Motive for Spying: Emma Woikin

[ Soviet embassy Ottawa 1940s ]

Soviet embassy Ottawa 1940s, Unknown, 1978, The Soviet Embassy in Ottawa from which Gouzenko defected in 1945 burned in the 1950s

[Evidence presented to the Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission of 1946]

The Testimony of Emma Woikin

February 22, 1946

Emma Woikin, called

THE SECRETARY Will you take the Bible in your right hand, please. You understand the oath? What religion are you?
EMMA WOIKIN I am a Doukhobor
THE SECRETARY Do you understand the oath when you are sworn on the Bible?
THE SECRETARY Your full name is Emma Woikin?


MR. [Gerald] FAUTEUX [Commission Counsel] What is your name, please?
WOIKIN My name is Emma Woikin.
FAUTEUX And where were you born?
WOIKIN Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan.
FAUTEUX What year?
WOIKIN 1921.
FAUTEUX Speak up, please?
WOIKIN January 1, 1921.


[Woikin was shown four exhibits, which were copies of telegrams marked Secret and Top Secret, from the Department of External Affairs. She testified that between late May and August 1945, while she was employed as a cipher clerk at the department, she memorized the contents of the telegrams and later wrote them out.]

FAUTEUX Why did you copy these telegrams and to whom did you give the copies that you made?
WOIKIN Do you want to know the name of the person?
WOIKIN Well, has that got any bearing on it?
KELLOCK Yes. You must answer the question put to you.
WOIKIN The name of the person or the name of the—
KELLOCK The name of the person. What did you do with these documents?
MR. COMMISSONER TASCHEREAU The first person to whom you gave them?
WOIKIN I would not like to say the name of the person.
KELLOCK You have to.
TASCHEREAU You have to.
KELLOCK Just answer the question.
WOIKIN The foreign power is—
KELLOCK That will not do — the person.
WOIKIN Whoever it is it is not a Canadian.
KELLOCK That does not matter. Will you please answer the question?
WOIKIN His name is Sokolov.
KELLOCK Who is Sokolov?
WOIKIN Major Sokolov is from the Soviet embassy here.


FAUTEUX Did you ever receive any money from Sokolov for the work you were doing for him?
WOIKIN No, I didn’t get money for it.
WOIKIN I didn’t get money for it.
FAUTEUX I am asking you whether you received money from Sokolov?
WOIKIN I received a gift one time; $50.
FAUTEUX And that gift was in the nature of what?
WOIKIN It was money.
MR. COMMISSIONER KELLOCK It was $50, you say?
MR. FAUTEUX Where were you when Sokolov gave you that $50?
WOIKIN His wife gave it to me....
FAUTEUX Miss Woikin, when you had the proposition put up to you the first time by Mr. Sokolov, and you say in a few days you agreed, why did you agree?
WOIKIN Well, that is a feeling one can’t quite express.
FAUTEUX What is that?
WOIKIN That is a feeling that you cannot quite express.
FAUTEUX I do not understand that. You were born in this country?
FAUTEUX Your parents have been here since before 1900?
FAUTEUX Then would you explain why you were willing to do what Sokolov asked you to do?
WOIKIN Perhaps it is because I have a feeling of love for that country. Perhaps it is because we think that there is — we may be wrong or we may be right, but there is hope for the poor or something.
WOIKIN I don’t know why I had that, but I did.
FAUTEUX If I understand what you mean, it is that you were sympathetic with the Soviet Union?


FAUTEUX Now you would like to be a Soviet citizen?
WOIKIN I cannot answer that, I do not know how to answer it.
FAUTEUX Take your time and tell us what you believe and what you think.
WOIKIN Maybe it was from the kind of life I had, maybe—just that I look to that country for security and I would like to live there.
FAUTEUX Who told you that there was security in that country? How do you know that?
FAUTEUX How did you reach that conclusion?
WOIKIN I do not know how I reached that conclusion.
FAUTEUX You must have had some reason?
WOIKIN Well, maybe it was from what I read — what I read, really that is what I mean.
FAUTEUX What do you mean by security?
WOIKIN Well, there was a time when I was quite poor, I guess, and my baby died because we had no medical care and nobody seemed to care. My husband was sick and to such a stage where nobody seemed to intervene at all.
MR. COMMISSIONER KELLOCK There was no public health service out where you were living?
WOIKIN No, there was not.

Source: Testimony of Emma Woikin, Motive for Spying: Emma Woikin in The Gouzenko Transcripts: The Evidence Presented to the Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission of 1946, Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein (Ottawa: Denean Publishers, February 22, 1946), 156-166

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