Alexander Berkman

Berkman, Alexander (bĕrkˈmän, bûrkˈmən) [key], 1870–1936, anarchist, b. Vilna (then in Russian Lithuania). He immigrated to the United States c.1887. Angered by the violent suppression of the Homestead, Pa. strike (1892), Berkman attempted to kill Henry Clay Frick, but succeeded only in wounding him. He served 14 years of a 22-year sentence imposed for this attack. His long association with Emma Goldman (they were briefly lovers), begun before his imprisonment, was resumed after his release. In 1917 they were arrested for obstructing the draft and in 1919 were deported to Russia. Disappointed in his hope of finding the freedom that he sought under the Bolshevik government, Berkman left Russia in 1921 and in various European cities supported himself by translation. He committed suicide in Nice. His writings include Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1912, repr. 1970), The Bolshevik Myth (1925), The Anti-Climax (1925), and Now and After: The A.B.C. of Communist Anarchism (1929).

See P. and K. Avrich, Sasha and Emma (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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