Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date



Copyright Steve Hochstadt. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Steve Hochstadt, c/o The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.

Scope and Content Note

Alfred Schaefer was born in Upper Silesia in 1907, moved to Berlin with his family in 1919, and graduated with an Abitur in 1926. He studied with the philosophers Arthur Buchenau and Eduard Spranger, and played roles in political theater with Erwin Piscator and Berthold Brecht. As a member of the German Communist Party, he published the illegal newspaper Neuköllner Sturmfahne between January 1933 and August 1934. He was arrested and sentenced in 1935 to five years in prison. Four days after his release, he sailed with an Italian liner to Shanghai, with the financial help of a relief committee in Antwerp.

In Shanghai he was a salesman for Sinochemika and earned money on the black market. In 1948 he returned to Berlin and worked for the IRSO. He also worked for the political newspaper Pro und Contra. In 1951 he emigrated to Australia and studied at the University of Melbourne. He returned to West Berlin in 1963, and was a philosophical writer and reviewer for the Philosophischen Literaturanzeiger. Schaefer died in 1999.