Two comrades disappear

On November 15 the United Committee for Defense, sent the following appeal to the Bureau of the International Workingmen’s Association:

Dear Comrades:

As you know, the persecutions of Russian revolutionists by the Bolshevik government still continue. We know that the comrades of the International Workingmen’s Association have always been active on behalf of the Russian revolutionists. You always responded when the Defense Committee appealed to you to help save a few out of the thousands of victims of Bolshevik terror. And now we ask your help again, in this case, which is unusual even under the extraordinary conditions of present life in Russia.

Comrade David Kogan (Lev Rubin), an attractive personality, a man of high integrity and renown as a revolutionary Anarchist, (he spent many months in Denikin’s prisons), was arrested, together with another Anarchist Ivan Akhtirsky, by the G. P. U. in Moscow. Since then both of these comrades vanished. All the attempts of our comrades to find them have been in vain. Very significant in this connection is the fact that Kogan’s sister, the wife of one of the big-wigs in the Communist party and the Soviet Government, Khybishev - People’s Commissar and member of the Politbureau), also tried unsuccessfully to discover his whereabouts.

Comrade Kogan is afflicted with heart neurosis; both, he and Akhtirsky, lived of late under very distressing conditions. Our comrades in Russia are greatly alarmed over the fate of those two revolutionists, who vanished without leaving any trace behind them. We are convinced that the International Workingmen’s Association will use its influence, as it did in the case of comrade A. M. Shapiro, in order to enable us at least to locate these two comrades. The complete disappearance of both, is an outrage of the kind which does not even happen under Mussolini’s regime.

We are led to believe that the worst has happened, and that the Russian government does not have the courage to state so openly. In that case we ask the Bureau of the International Workingmen’s Association to bring into full light this unparalleled crime and the conditions under which it was perpetrated.

With revolutionary greetings.


(Ibid, [Bulletin of the Joint Committee for the Defense of Revolutionists Imprisoned in Russia.] No. 2, December, 1923).

From: The Guillotine at work p530-1.