This manuscript is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission.
Berkman to Max Nettlau, August 21, 1935.
Nice, Aug. 21, 1935
Dear Comrade Nettlau, I hope you do not consider my silence as neglect. It has been a hard winter for me, both in the way of health and otherwise, and this summer has proved no better. So that ill health and more than enough work have caused me to neglect my correspondence.
I was visiting E.G. in St.Tr., but my companion Emmy took ill in Nice, and so I came in to the city to look after her. She is improving a little - it is her old stomach trouble - but she is far from well.
I received your letter of July 4th, regarding the daughter of F.F. Of course I shared the information you sent with E.G. She has communicated with some friends in the U.S. and they sent a little money which is to be forwarded to the daughter - per Angeiica Balabanoff, I believe.
Of course, your suggestion re help was of a more fundamental and permanent character, but conditions in the U.S. do not permit your plan to be carried out practically. For a new purpose one can usually collect a few dollars in the U.S., but we have no people there that would become deeply interested in the matter in the way your plan suggests. That means to say that it would be impossible to secure a more or less permanent source of help. Of course we realize that sporadic aid, and very little at that, cannot solve this situation, but there is no other way, at least at present. The fact is that most people have really forgotten all about F.F., even if they ever knew about him, and the younger generation is entirely ignorant of the case and all its tragic circumstances. It is shameful, indeed, but that is the fact.
I do not know just where you are at present, dear comrade, but I hope that this letter will reach you. There is little encouraging to be said about our movement or conditions in general. The world is certainly not learning anything from experience, and today we seem to be in the same position as in 1914. In fact, even in a worse and more dangerous situation. Bakunin was right when he said that labor and so-called Socialist governments will prove much worse than any other. Unfortunately the young generation, even in the radical movements is busy chasing political and social will-o-the-wisps, and is deluded by every new demagogue who promises them a get-happy-quick paradise. Mankind is like an individual; it must learn from bitter experience; only it learns damned slowly and - what is worse - it forgets too quickly. Yet the same and better way must be pointed out to them and constantly held before their eyes, else the people are in danger of sinking into barbarism of the worst kind.
I hope your health is keeping up, dear Comrade, and that you are progressing with your work.
101, Bd. De Cessole, Nice (A.M.)