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Police Raid Doukhobors




April 13, 1925.

Honourable W. L. McKenzie King,
Premier of Canada,
Ottawa, Canada.

Honourable Sir,

Inclosed please find copy of our Telegram sent to you on the 11th of April from Grand Forks, in addition to which we will describe in this letter with more details the barbarious behaviour of Provincial Police headed by Inspector Dunwoody.

On April 10th the Police at Grand Forks was noisely getting ready to raid the Doukhobors, their neighbors a peacefull people, because the Doukhobors children were not attending English School. About ten o'clock on 11th of April creating a lot of dust like a hurricane, a lot of Automobiles and motor trucks filled with people were speeding towards the Doukhobor settlement. Ahead of the Automobiles were some horse-men like cavalry. They all quickly got around the Doukhobor warehouse, which is situated on the outskirts of the town. In this warehouse were stored eatable products, it was also used as

an office. This mob of executioners armed with revolvers, black-snakes, pieces of rubber hose and pick handles, about one hundred and fifty men under leadership of Inspector Dunwoody, started to raid warehouse and Office taking everything as it came; all kinds of merchandise, potatoes and other eatable products, furniture, typewriter, safe, books, business letters and documents. In the warehouse also were stored some products belonging to the family of W. Koochin living above the warehouse, flour, potatoes for eating purposes and for seed, oatmeal, peas and beans, kitchen utensils and wearing apparel. The wife of Mr. W. Koochin with tears started to beg the executioners to leave some of their clothes and the mob threw a part of the clothes out, but the balance of the clothes and the trunks were taken away. This warehouse and office was raided for four hours, over twenty motor truck loads were taken out and sent to Grand Forks. They took not only eatable products, but empty glass-jars used for preserving.


Three o'clock in the afternoon on same day the same mob went to the Doukhobore settlement situated about two miles from town and started to raid the Doukhobor Flour mill, where Doukhobors had stored a small, reserve of wheat and flour to feed their children. Here the women and children peacefully tried to save the toil of their men and parents and their meagre subsistance. With tears they begged this cruel mob not to take away their last piece of daily bread. This did not help, and in answer to their cries, the mob started to treat them rough and unmercifully beat them with whips and trample with horses. The women and children with heart breaking cries were begging for mercy. One woman was hurt so badly that she had to be carried to the house. After the women and children were chased away some distance from flour mill, then executioners break door and then begin to their work, taking from the flour mill wheat and flour.

Before this mob came to Doukhobor settlement they seized five carloads of Railway Ties, which were ready to ship to Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Also they seized two motor trucks and other machinery. According to the inventory, they took away over $20,000.00 worth of Doukhobors chattels, to satisfy about $4,000.00 worth of fines.

This destruction was made at the command of the higher Officials from Victoria, because the Doukhobor children were not attending English School. We want you to notice that we have suffered the same beastly treatment in the year of 1895 from the Russian Cossaks on Caucasus under leadership of officer Praga, who unmercifully beat the Doukhobors with whips and tramped with horses, for the burning of firearms. It is recognized that the Russian government was very cruel, as people warriors who are not civilized, but even there, this act was found as an excess of authority and the officer Praga for this action was disqualified, dismissed and punished. In this civilized land it seems that it should not happen that the peaceful defenseless people, especially women and children should be unmercifully beaten up by a mob, who it seemed were under the influence of liquor, and who started to raid peaceful inhabitants and destroy their chattels same as bandits at the time when all the Christian World was getting ready to celebrate the great Event — Resurrection of Jesus Christ — Who sacrificed His Life on Golgotha for the sins of all the people. If in this civilized land are good Laws, which are made not by one man like in the countries where there are monarchs and despots, but by the people of a free land, would the people put through such a Laws, whereby peaceful defenseless inhabitants could to beaten up if they did not commit any criminal acts?


Doukhobors do not want to send their children to English School because they want to save their faith for which their ancestors suffered hundreds of years and because they wish to save their Russian Language.

We can see the mistake our brothers made in Saskatchewan, when they sent their Children to English Schools to full age limit. Their children do not want to use Russian language while speaking with their parents. On which language will they profess the faith of their fathers in future? Quite a few of their daughters without the consent of their parents have married men of other faith. Besides, the School education reflects on the children and they do not honor their parents as they should, but temps to easy labor and getting away from the honest toil of agriculture. If all the people will get high education and will live in cities, who then will work on the land and raise foodstuffs.

The local Government and the people are blaming the Doukhobors for not obeying Canadian Laws. Let us answer you on this: where are there on the Globe higher Laws than which the Doukhobors are obeying? Not to carry firearms, to live in peace, not to kill animals, not to use meant as food, not to drink whiskey, not to use tobacco in any form. Living here in Canada for twenty-five years, we did not do any damage either to the Government or to the people of this land.

We kindly ask you to appoint a people’s commission to investigate about the Doukhobors, because another cruel barbarious attempt will be made again on us in the near future, as we understand from the words of Inspector Dunwoody.

We consider that this is an awful disgrace in this civilized land to rob peaceful inhabitants until they are left without food and have to starve.

The Doukhobors will be forced to leave their homes and join the proletariat in the land, but what will be gained by this by the people and the Government of this land? You have already in this land without this, and excess of unemployed element, poor working people, without food or work, and which are fed by the Government at the expense of the taxpayers.

We beg you, kind Sir, to take serious notice on our plea, and take necessary steps to stop prosecution of Christians. Force and violence at this time — the time of knowledge and progress are out of place and do not bring good results to the present Government and citizens of this country.

We are repeating again that in this civilized land we lost our beloved Loader Peter Lordly, for whom we are still mourning and continuously praying God. We beg you in the name of Jesus Christ to let us live in peace.

With sincere respect to you,


(Sgd.) Per Someon F. Maxortoff,


Source: Library and Archives Canada, , RG 25 Vol. 1427 File 1925-671, F. Maxortoff, Police Raid Doukhobors, April 13, 1925.

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