Eisenhauer, Theodor, 1845-1882

A short biography of Theodor Eisenhauer, a pioneer of the anarchist movement in Germany.

Submitted by Battlescarred on December 17, 2007

Theodor Franz Eisenhauer was born in Luckau, in Brandenburg state in Germany on 19th December. He was an upholsterer by trade.

He was one of the most committed and dedicated activists of the early German anarchist movement. He was a supporter of Johann Most and was associated with Peter Kropotkin in Switzerland in 1879.

He wrote for the anarchist paper Arbeiter-Zeitung, set up by Emil Werner, Otto Rinke and August Reinsdorf and based in Berne.

He used Switzerland as a base to build the cell organization of the underground anarchist movement that existed in Germany. The growth of this cell organization was due in no small way to Eisenhauer’s commitment. He made a number of trips in 1880 into Germany and organised cells in Munich, Augsburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, Mannheim, Darmstadt Offenbach, and Hanau.

He was expelled in August 1880 by police from both Berlin and Hanau as an undesirable after police discovered letters implicating him. He was chiefly responsible for coordinating a commission for cells in the area from Karlsruhe to Hanau, including Mannheim, Darmstadt, Bessingen, Frankfurt, Offenbach, Steinheim, and Pforzheim.

Early in 1880 he had been told by doctors that unless he gave up his activities and took a complete rest he would soon die from TB. He ignored this advice and continued to work on the cell organization of the movement. He was lucky to escape the clampdown on the movement that netted Victor Dave, among others, in late 1880 to early 1881.

In Switzerland he continued to work for the cause. Often the speeches that he delivered were interrupted by long coughing spells, but he always finished. His last speech was delivered in Geneva on Saturday afternoon, February 12, 1882. The following day he died in hospital, at an early age.

At his grave Emil Werner, another associate of Kropotkin, delivered a eulogy on behalf of the German anarchists.

Nick Heath