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Goldenberg was arrested and exiled in 1878 to Arkhangelsk for his revolutionary activities. He escaped and joined Narodnaya Volya and assassinated Kharkov Governor-General Prince Dmitri Kropotkin (cousin of a famous anarchist) in February 1879. He was then arrested in November 14, 1879 in Elizavetgrad with a suitcase full of nitroglycerine, with the intention to deliver to associates in Moscow to blow up a train carrying the tsar, confessing his involvement and naming several other «Narodnaya Volya» members.
According to Richard Pipes in his book, The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia, after Goldenberg abandoned his Orthodox Jewish family as a youth and having established contacts with revolutionaries, successful assassinations and eluding subsequent arrest, that June (1879) he attended the secret gathering at Lipetsk which created the People's Will and was elected to its Executive Committee. He volunteered to assassinate Alexander II but was dissuaded on the grounds that it would be unwise for this to be done by a Jew.
Pipes further claims that once Goldenberg was incarcerated in Odessa (in November 1879) he was left alone for two months, after which he was interrogated by Odessa deputy procurator A. F. Dorbrzhinskii. Goldenberg was the first to be tested with this interrogation approach, later used by Lieutenant Colonel Georgy Sudeykin. 
Goldenberg committed suicide in prison July 1880.
- Pipes, Richard (2003). The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 42–45.
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