Essay by Scott Moss 23 May 1989
It is very difficult for me to thank all those who helped me to complete this project properly, and even more difficult to decide what order to do it. After some thought, however, I decided that chronologically was the most democratic method and so:
I thank Carole Jacobs, who was initially responsible for introducing me to the Tolstoy Foundation Nursing Home and for conceiving the idea to write this essay in the first place.
To Mr. Leon Marion, who gave me permission to do this essay, for without him none of this would have been possible.
To Professor Vera Von Wiren-Garczynski, who was not only my academic advisor, but who, as niece of one of the original founders, provided me with research materials as well as moral support.
To Mr. Cyril Galitzine, who willingly granted me four extensive interviews, patiently answering every question in depth. I thank him for being within reach whenever I had the smallest of questions, as well as giving me other research leads.
To Mr. Teymuraz Bagration, who granted me two interviews in which I was able to learn more about the working of the Tolstoy Foundation.
To Mr. Rostislav Polchaninoff, who not only provided me with his own works on the Foundation, but also directed me to many other sources, without which much of my paper could not have been written.
To Lydia Treml, whose patience and enthusiasm made doing some tedious research much more pleasurable.
To all these people, I am eternally grateful, and I hope that this essay in some small way returns some of the gratitude. In addition, I would like to thank some of the staff and residents of the Tolstoy Foundation Nursing Home. These include: Vladimir Grigoriev, whose enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge helped me to piece together some difficult research material.
To Ludmilla Pitaleff, whose constant encouragement and moral support pushed me to work harder and produce this work.
To Anna Lisounenko, whose experiences at the Center have helped me to learn what life was about there.
To Elena Antonova-All and Tatiana Baranovsky, who spent hours with me translating difficult materials, I owe a special thanks.
To some very close friends of mine, whose encouragement and moral support was definitely appreciated. I want to thank David Carkner, David Taylor, John DeOrnellas, and a special thanks to Jon Biavati, whose computer expertise, made the printing of the paper possible.
And there are those whom I owe a very special thanks, for without whose help, this work would have been much less than it is now.
To Irra Duga, who not only helped me translate a large amount of material in the original Russian, did some of the editorial work, adding her own insights into the culture into my work, and without whose constant moral support, I would have not gotten as far as I did.
And finally to my parents, Gail and Leland Moss, whose never-ending encouragement in any undertaking I have ever attempted, gave me the support and confidence to know that I could achieve it. They supported me at the time I started studying Russian, a time when they themselves did not know what the benefits of this choice would be. They also supported me during my two years of volunteer work at the Nursing Home, the time in which this essay was written. I owe them my everlasting gratitude.
It has been over six hundred years since Tatar rule ended and even though the civilization has advanced greatly, this history lingers on.
Before the Revolution, attempts were made to push this “backward” nation forward into the standards set by the West. The first such attempt came during the reign of Tsar Ivan IV, who expanded the boundaries of his country as well as initiated the basis for present day organs and policies, such as the creation of the secret police. The second, and most successful, was during the reign of Peter I, who borrowed much technology from the West and built up a navy, opening Russia’s landlocked status by gaining access to the South via the Azov and Black Seas, the West via the Baltic, and, the North by establishing a port at Archangelsk, to the White Sea.
It was the abdication of Nicholas II and the events of 1917, however, that were the turning points in terms of leadership, but the suspicion of the outside world was still felt. The new government proclaimed basic freedoms, often taken for granted in the West, however in practice these new freedoms were unattainable by its citizens. Criticism or loss of faith in the system landed one in a sanatorium or in internal exile. A repeat offence often resulted in the loss of liberty or life. Forced emigration due to this, among other causes, could also result. In addition, during times of crisis, such as the First and Second World Wars, countless numbers of people were left homeless and in desperate need of assistance.
Two remarkable women, Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss, created the Tolstoy Foundation to come to the assistance of these refugees. The following pages are devoted to the realization of their dream and as an acknowledgement of the contribution which they and the Tolstoy Foundation made.
Yet in order to have some understanding of the Foundation, one must first come to understand the driving forces behind it’s establishment. Alexandra Tolstoy, or “Aunt Sasha”, as she was affectionately called by those who knew her well, was very straight-forward in all her views, including politics. She loved nature and the outdoors which affected her personality and dealings with others. She always found time to talk to anyone who approached her, especially children, for whom she had a special affinity. During the early years, Miss Tolstoy lectured about, among other topics, the necessity of parents’ awareness of the negative aspects of modern society and the need to protect their children from them.
When she was not working, she spent her free time with her dogs or tending to her garden where she grew roses, tulips, and her famous tomatoes, some of which grew up to be four pounds! She personally supervised the overall handling of the cows, pigs, chickens, and the vegetable garden which supplied the whole Center.
She participated in local community life, volunteering time as a driver for the local ambulance service. She constantly wrote articles in the local Journal News trying to protect the environment, specifically that of Rockland Lake, which was in her “backyard”. She was greatly appreciated by local and federal agencies for all her humanitarian work.
Miss Tolstoy’s co-founder Tatiana Schaufuss was energetic, pushing herself to work for as long as twenty hour days, implementing the ideas of Alexandra Tolstoy. Being as close as they were, there was hardly a disagreement between them, so that their working relationship was not at all strained. Mrs. Schaufuss did not know failure, always striving to achieve her goals as well as those of the Foundation. And for these efforts, she enjoyed the appreciation of national and international organizations with which both women worked closely. Indeed it was quite often that her humanitarian work was recognized.
Once the Tolstoy Foundation Center was in full operation, there was a strong sense of comradery that was very comforting for the newly arrived refugees who came to stay there. The Russian refugees especially belonged here because the farm “represented the first real hope that the life they once enjoyed in Russia would one day be returned to them”. Their language and customs were practiced daily, thus making the hard transition easier.
When I first came to the Center in the summer of 1985, I left New York and entered “Little Russia”. I walked down dirt roads and quaint paths winding through the grass which linked the main house, one of the oldest in Rockland County, to the church, dedicated to St. Sergius and built in the classic fourteenth century style; from the two old age homes to the library, which was once a barn where cows were kept. I met the residents, always ready with a greeting, and observed everyday life firsthand. I hope you will enjoy this experience as much as I have.
In 1938, when Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoy was living on her chicken farm in Meriden, Connecticut with her friend Marta Andreevna Knutsen, a former teacher on the Tolstoy estate, in Russia, Yasnaya Poliana, the former received a telegram from her long time friend Tatiana Alexeevna Schaufuss, who recently arrived in the United States from Czechoslovakia. The two women met in 1918 when Mrs. Schaufuss was a nurse and visited Alexandra Tolstoy, who was also a nurse and who was editing her father’s ninety-two volume compilation of works for publication. Later, both women, as well as a mutual friend, Xenia Andreevna Rodzianko, were imprisoned. (Tatiana Schaufuss tried to form nursing unions which were illegal at that time and received five years in the Ivanovsky Concentration Camp and then three and a half years exile in Siberia for her effort. Miss Tolstoy also received a harsh sentence, the state considered her an enemy of the people, but Trotsky himself came to her defence and got it reduced from three years to eight months.) Sixteen years passed and both Miss Tolstoy and Mrs. Schaufuss lost touch with each other. In the meantime, Tatiana Schaufuss worked in Czechoslovakia with Alice Masaryk, the daughter of the first president of that country, on the Committee For Aid To Refugees to help Russian refugees emigrate abroad. One of her aims in coming to the United States was to convince Alexandra Tolstoy to give up her farm and help organize a committee in the U.S. to assist refugees living in France and Czechoslovakia. At first, Miss Tolstoy said she was quite content with her life and did not want to become involved in any such undertaking, but after several days of serious discussion, she finally changed her mind. However, in order to begin, they needed sponsors and had no idea how to find them.
They met with Mrs. Elizaveta Vitalievna Alexeev, a representative of the Children’s Aid Society, but after talking to her, Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss learned that their work would be limited to helping only children and that they would be part of CAS, and not their own entity. While they appreciated Mrs. Alexeev’s offer, they declined it and continued attempts to recruit new sponsors for the establishment of their own organization.
In early 1939, they met with Boris Bakhmetev, last ambassador to the United States from Russia, Boris Sergievsky, renowned aviator, Serge Rachmaninoff, composer, Ethan Colton, an advisor to President Hoover, Professor Michael Rostovtzeff, Countess Sophie Panin, J.C. Trafagan, and R. Wheeler, and a lawyer, Mr. A. Greaves to discuss the creation of an organization that would aid Russian refugees. In April of that year, Gertrude Sergievsky, Igor Sikorsky, Alexander Petrunkevich, and Alexis Wiren, Founder and President of the Russian Student Fund, joined them to form an organization devoted to the relief of Russian refugees of World War I as well as for the creation of a center of Russian culture in America. It was decided to name the organization after the great Russian author, philosopher and humanitarian Lev Tolstoy. President Hoover became the honorary chairman, serving until 1964. And so, with the Foundation’s inception, began a truly remarkable period in the history of American refugee assistance.
According to the original purpose, the Foundation was established to “respond to the needs of the Russian refugees of World War I, who for various reasons were handicapped in providing for themselves and to create a center for Russian culture in America to serve the American born generation of Russian descent.” Further, that the “basic approach to any Tolstoy Foundation sponsored activity is governed by the awareness that assistance should recognize human dignity and a desire for independence in every individual, his freedom of choice of the best type of integration and assimilation into a foreign community; to build a sense of self-reliance as opposed to charitable support, and to assist him toward becoming an asset to his new environment, contributing culturally and economically to the development of the society in which he dwells, producing people with a job, an education, a home, and a future for themselves and their children.”
Thus with their purpose clearly laid out, they began work. Boris Bakhmetev and Boris Sergievsky donated the first twenty-five dollars which enabled Miss Tolstoy to purchase an old typewriter and some stationery. In addition, an Episcopalian church in New York City donated office space- a room large enough to hold a desk- where she could work. She hired a secretary who came twice a week and earned five dollars a day. Soon they began sending letters, asking for financial assistance. Letters began trickling back to their Fourth Avenue office; the first was from the head of a Pittsburgh museum, Mr. Avinov, for three dollars. After that, donations reached them at a faster pace.
The first opportunity for the Tolstoy Foundation to test it’s skills arose several months later when, on November 30, 1939, Finland was able to defeat the large unorganized troops of Soviet Russia in the Winter War. What had begun as an invasion, lead to the capture of fifty thousand Russians, who were totally unequipped to fight for any prolonged time in the sub-zero temperatures of the Finnish woodlands. The first time the Foundation heard about this crisis was indirectly through a letter which one of the Finnish soldiers wrote home to his uncle, saying that the Russian soldiers were barefoot, had body lice, and often begged their officers to shoot them instead of living like that any longer.
These Russians who were interned in Finland, appealed to the Red Cross for food, clothing, Bibles, and metal baptismal crosses worn in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Cooperating with the Red Cross as a coordinating agency, the Foundation was able to gather and forward approximately thirty five thousand dollars worth of foodstuffs to these prisoners of war. Prince Paul Chavchavadze was in charge of the TF program at that time, and the Red Cross was able to send about 325,000 dollars in total aid during that time. Yet for all the success they had, they learned that at the end of the war, that of all the soldiers who were forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union, between thirty and thirty six thousand were shot upon return.
Also during this time, Miss Tolstoy toured many universities lecturing on several aspects of Soviet life. She wanted very much to warn her audiences about the danger of the spread of Bolshevism. Her other aim was to explain the philosophies of her father. She said that he had been accused of “creating” the Revolution by being anti-establishment. She explained that he never agreed with Communism, that because he acted that way it did not mean he was a Bolshevik, but simply that he was rebelling against the practices of his class at that time. In addition there was a need to explain the difference between the terms “Russian” and “Soviet”, terms that often led to misunderstandings as to what the Foundation set out to accomplish.
In 1941, Alexandra Tolstoy had the idea of obtaining a farm where the refugees that they assisted could live and work. On weekends, she and Marta Knutsen drove around the suburbs of New York in search of a suitable property, but did not find one, for either the location or the price was not right. Tatiana Schaufuss still worked part time for the American Christian Committee, so she was not able to help them and also was not to enthused about the idea anyway.
One day, Mrs. Schaufuss was in her office doing some paper work when a friend of hers came to visit. Tatiana Schaufuss looked worried and upon being questioned, told her friend of Alexandra Tolstoy’s desire, which she thought was impossible to accomplish at that time. Mrs. Schaufuss said that the land Miss Tolstoy and Miss Knutsen found was owned by the Harkness family and that the selling price was fifteen thousand dollars. Indeed they already had one-third of the money, Boris Bakhmetev’s donation, but Mrs. Schaufuss had no idea where the rest would come from. Her friend told Tatiana Schaufuss that the former’s husband knew the Harknesses and she would see what could do on Mrs. Schaufuss’s behalf. Three of the board members, Alexis Wiren, who worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Company, J.C. Trafagan, Chairman of the Bank of New York, and Mr. Wheeler, were contacted and began work on the transfer of land. Both Mr. Trafagan and Mr. Wheeler were relatives of the Harknesses and decided that for tax purposes the land could be transferred to the newly formed Tolstoy Foundation. Alexis Wiren drew up the insurance policy for the property and Mr. Trafagan and Mr. Wheeler were able to sell the land, keeping the tax exempt status, for one dollar to Alexandra Tolstoy.
This property first belonged to Nathaniel Barmore in 1873, who at that time owned ninety-eight acres. He parcelled off approximately seventeen acres to adjoining farmers, leaving him still with a sizable estate. He sold his farm in 1892 to William and Sarah Reed, whose family lived on the land until 1940. It was then bought by oil-billionaire philanthropist Edward Stephen Harkness who intended to use it as a cardiac rest and rehabilitation center for children. Unfortunately, the house he intended to use for this purpose had a very steep staircase and the children were not able to climb it.The center was then closed. Further, Harkness died before he could see his project come to it’s fruition. His wife then donated it because of the United States and the Soviet Union were allies in the Second World War as well as Mrs. Harkness’s sympathies toward the plight of the White Russians after the Civil War in 1918. The land, still known as Reed Farm was then turned over to Alexandra Tolstoy in 1941.
Though the property already had a main house, barns and several cottages, the farm needed an immense amount of work before it could be used in accordance with the purposes envisioned by Miss Tolstoy and Mrs. Schaufuss. During that summer, when the work began in earnest, Vladimir Petrov, a scout leader and an active member of the Federation of Russian Orthodox Clubs, came to the Foundation and volunteered many of his scouts to help in the chores that needed to be done. Among their tasks were cleaning, repairing, and furnishing some of the buildings.
Alexandra Tolstoy started cultivating a small vegetable garden, while Tatiana Schaufuss went around to local garage sales and purchased furniture as well as farm implements, for as little as fifty cents apiece, including incomplete dinner sets and kitchen utensils, to service the growing enterprise. Among the many donations received was a tractor which lent itself very well to Miss Tolstoy’s work. Thoroughbred hogs were sent from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Cows were soon acquired along with chickens and as many as five-thousand birds. In addition, twelve acres were devoted to straight truck gardening. All this was to serve as occupational therapy as well as self-sufficiency of the young, aged, and handicapped refugees that came to settle here, fresh from the horrors of war-torn Europe. And indeed the two women had not long to wait.
In July 1941, the opening celebration took place. It was a very solemn occasion for the local residents as well as for the guests from New York who attended. Metropolitan Feofil came and blessed the main house and the farm and announced the opening of the children’s summer camp. After the service, the loud noise of Boris Sergievsky’s plane were heard. He circled over the farm three times before landing in nearby Rockland Lake, where he was met by a Tolstoy car and driven to the farm.
During the war years, 1941-1945, Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss ran the farm very efficiently. Their assistants included Marta Knutsen, who was always more than willing to do any job that was asked of her. These consisted of sewing, cooking, typing, chicken farming, running the children’s home and camp, and when the refugees began arriving, waking up at any hour to prepare food and rooms for them. Their carpenter, Leonid Leonidych Kazantsev, with very rough calloused hands, did much of the mechanical as well as the handiwork on the farm. Shy by nature, he worked at night for the most part, (but this can easier be explained by the fact that he was fonder of the bottle than most!). He was very religious, contributing to the church choir. It was his responsibility, along with Tatiana Schaufuss, to drive the produce to market in New York City every week.
Eugenia Nikolaevna Navrotsky was in charge of the chicken farm. An educated lady, in her 70’s, who spoke Russian, French and German, it is not known how she became involved with these chickens, yet she loved her work. She was of healthy Russian stock and good-heartedly pushed everyone around her to work as long and as hard as she did. Her compassion is exemplified in the following story: One night a cat managed to get into the chicken house and grabbed one of the baby chicks. It succeeded in ripping off the chick’s wings before being caught. Eugenia Nikolaevna cleaned the chick, nursed it back to health, and ultimately was able to sell it at market to a couple who fell in love with it, despite the deformity. She also helped organize the group of women who gathered to help can fresh fruits and vegetables which were grown on the farm. When it was time to preserve tomatoes, for example, they proclaimed themselves the Tomato Club, and for apples, the Apple Club, etc. She sang, reminisced, and discussed plans for the future. Other help came from lodgers, homeless, as well as other people who stayed on the farm.
One of the Tolstoy Foundation’s major successes occurred after World War Two which left a countless number of Displaced Persons scattered in camps all over Europe. Among them were thousands of Russians who were able to escape Stalin’s reach and subsequently refused to be repatriated to the Soviet Union at the close of the war. Tatiana Schaufuss and the small Foundation staff worked in assisting such refugees through processing and ultimate immigration to the United States. Between six thousand and six thousand five hundred DP’s came to stay on the farm, and this number represents approximately one-third of all those brought to this country with the direct help of the Foundation, during the early years.
On February 11, 1945, the question of repatriation became a serious issue. It is estimated that between 1,800,000 and two million would eventually be repatriated, and it is still unknown what percentage of those committed suicide before accepting such a fate. The Soviet government wanted all refugees to be registered at DP camps by September 1, 1945, and it was at this time that the Foundation became involved; their task was to bring these refugees to Canada and the U.S. Seven thousand refugees were successfully able to immigrate that year.
They arrived by boat or plane and their expenses were initially paid by the International Relief Organization (IRO). They were then met by Tolstoy Foundation representatives and driven to the farm. After some time, however, IRO stopped paying, which meant that the expenses incurred had to be met by the refugees themselves. This created a problem for the Foundation, for they had to explain this seeming unfairness to refugees, who in addition to all the other hardships, had to deal with paying their way to this country, whereas months earlier, such a journey was free.
It was also during this time, and for the next six years, that the Foundation had one of it’s more strenuous tests.
One of the toughest and most frustrating obstacles to overcome was the fear that the refugees had of being repatriated and of dealing with foreigners. “The small European staff, headed by Tatiana Schaufuss, tried to make some order out of the prevailing confusion by explaining the organization’s motives and trying to dismiss such fears as repatriation, which caused many to lie about their national origin, their past under Nazi or Soviet control, and ultimately drove them to depression and suicide.” Last names were changed with Polish or Ukrainian endings to conceal the fact that these people were really Russian. The work of the Communist agents, coupled with intimidation lead to the fear of many who were involved with this program to stand up for victims of communism in light of the the agreements reached at Yalta.”(It was at this conference when the decision to repatriate all Soviet citizens was made.) One of the answers to the Yalta solution was known as the “Berezov Sickness”, named after the Russian poet who forged documents which proved that potential candidates for repatriation had left the Soviet Union before the outbreak of war, or were indeed of foreign nationality and should not be repatriated at all.
Berezov simply produced mass copies of documents with false biographies: names, places and dates of birth. To combat this problem, a commission was established consisting of representatives of the United States. Soviet Union, France and England which toured German DP camps. If they could prove that an individual was a true citizen of the Soviet Union, he would be transferred to a deportation camp for automatic repatriation. And indeed in October of 1954, Berezov himself was repatriated for not admitting that he possessed falsified documents.
Another consequence of the Yalta Conference was the suffering of Russians in Lienz, Dachau, Kempton, and Plattling. Both Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss met with Cardinal Spellman in New York in 1946 to explain to him the current European situation. His response was to send a cable to Pope Pius XII. Subsequently, the repatriation relaxed, but the treaty was never repudiated.
One of Mrs. Schaufuss’s goals was to repeatedly differentiate between the terms “Russian” and “Soviet”. It was important to her to gain the refugees trust, for without that she could never really help them. Soon the nationality question became too overwhelming for her and she decided to simply process those who she felt were eligible and let the IRO or American Consul sort out the problem. She felt that she was still doing her job and that if certain individuals were not accepted for immigration, it would not be her fault. The Tolstoy Foundation was also responsible for finding employment for those who did arrive in the United States. At that time Americans needed maids, chauffeurs, and gardeners, and it was very difficult for the intelligentsia, scholars, and doctors to accept these new roles.
Over the next two years, thousands were interviewed in Germany, Italy, Trieste, Austria, and later in Arab countries of the Middle East, to ascertain who should be processed for emigration.
The Tolstoy Foundation was one of the first agencies to assist Russian refugees who escaped to Trieste from Yugoslavia, for the government suddenly decided to repatriate them to the Soviet Union. The Allied Military Forces of Trieste guaranteed them political asylum until the Tolstoy Foundation successfully processed one thousand six hundred people for emigration or placement in old age homes in France. For the years to follow, one of the goals was not so much the numbers of peoples assisted, but rather the interpretation of the tragedy of the Russians so that those in power in the West would be able to understand and then act in order to achieve the rehabilitation of those from the Second World War.
In 1946, the Tolstoy Foundation initiated a subcommittee of the American Council of Voluntary Agencies, ACVA, for Foreign Service under the name of the United Relief Committee in Aid to Displaced Persons of Central and East European Origin- URCA. The committee represented the small nationality organizations concerned with the fate of those within the borders of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Iran. They wanted to establish a committee in the United States, as well as an umbrella organization in Europe to help Eastern bloc nations. “Their statutes were approved by the President’s War Relief Control Board and implementation was going to be part of the plans of the International Relief Organization, IRO, which had just succeeded the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, UNRRA. The plan, however was not accepted by the temporary Commission in Paris which was involved in the turnover of UNRRA to IRO. This action left the small nationality organizations to fend for themselves”, the decision was to give the job of aiding refugees to church organizations and not to nationality groups. “Even the Orthodox Church was not able to help them at this time, for they were not strongly represented outside their countries of origin.” The Protestant Churches of America were given the responsibility of helping the Eastern bloc and then began helping the Orthodox peoples.
By mid 1947, after an ulcer, which confined Mrs. Schaufuss to a hospital for four and a half months, she was asked by an Episcopalian organization to go with them to Europe so that she could observe the type of assistance they provided for the refugees. The trip lasted three and a half months, at which time she realized that this, what she referred to as “token help” was not what she felt that the Tolstoy Foundation should be about.
By the end of that year, however, Tatiana Schaufuss did join the Church World Service, where she served as their mentor until 1953. Along with Father Lyutova and a refugee from Yugoslavia, L. Serdakovsky, they began work with only two CARE packages and no idea how to obtain more supplies or monies. Indeed, the only asset they had was Mrs. Schaufuss’s past experience in refugee assistance.
In Europe, they paid attention mainly to resettling large families and widows with children. They also helped the U.S. authorities by explaining the current political situation, the Russian mentality, as well as the backgrounds of the groups that the Tolstoy Foundation wanted to assist. Each of its workers were very dedicated, pushing themselves as hard as Mrs. Schaufuss. They each had a command of at least three languages which made a very difficult job somewhat easier. It was at this time that the permanent European headquarters were established in Germany, and by 1954, they had seventeen operational offices on that continent.
Starting in 1947, there was a constant flow of refugees to the farm. The first group that needed to be settled were those Russians who came from Europe to the United States. Many organizations were notified of the particular needs of this large group, and it became their responsibility to sponsor the refugees, once they came to this country. Those who did not receive sponsorship came to live at the center for a period of six months and up to two years.
Every ship that arrived from Europe brought between fifty and eighty refugees into the harbors of New York. They were met by Peter Iswolsky, whose family was the very first to be assisted by the Foundation after they came from Yugoslavia. He collected their luggage and sent them to their final destinations. Two chauffeurs, Litvinov and Ovchinnikov met them at the pier and drove them to the farm.
To facilitate them, a Children’s Home was established to take care of the refugee children while their parents went out to find work. These children were driven to the local schools every day, so they could get a good education and learn English. Once their parents could support themselves, these families moved off the farm, settling once again in various parts of the country.
“Beginning in 1948, Argentina accepted a large number of refugees from European camps. Though the Tolstoy Foundation was not involved directly in this initial resettlement, they concentrated on paving the way for refugees to come to the United States, Canada, and Australia, understanding that the economies of Latin America coupled with the tumultuous political situation could not handle large groups for extended periods.”
“The Soviets were able to repatriate about seven thousand refugees, though as harsh as the conditions were then, many asked to be returned to Argentina. In addition to this “success”, the lack of facilities, absence of legislation, adaption to a tropical climate, and language barrier, prevented large scale resettlement there. So, activity moved toward resettlement from Argentina, abroad. Offices were opened in Argentina and Chile and representation was appointed there to further the program. As always, food, shelter, clothing, legal counseling, and care of the aged were provided.
Also in 1948, the Tolstoy Foundation became involved in the unusual individual case of Oksana Stepanovna Kosenkina. She was employed as a teacher of Soviet children at Soviet Consulate. She decided after some time that she no longer wanted to live under Soviet rule and escaped on a ship destined for New Jersey and then driven to the farm by a sympathetic cab driver. After several weeks, she decided to return home once again and wrote a letter to the Consul to come and get her. On arrival of the Consul representatives, Kosenkina claimed that she was being abducted by the NKVD, the then secret police. Miss Tolstoy tried to call the state police, but to no avail. Kosenkina then escaped from the consulate by jumping out a third story window and ending up in the hospital. Soon after, she was deported back to the Soviet Union, where she died several months later.
In April, 1950, one hundred and eight refugees out of a group of two hundred and fifty were taken off a boat headed to the United States in Bremen, Germany. The current law stipulated that “Communists and members of Communist affiliated organizations were not permitted in the United States.” The U.S. government did not understand that in order to be employed in the Soviet Union, one had to be a member of a union, which was controlled by the Communist Party. This did not mean that members were affirmed Communists, but that they simply could not work unless they joined the union and therefore the party. Blair Taylor and Alexandra Tolstoy testified to a subcommittee of Congress that by abiding by this law, it showed the United States’ ignorance of current labour laws of the U.S.S.R., and did exactly what the Politburo wanted, by rejecting those with union ties. As a result of this Congressional Review, the misunderstanding was recognized and the way was cleared for thousands more to come to the United States. In 1951, the Kalmuks were able to come to the United States, settling finally in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There were many hardships to overcome before these people could immigrate, including a law which had to be changed in their favour. In 1940, section 303 of the Immigration and Naturalization laws stated that Asiatics were not allowed to come to the United States, in accordance with the Truman Act in 1948. This act established a quota for each nationality that could be brought over, and this number had already been met in the case of the Asiatic immigrants. Miss Tolstoy had to prove that they were not of Asian descent, but really East Europeans born in an area not beyond the Ural Mountains. In achieving this goal, she simply looked in an encyclopedia to determine their national origin, proving to Congress that the Kalmuks should immigrate to the U.S.
Due to the efforts of Congressman Francis Walter and Senator Ed McCarren, the law was changed and in November of 1951, five hundred and fifty four Kalmuks did indeed settle here. They established a community in Freewood Acres, New Jersey, where they could practice Buddhism, as well as other aspects of their culture.
Also in the same year, the Tolstoy Foundation got permission to assist a military unit known as the Russian Protection Corps of Yugoslavia. They were considered allies of the Germans and were imprisoned in Kellerberg, Austria for fighting against Communist expansionism in their country. It took the Foundation two and a half years to allow them to emigrate, only two months before the expiration of D.P. law which ended in January of 1952. The “3-C” law took effect, allowing refugees to go to a “third” country, Germany, France, and Belgium, before coming to the United States from the Soviet Union. Indeed one of the most amazing stories in refugee resettlement was that of the Old Believers who came to the United States in 1952.
Historically, the Old Believers broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church in the mid seventeenth century as a result of having refused to accept certain reforms pertaining to the content and order of the church service and to the related revisions in liturgical books. As time passed, there was a split in this group, while some accepted the ordination of bishops and priests by the church, others did not and became known as “bespopovtsy”- priestless ones. This latter group could not conduct the liturgy in earnest, so they omitted the parts requiring a priest. An elected deacon, assisted by church eiders, led prayers and read the gospel. They followed all Orthodox traditions, including Holy Days, fasts, and abstinences.
After the Revolution, the Old Believers could not accept the Communist policy of atheism and they “walked across the world” toward Siberia, Rumania, and Turkey. In the 1930’s they settled in the Singkiang province of China where they lived in simple log cabins, peacefully farming, raising cattle, wheat, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Trouble began in 1934 when Communist agitators came to the area trying to convince people that life was indeed better back in the Soviet Union and everyone should return with them. Yakov Malik was the leader of these agitators, but was wholly unsuccessful in this endeavor. To combat this, an ataman in the region, Ocmana Bandurg gave the Old Believers weapons and horses in case the Communists got violent. He also had military backing from the army of Chiang Kai Shi, who also saved them from the Reds.
In October of 1947, the Communists returned and advanced on the Old Believers and the Chinese army, burning everything in their path. The Old Believers escaped only with what they could carry on horseback, leaving children and the elderly behind, hoping that on the path of their retreat they would meet someone who would help them fight against the Communists.
The leader of one of these groups, a young man by the name of Kiprion Chanov left with a large group in 1947 and began a journey which would last four years and five thousand miles. By the end of the first year they reached the Chinese border and were surrounded by Chinese Communists. They were forced to flee into the Beccana Mountains and live there for a year. Their diet during this time consisted of bear meat, using its skins for clothes and shoes. Soon they ran out of thread to make these clothes and so they dried the veins of the dead bears and used that instead!
After the year ended, they moved down from the mountains, traveling at night and hiding during the day. They fought in small skirmishes with the Chinese on the way, always hoping to meet some friendly group who would bring them to freedom. Indeed their main fear during this time was not of starving or freezing or of wild animals but of Soviet, Chinese, or Mongolian bandits out to steal what little they had or imprison them.
They transgressed rivers and miles of flatlands, often stealing food from nomadic tribes they met on the way. They walked across the Gobi desert and the Himalayas, where their faces began to swell because of the prolonged exposure to the elements. A tribe in the mountains told them that bear’s gall bladder would cure this malady. Following this advice, they drank water mixed with the gall bladder and soon everyone was well again!
For four and a half years, they never bathed properly, only washing their hands and faces in the snow. Finally, they arrived in Tibet, where the government allowed them to stay for some time. They lived in Laos for nine months, but soon came to understand that they overstayed their welcome. The Tibetan government gave them visas so that they could go to India. The Old Believers then walked the last thousand miles of their journey to Calcutta, where they were allowed to stay on the condition that they stayed less than three months and move elsewhere. While they lived in India, they received army rations and CARE packages from the Tolstoy Foundation.
The group of 117 that left in 1947 was reduced to twenty three by the time they arrived at the Tolstoy farm in 1951. Other groups were brought from Hong Kong to Brazil and Argentina and ultimately they settled in New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Nikolaevsk, Alaska. Groups were also brought from Iran and Turkey to settle in these areas.
This last group from Turkey lived on the farm before being relocated. Accustomed to their own ways of doing for themselves, living at the Center did not bother them. Every day they went to the barn where the milking cows were kept and got their supplies of fresh milk. One day however, a representative from the Health Department visited the Center and saw this going on. They realized that the Old Believers did not pasteurize milk, and as a result, the milking cows were sold and angus cows were brought in instead. By the end of 1952, the Tolstoy Foundation established a firm reputation with both national and international institutions as an agency professionally well equipped and proven in the resettlement of the homeless. With the passing of the Refugee Relief Act by Congress in 1953, the Foundation was able to break away from the World Council of Churches and work independently. Information through the proper channels guided the Foundation to different trouble spots around the world.
The year 1956 was a turning point in terms of world events as well as for the Tolstoy Foundation. This was the year of the Hungarian Revolution, and the reward for the Foundation’s assistance of Hungarian refugees, was the international recognition that it achieved.
Historically, the Revolution was caused by popular unrest of the people due to policies of the newly elected Communist government. Indeed this government was for the majority run by a Communist minority who by 1947 held many of the key positions. Matthias Rakosi, first secretary of the Communist Party and head of the Hungarian government, introduced reforms that ruined the economy as well as restricted personal freedoms. The discontent which resulted led to street fighting in Budapest and then spread quickly through the rest of the country. Soviet forces poured into Hungary in November of 1956, thus crushing the uprisings. Two hundred thousand fled the country, crossing the border into Vienna, Austria where they were aided by the Tolstoy Foundation.
These refugees were brought to the United States, settling in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and ultimately around the country.
Among the individual cases handled in 1956 was one involving Boris Kovesda. In 1921, in revenge for the murder of the Romanoff family, he assassinated the Soviet representative in Poland, Voikoff. Kovesda was sentenced to life in prison, but the sentence was commuted to ten years. In 1956, the Tolstoy Foundation was able to reunite him with his family, who by that time had come to the United States. Boris Kovesda was considered a hero by the Russian exiles for his actions.
In 1959 the Tolstoy Foundation was asked by the Dalai Lama of Tibet to help his people escape after the Communist takeover of his country. Indeed one of the main reasons for this request stemmed from the long standing friendship between him and Colonel Ilia Tolstoy. (Colonel Tolstoy was sent to Tibet in hopes that he could open a road to China.) The Foundation was very successful in resettling many of these Tibetans in Freewood Acres, New Jersey where the monastery of Reverend Geshe Wangyal already existed. Since the Kalmuks and Tibetans were both Buddhist peoples, the Kalmuks aided the Tolstoy Foundation in assisting the Tibetans to emigrate. The Kalmuks began worshipping at the Tibetan temple, but after a short time, Reverend Wangyal decided that this was no longer possible. He complained to Foundation representatives that when the Kalmuks lived in the Soviet Union, they had grown accustomed to riding very fast over the vast plains. Once they started using cars, the same principle was used and thus, when speeding to temple, they were involved in many accidents, and the Reverend could not have that continue outside his temple.
On observing the success of this resettlement, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, one of the organizations involved, stated that “the program as a whole serves the national interest of our country by promoting a better understanding of the Far East and South East Asia. In 1959, after the Hungarians had been resettled, the Tolstoy Foundation decided to write out a “blueprint” of the process that they could follow in the future. It included a scenario of a refugee group, and how the Foundation would respond to their needs and what governmental agencies would be contacted for assistance. From then on, refugee help was more organized. (Previously, all refugee relief organizations worked independently, vying for each other’s cases. There was no governmental sponsorship during these early years, money came from the Ford Foundation as well as from private contributions. These organizations met in New-York to discuss their roles for the future and the responsibilities of each. Tolstoy representatives said that the Tolstoy farm would be used for this purpose, and thus were assigned three hundred Hungarian refugees, which were settled through Camp Kilmer.)
It was also at this time that the Charter of the Foundation was changed from accepting “only Russians” to “Russians and other victims of Communism, at the invitation of a prestigious person”. For many years, the Tolstoy Foundation had been assisting Circassians and other groups of North Caucasian ancestry who resided in Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. Most of the individuals had escaped repatriation to the Soviet Union after World War II by fleeing from camps in Europe to the Middle East, where they were offered asylum by Moslem governments. Following the Six Day War between the Arabs and Israelis, when the latter occupied the Golan Heights, a group of North Caucasians then living in Patterson, New Jersey, approached the Foundation to help relatives living in Syria come to the United States. After receiving permission from the State Department, Tolstoy offices in Amman, Damascus, and Athens assisted in the emigration of these people.
In 1968 the second invasion of Communists into another country occurred, this time in Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia had been under Communist rule since 1946, but it was not until 1968 that the country, then under Alexander Dubcek, introduced very liberal reforms including freedom of the press and increased communication with non-Communist countries. Leaders in the Soviet Union feared that Dubcek’s reforms would weaken Communist control there and also result in other Communist bloc countries to demand similar reforms. As a result, in August, 1968, the Soviet Union, along with Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland invaded Czechoslovakia.
The refugees were resettled by the Tolstoy Foundation and primarily lived at the center for, in some cases, up to two years, before moving to various parts of the country. When General Idi Amin, a black Moslem, took over Uganda in 1970 as the result of a military coup, he declared that all “undesirables”, including Ugandan residents of Indian origin, must leave the country by November 8, 1972. President Nixon ordered the State Department to invite the Tolstoy Foundation, along with other relief organizations, to help resettle some of the thousand refugees who were permitted to come to this country.
The Foundation was able to settle almost a third of this group in Spartanburg and Greenville, South Carolina. Before this final move, however, they lived for several weeks at the Center. They were a very self- sufficient group, and because of their diet, the Tolstoy Foundation staff was unable to prepare food for them. So, the kitchen of the main house was made available to them, and they cooked traditional dishes, mainly consisting of chicken, heavily spiced with curry powder. Several times a week, several people belonging to this group were driven to a specialty store where they were able to buy what was necessary, so that they could do for themselves during their stay.
After six weeks, they were relocated through the Chamber of Commerce in Spartanburg, South Carolina where they were provided with homes as well as employment.
The next major group that was settled by the Foundation were the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians who came in 1975 after the fall of South Vietnam.
The decision of the American Government was to admit 130,000 refugees from these countries, and the State Department asked the Tolstoy Foundation to resettle several thousand of this number. Offices were established at Camp Pendleton, California, Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Each of these offices consisted of a Vietnamese-speaking American supervisor and a staff of both Americans and Vietnamese who interviewed and registered refugees and verified sponsors for the TF headquarters.
By December 15, 1975, the Tolstoy Foundation resettled three thousand Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees throughout the United States and Hawaii. To keep in touch with these groups, a TF office was established in San Francisco to provide support for those who settled West of the Mississippi, as well as an English-speaking Vietnamese in the New York office to assist those who settled East of the Mississippi. At Tatiana Schaufuss’s request, several of the Tolstoy Foundation representatives from New York were stationed in California during the initial period of bringing the newly arrived refugees into the country. They were on call twenty-four hours a day, often waking in the early morning hours to assist plane-loads of Vietnamese.
In September, 1975, the Tolstoy Foundation began registering and resettling the Laotians, after the fall of that country to a communist regime which caused many to flee. They lived in camps in Thailand before coming to the United States. In order to handle the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotions, the Foundation opened eleven offices in this country, including Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles, California, Salt Lake City, Utah, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and Oakland, Michigan.
1977 saw what was to be the last major group to be assisted by the Tolstoy Foundation. This is not to say that activity stopped altogether, but due to some changes in the immigration policy and the changing political scene, the Foundation began helping individuals and difficult cases. This was the year of the Third Wave of emigrants, when a majority of Russian Jews came to the United States. The Foundation was asked to resettle families of mixed marriages which were difficult for the Jewish religious organizations to handle.
Even though the Tolstoy Foundation found them sponsors, many chose to stay at the Center because they had little command of English and could not begin work in their previous professions without it. Some stayed for several years there before leaving to be resettled in other areas. This was the first year of assistance to Armenians who were allowed to leave the Soviet Union mainly on the basis of trying to reunite with their families in the U.S. To this end, the Los Angeles office was instrumental because there is a large Armenian settlement there.
Also, since the occupation of Afghanistan, the Tolstoy Foundation began handling numbers of refugees from that country.
Since then, the Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian Programs were cut to a minimum because of difficulties experienced by the Foundation in that area. Continued assistance to the Circassians was not approved for they came to be considered economic and not political refugees. Indeed the only increase was in the Jewish immigration, which continued into the 1980’s.
Religion has always been an integral part of life on the farm. As early as 1940, the largest room in the main house was converted into a church, and consecrated by Metropolitan Theophil. It included a hand-painted iconostasis made by Leonid Kazantsev and also had a choir which consisted of farm residents. Refugee priests served in this church, beginning with Father Inna, who died within a few months. Bishop Savva from Poland served until 1947. He was loved by the children at the summer camp, giving religious instruction as well as sharing in their games. In the spring of 1950, a fire broke out in the room, destroying many of the objects in it. (The cause of this fire, according to some, was that an incense burner was accidentally knocked down. Others believe that a misused kerosene lantern was the cause.) Miraculously, two sacred cloths as well as a Tikhvin Mother of God icon survived the blaze, even though they were at its center. The basement of the second old people’s home, newly built in 1949, was then transformed into the church and was used for the next seven years. By this time, Father Michael Jelenevsky was the priest, coming here from France with his wife and two sons.
By 1952, a construction committee was established to design and build a permanent Church. Finances came from the insurance claim after the fire as well as donations from the Russian community. By 1954, they had enough money to start construction which began with the ground breaking; Metropolitan Leonty officiating at the ‘Molyeben’
It was not until 1957 that a permanent church was erected at the Center. Its architect, Vladimir A. Busch created the church which is almost an exact replica of the fourteenth century church in Pskov, Russia, with a gold leaf, onion shaped dome, hand-painted frescoes and icons, which were started by Andrei Bicenko and completed by Nicholas Papkoff, a carved and painted iconostasis, and carved chandeliers, by Gleb Greitz. It is the centerpiece of the farm and cultural center. The cost of this project was met by the congregation and it was dedicated in the name of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
Father Jelenevsky served until 1970, when Father Liabach became the priest there. He in turn served until the early eighties, when Father Kotlaroff was ordained for St. Sergius.
Among the decorations in the interior are five icon medallions on the church vestibule walls commemorating the patron saints of the co-founders of the Tolstoy Foundation, Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss, the two priests who served during construction of the Church the Rt. Reverend Michael Jelenevsky and the Archimondrite Victorin Liabach, and Xenia Rodzianko, administrator and nurse at the Center in the early years. In 1969, however, the church underwent a huge transformation. Up until then, the church belonged to the OCA, the Orthodox Churches of America. During this year the OCA decided that the true center of Orthodoxy was in the Soviet Union and the head of the Church was the Patriarch in Moscow. Recognizing this fact, though, resulted in a split between the OCA and the Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which contended that the church within that country was ruled by the government; the Communists were dictating religion to the people.
Both Miss Tolstoy and Mrs. Schaufuss decided that they did not want anything to do with Communism and thus joined the Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. They were able to complete this change, for St. Sergius was considered a “Home Church” and not under official “jurisdiction”
As a result of this action, Father Jelenevsky was obliged to leave because he agreed with the OCA. By the end of 1970, Father Liabach was the priest at the Center.
Father Victorin stayed until the early 1980’s, until an amputation took his leg, through an illness, until his death a few years ago. It was at this time that Reverend Gregory Kotlaroff was ordained for the Saint Sergius Church. Born in China of Russian emigre parents, he lived in Australia for many years before arriving in the United States.
Yet it is ironic that the name Tolstoy is related to the church, for Alexandra Tolstoy’s father, Lev Tolstoy, was excommunicated in 1901. Though he was brought up in the Russian Orthodox faith, by age eighteen, Lev Tolstoy no longer believed in the church. He saw that people live according to principles that not only have nothing to do with the teachings, but are also contradictory to them in the first place. The teachings have no place in life and never come into play in relations with other people; they simply play no part in life itself.
He lived through the next four decades busying himself with his writings and raising his family. He produced “War and Peace” at a time when he considered his writing a “trivial endeavor”. At age fifty, he began questioning the meaning of his life, in short, the questions “Why?” and “What next?” needed urgently to be answered. This was the turning point for him in terms of religion.
Tolstoy learned that reasoning alone brought him to the conclusion that life was indeed meaningless. He saw the deception of life, that the reality was suffering and death. Over the next three years, he thought that his life was some kind of evil and cruel practical joke that someone was playing on him. “In spite of the fact that I did not acknowledge the existence of any “someone” who might have created me, the notion that someone brought me into the world as a stupid and evil joke seemed to be the most natural way to describe my condition.” Indeed as he said that “life was only a dream, death is an awakening.” As he became more depressed, he noticed that the peasants on his estate, though they were worse off materially, were much happier spiritually. He found that the masses did not complain about their circumstance, that they had faith; an instinctive knowledge that life would improve later. He soon began studying these people who never questioned, those who literally found bliss in ignorance. The more he saw, the more he loved them.
After two years Tolstoy experienced a great transformation. The life that he led up until then became utterly repugnant to him and he saw that the devout of the upper class, his class, did not live as they professed- instead quite the opposite. He turned away from logic and embraced faith once again. He came to the conclusion that God did exist, though he was not quite sure what this God was. He thought that God was life and if he lived by seeking God, he would not despair any longer. He then turned back to the principles which guided him in childhood. And while he accepted this unconsciously at first, later he became aware that he could not live without them.
He returned to his habit of going to church, fasting, and observing all holidays. And though he did not understand many formalities, such as bowing before relics and icons, as well as some of the services, he practiced them anyway. As time passed, however, he realized that performing such rites was mocking the religion which he believed in, yet grudgingly continued performing them nonetheless.
Such was the way he lived for three more years, as the doubts in the tenets of his religion grew, until he finally renounced his relationship with the Church. He still retained his faith, but could not practice in the way that the Church dictated. As a result, he was excommunicated nine years before his death.
Yet it was Tolstoy in his later years, in his seventies and eighties that affected his daughter so much. It was a combination of his work ethic and his compassion for those around him that made his daughter work as hard as she did in helping others. In addition, the close relationship between them influenced her throughout her life.
In 1952, both Alexandra Tolstoy and Tatiana Schaufuss went to Los Angeles, California, to try and raise money for the construction of old age homes at the Center in New York. After some time, they noticed that their audience was not that responsive and they felt the trip was a waste.
Suddenly, a man with one arm stood up, and in a very patriotic speech, said that cigarettes cost twenty-five cents a pack. If the Russian community donated the money that they spent if they bought two packs of cigarettes a month, to the Tolstoy Foundation, the money needed to build the homes would be raised in no time.
Soon, money began flowing toward New York. Fifty-five thousand dollars, over half the money needed was raised, and in 1957, the first old people’s home (OPH 1), housing twenty-five people, was built. In 1962, the second OPH was used to house an additional sixteen older residents.
During this time also, Miss Tolstoy considered the idea of building a fully staffed nursing home at the Center, providing the residents with a friendly atmosphere in which to live out the rest of their lives. In the early 1960’s, after a brief illness, doctors ordered her to take a vacation from her strenuous work. So, she decided to go to Florida for several weeks. Once there, Miss Tolstoy decided she wanted to learn how to fish, and immediately charted a boat for this purpose. For three days she fished with the captain of the boat, Ted Levering, who she discovered was a retired architect. She tried to convince him to come back to New York with her and build a nursing home at the Center.
He refused, saying that he had retired already and was quite content living in Florida and fishing. She then asked him to draw up blueprints which she could take back and have the building constructed anyway. He answered by saying that if he started the project he would have to see it to its completion. So, Mr. Levering found himself in New York in 1968 building a nursing home.
The money came from a test project, 28A, initiated by the Rockefellers, to provide money for such institutions. The Tolstoy Foundation was the first to be registered for this program, and received a loan in the form of bonds worth one hundred thousand dollars.
After two years, on September 11, 1970, the nursing home was opened and began accepting patients who were housed temporarily in OPH II.
With the construction of the nursing home, however, the summer camp came to an end, as well as the farm, as far as the animals were concerned. The cows were taken out in 1968, and by 1972, the chickens, birds, and pigs.
One of the original purposes of the Tolstoy Foundation, as I have already stated was to “create a center of Russian culture in America to serve the American born generation of Russian descent.” This goal was achieved, in part, by the establishment of a summer camp, as early as 1941. It provided the children a chance to be made aware of their rich cultural heritage as well as assimilating them into mainstream American life. In addition to typical camp activities, which included swimming at nearby Rockland Lake, they took excursions to West Point Military Academy by boat, as well as trips to New York. Classes were given in language, religious instruction which was taught by Bishop Savva, geography, and history. The camp was open from July 1 to Labor Day and approximately eighty children, ages seven to fifteen attended until 1968. The camp was run by Marta Knutsen, who had a very special relationship with these kids. Also, beginning in 1971, a summer school was opened at the Center for intensive study of language and history. The program began with students from Macalaster College, under the instruction of Alexander Guss and Serge Ganussovsky. Miss Tolstoy herself lectured during these first few years, which added much prestige to the program. Later the school was supervised by Professors Adrianov and Mamantoff. Beginning in 1981, the summer program was renamed, and now is known as the “Alexandra Tolstoy Russian Summer Institute” and accredited by Rockland Community College. When I attended in the summer of 1985, the program was run by Professor Rzhevsky, and offered six credits in language and two in history. It was an intensive seven week course and we were totally submerged in the culture. Most of the students live at the Center, which was extremely beneficial in learning about the culture. Today, the program is supervised by Professor Kalaur.
Today, the Foundation has eleven offices in the United States as well as eleven in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, and mainly handles an individual caseload. It’s affiliations with governmental agencies include, among others, the following, it is registered with the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid of the Agency for International Development (AID) of the Department of State, Member Agency of the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc. (ACVA), Member Agency of CARE. Overseas it is a Member Agency of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies, Geneva, (ICVA), Member Agency of “Federation des Institutions Internationales Semi-officielles et Privees a Geneve” (FIIG), Member Agency of the Council of Voluntary Agencies operating in Germany (CVAG), Cooperating Agency with the United States Refugee Program (USRP) of the United States Department of State, Cooperating Agency with the Intergovernmental Committee on Migration (ICM), Cooperating Agency in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Authorized Agency of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia for work with refugees.
In addition, the Foundation is also the founder of the Association de la Maison de Retraite de Cannes et d’autres etablissements pour Refugies Etrangers, Paris, Association ‘‘La Residence des Sapins”, Rouen, Kuratorium des Altenwohnheimes “Haus Elizabeth”, Berlin, and Tolstoy Hilfs- und Kulturwerk, e.V., Germany.
Today life on the farm continues a peacefully as before, with no interferences from the outside world. I have spent the last two years, from June of 1987 until now, as a volunteer at the Nursing Home which is in its nineteenth year of operation. As summer approaches, life returns to the farm, as its residents are involved in their daily activities, as well as preparations for the fiftieth anniversary celebration. Also, another year of summer school starts soon.
In conclusion I simply hope that you have come to understand some of what I have experienced during the past four years.
Mr. Cyril Galitzine on October 7, 1987, March 3, 1988, April 12, 1989, and April 23, 1989. Mr. Teymuraz Bagration on February 11, 1988 and May 8, 1989
“Countess Tolstoy of Valley Cottage”, by John Dalmas, The Journal News, June 28, 1981 “Ugandans Find Help at Tolstoy Center”, The Journal News, December 18, 1972 “Our Tolstoy Foundation”, by Alexandra Tolstoy, The New Russian Word, May 1 through July 15, 1977
From Confession, by Lev Tolstoy, translated by David Patterson, W.W Norton & Company, New York, 1983.
“Thirty-four Years of Assistance to Refugees” 1972. “In The Service of Humanity- A History of the Tolstoy Foundation Center” “History, Aims and Achievements”, 1976. “Tolstoy Foundation Center, Inc., Its Past and Present 1939-1965” “History of the Old Believers”, September, 1971.
From the World Book Encyclopedia for its articles on Finland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia