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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, June 01, 1913, Image 28

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1913-06-01/ed-1/seq-28/

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Three Year
Tunneling
lor Freedom
Fl#*cii!f # * Discovery and
KCsllll* . Thirty Lashes.
Being the Tragic Story, of Elie
Kogan, Revo!utionisti Who |
Survived Prison
and Siberia and Is
Now a Free Man
m New
wN the Tear of a small si)op on.East
IN Broadway of s naoH City, .bent,
Broadway \ew York City, a bent,
wrinkled, sad-looking young man
Btood squinting at a watch. -J . , ..,.
'That's Kogan," said the proprietor;
(Tie visitor nodded. -He was ; looking
Cor Kogan— l Elie Kogan, if you iplease, j
not the silent, busy -workman," but £-iie j
Kogan, the revolutionist,; the refugee, j
"Yes," said the "workman, "without
removing his watchmaker's • monocle,
"I am Elie Kogan." ;. : , .
.- He did not look Ilka a revolutionist. . !
He looked very much like any other
(young man you ttias"..see—morning,
afternoon or , night—on ; the' East Side.
•You would; not have suspected him of
desperate . twlventure. ' But the visitor,
..Qcnew. > ••• /''
This Elio Korean ,"was standing faere
with the monocle in his eye, only by
virtue of a country's liberty. You
% looked at Elie Kcgan and heard the
farmers of Lexington clumping down
the road to immortality. Shots were
At night, we woul<
I / dig at the tunnel
rdig at the tunnel
using no tools, excep
} a table knife and our hands
We broke the table knife
into four pieces, though, f
and in that way every J
man had a shovel. i
Elie Kogan
hred; blood ran, and constitutions
were wrULe.:—all that tHla prampture
ly-ased man . , : !.a enabled to say:
i\ "Yes. I am Kqgan." : . t
• - *&:; few months ago that - same re
marl; would have sent, the sneaker
i to . lifelong t 1 Siberian %xile. He ; *>' a3 j
the hunted' prey of a nation. Having I
beeti sentenced to prison, at seven i
for participating : T in a revolutionary
outbreak he ': had served bis term
and )egun ; the \ secondary •; penance of
Russian "' law —Siberian . exile. After
three attempts he ihad finally succeed
ed in .escaping, to America?, In the
• pens 'of Ellis t Island he had 'been
halted again, this time by thei immi
gration law which forbids the admis
sion .' of I persons who *- have been con- j.
vie ted of crimes involving moral tur- |
pitude. ' ' ;: ,'->'•'. i^S^re
:-'_", ■.'-■' ■ ■ ■ ■ -,-. ••■■' .. ■■-■=:.
Iv r fni the I end Jhe > had.; been > admitted .'
ifOtherwise, this {; story f ■ might > n£ver
have been "written, and Elie Kogan
'would have •'been sent /back- on the
steamer .^ which brought £ him here—
back to imprisonment, oppression , and
Siberia, the land of living r death. Two
Ellis Island boards of inquiry even
rendered him this verdict.: ,_ Then; the
case was carried by Simon O. Pollock,
attorney for the Russian Political
Refugee*; , League, to the court of final
apjKai--in this instance, the United
Statas Secretary of Labor. 1 " f The sec
,i ' ■-. i.r? lr ,■■■■ , .■> f,j ■_■■% t'-> .r ~ v,''' ' T <"V.'* ■■/* ' ■ ■:,]* ti ' ,11..."
retary—who s is ■ named William * Wil
son and -happens-, to have participated
in some -more.ors less revolutionary
movements hiro*?^— ruled : - that Elie
Koga'n .was to be given sanctuary. ;
'' The importance of this fact is t not
confined ;to the destinies of Elie
My Bride
Komance or the
Famous Artist
and the Little
Girl Who Was
the Original of
the Pain tin g
Which Was Ex
hibited in the
Paris Salon. .
ago, : when. -
JL ■■ Penrya Staiilayvs, ,
the . artist, •' was in '
I Princeton; 5 ; lie s formed >, ;
aa ideal. Later, at a
dinner party in Eng
land, there appeared A
among \- the guests a' -
young '■■/■ woman, ';.;'littli
more .; than a girl, who v ;
was the visualization'
of that ideal. The ad
miration of - 4 the ■ artist .
for the girl -was re
ciprocated. The •' two
met ; often during the ;
season that followed. >
Penryn Stanlaws per- ; '
suaded the girl to sit
for her picture. He _-
had • never \ before at-"
tempted ' a painting *in ■?■
oils. , ' The sittings ■
were a , success. . The ••,
picture, :>; as it . pro
gressed, i received ; fay- ;
orable v criticism from
stichf great' artists as -> ; ;
Corman, Blanche and i~
Raphael Colin. When
it was completed "i it 7
was j. accepted by > the ■
National •Committee
and hung in the
Paris Salon , next to a I
masterpiece ! by ) Bou
tet ?. de ; ! Monuel. Art
loving Paris talked ; .
of Stanlaw*s ~L picture.
He even became hon
ored by,- his own
country,
\ Penryn Stanlaws
was happy. The girl
of his boyhood
dreams, v now a real- V
ity, had become : the
inspiration which won
for the indolent, care
free young artist hi 3
greatest \ success and
assured for ' him '" his
career. Was it strange
that !he should love her.
!'->.—-VS...V-*;■*■ ;••*'■.-.. i,;>.- i v:..« J rj.- ■»
i ■;: Four weeks . ago they were married
Kogan. \ It relates to all • others ■ like
him—others who have fled from Si
beria, others who ihave rested their
hopes upon America. In the future
they will find that revolution is not
"a crime involving.moral^urpitude.
• As for Elie Kogan, his personal suf
ferings have been sufficient to expiate
a hundred crimes. _-\ , ~ \
c "I was seventeen years old," he
said, y carefully removing the monocle
and ■* placing it upon his workman's
bench. The proprietor of .; the jeweler's
shop • had returned to the counters.
"The day was Jan. ,21. 1906. I had
come from home some fifty miles away
to attend a revolutionary meeting at
Pskov." ;He Stopped \a ; moment. \ "Per
haps I first had better tell you more
about myself? Yes? Very well, :.\.".
: : "Ours has always been a family of
revolutionists. " You .' understand?
When I was a small '■ boy, the soldiers
killed the youngest of my -. sisters, > just
four years old. .- That would alsoi make
you a revolutionist, would it not? It
is very bad for soldiers to kill little
children, very bad. And )it is • not the i
worst thing they do." He ran a : hanO j
across his I forehead. v' "Well, iit was
that - which made us revolutionists.
My father, my mother, T . my '- three;
brothers, 1 ; myself—we all hated the
Government. We hated the land in r j
which we lived. <We would have left j
it, but when you are poor J. what can j
you do?" He waited for an answer.
:'i "Well, I became *a> revolutionist.- ilfj
I could not leave Russia, I could try;
to make it better. ■■:= It was not because j
I like to make trouble; ; that is -some- j
thing I ; have always hated. , You have i
to live in Russia"; to understand, ij
was a .member of the Bund, the Social
Democratic Party. We did not want!
to kill anybody. \Y\Vonly wanted te !
make things so that everybody could i
live peacefully and happily. But th a .\
Government did not like that. ; , It did •
not > want people (to be happy. It \
wanted them to be afraid. So, in j
every" way that it was able it tried toj
i ( break up our meetings. Therefore, we I
were • compelled ■to hold them -in •=■ se- : j
cret. : ' ■ '-•'•-.•.:■: .-•
■ i
"It was during one of these meet- i
■i i;"'. ; ■' ' '•'. *■ ' " , ... .' .: •. •'''■' ■ ■ .
Penrhyn Stanlaws.
—this ',- artist who loved an Ideal and j
Miss Jean Pughsley, the girl who en
Ings that some ; one ■ committed j the act
for which I was sentenced to prison.
I was. .at the meeting, so yati see it
would have been impossible £dr"nie*,to
: have been at the : other place, which
was two hours' walk distant The
; member s* of -another revolutionary
party broke into a Government pawn-1
\ shop We y,. did " not < believe.in that*
because , itr did ■no good; ■} nothing ever]
happened as a result of such things.
;. except that :- some M one was 'T , , sent to
Siberia. The Government spies knew i
this. But since they could not get)
■ hold vof the people who had V actually)
broken into : the pawnshop they ar
rested all the revolutionists they could j
in town, me among them. - - •'"
. - "We were not ' tried in an ordinary
court by a jury. Instead we ,were
;tried in the court reserved for political
offenders. I could , not tell my where
abouts at ~ the :, time of ; the breaking!
into the pawnshop, because i that would!
have involved • others who ; were at the
: meeting, and as it is against the law
to ; hold J such f meetings, '; they would
X have been .' arrested. The keepers of.
I the pawnshop testified that I was not!
! ; among the four men who broke into
the place, that made no difference.
I was a revolutionist, and some one
! had to be punished. So J. was sen-:
tenced to eight ; years •in .prison,^ and
!:'subsequent*; exile ras ia% political of
fender. l «■'- ]' ,; ' '-'■ -■ ''!•!. V'
• "As I • was not yet eighteen years
old this sentence was - reduced by law
to five years * and ' four months. I
thought this very funny, for, after all,
: a young \ man - has : longer. to live : than,
an old one; therefore, why should not
his sentence be lengthened and 'the
older man's reduced? But it sva"s ex*:
plained to me that this ! was • consid
ered humane. I thought it foolish. A
young !manpst always more dangerous
than an old one, anyway. - "
"Wei!, as soon as they put me in the
governmenta.l prison at Pskov I be
gan trying to get out. Some comradee
and myself dug a tunnel under the
walls. -' It was a loirg tunnel, and it
took us three years to dig it. Our cell
was only six feet long ] and four feet
wide, so :we had : a hard time in hiding
tered Into his life like the realization
of "a dream in j soft, shimmering satin
of palest >y gray, 'with golden wings
and the fragrance of lilies ■of [ the val
ley • floating round i her." This :■ is "the*
way -the :artist;Jdescribed: her.". > ;_;
the V dirt. c We would ■: make V. it- into
} mud and let it dry on our shoes; ( - then ;
when they took us out <to work we
would kick it off in 'the} prison yard.
At'night we would dig at the tunnel,
using no tools except a table knife and
' our hands. *. We broke the table knife I
into four ; pieces, though, and >in that
. way t every : - one had a shovel. " ',* ;
"We 4 did this for three ) years. Then,
] r When the tunnel was within a foot of
the outside of the walls, the guards
moved us to another cell. This did
not discourage us. One of us was a
fgoodC mathematician » and he v figured
out a way in which , * we could connect
.with the work we had already done.
So we started at ;it again, and at the
•end lof * another year we " managed *to
get back, into our old. tunnel. ,>-. •
I "But it was all wasted : labor. . The
guards had known what we were do
ing from , the first, and just ,as we
thought we were on/the.verge of free
dom they took us up before the gov
ernor of J : the prison and charged us
with attempting to escape. The pen
alty for this was thirty-six lashes with
; the knout. v ; We received , them on the
back—here are . the scars. - Yes, they
■were vefy i painful. [> v I became un
conscfops "' three times while iit '• was
going on, . and they - had to , revive -me
before they could continue. : ■-''■.
\ ."We made no more attempts to es
cape from Pskov. The time of our im
prisonment was almost \up and :we
would f sqon he sent into ? exile in Si
beria. There, while it would still be
difficult to escape; there were no walls,
and: we would ;be compelled to 4 dig
no more useless tunnels..:^' ;. - :: ~J:
"I was sent to the colony at Wjerch
nedink. ? The """first time, I tried to es
cape to Japan, but I get lost in the
snow, and, after almost starving to
death, was /caught": and £ sent back" to
:the fortress. , This time they gave me
fifty lashes. , '~%'": ..J,-,. >. , \\ [, ,' -
It did not ; bother me much, because
I was getting tough. After six months
I tried it again. . Some friends helped
me, and means of forged passports
I succeeded in 1 -' getting" .beyond' the
frontier. This time ; I did . not try to
-go- by way of Japan,"; hut ••■ trusted to
Penrhyn
Stanlaws
*;".-The • artist^selected ■'the; name. In
j an or 1 nis dreams lie Had tnougat oßc
his ideal as "Hazel." ; -The first time
toy
I the hazel hues in the ' coils of hei
i luxuriant hair.v ;■-'"...".
my v friends to , see me safely through
Russia. •We: have way of 1 doing that,
you know. v.; My family, which, after
my imprisonment, had been persecuted
i go : that »it had been compelled to flee
Russia and take refuge in the United
States* sent me some money. My
revolutionary friends . supplied more,
besides providing me with hiding
places and forged passports. For two
months they passed me from hand to
! hand across the country. I was afraid
J all the time of being caught and sent
I back to Siberia. Sometimes I travelled
by railway; sometimes by wagon, and
'sometimes by foot. ■ Even after I '
crossed the German frontier I was
not safe. ' For the refugee there is no
hiding place except the United States.
"About a month ago my.friends put
me f aboard »a steamship at Bremen,
and, after seven years of difficulty, I
found myself at last on the way to
America. When I landed in New York
and the people at Ellis : Island told me
I could : not - stay, I 1 lost heart for the
first time. If I went hack to Bremen
the , Russian spies would /be waiting
on the other* side; v I would be ar
rested; I would be knouted; I would
be returned to f exile. Here, in New
York, V was everything I ' loved—my
father, my 'brothers, my sisters, and
most of all, liberty. Then the people
said for the second time tihat I could
not come in, and I was almost ready
to despair. ; The vrest, well, it is all
settled now. . I am in New York. I
am happy. The revolution will go on
Without; me. In Russia I > could do no
good: in New York, perhaps, I can be
of help." V '!
. > Elie Kogan picked up the monocle
and returned it to his eye. ,~
vf "You see," he said, as the wrinkles ;
of his young-old ; : face screwed them
selves into ;' : gruesome shape, "every
thing turns out all right." !
;r Somewhere toward the front of the
shop the proprietor made certain audi
ble displays of salesmanship. •'• The
visitor nodded in < his direction. ;.
"
"He knows nothing about it?"
;*.'. "He?" Elie Kogan laughed ? quietly.
.''Hei;'was' at Wenciinedink for eighteen
years." •"* ► •_* '* .

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