Paul Frölich (communist)

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Paul Frölich (around 1928)

Paul Frölich (born August 7, 1884 in Leipzig , † March 16, 1953 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a communist politician and author, he was the administrator and biographer of Rosa Luxemburg . Pseudonyms Paul Werner , K (arl) Franz , Wilhelm Fröhlich , Hans Wolf .



Paul Frölich was born into a working-class family as the second of eleven children - the father was a machinist and SPD official, the mother a factory worker. Through his parents he got to know socialist ideas early on , so he joined the SPD in 1902 . As a gifted student, he was given the opportunity to attend secondary school in Leipzig free of charge. He then completed a two-year apprenticeship as a commercial clerk in Dresden , Neustadt / Posen and Leipzig ; At the same time he continued his education through courses from the Leipzig workers' association , and in 1905 he attended two semesters of economics lectures at Leipzig University as a guest auditor . From that time on Frölich began to write for various social democratic newspapers. Among other things, he completed a traineeship at the Leipziger Volkszeitung , which is close to the left wing of the SPD, under Paul Lensch and worked with Hermann Duncker . From 1908 he was an editor at the Altenburger Volkszeitung , from 1910 at the Hamburger Echo , at the same time he was a city councilor in Altona .


In 1914 Frölich, who was briefly drafted as a non-commissioned officer and retired as unfit after an injury, was one of the radical opponents of the war in the SPD and was part of the editorial team of the Bremer Bürger-Zeitung , which was on the side of the war opponents until 1916 . After this had been brought back into line with the SPD, he and Johann Knief published the weekly Arbeiterpolitik in Bremen as the organ of the Bremen left-wing radicals . As a representative of the Bremen left- wing radicals, Frölich took part in the second conference of the Zimmerwald Left in 1916 in Kiental, Switzerland. At the end of 1916, Frölich was drafted into the military for the second time on the Eastern Front, where he was imprisoned in a mental hospital in Rendsburg from mid-1918 until the end of the war for anti-militarist propaganda. At the KPD founding party congress, Frölich was elected to the executive committee of the party, to which he belonged until 1924, as a representative of the International Communists of Germany (IKD), who had emerged from the Bremen left-wing radicals . In the first few years Frölich belonged to the left wing of the party, but did not join the KAPD, which was founded in 1920, like many former IKD members . Involved both in the Munich Soviet Republic and in the March battles in Central Germany in 1921, Frölich, together with August Thalheimer and Heinrich Brandler , approached more moderate positions geared towards a united front policy with the SPD from 1922 onwards and, as a result, became involved in 1924 after the ultra-left group moved around Ruth Fischer and Arkadi Maslow were no longer elected to the party executive after the failed Hamburg uprising . During this time he represented the KPD from 1921 to 1924 in the Reichstag and in 1921 at the 3rd Congress of the Communist International . In the following years Frölich initially worked as an editor and journalist, managing the estate of and editing the works of Rosa Luxemburg, the first three volumes of which were published between 1925 and 1928; at the same time he worked at the party college of the KPD.

After he was elected to the Reichstag on the KPD's list in 1928, Frölich was expelled from the KPD at the end of the same year after he had joined the KPD-O around Brandler and Thalheimer. In the leadership of the KPD-O with Jacob Walcher and August Enderle, Frölich was one of those who advocated closer cooperation with other small revolutionary groups and against the perspective of the leadership majority, that the KPD could be reformed and, moreover, that internal developments in the Soviet Union should not be criticized be. Excluded from the KPD-O in January 1932, Frölich joined the SAPD with several hundred comrades, and he was elected to the board of directors in March of the same year. Alongside Fritz Sternberg , he was considered a leading theorist of the left, revolutionary party wing; so he wrote the programmatic document “What does SAP want”. After the second party congress of the SAPD, which had already taken place illegally, Frölich was arrested on Fehmarn at the end of March 1933 while attempting to travel to Norway, where he was supposed to set up the party's foreign headquarters , and held in Lichtenburg concentration camp for nine months until the end of the year .

Exile and return

In early 1934, Frölich was accidentally released. He then managed to flee to the Czechoslovak Republic , from there he traveled on to Paris in the spring of 1934 , where the foreign management of the SAPD, to which he belonged until its collapse in 1939/40, was based. In addition to Jacob Walcher , Frölich can be regarded as chairman of the party at this time. During this time he published in the two party organs Neue Front and Marxistische Tribüne under the pseudonyms K (arl) Franz, Wilhelm Fröhlich and Hans Wolf and, as a SAPD representative, took part in the committee for the preparation of a German popular front and in the working group for socialist domestic work (AGSI ) part. From 1936 onwards, Frölich took various positions that differed from those of the party majority around Walcher, for example he criticized the in his opinion too close leaning of the SAPD to the KPD and shared key positions of the Neuer Weg group around Erwin Heinz Ackerknecht and Walter Fabian, which was excluded in 1937 . Furthermore, based on his positions during the First World War , he considered the support of imperialist countries during future wars to be inadmissible. He also wrote the famous Luxemburg biography Rosa Luxemburg - Thought and Deed , which he completed shortly before the start of the war, with financial support from the left British publisher Victor Gollancz . Interned in the Le Vernet and Bassens camps at the outbreak of war in 1939 , he managed to flee to New York via Martinique in 1941, where he worked on research on the French Revolution , among other things . At the end of 1950 he returned to the Federal Republic and settled in Frankfurt am Main. Here he joined the SPD, to which he belonged until his death in 1953, since the hoped-for founding of a “third”, left-wing socialist party that bridged the split between the SPD and KPD / SED had not come about . In addition, he took part in the left-wing socialist magazine funken published by Fritz Lamm and maintained close discussions with the Marxism researcher Roman Rosdolsky .

Paul Frölich had been in a relationship with the communist politician Rosi Wolfstein (1888–1987) since the 1920s , and had been married since 1948. He was buried on March 21, 1953 in the Frankfurt main cemetery.


In the last years of his life, Frölich made an independent contribution to the formation of Marxist theory in some texts that were only published after his death. In these fragments for the analysis of the Stalinist Soviet Union , Frölich refused to label Soviet society with terms such as state capitalism or the deformed workers' state , but rather, due to the unstable nature of the society there, considered it better to describe them than to label them. Frölich assumed that pre-revolutionary Russian society was not objectively ripe for a transition to socialism . After the revolution, a society emerged that was characterized by a precarious, only temporarily stable balance between various social contradictions and in which a bureaucratic caste that tended to become more and more self-contained and more and more rigid was exercising dictatorial, non-socialist and totalitarian rule. In economic terms, one can speak of a non-capitalist planned economy .


  • Paul Werner: The Bavarian Soviet Republic . Facts and criticism . o. O., (1919).
    • Paul Werner: The Bavarian Soviet Republic. Facts and criticism . 2nd edition, expanded by an appendix: decrees, appeals. Franke, Leipzig 1920.
    • Paul Werner: The Bavarian Soviet Republic. Facts and criticism . Publishing house of the Communist International, Petrograd 1920.
    • Paul Werner: The white horror in Bavaria . In: Almanac of the Publishing House of the Communist International. Publishers of the Communist International, Petrograd 1921, pp. 320–331. (The Bavarian Council Republic)
    • The Bavarian Soviet Republic. Facts and criticism . Reprint of the 2nd edition, expanded to include an appendix, Leipzig 1920. Verlag Neue Critique, Frankfurt am Main 1971 ISBN 3-8015-0087-X (A rchive of socialist literature 22)
  • Karl Radek : In the ranks of the German Revolution 1909-1919. Collected essays and treatises. Introduction Paul Frölich. Wolff, Munich 1921
  • Against white murder . 2nd edition. Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1922
  • The way to socialism. Communist workers newspaper, Hamburg 1919. (= Proletarian pamphlets . Willaschek, Hamburg Volume 2)
  • Syndicalist disease. o. O. 1919.
  • The crime against the railroad workers. The February strike and its lessons. Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1922.
  • Paul Werner: Eugen Leviné . Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1922.
  • 10 years of war and civil war. Volume 1: The War. Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1924.
  • Georges-Jacques Danton . With an introduction by Paul Frölich. Neuer Deutscher Verlag 1925. (= speaker of Revolution 8)
  • Rosa Luxemburg: Against reformism . Introduced and edited by Paul Frölich. Vereinigung Internationaler Verlags-Anstalten, Berlin 1925. (Rosa Luxemburg. Collected Works . Ed. By Clara Zetkin and Adolf Warski . Volume 3)
  • Not a penny to the prince! Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1926.
  • Georg Porschnew: The book system in the USSR. A short summary. With a foreword by P. Frölich. State Publishing House, Moscow 1927.
  • Everything for the revolution! From the life and work of the fighter Clara Zetkin . Edited by Ernst Schneller . Association of International Publishing Institutions, Berlin 1927.
  • Rosa Luxemburg: trade union struggle and mass strike. Introduced and edited by Paul Frölich. Vereinigung Internationaler Verlags-Anstalten, Berlin 1928. (Rosa Luxemburg. Collected Works . Ed. By Clara Zetkin and Adolf Warski. Volume 4)
  • P. Frölich, A. Schreiner : The German social democracy. 14 years in league with capital . Internationaler Arbeiter-Verlag, Berlin 1928.
  • The Berlin May of Blood . Julius-Verlag, Berlin 1929
  • Manabendra Nath Roy: Revolution and Counterrevolution in China. Translated from English by Paul Frölich. Sociological Publishing Institute, Berlin 1930.
  • The world political situation. Presentation by Comrade Franz to the extended party leadership of the SAP, beginning of July 1937 . Socialist. Workers' Party of Germany, Paris 1937.
  • What comes after Hitler ? Problems of the German Revolution . Edited by the socialist. Workers' Party of Germany. Paris 1937.
  • What does SAP want? Berlin 1932, pp. 22-25 (an excerpt from this here ( Memento of May 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive )).
  • Rosa Luxemburg. Thought and action. Ed. nouv. internat., Paris 1939.
    • Rosa Luxemburg. Her life and work . Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Gollancz, London 1940.
    • Rosa Luxemburg. Thought and action. Oetinger, Hamburg 1949.
    • Rosa Luxemburg. Thought and action . Review and editing by Rose Frölich. With an afterword by Iring Fetscher . European publishing house, Frankfurt a. M. 1967.
  • On the crisis of Marxism. Hamburg 1949.
  • Thomas Jefferson , the Democrat . In: Red Review. Socialist monthly. 30 Jg., 1951, pp. 360-363 Digitized
  • From the road to socialism. In: Funken, Stuttgart, April 1952.
  • Bourgeois and plebeian revolution as reflected in human rights. From the estate of the historian Paul Frölich, who died on March 16, 1953, we are publishing the following study on his unfinished work: Democracy and Dictatorship in the French Revolution . In: International review of social history . Volume 1, 1956, Issue December 3, pp. 464-483. ISSN  1469-512X
  • 1789 - The great turning point. From the bureaucracy of absolutism to the parliament of revolution . European publishing house, Frankfurt a. M. 1957.
  • Contributions to the analysis of Stalinism. Two unpublished manuscripts from the estate. In: Claudio Pozzoli (Ed.): Yearbook of workers' movement. Volume 4: Fascism and Capitalism. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1976, ISBN 3-436-02392-2 , pp. 141-155.
  • In the radical camp. Political autobiography 1890–1921 . Edited by Reiner Tosstorff. Basis-Druck, Berlin 2013. ISBN 978-3861-63147-7


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Frölich: In the radical camp. Political autobiography 1890–1921 . Edited by Reiner Tosstorff. Basis-Druck, Berlin 2013, p. 21
  2. see: Mario Keßler : Heroic Illusion and Stalin Terror. Contributions to communism research . Hamburg 1999, p. 152
  3. ^ Hermann Weber: Rose Frölich 1888-1987. Active party work for a lifetime. In: Dieter Schneider (Ed.): They were the first. Women in the labor movement. Book guild Gutenberg, Frankfurt a. M. 1988, pp. 241-249.