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New York Tribune Article,
"Anarchists Likely To Be Put on Ship Bound for Russia"

[ Questions on the Article | Immigration | Next Exhibit ]

New York Tribune Article
December 5, 1919

CONTEXT: The Red Scare was a time when the federal government cracked down on the activities of radicals. Based on the recommendation of federal commissions and investigative committees, Congress tried to restrict the entry of immigrants who held radical ideas. To rid itself of radicals already living in the United States, the government also deported those who lived in the United States but were not citizens.

Anarchists Likely to Be Put on Ship Bound
for Russia as They Start for Ellis Island To­day
Seek Habeas Corpus Writ
Books Teaching Anarchy Found in Harlem Public
Library, Says Siegel

The little tug which plies between the Battery and Ellis Island will leave its wharf at the foot of Broadway promptly at 11 o'clock this morning, carrying Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, anarchists, on the first lap of their long journey to Russia. According to Federal officials, it will be the last time Miss Goldman and Berkman will set foot on the mainland of the United States, where for years they have preached anarchist propaganda.

Intimations that a surprise is in store for the anarchists when they arrive at the island were made yesterday by Byron H. Uhl, Acting Commissioner of Immigration.

"I understand the government has something up its sleeve, but I don't know just what it is," he said. Other officials declared they believed the order deporting Miss Goldman and Berkman calls for their immediate transfer to a ship bound for Russia.

Destination in Question

Differences of opinion have arisen between Mr. Uhl and Harry Weinberger, counsel for the anarchists, relative to what part of Russia the two aliens are to be sent. Mr. Weinberger disclosed a telegram from Anthony Caminetti, Commissioner of Immigration, stating that Miss Goldman and Berkman would be sent to Soviet Union.

"I have been promised by more than one government official that they will be delivered to Bolshevik officials," said Mr. Weinberger. "It would mean their murder to deliver them into the hands of anti­Bolshevik forces."

Mr. Uhl contended the anarchists cannot be sent to Soviet Russia because this government has not recognized the Soviet government. "The law provides for deportation to the countries from whence the aliens came," he said. "They can be deported regardless of changes of government."

Mr. Weinberger said he still had hopes of obtaining writs of habeas corpus, which would act as a stay against the deportation. He said he would contend that Miss Goldman is an American citizen through marriage. Berkman's defense is he has ceased to be an anarchist.

Anarchistic Teachings Found in Library

Representative Isaac Siegel, after a trip to Ellis Island yesterday, declared he had discovered how anarchists are made. Mr. Siegel is a member of the House Congressional Committee appointed to investigate conditions at the Island.

"Books in our public libraries help to make anarchists," he said. "I found a boy on the Island--Thomas Buhokanob, seventeen years old, a native of Russia, who came here seven years ago. He was educated in Public School 38. He read anarchist books out of the Harlem Public Library. Then he helped circulate Emma Goldman's 'Mother Earth.' After that he went to Greenpoint, where he organized Russians who could not speak English and taught them what he had learned about anarchy.

"He told me he did not believe in the Constitution, in any form of government or in God."

Mr. Siegel said the committee would meet in Washington on Monday, when it will question Secretary of Labor Wilson, Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor, and other officials.

Mislig Defies Committee

The Lusk Legislative Committee devoted its session yesterday to obtaining the political views of Dr. Michael Mislig, formerly treasurer of the Russian Socialist Federation. He declined to tell the committee the names of the federation's executive committee, although Assemblyman Louis Martin warned him he would be in contempt.

Ernest Albert Kurth, who was indicted on a charge of assault with intent to kill for having sent a bomb concealed in a tin candy box to Mrs. Rodman Wanamaker, pleaded guilty yesterday before Judge William H. Wadhams in General Sessions. He will be sentenced December 11.

New York Tribune, Dec. 5, 1919

Questions on the Article:

  1. In your own words, summarize the main topics of the article as follows: 1) ". . . a surprise is in store for the anarchists . . .", 2) Destination in Question, 3) Anarchistic Teachings Found in Library, 4) Mislig Defies Committee.

  2. What basis for government fears about radical expression is reported in this article?

  3. What political situation in the Soviet Russia caused Goldman and Berkman to be worried?

  4. What were Representative Siegel's concerns? What remedy do you think he will recommend?

  5. Why do you think Michael Mislig declined to give the Lusk Committee the names of members of the Russian Socialist Federation?

  6. What attitudes about Russian immigrants does this article reveal?

General Questions on This Exhibit:

  1. What was the U.S. relationship to the Bolshevik government in 1919?

  2. Were immigrants a particular target during the "Red Scare"?

  3. How do you characterize the political climate in the United States in 1919 based on this one newspaper report?

  4. What other repressive acts did the government take during the period known as the "Red Scare"?

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