Austria: We bow to Comrade Erika. An Obituary.

We publish this unofficial translation of an obituary from the Austrian newspaper Rote Fahne.

Recently the sad message that Comrade Erika has died in the high age of 96 on the 18th of December 2023 reached the editorial board of the Rote Fahne. Our deep condolences go to those close to her. The revolutionary movement in Austria suffers a great lost with her death.

Comrade Erika never forced herself to the highlight, but still she is known to many as a tireless fighter, as a comrade who stood and fought for the oppressed and exploited with a full effort and great devotion to the cause. She found power and drive for her efforts and determined struggle in the deep conviction that nothing must stay how it is, and that the order of the reaction is built on sand and the future belongs to the peoples and the working class. Until old age she visited events and took part to them lively and was part of demonstrations and supported communist, revolutionary and democratic forces in all aspects of their work.

But Comrade Erika did not only give her organizational and material support for the revolutionary movement in Austria. She carried out also unforgettable political, moral and ideological support, and was also here never out of contributions. She loved to have long discussions with young revolutionary forces (not seldom long into the night) and tell about her rich treasure of experiences. A treasure of experiences which truly was marked by the workers’ movement in Austria in almost a century of a lifetime – already in early childhood she had experiences that were undivisably intertwined in the political events and the class struggle in the country. For example that since that she was not baptized as a child of a leftist-socialist-spirited family and therefore was excluded from school by the Austro-fascist State for a longer time. This was an experience which influenced her and made her into a convinced advocate for high value of the workers’ and people’s education. A approach onto which she held also in her later career as a teacher.

After she actively lived through the February struggles of 1934 [”Feberkämpfe”, known also as Austrian Civil War, translator’s note] in Linz as a child, it took her later to the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ). As the struggle between the bourgeois, still masked as red, orientation, and a revolutionary, proletarian line, became ever more intense, she stood on the side of the proletarian line around which the Marxist-Leninist Party of Austria (MLPÖ) was later founded. For her it was a revolutionary ”obviousness” that also in the following decades she was with those who stood and stand for that the proletariat is given back its Party. Always active and lively in the head, but not feverish and erratic, her calmer and more prudent character was not the only result from her in the real meaning of the word ”lived history”. Therefore she became a clever and important discussion partner and advisor for many generations of young revolutionaries.

Although she could fall back on mountains of experience and knowledge, she was never the ”master teacher” in the discussions, but always ready to absorb the new, to learn, to develop her opinions and to consider again. She saw the Marxist world view as impartial, unprejudiced and scientific world view. And even when it sometimes became, often understandably and not without basis, with increasing age a little bit harder for her to comprehend the current political themes of the revolutionary movement, she did not turn away from discussions or new themes. With conviction she said often: ”As long as one learns, one stays young. ” It was always consistent with her that this basic attitude provided her with a deeply felt expression of proletarian internationalism. Thus similarly to how she sought discussion with her immediate comrades, she also valued the experiences of the international workers’ and people’s movement, just as also first-hand experiences of other countries, continents and nations.

Rote Fahne will remember Comrade Erika as a pioneer and an important comrade-in-arms. Especially to those of us who knew her personally, who discussed and struggled with her personally, she was an important teacher, comrade and friend, who was for important parts of the common revolutionary path an influencing actor. The death of comrade Erika undoubtedly leaves a hole, but her efforts and her persistently pursued goals will live onward in our struggle. Also in the future Comrade Erika will be present in our ranks!

We bow. Farewell, Comrade Erika.

We publish here a death announcement made and delivered to us by her family:

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