Papers of Paul Tofahrn (1901-1979), trade unionist

Scope and Content

Papers re the International Transport Workers' Federation during 2nd World War, and other aspects of international trade unionism, 1913-1979; personalia.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Manderfeld in 1901, Tofahrn (d.1979) had a lifetime's involvement with the Belgian, European and international labour movement. He was successively an officer of the Belgian Railwaymen's Union, the International Transport Workers' Federation (as Assistant Railwaymen's Secretary, 1928-31), the Food Workers' International, the Belgian Labour Party, and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITWF) again in 1939, becoming Assistant General Secretary. Finally he was General Secretary of the Public Service's International, 1956-1967. Tofahrn resided in England from 1940 and was a member of a number of UK organisations, including the Fabian Society, the Railway Development Society and the Pedestrian's Association for Road Safety, of which he was an executive committee member.

These papers reflect something of his diverse interests and his life's work. In particular they concentrate on his service with the ITWF and his relations with its President and General Secretary. This group of papers relating to the ITWF is an important complement to its main archive deposited in the Modern Records Centre (MSS.159).

Reference: Chris Cook, Jane Leonard and Peter Leese, Sources in Contemporary British History 2: Individuals (Longman, 1994).

Preferred citation: Paul Tofahrn Papers (MSS.238). Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

The collection was deposited with the Centre in 1982 by Mrs. Paul Tofahrn and her daughter.


Feb 1999: Typescript memoir of Tofahrn.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre also holds records relating to the International Transport Workers' Federation (MSS.159) and a sound recording of an interview of Tofahrn regarding Tom Northern, teacher and socialist. An authority file exists for Paul Tofahrn (GBR 0152 AAR0991).