The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

Source: Luba Milstein, evidence given at trial, 10 May 1911, from Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.0, 20 September 2014), April 1911, trial of DUBOF, Zurka (24, painter) PETERS, Jacob (24, tailor’s presser) ROSEN, John (26, hairdresser) VASSILEVA, Nina (23, cigarette maker) (t19110425-75).

Text: In December I was living at 59, Grove Street. On the 13th, I think, Dubof’ slept there in the front room with Peter the Painter. He was then drunk. On December 16 Dubof, Rosen, and Hoffman came to the house. Dubof had with him Exhibit 55. Tocmakoff, Fritz, and Peter the Painter were there. In the afternoon they were playing chess and music. I had to go out with some washing; I told Fritz I could not carry it; he asked Dubof to assist me, and Dubof and I went to the laundry together. I had to wait at the laundry, and Dubof left me there. When I got back to No. 59 Dubof was there; I cannot remember what time he left. Later that night Trassjonsky and I went to see some living pictures. On returning she and I were staying in the back room; Fritz and Trassjonsky lived there together. About midnight I heard two people coming upstairs. On my going to the front room door and knocking Fritz told me I must not come in. A little later the men left and I went with Trassjonsky into the front room and there saw the body of Gardstein lying on the bed. I heard a conversation between Fritz and Trassjonsky. Fritz told her that Morountzeff was wounded and asked her to put cold water to his side. Shortly afterwards I went to Hoffman’s room in Lindley Street. Fritz and Federof and Peters were there. I heard Fritz say that he carried Gardstein like a baby; also that he wanted to leave him near Commercial Road, but he started screaming. I saw a revolver in Federof’s hand; I had seen no other revolvers that night.

Comments: Luba Milstein (1892-1973) was a Russian Jew and mistress of Fritz Svaars, one of the group of Latvian revolutionaries known as the ‘Houndsditch murderers’ who killed two policemen at Houndsditch in London’s East End following a raid on a jeweller’s shop on 16 December 1910. One of the gang, George Gardstein, died the following day. They were were pursued by the police to what became known at the Siege of Sidney Street (3 January 1911), in which Svaars died. This testimony comes from the subsequent Old Bailey trial of some of those associated with the group. Sara Trassjonsky was another member.

Links: Transcript at The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

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