Zelda Kahan

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Zelda Kahan (1886 – 1969) was a British communist.

Born into a Jewish family in Russia in 1886, Kahan's family were forced to emigrate, and she moved to Britain at an early age.[1] The Kahans lived at 6 Clapton Square in Hackney, London. She became an active socialist and joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF). Within the SDF, she was a leading opponent of Ernest Belfort Bax's anti-feminism, and an ardent anti-militarist. After a resolution she proposed to the conference of the SDF's successor, the British Socialist Party, was approved against the wishes of the party leadership, she was elected to its executive. She worked alongside Theodore Rothstein in opposition to World War I, and supported the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).[2]

Zelda Kahan publicly justified Stalin's collectivization policies, and denied Holodomor taking place.[3] [4]

Kahan married fellow communist William Peyton Coates (died 8 Aug 1963), and became known as Zelda Coates. Together, they set up the Anglo-Russian Parliamentary Committee.[5] The Coates lived at 37 Coolhurst Road, Hornsey, London N8 in later days.


  • (1918) Karl Marx: His Life and Teaching London: British Socialist Party
  • (1920) The life and work of Friedrich Engels London: The Communist Party of Great Britain
  • (1968) "Memories of Lenin in London, 1902-3 and 1907", Labour Monthly, November 1968, pp 506-508

Co written with W. P Coates:

  • (1935) Armed Intervention in Russia 1918-1922 London: V. Gollancz
  • (1938) From Tsardom to the Stalin Constitution London:G. Allen and Unwin
  • (1939) World Affairs and the U. S. S. R. London : Lawrence and Wishart
  • (1940) Russia, Finland and the Baltic London : Lawrence and Wishart
  • (1943) A History of Anglo-Soviet relations
  • (1951) Soviets in Central Asia
  • Why Russia Will Win


  1. ^ Henry Pelling, The British Communist Party: A Historical Profile
  2. ^ Karen Hunt, Equivocal Feminists: The Social Democratic Federation and the Woman Question 1884-1911
  3. ^ The Harvest in Russia: Cases of Starvation (Letters to the Editor), Manchester Guardian | Sep 13, 1933
  4. ^ The Truth about Russia: Hunger in Spring, Plenty in Summer (Letters to the Editor), Manchester Guardian | Sep 20, 1933
  5. ^ Andrew J. Williams, Labour and Russia: The Attitude of the Labour Party to the USSR, 1924-1934