Neu Beginnen Archives

Biographical / Historical Note

Originated in 1929 as `leninistische Organisation' (ORG) at the initiative of Walter Löwenheim (pseudonym: Miles); aimed at the creating of a cadre within the divided German labour movement for a future united proletarian party; recruited and trained its members in secret to have them infiltrated into key positions of both the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD) and Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD); found a growing support after the suppression of these parties by the Nazi regime in 1933, when the ORG established new contacts with socialist resistance groups, while its KPD contacts were cut; had about 500 members in 1933/34; challenged the SPD's exile executive SOPADE in Prague by claiming leadership of the social democrats still active in Germany and sought recognition by the Labour and Socialist International (LSI/SAI); established an office (Auslandsbüro) in Prague, headed by Karl B. Frank; got its name Neu Beginnen after its manifesto `Neu Beginnen!', which was published by Miles in September 1933; split by diverging views on the prospects of clandestine work, the original leadership formally dissolved the organization in June 1935; however the Auslandsbüro and (as has been claimed) a majority of illegal workers continued to operate with a new leadership; arrests in the autumn of 1935 hit at first groups connected with the new leaderhip, but eventually the clandestine networks of both factions were for the most part destroyed in 1938, their members either imprisoned or exiled; only some Bavarian groups survived until 1942; the Auslandsbüro, which was moved to Paris in 1938 and to London in 1939, joined the Union deutscher sozialistischer Organisationen in Grossbritannien in 1941 and formally ceased to exist in 1945.


Collection of documents relating to Neu Beginnen. W. Löwenheim: typoscripts of texts of ORG courses, including the first chapter of the elementary course `Ein Galopp durch die Geschichte' 1931, the advanced `F[ortgeschrittenen]- Kurse' (or `Alter F-Kurs') 1931-1932, covering theory and history of the socialist workers' movement, and a revised and augmented version or `Neuer F-Kurs', which also deals with the fascist take-over in Germany, the latest developments in the USSR and the resulting change in prospects for the ORG's work 1933-1935. Auslandsbüro: duplicate set of its records kept by its archivist Francis L. Carsten in Amsterdam 1936-1939, then London, consisting of internal (code-) correspondence with groups and members in Germany and abroad 1933-1938, 1945-1946; correspondence with other organizations or their representatives, including the LSI/SAI (Friedrich Adler) 1933-1937, Otto Bauer 1934, SOPADE (Siegfried Aufhäuser, Siegmund Crummenerl, Paul Hertz, Hans Vogel, Otto Wels and others) 1933-1940, KPD (Franz Dahlem, Walter Ulbricht) 1937-1939 and the Internationale Sozialistische Kampfbund (ISK, Willi Eichler) 1940-1941; files on the ORG's conflicts with the SOPADE 1933-1935, on illegal work, on the prosecution and defence of arrested members 1933-1938, on the ORG's attitude to the KPD and the COMINTERN 1935-1943, on developments in the USSR 1936-1941, on the popular front politics 1936, on the Spanish Civil War, on the investigation into the disappearance in Spain of the group's member Mark Rein in 1937, who was probably murdered by soviet agents, on emigration to Britain, on internment and wartime activities and other subjects; manuscripts by Evelyn Anderson, Karl B. Frank, Richard Löwenthal and others. Supplementary documents: photocopied records of lawsuits against members of ORG/Neu Beginnen 1934-1937; stencilled copy of `Die soziale Lage der deutschen Arbeiter' c. 1934; letters by Eberhard Wiskow to Franz Schleiter on his emigration and his relation to Miles 1935-1936. Research papers: photocopied documents received from Peter Lowe (son of Ernst Lowe, originally named Löwenheim) on the history of Neu Beginnen, consisting of correspondence between Kurt Kliem and Heinrich Hellmann concerning Kliem's dissertation on Neu Beginnen 1959; text of a historical survey of Neu Beginnen related by Walter Löwenheim to Heinrich Hellmann n.d.; notes by Ernst Lowe 1978; transcript by Dorrit Lowe-Maltby and Peter Lowe of recorded talks with Ernst Lowe in 1982 about his life; list of pseudonyms used by Neu Beginnen n.d.