Victor Schiff

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Victor Schiff (born February 21, 1895 in Paris , † June 14, 1953 in Rome ) was a German social-democratic journalist and author.

Life until 1933

Schiff was a soldier in the Army of Austria-Hungary during the First World War . In 1917 he joined the SPD in Berlin . In 1919, Schiff was a member of the German delegation to the peace negotiations in Versailles .

Between 1920 and 1933 he worked as a foreign policy editor for the social democratic daily Vorwärts . He was one of Friedrich Stampfer's closest employees and had excellent contacts abroad.

In 1931 he spoke out in favor of supporting Heinrich Brüning's government despite all reservations . In this way he hoped to help German parliamentarism through the world economic crisis and to save it from an impending dictatorship.


After the beginning of the National Socialist rule he was arrested twice. He then emigrated to Great Britain and in 1933 to France . Schiff was the Sopade's shop steward in Paris . He earned his living as a correspondent for the Daily Herald . He also worked for various German exile newspapers.

Although he had previously been on the right wing of the SPD, he emerged in 1935 as a supporter of a popular front alliance with the communists. With Willi Münzenberg and in the background supported by Soviet circles, he also founded the so-called "World Peace Movement" as a reaction to the Abyssinian War .

During the first two years of the Spanish Civil War , Schiff was a correspondent for the Daily Herald in Spain.

In 1940 he emigrated to London . From 1942 he was a committee member of the London SPD local group. At this time he was a supporter of a "social patriotic" wing, as represented in Friedrich Stampfer. Schiff spoke out against a "dictated peace" with foreign control. He was an opponent of territorial cessions and unilateral disarmament in Germany after the war. Between 1943 and 1944 he left the social democratic group in exile and joined the communist-dominated "Free German Movement". In 1944 he returned to social democracy.

From 1946 he worked as a correspondent for the Daily Herald in Rome and kept close ties to the SPD.

In addition to his daily articles, he wrote several larger papers and worked as an editor. He edited, for example, the speeches of Jean Jaurès in Germany. In addition, Schiff wrote the pamphlet “This is how it was in Versailles,” in which he reported on the time of the Versailles Conference.

Individual evidence

  1. Eberhard Kolb: The Social Democratic Strategy in the Brüning Era - Strategy without Alternative? In: Ders .: Upheavals in German history 1866/71, 1918/19, 1929/33. Munich, 1993. p. 307
  2. Bernd-Rainer Barth u. a .: The Noel Field case: key figure in the show trials in Eastern Europe. Basisdruck-Verlag, 2005 page 411


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