[OPE] Roman Rosdolsky Archive

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Sat Aug 16 2008 - 19:49:12 EDT

> http://marxists.org/archive/rosdolsky/index.htm> 15 August 2008: Added to the MIA: Roman Rosdolsky Archive> > Rosdolsky was born in 1898 in Lemberg (now L’vov, in Ukraine) which was > then part of the Austria-Hungarian monarchy. While still at high school > he joined the socialist movement and became a convinced > internationalist. During the First World War he and his friends founded > an underground organisation – ‘The International Revolutionary Socialist > Youth of Galicia’. After the outbreak of the Russian revolution, this > organisation provided the leaders of the Communist Party of West Ukraine > (which later became a section of the Communist Party of Poland). Almost > the entire leadership of this party became a victim of the purges in the > early thirties, which began in the CPSU and the Soviet Union. Rosdolsky > was not living there and so avoided this fate.> > After the First World War, Rosdolsky emigrated, firstly to Prague and > later to Vienna. In Vienna he worked for several years for the > ‘Marx-Engels Institute’ (Moscow), for which he carried out research into > historical sources in the Vienna Archives. At the beginning of the > thirties, he joined the Trotskyist movement and till the end of his life > he identified with the ideas of Trotsky.> > As a member of a nationally oppressed peasant nation, Rosdolsky’s > principal interest was in a Marxist analysis of the nationalities > problem and the history of the peasantry. His dissertation, which gained > him a PhD in political science, bore the title Marx and Engels on the > problem of.the nations without a history (in German). After the seizure > of power by Austro-Fascism in 1934, he had to leave Vienna and return to > his native land, which in the meantime had fallen to Poland. Working at > the Institute for Economic History at Lemberg University he then > published ‘The village community in East Galicia and its dissolution’. > (Lwow 1936, in Polish). The outbreak of the Second World War interrupted > the publication of his two volume work on peasant oppression in Galicia. > It only appeared in Warsaw in 1962.> > At the beginning of the Second World War, Rosdolsky was living in > Cracow, where he was imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1942. He spent the > following years in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Ravensbruck and > Oranienburg in Germany. At the end of the war he taught for a short > while in an Austrian trade union school; in 1947 he left for the USA. > There his political past prevented him from gaining an academic post. By > accident he discovered in an American library one of ‘only three or four > copies of the original [1939-41 – SP] Moscow edition in the West’. He > immediately recognised the enormous theoretical significance of this > manuscript and spent several years writing a commentary on it. This > commentary – The Making of Marx’s Capital, Rosdolsky’s best-known book – > was only published after his death.> > In the first years of his residence in the United States, Rosdolsky also > completed a work he had begun with his dissertation ‘Friedrich Engels > and the problem of the nations without a history’. He also dealt with > the role of the peasantry in the revolution of 1848 in a book The > peasant deputies in the Constituent Austrian Reichstag 1848-9.> > Roman Rosdolsky died in Detroit on 20 October 1967.> > The initial contributions to the archive are a discussion note: 'The > Workers and the Fatherland: A Note on a Passage in the “Communist > Manifesto”', a careful analysis of Marx and Engels ideas on the relation > of the worker to the nation; and 'Imperialist War and the Question of > Peace', a major discussion of the revolutionary Marxist attitude to the > question of peace and war, based on the activities and writings of the > Bolsheviks during the First World War.> [Thanks to Steve Palmer]

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