Cologne Communist Trial of 1852

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cologne Communist Trial of 1852


provocative trial of members of the Communist League who were accused of having “conspired” against the Russian state.

The trial was one of the manifestations of the reaction that came to the fore after the defeat of the Revolution of 1848–49 in Germany. It was held in Cologne from Oct. 4 to Nov. 12, 1852. Eleven members of the Communist League were handed over to the court. The organizers of the trial—the police counsellor Stieber and others—tried to fabricate evidence and use various forged materials against the accused. Marx in effect directed the defense from London, exposing the methods of the prosecution.

The government succeeded in obtaining a verdict of guilty against H. Becker, H. Bürgers, F. Lessner, P. Nothjung, K. Otto, W. Reiff, and P. Röser; they were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in a fortress. The court was compelled to acquit four of the defendants—R. Daniels, J. Klein, J. Ehrhard, and A. Jacobi. F. Freiligrath escaped arrest, having emigrated to London.


Marx, K. “Razoblacheniia o kel’nskom protsesse kommunistov.” K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 8.
Engels, F. “Nedavnii protsess v Kel’ne.” K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 8.
Mikhailov, M. I. Istoriia Soiuza kommunistov. Moscow, 1968.
Bittel, K. Der Kommunistenprozess zu Köln 1852 im Spiegel der zeitgenössischen Presse. Berlin, 1955.
Herrnstadt, R. Die erste Verschwörung gegen das internationale Proletariat. Berlin, 1958.

G. BECKER [German Democratic Republic; 12–68–2]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.