Rabu, 07 Desember 2022
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Emma Goldman, witness of the IWA founding Congress in Berlin in december 1922

Emma Goldman, witness of the IWA founding Congress in Berlin in december 1922

A letter from Goldman to Carl Newlander, sterdam/Record/ARCH00520. Wayne Thorpe writes beautifully about this in more detail in « The Workers Themselves ». It content a fascinating account by Emma Goldman of how the Berlin police interrupted meetings and arrested several foreign anarchists at the founding of the IWA ( in December 1922.

I have been planning to send you a long letter with Severin, with whom I sent fifty Kronen to be forwarded to you. I wonder, have they reached you. I wrote you only a few lines with the money. The Congress and several things that happened here made it impossible for me to write. The I am out of use of the pen and whenever I write on the typewriter for a few hours I have such terrific neck aches, so I wiated until our friend who did my book would get the time to take my letters.

I suppose that you know already that the revolutionnary Syndicalist International was formed at the Congress. It has a small beginning, only about one million and a half gathered in the new organization. There were delegates from Argentine, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden Norway, Denmark, and the Spanish as well as Chili workers were represented through mandates, the delegates having been unable to get there. I am preparin a report for some of our papers which I hope to have ready next week. I will send you a copy, so will not take up the time with a detailed account now.

But for the present, I am unable to be of much help to you

There was some excitement at two sessions of the Congress. Socialist police came to verify all pasong us who were without papers, some of them facing a stiff sentence in Italy and Spain. The first time of the German comrades so confused the police that they managed to get rid of them. The next day the Congress moved to another hall. Unfortunately they didn’t repeat the same process on the last day of the sessoin. By that time the police has managed to learn of our hereabouts and came down reinforced. Two italians and a little French comrade, a girl, were arrested. The former are still held and Therese is out on my site bonds.

The delegate had some finishing work to attend to so I asked them to come to my place for the Tuesday following. Imagine my amazement when at ten o’clock Tuesday morning I was visited by two detectives, just like in the dear old days in America. They asked all sorts of questions. Of course S had to be here, but you know how cold bloodedly brazen he can be in time of trouble. He managed to bluff them. In the end the detectives said there had been complaints from our neighbors. Now comes the joke. The neighbors reported that I am a dangerous Bolshevik agent, that my apartment is used for conspiratory purposes and that I have a secret printing shop. The latter is the typewriter which is a bit antediluvian in the noise that it makes; however, all has ended peacefully. But I thought that you would be very amused to know that I am a bolshevik agitator.

The Congress was most interesing

Dear carl, I am feeling very terrible about your condition. I am hoping that when Dr. Michael Cohen comes in May to interest him in your case. Perhaps he will extend you a loan of several hundred dollars to get you to Canada and from there to the States.

I am going to try awfully hard to induce him. He has announced his coming for the first part of May and may also bring Fitzy along.