We were sad to learn of the sudden death, at the age of 88, of Comrade Frriedrich Vogt in Vienna. He was one of a group of trade unionists and former members of the Austrian Social Democratic party that broke away in 1959 and eventually, in 1966, through contact with Comrade Rudolf Frank there, came to accept the object and declaration of principles of the World Socialist Movement.
As there was already a registered “Socialist Party” in Austria, the new group was named Bund Demokratischer Sozialisten (League of Democratic Socialists). Members addressed each other as “Genosse/Genossin” rather than as “Kamerad” as this was associated with the Austrian Communist Party.
Although they held informal discussion meetings, the members’ main activity was the production and distribution of their newspaper format journal Internationales Freie Wort (International Free Word). Although they had a list of subscribers, canvassing was by far the main method of sale. On my only visit I took part in this. Up and down the stairs of appartment blocks was certainly amongst the hardest work I have done for Socialism!
Unfortunately, as members aged and became physically less able they could not keep up with this strenuous work and publication of the IFW ceased.
During the war Friedrich was conscripted into the German Army to fight on the Russian Frant but was soon sent back as unsuitable because of his behaviour. He attended our Conference just once and told me how much he enjoyed meeting members here, some of whom kept in touch. We have lost a friend as well as a comrade and the companion parties a staunch and tireless worker for Socialism.