Ignaz Auer

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Ignaz Auer
Memorial plaque on the house, Katzbachstrasse 9, in Berlin-Kreuzberg
The grave slab on the curtain wall at the Friedrichsfelde central cemetery

Ignaz Auer (born April 19, 1846 in Dommelstadl near Passau , † April 10, 1907 in Berlin ) was a German politician of the early SPD and a member of the German Reichstag .


Youth and education

His father, a butcher, died in 1848 and left the family in deep misery. Ignaz Auer had to earn his living as a shepherd boy. After a brief visit to primary school, Ignaz Auer completed an apprenticeship as a saddler in Neuhaus am Inn from 1859 to 1863 . He then went on a journey through Germany and Austria. He suffered from rheumatism since his youth, which handicapped him throughout his life.


In the 1860s he approached social democracy. In 1869 he joined the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) in Kassel . After a strike by the saddlers, he had to leave Kassel. In spring 1872 he found new work in Berlin. Here he met Eduard Bernstein on his first visit to a meeting of the SDAP . Both men had a personal friendship during their time in Berlin. Auer's political activity contributed significantly to the upswing of the SDAP in Berlin. Under his leadership, the General German Saddlery Association was founded in Berlin on June 30, 1872 , and Auer was elected chairman; who held this office until 1873. This honorary position brought him nothing, nor did his work for the SDAP. He worked for a carriage manufacturer for moderate wages. He couldn't pay for his own room or apartment. So he only had one place to sleep. Auer played a decisive role in the agitation for the re-election of August Bebel to the Reichstag in January 1873. At the SDAP congress in Eisenach from 23 August to 27 August, he was elected to a commission that proposed changes to the party program until the next congress should work out.

On behalf of the party committee, he undertook agitation trips through Lusatia and to southern and western Germany. In 1873 and 1874 he took part in the party congresses of the SDAP. In September 1873 he took over the expedition of the Dresdner Volksbote in Dresden and headed the Saxon state election committee for the Reichstag election in 1874 . In April 1874 he was expelled from Dresden. On August 1, 1874, he took over a position as secretary of the party committee in Hamburg . Auer thus exercised one of the most important functions in the SDAP. He was responsible for the connection of the party executive with the local organizations, the internal organization and to a large extent the agitation work of the party.

He was significantly involved in the unification negotiations with the Lassalleans and took part in the Gotha pre-conference in 1875 from 14./15. February at which he approved the draft program permeated with Lassalleanism. In Hamburg he took part on March 27, 1875 at the conference of Hamburg union representatives. At the Gotha Unification Congress in 1875 from May 22nd to May 27th, he gave a lecture on the organization and the press of the party and was elected secretary of the Socialist Workers' Party in Germany alongside Carl Derossi . He held this position until the end of 1877. From 1876 to 1906 - with the exception of 1904 and 1905 - he took part in all party congresses and party conventions of the Social Democrats.

At the end of September 1874 he met Karl Marx in Hamburg . In early 1877 Auer was elected to the Reichstag, to which he belonged in 1878 and 1880/1881, 1884–1887 and 1890–1906. At the end of 1877, the central election committee (i.e. the party executive) commissioned him to manage the association printing plant in Berlin and to work on the editorial team of the “Berliner Freie Presse”.

During the socialist laws

Auer tried to organize the work of the party in Berlin despite the Socialist Law passed in October 1878 . He was one of the first victims of the Little State of Siege . On November 29, 1878, he was expelled from Berlin. He wrote an appeal for the deportees, which was distributed in several thousand copies. In Hamburg, Auer became co-editor of the legal “court newspaper” founded by Johann Heinrich Dietz . Auer was expelled from Hamburg in October 1880 and from Harburg in March 1881 . After moving to Schwerin , he did a lot of detailed work for the party. He was the correspondent of the illegal central organ “ The Social Democrat ” and helped with its distribution. He remained a member of the party leadership even during the time he was not a member of the Reichstag.

He took part in the party conference in Zurich from 19 to 21 August 1882 and headed the organizational preparations for the Copenhagen party conference in 1883. In the disputes over the steam subsidy bill from 1884 to 1887, Auer was on the right wing of the Reichstag parliamentary group. In April 1886 he became co-editor of the magazine “Right to Work” published by Louis Viereck and moved to Munich . In the Freiberg secret society trial, he was sentenced to nine months in prison on August 4, 1886. The St. Gallen party congress in 1887 elected Auer alongside August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht to the commission for drawing up a new party program.

In the Munich secret society trial of 1888, Auer was charged again. Seriously ill, he had to undergo a cure for several months in Switzerland, the costs of which were borne by the party. During this time he wrote the first history of the Socialist Law, entitled After Ten Years , in which he documented that the consolidation and expansion of Social Democracy could not be stopped by the Socialist Law. The Halle party congress of 1890 elected Auer as secretary of the party executive.

Directional struggles in the SPD

SPD Reichstag delegate from Saxony from 1903. Auer in second row from above, second from left.

He moved back to Berlin (from 1890 to the later district of Kreuzberg, first to Katzbachstrasse, from 1903 to Lindenstrasse) and ran the day-to-day business of the party executive. From 1890 to 1894 he was also a shop steward of the party executive committee and co-editor of the central organ “ Forward ”. He supported August Bebel in rejecting the semi-anarchist opposition of the "boys" (1890/1891) and against the criticism of Georg von Vollmar in 1891, turned against the trade unionist efforts of Carl Legien and the General Commission of the German Trade Unions 1892/1893 Budget approvals by the Social Democratic parliamentary group in Bavaria in 1894 and against the positions of the reformists on the agrarian question in 1895.

One of the factors influencing Auer's appearance against party rights was that the reformists also directed their attacks against the tight organization of the party, which Auer, as secretary of the party executive, held largely in his own hands. However, as early as 1891 it could be seen that Auer accepted a number of “practical questions” from Vollmar's program. In the years that followed, Auer increasingly took the positions of the right wing of the party. So he sympathized with Eduard Bernstein's views, initially secretly and finally almost openly. In 1897 Auer defended Max Schippel's views on militarism. At the party congress in Hanover in 1899 he demanded - after an agreement with Bernstein - "tolerance" to the views of Bernstein and defended him. More than a third refused to approve the election to the party executive.

More and more he took on the position of a steward of the so-called revisionists on the party executive committee . At the Munich party congress of 1902, he tried to justify the positions of the magazine “ Sozialistische Monatshefte ”. He tried to prevent the discussion of these views at the 1903 party congress in Dresden and then openly take Bernstein's positions. Ignaz Auer fell seriously ill in the last years of his life.


He died in Berlin, where he was given a grave in the central cemetery in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde . At Katzbachstrasse 9 in today's Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg , a plaque commemorates the work of Ignaz Auer.

On July 16, 1929, a street in the Hamburg-Horn district was named after him. After being renamed between 1934 and 1945, the street was renamed Auersreihe on October 25, 1945 .


  • Speeches by Reichstag member I. Auer in the German Reichstag. Speech about the emergency of the weavers in Glauchau-Meerane, given in the session of the Reichstag on May 30, 1881 . Self-published, Schwerin 1881
  • Interesting facts from the new Reichstag. Speech by MP Auer on the diet issue at the session of November 26, 1884 and speech by MP Bebel on the budget for the Reich budget at the meeting on November 28, 1884. Verbatim copy of the official stenographic report . Grillenberger, Nuremberg 1884
  • Press votes on the verdict of August 4, 1886 by the Freiberg Regional Court against the defendants Auer, Bebel et al. Wörlein & Comp., Nuremberg 1886
  • The liquor monopoly . In: The new time . Review of intellectual and public life . 4 (1886), No. 3, pp. 102-108 online
  • After ten years. Material and glosses on the history of the socialist law . 2 vol., German Coop. Publ., London 1889-1890 (Fränkische Verlags-Anstalt & Buchdruckerei, Nuremberg 1913; ibid 1929)
  • Sedan celebration and social democracy. Speech given at a meeting in Berlin on September 4, 1895 . 4th edition (31st to 40th thousand). Forward, Berlin 1895
  • For August Bebel's sixtieth birthday . In: Socialist monthly books . 4 = 6 (1900), No. 4, pp. 165-169 online
  • About the turnout in Prussia . In: Socialist monthly books . 4 = 6 (1900), No. 9, pp. 539-542 online
  • The prospects of the grain tariff increase. In: Socialist monthly books . 5 = 7 (1901), No. 6, pp. 397-400 online
  • From Gotha to Wyden. Lecture given in Berlin on May 30, 1900 . Socialist monthly books , Berlin 1901
  • Party and union . In: Socialist monthly books . 6 = 8 (1902), No. 1, pp. 3-9 online
  • For the social democratic party congress in Munich . In: Socialist monthly books . 6 = 8 (1902), No. 9, pp. 645-653 online
  • For the social democratic party congress in Dresden . In: Socialist monthly books . 7 = 9 (1903), No. 9, pp. 635-641 online
  • Jakob Franz . In: The new time. Weekly of the German Social Democracy . 21.1902-1903, Volume 1 (1903), Issue 4, pp. 101-103 Online


  • Alexander Helphand : Opportunism in Practice. 3. The Vollmar tactic. 4. The Auer practicalism of Parvus . In: Die neue Zeit: Wochenschrift der Deutschen Sozialdemokratie . 19.1900-1901, Volume 2 (1901), Issue 48, pp. 673-684 Online
  • Ed. B .: Ignaz Auer . In: The True Jacob . No. 542 of April 30, 1907, pp. 5393-5934 digitized
  • Max Schippel : Auer. In: Socialist monthly books . 8 = 10 (1904), No. 8, pp. 596-599 online
  • Ignaz Auer. In: The new time. Weekly of the German Social Democracy . 25.1906-1907, Volume 2 (1907), Issue 28, pp. 41-43 Online
  • Rosa Luxemburg : Ignaz Auer. Talk at his grave . In. Forward . Berlin No. 88 of April 16, 1907
  • In recognition of I. Auers. From Parvus . In: The new time. Weekly of the German Social Democracy . 25.1906-1907, 2nd vol. (1907), issue 30, pp. 110-118 online
  • Eduard Bernstein: Ignaz Auer, the guide, friend and advisor . In: Socialist monthly books . 11 = 13 (1907), No. 5, pp. 339-348 online
  • Max Schippel: About Auer's work during the expiry of the socialist law . In: Socialist monthly books . 11 = 13 (1907), No. 5, pp. 348-351 online
  • Robert Schmidt: Auer and the trade unions . In: Socialist monthly books . 11 = 13 (1907), No. 5, pp. 351-355 online
  • Eduard Bernstein : Ignaz Auer. A memorial. With portr. u. Fig. Forward, Berlin 1907
  • Franz Mehring : Eduard Bernstein: Ignaz Auer. A memorial. With portrait and illustrations. Berlin 1907, Verlag Buchhandlung Vorwärts . In: The new time. Weekly of the German Social Democracy . - 26.1907-1908, 1st volume (1908), issue 14, p. 488 online
  • Ignaz Auer. After ten years. Material and glosses on the history of the socialist law. Nuremberg, Franconian Publishing House . In: The new time. Weekly of the German Social Democracy. 31.1912-1913, Volume 2 (1913), Issue 47, p. 765 Online
  • Alwin Gerisch : The Nazi and his nice guy. On the death of Agnes Auer , in: "Vorwärts" of February 23, 1922, supplement "Heimwelt", No. 7
  • Victor Adler . Correspondence with August Bebel and Karl Kautsky as well as letters from and to Ignaz Auer, Eduard Bernstein, Adolf Braun , Heinrich Dietz , Friedrich Ebert , Wilhelm Liebknecht, Hermann Müller and Paul Singer . Collected and explained by Friedrich Adler . Ed. By the party executive d. Socialist Party of Austria. Verlag der Wiener Volksbuchhandlung, Vienna 1954
  • Werner Blumenberg : Ignaz Auer . In: Fighters for Freedom. JHW Dietz Nachf., Berlin / Hanover 1959, pp. 70–79.
  • Ignaz Auer . In: Franz Osterroth : Biographical Lexicon of Socialism . Vol. 1, Hannover 1960, pp. 349-350.
  • Wolfgang Schröder : Auer, Ignaz . In: History of the German labor movement. Biographical Lexicon . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1970, pp. 15-17
  • In the struggle for the revolutionary character of the proletarian party. Letters from leading German worker functionaries December 1884 to July 1885 . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1977
  • Paul Mayer:  Auer, Ignaz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , p. 429 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Martin Kutz: Auer, Ignaz . In: Manfred Asendorf, Rolf von Bokel (ed.): Democratic ways. German résumés from five centuries . JB Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1997 ISBN 3-476-01244-1 , pp. 26-27
  • Ursula Hermann: On the 85th anniversary of August Bebel's death. Family letters from August and Julie Bebel to Agnes and Ignatz Auer . 1998, pp. 57-79
  • Georg Lohmeier: “Anyone who is a servant should remain a servant!” The “Royal Bavarian Social Democrats” Erhard Auer , Ignaz Auer and Georg von Vollmar. Langen Müller, Munich 2000 ISBN 3-7844-2794-4

Web links

Commons : Ignaz Auer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes / individual evidence

  1. Eduard Bernstein: Ignaz Auer, the friend, guide and advisor , In: Socialist monthly books . - 11 = 13 (1907), H. 5190705, pp. [339] - 348 [1]
  2. Dieter Schuster: Chronology of the German trade union movement, chronology: 1872–1874 . In: Digital Library of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  3. Eduard Bernstein: Ignaz Auer, the friend, guide and advisor , In: Socialist monthly books . - 11 = 13 (1907), H. 5190705, p. 340.
  4. The statement by Bernstein in the obituary from 1907 that Marx was in Hamburg in 1875 is erroneous. See Karl Marx. Chronicle of his life in detail . Zurich 1934, p. 350 and Manfred Schöncke: Karl and Heinrich Marx and their siblings . Cologne 1993, p. 864.
  5. See history workshop Horn: The street names of Horner and their meanings, accessed November 29, 2011
  6. ^ Rosa Luxemburg. Collected Works. 1906 to June 1911 . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1972, pp. 199-200.
  7. ^ Contains letters from Auer to Eduard Bernstein, Julius Motteler , Wilhelm Liebknecht. Declaration by Auer, Wilhelm Blos , Bruno Geiser , Carl Grillenberger to the editorial staff of the Social Democrat and the report of the social democratic parliamentary group in the Reichstag from July 1885 .