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Adler, Victor


ADLER, VICTOR (1852–1918), pioneer and leader of the Austrian Social-Democratic party and a prominent figure in the international labor movement. Born in Prague, Adler was taken as a child to Vienna where his father became a rich man and, two years before his death, embraced Catholicism. A physician by profession, Adler devoted his life to the cause of the working class. His greatest political victory was the granting of universal suffrage by the Imperial Government in 1905. He was a member of the Austrian parliament from 1905 to 1918 and foreign minister in the Socialist government of 1918. Adler was a victim of antisemitic agitation and suffered from the ambivalent attitude to Jews on the part of his colleagues at school and university. After his marriage he converted to Christianity "to save his children from embarrassment." During his long political life he was always conscious of his origin but avoided taking a clear stand on Jewish issues. He opposed a debate on antisemitism at a congress of the Socialist International in Brussels in 1891. In later life, free from any religious affiliations, Adler refused to acknowledge the specific problems of the Jewish proletariat and opposed the idea of Jewish nationhood.


E. Silberner, Western European Socialism and the Jewish Problem (1800–1918) (1955). add. bibliography: L. Meysels, Victor Adler (1997).

[Schneier Zalman Levenberg]

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