HAGER, Kurt (also known as Felix Albin)

Kurt Hager lived in the UK between 1939 and 1946. But his main claim to fame is his Stalinism. Although an active and brave anti-Nazi in Germany and then Spain, he was always a Party man.

He joined the Communist youth organisation KJVD in 1929, the KPD in 1930 and the Red Front in Wurtemburg 1932.read on...

Edith Bone

Edith Bone was born Edit Hajós in 1889 in Hungary and became a doctor. From 1923 to 1933 she lived in Berlin. She then came to the UK where she married Gerald Martin, a translator, in 1934 and became a British subject and photographer.read on...

German Left-Wing Exiles to the UK

A very small group of anti-Nazis escaped to Britain and even fewer settled here. While around 55,000 people fled Germany in 1933 alone, only about 2000 came to the UK: Britain gained from Germany’s loss; amongst the refugees were a galaxy of leading scientists and many cultural figures.… read on...

Wilhelm Koenen

After an early period of militancy, Koenen became more of an org man than most people included here, but his remarkable history is still illustrative of how far the German left’s roots lay in the revolutionary years and upheavals of 1918-1923, how difficult the British state made it for even a Reichstag deputy who was a Communist to get in to the UK and what a small sectarian fishbowl these anti-Nazi refugees jostled in.

read on...

Gunther Reimann, Rosa Leviné-Meyer and Ernst Meyer

Günther Reimann

Günter Reimann’s (1904–2005), born Hans Steinicke, to a Berlin Jewish bourgeois family, Hans adopted Reimann as a pen-name when he became economics editor for the KPD newspaper in about 1925. In 1923, he had already joined the KPD’s Youth League.… read on...

Hans Eisler

A musician who was student of Arnold Schoenberg and his 12-tone method, Eisler rejected that style for a simpler one, the better to express a working-class Marxist ethos. He is a better known figure than some of the exiles, not so much because of his time in the UK but because of his collaboration with Brecht, his infamous appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee and his return to E Germany where he wrote its national anthem.… read on...

Jan Petersen

Another figure who only came to the UK shortly before the outbreak of the war and left again soon afterwards but is certainly worthy of a mention- and should be better known – is Jan Petersen (originally Hans Schwalm). Peterson was one the leading member of the tiny ‘League of Revolutionary Proletarian writers’, re-established in 1934 by the KPD in the death-throes of the ‘Third Period’ and used it to publish material about life under the Third Reich.… read on...

Dora Fabian (1901– 4 April 1935)

Born into an assimilated socialist Jewish German family, Dora Fabian herself became a socialist and anti-Nazi activist. Her present day fame is more attached to her death in Bloomsbury (in Guildford St), London in 1935 and the questions that still raises as to whether it was murder or suicide.read on...

Nr. 12909

An interview with Prisoner Number 12,909
by Graeme Atkinson
first appeared in Searchlight No 281, November 1998

WERNER HÄNDLER was born in 1920 in Bismarckhütte, Upper Silesia, which became part of Poland under the terms of the post-First World War Versailles Treaty.… read on...