Rose Klasko was born in February 1903 in Dublin to immigrant parents from Siberia and Lithuania. Her family moved to Glasgow, where her father was a tailor. Rose became involved even as a 12 year old in the Scottish rent strike and anti-war movement during the First World War and even only 18 years old was a founder member of the Communist Party, remaining an active member throughout her life.
Her family settled in Glasgow. She became strongly anti-war during ages of 14-16 and was sacked from her first job, aged 14, for speaking out against the war, having been involved with a Socialist Sunday school. Her father went bankrupt during the war, his small clothing business failing due to the high wages he paid his workers. Rose’s mother had had some connection with the revolutionary movement in 19th century Russia. Even so, she had to be urged by Rose to withhold her rent during the strike and was very timid about this until the movement spread.
She and Peter Kerrigan married in 1926 and she spent nine months in Moscow during 1935 when she accompanied her husband who was the Party�s representative to the Comintern. Courageously she consented to his going to Spain during the civil war, even though she gave birth to a daughter during husband’s first period in Spain.
Rose Kerrigan�s Jewish origins coloured her own attitude to World War II, privately she didn’t always agree with the anti-war line. But she was heavily involved in the Second Front campaign. In the early stages of the war, having joined her husband Peter Kerrigan in London, the Kerrigan children were evacuated to Glasgow and billeted elsewhere. For two and a half years they were separated from their parents.
In the 1950s, Rose was active in the Tailor and Garment Workers Union, organising the women in her dress factory. Rose Kerrigan attended the final CPGB Congress in 1992, as a veteran consultative delegate but she firmly opposed the Party’s dissolution, joined the Communist Party of Scotland and died in July 1995, aged 92.
Morning Star 13th July 1995 and other sources