Theodor Bergmann against the storm for over a century

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Theodor Bergmann against the storm for over a century

"The strongest fight their entire lives". In memory of Theodor Bergman (7 March 1916-12 June 2017)

His was a 20th century life in every sense: born in Berlin on 7 March 1916 to the rather large family of Reform rabbi Julius Jehuda Bergmann and his wife Hedwig née Rosenzweig, Theodor Bergmann entered the Communist movement in 1927 at the age of 11. He first joined the Communist Party, or KPD’s youth organisation, the Jungspartakusbund, but declined to join the party itself, instead decamping to the anti-Stalinist KPD-Opposition (KPO) around Heinrich Brandler and August Thalheimer together with his brothers Alfred and Josef.

He barely managed to escape Nazi Germany in 1933, targeted as Jewish and Red. Throughout the war, he was in mortal danger.

Interview in English at the age of 98:


Never heard of him. But interesting to see him portrayed as a champion of China's return to a capitalist economic model:

He argued that China's economic reforms do not signify the restoration of capitalism, which is currently the consensus view in leftwing and in academic circles in the West. Instead, he explained that China's reforms represent a necessary policy to accumulate state capital. He drew an analogy with the New Economic Policy (NEP) launched in 1921 by Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution. He explained that Lenin did not consider the NEP to be simply "a retreat" from more radical policies. Rather, Lenin came to view: learning from capitalism, exploiting market dynamics, and using private investment, as long-term measures needed in order to accumulate the economic resources for socialist development.

From: Theodor Bergmann: A revolutionary communist since 1927


I doubt I'd have agreed with Bergmann on that question, and I think I have many disagreements with him, but his was still an exemplary life.