Mollie Steimer earned nationwide attention (and the admiration and friendship of Emma Goldman) for her refusal to compromise her anarchist beliefs throughout the first major trial of the Sedition Act. Steimer immigrated to America with her family at age fifteen, began working in a garment factory, and by 1917 had joined Frayhayt, a radical anarchist group which distributed leaflets protesting America’s intervention in the Russian Revolution. Six group members were charged, and five found guilty—Steimer received a sentence of fifteen years and five thousand dollars. While released on bail and appealing to the Supreme Court, Steimer continued her radical activities, leading to eight arrests, imprisonment, and eventually forced deportation to Russia in 1921. Upon arrival, she discovered that anarchists were viewed as a threat to the Communist regime, and in 1922 she was sent to Siberia for her activism on behalf of political prisoners. After two hunger strikes, she was deported again, this time to Germany, and spent the next fifteen years shuttling between fellow radicals in Berlin and Paris before she was arrested in 1940. She fled to Mexico City, where she settled and opened a photography studio with her longtime lover and fellow traveler, Senya Fleshin.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Mollie Steimer." (Viewed on December 14, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/steimer-mollie>.