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Zenzl Mühsam

Zenzl Mühsam



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Kreszentia (Zenzl) Elfinger, the fifth child of Augustin Elfinger, an innkeeper, was born in Haslach, Lower Bavaria, on 28th July, 1884. Her mother, Kreszentia Elfinger, died when she was eight years old and she endured extreme poverty in her childhood. At the age of sixteen she moved to Munich and two years later gave birth to a son, Siegfried, outside of wedlock. Unable to provide for her son, he grew up with relatives. (1)

In 1909 she began living with the artist, Ludwig Engler. She met Erich Mühsam in 1913. Mühsam led a very promiscuous life and was seen as one of the leaders of the free love movement. He wrote in his diary on 24th December, 1914: "This morning, when she sat at my bed, I realized how dear she is to me. She comes close to what I most long for in a lover: a substitute for my mother. I can put my head in her lap and let her caress me quietly for hours. I don't feel the same with anyone else. Her love is extremely important to me, and I have to thank her more in these hard times than I sometimes realize myself. Maybe I can return some of this one day!" (2)

The couple were married nine months later on 15th September, 1915. In 1917 Zenzl's son, Siegfried, went to live with them in Munich. Mühsam was an anarchist who was involved in protests against the First World War. As a result of his anti-war activities, Mühsam was banished from Munich on 24th April 1918, to a small Bavarian town of Traunstein. Mühsam desperately tried to organize coordinated resistance, but like others, failed. (3).

On 28th October, Admiral Franz von Hipper and Admiral Reinhardt Scheer, planned to dispatch the fleet for a last battle against the British Navy in the English Channel. Navy soldiers based in Wilhelmshaven, refused to board their ships. The next day the rebellion spread to Kiel when sailors refused to obey orders. The sailors in the German Navy mutinied and set up councils based on the soviets in Russia. By 6th November the revolution had spread to the Western Front and all major cities and ports in Germany. (4)

On 7th November, 1918, Kurt Eisner, leader of the Independent Socialist Party, declared Bavaria a Socialist Republic. Eisner made it clear that this revolution was different from the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and announced that all private property would be protected by the new government. The King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, decided to abdicate and Bavaria was declared a Council Republic. Eisner's program was democracy, pacifism and anti-militarism. Mühsam immediately returned to Munich to take part in the revolution. (5)

Friedrich Ebert, the president of Germany, arranged for 30,000 Freikorps, under the command of General Burghard von Oven, to take Munich. At Starnberg, some 30 km south-west of the city, they murdered 20 unarmed medical orderlies. The Red Army knew that the choice was armed resistance or being executed. The Bavarian Soviet Republic issued the following statement: "The White Guards have not yet conquered and are already heaping atrocity upon atrocity. They torture and execute prisoners. They kill the wounded. Don't make the hangmen's task easy. Sell your lives dearly." (6)

Erich Mühsam was arrested and sentenced to fifteen years of confinement in a fortress. A few weeks later, the Weimar Republic was established, giving Germany a parliamentarian constitution. Gabriel Kuhn has argued: "Being confined in a fortress - a sentence usually reserved for political dissidents - meant certain privileges compared to the general prison population, most notably the opening of cells for communal meetings and activities during the day, but it also meant increased harassment, reaching from the confiscation of papers and diaries to punishments like isolation and food deprivation. Mühsam's health deteriorated drastically during those years." (7)

While in prison Mühsam briefly joined the German Communist Party (KPD). He explained in a letter to a friend, Martin Andersen Nexø: "I recently joined the Communist Party - of course not to follow the party line, but to be able to work against it from the inside." (8) He also praised Lenin and the Bolsheviks but left the KPD when he heard about how the anarchists were being treated in Russia. (9)

Mühsam was released from prison on 20th December, 1924. He was greeted by a large gathering of sympathizers when he arrived in Berlin. The scene was later described by the journalist, Bruno Frei: "Thanks to my press card I was able to get past the police barriers. Helmet-wearing security forces, both on foot and on horses, had sealed off the station. On the square in front of it, there were several hundred, maybe a thousand workers and youths with flags and banners. Their republican deed: to greet Erich Mühsam! When the express train from Munich arrived, a few youngsters managed to make their way into the arrival hall. Mühsam stepped out of the train in obvious pain, accompanied by his wife Zenzl. The young workers lifted him on their shoulders.... Mühsam fought back tears and thanked the comrades. Someone started to sing The Internationale. At that very moment, the helmet-wearing mob attacked the people who had gathered around Mühsam. They yelled at them, pushed them, and hit them with batons. The comrades resisted courageously, though, protected Mühsam, and led him outside. Unfortunately, the police had already begun to chase the workers from the square.... Many were arrested and wounded." (10)

After Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933, Mühsam campaigned against the Nazi Party. He was arrested on 28th February, 1934 and was sent to a concentration camp in Oranienburg. His friend, Alexander Berkman, published details of his predicament: "I received a note from Germany yesterday. Erich Mühsam, the idealist, revolutionary, and Jew, represents everything that Hitler and his followers hate. They are attempting to destroy cultural and progressive life in Germany by destroying him. Mühsam became a particular object of Hitler's scorn because of his outstanding role in the Munich Revolution, alongside men like Landauer, Levine, and Toller." (11)

A fellow prisoner later recalled how Mühsam was regularly beaten: "Erich staggered, tripped over a bank, and fell on some straw mattresses. The wardens jumped after him, striking more blows. We stood still, clenching our fists and grinding our teeth, condemned to watch. We knew from experience that the slightest sign of resistance would send us to the hole for fourteen days or straight to the medical ward. Finally, the wardens pulled Erich up again and taunted him... They hit Erich again with their fists. He fell back onto the straw mattresses, the wardens followed and continued to hit and kick him." (12)

Another prisoner, John Stone, described how Erich Mühsam was murdered on 10th July, 1934: "In the evening, Mühsam was ordered to see the camp's commanders. When he returned, he said, They want me to hang myself - but I will not do them the favor. We went to bed at 8 p.m., as usual. At 9 p.m., they called Mühsam from his cell. This was the last time we saw him alive. It was clear that something out of the ordinary was happening. We were not allowed to go to the latrines in the yard that night. The next morning, we understood why: we found Mühsam's battered corpse there, dangling from a rope tied to a wooden bar. Obviously, the scene was supposed to look like a suicide. But it wasn't. If a man hangs himself, his legs are stretched because of the weight, and his tongue sticks out of his mouth. Mühsam's body didn't show any of these signs. His legs were bent. Furthermore, the rope was attached to the bar by an advanced bowline knot. Mühsam knew nothing about these things and would have been unable to tie it. Finally, the body showed clear indications of recent abuse. Mühsam had been beaten to death before he was hanged." (13)

Zenzl Mühsam confirmed the death of her husband to his friend, Rudolf Rocker: "I have to talk to you. On July 16, my Erich was buried at Waldfriedhof Dahlem. I was not allowed to go to the funeral, because my relatives were afraid. I was the only living witness, apart from his comrades in prison, who saw him being tortured. I have seen Erich dead, my dear. He looked so beautiful. There was no fear on his face; his cold hands were so gorgeous when I kissed them goodbye. Every day it becomes clearer to me that I will never talk to Erich again. Never. I wonder if anyone in this world can comprehend this? I am in Prague with friends now. I have not found real peace yet, although I am tired, very tired. Money is a problem. For now, I must remain here. The authorities, the police etc. are very good to me." (14)

Zenzl Mühsam left Berlin on 14th July, 1934. She travelled to Prague with her nephew Joseph Elfinger, whose father had been sent to Dachau Concentration Camp. In January 1935, she published The Ordeal of Erich Mühsam, in Moscow. The Nazi government reacted to this publication by stripping her of her German citizenship. Zenzl relocated from Berlin to Dresden, relatively close to the German border with Czechoslovakia. After Dorothy Thompson warned her that she was about to be arrested on 15th July 1934, she moved to Prague before travelling to Moscow on 8th August, 1935. (15)

Joseph Stalin, treated Sergey Kirov like a son, tried to persuade him to remain loyal to his leadership. Stalin asked him to leave Leningrad to join him in Moscow. Stalin wanted Kirov in a place where he could keep a close eye on him. When Kirov refused, Stalin knew he had lost control over his protégé. Kirov had several advantages over Stalin, "his closeness to the masses, his tremendous energy, his oratorical talent". Whereas, Stalin "nasty, suspicious, cruel, and power-hungry, Stalin could not abide brilliant and independent people around him." (16)

According to Alexander Orlov, who had been told this by Genrikh Yagoda, Stalin decided that Kirov had to die. Yagoda assigned the task to Vania Zaporozhets, one of his trusted lieutenants in the NKVD. He selected a young man, Leonid Nikolayev, as a possible candidate. Nikolayev had recently been expelled from the Communist Party and had vowed his revenge by claiming that he intended to assassinate a leading government figure. Zaporozhets met Nikolayev and when he discovered he was of low intelligence and appeared to be a person who could be easily manipulated, he decided that he was the ideal candidate as assassin. (17)

After the assassination of Kirov, Zenzl Mühsam was arrested as a supporter of Leon Trotsky. According to Victor Kravchenko: "Hundreds of suspects in Leningrad were rounded up and shot summarily, without trial. Hundreds of others, dragged from prison cells where they had been confined for years, were executed in a gesture of official vengeance against the Party's enemies. The first accounts of Kirov's death said that the assassin had acted as a tool of dastardly foreigners - Estonian, Polish, German and finally British. Then came a series of official reports vaguely linking Nikolayev with present and past followers of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and other dissident old Bolsheviks." (18)

Zenzl arrest was based on contacts with Erich Wollenberg and on correspondence with foreign anarchists. She spent four months in the prisons of Ljubjanka and Butyrka, before being released on 8th October, as a result of an international campaign on her behalf, supported by prominent figures such as Thomas Mann, Rudolf Rocker, André Gide, Harry Wilde and Ruth Osterreich. Zenzl returned to Moscow and on 13th June, 1937, she sold her husband's papers to the Maxim Gorky Institute. (19)

In the summer of 1938 Zenzl applied for a visa to the United States. This was rejected and she was rearrested. On 16th September, 1939, she was sentenced to eight years of hard labour for "abusing the Soviet Union's hospitality, and for participating in a counter-revolutionary organization and agitation". She spent the Second World War in Camp No.III in Yavas. Zenzl was released in November 1946 and exiled to the Novosibirsk district in Siberia.

Zenzl Mühsam worked at a children's home in Ivanovo. In February 1949 she was arrested by the NKVD and accused of belonging to an "anti-Soviet Trotskyist organization". Rudolf Rocker mounted an international campaign to get her released: "Why Zenzl Mühsam has been kept in Russian captivity for thirteen years - a time that not even eternity can give back to her - remains incomprehensible. It is possible that she was only used as a propaganda tool from the beginning; as a mere means of taking possession of Erich Mühsam's papers. It is also possible that she got to know too much about the inner workings of the NKVD and that the government considered it dangerous to let her return to Prague. Shortly after her arrival in Moscow, the era of terror began. If this was the case, then she was neutralized to protect the interests of the state - a purpose for which no means are despicable enough. A human life counts for nothing in a totalitarian police state like Russia." (20)

Zenzl was released but was not allowed to return to the children's home in Ivanovo until after the death of Joseph Stalin. On 13th March, 1955, she was given permission to live in East Berlin. She was provided with an apartment and a pension under the condition that she did not speak about her experiences in the Soviet Union. In a letter she sent to her friends in the United States she said that Bertolt Brecht was especially kind to her. On 22nd July, 1959, a military tribunal declared the 1936 and 1938 accusations levied against Zenzl unjust. (21)

Zenzl Mühsam died of lung cancer on 10th March, 1962.

This morning, when she sat at my bed, I realized how dear she is to me. Maybe I can return some of this one day!

I have to talk to you. I was the only living witness, apart from his comrades in prison, who saw him being tortured.

I have seen Erich dead, my dear. I wonder if anyone in this world can comprehend this?

I am in Prague with friends now. are very good to me.

Why Zenzl Mühsam has been kept in Russian captivity for thirteen years - a time that not even eternity can give back to her - remains incomprehensible. A human life counts for nothing in a totalitarian police state like Russia.

It is pointless to engage in speculation, especially since the exact circumstances are not very important. The fact is that a disgraceful crime has been committed. Even the most unscrupulous criminal would hardly dare to touch this woman, who has already experienced so much suffering.

It is in doubt whether we can win her freedom and help her settle in a neutral country to live the rest of her abused life in peace. Maybe it would be possible if we were dealing with a different state. In my long life, I have participated in a number of international protest movements, and I recall with deep satisfaction powerful campaigns like the one to liberate the victims of Montjuich." At the time, the outrage in all countries was strong enough to force the Spanish inquisitors to let

their innocent victims go free. But people still had a feeling of personal dignity and a respect for human life then, something that the blind masses have lost today.

Still, now that the case of Zenzl Mühsam has finally entered public consciousness, we must use all the means we have to stir up the conscience of the world once again. This is one of the most ruthless crimes that have ever been committed by t hose in power against a human being who has already been kicked to the ground.

Zenzl Mühsam has become the symbol of abused humanity. This simple woman, a woman from the midst of the people, personifies the gruesome fate of hundreds of thousands of hapless human beings who slowly go under in the NKVD's dungeons and labor camps, and whose cries fade away in a world that does not care-like cries in the desert...

The terrible crime that was committed by the hangmen of the Third Reich against Erich Mühsam was an act of brutal rawness and of unspeakable barbarism. But I dare say that the outrageous treatment that his unfortunate wife has been experiencing in Russia for the last thirteen years is even worse, because it has been covered up by bottomless hypocrisy and infamous lies, intentionally misleading the public. While commemorative plaques are erected for Erich Mühsam in Germany's Russian sector and streets and squares are named after him, his widow is slowly tortured to death. It would be hard to take hypocrisy and mendacity any further.

(1) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 267

(2) Erich Mühsam, diary entry (24th December, 1914)

(3) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 8

(4) Chris Harman, The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918-1923 (1982) page 41

(5) Erich Mühsam, diary entry (24th December, 1914)

(6) Chris Harman, The Lost Revolution (1982) page 137

(7) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 9

(8) Erich Mühsam, letter to Martin Andersen Nexø (27th October, 1919)

(9) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 9

(10) Bruno Frei, Mühsam's Arrival in Berlin (December, 1924)

(11) Alexander Berkman, statement (1st March, 1934)

(12) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 15

(13) Augustin Souchy, Erich Mühsam: His life, his work, his Martyrdom (1984) pages 80-81

(14) Zenzl Mühsam, letter to Rudolf Rocker (31st July, 1934)

(15) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 268

(16) Roy A. Medvedev, Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (1971) pages 165-166

(17) Edward P. Gazur, Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General (2001) page 31

(18) Victor Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom (1947) page 167

(19) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 268

(20) Rudolf Rocker, Appeal to the Conscience of the World (1949)

(21) Gabriel Kuhn, Liberating Society from the State (2011) page 270


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Liberating Society from the State and Other Writings: A Political Reader

Erich Mühsam (1878&ndash1934), poet, bohemian, revolutionary, is one of Germany&rsquos most renowned and influential anarchists. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, he challenged the conventions of bourgeois society at the turn of the century, engaged in heated debates on the rights of women and homosexuals, and traveled Europe in search of radical communes and artist colonies. He was a primary instigator of the ill-fated Bavarian Council Republic in 1919 and held the libertarian banner high during a Weimar Republic that came under increasing threat by right-wing forces. In 1933, four weeks after Hitler&rsquos ascension to power, Mühsam was arrested in his Berlin home. He spent the last sixteen months of his life in detention and died in the Oranienburg Concentration Camp in July 1934.

Mühsam wrote poetry, plays, essays, articles, and diaries. His work unites a burning desire for individual liberation with anarcho-communist convictions, and bohemian strains with syndicalist tendencies. The body of his writings is immense, yet hardly any English translations have been available before now. This collection presents not only Liberating Society from the State: What Is Communist Anarchism?, Mühsam&rsquos main political pamphlet and one of the key texts in the history of German anarchism, but also some of his best-known poems, unbending defenses of political prisoners, passionate calls for solidarity with the lumpenproletariat, recollections of the utopian community of Monte Verità, debates on the rights of homosexuals and women, excerpts from his journals, and essays contemplating German politics and anarchist theory as much as Jewish identity and the role of intellectuals in the class struggle.

An appendix documents the fate of Zenzl Mühsam, who, after her husband&rsquos death, escaped to the Soviet Union where she spent twenty years in Gulag camps.

&ldquoIt has been remarked before how the history of the German libertarian and anarchist movement has yet to be written, and so the project to begin translation of some of the key works of Mühsam&mdashone of the great names of German anarchism, yet virtually unknown in the English-speaking world&mdashis most welcome. The struggles of the German working class in the early 20th century are perhaps some of the most bitter and misunderstood in European history, and it is time they were paid more attention. This book is the right place to start.&rdquo
&mdashRichard Parry, author of The Bonnot Gang

&ldquoWe need new ideas. How about studying the ideal for which Erich Mühsam lived, worked, and died?&rdquo
&mdashAugustin Souchy, author of Beware! Anarchist! A Life for Freedom

About the Author and Editor:

Erich Mühsam (1878&ndash1934), poet, bohemian, revolutionary, is one of Germany&rsquos most renowned and influential anarchists. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, he challenged the conventions of bourgeois society at the turn of the century, engaged in heated debates on the rights of women and homosexuals, and traveled Europe in search of radical communes and artist colonies. He was a primary instigator of the ill-fated Bavarian Council Republic in 1919, and held the libertarian banner high during a Weimar Republic that came under increasing threat by right-wing forces. In 1933, four weeks after Hitler&rsquos ascension to power, Mühsam was arrested in his Berlin home. He spent the last sixteen months of his life in detention and died in the Oranienburg Concentration Camp in July 1934.

Gabriel Kuhn (born in Innsbruck, Austria, 1972) lives as an independent author and translator in Stockholm, Sweden. He received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Innsbruck in 1996. His publications in German include the award-winning &lsquoNeuer Anarchismus&rsquo in den USA: Seattle und die Folgen (2008). His other publications with PM Press include Antifascism, Sports, Sobriety: Forging a Militant Working-Class Culture: Selected Writings by Julius Deutsch(editor/translator, 2017), Playing as if the World Mattered: An Illustrated History of Activism in Sports (2015), Sober Living for the Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, and Radical Politics (editor, 2010), Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader (Gustav Landauer) (editor/translator, 2010), and Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics (2nd ed., 2018).

See and hear editor interviews, book reviews, and other news on Gabriel Kuhn's page HERE


Liberating society from the state and other writings : a political reader

Featuring a riveting collection of anarcho-communist poetry, essays, articles, and diary entries, this translation of Erich Mühsam's legendary writings introduces the German revolutionary's ideas to English speakers for the first time. Uniting a burning desire for individual liberation with radical, left-wing convictions and bohemian strains with syndicalist tendencies, this diverse body of work not only includes his main political pamphlet and one of the key texts in the history of German anarchism but also some of his best-known poems, unbending defenses of political prisoners, passionate calls for solidarity among the proletariat, recollections of the utopian community of Monte Verità, debates on the rights of homosexuals and women, and the role of intellectuals in the class struggle. Perfect for anarchists, activists, or those interested in German history, this expansive and enlightening compilation provides a deep understanding of this important historical figure

Includes bibliographical references and index

Editor's Note Introduction CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH Autobiography "Father's 72nd Birthday" 1900-1904: LITERARY AND ANARCHIST AWAKENING The "Homosexuality" Pamphlet 1904-1909: TRAVELING YEARS "Johannes Nohl" Excerpts from "Ascona" Bohemia 1909-1914: MUNICH I, SOCIALIST BUND AND KAIN New Friends The Fifth Estate My Secret Society "Riot in Berlin" Women's Rights The Moroccan War Anarchy The Suffragette Amazons Culture and the Women's Movement The Blessing of Children Ritual Murder 1914-1918: MUNICH II, THE WAR The Great Slaughter Kain Letter "The Typical German."

"Discharged""Plans for Anti-War Protests" "Riot in Munich" "Bernhard Köhler" 1918-1919: MUNICH III, REVOLUTION AND COUNCIL REPUBLIC Karl Liebknecht-Rosa Luxemburg Excerpts from "From Eisner to Leviné" "Gustav Landauer's Death" "Zenzl" Final Court Statement "Sentenced" 1919-1924: IMPRISONMENT "The Ebrach Prison Commune" On the Jewish Question The Intellectuals "Max Hoelz" "Hitler and the Fledgling Nazi Movement" "Free!" 1924-1933: BERLIN Germany Needs Colonies Bismarxism The Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti Leaving the Rote Hilfe

LIBERATING SOCIETY FROM THE STATE: WHAT IS COMMUNIST ANARCHISM? Preface I. The Worldview of Anarchism II. The Way of Anarchism APPENDIX I Additional Diary Entries Additional Letters APPENDIX II The Fate of Zenzl Mühsam BIBLIOGRAPHY German English Index

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At the Beginning of a History: Visions of the Comintern After the Opening of the Archives

1 For reasons of space we restrict ourselves to the following works: Buber-Neumann , Margarete , Kriegsschauplätze der Weltrevolution. Ein Bericht aus der Praxis der Komintern 1919–1943 ( Stuttgart-Degerloch , 1967 )Google Scholar Fischer , Ruth , Stalin and German Communism ( Cambridge, MA , 1948 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar Rosenberg , Arthur , A History of Bolshevism. From Marx to the First Five Years' Plan ( London , 1934 )Google Scholar . Interesting memoirs of participants include Buber-Neumann , Margarete , Von Potsdam nach Moskau. Stationen eines Irrwegs ( Stuttgart , 1957 )Google Scholar Humbert-Droz , Jules , Mémoires , 4 vols ( Neuchâtel , 1969 – 1963 )Google Scholar Kuusinen , Aino , The Ring of Destiny. Inside Soviet Russia from Lenin to Brezhnev ( New York , 1974 )Google Scholar Tuominen , Arvo , The Bells of the Kremlin. An Experience in Communism ( London [etc.], 1983 )Google Scholar Wehner , Herbert , Zeugnis. Persönliche Notizcn 1929–1942 ( Bergisch Gladbach , 1984 )Google Scholar Ypsilon , , Pattern for World Revolution ( Chicago [etc.], 1947 )Google Scholar .

2 See the following exemplary accounts: Agosti , Aldo , Terza Internazionale. La Storia documentaria , 5 vols ( Rome , 1974 – 1979 )Google Scholar Borkenau , Franz , European Communism ( London , 1953 )Google Scholar Braunthal , Julius , History of the International , 3 vols ( London [etc.], 1966 Google Scholar , 1967, 1980) Broué , Pierre , Le parti bolchevique. Histoire du PC de I'URSS ( Paris , 1962 )Google Scholar Kriegel , Annie , “La IHe Internationale”, in Droz , Jacques (ed.), Histoire générale du socialisme , vol. 3 ( Paris , 1977 ), pp. 73 – 115 Google Scholar . An exception in this regard is Carr , E.H. , The Twi-light of the Comintern, 1930–1935 ( London [etc.], 1982 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar . He is one of the few experts who place the history of the Comintern in the framework of Soviet economic and social development. See his A History of Soviet Russia, 14 vols (London [etc.], 1953–1978). Despite some ideological bias, the following article offers an informative overview of earlier works on Comintern history: Agosti , Aldo , “ Historiographie de la 3e Internationale ”, Les Cahiers d'histoire de I'lnstitut de Recherche marxiste , 2 ( 1980 ), pp. 7 – 59 Google Scholar . See also Kahan's , Vilem bibliography, covering the history of the Third International until 1935, Bibliography of the Communist International (1919–1979) , vol. 1 ( Leiden [etc.], 1990 )Google Scholar .

3 On the opening of Soviet archives see Brigitte Studer, Bayerlein , Bernhard H. and Lasserre , André , “Des archives russes en tant que sources de l'histoire suisse contemporaine”, Studien und Quellen ( Bern ), 20 ( 1994 ), pp. 283 – 313 Google Scholar Werth , Nicolas , “ De la soviétologie en général et des archives russes en particulier ”, Le Débat , 7 ( 1993 ), pp. 127 – 144 Google Scholar .

4 So characterized by Eric Hobsbawm. See his “Radicalism and Revolution in Britain”, in Hobsbawm , Eric , Revolutionaries. Contemporary Essays ( London , paperback , ed., 1977 ), p. 11 Google Scholar .

5 The apposite phrase comes from Creuzberger , Stefan and Veltmeijer , Ruud , “Forschungsarbeit in Moskauer Archiven”, Osteuropa ( Berlin ), 43 ( 1993 ), 3, pp. 271 Google Scholar . Besides archival material historical relics were also stored. In 1993, for example, the Director of the Russian State Archive showed on television the alleged skull of Adolf Hitler.

6 For reasons of space we restrict ourselves to this archive (hereafter RTsKhlDNI), as it is the most important source for Western European scholars. For references to other archives see Grimsted , Patricia , “Introduction: Russian Archives in the New World Setting”, in Archives in Russia. A Brief Directory, Part I: Moscow and St. Petersburg, International Research & Exchange Board/Committee for Archival Affairs of the Government of the Russian Federation ( 1992 )Google Scholar Wehner , Markus , “ Archivreform bei leeren Kassen. Einige Anmerkungen zur politischen und ökonomischen Situation der russischen Archive ” Ost-europa , 44 , 2 ( 1994 ), pp. 105 – 124 Google Scholar Studer et al., “Des archives russes”.

7 Access to these archives is an eminently political matter. Although the “Kremlin” archive is closed to users, documents from there have been quoted on several occasions in Russian periodicals. That must be seen in connection with the activity of the commission appointed by Yeltsin after the coup of August 1991 to collect material for prosecuting and banning the CPSU. Some volumes of documents were obviously published to discredit Gorbachev: see Wehner, “Archivreform bei leeren Kassen”, p. 114f. General Dmitrij Volkogonov, the military historian, leading archive functionary and confidant of President Yeltsin, had a monopoly on such archival sources and used them in his biographies of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky.

8 See Studer , Brigitte , “Verschleierungstaktik als Herrschaftspraxis. Über den Prozeβ historischer Erkcnntnis am Beispiel des Komintemarchivs” Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 1995 1995 ), pp. 306 – 321 Google Scholar Unfried , Berthold , “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Archive fUr die Historic Stalinismusforschung und Komintern-Historiographie nach Öffnung der russischen Archive”, Zeitgcschichtc ( Vienna ), 22 , 7–8 ( 1995 ), pp. 265–284Google Scholar .

9 Up to 1991 the following volumes of official documents were available to scholars: Agosti, Terza Internazionale Degras , Jane , The Communist International , 3 vols ( London , 1956 Google Scholar . 1960, 1965) Pirker , Theo , Utopie und Mythos der Weltrevolution. Zur Geschichte der Komintern 1920–1940 ( Munich , 1964 )Google Scholar Weber , Hermann , Die Kommunistische Internationale. Eine Dokumentation ( Hanover , 1966 )Google Scholar . For the protocols of the first two congresses see Broué , Pierre , Les congrès de l'Internationale communiste: Du premier au deuxième congrès de I'Internationale communiste, mars 1919–juillet 1920 ( Paris , 1979 )Google Scholar . For internal documents among private papers (Angelo Tasca), see Berti's , Giuseppe essays: “ Appunti e ricordi 1919–1926 ”, Annali , 8 ( 1966 )Google Scholar “Problemi del movimento operaio. Scritti critici e storici di Angelo Tasca”, Annali, 10 (1968). Documents of a similar nature arc to be found in Humbert-Droz , Jules , Archives de Jules Humbert-Droz , vols I–III ( Dordrecht , 1970 Google Scholar ,1983, 1988) and V (Zurich, 1996). For further bibliographical and documentary references see Sworakowski , Witold S. , The Communist International and its Front Organizations. A Research Guide of Holdings in American and European Libraries ( Stanford , 1965 )Google Scholar , and Kahan, Bibliography of the Communist International.

10 See, for example, Sudoplatov , Pavel A. , Schechter , J. and Schechter , L. , The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness ( Boston , 1994 )Google Scholar . Other studies, while based on more serious research, follow the lines of sensational journalism: Loupan , Victor and Lorrain , Pierre , Uargent de Moscou. L'histoire la plus secrete du PCF ( Paris , 1994 )Google Scholar .

11 Wolton , Thierry , Le grand recrutement ( Paris , 1993 )Google Scholar . The book provoked a heated debate in the French press, especially the “unmasking” of the national hero Moulin led to wide-spread condemnation. The historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet led the counter-attack against Wolton, and his book (Le trait empoisonné. Réflexions sur l'affaire Jean Moulin (Paris, 1993)) found acclaim, not only in specialist circles. The family of Pierre Cot took the initative and commissioned a group of historians to examine the historical “evidence” presented by Wolton. In their conclusions they found that Wolton had ignored basic rules of critical methodology, and dismissed his theses. See “Pierre Cot n'était pas un agent soviétique”, Le Monde, 25 January 1995 Berstein , S. , Frank , R. , Jansen , S. and Werth , N. , Rapport de la Commission d'historiens constituée pour examiner la nature des relations de Pierre Cot avcc les autorités soviétiques ( Paris , 1995 )Google Scholar .

12 L'événement dujeudi, 17–23 December 1992, on the basis of an article in the weekly paper The European. See also Le Nouveau Quotidien (Lausanne), 17 November 1992.

13 For example, Meyer , Fritjof , “Einsamer Wolf unter Wölfen”, Der Spiegel (nos 12, 13/ 1993 )Google Scholar .

14 Klehr , Harvey , Haynes , John Earl and Firsov , Friderikh Igorevich , The Secret World of American Communism ( New Haven [etc.], 1995 )Google Scholar .

15 Bartosek , Karel , LesAveuxdes archives. Prague-Paris-Prague, 1948–1968 ( Paris , 1996 )Google Scholar . The book has immediately provoked a vivid and sometimes violent debate among French historians. As examples for the numerous pro- and contra-statements see, for instance: Peschanski , Denis in Libération, 13 11 1996 Google Scholar , Adler , Alexandra in Le Monde, 15 11 1996 Google Scholar , Lazar , Marc in Le Monde, 21 11 1996 Google Scholar .

16 Vaksberg , Arkadi , Hôtel Lux. Les partis fréres au service de I'Internationale communiste ( Paris , 1993 )Google Scholar . His book Die Verfolgten Statins. Aus den Verliesen des KGB (Reinbek, 1993) is written in a similar vein.

17 For literary works in Russian on Stalinism see Keep , John L.H. , “Der Stalinismus in der neueren russischen Literatur”, Neue Politische Literatur ( Frankfurt a.M. ), 40 ( 1995 ), pp. 421 – 440 Google Scholar Hedeler , Wladislaw , “Stalinismusforschung in Ruβland”, in Die PDS – Herkunft und Selbstverstiindnis ( Berlin , 1996 ), pp. 325 – 333 Google Scholar . The Russian historical journals Istochnik, Istoricheskii Arkhiv and Nauchno-informatsionnyi biulleten' of the RTsKhlDNI regularly publish documents of interest to Comintern scholars.

11 See Studer, “Verschleierungstaktik”.

19 Often the fact that archival material has been made available may not be revealed: “Unfortunately, the author is bound by having signed a confidentiality agreement and there-fore cannot refer to archive legends.” This introductory remark is from the essay by Popov , V.P. , “ State Terror in Soviet Russia 1923–1953 ”, Soviet Social Science Review , 35 , 5 ( 1994 ), p. 48 CrossRefGoogle Scholar . That Popov cannot quote his sources is especially problematical as his theme centres on the number of victims of the Terror. A sharp controversy surrounds this question: Ren6 Ahlberg, for example, has attacked the “low” Terror statistics presented by the Russian scholars Zemskov and Dugin he accuses them of extrapolating their figures from data which were falsified by the KGB. See Ahlberg , René ” Stalinistische Vergangenheitsbewaltigung. Auseinandersetzung Uber die Zahl der GULAG-Opfer ”, Osteuropa , 42 , 11 ( 1992 ), Pp. 921 – 937 , esp. pp. 924 fGoogle Scholar . Arkadi Vaksberg (Hôtel Lux) employs a justification similar to that of Popov for not disclosing his archival sources.

20 For the debate on the “commercialization” of Russian archival material see the discussion forum “Research, Ethics and the Marketplace. The Case of the Russian Archives”, Slavic Review, 52, 1 (1993), pp. 87–106.

21 For example, the papers from the Comintern Secretariats of Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Pyatnitsky, available since 1992, were again closed to scholars from January 1995.

22 For publications on German-speaking victims see Arbeiterbewegung , Institut fûr Geschichte der (ed.), In den Fângen des NKWD. Deutsche Opfer des stalinistischen Terrors in der UdSSR ( Berlin , 1991 )Google Scholar Barry McLoughlin and Walter Szevera, Posthum Rehabilitiert. Daten zu 150 Ôsterreichischen Stalin-Opfem (Vienna, 1991) Schafranek , Hans (ed.), Die Betrogenen. Osterreicher als Opfer stalinistischen Terrors in der Sowjetunion ( Vienna , 1991 )Google Scholar . In respect of Italian victims see Bigazzi , Francesco and Lehner , Giancarlo (eds), Dialoghi del Terrore. I processi ai comunisti italiani in Unione Sovietica (1930–1940) ( Florence , 1991 )Google Scholar and two volumes by Caccavale , Romolo , La speranza Stalin. Tragedia dell' Antifascismo italiano nelV URSS ( Rome , 1989 )Google Scholar and Comunisti italiani in Unione Sovietica. Proscritti da Mussolini, soppressi da Stalin (Milan, 1995).

23 For an overall view of these early studies see the volumes 1989/1990f. of Beitrflge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung (Berlin, [etc.]).

24 These mechanisms of the Terror have been well researched in the meantime: see the detailed analysis in the introduction to Mûller , Reinhard (ed.), Georg Lukacs, Johannes R. Becher, Friedrich Wolf et al. Die SSuberung. Moskau 1936. Stcnogramm einer gcschlossenen Partelversammlung ( Reinbek , 1991 )Google Scholar . Before the opening of Russian archives the effects of the Terror on the German-speaking literary emigration in the USSR were already the subject of a masterful analysis in Walter , Hans-Albert , “Die Folgen des sowjetischen Staatsterrorismus fllr die in der Sowjetunion lebenden Exilierten”, in Deutsche Exilliteratur 1933–1950, vol 2: Europaisches Appeasement und ttberseeische Asylpraxis ( Stuttgart , 1984 ), pp. 203 – 247 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

23 In the category “biographical sketches” (biographische Skizzcn) see Borsanyi , Gyorgy , “Emo Gero. Aus dem Leben eines Apparatschiks”, Jahrbuch fiir Historische Kommunismusforschung 1994 ( 1994 ), pp. 275 – 280 Google Scholar . However, Borsanyi based his findings not on Russian material but on documents from the archive of the Hungarian CP in Budapest. See also Schafranek , Hans , “Franz Koritschoner (1892–1941)”, Jahrbuch fiir Historische Kommunismusforschung 1995 ( 1995 ), pp. 239 – 261 Google Scholar Starkov , Boris A. , “Narkom Ezhov”, in Getty , John A. and Manning , Roberta T. (eds), Stalinist Terror. New Perspectives ( Cambridge , 1993 ), pp. 21 – 39 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

26 Lazitch , Branko and Drachkovitch , Milorad , Biographical Dictionary of the Comintern New, Revised and Expanded Edition ( Stanford , 1986 Google Scholar lsted. 1973).

27 For example Wessel , Harald , Milnzenbergs Ende ( Berlin , 1991 )Google Scholar Kuhnrich , Heinrich , “‘Ein entsetzliches Miβverstāndnis’ – oder was eigentlich dahinter steckte. Bisher unbekannte Schreiben Mlinzenbergs an Dimitroff, Oktober 1937”, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung ( Berlin ), 34 ( 1992 ), pp. 66 – 82 Google Scholar “Les Komintemiens I: Dossier Willi MUnzenberg”, Communisme (Paris, 1994), pp. 38–39 Müller , Reinhard , Die Akte Wehner. Moskau 1937 bis 1941 ( Berlin , 1993 )Google Scholar . Also of interest are Volkogonov's biographies of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky, as well as a life of Bela Kun based in part on selected material from Moscow's Institute for Marxism-Leninism and published after the resignation of Janos Kddar, i.e. before the rich amount of material on Kun from the Comintern Archive became generally available. See Borsányi , György , The Life of a Communist Revolutionary: Beta Kun ( New York , 1993 )Google Scholar . Further biographical studies include Külow , Volker and Jaroslawski , André (eds), David Rjdsanow. Marx-Engels-Forscher, Humanist, Dissident ( Berlin , 1993 )Google Scholar Agosti , Aldo , Palmiro Togliatti ( Turin , 1996 )Google Scholar Broue , Pierre , Rakovsky ou la Revolution dans tous les pays ( Paris , 1996 )Google Scholar . Biographical sketches can also be found in Watlin , Alexander , Die Komintern 1919–1929. Historische Studien ( Mainz , 1993 )Google Scholar Müller , Reinhard , “Zenzl Mtlhsam und die stalinistische Inquisition”, in Frauen urn Erich Miilisam: Zenzl Miihsam und Franziska zu Reventlow. Schriften der Erich'Mulisam-Gesellschaft , no. 11 ( Malente , 1996 ), pp. 32 – 88 Google Scholar . Other biographical studies in preparation include Maria Osten and Heinrich Vogeler (by Reinhard Müller), and a volume of documents on Willi Münzenberg (to be published by Links-Verlag, Berlin). Television documentaries on the Comintern milieu surrounding Herbert Wehner, Maria Osten and Carola Neher have been broadcast in Germany in recent years.

28 Forthcoming is Jürgen Rojahn (ed.), The Communist International and its National Sections, 1919–1943.

29 A conference with the title “The History of the Comintern in the Light of New Documents” was held in Moscow in October 1994. See the conference report by Tosstorff , Reiner , Internationale Wissenschaftliche Korrepondenz zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung ( IWK, Berlin ), 31 ( 1995 ), pp. 54 – 58 Google Scholar . The conference papers have been published in Mikhail Narinsky and Rojahn , Jürgen (eds), Centre and Periphery: The History of the Comintern in the Light of New Documents ( Amsterdam , 1996 )Google Scholar .

30 See the conference findings in Centenaire Jules Humbert-Droz. Actes du Colloque sur VInternationale communiste (La Chaux de Fonds, 1992).

31 The conference findings were published in Weber , Hermann et al. (eds), Kommunisten verfolgen Kommunisten. Stalinistischer Terror und “Sauberungen” in den kommunistischen Parteien Europas seit den dreifiiger Jahren ( Berlin , 1993 )Google Scholar .

32 For a new overview of Comintern history see McDermott , Kevin and Agnew , Jeremy , The Comintern. A History of International Communism from Lenin to Stalin ( London [etc.], 1996 )Google Scholar .

33 Reinhard Müller, “Permanenter Verdacht und 'Zivilhinrichtung'. Zur Genesis der 'Siiuberungen in der KPD”, in Weber, Kommunisten verfolgen Kommunisten, pp. 243–264. In March 1996 a symposium took place in the Maison des sciences de I'homme, Paris, on “Nouvelles directions de la recherche sur les annees trente en URSS”. See the conference report by Werth , Nicolas , Le Bulletin de I'lHTP , 65 ( 1996 ), pp. 52 – 58 Google Scholar . See also the special number of Communisme, 42–44 (1996): “Les archives: la nouvelle histoire de PURSS”.

34 The latest research findings from the German-speaking countries can be found in the Jahrbuch filr Historische Kommtinismusforschung or The International Newsletter of Historical Studies on Comintern, Communism and Stalinism (Cologne). Based on material from the Comintern and KGB archives, see a comprehensive study of Austrian political refugees and skilled workers in the Soviet Union: McLoughlin , Barry , Schafranek , Hans and Szevera , Walter , Aufbruch-Hoffnung-Endstation. Osterreicherinnen und dsterreicher in der Sowjetunion, 1925–1945 ( Vienna , 1997 )Google Scholar .

35 See the section “The ‘Centre’ and the Periphery” on pp. 432–434.

36 Especially in studies on those who participated in the Terror at its highest level. See Starkov , , Narkom Ezhov, Amy Knight, Beria. Stalin's First Lieutenant ( Princeton , 1993 )Google Scholar . The involvement of high Comintern officials in the Terror is analysed in Müller, Die Akte Wehner.

37 For a description of the Comintern's offshoot organizations (e.g. International Red Aid) see Tischler , Carola , Die UdSSR und die Politemigration. Das dcutsche Exit in der Sowjetunion zwischen KPD, Komintern und sowjetischer Staatsmacht (1933 bis 1945) ( Kassel , 1995 )Google Scholar . Reiner Tosstorff (Frankfurt a.M.) is preparing a major publication on the history of the International of Red Labour Unions (Profintern).

38 For the transformation of the Comintern's organizational structure see the contributions in Narinsky and Rojahn, Centre and Periphery Studer , Brigitte , Un parti sous influence. Le Parti communiste suisse, tine section du Komintern, 1931 á 1939 ( Lausanne , 1994 ), pp. 153 – 172 Google Scholar Bernhard H. Bayerlein, “Die ‘Central Bodies’ und der Internationale Apparat der Kommunistischen Internationale als Problem der Forschung”, in Rojahn, The Communist International and its National Sections (forthcoming). An overview of the different Comintern bodies, with references to their archival collections, are provided in the catalogue of the Comintern Archive in RTsKhlDNI. See Putevoditel' , Kratkii , Fondy i Kollektsii sobrannye Tsentral'nym partiinym arkhivom ( Moscow , 1993 )Google Scholar .

39 See the publication of the internal documents drawing the details of this reorganization by Studer , Brigitte : “ Die Kominternstruktur nach dem 7. WeltkongreB. Das Protokoll des Sekretariats des EKKI liber die Reorganisierung des Apparates des EKKI, 2. Oktober 1935 ”, Internationale Wissenschaftliche Korrespondenz zur Geschichte der deutschcn Arbeiterbewegung , 31 ( 1995 ), pp. 25 – 53 Google Scholar and the essay “More Autonomy for the National Sections? The Reorganization of the ECCI after the Seventh World Congress”, in Narinsky and Rojahn, Centre and Periphery, pp. 102–113.

40 See Müller, Die Akte Wehner.

41 See Fridrikh Firsov,“Mechanism of Power Realization in the Comintern”, in Centenaire Jules Humbert-Droz, pp. 449–466. Other details are provided by Studer, Un parti sous influence, pp. 155–172, and in Peter Huber, “Der Moskauer Apparat der Komintem: Geschaätsabteilung, Personalentscheide und Mitaibcitcrstand”, Jahrbuclt für Historische Kommunismusforschung 1995, pp. 147–150.

42 Prior to the opening of Russian archives data on some 700–800 Comintern staff members were known. See Lazitch and Drachkovitch, Biographical Dictionary, and Degras, The Communist International. In two articles for theInternational Review of Social History, Kahan , Vilém offered supplementary data on Comintern officials: “The Communist International, 1919–1943: The Personnel of its Highest Bodies”, XXI ( 1976 ), pp. 151 – 185 Google Scholar “A Contribution to the Identification of the Pseudonyms Used in the Minutes and Reports of the Communist International”, XXIII (1978), pp. 177–192. The heavily Russian composition of key bodies, in the secretariats of the party cells in ECCI, for example, was a well-kept secret until recently.

43 The thick dossier on Herbert Wehner, for example, was the foundation for Reinhard Müller's book, Die Akte Wehner.

44 Some studies have been published on ECCI's schools. For examples of first results gleaned from Comintern documents on this complex, see Babitchenko , Leonid , “Die Kaderschulung der Komintern”, Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 1993 ( 1993 ), pp. 37 – 59 Google Scholar , Hans Schafranek's chapter on Austrians at the International Lenin School in McLoughlin et al., Aufbruch-Hoffnung-Endstation, and Studer, (Jn parti sous influence, pp. 230–249.

45 See the essays by Stéphane Courtois (“Un été 1940. Les négotiations entre Ie PCF et 1'occupant allemand à la lumière des archives de l'lnternationale communiste”), Mikhail Narinsky (“Le Komintem et le Parti communiste français 1939–1941”) and Yves Santamaria (“Le Parti, la France et la guerre. De la paix de Moscou à l'armistice de Rethondes, mars-juin 1940”), all inCommunisme (1992–1993), pp. 11–127 and Courtois , Stéphane and Lazar , Marc , Histoire du Parti communiste français ( Paris , 1995 ), pp. 74 – 76 Google Scholar .

46 Narinsky , Mikhail M. , “ Togliatti, Stalin e la svolta di Salerno ”, Studi storici (Roma), 35 , 3 ( 1994 ), pp. 657 – 666 Google Scholar . This article, by the way, is a good example of how the “hierarchization” of archival access operates in Russia. Narinsky, as Assistant Director of the Institute for World History in the Academy of Sciences, was obviously deemed high enough in rank to be allowed to quote from documents kept in the exclusive “President's Archive”. The most important document for his study was not shown to him, however, forcing him to extrapolate indirectly.

47 Agosti , Aldo , Liberazione 2 04 1995 Google Scholar . See also the chapter, “Alle scaturigini della svolta di Salerno”, in Vacca , Giuseppe , Togliatti sconosciuto ( Rome , 1994 ), pp. 67 – 74 Google Scholar .

48 Whereas the term “centre” is useful in illuminating the relations between the national sections and the Comintern apparat, it can lead to an optical deception: within world communism ECCI was a prominently placed authority, behind which, however, the growing influence of the CPSU in international communist affairs, and the power of the Soviet Union itself and its state apparatus lay hidden from view.

49 For a more detailed account see Studer , Brigitte , “ Zwischen Zwang und Eigeninteresse. Die Komintern der dreissiger Jahre als Machtsystem und Sinnhorizont ”, Traverse , 3 ( 1995 ), pp. 46 – 62 Google Scholar .

50 These levels of adherence are discussed in Studer, Un parti sous influence.

51 Extracts from Dimitrov's diary were published in Sovershenno sekretno (Moscow), 12 (1990), pp. 18–20 Novaya i noveishaya istoriya, 4 (1991), pp. 63–74 Letopisi (Sofia), 11 12 (1992), pp. 56–77 Epochi (Sofia), 3–4 (1993), pp. 114–128. See also Khlevniuk , Oleg , Le cercle du Kremlin. Staline et la Bureau politique dans les années trente: les jeux du pouvoir ( Paris , 1995 )Google Scholar Lih , Lars T. , Khlevniuk , Oleg V. and Naumov , Oleg V. (eds), Stalin's Letters to Molotov, 1925–1936 ( New Haven [etc.], 1995 )Google Scholar .

52 Rosenfeldt , Niels Erik , Stalin's Secret Chancellery and the Comintern. Evidence about the Organizational Patterns ( Copenhagen , 1991 )Google Scholar .

53 For example “Instruktion liber die innere Arbeitsorganisation der Kaderabteilung und die Beziehung mit der Spezialabteilung und den Lândersekretariaten”, February 1932, RTsKhlDNI, 495/18/945. See also Studer, Vn parti sousz influence, pp. 155–156.

54 See Kotkin , Stephen , Magnetic Mountain, Stalinism as a Civilization ( Berkeley , 1995 )Google Scholar and idem, “Coercion and Identity: Workers' Lives in Stalin's Showcase City”, in LewisH. Siegelbaum and Ronald Grigor Suny (eds). Making Workers Soviet: Power, Class and Identity (Ithaca, 1994), pp. 274–310.

55 Rosenfeldt, Stalin's Secret Chancellery Fridrich Firsov, “Die ‘Säuberungen’ im Apparat der Komintern”, in Weber, Kommunisten verfolgen Kommunisten, pp. 37–51 Huber , Peter , Statins Schatten in die Schweiz. Schweizer Kommunisten in Moskau: Gefangene und Verteidiger der Komintern ( Zurich , 1994 ), pp. 17 – 57 Google Scholar . For an (incomplete) review of recent publications on this theme see McDermott , Kevin , “ Stalinist Terror in the Comintern: New Perspectives ”, Journal of Contemporary History , 30 ( 1995 ), pp. 111 – 130 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

56 See MUller, Die Säuberung, Moskau 1936, and the analysis of these rituals written by Unfried , Berthold in two articles: “Rituale von Konfession and Selbstkritik: Bilder vom stalinistischen Kader”, Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 1994 ( 1994 ), pp. 148 – 164 Google Scholar , and “Die Konstituierung des stalinistischen Kaders in ‘Kritik und Selbstkritik’ ”, Traverse, 3 (1995), pp. 71–88.

57 MUller, Die Akte Wehner. These party meetings are treated at some length in: Leonhard , Wolfgang , Child of the Revolution ( London , 1957 )Google Scholar Bonner , Jelena , Mutter und Tochter. Erinnerungen an meine Jugend 1923 bis 1945 ( Munich [etc.], 1992 ), pp. 170 – 175 Google Scholar . The case of the Swiss cadre Sophie Kirschbaum is described in Studer, Un parti sous influence, pp. 262–279.

58 A process delineated in Carr, Twilight of the Comintern.

59 Firsov, “Die ‘Säberungen’ im Apparat der Komintern”, in Weber, Kommunisten verfolgen Kommunisten, pp. 37–51 Starkov , Boris A. , “ The Trial That Was Not Held ”, Europe-Asia Studies (formerly Soviet Studies), 46 , 8 ( 1994 ), pp. 1297–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

60 Müller , Reinhard , “Der Fall des ‘Antikomintern-Blocks’ – Ein vierter Moskauer Schau- prozeβ?”, JahrbuchfilrHistorischeKommunismusforschung 1996 ( Berlin , 1996 ), pp. 187 – 214 Google ScholarPubMed Bayerlein , B.H. and Huber , P. , “ Protokolle des Terrors (I): Béla Kun and Lajos Mad'jar in russischen KGB-Dokumenten ”, The International Newsletter of Historical Studies on Comintern, Communism and Stalinism , 3 , 7–8 ( 1996 ), pp. 53 – 71 Google Scholar . In his polemical book about “Hotel Lux”, the Russian journalist Arkadi Vaksberg also mentions this planned trial.

61 Mülier, Der Fall des “Antikomintern-Blocks”, pp. 193–194.

62 This does not mean, of course, that similar studies were not undertaken in other countries – Italy, for example. However, because of the special conditions under which the PCI had to operate during the inter-war years, its historiography tends to concentrate on the years after 1945. See Bellone , Adriano , “ Storiografia e storia del PCI ”, Passato e presente , 12 , 33 ( 1994 ), pp. 129 – 140 Google Scholar , and the thematically organized bibliography in Groppo , Bruno , “ Les etudes sociologiques sur le Parti communiste italien ”, Communisme , 7 ( 1985 ), pp. 85 – 96 Google Scholar . U S studies on communism including gender aspects are, for example: Schaffer , Robert , “ Women and the Communist Party, USA, 1930–1940 , Socialist Review , 45 ( 1979 ), pp. 73 – 118 Google Scholar Dixler , Elsa Jane , “‘The Woman Question’: Women and the American Communist Party, 1919–1941” (Ph.D. thesis, Yale University , 1974 )Google Scholar Van Gosse, “ To Organize in Every Neighbourhood, in Every Home: The Gender Politics of American Communists between the Wars”, Radical History Review.

63 Here there is room for only a small selection, led by Annie Kriegel, who pioneered the ethnographical approach in studies of communism. See her two volumes Communismes au miroir frangais. Temps, culture et sociétés en France devant le communisme (Paris, 1974), and Les communistes français dans leur premier demi-siècle 1920–1970 (Paris, 1985). See also Azéma , Jean-Pierre , Prost , Antoine and Rioux , Jean-Pierre (eds), Le Parti communiste français des années sombres, 1938–1941. Actes du colloque organisé en octobre 1983 ( Paris , 1986 )Google Scholar Rioux , Jean-Pierre , Prost , Antoine and Azéma , Jean-Pierre (eds), Les communistes français de Munich à Chateaubriand 1938–1941 ( Paris , 1987 )Google Scholar Hastings , Michel , Halluin la Rouge 1919–1939. Aspects d'un communisme identitaire ( Lille , 1991 )Google Scholar . For the sociology of the PCF see Molinari , Jean-Paul , Les ouvriers communistes. Sociologie de l'adhésion ouvrière an PCF ( Thonon-les-Bains , 1991 )Google Scholar Pudal , Bernard , Prendre parti. Pour une sociologie historique du PCF ( Paris , 1989 )Google Scholar . For a review of such publications for the years 1979–1985 see “La sociologie du communisme français. Travaux parus en Iangue franchise depuis 1979”, Communisme, 1 (1985), pp. 65–83.

64 The Russian Review, 45 (1986), pp. 385–394.

65 For example the debate around Courtois , Stéphane , “ Archives du communisme: mort d'une meémoire, naisssance d'une histoire ”, Le Débat , 11 ( 1994 ), pp. 146 – 156 Google Scholar . See the contributions to this discussion: Broué , Pierre , Pennetier , Claude and Wolikow , Serge , “ Archives de Moscou: les enjeux ”, La Revue , 7 ( 1994 ), pp. 105 – 110 Google Scholar Jansen , Sabine , “ La bolte de Pandore des archives soviétiques ”, Vingtieme Siécle , 42 ( 1994 ), pp. 97 – 102 CrossRefGoogle Scholar Bédarida , François , “ Du bon usage de l'histoire du temps présent ”, Le Débat , 79 ( 1994 ), pp. 185 – 187 CrossRefGoogle Scholar Vidal-Naquet , Pierre , “ Propos d'un me chant pamphlétaire ”, Le Débat , 79 ( 1994 ), pp. 187 – 192 CrossRefGoogle Scholar Wolikow , Serge , “ L'histoire du communisme à l'épreuve des archives russes ”, Traverse , 3 ( 1995 ), pp. 19 – 28 Google Scholar .

66 One of the early pioneers of a socio-historiographical approach to Soviet studies was Moshe Lewin. His writings preceded those of the “revisionists”, and he is not a representative of that “school”. See his The Making of the Soviet System. Essays in the Social History of Interwar Russia (London, 1985). His historical work receives due appreciation in Lew , Roland , “Grappling with Social Realities: Moshe Lewin and the Making of Social History”, in Lambert , Nick and Ritterspom , Gdbor T. (eds), Stalinism. Its Nature and Aftermath. Essays in Honour of Moshe Lewin ( London [etc.], 1992 ), pp. 1 – 23 Google Scholar . For the debate between “totalitarians” and “revisionists”, which took place mainly within the American scholarly community, see The Russian Review, 45 (1986), pp. 357–431, and 46 (1987), pp. 375–427. For critical remarks on the debate see Vladimir Anderle, “Demons and Devil's Advocates: Problems in Historical Writing on the Stalin era”, in Lambert, Stalinism. Its Nature and Aftermath, pp. 25–47 Schröder , Hans-Henning , “Stalinismus von unten'? Zur Diskussidn urn die gesellschaftlichen Voraussetzungen politischer Herrschaft in der Phase der Vorkriegsfünfjahrpläne”, in Geyer , Dietrich (ed.), Die Umwertung der sowjetischen Geschichte ( Göttingen , 1991 ), pp. 133 – 166 Google Scholar . For commentaries after the opening of the Russian archives see Berelowitch , Wladimir , “ La ‘soviétologie’ après Ie putsch. Vers une guérison? ”, Politix , 18 ( 1992 ), pp. 7 – 20 CrossRefGoogle Scholar Nicolas Werth, “De la soviétologie en généeral et des archives russes en particulier” Courtois , Stéphane , “ Archives du communisme: mort d'une mémoire, naissance d'une histoire ”, both in Le Débat , 77 ( 1993 ), pp. £127–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar Lazar , Marc , “Après 1989, cet étrange communisme”, in Boutier , Jean and Julia , Dominique (eds), Passés recomposés. Champs et chantiers de l'Histoire ( Paris , 1995 ), pp. 243 – 253 Google Scholar . For an informative review of new publications on Soviet history see Baberowksi , Jórg , “ Wandel und Terror: Die Sowjetunion unter Stalin 1928–1941 ”, Jahrbücher fur Geschichte Osteuropas , 43 ( 1995 ), pp. 97 – 129 Google Scholar . An “anti-revisionist” review of interpretations of the Stalinist Terror is provided by Wehner , Markus , “Stalinistischer Terror. Genese und Praxis der kommunistischen Gewaltherrschaft in der Sowjetunion 1917–1953”, Aits Politik und Zeitgeschichte (Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament), 6 09 1996 , pp. 15 – 28 Google Scholar .

67 Seminal works which challenged the “totalitarianism” model were Cohen , Stephen F. , Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution. A Political Biography 1888–1938 ( New York , 1971 )Google Scholar , and Tucker , Robert C. (ed.), Stalinism. Essays in Historical Interpretation ( New York , 1977 )Google Scholar .

68 In comparison to general historiography in the USA, new methods or concepts were only slowly adopted in American Soviet studies. See Emmons , Terence , “ Then and Now in the Pages of the American Historical Review and Elsewhere: A Few Centennial Notes ”, American Historical Review , 100 , 4 ( 1995 ), pp. 1136 – 1149 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

69 The dominance of teleological standpoints was underlined in a stocktaking article on Sovietology after the collapse of the Soviet Union. See King , Charles , “ Review Article: Post-Sovietology: Area Studies or Social Science? ”, International Affairs , 70 , 2 ( 1994 ), pp. 291 – 297 CrossRefGoogle Scholar . For a general account of the employment of totalitarian models in writings on Soviet history see Gleason , Abbot , Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War ( New York , 1995 )Google Scholar .

70 Getty , John A. , Origins of the Great Purges. The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933–1938 ( Cambridge [etc.], 1985 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar Rittersporn , Gábor T. , Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications. Social Tension and Political Conflicts in the USSR 1933–1953 ( Paris [etc.], 1988 )Google Scholar . It is important to recall that this new interpretation of the Terror was formulated before Russian archives became available. Before 1991 Western scholars had to rely on the so-called Smolensk party archive. For findings based on material released subsequently see Getty , John A. and Manning , Roberta T. (eds), Stalinist Terror. New Perspectives ( Cambridge, MA , 1993 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

71 Getty , John A. , Rittersporn , Gábor T. and Zemskov , Viktor N. , “ Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years. A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence ”, The American Historical Review , 98 , 4 ( 1993 ), p. 1043 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

72 Fitzpatrick , Sheila (ed.), Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928–1931 ( Bloomington [etc.], 1978 )Google Scholar , especially the chapter “Cultural Revolution as Class War”, pp. 8–40. See also her The Cultural Front. Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (Ithaca [etc.], 1992), especially the chapter “Stalin and the Making of a New Elite”. In German-speaking countries Hans-Henning Schroder adopted a similar standpoint: see his lndustrialisierung andParteibilrokratie in der Sowjetunion. Ein sozialgeschichtlicher Versuch iiber die Anfangsphase des Stalinismus (1928–1934) (Berlin, 1988).

73 Revealing in this context are remarks by Stalin to the effect that “the secondary cadres” were decisive in pushing through the policy propagated by Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov and others against Trotsky and Bukharin, who, according to the Stalinist leadership, had not bothered about the future of these cadres. (Note from Dimitrov's diary, 7 November 1937, Sovershenno sekretno (Moscow) 1990, no. 12.) See also the series of pictures by Studer , Brigitte in “ Ein BauemmSdchen wird Brigadechef. Ein stalinistischer Lebensentwurf ”, Traverse , 3 ( 1995 ), pp. 63 – 70 Google Scholar .

74 See volume , Rittersporn's , Stalinist Simplifications, and his article, “Nouvelles recherches, vieux problèmes”, Revue des Études slaves ( Paris ), 64 , 1 ( 1992 ), pp. 9 – 25 Google Scholar .

75 This is especially the case with Rittersporn's “revisionism”, which often seems fuelled by a taste for the surprising and the apparently contradictory. See his “The Omnipresent Conspiracy: On Soviet Imagery of Politics and Social Relations in the 1930s”, in Getty and Manning, Stalinist Terror, pp. 99–115.


Contents

Early life: 1878–1900

The third child born to Siegfried Seligmann Mühsam, a middle-class Jewish pharmacist, Erich Mühsam was born in Berlin on 6 April 1878. Soon after, the family moved to the city of Lübeck.

Mühsam was educated at the Katharineum-Gymnasium in Lübeck, a school known for its authoritarian discipline and corporal punishment, which served as the model for several of the settings in Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks (1901). The young student Erich, who was by nature rebellious and resisted the school's regimented programme, was often physically punished. It was in the spirit of this resistance that, in January 1896, Mühsam authored an anonymous submission to the Lübecker Volksboten, denouncing one of the school's more unpleasant teachers, which caused a scandal. When his identity became known, Mühsam was expelled from the Katharineum-Gymnasium for sympathising and participating in socialist activities. He completed his education in Parchim.

From an early age, Mühsam displayed a talent for writing and desired to become a poet — a career aspiration his father sought to beat out of him.-- His juvenilia consisted of animal fables, and he was first published at the age of 16, earning small amounts of money for satirical poems based on local news and political happenings. However, at the insistence of his father, young Erich set out to study pharmacy, a profession which he quickly abandoned to return to his poetic and literary ambitions. Mühsam left Lübeck for Berlin to pursue a literary career, later writing of his youth that "My hatred grows when I look back on it and visualise the unspeakable flailings which were supposed to beat out of me all my innate feelings." [1]

Poet, writer, anarchist: 1900–1918

Mühsam moved to Berlin in 1900, where he soon became involved in a group called de  (Neue Gemeinschaft) (New Society) under the direction of Julius and Heinrich Hart which combined socialist philosophy with theology and communal living in the hopes of becoming "a forerunner of a socially united great working commune of humanity." Within this group, Mühsam became acquainted with Gustav Landauer who encouraged his artistic growth and compelled the young Mühsam to develop his own activism based on a combination of communist and anarchist political philosophy that Landauer introduced to him. Desiring more political involvement, in 1904, Mühsam withdrew from Neue Gemeinschaft and relocated temporarily to an artists commune in Ascona, Switzerland where vegetarianism was mixed with communism and socialism. It was here that he began writing plays, the first Die Hochstapler (The Con Men), juxtaposing new modern political theory within traditional dramatic forms, which became a typical trademark of his dramatic work. During these years, Mühsam began contributing to and editing several anarchist journals. These writings made Mühsam the target of constant police surveillance and arrests as he was considered among the most dangerous anarchist agitators in Germany. The press seized the opportunity to portray him as a villain accused of anarchist conspiracies and petty crimes.

In 1908, Mühsam relocated to Munich, where he became heavily involved in cabaret. While Mühsam did not particularly care for his work in writing cabaret songs, it would become among his most famous creations.

In 1911, Mühsam founded the newspaper, Kain (Cain), as a forum for anarcho-communist ideologies, stating that it would "be a personal organ for whatever the editor, as a poet, as a citizen of the world, and as a fellow man had on his mind." Mühsam used Kain to ridicule the German state and what he perceived as excesses and abuses of authority, standing out in favour of abolishing capital punishment, and opposing the government's attempt at censoring theatre, and offering prophetic and perceptive analysis of international affairs. For the duration of World War I, publication was suspended to avoid government-imposed censorship often enforced against private newspapers that disagreed with the imperial government and the war.

Mühsam married Kreszentia Elfinger (nickname Zenzl), the widowed daughter of a Bavarian farmer, in 1915.

World War I would see the international anarchist community starkly divided into pro-war and anti-war positions, some hypernationalistically supporting Germany, others desiring that Germany's enemies (the United Kingdom, France, and later the United States of America) would be victorious. Mühsam became extremely nationalistic and militant in his support of Germany in the war, writing in his diaries: "And I the anarchist, the anti-militarist, the enemy of national slogans, the anti-patriot and implacable critic of the armament furies, I discovered myself somehow possessed by the common intoxication, fired by an irate passion." [1] His public support of the war was seized upon by the state-controlled press for the purposes of propaganda, and by fellow anarchists who felt betrayed. However, by the end of 1914, Mühsam, pressured by his anarchist acquaintances renounced his support of the war effort, stating that "I will probably have to bear the sin of betraying my ideals for the rest of my life" [1] and appealing, "Those who comfortably acquiesce and say 'we cannot change things' shamefully desecrate human dignity and all the gifts of their own hearts and brain. For they renounce without a struggle every use of their ability to overthrow man-made institutions and governments and to replace them with new ones." [1] For the rest of the war, Mühsam opposed the war through increased involvement in many direct action projects, including workers strikes, often collaborating with figures from other leftist political parties. As the strikes became increasingly successful and violent, the Bavarian state government began mass arrests of anti-war agitators. Mühsam was among those arrested and incarcerated in April 1918. He would be detained until just before the war's end in November 1918.

Weimar years: 1918–1933

File:Erich Mühsam.jpg File:Fanal.jpg When Erich Mühsam was released on 3 November 1918, he returned to Munich. Within days, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicated as did King Ludwig III who had semi-autonomous rule in Bavaria, and Munich was in the throes of revolt. Kurt Eisner of the Independent Socialist Party declared Bavaria a socialist republic during the Red Bavaria Revolution. Eisner, in a gesture designed to bring the anarchists into the new government, offered a ministry position to Mühsam, who refused, preferring to fight along with Gustav Landauer, Ernst Toller, Ret Marut and other anarchists for the development of Worker's Councils (Soviets) and communes.

However, after Eisner's assassination in 1919, the Bayerische Räterepublik (Bavarian Soviet Republic) was proclaimed, ruled by independent socialist Ernst Toller and anarchists Gustav Landauer and Erich Mühsam. This government was short-lived, lasting six days, being overthrown by communists led by Eugen Levine. However, during this time, the Bavarian Soviet Republic declared war on Switzerland, resulting from the inexplicable machinations of a mentally-ill Foreign Affairs deputy who became irate at Switzerland's refusal to lend the new Republic's government 60 locomotive engines. When the Weimar Republic's Freikorps, a right-wing army commanded by Gustav Noske, crushed the rebellion and took possession of Munich, Gustav Landauer was killed and Mühsam arrested and sentenced to fifteen years in jail.

While in jail, Mühsam was very prolific with his writing, completing the play Judas (1920), and a large number of poems. In 1924, he was released from jail as the Weimar Republic granted a general amnesty for political prisoners. Also released in this amnesty was Adolf Hitler, who had served eight months of a five-year sentence for leading the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923.

The Munich to which Mühsam returned was very different from the one he left after his arrest. The people were largely apathetic, in part because of the economic collapse of Germany under the pressure of reparations for World War I and hyperinflation. He had attempted to restart the journal Kain which failed after a few issues. In 1926, Mühsam founded a new journal which he called Fanal (The Torch), in which he openly and precariously criticized the communists and the far Right-wing conservative elements within the Weimar Republic. During these years, his writings and speeches took on a violent, revolutionary tone, and his active attempts to organize a united front to oppose the radical Right provoked intense hatred from conservatives and nationalists within the Republic.

Mühsam specifically targeted his writings to satirize the growing phenomenon of Nazism, which later raised the ire of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Die Affenschande (1923), a short story, ridiculed the racial doctrines of the Nazi party, while the poem Republikanische Nationalhymne (1924) attacked the German judiciary for its disproportionate punishment of leftists while barely punishing the right wing participants in the Putsch.

In 1928, Erwin Piscator produced Mühsam's third play, Staatsräson (For reasons of State), based upon the controversial conviction and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in the United States.

In 1930, Mühsam completed his last play Alle Wetter (All Hang), which sought mass revolution as the only way to prevent a radical Right-wing seizure of power. This play, never performed in public, was directed exclusively at criticizing the Nazis who were on the rise politically in Germany.

Arrest and death

Mühsam was arrested on charges unknown in the early morning hours of 28 February 1933, within a few hours after the Reichstag fire in Berlin. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, labelled him as one of "those Jewish subversives." It is alleged that Mühsam was planning to flee to Switzerland within the next day. Over the next seventeen months, he would be imprisoned in the concentration camps at Sonnenburg, Brandenburg and finally, Oranienburg.

Marinus van der Lubbe, an alleged Communist agitator, was arrested and blamed for the fire, and his association with Communist organizations led Adolf Hitler to declare a state of emergency, encouraging aging president Paul von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, abolishing most of the human rights provisions of the Weimar Republic's constitution (1919). Hitler used the state of emergency to justify the arrests of large numbers of German intellectuals labelled as communists, socialists, and anarchists in both retaliation for the attack and to silence opposition for his increasing suppression of civil liberties.

"After breaking his teeth with musket blows stamping a swastika on his scalp with a red-hot brand subjecting him to tortures which caused him to be taken into a hospital, even now the fascist hyenas of the Sonninburg concentration camp continue their beastly attacks upon this defenseless man. The last news are really atrocious: the Nazi forced our comrade to dig his own grave and then with a simulated execution made him go through the agony of a doomed man. Although his body has been reduced to a mass of bleeding and tumefied flesh, his spirit is still very high: when his traducers tried to force him to sing the Horst-Wessel-Lied (the Nazi's anthem) he defied their anger by singing the Internationale." [2]

On 2 February 1934, Mühsam was transferred. The beatings and torture continued, until finally on the night of 9 July 1934, Mühsam was tortured and murdered by the guards, his battered corpse found hanging in a latrine the next morning. [3]

An official Nazi report dated 11 July stated that Erich Mühsam committed suicide, hanging himself while in "protective custody" at Oranienburg. However, a report from Prague on 20 July 1934 in the New York Times stated otherwise

"His widow declared this evening that, when she was first allowed to visit her husband after his arrest, his face was so swollen by beating that she could not recognise him. He was assigned to the task of cleaning toilets and staircases and Storm Troopers amused themselves by spitting in his face, she added. On July 8th, she saw him for the last time alive. Despite the tortures he had undergone for fifteen months, she declared, he was cheerful, and she knew at once when his "suicide" was reported to her three days later that it was untrue. When she told the police that they had "murdered" him, she asserted they shrugged their shoulders and laughed. A post mortem examination was refused, according to Frau Mühsam, but Storm Troopers, incensed with their new commanders, showed her the body which bore unmistakable signs of strangulation, with the back of the skull shattered as if Herr Mühsam had been dragged across the parade ground." [4]

After the death, publications would accuse Theodor Eicke, the former commander of the concentration camp at Dachau, as the murderer, aided by two Sturmabteilung (Storm Troopers) officers identified as Ehrath and Konstantin Werner. It was alleged that he was tortured and beaten until he lost consciousness, followed by an injection that killed him, and that Mühsam's body was taken to a latrine in the rear of the building and hung on a rafter so as to create the impression that Mühsam had committed suicide. [5]


Top visited museum in Tyrol

The Museum of Tyrolean Farmhouses situated in the midst of the Kramsach Lake Plateau waits to be discovered on a leisurely walk. Thanks to its exceptional setting a visit to this open air museum is an outdoor adventure and a refreshing outing for the whole family. A visit is like a travel through time to the days of old. 14 farms and 23 outbuildings bear witness to past days in the various Tyrolean valleys.

The difference between an art gallery and this museum is that you can walk into the exhibited objects and learn about and experience them with all your senses. Standing in the small rooms with their rough carpentry you can feel history come alive and sense the magic of the past.


Philosophical Underpinnings of Anarchism Combo Pack

Please note: Due to the killer deal being offered, Combo Packs are not available for any further discount to resale customers or Friends of PM.

A great combo pack of four collections on the philosophical underpinnings of anarchism in its many facets for over $25 off the retail price and includes:

Outrage: An Anarchist Memoir of the Penal Colony: In 1887, Clément Duval joined the tens of thousands of convicts sent to the &ldquodry guillotine&rdquo of the French penal colonies. Few survived and fewer were able to tell the stories of their life in that hell. Duval spent fourteen years doing hard labor&mdashespousing the values of anarchism and demonstrating the ideals by being a living example the entire time&mdashbefore making his daring escape and arriving in New York City, welcomed by the Italian and French anarchists there.

This is much more than an historical document about the anarchist movement and the penal colony. It is a remarkable story of survival by one man&rsquos self-determination, energy, courage, loyalty, and hope. It was thanks to being true and faithful to his ideals that Duval survived life in this hell. Unlike the well-known prisoner Papillon, who arrived and dramatically escaped soon after Duval, he encouraged his fellow prisoners to practice mutual aid, through their deeds and not just their words. It is a call to action for mindful, conscious people to fight for their rights to the very end, to never give up or give in.

More than just a story of a life or a testament of ideals, here is a monument to the human spirit and a war cry for freedom and justice.

See and hear editor interviews, book reviews, and other news on Clément Duval's page HERE

Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: Selected Writings of Elisée Reclus is the first comprehensive introduction to the thought of Elisée Reclus, the great anarchist geographer and political theorist. It shows him to be an extraordinary figure for his age. Not only an anarchist but also a radical feminist, anti-racist, ecologist, animal rights advocate, cultural radical, nudist, and vegetarian. Not only a major social thinker but also a dedicated revolutionary.

The work analyzes Reclus' greatest achievement, a sweeping historical and theoretical synthesis recounting the story of the earth and humanity as an epochal struggle between freedom and domination. It presents his groundbreaking critique of all forms of domination: not only capitalism, the state, and authoritarian religion, but also patriarchy, racism, technological domination, and the domination of nature. His crucial insights on the interrelation between personal and small-group transformation, broader cultural change, and large-scale social organization are explored. Reclus&rsquo ideas are presented both through detailed exposition and analysis, and in extensive translations of key texts, most appearing in English for the first time.

See and hear editor interviews, book reviews, and other news on John P. Clark's page HERE and Camille Martin's page HERE

A Living Spirit of Revolt: The Infrapolitics of Anarchism: &ldquoThe great contribution of Žiga Vodovnik is that his writing rescues anarchism from its dogma, its rigidity, its isolation from the majority of the human race. He reveals the natural anarchism of our everyday lives, and in doing so, enlarges the possibilities for a truly human society, in which our imaginations, our compassion, can have full play.&rdquo &mdashHoward Zinn, author of A People&rsquos History of the United States, from the Introduction

At the end of the nineteenth century, the network of anarchist collectives represented the first-ever global antisystemic movement and the very center of revolutionary tumult. In this groundbreaking and magisterial work, Žiga Vodovnik establishes that anarchism today is not only the most revolutionary current but, for the first time in history, the only one left. According to the author, many contemporary theoretical reflections on anarchism marginalize or neglect to mention the relevance of the anarchy of everyday life. Given this myopic (mis)conception of its essence, we are still searching for anarchism in places where the chances of actually finding it are the smallest.

See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on Žiga Vodovnik's page HERE

Liberating Society from the State and Other Writings: A Political Reader: Erich Mühsam (1878-1934), poet, bohemian, revolutionary, is one of Germany's most renowned and influential anarchists. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, he challenged the conventions of bourgeois society at the turn of the century, engaged in heated debates on the rights of women and homosexuals, and traveled Europe in search of radical communes and artist colonies. He was a primary instigator of the ill-fated Bavarian Council Republic in 1919 and held the libertarian banner high during a Weimar Republic that came under increasing threat by right-wing forces. In 1933, four weeks after Hitler's ascension to power, Mühsam was arrested in his Berlin home. He spent the last sixteen months of his life in detention and died in the Oranienburg Concentration Camp in July 1934.

Mühsam wrote poetry, plays, essays, articles, and diaries. His work unites a burning desire for individual liberation with anarcho-communist convictions, and bohemian strains with syndicalist tendencies. The body of his writings is immense, yet hardly any English translations have been available before now. This collection presents not only Liberating Society from the State: What is Communist Anarchism?, Mühsam's main political pamphlet and one of the key texts in the history of German anarchism, but also some of his best-known poems, unbending defenses of political prisoners, passionate calls for solidarity with the lumpenproletariat, recollections of the utopian community of Monte Verità, debates on the rights of homosexuals and women, excerpts from his journals, and essays contemplating German politics and anarchist theory as much as Jewish identity and the role of intellectuals in the class struggle.

An appendix documents the fate of Zenzl Mühsam, who, after her husband's death, escaped to the Soviet Union where she spent twenty years in Gulag camps.

See and hear editor interviews and book reviews on Gabriel Kuhn's page HERE


Historically of the house

“Before we return to Brixen we have to stop at the Brückenwirt a while, for that has forever been a part of each trip to Neustift. Only then may we travel on through the old gate and back toward the episcopal city”, writes Josef Weingartner in his “Wanderbilder Durch Tirol” (Travel Impressions in Tyrol, 1911)

A short history of the building summarised by Josef Zanol (1941 – 2012), next to a mural by Hubert Zanol depicting the history of the Hotel Brückenwirt, situated along the stairwell up to the first floor.

The history of the Hotel Brückenwirt is closely linked to that of the Augustinian monastery Neustift. It begins in 1507 when Christoph Niedermayr, provost of the monastery at the time, ordered an arched bridge of hewn stone to be built across the river Eisack. In 1520 both bridge and an adjoining building were swept away by floods, but were soon rebuilt.

The current shape of the building dates back to 1687, when provost Fortunat Troyer ordered the construction of an inn. Around the year of 1783 a small sensation took place at the inn: the surgeon Franz Liebl operated on a waitress named Zenzl. It was the first major operation on Tyrolian soil. In 1797 parts of the bridge and the tower were destroyed again, this time by a fire, but were, as before, quickly reconstructed.

The stables which used to be a part of the Brückenwirt were heavily damaged in a bomb raid in 1945 and demolished soon after.

After perfecting his trade in cities such as Meran, Bozen and Koblenz, chef Josef Zanol became leaseholder of the inn in 1968. Five years later he bought the Brückenwirt from the monastery and ran it with great devotion until his death in 2012. He knew how to lovingly renovate and adapt the building in line with the requirements of modern tourism while always remembering and safeguarding its long and marvellous history.


Watch the video: LIVE: Savol-javoblar 281. (August 2022).