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Karl Radek

International Communist leader and journalist

Member of the R.S.D.L.P. since its beginning

traveled with Lenin in a "sealed" train through Germany to Sweden

participated in the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations with Germany

a leading official of the Comintern

a brilliant writer for the government newspaper Izvestia

coauthor of the 1936 Stalin constitution

Tried in the Second Moscow Trial, and died while in prison

Karl Bernardovich Radek (Sobelsohn) born in L'viv in 1885 to an Austrophile Jewish family of postal official. His original name was Sobelsohn.

In 1902-1903 Karl studied Law in Krakow.

In 1904 Karl moved to Switzerland where he joined the left wing of Polish socialism.

Radek returned to Poland in 1905 and participated in the 1905 revolution in Warsaw as a member of the Social Democratic party of Poland and Lithuania.

After a brief prison term, Radek spent the next decade building his reputation, in both Poland and Germany, as a talented but volatile and often irresponsible journalist.

He was a leading contributor (1906-17) to the social democratic press of central and Eastern Europe.

In 1917 Radek traveled with Lenin in a "sealed" train through Germany to Sweden. In Stockholm he worked in International bureau of Russian Bolshevik Party.

During World War I he lived in Switzerland and was a staunch supporter of the Bolshevik proposal to turn the war into a revolutionary civil war.

After the October Revolution in Russia (1917), Radek joined the Russian Communist party and participated in the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations with Germany.

In 1918 he was sent to Germany as a representative of the central committee of the Russian Communist party to help reorganize the German Communist movement.

Jailed for a time in Berlin, he returned to Russia and became (1920) a leading official of the Comintern.

The failure of the Comintern to effect a Communist takeover in Germany contributed to the decline of Radek's influence, and in 1924 he lost his seat on the central committee of the Communist party.

In 1923 a member of the Left Opposition, expelled from the party in 1927 as a result.

Radek entered the party again in 1930, but was again expelled in 1936.

A brilliant writer for the government newspaper Izvestia, Radek was also coauthor of the 1936 Stalin constitution.

In the party purges of the 1930s he was accused of treason; he confessed (as did his codefendants) in the so-called Trial of the Seventeen (1937).

Tried in the Second Moscow Trial, and died while in prison.