pp. 917–918; Meyer 2007.
  17. ^ Goldman 1934, pp. 917–918; Meyer 2007.
  18. ^ Berkman 1925, pp. 318–319; Goldman 1934, pp. 918–919.
  19. ^ Dubovik 2004; Goldman 1934, p. 919; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  20. ^ Goldman 1934, p. 919; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  21. ^ Smele 2015, p. 178; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  22. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 232; Smele 2015, p. 178; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  23. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 232; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  24. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 232; Goldman 1924, pp. 88–89; Meyer 2007; Smele 2015, p. 178; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  25. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 232; Meyer 2007; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  26. ^ Meyer 2007; Volin 1974, p. 317.
  27. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 233.
  28. ^ a b Smele 2015, p. 178.
  29. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 233; Smele 2015, p. 178; Volin 1974, pp. 317–319.
  30. ^ Avrich 1971, pp. 232–233; Meyer 2007; Serge 2012, pp. 179–180; Smele 2015, p. 178; Volin 1974, pp. 317–319.
  31. ^ a b Volin 1974, p. 319.
  32. ^ Goldman 1924, pp. 93–94.
  33. ^ Avrich 1971, pp. 232–233; Berkman 1925, pp. 318–319; Dubovik 2004; Goldman 1934, p. 921; Heath 2009; Serge 2012, p. 453; Smele 2015, p. 178.
  34. ^ Goldman 1934, pp. 921–922.
  35. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 233; Serge 2012.
  36. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 245.
  37. ^ Avrich 1971, p. 245; Heath 2009; Meyer 2007; Smele 2015, p. 178.

Bibliography[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

  • Berkman, Alexander (1925). "Last Links in the Chain". The Bolshevik Myth. New York City: Boni and Liveright. pp. 304–319. OCLC 1144036.
  • Goldman, Emma (1924). "Persecution of Anarchists". My Further Dissillusionment in Russia. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. pp. 78–94. OCLC 1730716.
  • Goldman, Emma (1934). "Chapter 52". Living My Life. Vol. 2. New York City: Garden City Publishing Company. pp. 899–927. OCLC 915230412.
  • Serge, Victor (2012) [1951]. Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Translated by Sedgwick, Peter. New York Review Books. pp. 179, 453. ISBN 978-1-59017-451-7. LCCN 2011020475.
  • Volin (1974) [1947]. "The Case of Leon Tchorny and Fanny Baron". The Unknown Revolution. Vol. 2. Translated by Cantine, Holley; Perlman, Fredy. Detroit: Black & Red. pp. 317–320. OCLC 491277858.

Secondary sources[edit]

Tertiary sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Pavlov, D. B. (1999). Большевистская диктатура против социалистов и анархистов 1917 — середина 1950-х годов (in Russian). Moscow: ROSSPEN. p. 98. ISBN 5-8243-0019-4. OCLC 41337364.
  • Talerov, P. I.; Ermakov, V. D.; Garyavin, A. N., eds. (2005). Петр Алексеевич Кропоткин и проблемы моделирования историко-культурного развития цивилизации: материалы международной научной конференции (in Russian). Saint Petersburg: Solart. ISBN 590254310X. OCLC 84600278.

External links[edit]