Fanya Baron

Fanya Baron

Fanya Baron (Фаня Барон ) (? - September 1921) was a Russian anarchist revolutionary who is rumoured to have assassinated the head of the Okhrana (tsarist secret police). She lived in America from 1915 [See] to 1917 [See] when she returned to her homeland to build a post-revolutionary society. In 1921, she was executed by the Cheka.

A life lived in 36 months

"Nabat" and the Makhno movement

Fanya was involved in the Ukrainian Anarchist Confederation (active 1919-1920) who published a paper "Nabat" ("The Alarm"). The Nabat confederation had links with the Makhno movement. Several Nabat members (among them Fanya's husband Aaron Baron, Voline and Peter Arshinov) were active in the Cultural-Educational Section of the Makhno movement.

Voline and Aaron Baron were among anarchists who were arrested in a Cheka crackdown on anarchism at the end of 1920 (Avrich, 1973). It is likely that Fanya Baron was also arrested at this time.

Escape from prison

In early July 1921, Fanya escaped from Ryazan prison. She planned to help her husband Aaron Baron escape from prison in Moscow. Aaron's brother, a Bolshevik communist, offered to help with the plan, and then betrayed her. Fanya was arrested by the Cheka later that same year. . [See for Emma Goldman's narrative of these events.]

Capture and execution

Fanya Baron was among 13 anarchists held at Taganka concentration camp without charges. In July 1921, they went on hunger strike, attracting the attention of visiting French, Spanish and Russian syndicalists who argued for their release. Leon Trotsky remarked at the time "We do not imprison the real anarchists, but criminals and bandits who cover themselves by claiming to be anarchists". (Voline, 1947)

Ten of the 13 anarchists were released and deported on 17 September 1921: Voline, Vorobiov, Mratchny, Michailov, Maximoff, Ioudine, Iartchouk, Gorelik, Feldman and Fedorov. Fanya Baron and the poet Lev Chernyi were detained, to be executed later that month. Her execution was personally ordered by Lenin himself.Fact|date=December 2007

Fanya was shot by the Cheka on 29 September 1921, her death becoming symbolic of the barbarity of bolshevik governance. Aaron Baron was spared execution [See] until 1940, after spending 18 years in Taganka. [See]


Emma Goldman wrote about the execution of Fanya Baron in "My Further Disillusionment in Russia"::"Fanya Baron was of the type of Russian woman completely consecrated to the cause of humanity. While in America she gave all her spare time and a goodly part of her meagre earnings in a factory to further Anarchist propaganda. Years afterward, when I met her in Kharkov, her zeal and devotion had become intensified by the persecution she and her comrades had endured since their return to Russia. She possessed unbounded courage and a generous spirit. She could perform the most difficult task and deprive herself of the last piece of bread with grace and utter selflessness. Under harrowing conditions of travel, Fanya went up and down the Ukraina to spread the "Nabat", organize the workers and peasants, or bring help and succour to her imprisoned comrades. She was one of the victims of the Butyrki raid, when she had been dragged by her hair and badly beaten. After her escape from the Ryazan prison she tramped on foot to Moscow, where she arrived in tatters and penniless. It was her desperate condition which drove her to seek shelter with her husband's brother, at whose house she was discovered by the Tcheka. This big-hearted woman, who had served the Social Revolution all her life, was done to, death by the people who pretended to be the advance guard of revolution. Not content with the crime of killing Fanya Baron, the Soviet Government put the stigma of banditism on the memory of their dead victim."

Fanya Baron in contemporary culture

An Australian anarchist bookshop, Jura Books, has named their library collection "The Fanya Baron Library" in honour of her courage and sacrifice for anarchist revolution. [ [ Fanya Baron Library | Jura Books ] at]


ee also

*Peter Arshinov
*Alexander Berkman
*Emma Goldman
*Nestor Makhno
*Russian Revolution of 1917
*Russian Civil War


*Avrich, Paul (Editor), 1973, "The Anarachists in the Russian Revolution"
*Berkman, Alexander, 1922, [ "The Bolshevik Myth"]
*Goldman, Emma [ "My Further Dissillusionment in Russia"]
*Goldman, Emma [ "Living my Life (Volume 2)"]
*Serge, Victor, July, August 1920, "The Anarchists and the Experience of the Russian Revolution"
*Voline, "The Unknown Revolution", Black Rose Books 1974 (originally published 1947)
*Woodcock, George, 1944, [ "Socialism from Below: A History of Anarchism"]

External links

* [ The Fanya Baron Library] at [ Jura Books]

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