International Workers Aid

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

International Workers’ Aid


(internationale Arbeiterhilfe; Russian acronym, Mezhrabpom), an international organization of proletarian solidarity, founded in September 1921 in Berlin at an international conference of committees to aid the population of the famine-stricken regions of Soviet Russia.

The International Workers’ Aid provided the Soviet working people with a significant amount of food, medicines, and machinery; after the middle of 1922, most of the aid was industrial and technical, to revive and develop the Soviet economy (including help to groups of foreign workers wishing to work in the Soviet republic). In 1924 the International Workers’ Aid became a partner in the motion-picture organization Rus’, which took the name Mezhrabpom-Rus’ (renamed Mezhrabpomfil’m in 1928) and which lasted until mid-1936.

After 1923 the central activity of the International Workers’ Aid was to support workers in the capitalist and dependent countries who were taking part in class or national-liberation struggles and to provide relief for victims of natural disasters. It was active in the struggle against fascism, and against the impending renewal of imperialist warfare, and it fought for the creation of a workers’ united front and an antifascist popular front. Among those who founded and were active in the International Workers’ Aid were C. Zetkin, A. Einstein, R. Rolland, M. Andersen Nexo, A. France, H. Barbusse, G. B. Shaw, W. Miinzenberg, and many other prominent political figures, scientists, and writers.

The International Workers’ Aid was composed of national sections, with both individual and collective members. In 1926 the Soviet trade unions became collective members. Coordination of the organization’s activities was carried out by a central committee (located in Berlin until 1933, and thereafter in Paris), which was elected at international congresses held in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1929, and 1931. As an international organization, it ceased to function in 1935. Its national sections either joined existing popular fronts or took part in the struggle to create such organizations.


Michev, D. Mezhrabpomorganizatsiia proletarskoi solidarnosti: 1921-1935. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from Bulgarian.)


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