Donny Gluckstein

British historian

Donny Gluckstein (born 1954) is a British historian at Edinburgh College.


  • The scale of the movement was impressive, with over 120 committees established nationwide. The Leipzieg Antifa claimed 150,000 adherents. Many of these organisations broke through entrenched social barriers to include foreign slave labourers and establish working class unity across political parties and trade unions. Their functions ranged from creating local democracy, to restoring basic services like food suply. [...] The fact that so many committees adopted similar names and policies poses the question of whether there was a centralised organisation at work. Communists were prominent in nearly every Antifa despite the opposition of Moscow. Walter Ulbricht, the KPD leader, criticised the 'spontaneous creation of KPD bureaus, people's committees, and Free Germany committees', but he could do little as the KPD central apparatus had no communication link with the rank and file. Once communications were restored he could report: 'We have shut these [Antifas] down and told the comrades that all activities must be channelled through the state apparatus.' The Western Allies were equally disconcerted by the Antifas self-proclaimed 'ruthless struggle against all remnants of Hitler's party in the state apparatus, the local authorities and public life'. The US authorities expelled the Leipzig committee from its offices, ordered the removal of all leaflets and posters from the streets, and then banned it. Any further use of the name 'Free Germany National Committee' would be punished severely. The military government stopped Solingen's workplace councils purging Nazi activists and then abolished them. Brunswick's Nazis had been arrested by the Antifa, but were liberated by Allied command. When Frankfurt Antifa housed people made homeless by bombing in apartments abandoned by fleeing Nazis, the authorities evicted them.

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