September 23, 2019

In July, IJ announced that attorney Anya Bidwell would succeed attorney Sam Gedge as the Institute’s third Elfie Gallun Fellow in Freedom and the Constitution. As you may recall from previous issues of Liberty & Law, this prestigious fellowship was established in 2014 by longtime IJ supporters Elfie and Ned Gallun.

Elfie’s deep appreciation for liberty was forged through her experience of living without it. As a child, she endured Hitler’s Germany only to be trapped in Stalin’s East Germany. At the age of 19, Elfie risked everything to escape communist rule, crawling across a river in the dead of night on the remains of a dismantled railroad bridge to reach West Germany. 

You can read more about Elfie’s harrowing journey to freedom—and see President Reagan’s heartfelt letter responding to her story—at

Having grown up herself in the former Soviet Union, Anya shares Elfie’s deep appreciation of the fragile and precious nature of liberty. She joined IJ in 2017 and has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including serving as co-counsel in IJ’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case vindicating the rights of small-business owners Doug and Mary Ketchum to earn an honest living. As IJ’s new Gallun Fellow, Anya will carry on Elfie’s legacy by publishing, speaking, and litigating in support of vital constitutional rights.

 “Elfie Gallun is a personal hero and a role model,” said Anya. “I look forward to spreading the word about liberty and the Constitution in her name.”

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