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Queen Mary, University of London

ROCKER, Rudolf (1873-1958)


Reference code(s): GB 0370 RR

Held at: Queen Mary, University of London

Title: ROCKER, Rudolf (1873-1958)

Date(s): c 1950s

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 box

Name of creator(s): Rocker | Rudolf | 1873-1958 | political activist and author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Mainz, 1873; confined to an orphanage in Mainz, 1883; transferred to a reformatory; bookbinder's apprentice; joined the Fachverein für Buchbinder and was inducted into the local German Social Democratic Party (SPD), 1890; became a member of the young left-wing oppositionists, the Jungen, and with them, was expelled from the SPD, 1891; joined the underground movement led by the German anarchist Johann Most; German police discovered that Rocker had been smuggling illegal propaganda into Germany and he escaped into France, 1892; increased anti-anarchist police operations in Paris forced Rocker to return to London, 1895; librarian of the first section of the Communist Workers Educational Union; led East End Jews against sweatshops in the London clothing trade; editor of the Yiddish political journal, the new Arbeter Fraint, 1898-1915; helped set up the Jubilee Street Club, 1906; interned as an 'enemy alien', 1914-1918; after a short stay in Holland, settled in Berlin; activist and writer involved in a marginalised syndicalist group; contributed many articles to the Syndikalist, 1920s; fled the Nazis and emigrated to New York, 1933; embarked on a final career both as a writer and coast-to-coast lecturer across the USA and Canada, addressing vast audiences on the dangers of racialism and especially of political authoritarianism; died, 1958.

Publications: Nationalism and Culture (1937).


Scope and content/abstract:

Typescript translation with annotations of Behind Barbed Wire and Bars, an unpublished work by Rudolf Rocker on his internment during the First World War. Translator unknown, but possibly Joseph Leftwich (1892-1984).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Awaiting arrangement.

Conditions governing access:

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: For more information about the Archives see the website:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Applications for copies for research or publication should be made to the Archivist: Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 7873, email:

Finding aids:

No additional finding aids.

Detailed catalogue



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Unknown. Possibly deposited with the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers archive, 1991.



Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: Oxford DNB.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Aug 2008

Internment camps | Humanitarian law
War | International conflicts
World War One (1914-1918) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)

Personal names
Rocker | Rudolf | 1873-1958 | political activist and author

Corporate names