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Title: A fragment of the prison experiences of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman - In the State Prison at Jefferson City, Mo., and the U. S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, Ga. February, 1918–October, 1919
Author: Berkman, Alexander, Goldman, Emma
Language: English
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                               A FRAGMENT
                                _of the_
                           PRISON EXPERIENCES
                   Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman

        _In the State Prison at Jefferson City, Mo., and the U.
        S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, Ga. February, 1918–October,

             _Order from_
             Stella Comyn
 36 GROVE ST.            NEW YORK

                                                             _Ten Cents_

                               A FOREWORD

There was a time—and that not so very long ago—when popular ignorance
and superstition looked upon an insane person as one possessed of the
devil or of some other evil spirit. They sought to drive the “evil one”
out by beating and torturing the insane, and often even by drowning,
hanging, and burning.

We have fortunately passed that stage of stupid brutality. Today even
the most ignorant man knows that insanity is a disease. But in regard to
crime and criminals we are still in the stage of dark-age superstition.
We look upon the criminal today as we did upon the insane fifty or
seventy-five years ago. Most men still believe that by beating and
punishing the criminal, by hanging and electrocution, we can drive the
“evil spirit” out of him. This process is called reforming the criminal.

Yet common sense and all human experience prove that the criminal is no
more responsible for crime than the crazy man for his insanity. The
pseudo-scientific theories of the Lombrosos in regard to crime and
criminals have been thoroughly exploded and proven utterly fallacious.
Even if the Lombroso myth that the criminal is born were true, what good
would it do to punish him? There might be some social justification for
his isolation, but how could the criminal, if born such, be held
accountable for his criminality?

But as a matter of fact—as modern criminology has proven beyond all
dispute—the criminal is made, not born. He is the product of his
environment, a child of poverty and desperation, of misery, greed, and
ambition. He is at the same time the symbol and the proof of a diseased
social condition, the miscarriage of perverted economic arrangements.
Fully 97 per cent. of all crime is due directly to our economic
institutions. The other 3 per cent. are traceable to the artificiality
and neurosis of modern life, to the anti-social tendencies cultivated
among the weeds in the neglected and mistreated garden of human life.

I have been in close contact with so-called criminals for a great many
years. Yet nowhere have I found the alleged “criminal type,” nor have I
ever discovered the “real criminal.” He does not exist. Crime is simply
misdirected energy, effort applied wrongly. The average criminal is just
the average man, generally speaking. If in any sense he may be
considered a “variation,” it is only because of his frequently superior
initiative, daring and intelligence. His often anti-social activity is
conditioned by his unconventional vocation, not by any inherent criminal
or anti-social tendencies. I am not speaking of congenital criminal
degenerates whose number is infinitesimal, and who belong in the care of
the alienist. The vast majority of the so-called criminal class are
thoroughly normal human beings, if the term may be applied to the type
of professional criminals, young and old, tell me again and again, “The
only hope and ambition of my life is just to get a little pile, so that
I can feel secure from want. Then I’d take my family somewhere in the
country and live a quiet and honest life.”

My present space is limited. I can merely shadow forth here a skeleton
outline of this big and very vital subject. In a forthcoming book I
shall analyze more thoroughly the sources and the psychology of crime,
and write of the unique and interesting prison types and characters I
have met.

For the present it is sufficient to emphasize that our whole social
attitude toward the criminal is fundamentally wrong. It is the attitude
of barbaric stupidity that seeks to hide its own shame and its mistakes
behind prison bars. It has neither understanding of human motives nor
sympathy with human weaknesses. This social attitude toward the
criminal, representing the lowest human intelligence, is reflected in
the management and discipline of the prisons. It is apparent that modern
criminology has had a very negligible effect upon the popular mind
within the last twenty-five years, for I have found the prisons of today
in no essential way different from those of a quarter of a century back.
Brutality is rampant; discipline is synonymous with the absolute
suppression of individuality and the crushing of the prisoner’s spirit
and will. The atmosphere of our penal institutions of today is that of
violence and force, of force and violence. With very rare exceptions,
the spirit of humanity, of understanding, and justice, is a stranger in

                                                       ALEXANDER BERKMAN

                              EMMA GOLDMAN

Twenty-six years ago, in 1893, I paid the first toll for my opinions in
the State of New York with a year’s free residence in the Blackwell’s
Island Penitentiary. I found the cells small, dark, and filthy, the
sanitary conditions appalling, and the general attitude toward the
convict on the part of prison officials hard and cruel.

Terrible as these conditions were, they had some justification. In 1893
there was barely a spark anywhere to discredit the antiquated and
inhuman theory of predestination—the Calvinistic idea that man is born a
sinner and that he must expiate his sins through suffering and pain.
This attitude toward the criminal and the methods of punishment rest on
this biblical conception to this very day. Much more did that idea
prevail twenty-six years ago.

Since then criminology has undergone a revolution. Libraries are filled
with works on the origin and causes of crime, on the futility of
punishment as a corrective of crime. More and more frequently modern
writers have pointed out that crimes are related to social conditions,
and that brutal treatment of prisoners makes them become more hardened
and anti-social.

With a vast literature on scientific criminology and the widespread
attempt to reform prisons, to humanize the treatment of the unfortunate
social offender, one might have expected some changes in the penal
institutions of this country. Yet in the year 1918 in the States of
Missouri and Georgia, and for aught we know in every State in the land,
prisons continue to be “built of bricks of shame” and

                  The vilest deeds, like poison weeds,
                    Bloom well in prison air.
                  It is only what is good in Man
                    That wastes and withers there.
                  Pale anguish keeps the heavy gate,
                    And the Warder is Despair.

To be sure, the cells in the Missouri State Penitentiary, at least in
the female wing, are larger and some of them lighter than the
vermin-infested cells on Blackwell’s Island twenty-six years ago. But
even there the cells are never light enough except on very sunny days,
while more than half the cells are in utter darkness and without
ventilation. In fact, air is the most tabooed article in the Missouri
prison. Except in extremely warm weather, the windows are rarely opened,
healthy women are forced to breathe the putrid air of consumptives and
syphilitics. During the influenza epidemic, when thirty-five prisoners
lay stricken, we had to plead and fight for the opening of a window. To
this day I can not understand how any one of us survived, except that
the Lord “takes care of us poor sinners.”

Yes, the cells are larger, the sanitation modern, but in every other
respect, in the attitude of the officials toward the prisoner, the cold
indifference to his needs, the methods of breaking his will, and, above
all, the mode of employment have not improved, but are even worse than
my experience on Blackwell’s Island in 1893.

I cannot dwell here on the blood-freezing reception accorded each
hopeless victim when the prison doors close upon her. That alone is
enough to crush the bravest spirit and to turn one’s very soul to gall
and hate. I shall treat of this in my forthcoming book, dealing with my
twenty months’ experience in the Missouri State Prison.

It is the task system that prevails in this prison—as truly slavery as
ever existed in this country before the Civil War—which chiefly needs to
be exposed. The contract system of prison labor has been abolished
“officially”—the State is now the employer. Yet no slave owner so drove,
coerced and exploited his slaves as Missouri bleeds and exploits its
helpless victims in the penitentiary at Jefferson City.

Two months are allowed to learn the trade, which consists of sewing
jackets, overalls, auto coats and suspenders—tasks varying from 45 to
121 jackets a day, or from 9 to 18 dozen suspenders a day. Now, while
the actual machine work on these different tasks is the same, the number
of jackets in the 88 or 121 tasks is double to the 45, 55 and 66 tasks;
hence double physical exertion is required. Yet the different tasks must
be made in the same number of hours, without regard to age, physical
endurance, periods of menstruation, when machine work is sheer torture
to women. Even illness, unless it is of a very serious nature, is not
considered sufficient cause to be relieved from the terrible task. So,
unless one had previous experience in the needle trade, or a special
aptitude for it, one’s life is made a veritable hell, beginning a few
days after commitment and lasting till the final day of release. No
understanding for human variations, no consideration for mental or
physical limitations, except for a few favorites of the prison
officials, those who are usually the most worthless. The shop foreman in
charge is a boy of twenty-one, who took up the art of slave-driving at
the age of sixteen. He bullies and terrorizes the women, holding the
threat of the blind cell and the bread-and-water diet over them.

The vilest language is used to the women, some of them old enough to be
the boy’s mother. Of course, he is paid to show results. The only way he
can get results is through slave-driving methods, as well as by actually
stealing part of the women’s output, especially from the more ignorant,
who are unable to do their own counting.

On more than one occasion I have seen this miserable foreman
deliberately steal jackets and suspenders from colored girls who are
serving twenty-five year sentences and from illiterate white girls. If
they dare insist that they delivered their quota of work, they are
punished for “impudence,” in addition to being punished for “short”
work. In view of the fact that four punishment marks a month reduce the
prisoner one grade, and that a higher grade means speedier release from
the prison hell, the enormity of this petty official’s criminal thievery
can be appreciated. Yet this man is considered fit to be in charge of
sixty to seventy “criminals.” It does not take much wisdom to find the
greater criminal.

It may be argued that this ignorant and vulgar young man is only a tool,
and therefore not to blame. Partly this is true. The State is the real
offender, the officials of the Prison Board, as well as the petty
subordinates who live by the sweat and blood of the social outcasts. The
very first year the State of Missouri became the exploiter of the
convicts’ labor, the St. Louis _Post-Dispatch_ reported that the
salaries of the prison officials had been increased $20,000 per annum.
No wonder the Acting Warden, Captain Gilvan—a bully and a brute who used
to administer flogging when it was still “officially” in vogue in
Missouri—once said to us in the shop, “I must have the task. You must
make it. No such thing as can’t. If you do not give me the task, I will
punish you. And I punish cheerfully.” Having the support and approval of
such a man and the sanction of the head matron, a woman entirely bereft
of feeling, it is natural for the foreman to squeeze and press and bully
the task out of the women. But can anyone suppose that the foreman could
lend himself to such brutal slave-driving, if he were not depraved

It is utterly impossible to keep up the required speed day after day.
The working hours are nine a day, but in order to complete the task, the
women are driven to the old-time sweatshop methods of taking work
evenings to their cells. In view of the fact that the cells are vermin
infested, and the jackets and suspenders the prisoners make are sold
broadcast and have already been handled by consumptive and venereally
infected male prisoners, who prepare the work, the results can readily
be imagined.

Personally I was well supplied by many friends with nourishing food. I
am an adept at the needle trade, having worked at it for many years,
when I first came to know the many economic opportunities in our
so-called democracy. Yet I never could keep up the mind- and
soul-destroying speed in the prison shop. Therefore I know what it means
to the underfed women prisoners. Not one but emerges with impaired

If the contract system were really abolished, why would the State of
Missouri drive its prison inmates? For a very simple reason: the State
of Missouri, like the private contractor, does business with private
concerns in every State of the Union. Proof of this is given by the
labels sewn on every garment that leaves the prison. I was able to
smuggle out a few, which are reproduced here.

Civilization claims to have advanced, and in no country do we hear so
much about prison reform as in our own. Yet what can we say for the
State of Missouri, when at the head of their female department is a
woman in charge of ninety women prisoners who has control over their
life and death?


This woman, Lilah Smith, has been employed in penal institutions since
her fifteenth year, and has, therefore, little education or training.
She is a believer in rigid discipline and punishment. She is really a
neurotic, who has no control over her temper. She uses physical violence
on the slightest pretext, especially when a particular prisoner is not
in her good graces. Not once in twenty months did I hear her address one
single encouraging or kind word to a prisoner. Flogging in the State of
Missouri has been officially abolished, but Lilah Smith’s vigorous
slapping goes on.

There are three methods of punishment: First, the women are deprived of
their recreation; second, they are locked up in their cells for
forty-eight hours, from Saturday to Monday, on a diet of bread and
water, and then expected to begin their task Monday in their weakened
condition; third, they are sent to a blind cell, a cell 52 inches by 104
inches, with an aperture of 7 inches by 1½ inches, supplied with one
blanket, two pieces of bread and two cups of water a day. In this tomb
they are kept from three to twenty-two days.

Added to this maddening torture are the bull rings, which, while never
used for white women during my stay, were used on colored girls.

The worst tragedy which occurred during my stay in the prison was the
deliberate murder of Minnie Eddy. When I entered in February, Minnie had
already been there a number of months. She struggled valiantly with the
task, which she seemed unable to master. To avoid punishment, she used
every cent her sister sent her to hire the task. In November, 1918, she
began to complain of pain in her head and throat. She went to the
doctor, but he ordered her back to the shop. She went back, but seemed
unable to pull herself together to do any work. The matron decided she
was shamming, and put her in punishment. At first she was kept in her
own cell on bread and water; then the matron, realizing that we were
feeding Minnie, transferred her to the so-called hospital, where a
mattress was refused her, and only a bare cot and blanket were supplied.
In that place the unfortunate woman was kept another week.

I went to the matron shortly after Minnie was put in the hospital,
begging for her release. It was refused, the matron still insisting that
the woman was shamming. Then, Thanksgiving Day, Minnie was brought down
and allowed to eat her Thanksgiving dinner of putrid pork on an empty
stomach. Two days later I took Minnie a couple of soft-boiled eggs, and
seeing on her table a box sent by her relatives some weeks before, and
which had just been given her, I warned her against using the decayed
food in her present condition. But she was ravenous.

That evening some of the prison trusties came to me and told me that
Minnie was in a heap on the floor, unconscious. I demanded that they
call Miss Smith, the matron. The matron screamed at and slapped the
unconscious woman. She was allowed to remain in her cell until Monday,
when I could endure the situation no longer, and insisted on seeing Mr.
Painter, President of the Prison Board, who came over at once. He had
been told that Minnie was refusing food. He gave orders to have her
moved back to her own cell, and put one of the girls in charge as her
nurse. From the latter I learned that an attempt was made to feed Minnie
forcibly, but it was too late. She never regained consciousness, dying
Wednesday evening, at seven o’clock. Her terrible death benefited the
other women, inasmuch as no one was afterwards placed in the death trap
for more than five days. So do the dead sometimes aid the living.

_There are two criterions on the part of the officials in dealing with
the prisoners. If they are sick, they are told that they are shamming;
if they cannot make the task, they are told they are lazy._

Frequently sick prisoners are ordered back to the shop by the physician
when they are barely able to drag themselves along. This is the more
remarkable because he is not an unkindly man and was especially decent
to me. The reason for his indifference to the other women there I
discovered during my last days at the prison. He is at daggers’ points
with the Board; therefore he is unable to do what he would like.

The Missouri State Penitentiary has the merit system, which is only
another method of pressing out more labor from its victims. Those who
can stand the nerve-tearing speed and get into Class A, the highest
class, have their time reduced almost in half. Therefore many of the
women work beyond their limit of physical capacity to get out of the
hell hole, even at the expense of their health. However, only State
prisoners benefit by this merit system. Not so the Federal prisoners.
They are forced to make the task every day, though their time is in no
way affected. Imagine the outrage in the case of a prisoner serving a
twenty-five-year sentence. Day after day, year in and year out, she is
browbeaten and harassed to make the task. If she fails, she is
repeatedly thrown into the “blind cell.” If she succeeds, she gains
nothing. The Federal Government pays the State for the upkeep of each
Federal prisoner. In addition, the State makes a huge profit from the
labor of these Federals. In return, it gives them not a single
privilege. The reduction of six days’ time a month is provided for by
the Federal Government. It is a most unspeakable injustice toward
helpless human beings.

In disclosing conditions prevalent in the Female Department of the
Missouri State Penitentiary I am in no way prompted by personal
grievances. Thanks to the liberality of Mr. William K. Painter,
President of the Prison Board, and possibly also because of the fear of
publicity on the part of the management, I have no personal complaints
to make. In justice to Mr. Painter, I must say that he is a rather
unusual man for his position. Whenever his attention was called to some
grievance, he was always ready to remedy it. But prison abuses are
conditioned in the very character of prison life and in corrupt
politics, so that nothing short of the complete abolition of prisons
will ever eradicate the terrible wrongs committed in penal institutions.

Meanwhile it is necessary to continue to point out that criminals are
victims of our mad social arrangement, and to emphasize the utter
failure of punishment as a corrective, as well as to expose the average
brutal and ignorant type of prison official. The recognition of this may
help to change our better-than-thou attitude toward the criminal.

As for my own experience, in all my twenty months of the closest contact
with my fellow prisoners, I did not find one I could call depraved,
cruel or hard. On the contrary, I know a “lifer” there who came to the
penitentiary hardly more than a child. She has already served fifteen
years. She is a most tender and devoted creature. She has one hold on
life—a dog, whom she loves and tends with a mother’s devotion. Who is
the true criminal—this poor heart-broken little woman or the officials
who have the power to let her spend her remaining years in freedom, and
yet keep her? Another woman, who has a fifteen-year sentence, is
completely broken in health, and in constant physical misery. She is
passionately devoted to her only child, a little boy. Is she the
criminal or those who keep her there? Her offense was the result of a
moment’s aberration; theirs is a cold-blooded, methodical and daily
crime. Who is the greater criminal? Another woman, the mother of eight
children, worked and starved half to death on a farm. She is thrown into
prison for stealing a pig. Who is the greater criminal, this poor woman
or the State which sent her there? I found no criminals among my fellow
prisoners, only unfortunates—broken, helpless, hapless and hopeless
human beings.

How rich in comparison are we political prisoners! Kate Richards O’Hare,
who has the gift of going into the life of every prisoner, soothing and
comforting and sustaining her, and is herself sustained by the ideal and
the love of thousands. Rare little Ella Antolini, with her marvelous
stoicism, her splendid fortitude, and her great capacity for human
sympathy. We politicals are rich, indeed. Rich in the love of our dear
comrades, rich in our faith of the future, strong in our position. But
the others? It is for them we plead, against the wrongs, the
inhumanities committed against those in the prison we left behind.
Indeed, in every prison in the land.

                                                            EMMA GOLDMAN


 Published in the Atlanta _Constitution_, October 1, 1919, on the day of
         his release from the Federal Penitentiary, Atlanta, Ga.

This country is at the present time going through the same throes of
social and industrial rebirth that are convulsing England, France and
other European countries. The steelworkers’ strike is merely one of the
symptoms of the social evolutionary process that may in the near future
culminate in revolution. The sources of labor discontent in this country
are identical with those in every other land of our so-called
civilization. The working masses are not satisfied any more with empty
political democracy; they demand a share in the products of their
industry, and the opportunity to live, to enjoy life. Industrial
slavery, perhaps more acute in the United States than anywhere else, is
on its death-bed. The next step in the social life of the world is the
taking over of all industry by the workers, both manual and mental, to
be managed and operated by themselves, for the benefit of the producers
instead of for the profit of our industrial and financial Kaisers.

The present struggle of the steel workers vividly calls back to my
memory the great steel strike of Homestead, in 1892, when the Pinkertons
hired by Carnegie and Frick shot the strikers down wholesale for
demanding living conditions. In connection with the Homestead strike I
served fourteen years in the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. We
have made some progress since then. The workers, especially, have
learned a good deal since the days of the Homestead strike. They have
learned the most important lesson of all, and that is that labor has an
invincible weapon in solidarity. That is also the lesson that is being
impressed on American labor today by the workers of England. Soon the
American Federation of Labor will realize that it is folly to call a
strike of steel workers, without at the same time securing the solidaric
support of all the other key industries—the railway men and the miners,
for instance. As long as the workers in those industries strike
separately, at different times, they run the risk of defeat. But a
simultaneous strike of all the three key industries would quickly bring
our Garys, Morgans and Fricks to their senses.

But whatever the immediate outcome of the steel strike, it is but a
question of a short time before American labor will make solidaric cause
throughout all industries and assert the right of the toilers to the
ownership of the full product of their toil. The day of capitalistic
autocracy is gone. The future belongs to the proletariat of hand and

The present labor situation in the United States is full of promise for
the future. The war and its results have proven a great education for
the peoples of the world. They are sick of the high-sounding phrases
about political democracy and self-determination that are in practice
like so many scraps of paper. It is _industrial autocracy_ that the
workers of the world seek to destroy. This country, the alleged champion
of democracy, is being daily changed more and more into the régime of
Prussian militarism. The Government of the United States has taken
advantage of the alleged necessities of the war to crush the spirit of
liberty and to deprive the people of the last vestige of freedom. It has
now become dangerous, in this free country of ours, to express an
independent opinion upon any subject, except perhaps about the weather.
Free speech and press are a thing of the past. The American junkers and
plutocrats are swamping the country with propaganda for a strong
militarism. Our industrial autocrats see the handwriting on the wall and
hope to crush the gathering forces of labor by the bayonet and the
machine gun. The voice of liberty is being stifled in the prisons. Our
jails and penitentiaries are full of political and industrial prisoners
who have dared to hold an opinion of their own and to express it. Men
like Debs and others are immured behind iron bars because they love
liberty more than they do patrioteering. It is to the eternal disgrace
of this country that conscientious objectors, political and industrial
prisoners have not yet been given an amnesty, though even some of the
reactionary countries of Europe have long since restored their social
protestants to liberty. If there is any manhood left in the people of
America, they should immediately voice the most compelling demand for a
general amnesty for all political and industrial prisoners.

Rebels against industrial autocracy, such as Debs, Kate Richards O’Hare,
and others, should be the pride of the United States instead of being
kept in dungeons. Woe to a country that has no Debs, Kate O’Hare or Emma
Goldman! They are the voices that cry out the best aspirations of
humanity, even in the face of the gravest danger to themselves.

Speaking of Debs, I was happy to have the opportunity this morning,
before leaving the Federal Prison at Atlanta, to shake hands with the
Grand Old Man of the New Day. If there ever was a martyr to liberty,
Debs is that man. How stupid it is of the Government to jail men of his
type! Prison cannot crush their spirit, nor iron bars and brutality
change their conscience. Their love of humanity transcends the fear of
punishment or death. There are times when the scaffold is the most
elevated position for an honest man. Ideals cannot be imprisoned, nor
can the eternal spirit of liberty be exterminated by shutting up its
champions in dungeons or deporting men and women out of the United
States. I feel, I am convinced, that the future belongs to us—to us who
strive to regenerate society, to abolish poverty, misery, war and crime,
by doing away with the causes of these evils. And even in prison, where
we cannot fight for liberty, we can always struggle for principle.

It is this attitude of the political prisoners in all prisons that makes
their lot even harder than that of the average prisoner. It is time the
United States Government should take its head out of the bushes and
recognize the existence of political prisoners in this country. Even in
Czarist Russia the political prisoner was recognized as a man suffering
for his ideals. Benighted America still considers the political just the
same as the so-called common criminal. In the Atlanta Federal Prison the
politicals fare even worse than the average prisoner. A banker who got
away with the savings of poor widows and orphans receives the highest
consideration, while the man who loves humanity more than his own safety
is subjected to special persecution and discrimination.

I find that very few essential changes have taken place in the
administration of our prisons within the last 25 years. The same system
of brutalizing and degrading the prisoners still prevails. Only the
forms differ slightly. The dungeon (known as “the hole”), chaining up by
the wrists, clubbing and shooting, are the dominant methods of
reformation in Atlanta. Men are chained to the doors for eight and ten
hours consecutively, without even the opportunity of answering the most
pressing demands of nature. I have known men in the Federal Prison to be
kept 21 to 30 days at a stretch in “the hole,” which is a filthy, dark
kennel, not fit for a respectable dog, and fed on two small slices of
bread twice a day. Men are clubbed frequently, on the least provocation,
and recently a young colored boy, “Kid” Smith, was shot dead for not
walking fast enough while being taken to “the hole.”

The average type of guard in the Federal Prison is far below that of the
average prisoner, both mentally and morally. Excepting a few decent
officers, of a humane spirit, the majority of the guards are vulgar,
brutal and dissipated men. Some are degenerates of the worst type. At
their head is Deputy Warden Girardeau, formerly in charge of a chain
gang. He is a man of very low mentality who believes in the old-time
methods of brutality and suppression. His tactics look towards the
breaking of the prisoner’s spirit and to the degradation of the inmates.
A prison is the last place in the world, even at its best, to improve a
man. But the Atlanta Prison tends chiefly to dehumanize the prisoners
and to crush the last vestige of their manhood and self-respect. It is
the Deputy Warden who is mainly responsible for the inhumanities and
outrages practiced in the Federal Prison. He encourages the most brutal
tendencies of the guards, and even frequently protests and nullifies the
Warden’s more humane attitude. The Deputy Warden is the most hated man
in the prison. The inmates regard him as a religious hypocrite,
insincere and mean-spirited. It is his custom, after reading Sunday
service, to go down to the dungeon and chain men up to the doors. He
tantalizes the hungry victims in “the hole” with the recital of the fine
breakfast he had enjoyed that morning, and in various ways seeks to
provoke them into some unguarded remark in order to increase their
punishment. In protest against the murderous clubbing and shooting of
defenseless prisoners, I circulated a petition in the tailor shop (where
I was employed at the time), to call the attention of the Warden to the
terrible situation. The Deputy, hearing about it, sent for me and asked
me what my purpose was. I explained to him the general indignation
regarding the abuse of the prisoners, whereupon he asked me my opinion
of his methods. I told him frankly that his actions did not square with
his religious professions. I said that he was cruel to the men, that he
lacked all sense of justice and fair play, and that I thought—as well as
the majority of the prisoners—that he was a hypocrite. For this I was
put on bread and water in “the hole,” a dark and filthy cell hardly big
enough to stretch out in. After my time in “the hole” had expired, I was
sentenced to solitary confinement for the rest of my time. I spent the
last seven and a half months there.

The Federal Prison at Atlanta would profit a great deal both in
discipline and morale by the immediate discharge of Deputy Warden
Girardeau. Warden Fred G. Zerbst is a man far above the Deputy in every
sense. He is a man of modern ideas and of much experience in handling
prison inmates. He believes in the more humane methods of prison
management as against the Deputy’s system of brutal repression.
Unfortunately, the Warden is almost entirely occupied with the outside
affairs of the prison, so that the inside management is practically all
in the hands of the Deputy. There is considerable friction between the
two, with deplorable results to the prisoners. Very frequently the best
intentions of the Warden are nullified by the manner of their
application at the hands of the Deputy.

It is high time that the public get a look into the inside workings of
our penal institutions. The amount of brutality practiced in them as a
matter of daily routine is almost unbelievable. When will people realize
that the criminal is a man more sinned against than sinning, a victim of
our unjust social and economic arrangements? But after all, prisons and
their methods are a reflex of the conditions in the world outside. With
so much injustice, strife and brutality in the world at large, it is no
wonder that prison life mirrors the same spirit. When we become
civilized enough to abolish human slaughter in the larger prison called
society, when we reorganize life on the basis of human brotherhood and
co-operation, we will have no use for prisons.

 October 1, 1919.

                                                       ALEXANDER BERKMAN

                        REPLY OF FRED G. ZERBST
         Warden of the U. S. Federal Penitentiary, Atlanta, Ga.

 Editor _Constitution_:

In yesterday’s issue of your paper you printed an article under the
heading, “Berkman Charges Brutal Methods in Atlanta Pen,” and which
article is devoted principally to a personal attack on Deputy Warden
Charles H. Girardeau. It is also charged that a majority of the guards
are vulgar, brutal and dissipated men.

It is not my custom to reply to ridiculous statements or attacks upon
this institution made by irresponsible individuals, but in this case the
attack is somewhat along personal lines, and in justice to the men so
attacked I trust that you will see fit to accord this communication the
same privilege to space in your columns as that accorded to Mr.
Berkman’s foul and unwarranted personal attack.

Deputy Warden Charles H. Girardeau is a Christian gentleman of high
character, clean habits and high ideals, who performs his duties
conscientiously with a view no less for the welfare of those confined
here than for the government under which we live. He has lived in
Atlanta for a great many years and is known intimately by many of
Atlanta’s best citizens. I wonder if any of these people can picture
Charlie Girardeau as a low-minded, brutal fiend who tortures his
unfortunate victims in the manner described by Mr. Berkman. On the one
hand we have here a man who has been in Atlanta business and public life
for a great many years, always working to build up its citizenship and
its institutions, always having in view the public welfare. On the other
hand we have Mr. Berkman, who came to this country an anarchist
disguised by the pretense of seeking the benefits of American
freedom.... Mr. Berkman served a sentence of 22 years in the
Pennsylvania State prison, after which he made the same kind of an
attack on that institution as he has on this one.

Referring to the attack on the character of the guards on duty at this
institution, the guard force here as a whole is constituted of good
loyal Americans, who perform their duties with painstaking care, and it
requires much tact and patience to handle men of all different
mentalities and character assembled in a penal institution. The public
little realizes the work performed by these men at a compensation hardly
sufficient to live decently. These guards are appointed only after
passing a standard examination prescribed by the United States civil
service commission after careful investigation showing that they are
loyal Americans, that they are men of good moral character and standing
in the community in which they have lived and that they possess in a
high degree the qualifications necessary for the position. If any great
daily paper believes that these guards are of such character as Mr.
Berkman describes, it would be well to endeavor to rectify the methods
by which they are selected.

This institution is open to the public each day except Sundays, and many
thousands of visitors take advantage of this and inspect every
department. Unlike most similar institutions our isolation building, in
which are confined men who can not be brought in any other way to
respect the rights of others and the rules of the institution, is open
to the public. Mr. Berkman claims that these “filthy dungeons” are
cleaned up purely for the public visitors; if that be so they must be
cleaned twice each day and it would not be possible for them to be very
filthy at any time.

I do not ask to be exonerated on account of any improper conditions
existing at this institution, if such do exist, and I cheerfully accept
responsibility for its management as long as I am its Warden. This
management, however, will be in the interest of the government
constituted by the American people and not in the interest of a
revolutionary propaganda seeking for the destruction of that government
and the substitution therefor of the doctrines of Alexander Berkman and
his associates, the abolition of all laws.

                                     Very truly yours,
                                                 FRED G. ZERBST, Warden.

                     REPLY TO WARDEN FRED G. ZERBST

 Editor _Constitution_:

In your issue of October 4, 1919, Warden Fred G. Zerbst, of the Federal
Prison at Atlanta, makes an alleged reply to my charges of brutality,
corruption and incompetence on the part of the management of the Federal

The outstanding feature of Warden Zerbst’s statement is its entire
failure to discredit my charges, much less to disprove them. I made
definite accusations, gave facts, cited specific instances. The Warden’s
only reply is, in essence, “All’s well, and there is nothing more to be
said about it.” That is the good old traditional policy of the
authorities of all penal and other similar institutions since time
immemorial. When facing charges of corruption and brutality, they resort
to the grand gesture of waving the terrible indictment flippantly aside,
with the too-easy declaration, “Nothing to it.” But an outraged public
sentiment, in numerous similar cases, has but too often exposed this
high-and-mighty attitude as the invariable camouflage of rotten
conditions within the prison walls. To cite but one recent instance,
still comparatively vivid in the public memory, will be sufficient. I
refer to the case of Mr. Moyer, former Warden of the Atlanta Federal
Prison, who consistently scoffed at and ridiculed the charges of Julian
Hawthorne (the son of his famous father) till the Hawthorne revelations
of prison abuse and outrage, corroborated by numerous other prisoners
and former inmates, were proven to the hilt, and Warden Moyer summarily
dismissed by the Federal Government.

I appreciate the spirit of chivalry, of the _ésprit de corps_, that
prompts Warden Zerbst to rush to the rescue of Deputy Warden Girardeau
and his assistants, against whom my indictment is chiefly directed. I
have emphasized in my previous statement that Warden Zerbst is more
humane and intelligent than the Deputy Warden. I may now add that he is
also generous, all too generous, to his official subordinates. But
chivalry may be misplaced—it _is_ misplaced in the present case. It will
not do for Mr. Zerbst to barrage the outrages committed within the
prison walls with his loyalty to his official family. He owes a duty, a
prior duty, to the public, to the taxpayers that support the institution
over which he presides. Besides, he also owes a duty to the men in his
keeping, the inmates—about 1,500 helpless unfortunates—a duty he owes in
the interests of justice and humanity.

To my specific charge that Deputy Warden Girardeau is brutal and of low
moral and mental calibre, the Warden replies that Mr. Girardeau is a
well-known citizen of Atlanta. ’Tis a rather lame and unconvincing
refutation of my charge. To my indictment of the majority of the guards
as vulgar, brutal and dissipated men, the Warden replies that they have
satisfactorily filled out certain civil service blanks, or passed some
other perfunctory examination. Yet in the very next breath he admits
that “the work is performed by these men at a compensation hardly
sufficient to live decently.” In other words, the guards are paid $76.00
per month, and I leave it to the readers to judge what “high degree of
qualification” $76.00-dollar-a-month men possess, in these days of high
cost of living.

I emphatically challenge the Warden’s statement that visitors are
admitted to the punishment cells I described as filthy. There are in the
Atlanta Federal Prison _two kinds_ of punishment cells, known
respectively as the “dark hole” and the “light hole.” The difference
between the two is extreme. The “light hole” is a comparatively large
cell with a window admitting some light and air. The “dark hole” is a
veritable kennel, wedge-shaped, about 2½ feet wide at the entrance, 4½
feet at the back, and 6 feet long. The prisoner is forced to sleep in
this dark hole on the floor, on a filthy mattress, with a bit of rag for
covering even in the coldest winter. Its only toilet facilities is an
iron pail, sharp-edged, without any lid, the pail remaining in the cell
24 hours daily. It is emptied but once a day in the early morning.
That’s the filthy dungeon referred to in my first statement in the
“Constitution,” and I challenge the authorities of the prison to deny
its existence, to deny that men are kept there for thirty days
consecutively and sometimes longer, on an insufficient bread and water
diet. No visitors, except government officials, or personal friends of
the prison authorities, are ever permitted even a glance into this dark

Can Warden Zerbst successfully deny the above facts? Even a most
superficial investigation would bear me out. Can the Warden contradict
my charges that prisoners are strung up by the wrists for 8 to 12 hours
at a stretch, for 5 to 10 consecutive days? In his statement in the
“Constitution” the Warden fails to deny that men are frequently clubbed,
nor does he even refer to the unprovoked murder of “Kid” Smith by
Officer Dean on February 21, 1919. What is the Warden’s reply to these
direct charges? His reply is that “Berkman came to this country as an
Anarchist, disguised by the pretence of seeking the benefits of American
freedom.” A rather peculiar justification for prison brutalities! As a
matter of fact, I came to this country about 32 years ago, a mere boy of
17, at which time I had never heard the word Anarchist, nor knew its
meaning. I became an Anarchist in this country, and it was just such
methods as used by Deputy Warden Girardeau—the methods of tyranny,
oppression and persecution, practiced not only in penitentiaries, but
also in the larger prison called the world—that made me an Anarchist who
seeks more humane forms of social life.

Warden Zerbst pretends to believe my charges against the institution to
be but a “ridiculous attack somewhat along personal lines.” Why
ridiculous? Have such things never happened before in prison? Have penal
institutions never been known to resort to brutal methods, or are prison
guards generally acknowledged to be the cream of human kindness,
understanding, and good judgment? Or are “the high moral and
intellectual qualifications” of 76-dollar-a-month men beyond question or

The Warden states that I had made similar charges after my release from
the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. But he forgets to add that as
a result of my indictment of the brutalities practiced in that prison,
investigations took place, my charges sustained, and practically the
whole administration of the Western Penitentiary radically changed.

As a matter of fact, I did not yet tell one-hundredth part of the
terrible things that happen in the daily routine of the Atlanta Federal
Prison. For lack of time and space I did not even mention the criminal
neglect of sick prisoners, the deliberate starvation of the consumptive
Nicholas Zogg, who is actually dying on his feet for lack of proper diet
(he being a vegetarian), the unwholesome food, the vile manner in which
it is served to the inmates, the favoritism of men with a “pull,” the
discrimination against political offenders, the corrupt system of “stool
pigeons,” the fake trials at which the word of one drunken guard
outweighs that of a dozen soldiers, political prisoners and other
inmates of character and integrity, whose sole crime consisted in the
expression of an unpopular opinion during the war. I have not yet
referred to the traffic, by guards and other officials, in cocaine,
morphine, and other “dope,” nor to the new 400-loom duck mill, the
product of which is about to come in competition with free labor. Nor
have I yet even hinted at the existence and the actual encouragement of
homosexual practices and other sex aberrations resulting from
suppression. I have not started yet, Mr. Zerbst, but I _will_, and that
very soon.

Are these charges just “a personal attack?” Why try to mislead the
public? Most intelligent men _know_ that there are terrible abuses
practiced in penal institutions. There are several investigations of
penitentiaries and insane asylums going on at this very moment. The
Federal Prison at Atlanta is no exception, and my attack is not directed
against any particular individual, but against the system of tyranny,
injustice and brutality inside our prisons, as well as outside. I want
to do whatever lies in my power to ameliorate the conditions under which
my unfortunate fellow-men in prisons have to suffer. I think that Warden
Zerbst, as a matter of common humanity, should be the first to aid my
efforts. As the initial step toward this he should eliminate all
physical violence, abolish chaining up and the stool-pigeon system, and
try to secure a living wage for the prison guards. You can’t live these
days on $76.00 a month. Most of the guards are married men, with
families. Within the last two years a large number of new keepers have
been engaged by the penitentiary, displacing the old and outworn
men—engaged at $76.00 a month, with disastrous results to the inmates.
The struggle for existence makes the guards surly, cranky, and
quarrelsome, constantly conscious of their grievance because of their
low pay, with the tendency to vent their misery and ill-humor upon the
unfortunates in their power. The human element is of vital importance in
prison life.

As a matter of common decency and fellow-feeling, in the interest of
both the prisoners and society, I shall be happy to contribute my little
share to bring a bit of sunshine into the dark night of the boys I left

 October 5, 1919.

                                                       ALEXANDER BERKMAN

                       PERSECUTION OF POLITICALS

Practically every political and industrial prisoner in the Federal
Penitentiary at Atlanta, with the exception of Eugene V. Debs, has been
the victim of special discrimination and persecution. In the case of
Debs, the authorities considered it best, owing to his great popularity,
to assign him to the hospital, where he enjoys better food and
treatment, without any particular work to do. At the same time this
partial isolation of Eugene V. Debs from the rest of the prisoners
precludes opportunity on his part for spreading his ideas among the

With the sole exception of Eugene V. Debs, all the other political
prisoners in the Atlanta penitentiary have suffered special persecution:

A. Hennecy, a young Socialist from Ohio, was kept in complete solitude
and isolation for eight consecutive months. He was allowed neither to
receive or send mail, no books or papers of any kind, nor was he
permitted work or exercise, or any other privileges usually accorded the
average prisoner. The “crime” for which he was being thus inhumanly
punished was, according to the official report of officer Demoss
(formerly whipping master in the Atlanta prison), “Conversing in a
suspicious manner with another prisoner in the yard, the other prisoner
being Louis Kramer.” Both Hennecy and Kramer were at that time employed
in the prison shops and permitted, like the other inmates, to be out in
the yard every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, privileged to speak to

A. Hennecy is now finishing a one-year sentence in the Delaware County
Jail, Ohio, having been released from the Atlanta prison in February,
1919. He served in Atlanta two years on the charge of obstructing the
draft. His present sentence is the result of his failure to register on
June 4th, 1917.

Walter Hershberger, a conscientious objector, serving 20 years for
refusing to don a military uniform. (His sentence has since been reduced
to four years.) Herschberger has been kept in solitary confinement and
isolation almost continuously since the early part of December, 1918.
His solitary is “broken” by frequent visits to the dungeon, a dark hole
2½×4½×6 feet, where he is kept on an insufficient bread-and-water diet
for periods ranging from 3 to 15 days. He was in isolation when I left
the prison on October 1st, 1919.

Nicholas Zenn Zogg (spelled on the prison records Zough) serving ten
years on the charge of aiding a young man to evade the draft. He was
transferred to the Atlanta penitentiary from the Federal prison at
McNeill’s Island, State of Washington. Zogg is in the last stages of
tuberculosis, and is being practically starved to death by the refusal
of the authorities to permit him to buy or to receive suitable food from
friends. He has been a strict vegetarian all his life, as were his
father and grandfather before him, and he is neither physically nor
conscientiously able to partake of the regular prison diet. He is forced
to live mostly on oatmeal, badly prepared and served in the most
unpalatable manner. Notwithstanding the fact that Zogg is barely able to
walk about, he has been repeatedly thrown into the dungeon for alleged
breaches of discipline.

Jack Randolph, an I. W. W., serving 10 years for opposition to the war,
is in very delicate health and unable to perform the amount of work
demanded of him in the tailor shop, was repeatedly punished in the
dungeon and in solitary.

“Red” Massey, an I. W. W., from New Orleans, sent to the Atlanta prison
on a frame-up charge under the Mann Act. This man has been kept in
solitary and in isolation almost continuously for a year, and punished
in the dungeon on the slightest pretext.

Morris Becker, sentenced to 20 months on the charge of conspiracy
against the draft. This young man, of very slight physique, weighing
about 100 pounds, and for over a year unable to eat anything except
bread and oatmeal because of his poor physical condition and also
because he was a vegetarian, was ordered to do yard work. His job
consisted in wheeling a large wheelbarrow full of bricks and cement up a
very steep incline. Becker was unable to perform the work. For his
“refusal to work” he was sent to the dungeon and there kept for 21 days
on two slices of bread and water a day. He was released from the dungeon
almost half dead, whereupon the authorities admitted that he was unable
to perform the hard toil allotted to him. He was then assigned to the
tailor shop.

Louis Kramer, serving 2 years for conspiracy to obstruct the draft,
assigned, like Becker, to the same yard work, and equally unable to
perform the task. Kept in the dungeon 21 days on bread and water.
Subsequently repeatedly punished in the dark cell on the slightest or no
provocation, chained up by the wrists to the door, and kept in isolation
for 5 months till his discharge in June, 1919.

Louis Kramer is now serving one year in the Essex County Penitentiary,
N. J., for refusing to register.

Alexander Berkman, sentenced to 2 years on the charge of conspiracy to
obstruct the draft. Kept in the dungeon for five days on bread and water
for circulating a petition in the tailor shop, protesting to the Warden
against the brutal clubbings of defenceless prisoners; also in protest
against the unprovoked murder of “Kid” Smith by Officer Dean. Sentenced
to solitary and isolation for 7½ months, for calling the attention of
Deputy Warden Girardeau to the brutalities practiced by the keepers in
his charge, and for calling the Deputy a hypocrite. Kept thirty
consecutive hours in the “dark hole” with the blind door on, which
almost absolutely excludes all light and air, with the result that the
man thus punished is put through the torture of gradual suffocation,—one
of the worst forms of punishment known in prison life. During three
months forbidden to receive or send mail, read papers or books, or to
have any exercise whatever. Held in solitary and in isolation
continuously from February 21st, to the day of discharge, October 1st,

As an instance of wilful brutality practiced upon the ordinary prisoner,
I may cite the case of A. Popoff. In the latter part of 1917, while in a
state of temporary mental aberration, Popoff killed a former Deputy
Warden of the prison. He was taken out for trial and sentenced to life
imprisonment. Upon his return from the court, the Atlanta penitentiary
authorities confined him in a dark dungeon and kept him there
continuously for two years, most of the time on a bread-and-water diet.
Almost every week Popoff was subjected to a terrific beating by several
guards, after which he would be carried to the hospital unconscious, and
later again returned to the dungeon. This treatment was kept up from
1917 till August, 1919. Popoff became a raving maniac, and still his
punishment in the dungeon continued. Finally, in the latter part of
1919, he was transferred to an insane asylum.

This is one of the instances of a prisoner of infantile mentality being
deliberately driven into insanity by torture and by barbaric treatment.

This is but a small fragment of the numerous brutalities practiced daily
in the U. S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, Ga. The lot of the average
prisoner is hard enough, but the politicals are particularly
discriminated against in the matter of work, of general treatment, and
specifically in relation to their mail privileges. A young keeper, whose
education does not exceed the three R’s, is the chief prison censor,
with the result that most of the mail sent to the politicals never
reaches its destination.

In the daily routine of prison life, there are many and various
opportunities to make the existence of the inmates unbearable. In
Atlanta there are quite a number of petty officials, from the Deputy
down, who make the best of these opportunities, especially in regard to
the politicals. To the average prison keeper, the political offender is
a non-understandable thing. He knows that the convict is either a
murderer, robber or a thief, but that a man should be willing to go to
prison for no material benefit to himself, is beyond his ken. That one
should risk his liberty merely for the sake of ideas or ideals, is
almost beyond belief and is positive proof—in the eyes of the average
prison keeper—that the man is either crazy or hopelessly depraved. Such
a man need expect neither understanding, sympathy, nor mercy. The
average man is inclined to distrust and hate the thing he does not
understand, and we always try to suppress the thing we hate. Hence, the
more than usually inhumane and brutal treatment of the political
prisoners in the penal institutions of America.

                                                       ALEXANDER BERKMAN

                             IN CONCLUSION

The results attained by penal institutions are the very opposite of the
ends sought. The modern form of “civilized” revenge kills, figuratively
speaking, the enemy of the individual citizen, but it breeds in his
place the enemy of society. The prisoner of the State does not regard
the person he injured as his particular enemy—as did the member of the
primitive tribe, for instance, feeling the wrath and revenge of the
wronged one. Instead, he looks upon the State as his direct punisher; in
the representatives of the law he sees his personal enemies. He nurtures
his wrath, and wild thoughts of revenge fill his mind. His hate toward
the persons directly responsible, in his estimation, for his
misfortune—the arresting officer, the jailer, the prosecuting attorney,
judge and jury—gradually widens in scope, and the poor unfortunate
becomes an enemy of society as a whole. Thus, while our penal
institutions are supposed to protect society from the prisoner so long
as he remains one, they cultivate in him the germs of social hatred and

Deprived of his liberty, his rights, and the enjoyment of life; all his
natural impulses, good and bad alike, suppressed; subjected to
indignities and disciplined by harsh and often most inhumane methods,
generally maltreated and abused by official brutes whom he despises and
hates, the prisoner comes to curse the fact of his birth, the woman that
bore him, and all those responsible, in his eyes, for his misery. He is
brutalized by the treatment he receives, and by the revolting sights he
is forced to witness in prison. What manhood he may have possessed is
soon eradicated by the “discipline.” His impotent rage and bitterness
are turned into hatred toward everything and everybody, the feeling
growing in intensity as the years of misery come and go. He broods over
his troubles, and the desire to revenge himself grows on him. Soon it
becomes a fixed determination. Society had made him an outcast: it is
his natural enemy. Nobody had shown him either kindness or mercy; he
will be merciless to the world.

Then he is released. His former friends spurn him; he is no more
recognized by his acquaintances. Society points its finger at the
ex-convict. He is looked upon with scorn, derision, and disgust. He is
distrusted and abused. He has no money, and there is little charity for
the “moral leper.” He finds himself a social Ishmael, with everybody’s
hand turned against him—and he turns his hand against everybody else.

The penal and the alleged “protective” functions of prisons thus defeat
their own ends. Their work is not merely unprofitable; it is worse than
useless. It is positively and absolutely detrimental to the best
interests of society.

There exists no other institution among the diversified “achievements”
of modern society which, while assuming a most important role in the
destinies of mankind, has proven a more reprehensible failure. Millions
of dollars are annually expended for the maintenance of prisons—a great
deal more than is spent on educational institutions in this country.
That money could be invested with as much profit and less harm in
government bonds of the planet Mars, or sunk in the Atlantic. No amount
of punishment can obviate or “cure” crime so long as prevailing
conditions, in and out of prison, drive men to it.

                                                       ALEXANDER BERKMAN

                     SHOULD THOUGHT BE SUPPRESSED?

or do you approve of the sentiments expressed by =ALEXANDER BERKMAN= in
his statement, in re deportation, made to the officials of the U. S.
Immigration Service:

        I deny the right of any one—individually or
        collectively—to set up an inquisition of thought.
        Thought is, or should be, free. My social views and
        political opinions are my personal concern. I owe no one
        responsibility for them. Responsibility begins only with
        the effects of thought expressed in action. Not before.
        Free thought, necessarily involving freedom of speech
        and press, I may tersely define thus: no opinion a
        law—no opinion a crime. For the government to attempt to
        control thought, to prescribe certain opinions or
        proscribe others, is the height of despotism.

Do you realize the menace of the Anti-Anarchist Law, under cover of
which scores of men and women—not only Anarchists, but Socialists, I. W.
W.’s, and ordinary workers—are arrested daily and held for deportation?

As =EMMA GOLDMAN= pointed out at her deportation hearing:

        Under the mask of the same Anti-Anarchist law every
        criticism of a corrupt administration, every attack on
        Governmental abuse, every manifestation of sympathy with
        the struggling of another country in the pangs of a new
        birth—in short, every free expression of untrammeled
        thought may be suppressed utterly, without even the
        semblance of an unprejudiced hearing or a fair trial.

                       HELP US FIGHT THIS MENACE

                   =EMMA GOLDMAN=      {
                                       { =Committee=
                   =ALEXANDER BERKMAN= {

                        =Send Contributions to:=

                             =STELLA COMYN
                            36 Grove Street
                               New York=


solicits your interest and financial support for its important work of
securing an Amnesty for all political and industrial prisoners.

                  *       *       *       *       *

This =AMNESTY LEAGUE= also looks after the interests of political and
industrial prisoners in various institutions, and supplies them with
finances and with what little personal comforts prison rules permit. We
ask you to contribute generously to our Prisoners’ Relief Fund.

The =LEAGUE= also asks your co-operation to enable it to take care of
the immediate needs of the women and children left without support
because of the many and sudden arrests of radicals subject to
deportation. Their need is very urgent.

                  *       *       *       *       *


=Make checks payable to:=

                           =M. E. FITZGERALD
                              857 Broadway
                               New York=

                    =Send for Literature on Amnesty=





        The story of the trial and sentence of Mollie Stimer,
        Jacob Abrams, Hyman Lachowsky, and Samuel Lipman. Their
        “crime” consisted in printing and circulating a leaflet
        opposing American intervention in Russia.

Justices of the U. S. Supreme Court Holmes and Brandeis said in their
minority opinion on this case: “These defendants had as much right to
circulate these leaflets as the U. S. Government has to circulate the

And yet the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has just doomed these
defendants to long terms in prison.

The proceeds of this pamphlet are devoted to fight this important case.

                                15 CENTS

                             =M. E. FITZGERALD
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              Edited by Harry Kelly and Leonard D. Abbott

In the present universal chaos of thought and aims, a clear
voice—conscious of its social purpose and true to its ideals—ought to be
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                  *       *       *       *       *

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                           ALEXANDER BERKMAN

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                              Two Dollars


 Order from
       857 Broadway
         New York


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors and variations in
 2. Retained archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 4. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A fragment of the prison experiences of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman - In the State Prison at Jefferson City, Mo., and the U. S. Penitentiary at Atlanta, Ga. February, 1918–October, 1919" ***

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