Felix Dzerzhinsky in prison, 1916
It’s not so well-known fact that Felix Dzerzhinsky was not only the Director of the Cheka who fought against counter-revolution during the Civil War and after it. Felix headed up the commission for the improvement of children’s lives. After the First World war, Revolution, several years of the Civil war and famine there were approximately from 5 to 7 millions of homeless and orphaned children. They wandered about the country trying to feed themselves. Of course, not to mention of impossibility to receive education. Millions of children starved to death.
The commission began to work since 1921. Thanks to Felix’ energetic efforts there were created a system of child institutions - distribution centers for temporary stay, children’s home, communes and children’s “town”. Children and teens received food, clothes, medical care, education and opportunity for self-actualization. During this time famous Anton Makarenko began his pedagogic experiment.
When Dzerzhinsky died in 1926, there were 290 thousand of homeless children.