Antisemitic anti-Zionism in the German Communist movement before 1933

Cross-posted from Anti-National Translation:

To add to the German article, “Class-Strugglers against their own Will: The German Communist Party and the Antisemitism in Weimar Republic“, by Olaf Kistenmacher that I already linked to, here are two more texts, this time in English, by Olaf, from the Engage journal:

From ‘Judas’ to ‘Jewish Capital’: Antisemitic Forms of Thought in the German Communist Party (KPD) in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933 [May 2006]

From ‘Jewish Capital’ to the ‘Jewish-Fascist Legion in Jerusalem’: The Development of Antizionism in the German Communist Party (KPD) in the Weimar Republic, 1925-1933 [September 2006]

The argument, essentially, is that a trajectory towards a malignant form of anti-Zionism in the post-1945 anti-imperialist left was already present in the 1920s. “It did not need to be invented after 1945 in order to identify ‘Zionism’ with imperialism and capitalism, and the socialist and communist left after 1945 were not the first to advocate the hatred of ‘Zionism’. This has already been done in the 1920s. It is also important that the conversion of anti-imperialism into anti-Zionism marked a considerable shift in the worldview of the left: Throughout the Weimar Republic, the KPD drew a fetishistic picture of capitalism, as if the German working class possessed its ‘working power’ as a quasi-natural property that could create ‘values’ independent of the historical circumstances.” Although pre-1933 anti-Zionism cannot be equated to its post-Shoah forms, the intellectual basis was already deeply rooted.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Paul Bogdanor has brought to my attention the following article by Mario Kessler: “Leon Trotsky’s Position on Anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Perspectives of the Jewish Question,” New Interventions Vol. 5, No. 2, 1994.

    Kessler quotes KPD leader Ruth Fischer:

    You are protesting against Jewish capitalism, gentlemen? Whoever protests against Jewish capitalism, gentlemen, is already a class-warrior, whether he knows it or not. You are against Jewish capitalism and want to beat down stock exchange jobbers. That’s all right. Stamp on the Jewish capitalists, string them up from the lamp-posts, trample them underfoot….

  2. […] Antisemitic anti-Zionism in the German Communist movement before 1933 (poumista.wordpress.com) […]


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