Tony Sender

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Tony Sender (also Toni Sender ; born November 29, 1888 in Biebrich ; † June 26, 1964 in New York ) was a German politician ( SPD , USPD ) and journalist with the real name Sidonie Zippora Sender , also using the pseudonyms Dora Denis and Elisabeth used. In the Social Democratic parliamentary group to which she belonged from 1920 to 1933, she was counted on the left wing.


Election poster for Tony Senders List 1920

Tony Sender was born on November 29, 1888 in Biebrich (today in Wiesbaden ) as the third daughter of the merchant Moritz (Moses) Sender and his wife Marie (née Dreyfus). Her parents were both Orthodox Jews , her father was chairman of the Jewish community in Biebrich. She surprised her parents by wanting to learn a trade, and after graduating from the Höhere Töchterschule , she left her family at the age of thirteen to attend the private commercial school for girls in Frankfurt am Main . As she later wrote, she wanted to be her “own master” as soon as possible economically and thus also spiritually and in her lifestyle. In the middle classes at that time employment was not provided for women, their career prospects as a commercial clerk could just be reconciled with the criteria of middle-class decency.

Even before completing her training, she was earning her own living. After completing her training, she became a commercial clerk at the Frankfurt metal trading company Beer, Sondheimer & Co. She joined the office workers' union and the SPD . Her father refused to give her the necessary approval to study economics. For some time she lived in Paris and was involved with the French socialists . With the murder of Jean Jaurès and the outbreak of the First World War , she returned to Frankfurt, where she and Robert Dißmann did peace work throughout southwest Germany.

After the war she played a major role in the workers' council movement and in 1919 became a member of the Frankfurt city council. In 1920 she was elected to the Reichstag for the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) in the constituency of Hessen-Nassau. After the reunification of the two social democratic parties, she took up her mandate for the SPD since 1922. From 1924 to 1933 she worked as a member of the Reichstag for the constituency of Dresden-Bautzen with a focus on customs and trade policy.

In the SPD parliamentary group in the Reichstag, Tony Sender was a member of the left wing, along with MPs such as Paul Levi , Kurt Rosenfeld , Max Seydewitz and Heinrich Ströbel , which adhered to Marxist concepts and, from 1930, was in opposition to the group’s majority policy of tolerance towards the presidential cabinets Brüning and Papen . The change in her constituency from Frankfurt to Dresden from 1924 was also a result of the changed balance of power in the party, since Sender, as a determined leftist in Frankfurt, would no longer have been voted on a safe list, while Saxony increasingly became the bastion of the left SPD wing has been. The vote to approve the fourth construction rate of the armored cruiser A and the first construction rate of the armored cruiser B on March 20, 1931, together with six other Saxon SPD representatives, demonstratively stayed away. Four Saxon MPs (Seydewitz, Kuhnt , Ströbel, Graf ) even openly broke parliamentary group discipline and voted against the motions before them, which led to their exclusion from the SPD parliamentary group and the reconstitution as SAPD . Despite her critical stance, Sender did not go along with some of her left-wing parliamentary colleagues and remained in the SPD. In 1932 she advocated a general strike in order to avert the impending danger of a National Socialist seizure of power.

As the editor of the works council magazine of the German Metalworkers' Association alone , she wrote almost 420 articles by 1933. In 1928, she was also given responsibility for editing Frauenwelt , an SPD magazine. After open Nazi death threats, she fled to Czechoslovakia on March 5, 1933 . There she immediately became involved in the anti-Nazi border work in the direction of Saxony. In Antwerp, too, she was active in the resistance against National Socialist Germany and worked closely with the 50-strong exile group of the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold . On March 29, 1934 the Deutsche Reichsanzeiger published the second expatriation list of the German Reich through which she was expatriated . In 1935 she moved to the USA . She also supported the appeal for the Paris Popular Front at the end of 1936, but after the conclusion of the Hitler-Stalin Pact in the summer of 1939 she said goodbye to these ideas. In the USA she was also active in various emigrant groups, clarified in countless lectures and articles about the situation in the " Third Reich " and violently contradicted the collective guilt thesis. At times she worked on reports and assessments of the situation for the American secret service OSS on various countries occupied by the Wehrmacht and on Germany.

Then, an American citizen since 1943, she worked as an economics specialist at UNRRA ( United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ), and later as a representative of the American Federation of Labor ( AFL ) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations . She was involved in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women . She achieved particular merits in the international fight against and outlawing of forced labor . She died of a stroke in New York on June 26, 1964 .

In 1988 the exhibition “100 Years of Tony Sender” was shown in her honor at the place of her birth. In 1992 a large exhibition was dedicated to her in Frankfurt am Main. Since 1992, the city of Frankfurt has been awarding the Tony Sender Prize to promote “outstanding innovative achievements that serve to achieve gender equality and counteract discrimination against women.” The party school of the SPD Hessen-Süd, Toni-Sender-Akademie, is named after her.


  • Tony Sender: Autobiography of a German Rebel . New York: Vanguard Press, 1939
  • Tony Sender (editor Gisela Brinker-Gabler ): Autobiography of a German rebel. Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-596-22044-0 .

Journal articles (selection)

In: The Socialist Doctor


  • Tony Sender 1888–1964, rebel, Democrat, citizen of the world. Historical Museum Frankfurt am Main, 1992.
  • Anette Hild-Berg: Tony Sender (1888–1964). A life in the name of freedom and social justice. Cologne 1994.
  • Willy Buschak : The United States of Europe is our goal. Labor Movement and Europe in the Early 20th Century . Essen 2014.
  • Siegfried Mielke , Stefan Heinz (Hrsg.): Emigrated metal trade unionists in the fight against the Nazi regime (= trade unionists under National Socialism. Persecution - Resistance - Emigration, Vol. 3). Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86331-210-7 , pp. 20, 57, 191, 207, 212, 304, 843 f. (Short biography).
  • Martin Schumacher (Hrsg.): MdR The Reichstag members of the Weimar Republic in the time of National Socialism. Political persecution, emigration and expatriation, 1933–1945. A biographical documentation . 3rd, considerably expanded and revised edition. Droste, Düsseldorf 1994, ISBN 3-7700-5183-1 .
  • Christl WickertSender, Toni. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , p. 248 f. ( Digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Tony Sender  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Diers: Left Socialism. Origins and history 1917–1989 . (PDF) In: RLS Standpunkte , 39/2010, p. 3.
  2. Christa Schell: Toni Sender - »Rebel, Democrat, Citizen of the World« .
  3. ^ Carsten Voigt: Combat leagues of the workers' movement: the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold and the Rote Frontkampfbund in Saxony 1924–1933 . Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar, 2009, p. 424.
  4. Portrait of Toni Sender in the online archive of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  5. Michael Hepp (Ed.): The expatriation of German citizens 1933-45 according to the lists published in the Reichsanzeiger . tape 1 : Lists in chronological order. De Gruyter Saur, Munich / New York / London / Paris 1985, ISBN 978-3-11-095062-5 , pp. 4 (reprinted 2010).
  6. Tony Sender 1888–1964, rebel, democrat, citizen of the world. Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main, 1992, p. 178.
  7. ^ Website of the Toni-Sender-Akademie eV