31 Facts About Felix Dzerzhinsky


From 1917 until his death in 1926, Felix Dzerzhinsky led the first two Soviet secret police organizations, the Cheka and the OGPU, establishing a state security organs for the post-revolutionary Soviet regime.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was one of the architects of the Red Terror and de-Cossackization.


Felix Dzerzhinsky attended the Vilnius Gymnasium from 1887 to 1895.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was rather tall, thin and demure, making the impression of an ascetic with the face of an icon.


Felix Dzerzhinsky had joined a Marxist group, the Union of Workers, in 1895.


Felix Dzerzhinsky worked in a book-binding factory and set up an illegal press.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was arrested on a denunciation for his revolutionary activities for the first time in 1897, after which he served almost a year in the Kaunas prison.

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In 1898, Felix Dzerzhinsky was exiled for three years to the Vyatka Governorate where he worked at a local tobacco factory.


Felix Dzerzhinsky subsequently became one of the founders of Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania in 1899.


In 1902, Felix Dzerzhinsky was sent deep into Siberia for the next five years to the remote town of Vilyuysk, while en route being temporarily held at the Alexandrovsk Transitional Prison near Irkutsk.


Felix Dzerzhinsky traveled to Berlin, where at the SDKPiL conference Dzerzhinsky was elected a secretary of its party committee abroad and met with several prominent leaders of the Polish Social Democratic movement, including Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches.


Felix Dzerzhinsky visited Switzerland, where his fiancee Julia Goldman, the sister of Boris Gorev, was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis.


That changed with the Russian Revolution of 1905, as Felix Dzerzhinsky became involved with work again.


Back in Krakow in 1910, Felix Dzerzhinsky married RSDLP party member Zofia Muszkat, who was already pregnant.


Felix Dzerzhinsky saw his son for the first time in March 1912 in Warsaw.


On one occasion, Felix Dzerzhinsky narrowly escaped an ambush that the police had prepared at the apartment of his father-in-law.


Felix Dzerzhinsky continued to direct the Social Democratic Party, while considering his continued freedom "only a game of the Okhrana".


The Okhrana was not playing a game; Felix Dzerzhinsky simply was a master of conspiratorial techniques and was therefore extremely difficult to find.


Felix Dzerzhinsky spent the next four-and-a-half years in prisons, first at the notorious Tenth Pavilion of the Warsaw Citadel.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was very concerned about the fate of his wife and son, with whom he did not have any communication.


In 1916, Felix Dzerzhinsky was moved to the Moscow Butyrka prison, where he was hospitalized because the chains that he was forced to wear had caused severe cramps in his legs.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was freed from Butyrka after the February Revolution of 1917.


Felix Dzerzhinsky then moved from Moscow to Petrograd to begin his new responsibilities.


At his office in Lubyanka, Felix Dzerzhinsky kept a portrait of fellow Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg on the wall.


Besides his leadership of the secret police, Felix Dzerzhinsky took on a number of other roles; he led the fight against typhus in 1918, was chair of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs from 1919 to 1923, initiated a vast orphanage construction program, chaired the Transport Commissariat, organized the embalming of Lenin's body in 1924 and chaired the Society of Friends of Soviet Cinema.

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Therefore, it was wrong to assert that Felix Dzerzhinsky had been one of Lenin's oldest and most reliable comrades, or that Lenin had exercised some sort of spellbinding influence on Felix Dzerzhinsky and the SDKPiL.


From 1917 to his death in 1926, Felix Dzerzhinsky was first and foremost a Russian Communist, and Felix Dzerzhinsky's involvement in the affairs of the Polish Communist Party was minimal.


Felix Dzerzhinsky was succeeded as chairman of the OGPU by Vyacheslav Menzhinsky.


In 1951, a large-scale statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky was designed by Zbigniew Dunajewski and erected in the northern side of Bank Square in Warsaw.


The Moscow Soviet had the Felix Dzerzhinsky statue removed to the Fallen Monument Park and laid on its side in August 1991, after the failed coup d'etat attempt by hard-line Communist members of the government.


In 1943, the manor house of Dzerzhinovo, where Felix Dzerzhinsky was born, was destroyed and family members were killed by the Germans, because of their support for the Polish Home Army.