Berkman and the Relief Fund

[Typed letter, letterhead of Relief Fund of the International Working Men’s Association for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists Imprisoned and Exiled in Russia]

Paris, June 15, 1930

My dear M.&S. [Mollie Steimer and Senya Fleshin]

Your letter re Fund shows that either you did not understand my last letter (I wrote it in a hurry) or that you don’t know the situation here.

E.G., whom you must have seen in the meantime, surely has explained matters to you. I shall add just a few points here now.

The question of principle, regarding Red Cross work, we mean to fight out here. But not just now — later on. First of all, the other radical organisations must be interested in the matter, specially those Russian bodies that do Red Cross work, such as the Zenzinoff Committee, the Zionists etc.

Besides, the order of my expulsion must FIRST be annulled, before WE can make this fight. Otherwise they could expel me again, BEFORE we can get our fight under way. Two expulsions, I have been informed, mean for good. And then the fight would also be lost.

Another thing, before 18 months are past, the expulsion cannot be annulled. So Blumel, the assistant of Torrés, has informed me. He also told me that the authorities will now watch me carefully, so that if I want the expulsion to be annulled, I must take that into consideration.

Now, as to the actual Fund work. There is no reason why it could not be transferred to our Berlin Section. I suggested that Rocker be the official treasurer, and I think he will not decline. If for some reasons he does not want to accept it, then E.G. said that she would be the treasurer. She is an English subject and so that would be all right.

The Russian correspondence — most of it — Yanya [Jaques Doubinsky] is willing to continue, so that Senya will not be burdened by it. As to the English correspondence, you could have slips PRINTED, which could be sent out as a RECEIPT for money received, the amount to be put in individually. Important English correspondence would be answered by me, as before. The point is that

1) money should not be sent to my name;

2) my name should not appear on any of our printed matter.

The above is important particularly for the next 3 months, because then I have to get a renewal of my stay. As to “hinting”, you or E.G. misunderstood. Blumel told me and also told Shap. that there was no hint about it. The Fellow Chiape told Torrés very definitely that if I continue any political work (in which they insist on encluding the Fund) they will not renew my 3 months. Blumel showed me the official letter giving me 3 months, in which the same thing was clearly repeated, out and out, without any hints.

To sum up, then: I will continue the English correspondence, but officially another name must stand in place of mine as the treasurer. Also on the Bulletin my name must for the present come off.

You mention change of address. The address will have to be changed now anyhow, as I am going to St. Tropez. I don’t know whether I shall return to Paris at all in the winter. The climate is so bad for me that for the past 6 months I can hardly walk — strained ligaments in the legs, I think; or may be it is rheumatism. Anyhow, it is hard for me to walk even one block and it has been that way for many months now and getting worse. I have long had in mind quitting Paris for good. May go to Morocco or some other warm climate.

In our correspondence it will have to be explained, briefly, that because of my protracted absence from Paris, made necessary by various causes, including my physical condition, we have agreed to transfer our main Section to Berlin. (That is in order not to give a chance to some comrades, who are always looking for a chance to make trouble and circulate false reports, you understand).

That will explain the new address, which is best to have in Berlin— either Kater’s or Rocker’s or Souchy’s. I think Rocker’s is best, since he is well known in the U.S., as well as in other countries. If he does not care for it, then I suggest the address to be Kater’s, marked “For the Russian Relief Fund”.

Well, I think I have covered all the points. You may show this letter to Rocker, Millie (when they return), Souchy and Kater. I want it clearly understood that I am NOT withdrawing from the work on the Relief Fund. I only want MY NAME eliminated for the present, till we can make a fight about it and Fight it out WHILE I AM IN FRANCE.

As I have said, the more important English correspondence can be turned over to me for replies. But money should be sent to a new address. People in the U.S., whence our main aid comes, will know that I am still doing the work, because I will continue writing to them, acknowledging money, and I will privately explain to them the situation.

Any money that Kater has for the Fund can be sent to me yet and I will turn it over, as usual, to Yanya to be forwarded to Russia. I still have here a number of checks that I am to cash and turn over to Yanya.

Fraternally, with greetings to all of you.

[signed] S (A.B) [Sasha (Alexander Berkman)]

After the 20th of this month my address will be: A.Bergmann, Villa “Bon Esprit”, Chemin St. Antoine, St. Tropez (Var) France

[handwritten from here on] (over)

Mail addressed to me to Am Ex Paris will be forwarded.

Otherwise nothing special. Busy packing – may leave for St. Tr. Wednesday the 18th

Affect S

[Letter in Folder 88, Fléchine (Senya Fleshin) papers, International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam. KSL note: Berkman did manage to remain in France. Rudolf Rocker in Berlin became the treasurer of the Relief Fund.]