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Labor Action, 11 December 1944


Letter from German Socialists

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 50, 11 December 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Editor of Labor Action has received the following communication from our German comrades abroad:

An Open Letter of Information

To the Editorial Boards of the Socialist Appeal (London), the Militant (New York), and Labor Action (New York).

Dear Friends:

The Socialist Appeal (Supplement, Mid-October, 1944) and the Militant (November 4, 1944) have published a letter “signed by the 'European Secretariat' of the Fourth International,” which reports on a European conference held in France in February, 1944. It says:

“The German group in France published a printed paper, Arbeiter und Soldat (Worker and Soldier).”

It says further:

“Comrade Wintley [1], leading comrade of the German group in France, was recently murdered by the Gestapo.”

In this connection, we should like to inform you of the following:

  1. We are not in a position to lay claim to the aforesaid “German group” as part of the German section of the Fourth International. To be sure, the IKD (International Communists of Germany) was the only GERMAN organization that belonged to the Fourth International, in France as well as in Belgium, Holland, England, Norway, etc. However, as far as we are able to do so, we should like to avoid the impression that we (the IKD) succeeded, after the catastrophe in France, in leaving behind a group that “published” a printed paper. To judge from the name of the paper, it is most likely a few AUSTRIAN comrades who are involved, who belonged neither to the IKD nor to the Fourth. We have no reason, therefore, to lay any claim to them today, and must wait for further information to confirm or refute our supposition.
  2. Our assumption that it is Austrian comrades who are involved and not German comrades of the IKD, is reinforced by the fact that the name of the “leading comrade of the German group” who was murdered by the Gestapo, is Wintley. We are completely unaware of any comrade bearing this name.
  3. Of the IKD comrades who remained behind after the catastrophe in France, two were deported by the Nazis. Two others fled to Switzerland. This is all we know FOR SURE. Of the remaining comrades who lived in various sections of France, there has not been a trace down to the present day. We are highly concerned over the fate of these comrades, and we ask the assistance of anyone who can provide us with information (even the slightest).

London, Nov. 19, 1944

With best comradely greetings,
Committee Abroad of the IKD
(Signed) M.

Note by ETOL

1. This information is incorrect. The main initiator of the paper Arbeiter und Soldat was a German Trotskyist who used the pseudonym Paul Widelin. He also used the pseudonyms Monte and Victor. His real name was Martin Monat and he had joined the IKD in exile in Belgium in 1935. In 1943 he came to Paris and started cooperating with the Parti Ouvrière Internationaliste. Working together with a couple of other German comrades and a group of French Trotskyists he produced the newspaper, which was aimed at German soldiers occupying France. As reported he was arrested and shot by the Nazis shortly before the liberation of Paris. An archive of English translations of the surviving contents of Arbeiter und Soldat can be found here.

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