Otto Leichter

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Otto Leichter (born February 22, 1897 in Vienna , † February 14, 1973 in New York City , USA ) was an Austrian socialist, journalist and author . He also wrote under the pseudonyms and code names: Heinrich Berger, Konrad Huber, Konrad, Stefan Mahler, Pertinax, Wiener, Georg Wieser.


Grave at the Simmering fire hall

Otto Leichter studied law at the University of Vienna . 1920 received his doctorate to Dr. iur. He was a co-founder of the Association of Social Democratic Students and Academics (since 1925: Association of Socialist Students Austria , VSStÖ) and a member of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria (SDAP).

Otto Leichter was married to the social scientist Käthe Leichter , who was murdered in 1942 after a long imprisonment in the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Bernburg an der Saale. With her he had two sons, Heinz, later Henry O. (for Otto; * 1924 Vienna; † December 20, 2010 New York City), and Franz (* 1930), both lawyers. From 1943 he was married to Elsa Kolari , née Schweiger, a family therapist.

Otto Leichter worked on the Austrian magazine Der Kampf from 1919 to 1934 . From 1925 to 1934 he worked for the Wiener Arbeiter-Zeitung , the central organ of the Social Democratic Party.

The February fighting in 1934 , which led to the Social Democratic Party being banned, led Leichter to emigrate. He founded a press service in Zurich to inform the world about the situation in Austria. In September 1934, however, he took part in the secret (and illegal under Schuschnigg's dictatorship ) Vienna conference of the underground revolutionary socialists of Austria and returned to Austria. In 1936 he reported anonymously on the socialist trial in an illegal pamphlet .

During the “Anschluss” in March 1938, Otto Leichter fled to Brussels, where he became a founding member of the Austrian Socialist Mission Abroad (AVOES), which Joseph Buttinger led. After Otto Bauer's death in Paris in July 1938, the AVOES appointed him editor of the magazine Der Sozialistische Kampf (a continuation of Der Kampf im Exil). After the beginning of the Second World War he was interned for a short time in the stadium of Colombes . In 1939 he became a member of the diplomatic mission of the Free Trade Unions of Austria founded in Paris .

In 1940 he fled from the Wehrmacht advancing on Paris to Montauban in the south of France and from there to New York (other notable passengers on this cruise from Lisbon: see Erna Sailer ). After AVOES was dissolved in 1942, he became a member of the Austrian Labor Committee (ALC), which was to be evaluated as the successor organization to AVOES, and worked there as co-editor of Austrian Labor Information .

After the war he returned to Vienna for a year, where he a. a. worked for the Vienna Chamber of Labor and rebuilt the magazine Arbeit und Wirtschaft . As the leading proponent of the "Forty-Four Resolution", which was supposed to initiate a left turn of the party at the SPÖ congress in 1947, he fell into political sideline after the rejection of this resolution (80 against 395 delegate votes) and returned in 1948 - disappointed by the policies of the SPÖ New York back. There he became a correspondent for the Arbeiter-Zeitung, which was revived in 1945, and other European newspapers.

In the early 1950s he set up the office of the German Press Agency at the UN and was its correspondent at the United Nations from 1957 to 1971. From 1967 to 1973 he was President of the Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial Fund of the UN Correspondents and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation .

His grave is in the urn grove of the Simmering fire hall in Vienna (Department ML, Group 32, Number 1G). His wife, who was murdered in 1942, is also remembered there.



  • The economic calculation in the socialist society. Vienna: Verlag der Wiener Volksbuchhandlung 1923 (= Marx Studies. V. Volume. 1.), 109 pp.
  • The economic calculation in the socialist society. Glashütten iT: Auvermann 1971 (= Marx studies. Sheets on the theory and politics of scientific socialism. Edited by Max Adler and Rudolf Hilferding. V. Volume. 1.), 109 pp.
  • (Editor for economic and trade union affairs) Arbeiter-Zeitung. Organ of the Austrian Social Democrats (Vienna), 1925 - 1934 .
  • The explosion of capitalism. The economic policy of socialization. Vienna: Verlag der Wiener Volksbuchhandlung 1932 , 171 pp.
  • End of Democratic Socialism? An open word about German teachings. Vienna: Verlag der Wiener Volksbuchhandlung 1932 , 38 pp.
  • (Founder and Editor) Austrian News Service. ÖND [OO], March 15, 1934 - March 7, 1938 .
  • (Editor) The revolution. Organ of the Revolutionary Socialists of Austria [OO], 1935 , No. 1 and 2 (January and February); published 1934 - 1937 .
  • (Editor) Information Service of the Revolutionary Socialists [with enclosure:] Information Service of the Revolutionary Socialists [OO], 1934 - 1937 .
  • (Editor with Otto Horn) The union. Organ of the federal management of the free trade unions [OO], September 1935- January 1937 .
  • (Anonymous) Livre noir de la dictature Autrichienne. La justice et les lois sous le Dr. [Kurt] Schuschnigg. Des faits, rien que des faits. - Black Book of the Austrian Dictatorship. Law and Justice under Dr. [Kurt] Schuschnigg. Nothing but facts. - Black Book of the Austrian Dictatorship. Law and Law under Dr. [Kurt] Schuschnigg. Facts, nothing but facts. Preface by Emile Vandervelde. Published by the Commission to Investigate the Situation of Political Prisoners. Brussels: Maison d'Édition l'Eglantine 1934 , 134 pp.
  • (Pertinax) Barbarism or Socialism? Karlsbad: Graphia Druck- und Verlagsanstalt 1935 (= Der Kampf. Series of special prints.), 24 pp.
  • (Anonymous) The Austrian Dictatorship at work - Destruction of legal security. The second black book - documents of a dictatorship. One year [Kurt] Schuschnigg. Brussels: Maison d'Édition l'Eglantine 1935 , 64 pp.
  • (Editor with Otto Horn) Union information [OO], September 1935 - 1938 . Illegal organ, internally called the "little one".
  • (Pertinax) Austria 1934. The story of a counter-revolution. Zurich: Europa-Verlag 1935 , 309 pp.
  • The splendor and end of the First Republic. How the Austrian Civil War came about. Vienna-Cologne-Stuttgart-Zurich: Europa-Verlag 1964 (= Austria profiles.), 256 pp.
  • (Editorial Staff) The debate [OO], 1936 - 1938 . Organ of the illegal revolutionary socialists of Austria. New edition.
  • (Anonymous) Revolutionary socialists on trial. The great socialist trial before the Vienna Regional Court. Brno: Kovanda 1936 , 20 pp.
  • (Anonymous) Beautiful Austria. Vienna: The Austrian Travel Office 1937 , 48 p. Cover title.
  • (Anonymous) Beautiful Austria. London: Anglo-Austrian Friendship Union 1937 , 48 p. Cover title. English version.
  • (Anonymous) La Liberte syndicale existe - elle en Autriche? - Is there Freedom of Trade Union Organization in Austria? - Is there freedom of union in Austria? Report presented to the Congress of the International Association for Social Progress in Paris, 1937 . Brussels: Imprimerie coop. Lucifer 1937 , 30 pp.
  • (Editor) The union. Organ of the federal management of the Free Trade Union ([OO] or Issy les Monluneaux), January 1937 - February 1938 .
  • (Georg Wieser) A state is dying. Austria 1934 - 1938 . Paris: Éditions Nouvelles Internationales 1938 , 189 pp.
  • (Georg Wieser) A state is dying. Austria 1934–1938 (= VWI study series, volume 4). Vienna 2018 (reprint), 260 pp.
  • (Editorial co-director and employee) The socialist struggle. La Lutte Socialiste [Paris], 1938–1940.
  • (Editor) Austrian Labor Information (New York), 1942–1946.
  • (Co-Founder and Editor) Labor and Economy (Vienna), June 1947-May 1948.
  • America in world politics. Vienna: Danubia-Verlag 1947, 240 pages and 1 map.
  • (Co-founder and director) Press service of the Chamber of Labor (Vienna), June 1947-May 1948.
  • What does the Marshall Plan want? Its importance for the Austrian economy. Lecture given at the Austrian Chamber of Labor in Vienna on March 19, 1948. Vienna: Publishing house of the Austrian Chamber of Labor 1948.
  • (USA correspondent) Arbeiter-Zeitung. Organ of the Socialist Party of Austria (Vienna), 1948–1971.
  • America where? Reality versus ideology. (Text drawings by Maria Sand.) Vienna-Zurich: Europa-Verlag 1954.
  • (Correspondent at the UN in New York) German Press Agency, 1957–1971.
  • Austria's free unions in the underground . With an afterword by Franz Olah. Europa-Verlag, Vienna / Cologne / Stuttgart / Zurich 1963 (= Austria profiles).
  • World power in the background. Does the UN have a future? Vienna-Cologne-Stuttgart-Zurich: Europa-Verlag 1964 (= European Perspectives.), 144 pp.
  • Between two dictatorships. Austria's revolutionary socialists 1934–1938. Vienna-Frankfurt-Zurich: Europa Verlag 1968 , 468 pp.
  • Otto Bauer: Tragedy or Triumph. Europa Verlag, Vienna / Frankfurt / Zurich 1970.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Daily newspaper Der Standard , Vienna, December 30, 2010, p. 6.


  • Evelyn Lacina:  Lighter, Otto. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-428-00195-8 , p. 134 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Christian Fleck, Heinrich Berger: Shackled by socialism. The Austromarxist Otto Leichter (1897–1973). Frankfurt / New York 2000.
  • Heinrich Berger, Gerhard Botz , Edith Saurer (ed.): Otto Leichter, letters without an answer. Notes from exile in Paris for Käthe Leichter 1938–1939 (with an afterword by Henry O. Leichter). Vienna 2003.

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