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Ernst Friedrich
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Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967), founder of the Berlin Peace Museum, anarchist pacifist

Biographical/historical note :

Germany: Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967), founder of the Berlin Peace Museum, anarchist pacifist, born February 25, 1894.

His book War Against War presents his demand for militant struggle against war & militarism. He calls for a general strike, draft resistance, & direct action against war & militarism, taking a more activist posture than his religious predecessors as an advocate of non-violent means of social change. Friedrich developed an insignia --two arms breaking a rifle--to emphasize his non-violence, which is still used by pacifists groups & conscientious objectors all over the world, including the War Resisters League in the US & War Resisters International in London.

"Ernst Friedrich's Pacifistic Anarchism" by Douglas Kellner:

Friedrich's anarchism was closer to the communal socialism of the Russian Peter Kropotkin than to Bakunin's more individualistic anarchism. & in contrast to Tolstoy's more passive religious anarchism, Friedrich always opposed quietistic & nonrevolutionary forms of pacifism, publishing in his various journals statements like:

"Without social revolution there can be no lasting peace....We must prepare systematically an uprising against war."

War Against War made a strong impression on Friedrich's contemporaries & was widely read & discussed. Never before had a German audience been subjected to such horrendous images of the savagery & destruction of WWI.

Friedrich helped form a "Revolutionary Pacifist Group" whose membership included such figures as Kurt Tucholsky, Walter Mehring, & the Expressionist writer Ernst Toller. During the last years of Weimar, Friedrich found himself in constant litigation against people who alleged that he had defamed them, & against state officials who accused him of "treason." In 1930, Friedrich was imprisoned for "high treason" for about a year because of the publication of antimilitarist writings intended for secret distribution among the army & police.



Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967), an Anarchist, founded the first international anti-war museum In Berlin (1923) as a testament to the German anti-militarist movement. He was conscious of the fact that the world was still thinking of Germany as Irreconcilably militarist, despite the discrediting of the old Prussian aristocratic military state, and wanted to show many German workers had struggled against the military state. He also wanted in turn to show other German workers how Vital that struggle was, and to demolish nationalist lies. The horrors of the war, on the front and at home, were overwhelmingly portrayed in his International Anti-War Museum at No. 29 Parochialstrasse, Berlin,

When the Nazis took power, they seized the Museum, burned the exhibits and books and transformed the place into an SA-Heim (storm troopers' barracks) They could not wait for the necessary alterations to be made and overnight painted out the word quot;Anti" from the fascia and posted a guarded on the door.

War Against War photo

Page created Feb. 25, 2002; links updated Nov. 2005

Online, see also:
Ein Portrait des Anarchisten und Widerstandskämpfers Ernst Friedrich

Extract from 'War Against War'

Visit the Anti-Kriegs Museum online,

Wikipedia page (in German):,

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