Marcel Liebman

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Marcel Liebman (1929 - 1986) was a Belgian Marxist historian of political sociology and theory, active at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


A historian of socialism and of communism, he published a number of well known essays, notably on the Russian Revolution, Leninism and the history of the labour movement in Belgium. He was also an early initiator of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. His intellectual methodology was engaged, critical and rigorous.

On July 9, 1943, Marcel's older brother, Henri, was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Malines. Several weeks later, on July 31, he was transported to Auschwitz with 1,555 other deportees where he was in all probability sent to the gas chambers upon arrival as he had not yet turned 16 years of age. Henri was born October 15, 1927 in Brussels and died in August 1943. (Of the 1,556 deportees sent to Auschwitz on July 31, 1943, only 40 returned after the camps were liberated.)

From 1962 to 1967, he was editor of the weekly journal La Gauche (The Left) and in 1968 founded the journal Mai (May) which existed until 1973.

In 1976, he participated in the creation of the Association Belgo-Palestinienne, with Naïm Khader (fr) and Pierre Galand (fr), where he was General-Secretary.

Riton Liebman, his son, is a comedian, author and director. Riton's actual name is Henri, named after Marcel's lost brother.

A foundation under the directorship Mateo Alaluf (fr) was created at the Université Libre de Bruxelles upon Liebman's death in 1986. In December 2005, the foundation was converted into the Marcel Liebman Institute. It aims to contribute to socialist thought and the study of the left, as well as a critical reflection on the practices of social movements.

English bibliography[edit]


  • "Introduction" in Isaac Deutscher, Russia After Stalin (Jonathan Cape, London, 1969).
  • The Russian Revolution (Vintage Books, 1972).
  • Leninism Under Lenin (Merlin Press, 1973).
  • Born Jewish: A Childhood in Occupied Europe (Verso Books, 2005)



External links[edit]