Marxism & the Jewish Question: Selected Bibliography

compiled by Ralph Dumain

“Something which has been an eyesore to me from birth, as the Jews have been to the Christian world, and which persists and develops with the eye is not an ordinary sore, but a wonderful one, one that really belongs to my eye and must even contribute to a highly original development of my eyesight.”

— Karl Marx, The Holy Family (1844)

“Hitherto Social Democracy did represent to the masses of the people the object lesson of being the most tireless champion of the freedom of all who were oppressed, not merely the wage-earner, but also of women, persecuted religions and races, the Jews, Negroes and Chinese. By this object lesson it has won adherents quite outside the circle of wage-earners.”

— Karl Kautsky, The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Chapter VIII, “The Object Lesson”(1918)

“It is possible to imagine without difficulty what awaits the Jews at the mere outbreak of the future world war. But even without war the next development of world reaction signifies with certainty the physical extermination of the Jews.”

— Leon Trotsky, “Appeal to American Jews Menaced by Fascism and Anti-Semitism,” 22 December 1938


Marxism & the Jewish Question

Bronner, Stephen Eric. A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. (1st ed., 2000) See also my blog for reviews.

Brym, Robert J. The Jewish Intelligentsia and Russian Marxism: A Sociological Study of Intellectual Radicalism and Ideological Divergence. New York: Schocken Books, 1978.

Carlebach, Julius. Karl Marx and the Radical Critique of Judaism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, edited with an introduction by Tamara Deutscher. London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Forman, Michael. Nationalism and the International Labor Movement: The Idea of the Nation in Socialist and Anarchist Theory. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.

Jacobs, Jack. On Socialists and "The Jewish Question" after Marx. New York: New York University Press, 1992. (Reappraisals in Jewish Social and Intellectual History)

Kautsky, Karl. Are the Jews A Race? (1914), translated from the 2nd German edition. New York: International publishers, 1926.

Kautsky, Karl. Foundations of Christianity (1908), translated by Henry F. Mins. New York, S. A. Russell, 1953.

Kessler, Mario. On Anti-Semitism and Socialism. Berlin: Trafo, 2005. Description.

Kutzik, Alfred J. The Communist Party and the Jews: Implications for the National Question. New York: Red Balloon Collective, 1994.

Leon, Abram. The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation (Written 1942, 1946, English ed. 1950). New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.

Löwy, Michael. Fatherland or Mother Earth?: Essays on the National Question. London: Pluto Press, 1998.

Marx, Karl; Engels, Frederick. The Holy Family (written 1844, published 1845), translated by Richard Dixon and Clement Dutts. See sections: The Jewish Question No. 1; The Jewish Question No. 2; The Jewish Question No. 3. See also Bruno Bauer.

Mendelsohn, Ezra, ed. Essential Papers on Jews and the Left. New York: New York University Press, 1997. (Essential Papers on Jewish Studies) Publisher description.

Nedava, Joseph. Trotsky and the Jews. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972.

Rodinson, Maxime. Cult, Ghetto, and State: The Persistence of the Jewish Question; translated by Jon Rothschild. London: Al Saqi Books, 1983. Contents. Publisher description.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Anti-Semite and Jew (1943-1946), translated by George J. Becker ; preface by Michael Walzer. New York: Schocken Books, 1995.

Traverso, Enzo. The Jews & Germany: From the "Judeo-German Symbiosis" to the Memory of Auschwitz, translated by Daniel Weissbort. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. xxiv, 215 pp. (Texts and Contexts; v. 14) See extract The Aporias of Marxism / Archaism and Modernity.

Traverso, Enzo. The Marxists and the Jewish Question: The History of a Debate, 1843-1943, translated by Bernard Gibbons. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1994. (Revolutionary Series)

Jewish Socialism in Eastern Europe & the USA

Avineri, Shlomo. Arlosoroff. Peter Halban, 1989.

Frankel, Jonathan. Crisis, Revolution, and Russian Jews. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Contents. Publisher description.

Frankel, Jonathan. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Contents. Publisher description.

Gitelman, Zvi, ed. The Emergence of Modern Jewish Politics: Bundism and Zionism in Eastern Europe. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003. (Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies)

Gorni, Yosef. Converging Alternatives: The Bund and the Zionist Labor Movement, 1897-1985. New York: State University of New York Press, 2006. (SUNY Series in Israeli Studies)

Jacobs, Jack. Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, in cooperation with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2009.

Levin, Nora. Jewish Socialist Movements, 1871-1917: While Messiah Tarried. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul: Distributed by Oxford University Press, 1978.

Liebman, Arthur. Jews and the Left. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1979. (Contemporary Religious Movements)

Mendel, Hersh. Memoirs of a Jewish Revolutionary, translated by Robert Michaels. Pluto, 1989.

Shepherd, Naomi. “Within the Pale” [review], London Review of Books, Vol. 12, No. 3, 8 February 1990, pp. 15-16.

Mendelsohn, Ezra. Class Struggle in the Pale: The Formative Years of the Jewish Workers' Movement in Tsarist Russia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Publisher description.

Michels, Tony. Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Nathans, Benjamin. Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002. (Studies on the History of Society and Culture, 45) Contents. Publisher description.

Theses & Dissertations

Fischman, Dennis K., Ph.D. Political Discourse in Exile: Karl Marx and the Jewish Question of Our Times. Dept. of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, 1988. (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI, #8822658.)

Pamphlets / Booklets

Novack, George. How Can the Jews Survive?: A Socialist Answer to Zionism (1969). New York: Pathfinder Press, 1994.

Seidman, Peter. Socialists and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism: An Answer to the B'Nai B'Rith Anti-Defamation League (1973). New York: Pathfinder Press, 1994.

Trotsky, Leon. Leon Trotsky on the Jewish Question. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.

Essays & Journal Articles

Bauer, Bruno. “The Capacity of Present-Day Jews and Christians to Become Free” (1843), translated by Michael P. Malloy, The Philosophical Forum, Vol. VIII, nos. 2-4, 1978, pp. 135-149. See also Marx on Bauer.

Bonefeld, Werner. Antisemitism and the (Modern) Critique of Capitalism.

Clemesha, Arlene. Trotsky et la question juive.

Cohn, Werner. "From Victim to Shylock and Oppressor: The New Image of the Jew in the Trotskyist Movement," Journal of Communist Studies (London), vol. 7, no. 1, March 1991, pp. 46-68.

Deutscher, Isaac. Message of the Non-Jewish Jew, The American Socialist, September 1958.

Editorial. "Zionism Is Reactionary Nationalism: Israel Is A Capitalist State", Jewish Affairs, January‑February 1992. Reprinted in: Kutzik, Alfred J. The Communist Party and the Jews: Implications for the National Question (New York: Red Balloon Collective, 1994), Appendix III, pp. 116-118.

Gechtman, Roni. "Conceptualizing National-Cultural Autonomy—From the Austro-Marxists to the Jewish Labor Bund," in: Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, 4 (2005), p. 17-49.

Gechtman, Roni. "A ‘Museum of Bad Taste’?: The Jewish Labour Bund and the Bolshevik Position Regarding the National Question, 1903-1914," in: Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, 43:1 (Spring 2008): 31-67.

Gechtman, Roni. "National-Cultural Autonomy and ‘Neutralism’: Vladimir Medem’s Marxist Analysis of the National Question, 1903-1920," in: Socialist Studies, 3:1 (Spring 2007). p. 69-92.

Gechtman, Roni. Review of Otto Bauer: The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy. Edited by E. Nimni. Translated by J. O’Donnell, in: Labour/Le Travail 50 (Fall 2002): 374-378.

Kautsky, Karl. On the Problems of the Jewish Proletariat in England (1904).

Kuhn, Rick: "Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism," Historical Materialism, 13 (3): 2005. pp. 57-100. Preprint version.

Jacobs, Jack. "Karl Kautsy: Between Baden and Luxemburg," in: Essential Papers on Jews and the Left, edited by Ezra Mendelsohn (New York: New York University Press, 1997), pp. 483-528.

Kessler, Mario. "Leon Trotsky’s Position on Anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Perspectives of the Jewish Question," New Interventions, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1994.

Lenin, V. I.

Luxemburg, Rosa. The National Question (1909).

Marx, Karl. “On The Jewish Question” (1843), Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, February 1844. See also Bruno Bauer.

Marxism and the Critique of Antisemitism”: special issue of Historical Materialism, Issue 32, 1 & 2 (preprint edition):

Contemporary Critiques of Antisemitism

Revisiting the Marxist Critique of Antisemitism

Marxists and the Jewish question: the history of a debate (1843-1943). Labour/Le Travail, Spring 1996. Review of Traverso.

Peled, Yoav. "Lenin on the Jewish Question: The Theoretical Setting," Political Studies, Vol. 35, Issue 1, pp. 61 - 78. Abstract.

Postone, Moishe. "Anti‑Semitism and National Socialism," in A. Rabinbach and J. Zipes (eds.), Germans and Jews Since the Holocaust (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986), pp. 302-314.

Postone, Moishe. "History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism," Engage, Issue 5, September 2007.

Ratner, Harry. "A Letter to Mike Banda," What Next?, No. 27, 2003.

Renton, Dave. “Towards a Marxist Theory of Fascism” (1997).

Resnick, Sid. “Harold Cruse’s Attack on Jewish Communists: Comment,” Science & Society, Vol. 66, No. 3, Fall 2002, 393-400.

Rose, John. "Karl Marx, Abram Leon and the Jewish Question—a Reappraisal," International Socialism, Issue 119, 2008.

Ruben, David. "Marxism and the Jewish Question," Socialist Register, vol. 19, 1982, pp. 205-237.

Michael-Matsas, Savas. Sur le Marxisme et la Question Juive (in French, 25 avril 2004). Sobre marxismo y la cuestión judía (in Spanish). From a workshop conducted on 22 May 1998.

Shapiro, Andrei. "Marx on the Jewish Question" (2002).

Stalin, J. V. Marxism and the National Question (1913).

Stoetzler, Marcel. “Antisemitism, Capitalism and the Formation of Sociological Theory,” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 44, no. 2, 2010, pp. 161-194.

Trotsky, Leon.

Web Sites

Jews, Marxism and the Worker’s Movement (Marxists Internet Archive). A network devoted to research on the Jewish Labor Bund.

Exhibition on the Jewish Labor Bund in Poland.

Ber Borochov Internet Archive.
Borochov (1881 – 1917) was a founder of Marxist Zionism.

Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeyter Bund Collection, 1897-1940.

Archive has a few documents on Zamenhof & Esperanto. / Arkivo inkluzivas kelkajn dokumentojn pri Zamenhof & Esperanto.


This bibliography aims to document the history of Marxist conceptualizations of the Jewish people as a social entity, with a view towards comparisons with other socialist views of the subject (including Jewish socialist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries) and more general Marxist and other socialist takes on national questions. In turn, all of this material can be placed in juxtaposition with the struggle of non-Marxist and non-socialist 19th century Jewish intellectuals to define the Jews as a social/cultural, religious, or national identity and chart a course for the future.

Marx's own controversial intervention on the Jewish question forms a whole object of study in itself and is only tangentially represented here. Aside from supporting Jewish emancipation while distinguishing political from human emancipation and ideological life from material life, constituting a pivotal moment in the genesis of historical materialism, Marx does not offer a concrete engagement with the Jews as a social entity and plays off an unpleasant stereotype to indict not one group but society as a whole. The logic of his argument and his underlying intent constitute a topic to be pursued elsewhere.

Anti-Semitism, an integral aspect of this subject matter, is highlighted here from a theoretical perspective.

The question of Zionism is a secondary concern here, though it is obviously integral to this history.

The specific practices of the Soviet bloc states are also not a primary focus here.

This bibliography does reflect some idiosyncratic choices and cannot be considered all-inclusive, and perhaps not even "essential," but it does provide a substantial lead-in to the subject matter. Almost the entire content is in English, but the occasional foreign-language source might be added.

All of these issues have to be placed in juxtaposition and comparison with theoretical positions. Given the predominant lack of sophistication (to put it politely) on the part of all parties concerned with the Jewish question, this task is best served by highlighting these conceptual issues.

The Aporias of Marxism / Archaism and Modernity by Enzo Traverso

Jeffrey Herf on Reactionary Modernism & Dialectic of Enlightenment

The Capacity of Present-Day Jews and Christians to Become Free” (1843)
by Bruno Bauer

L. L. Zamenhof & the Cultural, Religious, Professional & Political Context of 19th-20th Century Eastern European Jewish Intellectuals:
Selected Bibliography

Zamenhof & Zamenhofologio: Retgvidilo / Web Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

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Uploaded 16 November 2009
Last update 22 December 2023
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