Theodor Hartwig, proletarischer Freidenker der Zwischenkriegszeit in lokalen und translokalen Zusammenhängen

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Title in English Theodor Hartwig, proletarian freethinker of the interwar period in local and translocal contexts


Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference 30 Jahre Grenze und Nachbarschaft in Zentraleuropa : Literatur, Kultur und Geschichte : Kultur – Herrschaft – Differenz, vol. 27
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords free thought; cosmopolitism; socialism; social democracy; Austria; Czechoslovakia; interwar period; Brno
Description The paper deals with the activities of Theodor Hartwig (1872–1958), the first chairman of the International of Proletarian Freethinkers (1924/25– 1930). In the 1900s, Hartwig was active as a member of the movement for secondary school reform in Austria. After 1918 in Czechoslovakia, he became involved as a contributor to the local social democratic and cosmopolitan press in Brno/Brünn and led a local association of German language freethinkers who after 1923 declared themselves as proletarian free thought movement. Between 1925 and 1930, as chairman of the International of Proletarian Freethinkers, based in Vienna, and with many activities in Czechoslovakia, he mediated between Social Democratic and Communist groups within the International, and was intensively active in the developing the programme and public strategies of the socialist freethinkers in Czechoslovakia and Central Europe. At the same time, however, he set himself against both Austrian and Czechoslovak (German language) Social Democracy being a member of the latter until 1934, in whose programmes of the late 1920s and early 1930s he does not find a sufficiently principled advocacy of atheism and democratic socialism. Hartwig thus represents a type of international left-wing intellectual, both representative and victim of the sharpening of political agendas on the left and the usurpation of the agenda of proletarian free thought movements in Central European context.
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