Research Unit Politics

Trade Union Activist, Journalist, and Trotskyist

The Life of Jakob Moneta and His Interpretation of Life (1914–2012)

This project examines the life and impact of the Jewish trade union activist and socialist Jakob Moneta (1914–2012). As an intermediary figure between political generations and across national borders, Moneta played a significant role in the West German Left. The focus of this study is on the historical memory of a »broken« history of the labor movement and its universalistic promise of emancipation that Jakob Moneta tried to save in the face of the violence perpetrated through the »Age of Extremes«. On the basis of Moneta’s biography, this study aims to identify the ruptures and continuities of his political impact, which incorporates inter alia experiential spaces of antisemitic persecution in Poland, politicization in the Weimar Republic, the kibbutz movement in Palestine, trade union work, as well as anticolonial and internationalist solidarity. Following from this, the project will undertake a precise historical memory analysis of Moneta’s socialist strand of tradition and of the epistemological certainties contained therein in light of the dimensions of violence of the twentieth century. This exemplification of Jakob Moneta's life story will allow for the potency of historical narratives in the labor movement to be outlined as they were constituted and transformed in their temporal dependencies.

This dissertation project is part of the research group »A New History of the Labor and Union Movement« funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation.