This video (35 minutes), just recently made available in an English-language version, recounts the history of the Free Workers' Union - Germany (FAUD), from its origins in the Syndicalist milieu at the start of the twentieth century. It's heyday in the early 1920's saw its numbers at around 1.5 million.
The film concentrates on one of the FAUD strongholds, Somerda in Thuringia (Eastern Germany) where 2,000 out of the population of 7,000 were FAUD members in the twenties. Somerda was a centre for munitions manufacture, and workers in the FAUD constructed and delivered grenades that were used against the right-wing Kapp Putsch in 1920. Armed workers seized Somerda and disarmed the local police. They also energetically defended themselves against the rise of the Nazis; on one occasion their sports club was attacked, and defended by workers with sundry pieces of athletic equipment!
By 1933, the FAUD was a shadow of it's former strength and numbers. In 1936, however, the Anarcho-syndicalists were able to try fund-raising for the Spanish CNT. In Somerda, members who had survived the Nazi repression saw their resistance claimed by the communist regime: memorials never mentioned the FAUD or the libertarian motivation of its members.
A short review cannot do justice to the amount of information in this film, an excellent introduction to a libertarian tradition still scarcely known,
"Anarcho-Syndicalism" - 15DM from Thomas Beckman, Wolfruh Germany
An (incomplete) source list for the FAUD and German anarchism generally:
* Black Flag, Vol 3, number 19, April 1975: Albert Meltzer '… a few intellectuals'
* Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review, No2 1977 Andrew Carlson, 'Notes on the study of Anarchism in Germany'
* KSL Bulletin, number 5, 'Anarchists against Hitter'
* Albert Meltzer, I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels, chapter 3.
also, on the internet at http://www.free.de/dada/ is a site devoted to Anarchism in Germany, in German language but still interesting: among their databases they have one of German-language anarchist papers; between 1933 and 1945 42 were published, from Germany to Spain and Brazil)