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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: December 2009

3 - The Socialist Uses and Abuses of ‘Zur Judenfrage’

Summary

As we saw, the bulk of the one published issue of the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher containing Marx's ‘Zur Judenfrage’ fell into the hands of the Prussian authorities, rendering copies of the volume extremely rare. Not least for this reason, one of the questions scholars trying to evaluate the influence of ‘Zur Judenfrage’ on the Socialist movement have had to address is this: how well-known was the text of ‘Zur Judenfrage’ (rather than its mere existence) to Socialists and how easily could they access it? We may recall Silberner's suggestion that ‘hundreds of thousands, millions have read “Zur Judenfrage” with the same zeal and the same fervour as they read the Communist Manifesto’. Yet while the Manifesto was regularly being reissued in pamphlet form in all major European languages, in Germany, for example, ‘Zur Judenfrage’ was not published independently until 1919; and that edition was produced neither under the auspices of the Social Democratic or the Communist party nor even by anyone (still) directly associated with either of them. Instead, it was edited by Stefan Großmann and published by Rowohlt.

Yet ‘Zur Judenfrage’, or parts of it, were occasionally reprinted elsewhere. Roughly the second half of the second essay was published by Wilhelm Hasselmann (1844–1916) in the ADAV's Neuer Social-Demokrat on 20 September 1872. Hasselmann did so as part of a campaign with which the ADAV sought to enamour itself with the workers of Berlin by denying the SDAP the credentials of a genuine workers' party.

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