Erich Gerlach (politician)

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Erich Gerlach (born July 17, 1910 in Rheinhausen / Moers district, † November 13, 1972 in Northeim ) was a German politician (SAPD, SPD), economist and editor of the writings of Karl Korsch .


The son of a railroad worker and social democratic trade unionist passed his Abitur in Seesen in 1929 and then began studying social and economic sciences in Berlin , where he joined the KPD . After he had met Karl Korsch at a lecture and had taken on his positions critical of Stalinism , he was expelled from the KPD in 1932 and joined the SAPD .

1933 played in was Frankfurt students Gerlach after the takeover by the NSDAP from the University relegated and went to Bern , where he was in 1936 a doctorate in economics. He then stayed briefly in Spain at the beginning of the civil war , where he worked closely with the anarcho-syndicalist CNT and then returned to Germany. He worked as an employee and economic consultant and was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1942.

After liberation from National Socialism in 1945, Gerlach joined the reconstituting SPD , while maintaining his revolutionary-socialist orientation , of which he temporarily chaired the Northeim subdistrict , and was also a member of the SPD's Hanover district committee. From 1946 to 1948 district administrator of the Northeim district , he was elected in April 1947 in the Lower Saxony state parliament from the first to the seventh electoral period. He was a member of the state parliament until his death on November 13, 1972.

Within the SPD, Gerlach belonged to the left wing and was a member of the editorial board and author (often under a pseudonym) of the left-wing socialist magazine Sozialistische Politik (SoPo), where he wrote articles on u. a. economic topics, the theory and practice of the councils and the Spanish Revolution 1936/37. Unlike most of the other SPD leftists, Gerlach did not assume that the post-war SPD could have continued to exist as a socialist party. According to Gerlach, the SPD developed into a bourgeois Keynesian party comparable to the US American democrats , but which should be supported because, in the long term, the existence of a stable parliamentary democracy and regulated capitalism in the Federal Republic would minimize the renewed danger of fascist rule and provide better starting conditions for a future revolutionary labor movement.

In addition, he began editing Karl Korsch's works in the sixties and shaped the Korsch reception of the SDS . In 1969, at the instigation of Peter von Oertzen , who described Gerlach as "his political teacher", he was appointed lecturer at the Technical University of Hanover . He also worked on studies on Marxist economic theory and the Spanish Revolution, which he was unable to complete.

Erich Gerlach was married to the architect Lucy Hillebrand .



  • Jürgen Seifert : Erich Gerlach (1910-1972) . In: Claudio Pozzoli: About Karl Korsch (workers 'movement - theory and history. Yearbook workers' movement, Bd.1) . Frankfurt / Main 1973, pp. 13-14 ISBN 3436017930
  • Barbara Simon : Member of Parliament in Lower Saxony 1946–1994. Biographical manual. Edited by the President of the Lower Saxony State Parliament. Lower Saxony State Parliament, Hanover 1996, p. 117.
  • Gregor Kritidis: Left Socialist Opposition in the Adenauer Era. A contribution to the early history of the Federal Republic of Germany. Hanover 2008, passim. ISBN 978-3-930345-61-8

Individual evidence

  1. 125 years of the Northeim district: District administrators and senior district directors of the Northeim district (PDF; 33 kB) ( Memento of the original from May 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved March 19, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Jürgen Seifert: Left in the SPD (1945-1968) . In: The Left in the Rule of Law. Vol. 1. Conditions of socialist politics . Berlin 1976, p. 259
  3. Quoted from Jürgen Seifert : Peter von Oertzen: Democracy and cooperation in the world of work , in: Hans Karl Rupp, Thomas Noetzel: Macht, Freiheit, Demokratie. Vol. 2: The second generation of West German political science , Schüren, Marburg 1994, pp. 161–171, here p. 162, ISBN 3-89472-100-6 .
  4. ^ Website of the Deutscher Werkbund , accessed on August 15, 2018