Letter 001, pg. 3

“a Russian to correspond with,” if you want to write to the faraway city of Chicago.

Regarding your coming to Chicago, I will meet you at the train station, even if you arrive in 1947; even if I am by then the greatest star in Hollywood; I just hope you have nothing against photographers and reporters following me and all my friends around, as is customary with stars—at least I hope that will be the case. But since it will be a long time until that happens, I will be very happy to have “a Russian to correspond with.” I will be very happy to receive news from you.

Yours sincerely,



That seems to be the only letter that AR wrote to Bekkerman, and it was in response to the only letter from him, though in July 1927, he added a line to a letter from her cousin in Leningrad. AR did get occasional news about him from her relatives. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, previously secret documents became available, and Ayn Rand Institute researchers learned that Bekkerman was arrested during the height of Stalinist terror, charged with “counterrevolutionary activities” and executed on May 5, 1937. AR never learned of his fate. For more on Bekkerman and others who inspired characters in We the Living, see “Parallel Lives” by Scott McConnell in Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living,” ed. Robert Mayhew (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004).