The Strange Case of Dora Fabian and Mathilde Wurm

Charmian Brinson
1 December 1996
418 pp
Paperback: 978-0-85457-181-9

The deaths of two German Socialist exiles from Nazism, Dora Fabian and Mathilde Wurm, in London in 1935, in far from straightforward circumstances, were a cause célèbre of their day. They were of particular concern to the German exile community in Britain and elsewhere, and to the British intellectual Left, who feared not only that National Socialist agents might have been involved but also that the British authorities were intent on blocking the case’s thorough investigation. Setting the Fabian-Wurm affair in its context, this study traces the lives and careers of the two dead women and also examines the position of the earliest political exiles from Germany. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, including British official documents never previously consulted, it reconstructs the events surrounding the Fabian-Wurm deaths as well as the repercussions of the affair on other exiles, on British public opinion, British policy towards the refugees and Anglo-German relations.



'The Background’:
The German Emigration; The German Emigration to Britain; The Political Exiles in Britain; The SPD; The SAP; Nazi Surveillance and Persecutions of the Political Emigrés; Nazi Activities in England; The Case of Hans Wesemann; The Abduction of Berthold Jacob; Dr Ganz’s First London Mission’;

‘Mathilde Wurm’:
Life and Work, 1874-1920; The Reichstag Years, 1920-1933; The First Months of Exile, May 1933-January 1934; Exile in Britain, February 1934-March 1935’;

‘Dora Fabian’:
Life and Work, 1901-1933; The First Months of Exile, April-September 1933; Exile in Britain, September 1933-March 1935; Dora Fabian and the Exiled SAP’;

‘The Deaths’:
24th to 31st March 1935: The Final Week; 1st to 4th April 1935: The Interim; 4th to 9th April: The Police Investigations; 10th April 1935: The Inquest; The Funeral’;

‘Press Coverage’:
The British Press; The British Daily Press; The British Sunday Press; British Weekly and Monthly Journals; The Reich German Press; Other European Presses: the German-Language Czech Press; The German-Language Swiss Press; The French Press; The Exile Press’;

‘The Reactions’:
Exile German Reactions; Reactions of the Exiled SAP and SPD; Reich German Reactions; Other Reactions from Continental Europe; British Reactions; Individual British Reactions; Reactions in Parliament; Corporate and Official British Reactions’;

‘The Investigations’:
Roy Ganz; The London Emigrés; The SAP and the ILP; The SPD and the Labour Party; The Labour Party, The Socialdemokratisk Forbund i Danmark and the Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale; Karl Korsch’s Political Associates; Thea Haase; Clara Leiser’;

‘The Aftermath’:
The Exiles; The Exiled Socialists; Das braune Netz; Public Opinion in Britain; Anti-Nazi Opinion in Britain; the British Authorities; The Case of Karl Korsch; The Case of Heinz-Alex Nathan; The Others; The Trial of Hans Wesemann; The Role of the German Embassy; Dora Fabian’s Testimony’;

Biographical Appendix;