Society of Friends of the New Russia

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The Society of Friends of the New Russia (GdF) was a German organization of intellectuals in the Weimar Republic that promoted friendship between Germany and the Soviet Union .


The founding meeting took place on June 1, 1923 at the invitation of the Foreign Committee of International Workers Aid for Soviet Russia . 30 to 40 people were present, mostly scientists and artists. Among them were Marija Andrejewa and Professor Westphal as representatives of the Prussian Ministry of Culture. The writer Erich Lehmann-Lukas became secretary , Alfons Paquet became the speaker . The founding was announced at the “World Conference for Economic Aid and Reconstruction of Russia” held a few days later from June 13th to 26th, 1923.

The society organized lecture evenings and trips to the Soviet Union. The Society's lecture evenings in Berlin took place in the plenary hall of the Prussian mansion . She worked closely with the VOKS (All Union Society for Cultural Connection with Abroad).

In 1924 Erich Baron became the new General Secretary. He was supported by a working committee consisting of:

  • Helene Stöcker (1869–1943), women's rights activist, sex reformer, pacifist and publicist
  • Max Osborn (1870–1946), art critic and journalist
  • Franz Hilker (1881–1969), educator
  • Eduard Fuchs (1870–1940), cultural scientist, historian, writer and art collector

The company published the illustrated newspaper “Das neue Russland” (DnR), which emerged from the “Neue Kultur-Korrespondenz” of the International Workers Aid . It appeared in 3000, later 5000 copies. 1000 of these were given to members free of charge, 1000 were advertising copies and 1000 were sold.

In 1927 the GdF received 400 dollars a month from the Soviet Union.

In 1924/25 an overwhelming competition arose with the "German Society for the Study of Eastern Europe".

The GdF has been monitored by the police since it was founded. The Berlin Police Headquarters assessed them as a “masked Bolshevik company”.


The society had about 1500 members. Following the German model, 42 identical societies were founded in 17 countries by 1931, with an average of 300 to 400 members. In 1930 all societies together had around 6,000 members. As with German society, activity was mostly limited to the capital.

Members were among others:

See also


  • Christoph Mick: Soviet Propaganda, Five Year Plan and German Russia Policy 1928–1932 (= sources and studies on the history of Eastern Europe. Volume 42). Steiner, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-515-06435-4 , pp. 182-203 (main source for the article).
  • Hans Münch: The Society of Friends of the New Russia (1923-1933) . In: Heinz Sanke (Ed.): Germany, Soviet Union. From five decades of cultural cooperation. Humboldt University, Berlin 1966, DNB 456445161 , pp. 110-116 (short description with little material).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. He was the brother of Siegfried Lehmann (educator) and Alfred Lemm . His daughter reports on his fate in a book published in 2000: Monique Köpke: Nachtzug nach Paris. A Jewish girl survives Hitler's France , Altius Verlag GmbH, 2000, ISBN 978-3932483103 .