Gustav Landauer

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Gustav Landauer in the 1890s

Gustav Landauer (born April 7, 1870 in Karlsruhe , † May 2, 1919 in Munich - Stadelheim ) was a Jewish- German writer . Under the influence of Peter Kropotkins, he represented communist anarchism and anarcho-pacifism and was one of the most important theorists and activists of this ideology in the German Empire .

As a pacifist , he sharply criticized the First World War (1914–1918) . During the November Revolution of 1918/19 and immediately afterwards he was involved in an influential position in the Munich Soviet Republic in April 1919. After they were violently cracked down, he was murdered in custody by anti-republican Freikorps soldiers.


Gustav Landauer, youth portrait

Landauer grew up as the second child of the Jewish-German shoe retailer Hermann Landauer and his wife Rose, née Neuburger, in Karlsruhe and attended the local Bismarck High School . He studied German and philosophy at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin and the University of Strasbourg . In his later works, the lasting influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Lev Tolstoy as well as an increasingly critical distance from Friedrich Nietzsche became apparent . But he also felt connected to the philosophy of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as well as the anarchist theories of Mikhail Bakunin and Kropotkin throughout his life. He became known as a translator of Shakespeare texts. Together with his second wife Hedwig Lachmann , he also transferred works by Oscar Wilde , a. a. The portrait of Dorian Gray , into German.

In the spring of 1889 he met his sponsor and later long-time friend, the German-Jewish writer and philosopher Fritz Mauthner, for the first time in Berlin . In April 1891, he joined the Free People's Stage in Berlin and became a member of the Friedrichshagener poet circle . In February 1892 Gustav Landauer became a member of the Association of Independent Socialists and of the editorial board of its press organ, Der Sozialist , organ of the independent socialists . In this magazine he published a number of articles on questions of art, but also critical comments on political issues and the economic views of Karl Marx and Eugen Dühring . In October of the same year he and friends from the literary group Die Junge , who were often also active in the Association of Independent Socialists , co-founded the Neue Freie Volksbühne. In July 1893 the Association of Independent Socialists split . As a leading representative of the anarchist wing of the association, Landauer began working in July of the same year as editor of the journal Der Sozialist , the last issue of which appeared in January 1899.

At the International Socialist Workers' Congress of the Second International in Zurich , Landauer stood up in August 1893 as a delegate of the Berlin anarchists for "anarchist socialism". Against the anarchist minority, the congress, attended by 411 delegates from 20 countries, passed a resolution calling for participation in elections and political activity in parliaments. The anarchists were expelled from the Second International.

The socialist of January 12, 1895
Berlin memorial plaque on the house at Schloßstraße 17 in Berlin-Hermsdorf

Landauer was arrested for the first time in October 1893 and sentenced to two months' imprisonment for “inciting disobedience to the authorities”, which was extended to nine months in December. He served his sentence in Sorau prison . In October 1894 Gustav Landauer and the seamstress Margarethe ("Grete") Leuschner married. In 1895, Landauer failed in his attempt to build a secure existence in Switzerland . He returned to Berlin, where he continued his life under very modest material circumstances in a circle of artists, writers, theater people and critics. In Berlin he published a magazine under the title Der Sozialist, Organ for Anarchism-Socialism between 1895 and 1899.

In 1899 Landauer met his future second wife, the lyric poet and language teacher Hedwig Lachmann , who was born in 1865 for the first time . In September 1899 they both decided to stay in England for a longer period , during which Landauer developed a close friendly relationship with the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin. The daughter of Lachmann and Landauer, Gudula, was born here. In 1902 they both returned to Berlin. In 1903 Gustav Landauer obtained a divorce from his first wife and married Hedwig Lachmann in the same year. In 1906 their second daughter Brigitte was born. During a stay in Ascona in the summer of 1908, he fell in love with the trade unionist Margarethe Faas-Hardegger . The encounter with the settlers of Monte Verità seems to have motivated him to take up the idea of ​​an anarchist-reformist settlement again and to promote it. In 1910 Landauer tried together with the anarcho-syndicalist Fritz Köster in Groß Ottersleben to win over the farm workers for the anarchist movement. From 1909 to 1915 he published the journal Der Sozialist in Berlin , which became the organ of the Socialist League founded in 1908 by Gustav Landauer . Erich Mühsam , Margarethe Faas-Hardegger and Martin Buber were among the first members . As a political organization, the federal government remained meaningless.

During this time Landauer himself wrote 115 articles for the magazine on topics about art, literature and philosophy, but also on questions of daily politics. In this journal, Landauer published a large number of his own translations of texts by the French philosopher and anarchist theorist Proudhon. A tightening of the censorship led to the discontinuation of the magazine. From 1914 Landauer fought from anarchist and pacifist positions from the First World War .

In 1916, Siegfried Lehmann opened the Jewish People's Home in today's Max-Beer-Strasse 5 in Berlin . Landauer was one of the sponsors of this project, which combined practical social work with cultivating Jewish traditions, and gave the opening speech. Shortly afterwards, the increasing material hardship during the war caused Landauer and his family to leave Berlin and settle in Krumbach , near Ulm . Hedwig Lachmann died here on February 21, 1918 of pneumonia . Landauer was deeply shocked by her death. At the end of 1918 he became a dramaturge at the Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf .

Immediately after the war and the beginning of the November Revolution , Kurt Eisner invited Gustav Landauer to take part in the revolution in Bavaria in a letter dated November 14, 1918: “What I want from you is that you participate in the reshaping of souls by speaking cooperate. ”After Eisner's assassination by the anti - republic and right-wing extremist student Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley on February 21, 1919, disputes over the question of a council system or a parliamentary system in the new Bavarian republic increased. When the Munich Soviet Republic was proclaimed against the elected government of Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann ( SPD ) on April 7, 1919 , Landauer received the post of Commissioner for Public Enlightenment. His first official act was to abolish corporal punishment in Bavarian schools. The council government was initially dominated by independent socialists and pacifists such as Ernst Toller and Silvio Gesell or anarchists such as Erich Mühsam or Landauer himself. Three days after the council government took power by KPD officials around Eugen Leviné and Max Levien , Landauer, disappointed by their policies, announced on April 16, 1919 that he was resigning from all his political functions and offices in the council republic .

After the violent suppression of the Munich Soviet Republic by right-wing Freikorps units , Landauer was arrested on May 1, 1919 in Eisner's house in Großhadern and initially brought to Starnberg to the West Group Command . On May 2nd, members of the Weilheim Freikorps together with three arrested Starnberg workers' councils transferred him to the Stadelheim prison, where teams from the Epp , Lützow and Liftl Freikorps were among others . Before he was admitted to the prison, an officer told him that he would be shot immediately. Instead, abuse followed, including by the landowner and Major A. D. Baron von Gagern. The autopsy protocol of Landauer's exhumed corpse determined that the cause of death was shots in the left eye socket, the right forehead and the left chest. One of the three soldiers involved in the murder was Eugen Dingele. He was tried in March 1920; he got away with a small sentence: five weeks in prison for dangerous bodily harm and stolen goods - because Dingele had taken the victim's watch. Freiherr von Gagern also came to court, which sentenced him to a fine of 500 marks for abuse in September 1919 .

Grave in the New Israelite Cemetery
Stele from 2017 in memory of Gustav Landauer in the Munich forest cemetery at the location of the obelisk destroyed in 1933

Landauer was cremated and until 1923 found his resting place in the urn hall of the Schwabing cemetery . Then the urn was transferred to the forest cemetery in Munich . Members of the Free Workers' Union collected money and in 1925 placed an obelisk as a grave monument for Landauer . After the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933, the Munich city parliament decided to destroy the grave monuments of Marxist revolutionaries . The Gustav Landauer monument also fell victim to this decision . The obelisk was smashed and the urn exhumed. Landauer's remains were sent to the Jewish community in Munich and, with cynical intent, an invoice was issued. The urn was buried in a shared grave with Kurt Eisner in the Jewish cemetery. Today's grave at the New Israelite Cemetery was set up in 1946 at the instigation of Landauer's daughter Gudula. The grave monument is a fragment of the obelisk that was destroyed by the National Socialists.

Gustav Landauer was the grandfather of the American film director Mike Nichols and, according to his memory, the best friend of the writer B. Traven .

Honors and exhibitions

  • A Berlin memorial plaque can be found at Schloßstraße 17 in Berlin-Hermsdorf .
  • A memorial plaque also commemorates him in Amalienstraße in Munich.
  • The Gustav Landauer Memorial from 1925 was destroyed in 1933 and a new stele was erected at the old location in 2017 . A commemorative event was held there on the 100th anniversary of Landauer's death.
  • Several paths and streets, for example in Bremen - habenhausen and Munich , are named after him.
  • In June 2017, a new memorial stone was erected in the forest cemetery in Munich at the site of the old Gustav Landauer monument.
  • There was an exhibition on Landauer in the Berlin-Kreuzberg town hall until May 9, 2019; From May 16 to June 15, 2019, it was on view in the House of Democracy and Human Rights . On May 2, 2019, there was a commemorative event on the 100th anniversary of his death.
  • As part of the “Remembering the Future” festival, the exhibition “100 Years of Murder on Gustav Landauer” at the Theatermuseum Düsseldorf to commemorate the life and work of Gustav Landauer was on view in the VHS Wuppertal from May 9 to 23, 2019 .

Metaphysics and religion

With regard to metaphysics and religion, Landauer has to distinguish between his time up to 1900 and the time after. Until 1900, Landauer represented in the essay Christianity and Anarchism (which appeared in 1895 in Der Sozialist ) a position that rejected religion. Above all , Landauer rejected the monotheistic religions ( Christianity , Judaism , Islam ) on the grounds that he denied any revelation . This was also shown by a text from 1895 in the series of articles on the history of the development of the individual , in which Landauer speaks primarily for Buddha . He justifies his respect for Buddha with the fact that he provides arguments for his claims, while all other religious founders do not. Under the mystical-symbolic garment of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls , he (Buddha) believes that he has discovered the deep "core of truth" and that he can now formulate the truth without this garment. Until 1903, Landauer clearly rejected the religious terms (God, immortality, afterlife, revelation, etc.). He opposes this with the demand for rationality and clarification .

In the book Skepticism and Mysticism , which appeared in 1903, there was a turn in Gustav Landauer's thinking towards mysticism. In 1903 Landauer also published a translation: The mystical writings of Meister Eckhart , which he translated into High German. Landauer is still skeptical of the concept of God that Meister Eckhart represents, because instead of God he speaks predominantly of the world, the world-self or the world spirit. The Divine One by Meister Eckhart is conceived from the essence and bliss of nature. At Eckhart, the “essentia” of things is transcendent. Landauer therefore certainly has arguments to speak of pantheism . In addition to Meister Eckhart and other neo-Platonists , Landauer particularly valued Spinoza . Landauer often wrongly called Meister Eckhart a pantheist. For Eckhart, the term panentheism ( all things are in God ) is probably more appropriate. Landauer's view of religion in the years of his mystic reception can be characterized as follows: He still sees the concrete manifestation of “ecclesiastical Christianity” as negative. The figures that Landauer rejected include “priests and philosophy professors”, but also priests and founders of philosophical systems who “quickly calmed down on something positive”. Landauer sees with sympathy those "who passionately longed for rest but could not be calmed down by anything: the heretics, sectarians and mystics". In Skepticism and Mysticism , Landauer names, among others, Dionysius Areopagita , Johannes Scotus Eriugena , Meister Eckhart, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola , Jakob Böhme , Angelus Silesius and Alfred Mombert , with whom he had been on friendly terms since they spent school together at the Karlsruhe grammar school. Their common feature is that they do not recognize concepts and concept systems intellectually as correct and are therefore against existing religious communities. The world of the senses is only something figurative for these thinkers, and through isolation they would try to unite their ego with the world. Landauer's appreciation for mysticism enables him to make a positive connection to Christ. He interprets Christ as “a symbol for man's becoming God”. For Landauer, becoming God means the rising of the self into the world, and that is exactly what Christ showed.

Landauer broke with the Jewish religious community at the age of 22. At the beginning of the 20th century Landauer referred - as already mentioned - more to the Christian-mystical tradition than to Judaism. Around 1907 Landauer then consciously turned back to the Jewish tradition. In this turn, the religious traditions are also included. When in 1913 the Jewish student association in Prague " Bar Kochba " published a book On Judaism , it contained an important contribution from Landauer under the title: Are these thoughts of heretics? In it he describes the preoccupation with Judaism as enrichment, enhancement and strengthening of one's own existence. Landauer received an important impetus for the renewed engagement with his "old" religion from Martin Buber, who was very good friends with Landauer. Buber also dealt with Christian mysticism at the beginning of the century. In addition to Christian mysticism, Landauer also repeatedly referred to "Hasidic mysticism" from this time on. After Landauer's death, Buber published his articles on literary topics under the title The Becoming Man (1921), his contributions to the achievement of socialism under the title Beginner (1924), and his letters were published by Buber as Gustav Landauer, his biography in letters ( 1929).

Landauer occupied himself during his stay in Tegel a . a. with the term anarchos in the history of religion and philosophy. There, anarchos also becomes virulent in the meaning of “without a beginning” (“forever”). He processes this thought in the scripture Skepticism and Mysticism . Meister Eckhart or the Neoplatonism of the Christian and pagan tradition ( Plotinus , Augustine , Dionysius Areopagita, Scotus Eriugena, Bonaventure etc.) does not define eternity as an eternally extended period of time, but rather eternity is present in every moment of time, it includes the Time as a whole and thereby transcends it at the same time. A “separated” person who can free himself from time experiences eternity through “a mystical vision” (Plotinus). For Landauer, eternity is at the same time an eternal course in time, but also the source of the flow of development over time. The idea of ​​the past and the future is a “falsification of space”, because it is only through the transfer of the ideas of space that it would be suggested that we are at a point from which we can see backwards and forwards. The two statements that eternity is, on the one hand, an eternal course in time and, on the other hand, the source for time, seem to contradict each other. But the following should be noted: For Landauer, eternity remains tied to the passage of time, but eternal renewal becomes a constant, which means that “temporal quality differences” appear in the “eternal present”. Likewise, the Neoplatonists (Meister Eckhart) also speak of a temporal course that is encompassed by eternity, which is also the source of time. Eternity can therefore be experienced through the “mystical vision” (Plotinus) in time. For both Meister Eckhart and Gustav Landauer, the key to this is what is known as “seclusion”.

Mystical anthropology

Under mystical anthropology is to be understood that there is a divine spark or the “uncreated soul ground ” (Meister Eckhart), which constitutes the actual human being and is at the same time united with God. The Bible says: "Man is an image of God". Landauer explicitly refers to Meister Eckhart to determine what the real essence of man is. Therefore, according to Landauer, our “individual”, which “stands on itself” and “withdraws” deeply, is at the same time “our most general”, namely that which connects us with the entire all-one world and in unity with this leads. Landauer means the following in skepticism and mysticism :

"The deeper I return to myself, the more I participate in the world."

- Skepticism and Mysticism , 1978, p. 17

For Landauer, being completely immersed in oneself means participating in the world. In Neo-Platonism or in Meister Eckhart, the “contemplation in oneself” ultimately leads to knowledge or to the “vision of God”. Another difference in the mystical anthropology that emerges with Landauer and Meister Eckhart is the “concept of inheritance” that Landauer propagates. For Landauer, the individual is the result of a long chain of ancestors, all of whom are still present by exercising “dominion” over the individual. For example B. walking upright is a visible expression of the “rule” of the first humans over us. Heredity led through our human and animal ancestors to the inorganic world. This thought is reinforced in skepticism and mysticism by the already mentioned mystical thought that man has the whole world in him. Our entire ancestry is thus within us. Landauer then also connects the terms humanity and human nature (which he also defines as divine).

The world is, of course, emphasized over the human individual. The human individual is in turn subordinate to the human species. The individualization of the human being takes place from the “will of the world” and not the will of the individual or the species. In 1895 Landauer still advocated the thesis that individuals emerge from the "will of the species". At that time he also stated that someone who stepped out of the crowd as his own, independent person could exert a greater influence on humanity. In Skepticism and Mysticism, on the other hand, he writes that the world had to separate individuals so that it can flash up and appear in them. Because: "The world wants to become". Until 1900 Landauer had also assumed that the individual had to be realized in order to do justice to the archetype of the advancing human race. From 1900 onwards, the human being can "coincide with the world" at any time, that is, the human being can realize himself at all times. The utopia is thus shifted from the future to the mystically tangible “eternal present”. Socialism ( anarchism ) therefore no longer depends on a certain stage of human development.

For Landauer, segregation is necessary in order to break through to the human species and subsequently to “fellowship with the world”. Landauer means in skepticism and mysticism :

“The more firmly an individual stands on himself, the deeper he withdraws into himself, the more he separates himself from the influences of the world around him, the more he finds himself coinciding with the world of the past, with what he is from Home is out. "

With “from home” Landauer means the human community, which is more powerful, nobler and much older than the thin influences of the state and society.

The separation of the individuals naturally not only has consequences for themselves, but it also leads the “separated individuals” back into unity with the world through the “separation”.

Political Philosophy: Ethical Anarchism

From the philosophical sources and works presented above, Landauer developed an anarchism that was not individualistic. Landauer represented anarchism as early as the 1890s. At that time he was particularly enthusiastic about Max Stirner's individualistic approach . Landauer did not want to stop at Stirner's extremely individualistic approach, but rather to come to a new generality, unity and community. His “social anarchism” represented an association of individuals on a voluntary basis in small socialist communities, which then came together in a freely associative manner. For Landauer, the aim was always "the emancipation from state, church or other social tutelage and the search for a possibility for the development of the individual in what, in his opinion, the only meaningful context of the community". The term anarchism comes from the Greek “arche”. Ark means beginning, origin, ground, matter, principle and rule. An-archie is the beginninglessness, the groundlessness (with Jean-Luc Marion , Giorgio Agamben , Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe , the ungrund with Jakob Böhme ), the bottomlessness (with Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela ), the lack of origin (with Emmanuel Levinas ) , the lack of matter (Meister Eckhart), the lack of principles ( multatuli ) and the lack of domination. It is contrary to the arche, which manifests itself in the state (status = state). The rejection of the state is common to all anarchist positions. Some also completely reject bourgeois institutions and moral concepts (church, marriage, family). Whereby this "rejection" must always be based on a voluntary basis, because anarchy is free from all constraints. Landauer also turned against the Marxists and Social Democrats, whom he accused of only wanting to establish a new "coercive state". For Landauer, anarchism was primarily a spiritual movement of an almost religious character. In contrast to other anarchists, Landauer did not reject marriage either, but marriage was a cornerstone of the community in Landauer's system. "True anarchism" results from the "inner seclusion" of individuals.

Here again the most important points of Landauer's anarchism briefly summarized:

  1. Anarchism is the absence of coercion (rule, hierarchy, and coercive institutions).
  2. Anarchism is of course not misunderstood as terrorism. That is, the point is to achieve anarchism non-violently.
  3. Anarchism cannot be just egoistic individualism; That is exactly what it is necessary to free oneself from. It is about the development of an independent and independent individual who voluntarily unites in solidary communities. The prerequisite for independence or independence is, in turn, “isolation”, which leads to “unity with the world”. According to Landauer, a change in character was necessary, or at least the whole person had to be turned inside out, so that the inner conviction finally becomes something lived, which then also appears. So it was about an "anarchism of action" and not just about a "theoretical anarchism".

Monetary and economic philosophy

Issue of Call to Socialism from 1919

In his call to socialism , Landauer names three points for the economic “slavery” of modern capitalism. The first problem he points out is land ownership. According to Landauer, "the pleading and dependent attitude of the dispossessed" springs from it. The one who owns land can withhold land from the “dispossessed”. The dispossessed, however, needs the land for purposes of direct or indirect consumption, and therefore a dependency arises. Landauer believes that land ownership and its correlate, soillessness, give rise to slavery, bondage, tribute, rent, interest and the proletariat.

The solution to this problem is simply to dissolve ownership of the land. Landauer thinks in Appeal to Socialism (p. 170 of the specified edition):

“The abolition of property, too, will essentially be a transformation of our minds; from this rebirth there will arise a powerful redistribution of property; and in connection with this reallocation there will be the will to redistribute the land again and again in future times, at definite or indefinite intervals. "

Justice naturally depends on an inner spiritual attitude of the person. Landauer does not need any legal sanctionism for the fair distribution of land, because the spirit of the people recognizes "voluntarily" what a fair distribution of land is.

The second evil that Landauer emphasizes is the superiority of money as a medium of exchange over goods. Goods lose their value after a certain period of time through use. Money has the fateful exceptional position that it only goes into exchange, but not into consumption. In a just exchange economy that is to be striven for, money cannot have an “absolute value” like conventional money. Landauer also generally sees interest as harmful because it creates constant economic growth. The main evil of current money, however, is that it cannot be consumed in contrast to goods. In the free exchange economy that Landauer envisions, money must be equal to all other commodities insofar as it has the dual character of exchange and consumption. Landauer mainly refers to the suggestions of the economist Silvio Gesell . Landauer considers Silvio Gesell to be one of the very few who have learned from Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and writes about him in Appeal to Socialism :

“That is why the suggestions that Silvio Gesell made are very valuable in order to find money that does not increase in value over the years, as it does today, but instead gradually decreases in value from the start, so that the one who, through dedication of a product has come into possession of the medium of exchange, will have no more serious interest than exchanging it for a product as quickly as possible and so on and on. "

There is thus no more interest in production and in obtaining the medium of exchange than consumption. This thought comes from Proudhon, who taught how the rapid circulation of money brings serenity and liveliness into private life, while the stagnation in the market and the stubbornness of persistent money also stagnate private life.

The proposal that Silvio Gesell made for monetary reform looked like this: Instead of the previous money, the so-called “ free money ” should be introduced. Money is given out on slips of paper and, at the same time, small change notes are issued that can be torn off like postage stamps. This change slip serves to devalue the money because the money is worth a thousandth less every week. Every week, the owner of a note has to stick a stamp confirming that the note is worth a thousandth less. This causes the owner of the slip (of the money) to spend his money faster. Coin money is to be abolished and the Reichsbank will be replaced by a Reich currency office, which is responsible for monetary transactions as well as for the subsidy and regulation of the money supply. The Reich Monetary Office also withdraws all banknotes (slips) from circulation at the end of the year and introduces new ones. This concept by Silvio Gesell was fully supported by Gustav Landauer. Landauer conducted an extensive correspondence with Gesell and other followers of the natural economic order founded by Gesell (for example Paulus Klüpfel ).

The third fulcrum of "slavery", which Landauer calls, is added value . First of all, value means having a demand on someone. So what is meant here is economic value and not ethical value. According to Landauer, the word value contains the requirement that the price should be equal to the respective material value. As a rule, however, the respective price is much higher than the sum of the wages that had to be paid for the product because people want to take advantage of every advantage, not just that of property, but also that of the rarity of a desired product or ignorance of the Consumers. In any case, labor cannot buy everything it has produced with its wages, so that a considerable part remains for the purchasing power of profit.

Landauer criticizes Marxism in the call to socialism as follows:

“The point here is to point out that the one-sided emphasis on the wage question on the part of the workers and their unions is related to the misconception of surplus value on the part of the Marxists. We have seen earlier how wages and prices are mutually dependent; We have now pointed out that the view is completely wrong, according to which the so-called surplus value is an absolute quantity that arises in entrepreneurship and from there flows off into the other categories of capitalists. "

The truth for Landauer is that all and all profit is withdrawn from work. In and of itself there is no productivity of property and no productivity of capital, but only a productivity of labor .

According to Landauer, the Marxists are subject to a very fundamental error, namely that being determines consciousness and not the other way around.


"It is now a matter of making sacrifices of other kinds, not heroic, but quiet, inconspicuous sacrifices, in order to set an example for the right life."

- Call to Socialism (1911) and inscription on his tombstone (1925)

“Anarchy is the expression for the liberation of man from the idol of the state, from the idol of the church, from the idol of capital; Socialism is the expression for the true, genuine connection between people, which is real because it grows out of the individual spirit, because it blossoms as the eternally equal and one in the spirit of the individual, as a living idea, because it flourishes between people as free Covenant arises. "

- The socialist, 1911

“There will be no freedom if you do not take freedom and your own facon from yourself, only the anarchy of the future will come if the people of the present are anarchists, not just followers of anarchism. There is a big difference between being an anarchist and an anarchist. The supporter of an educational building can also be a Philistine and philistine bourgeoisie; a change of essence is necessary or at least the whole person needs to be turned inside out, so that the inner conviction finally becomes something that is lived and appears. "

- Travel impressions, Der Sozialist, 1897

“The world is without language. 'Whoever understood it would also be speechless.' "

- Skepticism and Mysticism (1903)

"In all of natural history I know of no more disgusting creature than the Social Democratic Party."

Third party quotes

“Landauer… seems to be alive again, not an atom smarter, a few atoms more radical. Idealist like him, poet like him, bohemian like him, miles away from all political necessities and taken for granted like him (only a few miles away), with fingers that are pure of blood and greed, like Eisner's fingers, and certainly soon like Eisner to acts of violence pushed or pushed aside by acts of violence "

- Victor Klemperer : Revolution Diary 1919 . Aufbau Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-351-03598-3 , p. 113 f.


As an author
  • 1893: The Death Preacher. Novel. 126 p., Marcan-Block-Verlag, Cologne 1923, DNB 574544828 . Hofenberg, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-743714830 .
  • 1901: Anarchist Thoughts on Anarchism. Essay.
  • 1903: power and powers. Novellas. 152 p., Marcan-Block-Verlag, Cologne am Rhein 1923, DNB 574544771 .
  • 1903: skepticism and mysticism
  • 1907: the revolution. Essay. Literary institute Rütten and Loening, Frankfurt / M. 1907. Münster 2003, ISBN 3-897719061 .
  • 1911: The abolition of war through the self-determination of the people. Questions to the German workers.
  • 1911: Call to Socialism. Essay. 155 p., Verlag Cassirer, Berlin 1919, DNB 574544720 . Text-critical edition, Verlag Edition AV, Lich 2015.
As translator
Journal of the Socialist
  • Gustav Landauer (ed.): The socialist. Organ of the Socialist League. Vol. 1-7 (1909-1915). Topos, Vaduz 1980.
  • Ruth Link-Salinger (Ed.): Gustav Landauer in the "Socialist". Essays on culture, politics and utopia (1892–1899) . Suhrkamp, ​​1986 (edition suhrkamp. New series, vol. 113).
Collective works, letters
  • Gustav Landauer. His life in letters. Edited by Martin Buber with the participation of Ina Britschgi-Schimmer, Rütten & Loening, Frankfurt 1929.
  • The human being. Essays on life and literature. On the will of the author, ed. by Martin Buber. Kiepenheuer, Potsdam 1921. New edition 1980: The human being. Essays on literature. With an essay by Arnold Zweig , Kiepenheuer, Leipzig 1980. Contains: Gerhard Hendel : An attempt at a biographical sketch. Gustav Kiepenheuer library.
  • Knowledge and Liberation. Selected speeches and essays. Edited by Ruth Link-Salinger, edition suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / M. 1976, ISBN 3-518-00818-8
  • The past is also the future. Essays on Anarchism. Edited by Siegbert Wolf , Luchterhand Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-630-61843-X .
  • The Titanic's message. Selected essays. Edited by Walter Fähnders and Hansgeorg Schmidt-Bergmann , Context-Verlag, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-861610221 .
  • Letters and Diaries 1884–1900. 2 volumes (Volume 1: Letters and Diaries. Volume 2: Commentary), edited and commented by Christoph Knüppel, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8471-0798-9 .
Work edition


  • Norbert Altenhofer:  Landauer, Gustav. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X , pp. 491-493 ( digitized version ).
  • Martin Buber : Paths in Utopia. About community and its realization. An intensive examination of Landauer's ideas. 1950.
  • Bernhard Braun : The utopia of the mind. On the function of utopia in Gustav Landauer's political theory. Schulz-Kirchner, Idstein 1991.
  • Rainer Brüning: The murder of Gustav Landauer on May 2, 1919 in Munich. A file found in the General State Archives in Karlsruhe . In: Journal for the History of the Upper Rhine, Vol. 167. 2019, pp. 213–249.
  • Hanna Delf, Gert Mattenklott (ed.): Gustav Landauer in conversation. Symposium for the 125th birthday. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1997.
  • Walter Fähnders: Language criticism and word art, mysticism and action with Gustav Landauer. In: Jaap Grave, Peter Sprengel, Hans Vandevoorde (eds.): Anarchism and utopia in literature around 1900. Germany, Flanders and the Netherlands. Würzburg 2005, pp. 139-149.
  • LM Fiedler, R. Heuer , A. Taeger-Altenhofer (eds.): Gustav Landauer (1870-1919). An inventory of the reception of his work. Campus, Ffm. 1995.
  • Thorsten Hinz: Mysticism and Anarchy. Meister Eckhart and his meaning in Gustav Landauer's thinking. Kramer, Berlin 2000.
  • Emil Julius Gumbel: Memorandum of the Reich Minister of Justice on "Four Years of Political Murder" . Malik-Verlag Berlin 1924, pp. 90-93.
  • Wolf Kalz: Gustav Landauer. Cultural socialist and anarchist. Hain, Meisenheim am Glan 1967.
  • Michael Lausberg : Landauer's Philosophy of Libertarian Socialism . 1st edition. Unrast Verlag, Münster 2018, ISBN 978-3-89771-244-7 ( information from the publisher ).
  • Ulrich Linse : Gustav Landauer and the Revolutionary Period 1918–1919. Kramer, Berlin 1974.
  • Michael Matzigkeit: literature on the move. Writer and theater in Düsseldorf 1900–1933. Verlag der Goethe-Buchhandlung, Düsseldorf, 1990.
  • Michael Matzigkeit (Ed.): "... the best sensation is the eternal ..." Gustav Landauer - life, work and effect. Theater Museum of the State Capital Düsseldorf, 1995; 2nd edition 1997.
  • Frank Pfeiffer: "The dead live for me ..." Gustav Landauer's program of libertarian socialism. Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2005.
  • Rita Steininger : Gustav Landauer. A fighter for freedom and humanity. Volk-Verlag, Munich 2020, ISBN 978-3-86222-346-6 .
  • Volker Weidermann : dreamers. When the poets took power Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2017, 288 pages, ISBN 978-3-462-04714-1 .
  • Joachim Willems: Religious Content of Anarchism and Anarchist Content of Religion? The Judeo-Christian-atheist mysticism of Gustav Landauer between Meister Eckhart and Martin Buber. Albeck near Ulm 2001.
  • Siegbert Wolf: Gustav Landauer for an introduction. Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-88506839-7 .
  • Siegbert Wolf: Gustav Landauer. Bibliography. Grafenau 1992, DNB 94601325X .
  • Sebastian Kunze: Gustav Landauer. Between anarchism and tradition (= Hermann Simon [Hrsg.]: Jewish miniatures . Volume 253 ). Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag, Berlin / Leipzig 2020, ISBN 978-3-95565-385-9 .

Web links

Commons : Gustav Landauer  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Gustav Landauer  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Dominique Miething: Anarchist Interpretations of Friedrich Nietzsche's Philosophy. Germany, Great Britain, USA. 1890-1947. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2016, p. 173 ff.
  3. Eugen Dingele born on March 3, 1893 in Schwäbisch Hall
  4. ^ Heinrich Hillmayr: Red and White Terror in Bavaria after 1918. Causes, manifestations and consequences of the violence in the course of the revolutionary events after the end of the First World War. (= Modern History , Volume 2.) Nusser, Munich 1974, p. 133 f.
  5. ^ Klaus Nerger: Other: Gustav Landauer ; accessed on May 2, 2013.
  6. Nina Rehfeld: The director Mike Nichols about his childhood in Berlin, ... In: Berliner Zeitung . January 26, 2008, accessed October 1, 2017 .
  7. haGalil July 3, 2017
  8. Exhibition | Gustav Landauer. Retrieved September 12, 2019 .
  9. Future Festival // Remembering the Future //. Retrieved May 10, 2019 .
  10. See, for example, International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam): Photocopies of letters from Gustav Landauer to Silvio Gesell (1914) and Paulus Klüpfel (1915-1917)
  11. Gustav Landauer in Der Sozialist July 15, 1911, reprinted in the anthology: Even the past is future ... (1989), p. 144.
  12. Quote from: Sebastian Haffner : The German Revolution 1918/19 . 1st edition. 1969, p. 215.
  13. Landauer 1893 (death preacher) - text as PDF at
  14. Landauer 1901 (Anarch. Thoughts) - Article at
  15. Landauer 1911 (Abolished War) Article at
  16. Landauer 1911 (socialism) - current inventory in the DNB - text at
  17. Overview of "Selected Writings" at , accessed on October 1, 2017.