Rocker, Rudolf°

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ROCKER, RUDOLF ° (1873–1958), German-Christian anarchist, editor, writer, and translator. Rocker, who was born in Mainz, grew up in a Catholic orphanage, and became a disciple of Prince Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist. In 1895 he went to Liverpool, where he founded and briefly edited the Yiddish monthly of social theory, Germinal. In 1898 he settled among the Jewish community of London's East End, and became both editor of the Yiddish anarchist newspaper Der Arbeter Fraynd and a leading figure in the Jewish anarchist movement. Rocker edited the paper until the outbreak of World War i, when he was interned as an enemy alien by the British. The paper was suppressed, and the anarchist club closed. After the war Rocker was deported to Germany. He was forced to flee when Hitler took power and subsequently went to the U.S. (1933).

Rocker translated works by Maxim Gorki, Jean Grave, Kropotkin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fritz Lemmermayer, Johann Most, and Max Nordau into Yiddish for the benefit of his fellow anarchists. He also wrote a three-volume autobiography in Yiddish. A portion of this, dealing with his experiences in the Jewish anarchist movement, was translated into English and published as The London Years (1956).


W.J. Fishman, Jewish Radicals: From Czarist Stetl to London Ghetto (1975); P. Wienand, Der "geborene" Rebell… (1981); H.M. Becker, in: Schriften der Erich-Mühsam-Gesellschaft, 7 (1995), 43–62; M. Graur, An Anarchist "Rabbi"… (1997).

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