Tag Archives: SLP

Faces of the First Red Scare

As part of the ongoing research for my book on the global history of immigrant radicals who were deported during America’s First Red Scare, I have posted brief profiles of 761 (and counting) individual deportees I have identified. This list is a work in progress, and some entries will be updated as I obtain additional sources.

Who is included:

This list includes radicals and suspected radicals who were deported between 1918 (following America’s entrance into the First World War) and 1925, when the last of the foreign-born radicals arrested between 1917 and 1920 were expelled, some after serving prison sentences. It includes both those who were deported by government order and those who were ordered deported but “voluntarily departed” at their own expense with the government’s consent (both categories were included together in US government deportation statistics). It does not include those who fled the country to avoid arrest or deportation. It includes both individuals deported for belonging to legally-defined “anarchistic classes,” and others who were suspected of radicalism but deported on other grounds (most commonly for entering the country without inspection or being retroactively deemed “likely to become a public charge” at the time of their entry).

This is not a complete list. In the fiscal years (June-July) 1918-1926, the United States deported 979 aliens as “anarchists,” and an unknown number of additional radical immigrants under other statutes. The largest single group of deportees, composed of 242 alleged radicals (as well as seven unrelated deportees) departed on the USAT Buford on December 21, 1919. However, it appears that no complete list of Red Scare deportees was produced by either the Bureau of Immigration or the Bureau of Investigation. I have instead had to rely on partial lists and mentions of individual cases included in these organizations’ files, congressional testimony, radical publications, newspaper reports, and other sources.

How to use this site:

Profiles have been posted in small batches. They are organized in alphabetical order by last name, followed by alternate spellings and pseudonyms in parentheses. (The Cyrillic spellings of Russian names are generally my best guess; American sources from the era were wildly inconsistent in their spellings of such names. The same is true of the transliteration of Chinese names in the Roman alphabet.) You can also browse the Index of Names.

Birth years are often approximate, usually having been calculated from an individual’s age at the time of their examination by immigration authorities, and some may therefore be off by a year.

You can search by individuals’ nationalities (country of birth and, in some cases, ethnicity [i.e. Jewish, Lithuanian, etc.]) by using the tags above.

Occupations describe the individuals’ employment in the US, not necessarily the work they engaged in before arrival or after their deportation.

Political affiliations represented include the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the anarcho-syndicalist Union of Russian Workers of the United States and Canada (URW); the anarchist Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM); anarchists unaffiliated with larger organizations; the Communist Party of America (CP); the Communist Labor Party (CLP); the Socialist Party of America (SP); the Socialist Labor Party (SLP); and unaffiliated socialists. You can search by political affiliation by using the tags above.

You may also use the “Search” box at the top of the page to look for individual names, locations, etc.

The main sources used for compiling these profiles are case files from the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Record Group 85, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; the Old German Files (OG) and Bureau Section Files (BS) of the Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Record Group 65, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD (as digitized at fold3.com); and (for Italians) the Casellario Politico Centrale (CPC), Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Rome, Italy.

A special thanks to Molly Thacker, who photographed dozens of INS files for me; Malcolm Archibald, who has translated a number of Russian-language sources; D.J. Alperovitz, who has provided photographs of several IWW members; and the dozens of other archivists, translators, activists, and colleagues who have helped me locate, acquire, and read material from across the globe while undertaking this research.

Finally, if you have additional information about any of the deportees, or spot an error, please contact me!

Barkovsky to Bendik

Samuel (or Semyon) Barkovsky (Сэмюэл or Семён Барковский, Samuel or Samion Barkowsky)

S. Barkovsky’s IWW membership card

Born 1893, Chernihiv, Russia (present-day Ukraine). Machinist. Migrated to US 1913. Member of the Socialist Party of America, the IWW, and the Ansonia, CT branch of the Union of Russian Workers. Chairman of “Luch,” a URW organization disguised as a mutual aid society, delegate to 1919 URW convention. Arrested in Ansonia June 1919 for “breach of the peace” for agitation in connection with URW-organized strike. Arrested Hartford, CT, November 1919; a trove of anarchist literature found in his home. Deported on the Buford. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54709/405; FBI file OG 8000-364023

Stanislaw Bartesiewics (aka Stanley Barton, aka Joe Rink, aka Joe Rynkiewich)

Born 1888, Lithuania. Laborer. Killed a woman in Russia (circumstances unclear) and fled to US in 1899; extradited back to Russia that year where convicted and served three years and seven months in prison. Migrated to US again 1915. Member Lithuanian Branch of the Communist Party of America. His own wife, as well as his brother (George) and sister-in-law, all gave sworn depositions against him to the Bureau of Investigation. Arrested Detroit, January 1920. Deported 1921.

FBI file OG 382016

Ivan Baskevich (Иван Баскевич; John; Basskevich)

Deported to Russia February 26, 1921. No further information found.

Included on list of deported radicals in INS file 55110/4

Aleksandr Ivanovich Batura (Александр Иванович Батура)

Born Russia, year unknown. Anarchist; IWW member. Deported 1924. In Russia, “openly declared that it is only Commissars and not workers that live well here,” and sentenced to Solovetsky prison camp, then internal exile. Wrote to comrades in US circa 1927: “The main thing is that I have no work and it is so hard to get anything. I have been actually starving here, moreover, I am sick.” Received aid from anarchists abroad 1929-1931.

See: Senya Fleshin Papers, International Institute for Social History; G. P. Maximoff, The Guillotine at Work: Twenty Years of Terror in Russia (Data and Documents) (1940)

Morris Becker

Born 1885, Kiev, Russia (present-day Ukraine). Migrated to US 1906. Married, wife in US. Anarchist; supporter of Alexander Berkman’s The Blast; member of No-Conscription League. One of the first two people arrested under the Selective Service Act of 1917; sentenced to a year and eight months in Atlanta federal penitentiary for interference in the draft, and repeatedly disciplined for “misconduct.” Admitted he was an anarchist and “a man without a country,” “but I am an advocate of peace and not of force.” Deported on the Buford. After a long period of unemployment secured a factory job in Petrograd, but when he complained of “the unbearably putrid air in the shop where he was working, the unnecessary filth and dirt,” he was told he was “a pampered bourgeois” who “pine[d] for the comforts of capitalist America.” No further information.

INS file 54235/32

See also: Emma Goldman, Living My Life

Max Belesky or Belessky

Deported to Russia. No further information found.

Included on list of deported radicals in INS file 54325/36G

Emelyan Belesta (Емельян Белеста, aka Michael Belesta, Andrew Belesta, Andriev Belesta)

Born Russia, 1886. Wife in Russia. Laborer. Migrated to Canada 1912, then US (without inspection) 1916. Joined the Union of Russian Workers in Pittsburgh around 1918; took “more or less of a prominent part in meetings of Russian radicals in the district.” Arrested 1919 in possession of “a considerable amount of extremely radical literature.” On bail, arrested again for writing and distributing handbill calling for a general strike of American workers “to enforce the lifting of the blockade against Russia.” Deported on the Buford. Died of typhus in Ufa.

INS file 54616/134

See also: INS file 54616/89; New-York Tribune, October 4, 1919

Bezil Belousov (Бэзил Белоусов, Basil Belusoff, aka Basil Bibusoff)

Born 1881, Russia. Wife and three children in Russia. Joined Union of Russian Workers in 1919. Arrested Fairmont, West Virginia, November 1919. Claimed to have been drunk when joined URW. Deported on the Buford. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54709/593

William Bendik (Бендик, Bendick)

Flier in Bendik’s possession when arrested

Born 1894, Grodno, Russia (present-day Belarus). Laborer. Migrated to US 1912. Claimed to have joined Russian Branch No. 2 of Socialist Party of America, Cleveland, January 1919, but in possession of Socialist Labor Party literature when arrested June 1919. Membership in neither qualified as grounds for deportation. Instead, deportation based on the alleged fact that, after he participated in 1919 May Day demonstration broken up by police, he reportedly stated, “We only gave them a demonstration of what we will do July 4th; we will be prepared and have ammunition and everything, and we will show them what we will do.” Deported on the Buford. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54616/235; FBI file OG 372982

Beniecewich to Berg

Kazimir Benicewich (or Benicowich)

Born circa 1880, Vilna, Russia (present-day Lithuania). Tailor. Migrated to US circa 1902; opened his own tailor shop in Baltimore 1919. Joined IWW circa 1914, but left circa 1916; joined Baltimore Branch No. 1 of Union of Russian Workers in 1917; active in national URW affairs. Arrested November 1919. Deported 1921. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54709/419

Tom Benich

Born 1895, Slavonia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (present-day Croatia). Laborer. Migrated to US 1912. Member, Socialist Labor Party; 1919 joined South Slavic Branch no. 75, Communist Party of America. Claims he joined CP “in order to get the members to come over to the Socialist Labor Party.” Arrested Youngstown, Ohio 1920. Stated, “I believe that the working men should run this country.” Deported to Yugoslavia, September 1920. Subsequent activities unknown.

FBI file OG 384859

Philip Berezka (or Beresko)

Born 1896, Grodno, Russia (present-day Belarus). Laborer. Migrated to US 1913 via Canada. Employed by Pullman Coach Company. Joined Socialist Party in Rockford, Illinois, in 1918; joined Communist Party of America, November, 1919. Arrested Chicago, January 1920, during second Palmer Raids; declared “I do not believe in organized government.” Arrested again while on bail August 1920, with Kondrate Serovatke, while posting pro-Soviet posters on telephone poles. “Voluntary departure” to Russia, October 1920. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54808/7; FBI files OG 811, OG 386686, and BS 202600-152-1

Philip Berezovsky (aka Philip Borodsky)

Deported to Russia 1921. No further information available.

Included on list of deported radicals in FBI file BS 202600-33

Edward Berg

Edward Berg’s IWW credentials

Born 1880, Sweden. Laborer. Migrated to US 1905. Joined IWW 1906; paid organizer and delegate for Lumber Workers Industrial Union no. 500. Arrested Spokane, Washington, April 1918. Deported November 1918. Subsequent activities unknown.

INS file 54379/240