Anderson, Evelyn N. (1909–1977)
Anderson, Evelyn N. (1909–1977)
German-born British journalist. Name variations: Lore Seligmann. Born Lore Seligmann on May 13, 1909, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; died in London, England, on January 8, 1977; daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family; married Paul Anderson, in 1934.
Joined the German Communist Party (KPD, 1927), but was quickly disillusioned by its rapidly developing spirit of Stalinism and intellectual regimentation; joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD, 1929), but noted the near-paralysis of the SPD leadership when confronted by a growing and increasingly aggressive Nazi movement; following a brief attempt to launch a career in journalism in Berlin (1932–33), emigrated to Great Britain (1933); became a successful journalist in London (late 1930s), taking part in the propaganda war against Nazi Germany (1940s).
Evelyn N. Anderson was a highly regarded journalist who made an impressive transition from one language and culture to another. Born May 1, 1909, on the eve of World War I, into a middle-class German-Jewish family in the commercial city of Frankfurt am Main, Anderson would witness many of the most dramatic events in modern European history. From 1927 through 1932, she studied economics and sociology at several German universities and at the Sorbonne, ending her studies in 1932 with a doctorate in political science. A lifelong commitment to social justice led her to Marxism, first to its dogmatic, revolutionary Communist version, then to a more flexible and democratic Social Democratic variety.
Despite her solidly bourgeois origins, Anderson developed a deep, intuitive understanding of German working-class history and aspirations. As a woman, a socialist, and a Jew, she had multiple reasons to hate the Hitler dictatorship in her native Germany and join in the European struggle against Fascism. After working briefly in the anti-Nazi underground in Berlin, she fled to Great Britain in May 1933. In 1934, she married Paul Anderson, a fellow refugee from Nazi Germany.
Her journalistic activities in London attempted to warn the English-speaking world of the imminent threat of Nazi aggression. During World War II, Anderson worked as an editor and announcer for anti-Nazi radio broadcasting stations in England. The first of these stations, "Sender der Europäischen Revolution," employed her from the fall of 1940 through September 1941. Though financed by the British government, this station called on the German people to overthrow Hitler and replace his regime with a revolutionary socialist society led by the working class. Starting in 1942, she worked as an announcer for the German-language broadcasts of the BBC beamed at Nazi Germany. Her history of the German working class, Hammer or Anvil (London 1945; German edition published 1948), was a well-received critical overview of successes and failures that helped to explain the collapse of German democracy and the rise of Nazism.
During World War II, she was a member of the circle of advisors around the British Labour Party leader Aneurin Bevan. She contributed articles to the newspaper Tribune from 1943 through 1952, and also worked as BBC editor for Eastern European questions from 1953 until 1976, as well as making BBC broadcasts from Germany in 1946, 1952 and 1963. Evelyn Anderson died in London on January 8, 1977.
Pütter, Conrad. Rundfunk gegen das "Dritte Reich": Ein Handbuch. Munich: K.G. Saur, 1986.
Röder, Werner, and Herbert A. Strauss, eds. Biographisches Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration nach 1933. 4 vols. Munich: K.G. Saur, 1980.
Walk, Joseph. Kurzbiographien zur Geschichte der Juden. Munich: K.G. Saur, 1988.
John Haag , Associate Professor of History, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia