Tag Archives: UCP

Sernaker to Shakman

Bernard Lazarevich Sernaker (Бернард Лазаревич Сернакер; aka Adolph/Adolff Benet Sernaker)

Born 1884, Warsaw, Russia (present-day Poland). Jewish. Machinist. Raised in Orthodox family. Early 1900s joined the Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna) and supported Polish independence; 1905 arrested in Warsaw for protesting the Russo-Japanese War and imprisoned for two months. Migrated to Argentina working as a ship’s fireman; studied engineering there. Spoke Polish, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish, German, and English, as well as some Italian and Chinese. Circa 1907-8 migrated to England; active in anarchist circles in London and Leeds, where me met an unofficially married Jenny/Jennie Cohen, a participant in the 1905 Russian Revolution. 1909 daughter Germain (“Germinal”) born in London; that same year Bernard migrated to US, followed by Jenny and Germaine. Became estranged from Jenny; lived with daughters at the anarchist Stelton colony near New York City; active in anarchist movement in New York. Deeply influenced by Tolstoy and became a pacifist advocate of “nonresistance” as well as a vegetarian. Daughter Harmony born 1912. 1917 joined the Yiddish-speaking anarchist Der Shturem Group as well as the Conscientious Objectors League. Questioned by federal agents November 1918 after making a speech in which he allegedly hailed “a world-wide revolution that will knock in the gates of Ellis Island.” Moved to San Francisco, where arrested pending deportation; while out on bail, an active member of the “San Francisco Soviet of Russian Workers.” Removed to Ellis Island, where he became a leader of protests of detained radicals and was placed in a separate cell after allegedly “endeavoring to incite the other men to violence,” leading other detainees to threaten a hunger strike. Appealed to conservative congressman Albert Johnson, “Would you be so kind as to order my immediate deportation, and get rid of another RED, which I certainly acknowledge to be.” “Voluntarily departed” as a ship’s fireman September 16, 1920. Wife and children remained in US.

In Russia, worked as an engineer at the Moscow Tool Plant (Московского инструментального завода) and an automobile factory; remarried to Sophia Finkelstein and had two more daughters. Not active politically, but known among his coworkers to be an anarchist and privately remained one. 1949, at age 65, sent to the prison camp in Abez for six year for having “subversive” foreign connections. Upon his release in 1956 he reestablished contact with his adult American-born daughters. In Moscow he and his family were treated as pariahs until his death in 1971.

INS file 54517/81; FBI file OG 325661

See also: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Papers, University of Wisconsin, Madison; interviews with Ralph Coppola and Janet Goldner; personal collection of Janet Goldner; https://bessmertnybarak.ru/books/person/1807049/

Kondrate Serovatka (Кондратэ Сероватка; Conrad)

Born 1895, Grodno area, Russia (present-day Belarus). Lumber worker. Migrated to US 1913. 1918 joined the Russian Branch of the Socialist Party of America in Rockford, Illinois; 1919 transferred into the Communist Party of America. Arrested in Chicago during the second Palmer Raids, January 1920. Released on bail; joined the breakaway United Communist Party; arrested again August 1920 while posting UCP fliers calling for a general strike against US aid to Poland in the Polish-Soviet War. “Voluntarily departed,” October 16, 1920.

INS file 54859/506; FBI files BS 202600-151-1 and OG 386686

Stanislav Servatka (Станислав Серватка; Stanislaus; Stanley; Serwatka)

Born 1888, Russia. Migrated to US 1913. Wife and five children in Russia. Joined the Communist Party of America branch in Passaic, New Jersey. Deported December 23, 1920.

INS file 54810/701; FBI file OG 380377

Vladimir Sestrensky (Владимир Сестренский)

Deported to Russia October 16, 1920. No further information found.

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

Nicholai Sevany (Николай Севаны; Nicoli; Savin; Sevin)

Born 1892, Grodno, Russia (present-day Belarus). Migrated to US 1914. Laborer. Financial secretary of the Seattle branch of the Union of Russian Workers. Deported January 22, 1921.

INS file 54860/474; FBI file OG 386685

Afanasy Severny (Афанасий Северный; Alfamasy; aka Frank Sergin)

Born 1895, Uman, Russia (present-day Ukraine). Ukrainian. Laborer. Migrated to Canada 1913; from there migrated to US 1918. 1919 secretary of the Philadelphia branch of the Union of Russian Workers. February 1920 arrested in Chester, Pennsylvania “for endeavoring to make a speech advocating the overthrow of this government and all capitalism.” Deported February 26, 1921

Refused entry on the basis of his anarchism at Libau, along with several other deportees. Coauthored “An Open Letter to the Russian Premier Lenin” in response. Transported to the Free City of Danzig (present-day Gdańsk, Poland); illegally crossed into Poland, where arrested June 2, 1921, and deported to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He “expressed his indignation” at the conditions in his hometown and was arrested by the Cheka August 24, 1921, and not released until January 6, 1922. Migrated to the Netherlands; from there stowed away on a ship to Canada but discovered and detained for deportation. While out on bail, illegally crossed the border into Detroit, where arrested. Quoted from jail as saying, “If the anarchists, communists and bolshevists in the United States would spend just one week in Russia they would be cured.” 1928 he was living in Ontario, Canada, where he worked as a papermaker and married Annie Areshenkoff. Died June 11, 1960, in Vancouver.

FBI file OG 383729

See also: Free Society (New York), October-November 1921; Detroit Free Press, September 27, 1923; Billings Gazette (Billings MO), October 14 1923; Ancestry.com

Edward Shainfine (Эдвард Шейнфайн)

Born 1896, Russia. Jewish. Salesman. Migrated to US 1913. August 1919 joined the Socialist Party of America in Philadelphia; November 1919 transferred into the First Russian Branch of the Communist Party of America; became branch secretary December 1919. Arrested during the second Palmer Raids, January 1920. Deported February 1, 1921.

INS file 54809/897; FBI file OG 8000-362520

Witte Moses Shakman

Born Odesa, Russia (present-day Ukraine), 1882. Jewish. Migrated to US 1915. Tailor. Former member of the Russian Federation of the Socialist Party in Chicago. Member of the Communist Party of America and then the United Communist Party. Also a member of the IWW and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. Arrested Chicago. Wife (Rachael) and seven-year-old daughter Lucy (born in Paris) in Chicago. Deported to Russia March 18, 1921.

INS file 54885/47