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March 22, 1959 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-03-22

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)rant' Lecturer Nila Magidoff To Tell Adventures



ranger than fiction" were the
a member of the Slavic
ages and literature depart-
used to describe the life of.
ssional lecturer Nila Magi-
who will speak here tomor-


But her story is hardly fiction.
in a book called simply "Nila,"'
Willie Snow Ethridge, her biogra-
pher and personal friend, de-
scribed her as "... the most amus-
ing, outgoing, generous, vibrant
overwhelming human being have
ever known."
The author had wanted to write
the story of Nila's life since the
early days of their friendship but
Mrs. Magidoff didn't consent until
1954. For three or four hours every
morning during a period longer
than a month, she relived her life
in Russia until she was too ex-
hausted to continue.
Started as Child
Mrs. Magidoff began working on
the power of positive speech as a
child in Russia. She recalled the
cakes that her mother baked on
"My ability as a speaker dates
back to those Saturdays, for every,
week T would: argue my brother
and sisters out of their cakes. I
would say to them the cakes were
so small that /if they ate them,
they would do them no good; they
would just have a bite or two-not
enough to really enjoy..
"But if they -gave them all to
me, then there would be enough
to do me good. Mother used to say
to the children, 'Eat your cakes
fast or Nila will talk you out of
.Moved to Moscow
When she was 18, the Kurskian
moved alone to Moscow, traveling
in a "car for the cattle-there was
no other kind of railroad car after
the Revolution," she explained.
She found work washing the
floor in the pavilion of the Agri-'
cultural Exposition in Moscow.
Then she was promoted to ticket-
Since no one was supposed to
take anything from the Exhibition
without a pass, Nita had a beauti-
fully-,dressed, woman and a heavilyr
bearded man arrested. They didn't
have a pass for the flowers the
woman was carrying.
Escorted by Police
But the man's name was Bel-
oborodov, he was the Vice-Com-
Missar of Justice of Soviet Repub-
lics, and he was' furious. The next
day a secret police official escorted
her to Lubyanka, a "most horri-
fying" prison.
"Then I go into this long, beau--
tiful room and the Head Com-
missar is there . . and this Bel-
oborodov .and seven or eight other
men sitting around a -long con-
ference table," she recalled.
Beloborodov stood up and told

added" and then leaned down and
kissed her.
Mrs. Magidoff and her first hus--
band, Karl Gahlin, signed up to
teach the ignorant people in Kir-
ghizia. To reach the community
they traveled by train, horse and
boat. But a three-day journey over
a lake was stretched to 15 after
a storm.
Swept Overboard
"The captain and two- sailors
were swept overboard and killed.
Only Karel and I and three mem-
bers of the crew were left.
"Do you know how the three
sailors and I spent the time?
Cards we were playing. Tied by
ropes to the mast, we played,
The survivors drank smashed
eggs and baked a dough of pas-
turage and salt water.
Accepted Life
"Nothing unusual or heroic
about it. I just accepted the life,"
Mrs. Magidvff said modestly.
She and her husband found the
Kirghizian people "absolutely
wild." Her work was organizing
schools for the young children
and clubs for the women in order
to educate them in elementary
"There were whole settlements
complete with venereal, disease
and in meetings, the people would
scratch themselves feverishly and
pick wildly at their hair. They
never killed the lice; they just
threw them on the floor," she said.


Although she was kept in the
apartment with other suspects all
'night, she managed to escape sus-
picion by swallowing the message
she -was to deliver.
After other assorted prisons and
the death of her husband, Mrs.
Magidoff became a reporter for
the Soviet newspaper Journal de
Moscou. She sneaked into a fu-
neral by carrying a musical in-
strument and covered it for her
In November of 1936 at a Mos-
cow skating. rink, she helped a
fallen man to his feet. The man
was Robert Magidoff, teaching
fellow of the University Slavic de-
partment, who was then serving as
a foreign correspondent.
They were married the next
year and she escaped arrest as the
widow zof a counter-revolutionist.
However, leaving Russia seemed
an impossibility.

Mrs. Magidoff was finally
granted a visa and supposedly ex-
changed to the United States "for
two loads of high octane gas."
Thirteen years later, she found
that it was not for gas but for a
prominent Russian who was being
detained in the United States.
Finally a naturalized citizen,
she returned to Moscow to see her
husband and family. However, her
visit was short, for Robert Magi-
doff was wrongly accused of spying
on the Soviet government. He and
his wife were expelled from the
Magidoff is now teaching at the
University. His wife is a profes-
sional lecturer and had to secure
permission from her agent before
speaking before the Russian Club.
At 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Rack-
ham Amphitheatre, Nila Magidoff
will deliver a lecture entitled "I
Discover America."



Do you need
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(By Rose Mare Reid)

Demurely shorted.
daringly printed I
Jungle colors...t
make each sea-far
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TABU, 10-18, 22.9

"STRANGER THAN FICTION"-Nila Magidoff, professional lec-
turer, will speak at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Rackham Amphithea-

tre. She is a native of the Soviet
"I Discover America."
the story of how awfully "Com-
rade Shevko" had behaved.
"Then it was my turn and I
stood straight and motionless,
both arms to my side,.like a soldier
at inspection, and I made my
speech. Very calmly I say, 'Com-
rade Beloborodov, you are lying.'
"There was complete silence in
the room. Eyerybody knows I could
be executed.
"Then I say, 'Al-I did was to
ask you politely for the pass for
the flowers ... I was only stand-

Union. The topic of her talk is Forgetfulness, fast thinking and
smooth talking saved her when
carrying secret messages for the
ing there, serving on my post, opposition underground movement
doing my duty. after the Russian Revolution. In-
"Then the most unbelievable stead of being met by a confeder-
thing happened," Mrs. Magidoff ate at their rendezvous, Mrs. Mag-
said. "The Head Commissar got up idoff found the door opened by a
and walked all around the table NKVD man.
and put his hand on my shoulders Luckily for her, however, she
and said, 'If everybody, Comrade made a mistake and gave the
Shevko, will be as .honest as you wrong knock so he, previously in-
are and not afraid to fight for his formed, did not know whether to
rights, the Soviet Republics will suspect her or not. Looking past
be as strong as can be. his head, she saw a mannequin
"'I'm proud to be a citizen of bust and immediately asked for
the same country as you,' he the dressmaker.

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The Daily Official Bulletin is an
official publication of . The Univer-
sity of Michigan for which The
Michigan Daily assumes no edi-
torial responsibility. Notices should
be sent in TYPEWRITTEN form to
Room 3519 4dministration Build-
ing, before 2 p.m. the day preceding
publication. Notices for Sunday
Daily due at 2:00 p.m. Friday.
SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 1959
VOLt LXIX, NO. 124
General Notices
Seniors: College of L.S.&A., Schools
of Business Administration, Education,


Music, and Public Health. Tentative
lists of seniors for June graduation are
posted on bulletin board in first floor
lobby, Ad. Bldg., Any changes should
be requested of the Recorder at Office
of }Zegistration and Records, window
No. A, 1513 Ad. Bldg.
Special Meeting of Univ. staff, wives
or husbands. "A Special Report on the
Status of The Univ. of Mich." President
Hatcher. Mon., March 23, 4:15 p.m.,
Rackham Lecture Hall.-
Automobile Regulations: Spring Re-
cess. Automobile regulations will be
lifted at 5 p.m. Fri., March 27, and
will become effective again at 8 a.m.
on Mon., April 6.
Hopwood Contestants: Transcripts of
first semester records due in Hopwood
Room April 1, and should be ordered
before spring vacation.
During the period of March 21 to
April 4 the Plant Dept. will be applying
the annual spray treatment for the
control of Dutch elm disease. The tem-
perature and wind conditions which
must be observed make it impossible to
schedule the time and exact area of
these applications.
For the benefit of owners of cars that
may be affected by this spraying opera-
tion, it should be noted that the ma-
terial used will not harm the finish of
cars. If the spray mist should settle on
a car, the spray should be allowed to
dry and, after the liquid carrier has

evaporated, the residue can be wiped
off easily.
Summary action taken at a meeting
of Student Government Council,
March 20, 1959.
Approved minutes of previous meet-
Approved invitation to candidate for
the Board of Regents of the Socialist
Workers party to attend a Council
meeting (previous action extended an
invitation to Republican and Demo-
cratic candidates.)
Defeated a motion providing that
SGC, to clarify its position in regard
to women's rushing, recommends that
Panhellenic and Assembly if they so
desire investigate calendaring of a fall
rush for upperclass, sophomore, and
second semester freshmen women.
Approved motion relating to estab-
lishment of a central committee com-
posed of three students, three faculty
members, and two administrative offi-
cials to organize and coordinate a study
of freshman orientation, requesting co-
operation of the various student or-
ganizations and university agencies in
the study with a view to better serv-
ing the adjustment of freshmen in
their transition from a high school
conception of education to an appre-
ciation of the manifold aspects of edu-
cation in a university situation.
Approved unilateral exchange pro-
gram with the University of Delhi,
India, for the school year 1959-60, con-
tingent upon securing financial as-
(Continued from Page 6)



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