Paul Massing

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Paul Wilhelm Massing (30 August 1902 - 30 April 1979) was a German sociologist.

Born in the Westphalian town of Grumbach. He attended school in Cologne, and later studied economics and social sciences at Frankfurt University, about the same time Franz Neumann was there, and at Cologne's Handelsschule (a college for business administration). He graduated in 1926 as Diplom-Kaufmann (today similar to a MBA). A year later he studied for one term at the Sorbonne in Paris and then at Frankfurt University with Dr. Wilhelm Gerloff, where he attained a doctorate (Ph.D.) in 1928 with his thesis on "agrarian conditions of France in 19th Century and the agrarian program of the French socialist parties". In Frankfurt Massing also visited Felix Weil's Institute for Social Research (Frankfurt School). At the end of the 1920 he met his future wife Hede Massing, then married to Julian Gumperz, who taught at the marxist Institute. Hede Massing, a communist from her youth already worked for Soviet intelligence (GRU).

Comintern career

Afterwards Massing went to Moscow, where he worked until 1931 at the International Agrarian Institute. When he returned to Germany, Paul Massing was active from 1931 to 1933 with the illegial M section of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in Berlin. After Adolf Hitler's Machtergreifung in 1933 Massing was arrested by the National Socialists under the Enabling Act. He was tortured at Columbia House and spent five-month in solitary confinement at Oranienburg Concentrationcamp. Massing wrote an autobiographic novel Schutzhäftling 880 about this, it was published in 1935 under his pseudonym Karl Billinger and dedicated to the comrades in concentration camps.

After his release by an amnesty, he left Germany for Paris and then into the United States. He returned again to Germany and continued work in the Comintern underground. In the late 1930s he finally emigrated to the U.S. and lived for a time with his wife Hede Massing in an old farmhouse Quakerstown, Pennsylvania.

In the United States Massing continued writing about Hitler, Nazism, and Anti-Semitism. In 1942 Massing took a job at the Institute of Social Research at Columbia University in New York. Beginning in 1948 he taught political sociology for many years at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The probably most meaningful work of Massings is, Rehearsal for Destruction: A Study Of Political Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany, which appeared in 1949. Under the title The Prehistory of Political Anti-Semitism with a preface of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno appeared in 1959. His wife's book This Deception, was first released in 1951 in which she discusses the exploits visited upon the two during their work first for the GRU but later the KGB.

In 1977 Massing returned to his homeland lived the remaining two years of his life in Germany, where hs is now buried in the family plot at Grumbach.

Books by Paul Massing

  • Paul Massing, Rehearsal for Destruction: A Study of Political Antisemitism in Imperial Germany. (New York, 1949).


  • Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination. A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923-1950. Little Brown and Company, Canada. 1973. [1]
  • Massing, Hede, This Deception, New York, NY: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, (1951).
  • Alexander Vassiliev, Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks, 2003.

External links