Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Remembering Christian Krähling, an Amazon Worker in Germany

On December 10, Christian Krähling, an Amazon worker from Germany, died. For more than seven years, he led strikes against the richest man in the world.

Nathaniel Flakin

January 5, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
German Amazon Worker Christian Krähling blows a whistle while looking into the camera

On December 1, Christian Krähling posted a picture on Facebook. It showed him, a colleague, and a snowman on strike in front of an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bad Hersfeld in central Germany. All three were carrying red flags and wearing yellow vests of the trade union ver.di.

Two German Amazon workers including Christian Krähling stand beside a snowman, all are wearing high-visibility vests.

Everyone who has been involved with the Amazon strikes in Germany knew Christian. He had been a leader of the strikes in Bad Hersfeld since they began in mid-2013 until today. He traveled all around Germany and Europe to organize rank-and-file workers.

But on December 10 — his 43rd birthday — Christian was found dead in his apartment. We are incredibly sad for his friends and family. It’s not only the Amazon workers in Germany that have lost a tireless activist; this is a loss for the whole working class.

Proletarian Militant

Christian was an intellectual of the working class, and he organized with arguments at 3 AM in bars but also by writing poetry. He came from a distraught region of Germany which was once just to the west of the border between the (capitalist) Federal Republic and the (Stalinist) Democratic Republic. He recalled being one of the families from the West who would secretly watch Eastern TV. This clearly left him unable to accept the omnipotence of a capitalist behemoth like Amazon.

Countless headlines have stated that Jeff Bezos added about $70 billion to his wealth during the pandemic. But the bourgeois press seldom mentions who creates that wealth: the 1.2 million workers around the world being exploited by Bezos. These obscene profits are possible because Amazon workers are largely unorganized and are treated like disposable robots.

Christian was one of the proletarian militants trying to change that — both with legal union organizing and with everyday campaigns to throw sand into the perfectly-calibrated gears of exploitation in an Amazon warehouse.

Growing up in a time when many workers in the region, denied any kind of dignified perspective, turned to chauvinist ideologies, Christian was a practical internationalist.  When Jeff Bezos got an award for his “visionary entrepreneurship” in Berlin, Christian helped organize a protest together with workers from the Spanish State and Poland. When Amazon had their first strike in Madrid, Christian jumped on a plane without any support from the trade union, after lots of colleagues had pitched in.


The case of Amazon worker Chris Smalls in Staten Island, who was fired after organizing a protest to demand basic safety precautions in Amazon warehouses, is telling. The company’s top managers, including Bezos, discussed how to defame Smalls. Christian too was also subject to countless attempts to corrupt or break him over the years.

With his intelligence and charm, Christian easily could have had a career with the union bureaucracy or Amazon’s management. He could have had a comfortable life as a lieutenant of the exploiters. But he decided to remain a logistics worker, understanding that salvation can only come from the mass of workers sticking together.

Christian was always an active member of the trade union ver.di. However, the bureaucrats in charge of the union would hold back the struggle at every step, believing that lobbying reformist politicians was the way to win workers’ demands. Christian put all his efforts into organizing the rank-and-file independently of the bureaucracy. He also understood the importance of fighting against racism, sexism, and every form of oppression, as ideologies that divide the working class.

Christian was an inspiration to workers around the world. Many different socialist and labor publications in Germany wrote tributes. Workers in Poland took a group picture that said “RIP Christian.” The Amazon Workers International published a long obituary in English. Christian was buried in Bad Hersfeld on December 29. He leaves behind parents and children.

The struggle of Amazon workers will continue. It will be more difficult without Christian. But it will continue, and he will live on as an example for millions of people exploited by Bezos. He will be there in spirit at each union picket and at each wildcat work stoppage. Christian Krähling, ¡presente!

This article is partly inspired by an obituary from Klasse Gegen Klasse. An online memorial service for Christian is being planned for February. We will inform our readers as soon as the date is set.

Facebook Twitter Share

Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French. He is on the autism spectrum.



What’s Behind Xi Jinping’s Visit to Moscow?

Chinese president Xi Jinping has visited Moscow for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war, in an effort to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

Madeleine Freeman

March 23, 2023
Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023

It is Possible to Win: The Pension Reform Crisis in France

A French socialist reflects on the way forward after Macron invites Article 49.3 to pass pension reform.

Paul Morao

March 20, 2023

France: Macron Bets On His Presidency as Millions Rise Up

A historic two weeks of mobilizations against Macron’s pension reform, with several sectors going into open-ended strikes, and including a spectacular show of solidarity on International Women’s Day. Yet despite the massive turnout, the government pushed through the reform Thursday night, using an antidemocratic maneuver to bypass the National Assembly. Which direction will the movement take? Will it fizzle out in a failed top-down union strategy, or will it generalize the struggle to all sectors from the bottom up?

Antoine Ramboz

March 17, 2023


20 Years Since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq: A Reflection from a Socialist in the Heart of Imperialism

A Left Voice member and anti-war activist reflects on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and how he learned to hate U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 20, 2023

“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023
Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Neither NATO Nor Putin: An Anti-war Program for an Anti-war Protest

The following is a flier that Left Voice distributed at the March 18 rally in DC with the anti-war program we believe we must all take up.

Left Voice

March 19, 2023