Close this search box.

Alfred Mozer and the Labour Party

This month saw the publication of the biography of Alfred Mozer, the first International Secretary of the Labour Party during the years 1946-1958:

                        'Alfred Mozer, German-Dutch-European, 1905-1979'.

Alfred Mozer was a socialist German journalist who fled to the Netherlands in 1933 and was taken in by the SDAP in Amsterdam. He spent the war years in hiding. After the war, he remained in the Netherlands, joined the PvdA, worked his way up to International Secretary and developed a broad European network. He spearheaded the movement for a United Europe. In this, he included a large part of the PvdA. From 1958, he also put that aspiration into practice: in Brussels, he became chief of cabinet to the EEC's first Eurocommissioner, Sicco Mansholt. Here he gained a great reputation as 'the politician among technocrats'. His unconventional approach made him 'the most remarkable cabinet minister we have ever had here'. After his retirement in 1970, he settled in the Achterhoek and became active in the PvdA again. Because of his growing annoyance at what he saw as the New Left's naivety and hypocrisy on foreign policy, he came into conflict with the party leadership and left the PvdA in 1972. He died in 1979.

His motivations can be understood from his personal experiences before and during World War II. First in Germany, where he personally experienced the downfall of the Weimar Republic, and from 1933 in the Netherlands during twelve years of political exile and hiding. After the war, it made him an ardent opponent of anything that smelled of political extremism, on both the right and the left, and a passionate advocate of a United Europe that included the 'Other Germany'.

The biography describes Mozer's life and work in the context of the major struggles of the 20e century.
In doing so, the author emphasises Mozer's personal traits and qualities: his oratorical talent and sharp pen, his boundless energy and great powers of persuasion. In addition, he possessed great social skill in dealing with others. Many remembered Mozer for his humour and his mockery: "one saw the tall figure, with the heartily outstretched arm, the thunderous echoing laughter and the rarely bogged down jokes, busily gesticulating and constantly talking about politics and politicians, spiced with an inexhaustible supply of anecdotes".

After the fall of the Wall in 1989, the Labour Party recognised Alfred Mozer's great merits in naming the Alfred Mozer Foundation, which has since merged into the Max van der Stoel Foundation.

The biography is available from Uitgeverij Matrijs (, in bookstores and on the internet. Retail price until end May 2019: €24.95 (464 pages, illustrated; includes shipping)