Vicky Abrams: Personal papers and material re Neu Beginnen
Hedwig Abranowicz came from a Jewish family. She was born in Vienna in 1900 and died in London in 1989. She had 2 sisters, Luki and Stella, and a brother, Hans Julius, who died in 1920. She was well educated, having studied philosophy at the University of Vienna from 1919-1925. It is not known when she received her doctorate. She was married to Walter Leibetseder, a non- Jew in 1919 (?). She worked as an editor for the glossy Berlin publication, Das Magazin from 1927-1933, from which she received a glowing reference [1031/1/2] "Dr leibetseder is one of the best editor(esses) that I know... Attracted by opposition to the Nazis she joined Neu Beginnen (called originally ORG) in1931 and for most of her life remained close with some surviving ex- colleagues, describing those years as the most interesting and educational of her life, particularly her friendship with Walter Löwenheim. On the way back from Prague at the end of April 1936 she was arrested in possession of a copy of the charge sheet for the first trial against Neu Beginnen. She was in the 2nd trial 'Leibetseder und Genossen'- sentenced to 2¼ years imprisonment at Jauer and Lichtenburg. She was divorced from her husband, Walter, on account of her being Jewish. On 13 March 1939 she returned to Vienna and came to England shortly afterwards. Neu Beginnen originated in 1929 as 'leninistische Organisation' (ORG) at the initiative of Walter Löwenheim (pseudonym Miles). It aimed at creating a cadre within the German labour movement for a future united proletarian party. It recruited and trained its members in secret to have them infiltrated into key positions of both the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD) and the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD). It received growing support after the suppression of these parties by the Nazi Regime in 1933, when the ORG established new contacts with socialist resistance groups, while its KPD contacts were cut. It had approximately 500 members in 1933/4. It challenged the SPD's exile executive SOPADE in Prague by claiming leadership of the social democrats still active in Germany and sought recognition by the Labour and Socialist International (LSI/ SAI). It established an office in Prague (Auslandsbüro) headed by Karl B. Frank. It adopted the name Neu Beginnen after its manifesto title which was published by Miles in September 1933. The organisation was split by diverging views on the prospects of clandestine work. The original leadership dissolved the organisation in June 1935. However the Auslandsbüro and a majority of illegal workers continued to operate with a new leadership, but eventually the clandestine networks of both factions were for the most part destroyed in 1938, their members either imprisoned or exiled; only some Bavarian groups survived until 1942. The Auslandsbüro, which was moved to Paris in 1938, and to London in 1939, joined the Union deutscher sozialisticher Organisationen in Grossbrittanien in 1941 and formally ceased to exist in 1945.
V Abram’s private papers, letters, books
Donated January 1990- July 1993
Donor: Mrs I P Munro
Donor: Peter Lowe
Readers need to reserve a reading room terminal to access this digital content: 1031/1; 1031/2
The papers in this collection document in part the experiences of Vicky Abrams (formerly Hedwig Abranowicz/ Hedwig Leibetseder), who was a member of the Leninist underground organisation of 1930s Berlin, Neu Beginnen. Also included are family papers and material about Neu Beginnen
The papers have been arranged and numbered in the following series: Personal papers and correspondence of Vicky Abrams, 1031/1/1-206; Personal papers and correspondence of other family members, 1031/2/1-108; Material re Neu Beginnen, 1031/3/1-12.