Mitchell Reports | December 05, 2012
>>> the perpetrator of what historians call the first terrorist act is of a new biography " sasha and emma ." they were considered the pate yashgs of the an narcist movement. the narrative is woven together by karen averich and her father. karen joins me now. this was a labor of love in every respect. tell me about the genesis of this. your father the historian had worked on this many years and then really as he was dying asked you to take it on.
>> yes. he was a professor of russian history and an arcism, an arcism his passion, and spent many decades interviewing those that had been active in the 20th century , collecting their letters and photographs and written a number of books about the subject. it was always about sasha and emma he wanted to write. they were compelling to him. when he got hill he asked me to take over the project and asked me to finish it. he died in 2006 and i took on his letters and drafts and tried to put it together.
>> was that a very large emotional burden? i mean how do you cope with you have grief, you have memory loss and also this enormous project?
>> oh, yes. it was difficult. i felt this pressure both because of his great legacy and the death of making sure this book was finish and finished well. and initially it seemed like an enormous project. you know, i had masses of notes to work with and then as i got more and more just in the story, i heard my father's voice but i started to hear sasha and emma 's voices as well. the story sort of picked me up and helped carry me along.
>> from such a bygone era, but emma golden is so modern. talk about her role as a leader and sort of an icon even for those that don't agree perhaps with her politics but she broke all sorts of barriers for women.
>> she did. her view was that she came to america as an immigrant. she was initially dissolutioned by the way that immigrants and the poor were treated. she tried to advocate for social justice 37. she considered herself an american patriot . fought for freedom of speech , freedom of assembly , women's rights, the rights of homosexuals. she was very modern and it was -- this was important to her. she felt america could be the best america could be.
>> and sasha berkman, very complex, i mean basically a terrorist.
>> yes. he considered himself a terrorist, although i found it ironic when he moved away from violence, he was much more effective because he was a very good speaker and writer as well. wonderful organizer. but when he was 21 he was anxious to commit a grand deed like the ones you saw in russia when he was a child and he decided that the industrials henry clay frick was the czar of the america , the equivalent of the symbolist of capitalist evil. if he could assassinate this man he could inspire the workers to revolt. he killed his victim that survived the attack.
>> he was jailed.
>> he was in prison for 14 years.
>> they had a partnership, at times romantic, at other times a literary partnership, political partnership. this relationship lasted for decades.
>> it is an extraordinary thing. they were soulmates. they start out as, you know, teenagers, lovers. and then they just became friends and comrades and as you said, it sort of intellectual partners. this relationship lasted 50 years from america to the soviet union , through europe. through his imprisonment and her traveling around the country. yet, they would try to explain to each other, they had other lovers, she was married and yet it was always that relationship, their friends would say there's really nothing like it. you can't come between it.
>> the heart of this remarkable story, a passage for you and for, of course, your father and everything that he contributed over all of those years and congratulations. rave reviews from the "new york times."
>> thank you.
>> this is a very big deal .
>> thank you so much.