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Arthur Crispien
Arthur Crispien in 1931
Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of the Free People's State of Württemberg

In office
November 1918 – 10 January 1919
Chairman of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany

In office
March 1919 – 1922
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany

In office
Member of the Reichstag

In office
Personal details
Born (1875-11-04)4 November 1875
Königsberg, East Prussia
Died 29 November 1946(1946-11-29) (aged 71)
Bern, Switzerland
Political party SPD (1894–1917, 1922–1933)
USPD (1917–1922)
Swiss Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Berta Ranglack
Children 3
Occupation painter, journalist

Arthur Crispien (4 November 1875 – 29 November 1946) was a German Social Democratic politician.


Crispien was born in Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad, Russia) to August and Franziska Crispien. He worked as a house and stage painter in Königsberg and joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1894. He worked for a Health insurance fund and became the editor of the Königsberger Volkszeitung (1904–1906), the Danzig Volkswacht (1906–1912) and the Schwäbische Tagwacht in Stuttgart (1912–1914). In 1906 to 1912 Crispien was the regional Chairman of the SPD in West Prussia.[1]

At the outbreak of World War I he opposed the Burgfriedenpolicy of the SPD concerning the German War credits and was dismissed from the Schwäbische Tagwacht.[1] He illegally published the newspaper Der Sozialdemokrat (The Social Democrat) and was imprisoned for 6 months.[2] He was conscripted in the German Army in 1916, joined the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) in 1917 and became its co-chairman and member of the Executive Committee. The Weimar era saw him elected a Member of the Reichstag in 1920.[3] He subsequently rejoined the SPD in 1922 and became its co-Chairman.[1]

From 1921 Crispien was a member of the executive board of the International Working Union of Socialist Parties and since 1923 a delegate to the Labour and Socialist International.[4] In 1920 he led a delegation of the USPD to the 2nd World Congress of the Communist International but refused to accept Lenin's conditions for participation in the Comintern.[2]

Following the Reichstag fire in 1933 Crispien went into exile to Austria and later Switzerland, representing the Social Democratic Party in Exile. Crispien supported political and Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and became a member of the Swiss Socialist Party. He was a delegate at the refugee conference of 1945 at Montreux.[1]

Crispien died in Bern, Switzerland, on 29 November 1946, aged 71.[5]


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