Bestsellers of the Third Reich: Readers, Writers and the Politics of Literature
 180073039X, 9781800730397

Table of contents :
Acknowledgements for the German Edition, 2010
Acknowledgements for the English Edition
Introduction ‘Please, God, Keep Me from Writing a Book About Books!’
Part I The Context Cultural Politics in the ThIrd Reich
1 Sifting, Destroying, Controlling and Promoting: The Politics of Literature Under the Swastika
2 Bestsellers in a Dark Time: Their History and Readers
3 Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading: What Prominent Nazis Liked to Read
Part II The Ten Most Successful Book Types in the Third Reich
4 On the Foundation of Facts: Popular Non-fiction Works
5 The Colour of Money: NS Propaganda Texts
6 Not So Quiet on the Western Front: The Boom of War Books
7 Laughing Through Life, Jolly Volk: Humour and Comedy
8 From Medical Romance Novels to Science Fiction: The Themes and Authors of Modern Light Literature
9 Commodifying Authentic People’s Literature: Karl May, Courths-mahler and the Heroes of Pulp Fiction
10 Foreign Narrative Art: Bestsellers from Abroad
11 In the Shadow of the Classics: Highbrow Literature
12 Blood Without Soil: The Successes of National (social)ist Authors
13 Field Grey Pays Dividends: Reading Fodder for Wartime
Conclusion: On the Trail of Bestsellers
Appendix Selected Bestsellers and Their Sales Figures

Citation preview

Bestsellers of the Third Reich

BESTSELLERS OF THE THIRD REICH Readers, Writers and the Politics of Literature

Christian Adam Translated by Anne Stokes

berghahn NEW YORK • OXFORD

Published in 2021 by Berghahn Books English-language edition © 2021 Christian Adam German-language edition published under the imprint Galiani Berlin © 2010 Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne/Germany Originally published in German as Lesen unter Hitler: Autoren, Bestseller, Leser im Dritten Reich The translation of this work was funded by Geisteswissenschaften International – Translation Funding for Work in the Humanities and Social Sciences from Germany, a joint initiative of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the German Federal Foreign Office, the collecting society VG WORT and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association). All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission of the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Adam, Christian, 1966- author. | Stokes, Anne, translator. Title: Bestsellers of the Third Reich : readers, writers and the politics of literature / Christian Adam ; translated by Anne Stokes. Other titles: Lesen unter Hitler. English Description: New York : Berghahn, 2021. | Originally published in German as Lesen unter Hitler: Autoren, Bestseller, Leser im Dritten Reich by Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch GmbH & Co. KG, Köln. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020041625 (print) | LCCN 2020041626 (ebook) | ISBN 9781800730397 (hardback) | ISBN 9781800730403 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: National socialism and literature. | Politics and literature—Germany— History—20th century. Classification: LCC PT405 .A1513 2021 (print) | LCC PT405 (ebook) | DDC 028/.9094309043—dc23 LC record available at LC ebook record available at British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978-1-80073-039-7 hardback ISBN 978-1-80073-040-3 ebook


List of Illustrations Acknowledgements for the German Edition, 2010 Acknowledgements for the English Edition List of Abbreviations

vii x xi xii

Introduction. ‘Please, God, Keep Me from Writing a Book about Books!’


PART I. The Context: Cultural Politics in the Third Reich


Chapter 1. Sifting, Destroying, Controlling and Promoting: The Politics of Literature under the Swastika


Chapter 2. Bestsellers in a Dark Time: Their History and Readers


Chapter 3. Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading: What Prominent Nazis Liked to Read


PART II. The Ten Most Successful Book Types in the Third Reich


Chapter 4. On the Foundation of Facts: Popular Non-fiction Works


Chapter 5. The Colour of Money: NS Propaganda Texts


Chapter 6. Not So Quiet on the Western Front: The Boom of War Books


Chapter 7. Laughing through Life, Jolly Volk: Humour and Comedy


Chapter 8. From Medical Romance Novels to Science Fiction: The Themes and Authors of Modern Light Literature


Chapter 9. Commodifying Authentic People’s Literature: Karl May, Courths-Mahler and the Heroes of Pulp Fiction 164

vi • Contents

Chapter 10. Foreign Narrative Fiction: Bestsellers from Abroad


Chapter 11. In the Shadow of the Classics: Highbrow Literature


Chapter 12. Blood without Soil: The Successes of National (Social)ist Authors


Chapter 13. Field Grey Pays Dividends: Reading Fodder for Wartime


Conclusion. On the Trail of Bestsellers


Appendix. Selected Bestsellers and Their Sales Figures


Bibliography Index

274 283








October 1942: Party’s book collection for the German army. Such collections repeatedly unearthed large numbers of forbidden books from private households. Atlantic Pressebilderdienst, author’s collection.


List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries. Already announced in 1935, it first appeared in October 1940. It was a clear sign of a stronger regulation of popular fiction after the start of the war. Author’s collection.


Unmasking: this contemporary ‘Organizational Overview of the State World of the Book’ from 1938 reveals an unprecedented tangle of responsibilities and powers. From Hellmuth Langenbucher (ed.), Die Welt des Buches (The World of the Book), 1938, author’s collection, 193–94.


In absolute terms at least, Germany was at the forefront in an international comparison of book production in 1934. This graph depicting ‘German Book Production in Relation to That of Other Countries and Their Populations’ is from Hellmuth Langenbucher (ed.), Die Welt des Buches (The World of the Book), 1938, author’s collection, 151.


The rebirth of the bestseller concept in wartime. ‘Notable New Publications’ in the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt in 1942, including Werner Bergengruen’s novel with critical undertones, Der Großtyrann und das Gericht (The Grand Tyrant and the Court). Author’s collection.


Class-specific reading habits from a study published in 1939. Working-class readers (AL), the bourgeois middle class (BM) and people with a university education (AK) show different propensities towards books about racial science, National

viii • Illustrations


Socialism and the First World War. From Thier, Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre (Metamorphosis of the Working Man as Reflected in What He Reads), 1939, author’s collection, 94.


‘And then comes the best half hour of the day, sometimes it’s even a full hour – book time.’ Hermann Göring relaxes with a book. From Erich Gritzbach, Hermann Göring, 1937, author’s collection.


4.1 and 4.2 A small difference. By 1945 Johanna Haarer’s book had sold over half a million copies. Not only freed of the tiny adjunct ‘German’, but of all ideological ballast, the title went on to sell a further 1.2 million copies by 1987. Author’s collection. 4.3







The Request Concert for the Wehrmacht was equally successful in radio, book and film format. Cover design by Manfred Schmidt, who later in the 1950s invented the comic character Nick Knatterton. Author’s collection.


Going on the offensive with sales figures for advertising purposes: publisher’s ad from the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel in June 1933. Author’s collection.


In Gottes eigenem Land: Ein Blick ins ‘Dollar-Paradies’ (In God’s Own Country: A Look Inside Dollar Paradise) promised authentic insights into life in the United States, but was instead a polemical settling of scores with the wartime enemy. Author’s collection.


Family Album. The cigarette picture albums of the Reemtsma company were part of the so-called soft propaganda. A range of volumes, such as Deutschland erwacht (Germany’s Awakening) featured here, containing photos of Hitler, were published in their millions. From Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, Deutschland erwacht, 1933, author’s collection.


Paul Coelestin Ettighoffer, one of the most successful authors of war novels and experience reports, poses in summer 1943 in his Wehrmacht uniform at the Arctic Circle. Private picture, author’s collection.


‘Out of stock until Christmas’: With the onset of war in 1939, the time of ‘fast-movers’ began in the book market: 200,000 copies of Fritz Otto Busch’s Narvik sold within a few months.

Illustrations • ix

From Börsenblatt für den deutschen Buchhandel, 2 December 1940, author’s collection. 8.1


One of the most unusual bestsellers in the Third Reich, and the prototype for many gift books: Dinah Nelken’s Ich an Dich: Ein Roman in Briefen mit einer Geschichte und ihrer Moral für Liebende und solche, die es werden wollen (Me to You: An Epistolary Novel with a Story and Moral for Lovers and Those Who Wish to Become Such) from 1939. Author’s collection. 152

9.1 and 9.2 ‘Wimpish literary infatuation with coloureds’ was a bête noir for literary critics who argued from a racist perspective. As a consequence, Sun Koh’s helper Nimba had to be airbrushed out of the covers of reprints. Author’s collection. 175 11.1 Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach (second from the right) visits a book exhibition in Vienna (no date). Photo by A. Schostal, author’s collection. 221 11.2 Special edition of Eugen Roth’s Ein Mensch for the Wehrmacht, containing texts and layout specifically designed for the target audience. Author’s collection. 224 12.1 Barb by Kuni Tremel-Eggert was one of the most successful novels to appear between 1933 and 1945, achieving sales of around 750,000 copies. The commemoration of the author in her hometown of Burgkunstadt remains controversial to this day. Author’s collection.


13.1 Mobile bookshops in deployment in occupied France. The vehicle served as a shop and offered interested readers a range of around two thousand titles. Private picture, author’s collection.


13.2 ‘Just add the address and it’s ready to send!’ Books for soldiers became a lucrative mass market for all publishers. Special fieldpost editions complied with regulations on packages sent to the front in terms of weight and format and featured covers that served simultaneously as envelopes. Börsenblatt, 10 November 1939, author’s collection. 255

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR THE GERMAN EDITION, 2010 Thanks to everyone who assisted me through discussions or with suggestions, in particular Horst Denkler, Jan-Pieter Barbian, Thomas Keller, Volker Knopf and Thomas Keiderling. My thanks, too, to the staff at the Bundesarchiv, above all Kristin Hartisch; Carola Staniek and Hermann Staub at the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek; Rainer Laabs at Axel Springer AG’s corporate archives; Adelheid SchmitzValckenberg at the Dürckheimer Kreis; and the contemporary witnesses Franz Hinze, Karl Drucklieb, Lothar Franck, Karl-Ernst Tielebier-Langenscheidt, Ilse Kleberger and Peter Bruhn for their generosity in providing me with information. I am extremely grateful to Carsten Würmann, who has accompanied this work from the start with stimulating discussion and has enhanced it – not least with his personal collection of crateloads of back issues of the Börsenblatt. My deepest gratitude, though, goes to my wife Birgit and our children Maia (yes, Maia, it did indeed become a book about books!) and Benno. They granted me the time to work on this project and were at my side, cheerful and inquisitive, from the first line to the last. This book is for them.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR THE ENGLISH EDITION I would like to thank my German publisher, Wolfgang Hörner, for his support. I am grateful to Geisteswissenschaften International for funding the translation and to Berghahn Books for agreeing to publish it. I would also like to thank my translator, Anne Stokes, who encouraged me to approach the original German publisher again for permission for an English edition and then produced a wonderful translation of my book. And the biggest thanks, of course, go once again to my family: Birgit, Maia and Benno. I wouldn’t have managed it without you.


Bund deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls)


Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front)


Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth)


Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party)


Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums (Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings)


Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture)




Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, or Propaganda Ministry)


Reichspropagandaleitung (Central Party Propaganda Office)


Reichsschrifttumskammer (Reich Chamber of Literature)


Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers SS (Security Service of the Reich Leader of the SS)


Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron)

INTRODUCTION ‘Please, God, Keep Me from Writing a Book about Books!’

鵷鵸 So, why didn’t I follow this plea by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg? The answer lies in a handwritten inscription in one of my father’s books, which he preserved from his youth into my own lifetime: ‘Only he who fights for the world attains it!’ My grandfather wrote this to his adolescent son, most likely at the beginning of the 1940s. And in 1944, my father, barely 18 years old, did indeed set out to ‘fight for the world’, in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. But the fact that it was not his war rapidly became apparent to the young man. He was lucky and survived, and later this inscription moved me immensely. What could have induced my grandfather to address such a personal motto to his son? At such a time? The book that had been dedicated to my father was Karl Aloys Schenzinger’s Anilin (Aniline), which – as I was to learn much later – was one of the genuine bestsellers of the Nazi era. And as a teenage reader, I made a number of other discoveries in my father’s bookcase, such as green cloth-bound volumes by Hans Dominik – old science fiction stories in Gothic type that could only be read with great difficulty. I found some of the heroes as disconcerting as the villains, but read on regardless. I also recall very well the stories of the two members of the Hitler Youth who had Abenteuer in Brasilien (Adventures in Brazil).1 At the end of the book, they obey the summons to return to their homeland, where they are needed in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. These reading experiences played a significant role in leading me to the books of the Third Reich, and in particular to the works that were widely distributed and read in large numbers: mass literature. Many important books have been dedicated to the burned and defamed literary works of that period, and with good reason. One of their main

2 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

purposes was to revoke the death sentence frequently handed down by the Nazis. These scholarly works brought books and authors consigned to oblivion back into the public domain,2 or, in the case of one worthy edited series, made the original texts themselves accessible again to a wide audience.3 Consequently, we can say with some certainty which books and authors were definitely not welcome in the Third Reich. In contrast, anyone looking for what was widely read in the National Socialist era will encounter huge gaps. No overview exists. And yet people living at the time already realized that just a passing look at mass literature could yield important insights. Indeed, it was this thought that motivated Victor Klemperer in 1944 to read Ina Seidel’s Wunschkind (The Wish Child). ‘I said to myself, if a tome more than 1,000 pages long, which appeared in 1930, can sell 350,000 copies, then it must somehow typify the thinking of its time. This is how I justified reading the volume’.4 What is more, the question of which books were in fact produced, distributed and read in large quantities under the swastika leads into a core area of the history of German mentalities. So, why the hesitation to engage with this topic after 1945? For one thing, stories of the victims of the Nazi regime were initially the foremost concern, for obvious reasons. It was only gradually that questions began to arise about the book market in the Third Reich itself or about production and reception conditions under the swastika. The first comprehensive study of the Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich (Literary Policy in the Third Reich),5 which draws on all available archival sources, came out in 1993. But without precise knowledge of the conditions under which texts were produced during this period, certain questions could not even be posed. Consideration of the mass market was also complicated by the fact that at first no one wanted to assume any real responsibility for this material. If such texts were examined within literary studies, for example, as occurred increasingly from the 1960s onwards, the criticism often focused on ideology. The purpose was to ascertain which political interests may have been served or obfuscated by mass literature. To begin with, the published texts themselves were the starting point. Information about the authors or the market conditions were often not available, or played only a subordinate role in the formulation of specific research questions. But these studies were not dead ends. On the contrary, they were necessary steps for approaching certain phenomena associated with the literary market.6 The term ‘literature’ itself, of course, is also in a constant state of flux.7 In this book, the concept is used in its widest sense, encompassing the totality of what was written and published, including non-fiction texts such as factual books, documentary materials and propagandistic writings. The example of non-fiction highlights the fact that scholarly engagement with this type of text is still relatively new. However, between 1933 and 1945,

Introduction • 3

non-fiction made up a considerable proportion of the book market, just as it does today. Leaving non-fiction aside would thus render the picture of the mass market for books in those years both incomplete and misleading. Ulf Diederichs’ ‘Annäherung an das Sachbuch’ (Approach to the Non-fiction Book), which did not appear until 1978, and still serves as a point of departure, was the first extensive text to present an overview of ‘factual literature’ and a discussion of specialist texts in the Third Reich. More comprehensive engagement with this subject matter is ongoing.8 Over the years, other publications have provoked discussion of various subcategories of literature in the Third Reich.9 However, it was only through a more comprehensive fusion of cultural, literary and media-studies approaches that the book market in its entirety began to emerge, with all its products, actors and conventions. In this book, the literature of the Nazi era will be viewed from the standpoint of the readers who lived under National Socialist rule. I have examined works that were printed, sold and read in large quantities. In the process, I was guided by a very broad concept of literature, encompassing illustrated books and factual novels (faction), as well as how-to books and pulp fiction. The idea was to include the bulk of mass literature in circulation in the Third Reich. Purely arbitrarily, I set a minimum of 100,000 copies for considering a work a bestseller. Looking through my ‘virtual bestseller list’ (an extract of which can be found in the appendix) of around 350 texts, ten ‘book types’ quickly emerged as particularly successful, repeatedly and with different nuances. The intention was not to comply with criteria set by literary studies but, rather, to approximate as closely as possible the way readers, consumers, booksellers and other actors in the book trade during those twelve years categorized certain works. Many of the boundaries, moreover, are fluid. For example, non-fiction works or factual novels often flow seamlessly into propaganda writing. Also, some books and authors might have been categorized differently. In this respect, many of the classifications are subjective, set arbitrarily by the author. This also applies to the completeness of the account, as I only aspired to include the most important text types and trends. And I placed value on telling the most significant stories about books and authors. Consequently, what was already well known has taken a backseat. The main section of the book is devoted to the ten most important book types and their authors and readers. I start by looking at the subject from the perspective of bibliophiles – both prominent and unknown ones – and describe the political framework for literature and the book trade within which authors, publishers and readers operated. In addition to concrete statistical investigations into readers’ wishes and numbers, as well as the

4 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

reading experiences of a few entirely ‘ordinary’ readers, memoirs of prominent individuals are also included. After all, those who, whether at the time or later, were professionally involved with books frequently devoted a lot of space in their diaries and memoirs to stories about what they liked to read or to defining experiences with literature. Among others, we will hear from Ernst Jünger, Joachim C. Fest, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass. The diary entries of Victor Klemperer, moreover, constitute an unparalleled source in every respect. Here we experience a man who read as though possessed, a man for whom books were his lifeblood. This philologist from Dresden kept detailed records of his impressions of what he read, and, having set himself the task of documenting and analysing the LTI, the Lingua Tertii Imperii – that is, the language of the Third Reich – he regarded books as both a source and a quarry. ‘Klemperer the Jew’, along with fellow victims, was declared subhuman by the National Socialists, someone to be destroyed, and who was only ‘spared’ because he was married to an ‘Aryan’ who did not abandon him. He read all printed matter that fell into his hands, from easy reads to scholarly treatises, with a sense of vocation. And since Jews were gradually excluded from participating in normal social life, he was only able to obtain reading material with great difficulty, and by placing himself in danger. Here read and lived a man who had believed in the nation of poets and thinkers. It took the Holocaust to shatter this belief forever. This man, whom many National Socialists wanted to have annihilated, commented with a sharp tongue on the regime’s published intellectual output until the bitter end. His voice, his judgement and his clear language will provide a brightly shining beacon to anyone who has to work their way through the literature of the Third Reich amid the – frequently ominous – swirling linguistic fog of the time. Klemperer was able to publish his work LTI: Notizbuch eines Philologen (Language of The Third Reich: Lti, Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist’s Notebook) after the fall of the Nazi regime. Many years after his death, his diaries, which convey much more directly than many a sober scholarly study the crimes against the European Jews, became a veritable bestseller. It was, moreover, a bestseller that moved its readers quite profoundly. Perhaps, in retrospect, the story of Victor Klemperer and his wife is one of the small triumphs of humanity over barbarism in the years 1933–45. The intention of this history of bestsellers in the Third Reich is not to bring to light any unjustly forgotten ‘gems’, even if some of the texts possibly merit greater scrutiny. Rather, the history of bestsellers is the other side of the coin, the counterpart to the history of burned and banned books, and their authors. It is, in any event, an exciting and possibly also illuminating story of life under a dictatorship and, ideally, at times, it provides a missing link in the development of the book market between the alleged caesuras of 1933 and 1945.

Introduction • 5

Notes 1. Dettmann, Abenteuer in Brasilien. 2. For example, Weidermann’s Das Buch der verbrannten Bücher, published seventy-five years after the book burnings. 3. The first ten volumes of the projected 120 also appeared on the occasion of the seventyfifth anniversary of the book burnings, under the title of the ‘Bibliothek verbrannter Bücher’ project, directed by Julius Schoeps. 4. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 28 June 1944. 5. This work by Jan-Pieter Barbian will be drawn upon frequently; more recently, Barbian published Literaturpolitik im NS-Staat. The latter is available in English translation by Kate Sturge, as The Politics of Literature in Nazi Germany. 6. For instance, the first comprehensive study of science fiction in Germany, which encompassed the years 1933 to 1945, was published by Manfred Nagl in 1972. The critique of the genre focused on ideology. This area of research has subsequently developed in fruitful dialogue with Nagl. See Nagl, Science Fiction in Deutschland. 7. See the concise and precise entry on ‘Literatur’ in Schütz et al., Das BuchMarktBuch, 213–17. 8. Diederichs, ‘Annäherung an das Sachbuch’, in Radler, Kindlers Literaturgeschichte der Gegenwart, vol. 1. 9. Examples include: Geyer-Ryan, ‘Trivialliteratur im Dritten Reich’, in Schnell, Kunst und Kultur im deutschen Faschismus; Troitzsch, ‘Technikgeschichte in der Forschung und in der Sachbuchliteratur während des Nationalsozialismus’, in Mehrtens and Richter, Naturwissenschaft, Technik und NS-Ideologie; Lange, ‘Literatur des technokratischen Bewußtseins’; and Schäfer, Das gespaltene Bewußtsein.

Part I

THE CONTEXT Cultural Politics in the Third Reich


Chapter 1

SIFTING, DESTROYING, CONTROLLING AND PROMOTING The Politics of Literature under the Swastika

鵷鵸 The Nazi Seizure of Power and Book Burnings On 10 May 1933, bonfires burned across the German Reich. Students, enthused by Nazi ideology, had gathered together literature from their university libraries and elsewhere that they thought ought to be destroyed. Heinrich Mann, Erich Kästner, Sigmund Freud and Erich Maria Remarque were just a few of the authors whose books were tossed onto the pyres, accompanied by full-throated chants of the ‘Twelve Theses against the un-German spirit’. And in Berlin, the Propaganda Minister himself stood before the crowd. Although the countrywide initiative had not been directly organized by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP), Goebbels took full advantage of the platform. The events of 10 May 1933 signalled an unparalleled upheaval of the market for books and literature. All institutions and people involved in the book trade were registered and brought into line (gleichgeschaltet) with Nazi policy. The best authors and most high-profile publishers were incapacitated or driven into exile. An unprecedented bloodletting took place. The book world after 1933 was no longer what it was before. At first glance, this might seem like a good summary of the events of May 1933 and their consequences. On the other hand, the market for literature remained in private hands after 1933. What is more, the myriad lists of banned books issued by an array of institutions demonstrated one thing above all else: there was no comprehensive or all-encompassing censorship of, or control over, writers

10 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

and publishing houses. Far into the 1930s, in fact, foreign titles in translation from France, Great Britain and America, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Wind, Sand und Sterne (Wind, Sand and Stars), Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, were sold and read.1 Many foreign writers, moreover, figured among the bestselling authors in Nazi Germany. And National Socialist literary policy actually had the effect of modernizing many areas of the book trade and its institutions. Even after the Nazis seized power, the book world remained diverse and varied, as demonstrated by the fact that some personal or economic success stories begun before 1933 continued through 1945 and beyond; this would be a plausible alternative account of the story of the German book trade after the book burnings. In fact, both versions of the history of books and people after 1933 are equally valid. There are arguments and evidence to support individual aspects of each of these accounts. The world could not simply be divided into black and white after the Nazis came to power. It remained nuanced, which is why it continues to be difficult to engage with literature from the Third Reich. Yet doing so is also worthwhile. But is it possible, over sixty years after the end of the war, to say something new about books during that period? The answer is yes. Even if the book trade remained in private hands and there was no allencompassing pre-publication censorship, the books which were permitted to appear in Germany after 1933 can only be judged and understood if the conditions under which authors, publishers and readers lived, worked and came by books during this time are taken into account. National Socialist cultural policy and the literary policy measures undertaken by the regime in subsequent years must be scrutinized carefully. Thomas Mann’s contention that books that were allowed to be printed between 1933 and 1945 were less than worthless and not worth reading has shaped some of the debate concerning literature in the National Socialist period. What is more, literary scholars’ limited focus on book production during those years has also proven problematic. To examine what hundreds of thousands of people read was, and is still even today, frequently viewed as ‘vulgar’. Many successful texts from those years have been written off and consigned to the category of trivial literature. And all books that, in the broadest sense, could be designated non-fiction have been ignored by literary scholars, even though, then as now, they made up the majority of titles that appeared each year. If we engage with the media that were accessible in Germany from 1933 to 1945, read the books that the Propaganda Minister read, watch the films that the Führer praised or pick up the newspapers that the majority of Volksgenossen (‘national comrades’) read, the image that emerges must repeatedly be relativized and squared with other positions. It is not possible to engage with the Third Reich without preconceptions. We can really only understand the Nazi regime retrospectively.

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 11

The Ideological Alignment of Culture: The Establishment of the Propaganda Ministry (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, RMVP) Is it possible to speak of a ‘successful Gleichschaltung’ or ideological alignment of literature during the Third Reich? This question can only be answered at the end of this book. The contention that the entire literary market was ‘forced into line’, and that the individual thus no longer had any freedom of choice, was all too often nothing other than a cheap excuse for one’s own behaviour. Closer examination, here as elsewhere, does not serve to downplay what happened, but rather to render our judgements of that time more precise. The cultural policy implemented by the National Socialists after the seizure of power was not entirely without precedent. The NSDAP was able to gather experience in governmental responsibility from as early as January 1930, when Wilhelm Frick became the first party member to serve as a minister in the Thuringian state government. As head of the state’s Ministry of the Interior, he devoted himself to ‘combatting filth in word and image’.2 The Law to Protect Young People against Smutty and Trashy Literature (Gesetz zur Bewahrung der Jugend vor Schund- und Schmutzschriften) that had originated in the Weimar period was, particularly with respect to trivial and young adult literature, to serve as the basis for all sorts of interventions into the literary market until it was repealed in 1935.3 Within the Party and as early as the 1920s, there were also various people and institutions concerned with culture broadly defined. In 1928, the Militant League for German Culture (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur) was founded under the leadership of Alfred Rosenberg. For one thing, the Militant League coordinated attacks on the Weimar literary establishment, and, for another, it aimed to promote Nazi confessional literature and völkisch-nationalistic authors. Alfred Rosenberg, the self-appointed ‘chief ideologue’ of the ‘movement’, and author of Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century), struggled throughout his life to attain decisive influence over all areas of culture in the new state. The Central Party Propaganda Office (Reichspropagandaleitung, RPL) of the NSDAP, however, also had important powers regarding cultural policy. Various departments, under Joseph Goebbels’ leadership from 1930, concerned themselves with propaganda, film, radio and national education. Already before 1933, Goebbels and Rosenberg entered the stage as two of the movement’s most powerful personalities. As adverseries, they would decisively shape arguments regarding Nazi cultural policy throughout the twelve years of the ‘thousand-year Reich’. And other actors, with their own interests, ideas and, above all, vanities, came along later. There was, in fact, scarcely any other domain for which the phrase ‘Kompetenzwirrwarr’ (confusion between

12 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

overlapping levels of authority) applies as well as it does to the politics of literature. Traditionally – and this was also true of the Weimar Republic, which the Nazis vilified as the ‘system time’ (‘Systemzeit’) – it was the German state governments that controlled cultural policy. After the Nazis seized power, attempts were made to concentrate many responsibilities centrally. Additionally, the Party wanted to extend its functionaries into all areas of existence.4 Through the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, RMVP), or Propaganda Ministry, the Nazis created an entirely new instrument for controlling all areas of culture and public life. With Goebbels, a writer who up till then had enjoyed very little success and was thus all the more keen as a propagandist, one of the most influential functionaries of the entire realm of the printed word entered the ring, and with his own ministry behind him. The now-notorious organization was to become one of the most influential authorities for controlling literature in the Third Reich. Goebbels himself, moreover, regarded his office as the only genuine Nazi ministry. In his eyes, it had a vanguard role to play in showing what National Socialist administration meant through practical deeds. ‘The Ministry should unite press, radio, film, theatre and propaganda within one single, large-scale organization. The Reich Press Chief Funk is my designated Secretary of State’,5 the newly appointed Propaganda Minister recorded in his diary on 6 March 1933. Only a short time later, on 14 March, he was sworn in by Hindenburg. Goebbels stressed repeatedly that the Propaganda Ministry had nothing in common with traditional ministerial bureaucracies. In the Ministry’s Nachrichtenblatt (news bulletin), he vehemently opposed all traditional forms of administration: I’d like to point out that such an unwieldy operation is unbecoming for a ministry that was only established a few weeks ago. I also do not intend to let such overly bureaucratic structures penetrate my Ministry. I am trying to get all employees to set aside such nonsense and deplorable behaviour forthwith and expect that this simple steer will suffice to remind every member of staff that we are in the middle of a revolution and can safely leave it to future generations to bureaucratize it.6

However, despite the Minister’s early lip service to this idea, the Propaganda Ministry quickly grew into an enormous bureaucracy with over a thousand staff, mostly young and generally also Party members. Astonishingly, however, there was initially no department in the Ministry devoted exclusively to literature. In the assignment of duties in the initial

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 13

organization plan of 1933, areas such as ‘national literature’ and ‘publishing’ came under the purview of the main department, Propaganda.7 A separate Literature Department (Abteilung Schrifttum) was not established until October 1934. Among other things, it was responsible for the ‘cultivation and promotion of German writing’, the Reich Chamber of Literature (Reichsschrifttumskammer, RSK) and the German Library in Leipzig (Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig, the precursor of the German National Library). In terms of personnel, though, the Literature Department had fewer staff than any other department. Subordinated to it, but partly manned by the same people, was the Reich Literature Office (Reichsschrifttumsstelle), which, from 1939, operated within the Propaganda Ministry under the title of Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature (Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum). While the ‘tasks of culturalpolitical leadership’ resided with the Ministry, the Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature was expected above all else to undertake promotional activities in the book market. For instance, this office came up with the initiative ‘The six books of the month’ as a means of advertising selected new works alongside ‘valuable writing from the past’.8 Booksellers received an unsolicited advertising display along with a caption and illustration of the month and were expected to ensure the success of the featured books. The office, moreover, always came to the fore whenever the Ministry wished to remain in the background. It compiled lists of recommendations for retail booksellers and libraries, prepared book exhibitions and conventions and organized readings by writers. In this way, Goebbels and his people succeeded over the years in creating one of the most important authorities for controlling literature. Thus, during the war, book censorship as a whole was consolidated within the sphere of operations of the Literature Department. However, the ‘Propaganda Ministry’s leading role’ regarding book policy was not undisputed. 9 It was, in fact, contested through to the very end of the Third Reich.

Professional Organization with Compulsory Membership: The Reich Chamber of Literature (Reichsschrifttumskammer, RSK) The establishment of a Reich Chamber of Culture (Reichskulturkammer, RKK) through a law of 22 September 1933 represented a further deep incursion into the cultural industries at the start of Nazi rule. The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsminister für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda) was thereby authorized to bring all creative

14 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

artists together in a single professional organization. Alongside his ministerial function, Goebbels served as President of the Chamber of Culture. Indeed, this chamber and its sub-chambers for film, music, radio, theatre, the press, the visual arts and literature were in some respects an extension of the Propaganda Ministry.10 However, this did not mean that responsibilities were more clearly regulated as a result. All creative artists were forced to become members of the chamber, and anyone denied membership was no longer able to practise their art. It was quite typical of a Nazi organization that the most varied interest groups in a sector were brought together under one roof. The Chamber of Literature (RSK) was responsible for all writers, ‘from composers of original poems to writers of advertising blurbs’.11 Thus, authors, publishers, booksellers, publishers’ representatives, bookshop owners and librarians were united in one association. Non-acceptance to or exclusion from the chamber, for instance of Jewish writers or those deemed undesirable for political reasons, amounted to a ban on employment. Admittedly, there were initially no clear ‘Aryan clauses’ in the chamber’s law, and thus no basis for categorically denying membership to Jewish citizens. However, the provisions that did exist were increasingly interpreted in such a way that, from 1935 at the latest, having served as a frontline soldier or being a war widow no longer protected Jewish members from exclusion from the RSK, and thus from a professional ban.12 Around the same time as the RSK law, on 4 October 1933, the Editor Law (Schriftleitergesetz) was passed. Through similar means and exclusion criteria, it drummed unacceptable journalists out of the profession. Part-time writers and writers of scholarly works were the only people exempt from compulsory membership of the RSK. But it was precisely ‘parttime authors’ who wanted to join, because they hoped to gain prestige through membership of the chamber – state recognition, as it were, of their activities. Stanislaus Bialkowski, for instance, a clerk in an airplane factory who wrote science fiction novels such as Leuchtfeuer im Mond (Lunar Beacon) and Start ins Weltall (Space Launch) in his spare time, vehemently opposed his exclusion from the chamber, which eventually came about because he failed to hand in his Aryan certificate on time. Even joining the Party somewhat late in 1940 could not save this particular author from exclusion. Although Bialkowski’s books abound in supposed Nazi ideology, the Propaganda Ministry noted with regard to his work: ‘The books of Bialkowski are all viewed negatively’.13 Anyone not accepted into the RSK could only continue to work with special permission and only in exceptional cases, such as that of Erich Kästner. Or, in the case of those who authored just a single book, a certificate of exemption might be issued.

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 15

Compulsory membership of the chamber was ultimately supposed to control everything that could be controlled in terms of content. If only dependable ‘Volksgenossen’ (‘national comrades’) were permitted to be authors, booksellers or librarians, then – so it was thought – pre-publication censorship in the publishing industry would not be necessary. One of the main tenets of Nazi literary policy was, and remained, that censorship, if it occurred, ought to be as invisible as possible. Those censored were encouraged to present any censorship or guidance as a voluntary act. Self-censorship consequently developed – as will be shown – into one of the most important instruments of mind control. The founding of the Reich Chamber of Culture was a skilful chess move by Goebbels in his drive to monopolize culture. Through it he gained advantages over various competitors. The establishment of this professional organization of creative artists brought him into conflict with Robert Ley, who, through his German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), wanted to bring together all productive Germans in the largest Nazi mass organization. There were also jurisdictional disputes with the Ministry of the Interior (Reichsministerium des Innern), which continued to perform certain central functions that had been assigned to it during the Weimar Republic. And the establishment of the Chamber of Culture could also be viewed as a challenge to Alfred Rosenberg. The Reich Chamber of Literature, like other chambers, was headed by a president. This office was initially held by Hans Friedrich Blunck, a writer with a völkisch-conservative orientation, who was one of the most successful representatives of his craft.14 He was succeeded in 1935 by Hanns Johst, who led the chamber until Nazi rule ended. Parallel to these organizational developments, the Literature Department within the Propaganda Ministry was continuously expanded over the years. For a time, Karl Heinz Hederich, the deputy chair of the Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings (Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums, PPK, discussed below), headed it up. In this way, Goebbels hoped to achieve unity of Party and state in the control of literature. Additionally, the Reich Chamber of Literature was supposed to become depoliticized and relinquish its powers to the Literature Office (Schrifttumsstelle). The Propaganda Minister’s ultimate goal, of course, was to consolidate all responsibility for books in his Ministry.15 It was an undertaking that was doomed to fail, however. There were too many actors romping about in the literary policy sector trying to make a name for themselves. And they could be disciplined neither by raison d’état nor Party obedience, not least because there was no ‘single Party line’. Each and every one of them pursued their own interests, which, in the main, were purely and simply economic.

16 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Long-Running Struggles for Cultural Sovereignty: Rosenberg, Bouhler, Rust and Ley In order to present a clear picture of the muddled politics of literature, the main protagonists who were attempting to influence the book market will now be introduced in some detail, with Alfred Rosenberg first and foremost. As the Führer’s Representative for the Supervision of the Entire Intellectual and Ideological Instruction of the NSDAP (Beauftragter des Führers für die gesamte weltanschauliche Schulung der NSDAP) and through the Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature (Reichsstelle zur Förderung des deutschen Schrifttums), parts of which had grown out of the Combat League for German Culture (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur), Rosenberg had dedicated himself to the promotion of books in keeping with his conception of Nazi ideology. Admittedly, he had no executive power, but he was an important voice in many Party circles. Over the years, he had a large staff of honorary and paid readers at his disposal, and he exerted considerable influence, in particular through his recommendations and denunciations, which appeared in his monthly journal Die Bücherkunde. The journal’s proofs were always presented to Rosenberg for approval, and his views were sought directly on particularly delicate matters. During the war, Rosenberg’s office created an additional sphere of activity for itself through the Party’s book collection for the German army (‘Büchersammlung der NSDAP für die Deutsche Wehrmacht’), which was also advertised under ‘The Alfred Rosenberg Appeal’ (‘Alfred-RosenbergSpende’). Through this initiative, private donations of books were collected and then compiled into libraries for use by troops. A side benefit, from Rosenberg’s perspective, was that this allowed further ‘undesirable literature’ to be taken out of circulation, particularly from private households. The disadvantage: only a fraction of the works collected were in any way suitable for the army. ‘Volunteers must also ensure that at the very least emigré literature is not stamped “Alfred-Rosenberg-Appeal” and distributed to soldiers’,16 an internal memorandum in Rosenberg’s office noted as late as 1944. Indeed, due to such supply problems, the publishing house Franz Eher Verlag, which was owned by the Party, had to top up the book collection substantially with its own titles. Another supervisory body with close connections to Hitler was also established: the Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings (Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums, PPK), mentioned above. It was set up in 1934 through a decree by Rudolf Hess in his capacity as Deputy Führer, and was led by Philipp Bouhler, who also served as head of the Führer’s Chancellery. All books which ‘in title, layout, publishers’ advertisements or

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 17

Figure 1.1. October 1942: Party’s book collection for the German army. Such collections repeatedly unearthed large numbers of forbidden books from private households. Atlantic Pressebilderdienst, author’s collection.

presentation purported to be National Socialist’,17 had to be submitted to the PPK. This had far-reaching consequences for all literary production. Certainly, compared to Goebbels or Rosenberg, Bouhler had a small staff, but he had a lot of power thanks to his protection from on high due to his close connection to Hitler. Consequently, for example, he had recourse to the editorial staff of the Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege). Then, in 1941, Hitler finally decided that Bouhler, like Goebbels, should be able to instruct the Gestapo directly to confiscate works that had already appeared. The PPK demonstrates another basic principle of Nazi rule: almost nothing happened on ideological grounds alone. In fact, processes became particularly dynamic whenever economic and political interests interacted. After the seizure of power in 1933, a flood of so-called bandwagon publications was unleashed, which – according to the Party leadership – had to be dammed. This was because the Party not only wanted the interpretational prerogative for their own narrative, but also desperately wanted to rake in the profits from this business through their own Party publishing house, Franz Eher Verlag, whose monopoly position in this area was to be established and guaranteed through the PPK.

18 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

The PPK’s branch office at the German Library in Leipzig (Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig, DB) was small but not insignificant. Since 1913, the German Library had functioned as a national library. All writing published in Germany was collected there. Members of the library’s board of examiners compiled the materials for the National Socialist Bibliography (Nationalsozialistische Bibliographie) and could simultaneously check all publications to establish if they had been approved by the PPK prior to publication, because all publishing houses were obliged to submit a copy of every book they produced to the German Library. Books that concerned censors at that time would only appeal to those interested in light and popular literature today. However, owing to its duty to collect everything, the shelves of the copyright library (the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig/German Library, today the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig/German National Library) are a comprehensive source of information. Other institutions and actors in the area of literary policy will now be discussed in brief. The Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Public Instruction (Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung), also known as the Reich Education Ministry, was launched on 1 May 1934 under the leadership of the Minister Bernhard Rust, and aimed to influence the printed word all across the country. In his decree establishing the Ministry, Hitler had explicitly granted Rust authority solely over academic libraries, but this remit also gave him decisive influence over all textbooks and libraries for teachers and pupils in schools.18 The Ministry achieved broad impact through its authority over public libraries. Here, in coordination with the Reich Chamber of Literature, it ensured the ‘cleansing’ of holdings and directed library reform. Rust, however, belongs to the many members of Hitler’s cabinet who, although formal participants in his government, wielded little influence, and whose names are largely forgotten today. After 1940, for example – owing to challenges from the Propaganda Ministry – Rust had to yield responsibility for the development of textbooks for schools almost entirely to the PPK. Robert Ley, Reich leader of the German Labour Front (DAF) – the successor organization to the disbanded trade unions – also wanted to exert influence over books and literature. Through its ‘Strength Through Joy’ wing, the DAF organized a large number of readings by authors. Factory libraries – that is, those operated by individual firms – also fell under Ley’s jurisdiction. This was no small matter, since the factory libraries comprised several thousand small and large libraries with millions of readers. However, due to its widespread impact, another sector of which Ley seized control turned out to be even more significant: the publishing sector itself. Tendencies typical of the time were again manifest here. It was not ideology but profit that had priority. Even though Ley stipulated that ‘only works compatible with National Socialist ideas’ would be published and that the

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 19

‘measures of the government’ had to be given ‘special attention’,19 there were also products with critical overtones or which owed their existence above all to economic considerations in the publishing houses he controlled. Such declarations of faith to National Socialism served Ley in many respects as a fig leaf to mask tangible economic interests. The DAF fostered book series such as the Wiesbadener Volksbücherei, and books published under the Hillgers Deutsche Bücherei brand quite consciously built on formats and print runs of successful paperback series (Heftreihen) from the frequently reviled Weimar ‘system time’. Topics covered ranged from modern classics à la C.F. Meyer to promotional materials for German aviation, for which Göring’s Ministry acted as co-publisher. In 1942, more than twenty publishing houses, seven printing works, two book clubs and a paper factory, including such prestigious publishers as Langen-Müller in Munich and the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt in Hamburg, were part of DAF’s publishing empire.20 The book market of those years could be grateful to the last two publishers for providing a wealth of bestsellers and a series of publications that were extremely unusual for the period. The fact that Nazi literary policy had failed will scarcely have been bandied about officially. But selected circles could gather that it was not very successful from the SS Security Service’s secret situation reports, since published as Meldungen aus dem Reich: Despite the extensive expansion of cultural organizations, unified cultural planning does not exist. The Reich Education Ministry, the Ministry of the Interior, the Propaganda Ministry, Rosenberg’s office, the cultural administrations of the state governments and provinces, the Party’s cultural offices, the Reich Chamber of Culture and its individual sub-chambers, the ‘Strength Through Joy’ organization, the National Socialist University Teachers’ League and the NS German Students’ League, as well as relevant professional associations … are all keen to engage in National Socialist cultural policy and work, but these manifold forces have not yet been successfully consolidated into a cultural policy that is unified, harmonious in its basic parts, and capable of forward planning.21

Indexing Undesirable Writing The literature indexing sector was also a great hotchpotch. ‘Over 1,000 books have been banned by 21 offices in the new state!’ an outraged bookseller wrote to the Propaganda Ministry in December 1933. ‘In my opinion, it is definitely about time to stop banning books altogether or to create a central office that can be consulted either before a manuscript is printed or is the only official office that can ban books after they have appeared.’22

20 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

The most important legal basis for the Nazi ‘clean-up operations’ was ‘The Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the German People’ (‘Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutze des deutschen Volkes’), which declared, among other things, that ‘Printed matter whose content might endanger public security or order can by confiscated or removed by the police.’23 This legitimized the actions of the political police against undesirable literature. However, there was no uniform Reich-wide rule, because the police authorities of the state governments sometimes acted quite differently. Certainly, from the outset, the Propaganda Ministry tried to claim exclusive jurisdiction over policymaking powers in the sector. These efforts, however, did not come to fruition until 1936, when Hitler finally made a decision: Goebbels received the long-awaited confirmation that from now on he was in charge of indexing all writing. Books could now only be confiscated if they were on the RSK’s List of Undesirable Writings (Liste der unerwünschten Schriften). New entries had to be approved by the president of the RSK. The police authorities could carry out provisional confiscations only in emergencies.24 One of the first lists, which had gained ‘notoriety’ through the book burnings, owed its appearance to chance more than anything else. It had been compiled by the public librarian Wolfgang Herrmann and was gratefully used as an aid by students pressed for time to organize their book-burning operations.25 The List 1 of Harmful and Undesirable Literature (Liste 1 des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums) compiled in autumn 1935 was based on already-existing lists, such as those of the Bavarian political police. The index was strictly confidential and was for official use only. One reason for this was to forestall foreign criticism of Germany. Another was that booksellers would be forced to cooperate with the authorities to get information on banned books, and, beyond this, the authorities could help them develop a feel for what was permitted or forbidden. List 1 was continuously expanded through additional annual lists and formed the most important basis for banning books in the Third Reich. From 1936 onward these lists were pulled together at banning meetings attended by representatives of the RSK, the PPK, the Gestapo, the SD of the SS main office and the Reich Education Ministry under the leadership of the Propaganda Ministry.26

Bans and Recommendations: Mechanisms for Gaining and Retaining Control The second important index was the List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries (Liste der für Jugendliche und Büchereien ungeeigneten

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 21

Druckschriften). It, too, was announced as early as 1935, but it was first published in October 1940. It is this list in particular that indicates which books were in fact still in circulation in large numbers at that time, because the blacklists showed, admittedly unintentionally, the current state of play, which – from the perspective of those responsible for culture in Nazi Germany – had to be ended as soon as possible. A full ten pages of the list issued by the Propaganda Ministry are devoted solely to Edgar Wallace novels, from A.S. der Unsichtbare (Ghosts) to Der Zinker (The Squeaker). There are, in fact, over 160 titles by Wallace on the list, almost all published by Goldmann in Leipzig between 1927 and 1939. An entire sector of the book trade was thus indexed. The sheer number of titles indicates the enormous circulation of works by this English author in Germany at the time. Der Hexer (a theatrical adaptation of the novel The Ringer, originally The Gaunt Stranger) was also still being performed in the Theater am Kurfürstendamm in Berlin in July 1939. After attending a performance, an enthusiastic Joseph Goebbels noted in his diary: ‘A fantastic old detective yarn’.27 It was not foreseeable that Der Hexer and Neues vom Hexer (Again the Ringer) would land on the index of writing harmful to youths in the following year. After all, in summer 1939, Germany was not yet at war with its European neighbours, let alone with the motherland of the detective novel. The Propaganda Minister does not appear to have held a basic bias against such ‘old tomes’. The contents of the rest of the list suggests that an essential criterion for selection was the struggle against British cultural influences, even though those controlling literature zeroed in, in the first instance, on Englishsounding pen names such as Lok Myler (actually Paul Alfred Müller) or C.V. Rock (actually Kurt Walter Röcken). Above all else, it was the invariably criticized hero and adventure series such as Tex Bulwer. Abenteuer im wilden Westen (Tex Bulwer: Adventures in the Wild West) or, even more successful and well-known, Die Abenteuer des Billy Jenkins (The Adventures of Billy Jenkins), which were removed from the market through this list. And in this way, one important thing was put on the record: until this point, these books had in fact been read widely and everywhere in great numbers. Between 1934 and 1939, 263 individual numbers of the Billy Jenkins series alone were published, page-turners devoured by members of the League of German Girls (BdM) and the Hitler Youth (HJ) among others. After the war started, Sebastian Losch, an official in the Propaganda Ministry with responsibility for libraries, diligently compiled a case in an article in the Börsenblatt for a more intensive intervention in popular fiction. In his view, there was a ‘flood of light and the lightest popular fiction’.28 The problems lay most obviously in the fact that crime novels were promoting ‘the English way of life and manners in an irresponsible way’. This is one

22 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

side: Germany was now at war with Great Britain and the Ministry could no longer condone ‘the glorification of English state institutions, particularly the police’. On the other hand, we come across arguments which feature to this day in debates about the harmful influence of the media on young people, although the internet and violent video games still lay quite some distance in the future. Nevertheless, Losch warned that in young people in particular, ‘the impulse to form gangs and to rebel’ could be promoted by reading the wrong material. Books and readers thus possibly came under a sort of general suspicion because readers, harder to control than cinemagoers or radio listeners, could arrive at their own thoughts in a quiet little room and escape the Nazi-mania – if only for a while? When the List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries was first published – and Losch’s article belonged to the propagandistic background music that was supposed to accompany this and similar interventions – it heralded the tighter regulation of writers of popular literature that came into force after September 1939. Even though the list targeted only youths and libraries, indexing on it amounted to a total ban, at least as far as the continued production of such titles was concerned. Ownership and reading per se were not prohibited, but both were made difficult and were discredited. Besides, the titles could ‘not be publicly displayed in shop windows and on general book stands.’29 If one would like to pinpoint the moment when an intensification in the Nazis’ relationship to popular literature occurred, it would be 1939–40. The efforts by the Propaganda Ministry that followed seem to have been driven by the desire to prevent excessively trivial distraction, and, above all, to keep the young away from heroes with English or English-sounding names. The restrictions on Anglophone influence were in any case intensified with the outbreak of war, because, as the war progressed, foreign literature of ‘enemy countries’ was only tolerated to a limited extent in the German marketplace. At the same time, the restrictions in the sector of light entertainment just outlined – however drastic they might have been in individual cases – should not be seen as a general rejection of such material. Those who controlled writing were basically guided by the simplest of biological creeds: the gardener removes weeds, and in so doing strengthens the useful plants dear to him, and then he starts to cultivate new varieties. But there was a problem with this: the radicalness of the ‘weed killing’ affected everything else. As early as 1934, the lending libraries’ trade journal, the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, had begun publishing a Basic List for the Lending Libraries (Grundliste für die Leihbüchereien), which had been compiled by the Reich Literature Office (Reichsschrifttumsstelle) within the Propaganda Ministry and was intended to complement the ‘cleansing of the lending libraries’ with book recommendations.30 Then, in 1940, the Erste Grundliste für den

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 23

Figure 1.2. List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries. Already announced in 1935, it first appeared in October 1940. It was a clear sign of a stronger regulation of popular fiction after the start of the war. Author’s collection.

deutschen Leihbuchhandel und das Werkbüchereiwesen (First Basic List for the German Lending Book Trade and Factory Libraries) appeared under the title Das Buch ein Schwert des Geistes (The Book – a Sword of the Spirit),31 and further lists followed in 1941 and 1943. The lending library, as ‘one of the largest repositories of the intellectual output of the people’, had, ‘in our serious time, become essential to the war effort’. This compilation was intended to lead those responsible for lending books to ‘the best German book in the National Socialist sense’.32 Several

24 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

other recommendations and publications were intended to accompany promotional programmes, for example for specialist texts and German sports writing.

(No) Censorship Is Taking Place Given the massive incursion into the book trade and, in particular, the severe attacks on unpopular authors and their works and publishers, it may seem surprising that there was initially no blanket preventive censorship in the Third Reich. In principle, (almost) anyone (provided they were a member of the relevant professional association) could write and publish whatever they wanted. Even religious publishers were permitted, to a large degree, to cater for their readership into the war years, and Jewish publishers were allowed to publish until 1938 at least. Mark, though, the key qualification: ‘in principle’. The large number of exceptions to and restrictions on this freedom to publish means that it is impossible to speak of an unregulated book market. Thus, Jewish publishers who had refused ‘Aryanization’ – in other words, the forced sale of their businesses – were excluded from the RSK at the end of 1935. They were subsequently barred from their profession, and their publishing activities were soon only possible within a kind of ghetto book trade. Schocken Verlag, for instance, which had only been established in 1931 but was already very prominent, was only permitted to produce clearly labelled Jewish writing for an exclusively Jewish audience. It then met its end, violently and irreversibly, on Kristallnacht on 9/10 November 1938.33 And there were also other notable exceptions: literary groups and forms of production which had to submit to an approval process in advance. One example was explicitly National Socialist writing, and this had enormous consequences for the shape of literature in the Third Reich. This type of text had to be submitted to the aforementioned Party Examination Commission (PPK), which was recognized by the RSK. All literature which in any form whatsoever referred to the ‘movement’ was subject to pre-publication censorship. The same applied to other types of writing. The relevant censorship authority was frequently euphemistically termed an ‘advisory body’. As stated in the Börsenblatt in 1935, ‘The publishers of what is clearly light literature, above all those belonging to the Association of Publishers Interested in Lending Libraries [Vereinigung der am Leihbüchereiwesen interessierten Verleger] as well as the Committee of Publishers of Folk Literature [Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Verleger für Volksliteratur] may be required to present their new publications prior to printing to the advisory body set up by the Committee of Publishers of Folk Literature.’34 With the establishment of this advice centre within the RSK, which later came under the direct control of the Propaganda

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 25

Ministry, popular literature was to be vetted before it appeared. Jan-Pieter Barbian has demonstrated through the example of the publisher Goldmann that this boiled down ‘in the end, to a duty to submit prior to publication’.35 And from 1 June 1939 onward, a similar form of pre-publication censorship existed for works published as periodicals, including all pulp fiction. These various attempts to check content were never realized completely, however, for as was stated later in the Börsenblatt: ‘Despite various references to ordinance No. 59, the revised version of 1 June 1939, the Reich Chamber of Literature has concluded that series are repeatedly planned and published without the necessary approval according to paragraph 1 of this ordinance.’36 However, again there were exceptions. In the case of the prominent publisher Wilhelm Goldmann from Leipzig, for instance, massive state intervention, in particular the indexing of the publisher’s full range of titles by authors such as Edgar Wallace, meant that he had to alter his publishing programme from crime writing and popular fiction to other types of fiction, and above all to non-fiction. The war occasioned an additional aspect of pre-publication censorship. From February 1940, Goebbels ordered that all publications ‘concerning political, and, in particular, foreign policy, economic and military matters, had to be submitted to the relevant office for inspection in a timely manner’.37 Shortly after this, publishers were required to announce such books already in the planning stage, and the duty of gaining approval was also extended to reprints of older works. The war, moreover, eventually brought a previously discussed measure into force: centralized paper rationing. Publishing houses now had to have their paper allocations for the whole of their production, as well as for individual titles, approved by a central office. The measure was gradually intensified until in 1941, at the Economic Office for the German Book Trade (Wirtschaftsstelle des deutschen Buchhandels), an office subordinated to the Propaganda Ministry, a committee was set up comprising representatives of the Ministry itself, the RSK, the Reich Ministries of Economics and Education, the Armed Forces High Command, the Party Examination Commission and the Central Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege), that is, Rosenberg’s people. This committee considered each application that came before it. Thus, in the shadow of the war, almost all the protagonists of the turf war surrounding literary policy were forced to sit together around a single table.

The Consequences for the Publishing Landscape The huge incursions into publishing freedom outlined above had consequences not only for authors, but, as a few examples will illustrate, for the

26 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

entire publishing landscape. As in all other areas of the economy, Jewish and politically undesirable competitors were gradually shut out. A large family firm such as Ullstein Verlag, which, alongside its newspaper empire, had also published books successfully, was forced to change ownership: the Ullstein family found itself in exile and almost destitute, while the still-considerable profits from the firm’s Berlin headquarters flowed directly into the coffers of the NSDAP’s publishing house, Franz Eher Verlag. And in November 1937, the ‘Aryanization’ was completed when the company was renamed Deutscher Verlag. ‘All for the price of a pencil’,38 as Max Amann, the director of Eher and president of the Reich Media Chamber, is alleged to have gleefully described the deal. Through the end of the Third Reich, the director of Deutscher Verlag, appointed by the new owners, had to report all significant business transactions to the Eher corporate headquarters in Munich. The most important point in his reports was always the ‘finances’, where, for instance, he recorded that ‘In the month of July 3,500,000 RM was transferred to the Party publishing house.’39 The crime committed against the Jewish owners was thus extremely lucrative for the perpetrators. And smaller – indeed even the very smallest – publishing houses met with the same fate: well-known names and high-profile publishers and their associates disappeared from public life from one day to the next. This process was a little different in the case of the renowned S. Fischer Verlag. Here, the Propaganda Ministry weighed in in good time: this important publishing brand was not to be harmed appreciably through the expropriation. The Jewish owners, in this case Gottfried Bermann Fischer, the son-in-law of the founder of the publishing house, participated in the negotiations, and the former chief editor Peter Suhrkamp was permitted to take over as managing director. The previous owners, according to Jan-Pieter Barbian in his study Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich (The Politics of Literature in Nazi Germany), had been compensated ‘still relatively reasonably’.40 The essence of the publishing house was not destroyed, and Bermann Fischer was even able to establish a new publishing house in Vienna on the basis of books he took with him, which were in any case banned in the Reich. This was a prominent but certainly not typical case. Religious publishing houses came under similar pressure, but their products enjoyed constant and, at times, even growing popularity. As late as July 1941, the undercover agents of the Secret Service of the SS had to admit in their Meldungen aus dem Reich that some Catholic publishing houses had succeeded not only in maintaining their output, but had managed ‘even to increase it’. Among them were ‘the large reputable Catholic publishers Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn, Butzon & Bercker, Kevelaer, as well as the Bonifatius printing works, Paderborn’.41 Indeed, even when more and more publishing houses were closed down as part of the move towards total war,

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 27

the big players in the religious publishing sector remained unaffected. The most prominent example is C. Bertelsmann Verlag, which began as a niche theological publisher and grew to be a global company in the Third Reich, courtesy of its constantly growing non-fiction and fiction list. All told, publishing in the Third Reich was gripped by a powerful consolidation process, which was driven not least by large print runs, first for the Party organizations – from the Hitler Youth to the NS Women’s League (NS-Frauenbund) – and then for the army during the war. Beneficiaries of this process included existing publishing houses such as Bertelsmann, which established itself as a supplier of service issues for soldiers. Primarily, though, the beneficiaries were companies associated with the Party, first and foremost the Eher concern, along with the publishing empire of the German Labour Front, the successor organization to the disbanded unions. Eher grew from being a tiny publisher of the ‘Party leaflet’, the Völkischer Beobachter, at the start of the 1920s, into a media giant. One thing is clear from the above discussion: small, refined independent publishers must have had a difficult time during this period. Nevertheless, booksellers who sought to retain some independence tried to stay faithful to publishing houses that bore some resemblance to those of the past. The Berlin bookseller Hans Benecke recounted after the war: ‘We did not need to hide the fact that we were particularly sympathetic towards some publishers, e.g. Insel, S. Fischer, later Suhrkamp, Lambert Schneider, Goverts, Rowohlt, Piper, Kiepenheuer, Wunderlich and Heimeran, among others.’ Benecke continued, ‘Sometimes one might also venture to say this quite openly. Good cooperation also played a role in the allocation of production quotas for popular titles that gradually became necessary due to paper shortages.’42 H. Goverts, first founded in 1934 and later to become Claasen & Goverts Verlag in Hamburg, provides an unusual example in this regard: it owed its rise solely to the world bestseller Gone with the Wind, which, in 1937, put the entire company on a healthy footing virtually overnight. But such stories and publishers were the exception rather than the rule in a publishing landscape oriented ever increasingly to the wishes and ideas of the Party in the Third Reich.

Principles of Totalitarian Action: From the Banning of Art Criticism to the Regulation of Lending Libraries The spaces that opened up in some areas cannot conceal the fact that an inhumane totalitarian regime was at work. Two further examples provide some confirmation of the regime’s oft-asserted claim that it wielded influence over all aspects of life.

28 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

A decree by Goebbels of November 1936 banning art criticism had considerable ramifications for the book trade: ‘Owing to a complete perversion of the term “criticism”, which in the period of Jewish art alienation has been turned into a sort of art judgeship, art criticism, as it has been known up till now, will be replaced by the art report.’43 This also applied – even if it was not explicitly stated – to all book reviews. From now on, every text of this type had to bear the reviewer’s full name, and an editor wishing to work in this area had to be over thirty years old, that is, sufficiently experienced. ‘In this way, a cancerous sore on public life disappears’,44 Goebbels noted. Critics had not fallen into line with the wishes of the Propaganda Minister – so they were banished. But already at this time, book reviews were perhaps the most important way to advertise books to a broad public; they were the ‘door to the wider world’,45 as those employed in Goebbels’ Ministry recognized. Therefore, they had to exist in some form or other. Consequently, the first and most pressing task was to remould the genre of book criticism or reviewing in the new spirit. A new magazine was founded specifically for this purpose: Die Buchbesprechung. It reprinted programmatic essays on particular topics as well as exemplary book discussions from various publications, from the Völkischer Beobachter to the Berliner Tageblatt. From this point onward, reviews had above all the task of familiarizing readers with the content of the works under discussion. Nothing more and nothing less. An obvious danger inherent in this practice was recognized by Goebbels himself early on, although he kept the insight to himself: ‘The press publishes criticism that meets the requirements of the banning order, but with a sweet-sour countenance. Otherwise, its effect on the public is good. Just make sure it doesn’t promote dilettantism.’46 His fear was to prove right. At the same time, the idea that the Propaganda Minister had instigated had not grown out of the National Socialist compost heap alone. He was applauded by an entirely different audience – public librarians. Walter Hofmann, the leading public librarian and Head of the Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde (Institute for Reading and Book Research) in Leipzig, agreed with Goebbels’ move, ‘since we have attempted for many years, on the same grounds stated in Goebbels’ declaration, to forge a genuine public library-style appraisal of books.’47 Appreciation of valuable writing rather than criticism of what was available was the basis of this asymmetric alliance of the public librarian and the ‘public enlightener’ Goebbels. Like book criticism, an institution that had long provided basic intellectual supplies to the city and the countryside was placed under guardianship in the new regime: lending libraries. The principle of borrowing a book for a period of time and for a small fee was widespread in the 1930s. Alongside large lending libraries, numerous retail businesses, all the way down to corner

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 29

shops, lent out books alongside selling their usual wares. And in the struggle for control of the lending libraries similarly surprising alliances were forged: even before the Nazis came to power, trading literature in this way had annoyed educated circles and the champions of organized public libraries. Especially after the world economic crisis, lending libraries were enormously popular, not least due to the masses of unemployed. It has been estimated that there were as many as eighteen thousand lending libraries in the German Reich in 1932.48 And it was claimed that during this time, a type of reader had emerged who was always on the lookout for the most recent works and ‘sought sensation in books’.49 This new reader purportedly satisfied their hunger for books above all in lending libraries. Lending libraries attracted the attention of the Nazi controllers of culture solely because they had user numbers and a circulation density that public libraries, as a rule, did not command. The National Association of Lending Libraries (Reichsverband der Leihbüchereien) was willing to cooperate with the Propaganda Ministry in carrying out educational work and drawing up booklists. It also committed itself to the Ministry’s cultural programme, and eventually merged into the Reich Chamber of Literature.50 Nevertheless, ‘the National Socialist literature bureaucracy’s relationship to lending libraries [remained] ambivalent throughout’: the libraries’ extensive reach was offset by the bureaucrats’ awareness of the poor education of the librarians and their ‘mistrust’ of ‘how the book collections were put together’.51 The attacks spearheaded by public librarians against lending libraries suggest that they were considered a refuge for kitsch and pulp fiction. Above all, ‘novels of manners’ were alleged to play the largest role in commercial book lending, but also cheap pulp fiction mostly bound in small volumes.52 Inadequate implementation of the ‘clean-up operations’ with regard to the ‘literature of the city literati’53 was also noted. In a campaign carried out in Gera, for instance, ‘243 volumes’ were reportedly seized. Among them were ‘10 copies of Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front) … despite the owner’s assurances to the contrary’. Many opponents and critics of lending libraries thought their hour had come when the Nazis assumed power, and they hoped for support in their struggle from the state and the Party.54 People involved in the lending libraries also acknowledged the necessity of clean-ups, as for example the editor of the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, Ludwig Hürter, who claimed that there were ‘a number of so-called lending libraries whose holdings [left a lot] to be desired’. He noted that there was a recognition ‘unreservedly [of ] the shortcomings’55 in the sector. At the same time, however, he stressed the lending trade’s ability to reform, claiming that book lending was a ‘culture-promoting profession that was capable of development’.

30 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Figure 1.3. Unmasking: this contemporary ‘Organizational Overview of the State World of the Book’ from 1938 reveals an unprecedented tangle of responsibilities and powers. From Hellmuth Langenbucher (ed.), Die Welt des Buches (The World of the Book), 1938, author’s collection, 193–94.

However, what apparently amounted to a swan song for lending libraries as a whole turned in completely the opposite direction after 1939. In wartime, when book production could no longer keep pace with an increased demand for books, lending libraries proved a means of providing the population with products in short supply. Finally, in 1943, booksellers were informed via the Börsenblatt that ‘All book retailers must first and foremost hold back enough copies of new books … for their war lending libraries … . It should no longer be the case that those interested in books should have to leave a bookshop empty-handed. If there are insufficient copies of a book for it to be sold, the retailer must at least be able to offer it via the war lending library.’56 Now, suddenly vital to the war effort, the lending library received the recognition that its champions had struggled to achieve for it for years. In the end, the pressure to find practical solutions for supplying books during wartime proved stronger than all the reservations of the previous years

The Politics of Literature under the Swastika • 31

regarding literary policy for the book-lending trade. After the war, lending libraries would experience a third large heyday in 1950s Germany. The last two points, like many others in this book, indicate that it was not always the National Socialists who originated certain ideas or initiatives. Instead, they were simply frequently in a position to present themselves as such, or else to harness the momentum of processes already underway for their own purposes. There was also no shortage of supporters in spirit, nor of willing helpers in deed. This was also true of literature and the book market in the Third Reich.

Notes 1. See the entry ‘Englische Literatur’ in Nicolaische Buchhandlung, Bücher-Verzeichnis 1939, 53. 2. Cited by Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 65. 3. The law had been passed on 18 December 1926 and was repealed in April 1935. See ibid., 49 and 520. 4. For this and what follows, see Dahm, ‘Nationale Einheit und partikulare Vielfalt’, 221. 5. Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 2, 774. 6. Nachrichtenblatt des Reichsministeriums für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Nr. 8, 30 May 1933, BArch R 55/431, Bl. 46. 7. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 164. 8. Curt Reinhard Dietz, ‘II. Die ersten Maßnahmen’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 132, 9 June 1934, 513. 9. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 185. 10. Werner, Reichskulturkammer und ihre Einzelkammern, 10. 11. Handbuch der Reichskulturkammer, 136, cited by Werner, Reichskulturkammer und ihreEinzelkammern, 87. 12. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 370. 13. Stellungnahme der Reichsschrifttumsstelle beim RMVP an die RSK, BArch R 56/R 50.05. 14. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 202. 15. Ibid., 176. 16. Pers. Referent des Reichsleiters Dr. W. Koeppen to Dr. Payr, 22 February 1944, BArch NS 8/249, 1944, Bl. 13. 17. ‘Verleger-Mitteilungen der Parteiamtlichen Prüfungskommission’, cited by Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 298. 18. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 235. 19. Cited in Ibid., 335. 20. Lokatis, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 143. 21. ‘Jahreslagebericht 1938 des Sicherheitshauptamtes’, in Meldungen aus dem Reich 1938– 1945, vol. 2, 80. 22. Wilhelm Jaspert to the RMVP, 6 December 1933, cited by Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 189. 23. Cited by Aigner, ‘Die Indizierung’, 950. 24. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 525.

32 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56.

See for example Weidermann, Das Buch der verbrannten Bücher, 16–24. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 526. 3 July 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 31. Losch, ‘Unterhaltungsschrifttum – so oder so?’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 88, 16 April 1940, 137. Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Liste der für Jugendliche und Büchereien ungeeigneten Druckschriften, 3. ‘Grundliste für die Leihbüchereien’, Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei 3 (1934), no. 19, 13. RMVP, Das Buch ein Schwert des Geistes. Ibid., Foreword, n.p. Wittmann, Geschichte des deutschen Buchhandels, 364–65. ‘Bekanntmachung der Reichsschrifttumskammer vom 24. Juli 1935’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 102, no. 184, 10 August 1935, 649. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 568. For other ‘advice centres’, for example regarding publications on astrology or specialized publications, see Ibid., 570. In the announcement it is again expressly stated that ‘paperback series (e.g. series of novels) should be included under writings that appear periodically.’ See Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 78, 4 April 1940, 105. Cited by Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 554. Erik Lindner, ‘“Arisierung”, Gleichschaltung, Zwangsarbeit, Ullstein 1934–1945’, in Axel Springer Verlag AG, 125 Jahre Ullstein, 77. Deutscher Verlag, ‘Bericht über wichtige Geschäftsvorfälle im Juli 1943’, Ullstein Archiv. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 577. ‘Das Kleinschrifttum als Mittel konfessioneller Propaganda 1941, Juli’, in Meldungen aus dem Reich 1938–1945, 2492. Benecke, Eine Buchhandlung in Berlin, 140. Cited by Müller, ‘Buchbesprechung im politischen Kontext des Nationalsozialismus’, 223 [Appendix]. 18 November 1936, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1009. Langenbucher, ‘Buchverlag und Schriftleiter’, Die Buchbesprechung. Eine monatliche Umschau 1 (1937) March, 68. 29 November 1936, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1014–15. Letter by Hofmann, 10 October 1936. Cited by Boese, ‘Walter Hofmanns “Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde” 1926–1937’, 21, footnote 288. Franz Schriewer, ‘Kampf den Leihbüchereien!’, Bücherei und Bildungspflege 13 (1933), 100. Ibid., 102. Kast, ‘Der deutsche Leihbuchhandel und seine Organisation im 20. Jahrhundert’, 214. Barbian, Literaturpolitik, 610–21. Kurd Schulz, ‘Schundkomplex und Leihbibliotheken’, Bücherei und Bildungspflege 13 (1933), 297. Schulz reports on this in the case of Gera. See ibid., 299. Franz Schriewer, ‘Kampf den Leihbüchereien!’, Bücherei und Bildungspflege 13 (1933), 106; Kurd Schulz, ‘Schundkomplex und Leihbibliotheken’, Bücherei und Bildungspflege 13 (1933), 305. Ludwig Hürter, ‘Neuer Angriff gegen die Leihbüchereien. Unsere Antwort!’, Die Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei 3 (1934), no. 15, 5. ‘Erklärung zur “Anordnung 155 der Reichsschrifttumskammer” gezeichnet von Baur, Leiter des Deutschen Buchhandels, Leipzig, den 19. Mai 1943’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 110, no. 103, 12 June 1943, 101. First published in issue no. 101.

Chapter 2

BESTSELLERS IN A DARK TIME Their History and Readers

鵷鵸 From The Bookman to Spiegel: A Short History of the Bestseller List In the Third Reich, the bestseller counted among the ‘endangered species’, although it has to be said that measured against the history of the book in general, it was actually a relatively new species. Since 1961, the Spiegel news magazine has published bestseller lists for the German-speaking area, which shape the understanding of such lists in Germany today. Whoever is on it gets sold. But as early as the 1890s, the first published lists of this kind made their appearance in two English trade journals with the same name, The Bookman. Starting with its February 1894 issue, the British edition of The Bookman published a quantitative description of the ups and downs of the book market entitled ‘Monthly Report on the Wholesale Book Trade’. It reported, for instance, that ‘the demand for novels remained high.’ Attached to the report was a list of the ‘most popular books of the moment’, and below it, right at the top, were White Company by Conan Doyle and Catriona by R.L. Stevenson.1 Thereafter, too, authors and titles were frequently listed that had long since progressed from bestsellers to long sellers. In the following year, for example, these included Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Pudd’n Head Wilson by Mark Twain and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.2 The American Bookman published bestseller lists under the title ‘The Book Mart’ which are much more in keeping with our current understanding of such a listing. Here, too, the lists were preceded by a description of goings-on

34 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

in the English-speaking book market (including Great Britain). Rankings of the six bestselling books within the large cities of the US followed. The editors vouched for the authenticity of the rankings, which were determined by the ‘leading booksellers in each locality’. In 1897, Quo Vadis by Henry K. Sienkiewicz and The Seven Seas by Rudyard Kipling were way out in front.3 In Germany during the Weimar Republic, the journal Die Literarische Welt published lists of bestselling books on an irregular basis. Today, through the introduction of electronic data processing systems in the book trade, bestseller statistics can be calculated based on the actual sales in selected bookshops. Whatever sales are recorded on the shops’ scanning cash registers flow directly into an extrapolated ranking of bestsellers. Such statistics are not available for the Third Reich. That said, this study will focus on books which in various ways achieved bestseller status. Circulation figures can be gained from several sources. For instance, the Gesamtverzeichnis des deutschen Schrifttums (Complete Catalogue of German Writing) lists all books that appeared and were available between 1911 and 1965 – often combined with circulation figures such as ‘10th to 20th printing’, which provide a rough approximation. Additionally, many books indicated the edition number on the copyright page. With the aid of antiquarian catalogues available on the internet a wide range of such data can be compiled. Advertisements from publishing houses at the time also operated – just as they do now – with the most impressive numbers games possible: ‘1st edition out of print, 2nd edition being rolled out, 3rd edition in preparation…’ Vague statements like this make it clear that sales numbers must always be questioned, although data gained from such ads are essential. They cannot, however, conceal the fact that the real circulation figures from that time counted among the best-kept secrets of a publishing house. Where such figures are available in the case of Ullstein/Deutscher Verlag or Bertelsmann Verlag, they are rare strokes of good luck. Sales figures that can be gleaned from correspondence between authors and their publishers are also helpful. However, in this case, the question always remains: did the publisher duly account for all sales? And exaggerations cannot be excluded either. One of the most curious circulation figures of the twentieth century even catapulted the author, who would otherwise probably have been forgotten, into literary history. In 1922, Alfred Hein stated in his parodic text Kurts Maler that it was part of a print run of ‘1 to 999 thousand’. The title combined with the crazy first printing figures ought to have given rise to some puzzlement. But, no, on the contrary: in virtual bestseller lists for the first half of the twentieth century, Hein appears in second place, directly behind Thomas Mann with Buddenbrooks and far ahead of Hedwig Courths-Mahler, the author he parodied in a fairly unsubtle manner.4 Donald Ray Richard’s book The German Bestseller, which made this blunder, was one of the first studies

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 35

on the subject based on a broad range of statistical information. Yet despite some problems with the data, he provides an important point of departure. Tobias Schneider’s essay entitled ‘Bestseller im Dritten Reich’ (Bestsellers in the Third Reich), although limited to the novels of the time, is quite well documented.5 This discussion of the phenomenon has thus also been influenced by his work. By and large, the figures in this book should always be approached with some caution. It is impossible to pin down circulation figures precisely, and there is no claim here to completeness: books and authors can be forgotten, and the success of published works has at times been over- or underestimated. What matters, though, is the trend that can be deduced from the available statistics, and the picture that emerges of the overall structure of literature in the Third Reich.

‘National Literature’ vs Bestsellers: What Is Good Will Prevail In the publishing landscape of the Third Reich, it was almost impossible to overlook two teacher’s sons from Württemberg. Hellmuth and Erich Langenbucher admittedly counted ‘only’ among the ranks of second-rate functionaries, but they shaped the face of literature in the NS period decisively. Erich, the younger of the two, worked in the Literature Department in the Propaganda Ministry under Joseph Goebbels, while Hellmuth was employed in Alfred Rosenberg’s Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature (Reichsstelle zur Förderung des deutschen Schrifttums). The Langenbuchers brought their publishing experience into the Nazi administrative apparatus. Hellmuth had previously been the head of the press office at Langen-Müller Verlag in Munich, where he got his younger brother hired as a secretary. Both were specialists when it came to books. Hellmuth had studied German philology and joined the NSDAP in 1929. He dedicated a handbook on the Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit (Contemporary National Literature), which celebrated the leading authors of the NS regime, to his father, who died in 1932. This became a standard work for the period and did not hinder Hellmuth Langebucher’s career after 1945 either. In 1948, he was classified as a fellow traveller and ‘denazified’. His specialist knowledge remained valuable; he deployed it from 1951 until his retirement in 1970 in the Europäischer Buchklub publishing house in Stuttgart. No one there seems to have hit upon the fact that prior to 1945 the author had propagated the ‘cleansing of German cultural life of all alien adulterations’. He had also claimed that it was the Nazis who ‘in the area of literary life, too, [had] created the clear, healthy conditions which enabled everyone active in this area, whether creatively or in a support function, to work sensibly once again’.6

36 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Erich also managed to stumble up the career ladder after the Nazis seized power. While he started as a lowly secretary under his brother’s wing, we meet him again after 1933 as editor of the most important publishing trade journal (even to the current day), the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, for which his brother was the main leader writer. In the same year, he joined the SS and the Party, eventually climbing to the rank of first lieutenant in the SS (Obersturmführer). From 1939, he worked as the editor of the lending librarians’ trade journal, the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt, which he subedited on behalf of Goebbels’ Ministry. Through its book reviews and specialist contributions, the newspaper exerted considerable influence on the assessment and sales of trivial and mass literature in the Third Reich. This provided Erich with an important platform for disseminating his own and his minister’s concepts and ideas among those working in the book trade. Erich Langenbucher is our principal witness for the fact that the term bestseller was already widely known in the 1930s. ‘The “bestseller”’, he claimed, was created ‘by various sleights of hand’, as proven by the fact ‘that they were not the books of our good German writers, but instead, for the most part, books by authors who had little or nothing to say to us’.7 As used by Erich Langenbucher, the term ‘bestseller’ had a decidedly negative connotation. What his brother Hellmuth had summarized as Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit (Contemporary National Literature) constituted the exact opposite of the proscribed bestselling literary works. The former had to be created by ‘people of German blood’;8 all art that did not have this connection was per se worthless. Nazi cultural policymakers never tired after 1933 of conjuring up their own, new literature to satisfy these criteria. The ‘good and genuine’ book – according to their theory – would prevail as a matter of course and necessity in the new state, without any trickery or ruses, simply on the basis of its inner, ‘intrinsic’ values. A recurrent theme in the biographies of nationalist poets after 1933 is that, in the detested ‘system time’ – the Weimar Republic – they were excluded by the caste which dominated public opinion and prevented them from getting ahead and from literary success. Kuni Tremel-Eggert, for example, a successful NS writer, reported along these lines. Before 1933, Tremel-Eggert claimed, she had offered her texts to editorial offices and editors like sour beer – without success. Hers was an experience shared by Joseph Goebbels, whose attempts at the start of the 1920s to land a job with the established newspapers in Berlin similarly failed. He would later wreak cruel vengeance on the ‘guilty parties’. In the meantime, the arbiters of Nazi culture were confronted with a dilemma: the National Socialist art they had long propagated now had to prove itself in ‘real life’ after they took power. In the field of literature at least, original National Socialist works of art had, for the most part, still to be created. These were then meant to prevail solely by virtue of their intrinsic

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 37

values over texts by other authors that were still on the market. The starting position for this experiment was brilliant from the Nazis’ point of view. They had symbolically shunted most unpopular authors out of the way with the book burnings and many other clean-up operations. Numerous others were forced into exile or sidelined. This affected authors on account of their Jewish origins, their political persuasion, their uncomfortable way of thinking or any number of other reasons. The press and all organs and organizations entrusted with controlling writing in the broadest sense were quickly taken into Nazi hands. Now there was no excuse for failure. And this is precisely what happened. Suddenly authors broke through who would not have stood a chance before. For the most part, as is clear from today’s perspective, this was not because the press of the Weimar Republic had previously conspired against them, but because the level and style of their works frequently did not meet minimal quality requirements. A certain Hans Zöberlein, with his war confessional book Der Glaube an Deutschland (Believing in Germany),9 would certainly not have become a successful novelist if the Nazis had not come to power. In the best-case scenario, he would have remained a writer read in the close quarters of nationalist circles. Just one among many others.

‘Over 1 Million’: The Rebirth of the Bestseller Concept in the Spirit of the War While the term bestseller was known in the Third Reich, it was only used to denote certain books from the ‘system time’ (‘Systemzeit’) that had sold well, and it was clearly used derogatively. These bestsellers – as Erich Langenbucher had alleged – had been ‘made by sleight of hand’. Germany’s own national literature – according to the widely held myth – had been arbitrarily suppressed and limited during this time by a press dominated by left-wing intellectuals and Jews. In official discourse after 1933, the term ‘bestseller’ was avoided with varying levels of skill, and circumlocutions were sought. Young booksellers, for instance, were advised that ‘New releases which generate business, [must] be stocked in advance in line with their expected sales’10 – which was a complicated formulation for books with bestseller potential. In advertising campaigns, which anticipated the principle of the positioning of the bestseller list – as it is known in the book trade today – it was repeatedly stressed that the intention was not to reintroduce a ‘“star system”, which has fortunately been overcome in Germany.’11 This was epitomized, for example, in ‘The 6 Books of the Month’ campaign introduced by the Propaganda Ministry. The campaign involved a changing ‘Top Six List’ with special advertising materials as well as a display stand for shop windows.

38 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

After 1933, the book market soon proved to be very dynamic, and those controlling culture had to deal with books that did in fact sell well. Now the functionaries had to consider how they should react. As happened often under Nazi rule, the question was answered in a number of ways. There were streams of thought that recognized the commodity status of literature and worked with this (broadly speaking, for instance, the Party functionaries around Joseph Goebbels). But there were also others (such as those in Alfred Rosenberg’s orbit) who celebrated the book with its intrinsic values, which, detached entirely from the market and its laws, prevailed (or not) on the basis of its own qualities, which were naturally defined ideologically. Here it was repeatedly stated that the ‘salesman-like character’ of the bookselling trade ‘had to take a backseat to the cultural and the political, indeed the cultural policy task’.12 None of these camps, however, was averse to fiddling around with numbers. Even books published by official offices, such as the publishing handbook Die Welt des Buches (The World of the Book), which was kitted out with an (incredibly garbled) foreword by the President of the Reich Literature Chamber, Hanns Johst, contained statistics on the book market with production and sales figures. International comparisons were particularly popular. Here Germany came off very well for the year 1934 in comparison to Great Britain, France and above all the US.13 A sort of bestseller list also appeared in this handbook, which gave a few excellent circulation figures for the German book market in 1938. Not one title that appeared after 1933 was among them, however. Instead, the list comprised exclusively titles such as Waldemar Bonsels’ Biene Maja (Maya the Bee), 770,000 copies of which had been sold since 1912, and Richard Voß’s Zwei Menschen (Two People), which had sold 860,000 copies, to name only two examples. It was thus rather a list of classic long sellers. True, Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf could not be left out. It was mentioned in the text commentary in connection with political literature, which, in recent times (which meant since 1933), had enjoyed a significant boom. It is clear that stellar sales figures were also revised publicly and repeatedly. One reason for this is most certainly that the book market continued, in spite of ideological alignment or ‘Gleichschaltung’, to live up to its name and to function in market-economic terms. This must, however, be qualified by the fact that these sales figures were usually published in the trade press, and thus were only intended for a limited public. Nevertheless: in spite of the theoretical superstructure, which liked to stress that books were, above all and in the first instance, devoted to educating people, the sector, of course, survived by selling books, which, in and of itself, then as now, was not at all scandalous. And this was frequently admitted, somewhat ashamedly and as an afterthought. A standard textbook for the book trade on the theme of window

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 39

Figure 2.1. In absolute terms at least, Germany was at the forefront in an international comparison of book production in 1934. This graph depicting ‘German Book Production in Relation to That of Other Countries and Their Populations’ is from Hellmuth Langenbucher (ed.), Die Welt des Buches (The World of the Book), 1938, author’s collection, 151.

displays, for example, admitted that ‘the best window display … aside from one that pays homage, [is] always the one that sells the most books.’14 In the trade press, of course, the reporting on the commercial success of the top Nazi political titles got top billing. When Mein Kampf or Alfred Rosenberg’s Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (Myth of the Twentieth Century) set new sales records, that certainly merited a report in relevant newspapers. Only after the start of the war is it apparent that more and more ‘fairly ordinary’ books were once again highlighted on the basis of their sales figures. In the trade press, there were frequently sections and articles with titles such as ‘Remarkable new printing’, ‘100,000 copies’, ‘Over 1 million’, ‘The first hundred thousand’, ‘420,000 copies’ and ‘Selected books in mass circulation’. Beyond this, detailed statistics were given on the achievements of the book trade: in the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt, say. But, more surprisingly, even Die Bücherkunde, the house organ of Alfred Rosenberg’s Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege) – whose contributors generally wrote disdainfully about commercial aspects of literature – was peppered with statistical data on the book market from time to time.

40 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

But this proclivity for bandying about impressive numbers betrays propagandistic ambitions that extend beyond economic interests. The intention was to show how productive the country could still be even in the area of culture and despite being in crisis: ‘Such numbers should make us proud of German writing and its achievements during the war.’15 Naturally, in this way, a bit of everyday life was conjured up in the midst of the fighting. Under the title ‘The proud balance sheet of book production’, for example, it was announced that the 341 million books produced in 1941 exceeded the output for the previous year by almost 100 million. ‘These numbers make one thing clear to us’, the author wrote, ‘The slogan “Taking the Book to the People” (“Mit dem Buch ins Volk”), which Minister Dr. Goebbels once wrote in his preface to the first “Week of the German Book”, could, in the course of these years, and not least in the course of two years of war, be realized.’16 Beyond this, the book was also conceived of as part of the total mobilization for war. The propagandistic aim was that the relaxation brought about from reading a book would facilitate the motivation required from everyone in the fighting: We know that the book plays a central role in this decisive struggle of our people for its very existence. Soldiers who receive the books at the front in millions in military postal packages (animated by the campaign ‘Send Books to the Front’), or through troop libraries, through the libraries of the ‘Rosenberg book charity’ and through bookshops positioned wherever soldiers stand guard and fight, tell us and write this to us repeatedly.17

Circulation figures alone do not indicate if the books concerned were also read. Especially in the case of political books or books presented as gifts, there are many examples of works that were first and foremost valued as objects displayed in bookcases – rather than on account of their content. The success of individual titles can scarcely be explained otherwise. Particularly during the war, therefore, certain market laws were completely suspended. Frequently the demand did not determine the supply. Instead, people bought – often haphazardly – whatever was available.

What Readers under the Swastika Wanted: The Beginnings of Market Research But what was read in the Third Reich, and by whom? The answer to this question must be sketchy, since no empirical market research took place. This is in spite of the fact that, as late as 1937, an article in the renowned Frankfurter Zeitung mentioned an institute for reading and book research

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 41

based in Leipzig, which ascertained ‘the trajectories in which the demands of the reading public move using scientific methods’.18 The reference was to the Institute for Reading and Book Research (Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde), founded by the public librarian Walter Hofmann. The institute, which existed from 1926 to 1937, had grown out of the public library movement. It was supposed to carry out basic research on the subject of people and books, educate librarians and develop methods of library work. On the basis of lending figures from the Leipzig municipal libraries, statistical material was compiled for Hofmann’s study of reading habits. The majority of the data came from the years 1922 to 1926, with only a few surveys extending beyond this period. The aim of the research was never to establish what readers actually wanted, so that their wishes could be fulfilled as closely as possible. Instead, the point of departure was education: the public librarian had a certain notion of what constituted a good book, and he wanted to lead the users of the public library to it. In order to do so, he had to investigate readers’ wishes and sensitivities. ‘We’re kitting out expeditions to Africa and Australia to study the lives of primitive peoples, but who is equipping expeditions into intellectual life, the intellectual-spiritual existence of our own people?’19 This is how Hofmann presented his motivations in a ceremonial address of 1925. After the basic forms of human interest, such as the ‘craving for fantasy’, the ‘craving for practical counselling’ and the ‘desire for knowledge’ had been established, the task was then to direct users of public libraries through so-called ‘Orientation and Value Directories’,20 which listed and recommended books. The librarians developed a missionary zeal. It is astounding that many of the reflections and approaches developed by Hofmann and his fellow campaigners seemed to meet the ambitions of the National Socialists. This led Hofmann to believe that rosy times were dawning in the Third Reich for him and his work. Hofmann parroted slogans about the ‘genuine synthesis’, which would unite the forces for divergence among the people. He spoke of genuinely ‘becoming a people’ and ‘national cultural community’, slogans which were also used by NS functionaries. It was no wonder, then, that he was protected by individual representatives of the regime and could, for instance, publish some of his institute’s research reports in Die Bücherkunde as late as 1935. There, topics such as historical non-fiction and prose on the First World War in the service of the public were discussed.21 In the end, though, Hofmann was mistaken. The winding-up of his institute, moreover, did not necessarily occur on political grounds alone. He himself was viewed as a difficult, somewhat fanatical personality in his field, and the NS regime soon had no shortage of institutions and people who wished to concern themselves with adjusting the cultural sector to chime with the Party’s wishes. His was simply one voice too many.

42 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Such research was therefore never comprehensive and, above all else, it did not cover the entire twelve years of the Reich. For example, a study published in 1939 entitled Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre (Metamorphosis of the Working Man as Reflected in What He Reads), which originated in Hofmann’s institute, presented only patchy figures and findings for the years through 1934. Perhaps some of the diagnoses put forward there did not fit with the views of the arbiters of culture, such as the assertion that the ‘working man reader’ did not truly appreciate literature on racial science and on National Socialism. Instead, it was claimed, he continued to prefer books about war experiences above all else.22 This finding may well have been highly problematic in a book that opened with Hitler’s words, ‘I have won the German worker over to the German Reich.’ By and large, then, we are reliant on spotty diagnoses of reader preferences. At the same time, the press had a lot to say on the subject of what people were reading, especially in the war years. Very often, statistics derived from book lenders or libraries, which were then partly analysed in the press, are our most reliable witnesses. They are also referred to repeatedly in what follows. The press at the time already highlighted, particularly in connection with readers’ wishes in wartime, that the problem of popular fiction was being discussed with ‘growing animation’.23 As late as December 1944, for instance, the flagship newspaper Das Reich reported incredibly openly that the supply of books in bookshops and lending libraries in Berlin no longer reflected consumers’ wishes. Whatever was bought was simply due to a lack of any alternatives. Undercover agents of the SS security service also focused on trends within the literary sector in their intelligence reports. They reported, for instance, on the relationship between booksellers and their customers, using the example of the statement of a Stuttgart-based retail bookseller: ‘Previously, His Majesty the customer entered the shop as soon as the shutters were raised. Today he is the “enemy” who must be prevented from senselessly plundering our stock.’24 The article in Das Reich, moreover, reported further: ‘Book rentals, in contrast, reflect readers’ wishes most clearly. Which books are sought after most intensely? A lot of Knut Hamsun, but also John Knittel. Again and again, Ina Seidel’s Wunschkind [The Wish Child] and Horst Wolfram Geißler’s Lieber Augustin [Dear Augustin]. Recent history, reflected in documents from the Bismarck era and the First World War, is more welcome than political hot topics that haven’t yet cooled off.’25 The most puzzling phenomenon is this turn away from ‘political hot topics’, since from the outset political literature was the flagship of the National Socialist arbiters of culture. One gets the impression that the war brought about changes in reading habits that were not necessarily anticipated. With regard to popular literature, no totalization can be established; instead,

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 43

there was a liberalization of sorts as the war gathered pace. Entertainment was necessary, so it was tolerated more readily than originally intended or desired. We will come back to this later. And in the preceding years? Although there is not much empirical evidence to support this, one has the strong suspicion that prior to the outbreak of the war the question of readers’ preferences was rarely asked, and even more rarely discussed, in the press. There is no doubt that, at the outset, the main intention of NS literary policy was to remove the undesirables and lead readers and buyers to the good book, in the Nazi sense. For this reason, reports on readers’ actual wishes focused on divergence from the Party line and were often critical. Such newspaper reports accordingly inform us of what in fact moved the masses, also after 1933. For instance, as late as 1939, a campaigner for the ‘clean’ youth book had to admit that: ‘On the basis of reports that have come in from the author’s district (Gaugebiet), it can be said with certainty that a whole series of cheap adventure and detective stories are still being purchased today by our young people.’26 Indeed, there was even a ‘flourishing barter and intermediary trade’ of such booklets, and girls were no exception. In fact, they ‘were just as avid readers as the boys’, even if sometimes Nesthäkchen (Babies of the Family) and Trotzköpfchen (Contrarians) predominated.27 Among others, the pulp series Rolf Torrings Abenteuer (Rolf Torring’s Adventure), Jörn Farows U-Boot-Abenteuer (Jörn Farow’s U-Boot Adventure), Tom Shark, Sun Koh and Billy Jenkins were listed. More unexpected – indeed almost inconceivable in later years – was a study whose most important findings were published in the Börsenblatt in July 1933. The study investigated the reading material of 255 anonymous city youths. The results included a cross section of the literature of the time, on which the new rulers had not yet put their stamp. Karl May and Felix Dahn (Ein Kampf um Rom, or A Struggle for Rome) were there, alongside Edgar Wallace, Jules Verne and Sienkiewicz (Quo vadis?), and Aldous Huxley. Adolf Hitler, Hermann Löns (Der Werwolf) and Hans Grimm (Volk ohne Raum, or People without Space) also featured, along with Thomas Mann, Hans Fallada, Hermann Hesse, Vicky Baum, Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Ernst Glaeser (Jahrgang 1902) and Alfred Döblin. No specific Aldous Huxley title was named in the Börsenblatt, but the book in question may well have been his dystopic novel Brave New World, which had been available on the German market since 1932 under the title Welt wohin? Huxley’s name had been circulated from the outset on various lists of banned books, and in autumn 1935, Welt wohin? featured once again on the List 1 of Harmful and Undesirable Literature (Liste 1 des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums). However, it was only the German translation that was explicitly banned; remarkably, the original English edition was on offer in Germany until 1939.

44 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Figure 2.2. The rebirth of the bestseller concept in wartime. ‘Notable New Publications’ in the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt in 1942, including Werner Bergengruen’s novel with critical undertones, Der Großtyrann und das Gericht (The Grand Tyrant and the Court). Author’s collection.

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 45

The findings on the reading habits of young people in July 1933 were so devastating that the editors of the Börsenblatt felt compelled to add an explanatory note: Despite the fact that we are generally convinced of the shortcomings of such statistics, and in particular of the randomness of the ones presented here, we have decided to give space to the contribution ‘What young people are reading’ because the statistical evidence underpinning it demonstrates the terrible lack of direction with which our youths interested in literature have been raised up till now.28

Viewed in a positive light, the ‘lack of direction’ criticized was the individual’s freedom to choose, a freedom that now had to be fought for. Through what means and with what success will be outlined below.

From Individual Reading Experiences to Lending Libraries Ilse Kleberger, born in Potsdam in 1921, was raised in an educated middleclass environment. She studied medicine and worked as a doctor, and later made a name for herself in the Federal Republic as a children’s book author (for such books as Unsere Oma, or Our Grandma). Her father had educated himself through reading, and books were commonplace in the household. Already as a child, Ilse received books as gifts on all special occasions, and she also borrowed literature from local public libraries. As a child and adolescent, she read young adult classics such as the works of Erich Kästner or Rudyard Kipling. In terms of ‘political’ books, she could recall only Der Hitlerjunge Quex (The Hitler Youth Quex) by Karl Aloys Schenzinger very well. The 12-year-old Ilse found the book ‘very exciting’ and well and truly ‘devoured’ it at the time. ‘I didn’t pick up on the political connotations as a child’, she recalls today. She can also still remember a proper ‘Karl May phase’. It was at the age of 12 or 13, she recalls, that she received these books as gifts from her parents. What Ilse Kleberger reports, and what many of her contemporaries also say, is consistent to a large degree with the above-cited study on the reading habits of young adults directly before and after 1933. The literature banned by the Nazis did not disappear straightaway, and it did not vanish without a trace. Even Kleberger’s father, who till the end – although admittedly plagued by increasing doubts – remained a supporter of Hitler, had books on his shelves that had been banned after 1933, such as Ludwig Renn’s Krieg (War) and Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front), alongside Mein Kampf .29

46 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

And it was not just in private homes but also in lending libraries and even bookshops that the bookshelves contained banned works. Lothar Franck, a bookseller who had taken over the Steinmetz bookshop in Offenbach am Main from his father, recalls his ‘special cache’ of banned literature. Stacks of works by Jewish authors, among others, were covered in a brown cloth. In front of it all stood a picture of Hitler as camouflage. But he could not sell from this stock during the war: ‘That would have been too dangerous.’30 Other booksellers, though, did it anyway, and, in this way, banned and proscribed books came back into circulation, frequently through second-hand bookshops. Karl Drucklieb, who completed an apprenticeship as a bookseller at the end of the 1930s, reports a similar experience. There was a special cache of this sort where he was an apprentice in Erfurt, which the managers kept under lock and key. Those working in the building could thus get hold of literature by the likes of Maxim Gorki, although such titles were not for sale.31 In this respect, booksellers were most certainly a privileged group who continued to have access to a wide array of books. But it is not the intention here to suggest that reading in the Third Reich regularly involved searching for unusual or banned material. In fact, people widely read mass literature with and without political tendencies. Peter Bruhn, born in 1926, came from an upwardly mobile, lowermiddle-class family. The boy was expected to read. He recalls that he read ‘quite ordinary, trivial stuff that was not brown-tinged’. For young men especially there were books about animals and Indians, as well as, of course, Karl May, all of which were in high demand. Beyond this, Bruhn favoured adventure novels and travelogues, but also books about the First World War by Beumelburg, Richthofen, Lettow-Vorbeck and Hans Zöberlein. In school, he read mainly classics by Goethe, Schiller and Storm. Marcel Reich-Ranicki reports similarly from Berlin in the 1930s. There, most grammar school teachers were unaffected by the new era and had continued to teach the canon. However, this had not so much to do with opposition as such as ‘with these gentlemen’s lack of desire to engage with literature they barely knew. … Our readers still contained stories by Heine, but they were skipped over without any justification.’32 For young Peter Bruhn, who grew up in the small town of Wernigerode, being able to get reading material from various libraries was important: ‘I recall that in the street in which we lived there was a lending library. I borrowed books from it.’33 Naturally, social origin played a large role with regard to reading choices. Pulp fiction was read more by youths from the lower class, or so Bruhn assumes retrospectively, at least. Book lending in whichever form – whether from public libraries, commercial lending libraries or the growing number of war lending libraries later

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 47

Figure 2.3. Class-specific reading habits from a study published in 1939. Workingclass readers (AL), the bourgeois middle class (BM) and people with a university education (AK) show different propensities towards books about racial science, National Socialism and the First World War. From Thier, Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre (Metamorphosis of the Working Man as Reflected in What He Reads), 1939, author’s collection, 94.

established due to book shortages – as well as the private exchange of books (from one hand to another) must be taken into account when considering the popular works of these years. ‘The value of a lending library depends above all else on the composition of its holdings. It is evident that every lending library would contain the standard works of National Socialism as well as the most important books that familiarize people with the spiritual foundations of National Socialist ideology, such as, for instance, books about

48 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

race and national character, the peasantry, and National Socialist economic policy, alongside books on war.’34 This is how the function of lending libraries was described in a textbook for the book trade. Certainly, all lending librarians had to acquire such literature for better or for worse, just as every bookshop had its token shelf of NS writings. Above all, though, the lending library was and remained one of the places where light literature in all guises was available. ‘The main holdings of the lending library consisted of novels, stories, novellas, biographies and travelogues’, the textbook continues, and ‘in towns with theatres, the uptake of dramas and opera texts also comes into question. Particularly in small and medium-sized towns, there is a need to stock books of occasional poetry, best-man jokes, carnival performances and costume albums, etc.’ Certainly, much of what those with ‘underprivileged educational backgrounds’ (as we would term them today) wished to read was satisfied mainly by the book-lending trade, through authors and works which, first and foremost, or sometimes even exclusively, were available in this way. There were publishing houses which produced solely for the book-lending trade, and authors who wrote only for these publishers. It will not be possible to provide any circulation figures for such works, which number hundreds of thousands, but we must assume a readership encompassing a multiple of the single printing of the work. In short, the lending libraries of the 1920s to 1950s corresponded to the video rental stores that existed until recently as distribution outlets for entertainment media.

Notes 1. The Bookman: A Monthly Journal for Book Readers, Book Buyers and Booksellers, February 1894, 145. 2. The Bookman: A Monthly Journal for Book Readers, Book Buyers and Booksellers, January 1895, 106. 3. The Bookman: An Illustrated Literary Journal, March 1897, 86–90. 4. Richards, The German Bestseller in the 20th Century. 5. Schneider, ‘Bestseller im Dritten Reich’. 6. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 11. 7. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Nennen Sie uns das meistgelesene Buch! Das Ergebnis einer Umfrage in Leihbuchhandlungen’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no. 16, 241. 8. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 27. 9. Zöberlein, Der Glaube an Deutschland. 10. Heß, Lehrbuch des Deutschen Buchhandels, 36. 11. Curt Reinhard Dietz, ‘ II. Die ersten Maßnahmen’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 132, 9 June 1934, 513. 12. ‘Deutsche Buchbilanz’, Die Bücherkunde 6 (1939), no. 6, 321. 13. Langenbucher, Die Welt des Buches, 150.

Bestsellers in a Dark Time • 49

14. Heß, Lehrbuch des Deutschen Buchhandels, 232. 15. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Über 1 Million’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 17, 247. 16. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Stolze Bilanz der Buchproduktion’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 11, 161. 17. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Auf jeden Deutschen kommen drei Bücher’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no. 20, 305. 18. ‘Das Volk liest. Der Ausbau der Volksbüchereien in Stadt und Land’, Frankfurter Zeitung (Reichsausgabe), 7 November 1937, 2. 19. Boese, ‘Walter Hofmanns “Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde” 1926–1937’, 18. 20. Ibid., 20. 21. ‘Von der Front. Mitgeteilt vom Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde in Leipzig’, Die Bücherkunde 2 (1935), no. 10, 351. 22. Thier, Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre, 94. 23. Josef Witsch (z.Zt.Wehrmacht), ‘“Unterhaltung” und “Entspannung”. Ein Beitrag zum Problem der Unterhaltungsliteratur’, Sonderdruck zu ‘Die Volksbücherei im Regierungsbezirk Merseburg’ 8, no. 1/2, 1. 24. Meldungen aus dem Reich, ‘Zur Lage im Schrifttum’, February 1942, 3318. 25. ‘Bücher geliehen, gekauft, gelesen. Zwischen Wunsch und Erfüllung’, Das Reich, 10 December 1944. 26. Alfred Müller, ‘Rolf Torring, Tom Shark und andere “Helden”’, Jugendschriften-Warte 44 (1939), no. 5, 69. 27. Nesthäkchen and Trotzkopf were both very successful books for young girls in Germany. The author of the Nesthäkchen series was Else Ury, a Jewish writer, who was murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. 28. Karl Ludwig, ‘Was liest die Jugend?’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 100, no. 188, 22 July 1933, 538. 29. Interview with Ilse Kleberger, Berlin, 10 December 2008. 30. Telephone interview with Lothar Franck, Offenbach, 17 April 2009. 31. Telephone interview with Karl Drucklieb, Darmstadt, 23 April 2009. 32. Reich-Ranicki, Mein Leben, 86. 33. Telephone interviews with Peter Bruhn, Berlin, 24 and 29 November 2008. 34. Heß, Lehrbuch des Deutschen Buchhandels, 364.

Chapter 3


鵷鵸 A Visit to the Führer and Its Consequences: Karl May Fever It was an honourable and important mission that was entrusted to the journalist Oscar Robert Achenbach on an April day in 1933. Through fog and driving snow, he made his way from the town of Berchtesgaden to the Obersalzberg in the Bavarian Alps. The Munich-based Sonntag Morgenpost had sent him as one of their most competent reporters to write a feature on Adolf Hitler’s Berghof residence. Hitler had only recently been appointed Reich Chancellor, but newspapers sympathetic to the NSDAP revered him, as though from time immemorial he had been the undisputed Führer, surrounded by a godlike aura. Achenbach was predestined to be an obsequious reporter. He had already penned the text that accompanied the groundbreaking book of photographs Aus Adolf Hitlers Heimat – a book which Achenbach’s employer, the Party-owned Eher Verlag, puffed up in all editions of its newspapers and successfully brought home to its readers. Having finally reached the Berghof, Achenbach was greeted by Angela Raubal, Hitler’s halfsister and his official on-site housekeeper. Achenbach wanted to give his readers an intimate look behind the scenes. In his contribution to the Reich Chancellor’s ‘birthday edition’, he wanted readers to rummage around the Berghof with him. The first thing Achenbach noticed were birthday gifts from all over the Reich, which were piled up all over the place. He counted ‘no fewer than 24 sofa cushions, all embroidered with swastikas’. Achenbach’s hostess simply sighed deeply in response, stating

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 51

that ‘every second package that arrives contains a sofa cushion.’1 The tour she gave him concluded in the most sacred place of all: Hitler’s bedroom, where Achenbach discovered the Reich Chancellor’s private reading matter. ‘On a bookshelf there are works on politics and political science, a few brochures and books about the care and breeding of German shepherds. And then – German lads pay heed! – a whole series of Karl May volumes – Karl May!! Winnetou (Winnetou), Old Shurehand (Old Surehand), Schut (The Yellow One) all dear old friends!’ Already while recording his impressions of the Obersalzberg, Achenbach could barely contain his excitement over this discovery. He had finally found the lowest common denominator between his readers and the Führer. ‘How humanly close to us this man is’, Achenbach later wrote, ‘who, alongside his work of genius, which is of gigantic proportions, still finds the time and leisure to read the books from his boyhood days.’ When Achenbach finally settled down contentedly at the end of his visit to enjoy the ‘fork lunch’ served to him by Raubal, he did not yet realize the consequences of this ‘discovery’ on Hitler’s bookshelf. This brief glance at Hitler’s bookshelf must have been an eye-opener for many. This rather chance discovery gave rise to passionate appeals to read Karl May. ‘In future, Hitler Youths, Karl May’s characters should accompany you through life as they have us. You should laugh and cry with them, hope and fear with them. The characters are not mere shadows but reality.’2 Karl May, then, occupied first place on the Führer’s most private reading list. According to Achenbach and many contemporaries in Hitler’s inner circle,3 when the Führer first took office, he allegedly reread all volumes of May to recall his youth. When and how he managed this in light of his governmental duties, and where he got the necessary time, remains a mystery. Even if, as Joachim C. Fest claims in his biography, Hitler frequently ‘lapsed into the habit of lounging about doing nothing’4 after the initial charm of being Chancellor had passed, rereading nearly seventy volumes of Karl May must still have posed quite a challenge. Hitler read particularly at night, when he had withdrawn to his quarters and was unable to sleep: biographies, depictions of technical problems, and works on architecture, painting, music, politics and history. Already in Mein Kampf he had listed reading as one of the main activities of his youth. Alongside Gustav Schwab’s retellings of the Greek myths, he read mainly the Saxon author Karl May’s adventure stories. Hitler said that he had May to thank for his first lessons in geography, and that May later opened his eyes to the wider world.5 Many of those in Hitler’s entourage have attested to his huge appetite for reading. Almost all notable Hitler biographies pick up on the trope of the

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‘well-read Hitler’. Only Brigitte Hamann, who looked more closely at Hitler’s years in Vienna, doubts his literary zeal – although she cannot substantiate her doubts. In any event, the fact that all of Hitler’s contemporaries considered him to be well read was decisive for his public image, even though his stock of quotations seems to have come from quite different sources. The German people, the Volk, quite simply wanted to imagine their Reich Chancellor surrounded by books. A work published by the Propaganda Ministry entitled Wohnen mit Büchern (Living with Books) put it in a nutshell: ‘Everything that is considered great gets turned into a book’.6 Many official writings of the time sought to work out the ‘essence’ of things (in this case, the relationship of Germans to books). In the process, such supposedly banal objects as bookshelves were placed centre-stage and celebrated in almost soothing tones. Even if other media such as film or radio were more central to those in charge of propaganda, because of their widespread appeal, considerable effort was devoted to books – as the aforementioned work on Wohnen mit Büchern (Living with Books) highlights. ‘Books and where we live both shape who we are, constantly and continuously; both, at one and the same time, bear witness to and express our way of life, what we want and think. They form the foundation of those areas of our lives where we bring our work and our service to the nation together and calmly prepare ourselves for action.’7 Recommended furnishings extended from a wide range of small bookshelves to an entire library. The majority of the pieces involved sophisticated designs that actually went well beyond what the simple Volksgenosse (‘national comrade’) could afford or even wanted. However, the fact that a state office, presumably using state funds, was able to devote itself to such matters underscores the high esteem bestowed on books as representative objects. But the spaces portrayed – whether in front of a wall unit or a bookshelf – were not just intended for browsing. Reading was celebrated, so to speak, and what was read was internalized. This is why polemics were directed expressly at those who viewed the spines of books as mere decorations, and who simply wanted to adorn themselves with educational objects. Despite this, books ultimately had a positive effect even on the ‘upstart’, because, through his behaviour, he was also nodding to a certain extent towards ‘a recognition of that spirituality which is embodied in the book. And even ostensibly to own books justifies at least a certain amount of expenditure.’8 But let us return to the Reich Chancellor’s reading habits. The sections of Hitler’s private library that survived the war did not contain any novels by Karl May, which of course does not mean that Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were not the Führer’s favourite books. However, what survived of his library indicates instead that the official library of the Reich Chancellor, like other such

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 53

book collections, had a representative function above all else. The books on display served his public image, or had been presented to him by admirers and cronies. They included curious presents such as a dissertation dedicated to him ‘in honour and gratitude’ by a Dr Maria Schmidt of the Zoological Institute of Münster University, entitled Die Wirkung einiger Wirbeltierhormone auf den Süßwasserpolychaeten Lydastis raunaensis Feuerborn (The Effect of Some Vertebrate Hormones on the Freshwater Polychaetes Lydastis Ruanaensis Feuerborn).9 Such a volume surely fulfilled neither a representative nor an entertainment purpose in the Führer’s sphere.

The ‘Führer’ Stocks Up: The Reading Harvest of His Youth The ‘young Hitler’ had no chance to give any thought to how impressive his library would eventually be – he owned hardly any books. The few he possessed quickly became favourites, which he ‘never let out of his hands’;10 among them was the aforementioned volume of retold sagas. Like many others who could not afford to buy books of their own, Hitler used numerous lending libraries. In Linz, he frequented the Steurer and Haslinger bookshops, which not only sold but lent out literature, a common practice at the time. He did not come from an educated middle-class home, which would have provided him with access to books as a young man. The ‘selfimprovement through reading’ that Hitler later propagated is something he seems to have undertaken himself in his youth. His childhood friend August Kubizek, who published a memoir after the war, chronicled that he only ever saw Hitler ‘surrounded by books’.11 ‘Books were his world. In Linz, he subscribed to three lending libraries at the same time in order to be able to get his hands on any book he wanted. In Vienna, he used the imperial court library. Indeed, he did this so eagerly that I once asked him in all seriousness if he had set himself the task of reading its entire holdings, for which I was, of course, rudely rebuked.’12 Observing the young Hitler’s reading habits clearly made a lasting impression on Kubizek. He devotes a lot of space to the literary preferences of his youthful friend. Above all else, the earnestness with which Hitler read refuted all doubts concerning the usefulness of this occupation: ‘He never read books for entertainment or just to pass the time. He took his reading deadly seriously. I sensed that often enough.’13 Some key characteristics of the later Reich Chancellor can be deduced from how he utilized books. ‘It was interesting how Adolf approached a book. The most important thing for him was to get an overview of the list of contents. Only then did he tackle the work itself, although he didn’t adhere

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to the order of contents as written, but instead meticulously highlighted the essentials. But what he acquired in this way, was carefully ordered and registered in his memory. He would reach back – and it was once again available, and so accurate, as if he had just read it.’14 It can be assumed – and most Hitler biographers share this supposition – that reading was the quarry for his later greatly feared monologues and his ‘expert knowledge’ in all areas. ‘Really, his brain could accommodate an entire library’,15 Kubizek recorded in admiration for posterity. And which individual reading experiences did his memory retain? ‘He treasured above all else, as previously mentioned, the Germanic heroic sagas. Undisturbed by the prevailing mood or the external situation in which he found himself, he repeatedly turned to them. He had long since committed them to memory. But still he read them over and over again. The book that he owned in Vienna, if I’m not mistaken, was Götter und Heldensagen, germanisch-deutscher Sagenschatz [Sagas of Gods and Heroes, Germanic Legends].’16 But there were also a few genuine classics among Hitler’s crop of books. ‘Adolf had started reading the classics in Linz already. He once said of Faust that the play contained more than people today are capable of grasping.’17 Dante’s Divine Comedy made a great impression on him, although I feel he picked this work up too early. I know that he concerned himself with Herder, and we went to see Minna von Barnhelm by Lessing. He liked to read Stifter, not least because he rediscovered the landscape of his homeland in Stifter’s work, while Rosegger, he used to say, was too popular. Besides this, he’d occasionally pick up books that were fashionable, more to form an opinion of the people who read such books than of the books themselves.18

Hitler is also supposed to have devoured complicated works of philosophy. ‘When it came to philosophical books, he was always surrounded by Schopenhauer, and later Nietzsche as well’, Kubizek tells us. ‘But I didn’t hear much about them, since he perceived these philosophers as a most private concern, so to speak, as private property that he didn’t want to share with anyone.’19 That said, the reader whom Kubizek knew was scarcely someone who made his way through the world with his eyes wide open, soaking everything up. Rather, Hitler appears to have sought self-affirmation in what he read and confirmation of his own opinions, which were already more or less formed: Particularly when we lived together in Vienna, I didn’t have the impression that, in the enormous number of books he had piled around him, he was looking for anything in particular, for example fundamental principles or theories to explain

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 55

his behaviour, but that, on the contrary, perhaps more unconsciously than consciously, he was only seeking affirmation in these books. For this reason, reading for him was – perhaps with the exception of the Germanic heroic sagas – less edification than a form of self-control. When I think of the numerous problems he had to deal with in Vienna, which I, too, shared, at the end of the day, there was usually some book or another of which Adolf then claimed triumphantly, ‘You see, the man who wrote this agrees entirely with me.’20

Books were so important for the young Hitler because, in the absence of a classical education – which he did not receive on account of his social background – he could use them as a quarry from which to construct his own ideas. Until the very end, in the Führer’s bunker in destroyed Berlin, he is said to have lived off the harvest of what he read as a young man.

Heinrich Himmler’s Education Sentimentale If one looks among Hitler’s wider circle for people who may have had a special relationship to books, the Reich Leader of the SS (Reichsführer SS), Heinrich Himmler, is not the first to spring to mind. That said, in contrast to his Führer, Himmler had enjoyed an educated middle-class upbringing. He was born in 1900 into a Catholic, royalist Bavarian family. His father was a grammar school teacher and, before that, had even tutored princes of the House of Wittelsbach for a time. At the height of his power, especially during the war, Himmler found very little time for edifying reading. Accordingly, during this period, he cultivated particularly intensively his longstanding friendship with Hanns Johst, the ‘Bard of the SS’ and President of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK). This made up for the leisure time he lacked. During the war, for example, Himmler had ordered that Johst’s letters be kept and archived for posterity. ‘Rest assured’, he wrote to his friend – who was permitted to call him, almost tenderly, ‘Heini’: that your letters are always precious to me. They are messengers from a world that I love so much, and which – because fate placed me here – has been closed to me for a large part of my life. I am thus all the more pleased when I receive greetings again and again from this intellectual world of our common blood, which you embody as one of Germany’s very best.21

In his early years, Himmler had been able to devote himself extensively to the printed word. At the age of 19, during a long stay in hospital, he began to compile a reading list replete with commentaries. Between 1919 and 1934,

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he entered no fewer than 346 individual works into the list. It was an amount of reading that was quite considerable even at that time. But what was special about this list was that Himmler recorded not only his impressions, but also the exact place and time of his readings, and frequently also the lender of the book. Over two days in September, he read through Thomas Mann’s Königliche Hoheit (Royal Highness) as one of the first books on his list. ‘Initially wretchedly dull, but by the end, a much more exciting novel; too naturalistic’,22 he observed. Hot on the heels of Thomas Mann came a whole raft of Jules Verne, ranging from 20000 Meilen unter dem Meer (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea) to 5 Wochen im Ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). He must have read feverishly, but he did not comment on it. The first political writings also entered into the canon of the young convalescent, and must have influenced the path he took: for instance, Artur Dinter’s successful contemporary antisemitic novel Die Sünde wider das Blut (The Sin against the Blood): A book that introduces one to the Jewish question with horrifying clarity, and which serves to cause one to approach the issue with some wariness, but also to examine the sources on which the novel is based. For the middle way may well be the right one. The writer, I believe, is somewhat indiscriminate in his hatred of Jews. – The novel is purely and simply a novel with a social message complete with lectures on antisemitism.23

Himmler’s antisemitism and hatred of the Freemasons was also fuelled in 1919 when he read Friedrich Wichtl’s Weltfreimaurerei, Weltrevolution, Weltrepublik. Eine Untersuchung über Ursprung und Endziele des Weltkrieges (International Freemasonry, World Revolution, World Republic: An Examination of the Origin and Final Aims of the World War), a polemic hot off the press. ‘A book that explains everything and tells us whom we have to fight against first’,24 the young Himmler noted on his list. His ‘growing sexual curiosity’,25 which found expression in diary entries among other places, was also fed by literature, as when he discussed a new Wedekind play with a fellow student. Conversely, he reacted with disgust to a book thematizing a relationship between a priest and a 14-year-old boy. ‘Sunday, the 7th of March 1920. Evening, 10.30, in awful mood. Munich – strange. An idealization of a homosexual person. – Pictures ghastly.’26 In winter 1924, by which time he had long since been an acolyte of the Nazis, Himmler turned his attention to the later Führer through Adolf Viktor von Koerber’s biography Adolf Hitler. Sein Leben und seine Reden (Adolf Hitler: His Life and Speeches). He even read aloud from it to his relatives ‘when they were sitting cosily together one evening’,27 writes Katrin Himmler, a grandniece of the SS Leader, in her family history Die Brüder

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 57

Himmler (The Himmler Brothers). And Himmler carried Mein Kampf with him whenever he travelled, reading it over a period of almost two years in Landshut, Munich and ‘on trips’. He noted with regard to the first volume: ‘It contains an incredible number of truths. The first chapter about his youth contains some weaknesses.’28 And with regard to a Mussolini biography that he borrowed from Alfred Rosenberg, he noted: ‘It portrays a very conceivable picture of Mussolini. Agile, energetic, volatile, brilliant.’29 All told, Himmler’s reading habits corresponded to quite a common pattern during that period. German narrative fiction, above all from the nineteenth century, books one ought to have read in one’s day, but also foreign authors of extremely varied provenance, from Alexandre Dumas to Emile Zola, Dostoevsky and Gogol, as well as Jack London and Oscar Wilde. His engagement with the plays of Henrik Ibsen is astonishingly intensive. He writes of Nora: ‘Very interesting and good. She is guilty of letting herself be turned into a doll … He of cowardly abandoning his wife when she is in need, and then pretending something had come up.’30 Additionally, he also read the bestsellers among the mainstream popular literature of the era (and beyond): for example, Agnes Günther’s Die Heilige und ihr Narr (The Saint and her Fool) from 1913, a sentimental love story which made the author famous posthumously, achieving sales of over a million, and Felix Dahn’s Ein Kampf um Rom (A Struggle for Rome), which had been published already in 1876, and which portrays the decline of the Ostrogoths in Italy of the late antiquity. Dahn’s book is also one of the long sellers of German literature. In 1938, the total number of copies printed since initial publication stood at 615,000.31 Himmler noted with regard to the latter that it was ‘a thrilling and lively story of marvellously good, authentic Germanic peoples. It could make you cry. What treachery and scheming by women and German rectitude and fidelity.’32 Certain patterns of thought were clearly long established. There were very few authors whom we would today call literary modernists in his canon – but, in this respect, Himmler was no exception in bourgeois circles at this time. There was the occasional book by Bernhard Kellermann, or one by Thomas Mann. However, there are two works by Hermann Hesse, Demian and Siddhartha, which he read in autumn and winter of 1924–25 and received enthusiastically. ‘A fantastic book. Indian Brahmin spirit, the deepest knowledge about struggling and redemption. It is necessary to go through distress and sin, and one must obey and search and struggle to be redeemed. It describes the path of one who has been redeemed.’33 When it came to selecting books at least, Himmler was clearly remarkably openminded. His log also indicates that he was one of the most well-read Party functionaries within the Nazi leadership clique.

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Alfred Rosenberg, Hermann Göring, Albert Speer: Ideologue, Power Seeker, Technocrat Alfred Rosenberg was a few years older than Heinrich Himmler and figured very early among the National Socialist visionaries. He was considered one of the regime’s chief ideologues and, after the Nazis seized power, he played a decisive role in the cultural sector, especially in the world of books. From 1921, as editor and later as the main leader writer of the Völkischer Beobachter, he was one of the Party’s opinion formers. He reached the pinnacle of his career in this respect in January 1934, when he was given the unctuous but awkward title of ‘The Führer’s Plenipotentiary for the Supervision of the Overall Intellectual and Ideological Training of the NSDAP’ (‘Beauftragter des Führers für die Überwachung der gesamten geistigen und weltanschaulichen Schulung der NSDAP’). The picture that can be painted of Rosenberg is similar to the one various contemporaries drew of the young Hitler as an avid reader. And Rosenberg, too, stylized himself as an obsessive reader, who was eager to be educated. He claims to have spent up to thirteen hours a day in the Bavarian State Library ‘as if in a fever’.34 There, he submerged himself in particular in the works of Ernst Moritz Arndt, Johann Jakob Bachofen, Jacob Burckhardt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Leopold von Ranke, Arthur Schopenhauer and Oswald Spengler – to name just a few. Rosenberg’s biographer Ernst Piper finds the question of ‘what Rosenberg did not read … at least as interesting’.35 Here, he lists Wilhelm Bölsche, Gustave Le Bon, Carl von Clausewitz, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Hanns Hörbiger, Thomas Malthus, Gregor Mendel and Alfred Ploetz, not to mention the ‘light reading’ of books by authors such as Karl May and Gustav Schwab, which Hitler loved. The line that the young Rosenberg traced with his reading continued into his time as Party dogmatist. The ideas propagated through his Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege) on literature in the Nazi era had their origins in Rosenberg’s intellectual world during those years. But to Rosenberg’s great sorrow – to anticipate something that we will return to later in this book – the Nazis never succeeded in initiating their ‘own’ body of cultural work. ‘His vision was of a National Socialist state formed by staunch National Socialists. Only in this way could a new Reich be created that was healthy, strong and viable at its very core. But the power of the National Socialist rulers sufficed merely to create the vessel for such work. The content could not be conjured up.’36 Nevertheless, Rosenberg’s purposeful and avid reading paid off in personal terms. After Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler committed suicide, Rosenberg was suddenly one of the highest-ranking remaining functionaries brought

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 59

before the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. This was a position he had struggled hard to attain for years – for instance in confrontation with Goebbels – but was now more than simply uncomfortable. During the interrogation in Nuremberg, Rosenberg spoke repeatedly of his ‘spiritual fathers’ and of what he read. ‘After he had outlined his life, he immediately started to go on about Goethe, Herder, Fichte, Kant, Schopenhauer and the Indian philosophers.’37 And this did not happen merely by chance. It was, in fact, part of a defence strategy. According to his biographer, Rosenberg succeeded, not least in this way, in coming across as a ‘harmless crackpot’ or an uninfluential dogmatist, who had no real influence in Germany after 1933. With regard to the war crimes at issue in the Nuremberg trials, the chief ideologue washed his hands clean. However, this did not help him very much in concrete terms; he was condemned and hanged as one of the main war criminals. On the face of it, they could not be more different: on the one hand, the strict, almost ascetic-seeming Balt, Rosenberg; and, on the other, the baroque power seeker, Göring. One presented himself as an unswerving defender of principles; the other could barely conceal his exorbitance and hedonism – in fact, he even flaunted it. Yet the two men were much more alike than these externals would lead one to believe. Göring was impressed with Rosenberg’s Mythos (Myth). ‘It is possible that the admiration of the practitioner for the theoretician and thinker was at play here’,38 Ernst Piper writes. However, it could also be put less graciously: the less intellectual Göring was influenced by Rosenberg’s educated middle-class trappings. Göring also tried, at least externally, to convey the image of a well-read politician who was always well informed. The Minister President’s day allegedly began with reading the Völkischer Beobachter followed by English and Swedish foreign newspapers, Göring’s official correspondent reports in his biography of his employer. And when time permitted, he also read hunting magazines, although this was, unfortunately, rarely possible: And then comes the best half hour of the day, sometimes it’s even a full hour – book time. In the Colonel-General’s bedroom there are always about a dozen books personally selected by him …, either history books or books on art and nature. This is how he finds relaxation from thinking constantly about the state and the good of the state.39

Naturally, alongside this idyllic role in Göring’s life, reading, like everything else, had long been conducted in the service of the state. In his forest palace, Carinhall, which he maintained north of Berlin in the Schorfheide, there was a library that was meant to impress. Only the small bookcase in his private study, though, sheds light on the books that actually interested him, books that he himself, following his own inclinations, had picked out:

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Figure 3.1. ‘And then comes the best half hour of the day, sometimes it’s even a full hour – book time.’ Hermann Göring relaxes with a book. From Erich Gritzbach, Hermann Göring, 1937, author’s collection.

Alongside an entire collection of works on Nordic World Ice Theory are all the pertinent works on Germanic prehistory. On top of these, there are piles of book on warfare and German history, which Göring has mastered like no other. The downstairs library holds everything which a discerning book collection might contain, including the classics, all areas of science, hunting books and books of fiction, deluxe editions from all periods in the history of the book as well as the collected works of the philosophical heroes of the world.40

But this was the private side of the Prussian Minister President, Reich Master of the Hunt and Air Transport Minister, to name only some of his functions. Volker Knopf, someone who knows the Reichsmarschall’s residences, and was able to interview many contemporaries for his book projects,

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 61

could find no one who could confirm ‘whether Göring ever picked up and read the deluxe editions and tomes in his library.’41 On the other hand, a former detective constable of the Reich Security Service (Reichssicherheitsdienst, SD), who was responsible for Göring’s wife’s security and thus had access to the family’s private quarters, reported that on a number of occasions he had seen crime novels and Karl May books in the bedrooms.42 And other contemporaries who visited the Görings’ home had also noticed this little weakness, for instance the Czechoslovakian ambassador Vojtech Mastny, who was a guest of Göring in June 1934: He portrays Göring as a child who is naively pleased and shows off his toys, or else as King Ludwig of Bavaria, pathological. On the bedside table in his bedroom, there’s a revolver with an engraved swastika and a mirror in Germanic stylized silver. There are also a few books – works by Jules Verne and Karl May.43

The biography of Hermann Göring’s reading, then, is also more appearance than reality. In this respect, he possibly bears comparison with someone like Albert Speer, Hitler’s favourite architect, whose wartime reading habits are largely unknown, and who, during this time and just like Himmler, was presumably also entirely consumed by official duties and would scarcely have had time for leisure and entertainment. As a student in the 1920s, Speer had sought refuge from harsh reality in art and culture, but particularly in an ‘emphatic devotion to nature’.44 When he turned to literature, it was to the classics: Goethe, Schiller and Kleist. Among modern authors, according to his biographer Joachim C. Fest, he preferred above all Georg Kaiser and Henrik Ibsen. And he deliberately and demonstratively married his wife on Goethe’s birthday, Fest tells us. This was a manifestation of an educated middle-class self-conception, which he carried around with him like a piece of jewellery. Later, when he was imprisoned in Spandau for war crimes, Speer suddenly had all the time in the world to read again. Alongside gardening, to which he devoted himself extensively in Spandau, he discovered, in his own words: the old joy of reading again, and through novels that he had brought to him, he tried to catch up on what he had missed over the years, among them books by Dostoevsky, Balzac and Hemingway, Tolstoy, Maupassant, Schnitzler, Swift and Dreiser …, whereas he could not connect with the ‘whining literature’ from Böll through Walser.45

In his Spandau diaries, Speer also returned to Hitler’s love of Karl May. The latter, he claimed, had belonged to the ‘dilettantes’ admired by Hitler,

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who ranged from Chamberlain to Rosenberg, and was allegedly the greatest ‘of all’. ‘Karl May proves’, Speer quotes Adolf Hitler retrospectively in his diary as saying, ‘that it isn’t necessary to travel to get to know the world.’ In particular, the image of ‘Hitler the Field Commander’, Speer maintained: should not omit reference to Karl May. The character Winnetou, for instance, Hitler once said, had always deeply impressed him, not least due to the tactical agility and prudence that Karl May had bestowed on him. He was nothing less than a perfect example of a leader of a military unit. … Young people needed heroes just as much as they needed their daily bread. This was Karl May’s greatest significance. But instead of this, those idiots of teachers drummed the works of Goethe and Schiller into the poor, unfortunate pupils.46

It is possible that, to a certain extent, this relating of Hitler’s extensive reference to the work of Karl May was used by Speer as well as others to hold the Führer up to ridicule more than anything else. It was something that Speer – one of the dictator’s favourite pupils – admittedly only dared do in retrospect. The ‘greatest field commander of all times’, who apprenticed himself to Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, and continues to? In this image, too, reading was instrumentalized, although for different reasons.

Hanns Johst, Bard of the SS and President of the Reich Chamber of Literature, Recommends Hanns Johst was one of the most important literary functionaries in the NS period as well as one of the most prominent National Socialist authors. In his early work, Johst is considered an Expressionist. Later, he turned away from the cosmopolitanism propagated by that movement and towards the German nation. Although he did not join the NSDAP until 1932, Johst was President of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) from 1935, as well as President of the German Academy of Poetry (Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung), the ‘successor’ to the poetry section within the Prussian Academy of Arts. His intimate friend Himmler promoted him to the rank of SS-Gruppenführer, which roughly equated to the military rank of major general. In the National Socialist Reich, but most particularly in Himmler’s immediate entourage, he was responsible for ‘the literary’. In this capacity, Councillor of State Hanns Johst concerned himself personally in April 1943 with the kitting out of a hospital library – most certainly also a favour for ‘Heini’ Himmler, whom he admired very much. The former tuberculosis sanatorium Hohenlychen, near Lychen in the Uckermark, situated north of Berlin, which was to be equipped with a hospital library, was under the medical direction of another close friend of Heinrich Himmler. During the war, the hospital served the

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 63

Waffen-SS as a military hospital, and even the Reichsführer let himself be treated there. But inhuman experiments on prisoners from the nearby Ravensbrück concentration camp also took place at the hospital under the direction of Professor Karl Gebhardt.47 Johst pulled strings, and a letter to Director Berg of the powerful Eher Verlag concern followed, asking that an enclosed list of books be processed and that his request be fulfilled. It must seem surprising at first glance that the list did not contain a ‘Who’s Who’ of National Socialist literature. Rather, it was a cross section of what ‘people’ liked to read during that time. Among the just over one hundred books requested,48 there were only two or three titles that were narrowly political, including on racial science. The only NS functionary listed was Richard Walther Darré, the Leader of the Reich’s Peasants (Reichsbauernführer) and Minister for Food and Agriculture (Minister für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft), with his book Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (New Nobility from Blood and Soil) – and, of course, Johst himself featured on the list with two works. The rest of the items were supposed to help the SS man back up on his feet through entertainment and distraction, not hardcore politics. The most frequently represented author was Hans Dominik, with six titles in all, including five of his futuristic novels. The spectrum ranged from the easily readable literature of Hans Carossa and Rudolf Binding to foreign authors such as Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset. And, naturally, Karl Aloys Schenzinger and Anton Zischka had to be on such a wish list, given that they had delivered the most successful factual novels and nonfiction books during this period, providing reading matter for young men in general. However, perhaps a surprising entry among these non-fiction books is the young Hans Hass, with Unter Korallen und Haien. Abenteuer in der Karibischen See (Among Corals and Sharks: Adventures in the Caribbean Sea), which sold almost 100,000 copies by 1945. The success of this diver and bestselling author is otherwise generally associated with post-war Germany, where this work (as well as his earlier works) continued to sell in the hundreds of thousands. Naturally, the list contains classics of popular literature, such as Ludwig Thoma and Ludwig Ganghofer with Der Jäger von Fall (The Hunter of Fall), as well as contemporary representatives such as Fritz MüllerPartenkirchen, William von Simpson with his family saga Die Barrings (The Barrings) and Reinhold Conrad Muschler (with not one but two titles), who was in no way uncontroversial in the NS period. And it goes without saying that the popular travelogues of Colin Ross and the popular Mein Fliegerleben (My Flying Life) by Ernst Udet were not absent. But in the rest of the list, the President of the German Academy of Poetry pushed hard at the boundaries of trivial literature. The ‘guardians of pure doctrine’ such as Alfred Rosenberg would certainly not have applauded this. But this list also says more about Johst’s pragmatic view of literature than

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about his own reading preferences. He recommended purchasing an adventure novel by Tex Harding, 76 Kilo Gold (76 Kilos of Gold), a crime novel by Edmund Finke, Chapman & Cole wird ausgerottet (Chapman & Cole Is Killed), as well as Seeteufel erobert Amerika (Sea-Devil Conquers America) by Graf Luckner – to some extent a milestone among trashy adventure tales – and several crime novels by Friedrich Löhndorff. Certainly, the list does not contain any banned literature, but it did contain some titles that divided the opinions of the Nazi arbiters of literature on whether they would contribute to, or distract from, strengthening fighting ability and concentration in war. Johst’s gratitude toward the generous donors who had made the books from the Eher publishing house available free of charge was then also effusive. This demonstrated, Johst wrote, the publisher’s ‘good heart’.49 And this good heart was appealed to once more: I know I’m insatiable, but my daughter is asking me for two books, and as a doting father I naturally cannot resist such a request. … Could you … get me Josef Benzinger’s Probate Kuren [Effective Treatments]? And, secondly, there’s also some luxury edition of a work by Roenning [sic] about a horse, illustrated in colour and costing around 100 RM [sic!].50 If you could send these two works to me here, you’d be doing me a great favour.

At this point, the Councillor of State really did show himself to be insatiable, and at least as in need of care and attention as the Waffen-SS convalescents in Hohenlychen.

‘That Feels So Good!’: Dr Goebbels Relaxes Casting a glance at the ‘bedside table’ of prominent Nazis is sometimes hard, sometimes easy. Joseph Goebbels – himself a diligent author – is one of the easier cases. The prolific writer devoted himself maniacally, among other things, to his diary, in which, needless to say, he also recorded his private reading experiences. Here, however, as with other ego-documents of this kind, caution is advised. For the Propaganda Minister’s entries were regarded from the outset as raw material for later publications. In his diary, Goebbels cultivated an image of how he would later like to be perceived in public. It can therefore be assumed that he mentioned authors above all else who were beneficial to the overall objective of his self-stylization. ‘Read until far into the night.’51 ‘Read for a long time. Then went off to bed, tired.’52 ‘Read and wrote for some time.’53 Such and similar notes run almost formulaically through all of Goebbels’ diary entries. They were intended to show future generations that the Propaganda Minister not only watched the latest films, but kept abreast of literature, too. In this way,

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 65

Goebbels eagerly worked to carve out the image of the intellectual, the ‘Doctor’ as Party comrades called him, for whom daily reading was a basic need. Even when reading these diary entries today, these little, pointed references to quiet leisure hours spent with a book seem like islands of calmness in a life otherwise hurrying by in staccato fashion. ‘A bit more work in Berlin. Phoned Magda – she and the kids are doing well. Then through snow, rain and mud out to the Bogensee. Out late at night. Such deep peace! Wrote. Read Fallada’s Wolf unter Wölfen (Wolf among Wolves), a marvellous, thrilling book. And music. Eternal, beautiful music. A short night. Sleep. Straight back to Berlin.’54 North of Berlin, in his lakeside villa, Goebbels was not only able to rest, but could once again be an author. This is where he wrote many of his lead articles for the flagship weekly newspaper Das Reich, and where he prepared many of his texts for book publication. Books had accompanied this former student of German philology his entire life. In his aides-memoires, he writes retrospectively of his student days: ‘Reading matter. Hasenklever der Sohn ([sic], The Son) Antigone. Strindberg das rote Zimmer ([sic], The Red Room). Th. Mann Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice). Strindberg Entzweit, Einsam. (Days of Loneliness). Ibsen, Tolstoy, Georg Kaiser and Meyrink. Chaos in me. Turmoil. Unconscious clarification.’55 Goebbels was most surely one of the regime’s best-read high-ranking functionaries. He numbered among those who had taken note of literary modernism. The Minister later preferred a mix of entertainment and erudition; he alternated between suspense novels and non-fiction books on history and politics, gathering information that promised to be useful to him in his daily business. ‘Reading die Sieger nachher ([sic], The Victors Afterwards), a book about wartime and post-First World War France by Herbert Kranz. Wonderfully written, comprising a comprehensive knowledge of the subject, and proof of how close we sometimes came to victory. An insight into post1918 France, which is very instructive. I gulped the book down as if it were a novel.’56 Or he simply wanted to switch off with a good, entertaining book and forget his daily work. ‘Read a bit in the evening. Hamsun und Wilhelm Busch. A bit of relaxation. That feels so good!’57 But even in the hands of the versatile propagandist, the book was repeatedly an instrument of self-confirmation and a place of reflection. This united him, particularly in the later years of the regime, with the Führer, whom he worshipped so much. ‘I tell him that in recent days I’ve read Carlyle’s book on Frederick the Great. The Führer himself knows the book in immense detail. I tell him about a few of the chapters, which grip him very deeply. This is how we must be, and this is how we will be.’58 Goebbels entrusted this to his diary on 28 February 1945. It is improbable that, at this point, he would have had the leisure time to read Thomas Carlyle’s comprehensive History of

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Friedrich II of Prussia, which was available in German, in its entirety. But he will have browsed through it in order to seek consolation from the story of the ‘great King’. At the same time, he saw Friedrich as a model for Hitler and those like him: ‘We must be like Friedrich the Great and behave in a similar fashion.’59 In the end, Goebbels and Hitler hoped that their grandchildren would one day – if a similar crisis arose in 150 years’ time – ‘invoke [them] as an example of heroic steadfastness’.60

Notes 1. Oscar Robert Achenbach, ‘Auf dem Obersalzberg. Ein Besuch im Berchtesgadener Heim des Führers’, Sonntag Morgenpost, Allgemeine Ausgabe A + B, 4, Nr. 17, 23 April 1933. 2. Bernhard Scheer, ‘Karl May und die deutschen Jungen’, Siegerländer National-Zeitung, 2 March 1934, cited in 25 Jahre Schaffen am Werke Karl Mays, 43. 3. Dietrich, Zwölf Jahre mit Hitler, 164. 4. Fest, Hitler. Eine Biographie, 614. 5. Ibid., 1034. 6. Wilhelm Haegert, ‘Foreword’, in Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum, Wohnen mit Büchern, 4. 7. Adolf Ziegler, ‘Foreword’, in Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum, Wohnen mit Büchern, 5. 8. Alfons Leitl [Text], in Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum, Wohnen mit Büchern, 12. 9. Gassert and Mattern, The Hitler Library, 263. 10. Kubizek, Adolf Hitler. Mein Jugendfreund, 75. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., 225. 13. Ibid., 226. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid., 227. 19. Ibid., 228. 20. Ibid. 21. Cited by Düsterberg, Hanns Johst: ‘Der Barde der SS’, 301. 22. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 20. Here and below I am citing from the typewritten transcript of the handwritten reading list. The original and the transcript are both available in the Bundesarchiv. 23. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 24. 24. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 22. 25. Longerich, Heinrich Himmler, 44. 26. Cited in Ibid. 27. Katrin Himmler, Die Brüder Himmler, 107. 28. Lektüre. [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 61. 29. Ibid.

Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading • 67

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 24. Langenbucher, Die Welt des Buches, 149. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 32. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 53. Alfred Rosenberg, ‘Wie der “Mythus” entstand’, BArch NS 8/22, Bl. 15–16 and Bl. 22. Cited by Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 193. Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 193. Ibid. Ibid., 627. Ibid., 494. Gritzbach, Hermann Göring, 273. Ibid., 342. Communication from Volker Knopf of 12 October 2009. Among his publications on this topic is Knopf and Martens, Görings Reich. Communications from Volker Knopf of 12 October 2009 and 18 January 2010. Hoffmann, Politisches Tagebuch 1932–1939, 29. Fest, Speer. Eine Biographie, 34. 5 May 1960, Speer, Spandauer Tagebücher, 523. Ibid. See Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers: 1941/42, 106. Correspondence and booklists available in BArch R 56 V, 21, Bl. 246–49. Johst to Berg, 19 April 1943, BArch R 56 V, 21, Bl. 246. He is likely to have meant Das Monument des Pferdes by Rolf Roeingh, a work of several hundreds of pages on horses and horse breeding, historically as well as in ‘Greater Germany’. Individual volumes of the work can be obtained second-hand today for upwards of €100. 1 July 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 29. 4 July 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 32. 10 October 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 147. 14 January 1938, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1180. ‘Winter 1919/20 in München’, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 1, 70. 8 January 1940, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 262. 19 February 1940, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 316. 28 February 1945, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 5, 2128. Ibid., 2127. Ibid.

Part II

THE TEN MOST SUCCESSFUL BOOK TYPES IN THE THIRD REICH 鵷鵸 It is impossible to write a history of books that were widely read between 1933 and 1945 with any claim to comprehensiveness. A definitive bestseller list cannot be compiled retrospectively either. Nevertheless, for this study, I have put together such a list. Books that reached a print run of 100,000 or more copies were included, although in the case of particularly exciting examples, I did make the occasional exception. An extract from the list containing the most important titles discussed in this book along with their probable sales figures can be found in the appendix. In compiling this list, various directories, bibliographies, contemporary publishers’ advertisements, publishers’ histories and individual studies were consulted. With the aid of the catalogues of the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) and, not least, on the basis of antiquarian lists available online, I have also attempted to determine the net sales for the period of Nazi rule of books first published before 1933. I have quite deliberately included mass literature such as cheap paperback novels or collector card albums, because the literary market in the Third Reich proved to be particularly dynamic in these segments. It should also be noted that the phrase ‘book types’ discussed in the following ten chapters is not a technical term derived from literary criticism. Instead, I have tried to view books from the perspective of readers who did not orient their search for reading matter according to academic or booksellers’ categories, but, rather, by subjects, authors or personal reading preferences.

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The ten book types were determined arbitrarily, and the order in which they are treated is also subjective. I did, however, endeavour to find certain focal points among the c. 350 books that I investigated using the criteria mentioned above and to assign the titles to groups which, taken together, were broadly representative. Non-fiction has been placed at the start for a reason. Such works were extremely successful during these years. At the same time, though, I wanted to challenge clichés, according to which, based purely on numbers and with some justification, propaganda literature would certainly have earned the top position. However, non-fiction proved to be possibly the ‘most modern’ form of literature in this period, and it also promulgated the most advanced and most successful forms of propaganda. The distinctions between the book types are thus fluid. Some works could with the very same logical consistency have been placed in different categories. But their placement in groups is of secondary importance, just as is a precise determination of print runs. In all ten chapters which follow, I am concerned above all else with highlighting tendencies and trends, and perhaps also, through unusual constellations, with throwing up questions and bringing new perspectives into sharp focus. Along the same lines, one might also ask why blood-and-soil literature, which has shaped our views of the book in the Third Reich for a considerable time, is not addressed until the penultimate chapter in this part of the book. On closer scrutiny, however, such literature was in fact surprisingly insignificant, not only in terms of content but also purely quantitatively. Titles in this category which did in fact achieve large print runs in the hundreds of thousands were rare. The ‘reading fodder for the war’, which I have quite consciously (and not only for reasons of chronology) placed last, was a different story. This literature was of immense significance both economically and in terms of sheer volume. Many developments that had started during peacetime found their culmination here. The book fodder for the army and the civilian population during the war deserves to strike the final chord. For it is here that the bestseller in grim times reached its highest stage of development and, simultaneously, its final throes.

Chapter 4

ON THE FOUNDATION OF FACTS Popular Non-fiction Works

鵷鵸 The Unprecedented Success of a Factual Novel: Schenzinger’s Anilin (Aniline) No less a figure than the officially recognized stage actor Heinrich George was secured for the lead role in the radio play. He lent his voice to the chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, who discovered aniline dye. The radio drama, first broadcast in March 1937, was based on Karl Aloys Schenzinger’s novel of the same name.1 And it was not just any novel that was dramatized with such a stellar cast, but the most successful narrative text in the Third Reich. By the end of the war, the book had sold just under a million copies, and in May 1951, sales had exceeded 1.6 million. This success was no accident. Schenzinger’s book was a firm favourite of literary critics (if they are still deserving of this name) and readers alike. ‘It is a journey full of victims and sacrifice’, declared the Kiel-based Nordische Rundschau, ‘which makes its way from the tropical indigo fields through the laboratories of a Liebig, Koch, Duisberg and then to I.G. Farben. In his book Anilin (Aniline), Schenzinger has condensed almost a century of scientific research and paid tribute to German chemistry in a gripping yarn, indeed in a manner that could not be topped in such form.’2 And even though Schenzinger’s publisher, Wilhelm Andermann, designated the work a novel, the book was also something other than this. It was, in fact, a ‘Rohstoffroman’ – that is, it belonged to a large series of novels about raw materials, which brought non-fiction subjects to the people under the guise of fiction. Just as in many modern docudramas, in Schenzinger’s

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work, documentary sections and non-fiction passages alternate with dramatic narrative forms. The non-fiction novel type, which ‘today has been almost completely elided into the popular non-fiction book’,3 had its origins and role models in the Weimar period, and achieved unprecedented success in the Third Reich. Non-fiction novels about raw materials were perhaps the ‘most modern’ type of books in the Nazi era, and not only from a present-day perspective. Whatever they were called, the books were perceived and read as non-fiction at the time. The Sonderführer Werner Kark, under the title ‘What the Army Private Reads’, reported, for instance, that: Pilots and radio operators [must] be far more receptive by the very nature of their duties. For this reason, fine and indicative references to widespread scientific and technical material comes from them, which – often cultivated collectively – is of primary interest. This ranges from Schenzinger’s Anilin by way of various books by Bürgel and novels by Dominik to the most obscure scientific works, which are studied in solitude every evening.4

It is certainly true – as the book market expert Franz Hinze, who was born in 1919 and deployed for a time as a front bookseller in Paris, remembered – that many soldiers tried insofar as was possible to use their time in the military to educate themselves. For this reason, genuine specialist books were always in high demand among customers in army uniform. After reading Schenzinger, soldiers would feel informed above all else about the people and events from an episode in the history of science. The individual characters and their psychological and social dimensions are of only peripheral interest. In this sense, the label ‘non-fiction’ is appropriate in every respect. This new book type and its authors were the subject of public debate already in Schenzinger’s time. The anchoring of the text in facts was inherited from the 1920s, from Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). Erwin Barth von Wehrenalp, who was to become one of the most successful non-fiction publishers after the war in the Federal Republic on account of his position as managing director of Econ Verlag, wrote in a literary magazine in 1937 about ‘popular science’. At the time, he had been working for two years as a journalist for the Economic Group of the Chemical Industry. It can thus be assumed that he was drumming up business for large and expanding chemical companies through the popularization of scientific knowledge. For as he saw it, the world of the layman and that of the scientist were drifting further and further apart, which was resulting in the absurdity that as the world was becoming more and more scientific, the majority of people could no longer understand virtually anything about science. It was thus necessary, he claimed, not only to connect the ‘world of the layman’ to that of the ‘scientist’, but also to ‘ward off the apprehensions of skilled workers’.5 And this very necessary bridge between these worlds, he believed, could be formed by literature, and,

Popular Non-Fiction Works • 73

in particular, by works in Schenzinger’s style: a new ‘reportage form [was making inroads] to a greater and greater degree, a form which knows of the demise of the old educational ideal, addresses people more directly and can achieve greater success. It attempts to portray scientific matters from a particular period, or as depicted in the exploits of the scientific researcher’, and it only succeeded ‘when based on specialist scientific knowledge’. Wehrenalp, moreover, also wanted to draw attention to the knowledge-transfer character of a completely different form of literature: the technical futuristic novel, in which ‘very often the problems that are concealed in the language of numbers are conveyed very skilfully to laymen.’ He admitted, though, that the poetic power of such authors was often insufficient to transcend the narrow limits of their simple texts. Later, after 1945, Wehrenalp was able to rely on the type of books developed by authors like Schenzinger (Wehrenalp himself had written a volume for the Kosmos publishing house entitled Farbe aus Kohle [Dyestuffs from Coal] in 1937). It should, however, be stressed that the non-fiction authors of the Third Reich had not developed this kind of factual novel independently. Role models existed in the 1920s, especially abroad. Hans Dominik, who wrote ‘factual books’ alongside futuristic novels, looked to the American author Paul de Kruif ’s 1926 novel Microbe Hunters as an example of how to portray ‘feats in the area of technical invention in dramatic form’.6 De Kruif was one of the first to lend dry science and technology a human dimension. This was also key to Schenzinger’s success. Karl Aloys Schenzinger, born in 1886, had studied medicine, worked as a military psychiatrist during the First World War and later completed a Ph.D. In 1923, he went to New York for two years and eked out a living as a doctor and filmmaker. He first received notoriety in Germany with a novel entitled Der Hitlerjunge Quex (The Hitler Youth Quex), which appeared in 1932, and was turned into a movie after the Nazis came to power. The premiere of the flick in September 1933 was attended not only by Baldur von Schirach as Reich Youth Leader (Reichsjugendführer), but also by Hitler himself. Schenzinger, his biographers all agree, was never in the NSDAP, but the Hitler Youth nevertheless made him an honorary member.7 After all, with his youth book Hitlerjunge Quex, he had memorialized Herbert Norkus, who had been killed in a fight with communists and stylized into a martyr by NS propaganda. The book became a bestseller, with sales of over 300,000. It was viewed as reading that was recommended from the highest levels of government. That ‘the NSDAP has no misgivings about the publication of this work’ could be read on the copyright page, and it was signed: ‘The chairman of the Party Examination Committee for the Protection of National Socialist Writings (Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums)’.8 Schenzinger, however, was lucky to have entered

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the market before the big wave of publications of NS literature. After 1933, a success like this would not have been so easy, for everywhere the accusation would have lurked that it was the feat of an ‘opportunist’. His Anilin, on the other hand, fits in the same mould as a range of novels about raw materials, such as Rudolf Brunngraber’s Radium and Hans Dominik’s Vistra. Das weisse Gold Deutschlands (Vistra: Germany’s White Gold). The National Socialistic aspect of Anilin, however, lay in its more subtle cosiness with the regime. The symbols of the new state were not paraded about overtly. Propaganda was carried out on another, much more successful level. The text belongs in the tradition of a naïve trust in technology, which believes technical progress can solve social problems. This, too, was a legacy of the 1920s. The story starts with the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge and his discovery of aniline dye. The tragedy of his life (and also that of Schenzinger’s fictional character) is that his achievements only began to be recognized towards the end of his life. In the book, the story of Runge’s discoveries is contrasted with tales of indigo dye extracted from plants. These indigo plants are cultivated in India under difficult and inhumane conditions and then shipped to Europe, where only the importers earn money, above all by speculating on the commodities exchange in London. The nationalistic subtext contrasts English speculation with German ingenuity: here, the drive to maximize profits at the exchange; there, the wish to use technical progress for the good of humanity. Schenzinger sketches his story with bold strokes, outlining the history of the discovery of the coal-tar dyes and, as a consequence, the birth of the modern chemical industry, in which German factories and German researchers play a key role. The book culminates in the founding of I.G. Farben and follows its heroes on the path to a new Germany, in which there are no swastika flags flying and no Führer saluting, but which is, nevertheless, characterized clearly and economically as the land of the National Socialists. This extends even to an antisemitic allusion in the description of a network of traffickers seeking to prevent the distribution of a malaria medication, which consists ‘predominantly of dealers who, on the basis of their blood and ethos, were not well disposed towards the new Germany’.9 All inventions which turn out to be beneficial for the health of the world’s population are realized by German researchers. Artificial dyes are developed against the interests of the British colonial power and make dyestuffs affordable for all. Even though the victorious powers of the First World War infringe German patents on an enormous scale, the intrepid scientists carry on with their research. And in the end, too, the author sees Germany standing alone against many when he states that ‘Artificial materials today determine the future of the German nation. Synthetic materials have become the vital issue for Germany.’10 What was typically National Socialistic about

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Anilin, then, was that the trust in technology of the 1920s had now quite clearly assumed nationalistic overtones. Anilin was particularly successful because it was a progressive text built on the recent tradition of New Objectivity. Through its use of language as well as through individual images, Anilin invoked archetypes of the tech novel, for instance Bernhard Kellermann’s Tunnel, probably one of the first modern bestsellers of German literature. Here as well as there, work (and research) is depicted through the language of combat; indeed, even ‘the experts spoke like military generals on the eve of the decisive battle’.11 It was probably also particularly successful because the everyday reality it described closely resembled that of the majority of Volksgenossen (‘national comrades’), who were fully occupied in the increasingly important production process. The fact that Schenzinger refrained from ingratiating himself all too obviously with those in power was most certainly equally advantageous. And, last but not least, Anilin was a lobbyist’s novel, which carried over into literature the interests of the powerful I.G. Farben concern, and thus attacks on it would not be expected from the arbiters of literature. Schenzinger’s old publisher, Wilhelm Andermann, picked up the thread again after 1945, and made Anilin a renewed success in the early Federal Republic. Obviously, for the post-war edition, the quote in the preface from ‘Reichsminister Dr Frick’, which spoke of the ‘racially healthy Volk, full of youthful energy’, was removed.12 In 1949, a ‘revised and expanded’ edition of the book came onto the market: an edition which, in actual fact, had been very thoroughly revised, although less ‘expanded’ than cut in decisive places. All references to I.G. Farben, which was out of favour due to its involvement in the Holocaust, were now erased, and all formulations that were too militaristic were also deleted. Disparaging remarks about the victorious powers of the First World War, especially the British (who were once again on the side of the victors) were nowhere in evidence. And a sentence such as, ‘We are boxed in, geographically, economically, politically. We want to live!’ had outlived its usefulness in 1949.13 Other accents were also lightly but decisively displaced. Before 1945, for instance, the text stated: ‘Synthetic materials have become the vital issue for Germany.’14 But, under Allied control, and in complete accordance with the reconstruction, it now read less militantly: ‘Synthetic materials today determine the future of the German economy.’15

Propaganda Par Excellence: Anton Zischka In the Third Reich, well-told, popular stories relating to raw materials or to geopolitical questions were highly regarded. One of the best-known authors in this area was Anton Zischka. Zischka’s narrative style had been schooled

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in reportage. Like every good adventure story writer, he liked to transfix his readers and suck them into the narrative, even when it concerned apparently dry subjects such as Brot für zwei Milliarden Menschen (Bread for Two Billion People), Ölkrieg (Oil War) and the Sieg der Arbeit (Victory of Work). Zischka’s great subject was autarky, Germany’s independence from foreign raw materials, which he successfully circled around again and again. He thus had a subject that was highly welcome politically and which also fitted into the state’s efforts for economic ‘armament’ in the context of the Four Year Plan. It obviously animated readers, too. Zischka’s books are the best example of the fact that non-fiction books were establishing themselves on the market in those years as possibly the most modern type of book, and also that under the cloak of facts, propaganda with a wide appeal and a broad impact was disseminated among the Volk. What was peculiar about Zischka, however, was that from 1935, he was not resident in Germany, but instead on Mallorca. He was thus under no direct political compulsion to serve National Socialism. He simply aspired to earn as much as possible from his writing. In 1934, an extremely successful alliance was formed between the author and the Leipzig publisher Wilhelm Goldmann. With Zischka as his figurehead, Goldmann succeeded in changing the production focus of his publishing house within a few years, from crime and light novels to geopolitical topics.16 Zischka’s books became a brand. People asked for ‘the new Zischka’. At the same time, the author was known in the trade not only for engrossing texts but also for blatant plagiarism. Indeed, this had already ruined Zischka’s relationship with the French publisher who had published his first works. He also repeatedly subjected his alliance with Goldmann to hard endurance tests through shameless plagiarizing. ‘After this letter was written, there was a review in the Hamburger Tageblatt … And, yet again, there’s a reference to Colin Ross. This makes me sick, dear Herr Zischka!’, Goldmann wrote to his star writer, ‘I only hope this turns out well!’17 It certainly turned out well for both of them in the Third Reich. Goldmann Verlag published a total of thirteen books by Zischka. But his most successful monograph during this time was a book that was published not in Leipzig but rather by the Eher concern in Berlin: Erfinder brechen die Blockade (Inventors Break the Blockade), which sold 440,000 copies. ‘Every reader knows Anton Zischka’s name’, the Großdeutsche Leihbüchereiblatt stated in 1941, ‘It is not for nothing that his books count among the works that know how to put the most important issues concerning political and economic life in easily comprehensible form. … They will also continue to feature among the most well-read works.’18 And so it was that many of the Goldmann titles also landed among the top 300 bestselling books in the Third Reich, shifting over 200,000 copies. Zischka himself spoke in 1944 of a total circulation of around 1.1 million copies of his works.19

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In the CV he submitted to the Reich Chamber of Literature, Zischka listed for the 1920s all kinds of adventurous reportage trips around the world (for example, ‘to Manchuria in my own sports plane’), as evidence for his claims that he had extensive expert knowledge based on his own experience. Doubts about the author’s world experience are clearly warranted, and they never quite stopped bothering his publisher Goldmann either. Even more dubious is Zischka’s confession of faith to National Socialist Germany, ‘because, since the political restructuring, he now had possibilities to express himself here, which he had not had anywhere else’.20 Finally, towards the end of the war, the sole trader Zischka reached a dramatic economic bottom line when Goldmann Verlag and its book stocks were bombed in December 1943. ‘Is intellectual property less worthy of protection … than material property?’,21 the author asked in a letter requesting reimbursement from the office in Leipzig responsible for compensation of war losses. 108,915 copies of his books had been destroyed, but Zischka had no claim to compensation for losses of royalties according to the prevailing legal framework. Since 1941, Zischka continued in his letter of complaint, no new works of his had been able to appear on account of the war, despite the fact that the demand for books had far exceeded the supply. This meant that every book printed in this period could find several potential buyers without any problem. And Zischka even dared to make the inverse argument. Whoever did not honour intellectual property sufficiently in financial terms, he went on, endangered his own continued existence: ‘For if the intellectual power sources of a nation are blocked then, as has been proven, very soon its material ones will also cease to exist!’22 With this concluding remark, Zischka – even if he meant it differently – was to be proven right in every respect. A response from the Office of War Compensation that would have satisfied Zischka’s claims for compensation does not appear to be available in the archives.

Memorial for a Hero: Robert Koch ‘At the centre of a factual novel there is either a super-personal entity or a hero, about which the most important thing is not his peculiarities but rather his typicality, which makes him a model for those with similar aspirations.’23 This is how Michael Prawdin aptly characterized the nature of this new type of novel. The super-personal entity might even be a raw material such as aniline, made from coal tar, or a metal. One such hero – Robert Koch – had already made his appearance in Schenzinger’s book, but his life offered plenty of material for entire books and films. Like Schenzinger, Hellmuth Unger was a medic, who had successfully

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dabbled in writing about Koch’s character. His bestselling titles include Robert Koch. Roman eines großen Lebens (Robert Koch: The Novel of a Great Life), as well as Germanin. Geschichte einer deutschen Großtat (Germanin: The Story of a Great German Exploit). The books were subsequently turned into films, and the sales of Robert Koch were then catapulted from 15,000 initially to over 135,000. The lead actor, Emil Jannings, and the scientific advisor for the films, Hellmuth Unger, were deemed responsible for this. Germanin, too, achieved total sales of 150,000.24 ‘The composition of this material, which is taken from real life’, one critic commented, ‘is so sublime that the book will find grateful readers among all classes of the Volk.’25 And even the otherwise very dogmatic journal Die Bücherkunde could only recommend the book. In particular, it should be noted that in Unger’s case, ‘expertise’ and ‘writing ability’ complement each other splendidly. Together, they formed the ideal prerequisite for a successful non-fiction book.26 The text had first appeared in 1929 under the title Helfer der Menschheit. Der Lebensroman Robert Kochs (Helper of Humanity: The Biographical Novel of Robert Koch). The new edition, which came onto the market in 1936, conformed to the new reality in some of its details. Foreign words were Germanized and the names of a few Jewish colleagues of Koch’s disappeared.27 On closer examination, Robert Koch is, once again, a literary hybrid: a narrative text enriched with dialogue and accompanied by documentary material, contemporaneous reports and, not least, a photo spread, all intended to endow the narrative with authenticity.28 The role model Koch is front and centre; a memorial to a hero with no shadowy side is drawn. Unger was also an author who only started to get really successful after the Nazis seized power. He had first attempted to write in 1907, and he experienced the First World War as a physician in an ambulance unit in Galicia and the Carpathians. After practising for several years as an ophthalmologist in Leipzig, he worked full-time for the Association of Doctors in Germany (Verband der Ärzte in Deutschland/Hartmannbund) in Berlin, among other things as an editor of various professional journals and a member of the press office, where he assumed a leading role. Later, he was also an employee of the Office for Racial Policy (Rassenpolitisches Amt).29 Thus, even though his first literary publications had appeared before he was 21, he enjoyed his first real success as a functionary in a professional association. His membership of a Masonic lodge, which ended in 1924, cast a ‘shadow’ on his career, as did the fact that he was not a member of the NSDAP as late as 1938. He was ‘recommended [for membership], however’, as he was keen to emphasize in his application to the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK).30 It is obvious that his writing simultaneously involved lobbying for his employer. Just how short the step from lobbyist to propagandist sometimes is becomes very clear through the example of Unger. His epistolary

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novel Sendung und Gewissen (Mission and Conscience) from 1936 also sold around 80,000 copies. However, there is no mention of this text in the postwar biography of the doctor, who settled in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1945, where he resumed his practice as an ophthalmologist. The book provided the source material for the film Ich klage an (‘I accuse’), perhaps the most notorious propaganda film for euthanasia, the mass murder of those whose life was deemed to be ‘worthless’ by the Nazis. It is interesting in this regard that there were various directives intended to prevent the subject of ‘euthanasia’ being mentioned in connection with the film or in book reviews. In this case, those responsible feared strident protest from abroad or from religious circles.31 Hellmuth Unger, due to his profession, took part in a system of experts and committees without which murders through euthanasia could not have been carried out. He was at one and the same time an ideological supporter and a visionary, but also a propagandist for the idea of euthanasia.32 From Robert Koch, the saviour of humanity, to the murderers of the ‘Aktion T4’ (forced euthanasia): the arc of the self-image of the medical doctor could scarcely be any wider.

Diesel: ‘One of the Most Exciting Books of Recent Times!’ As the example of Hellmuth Unger demonstrates, the careers of famous scientists and inventors were often a favourite subject for biographies. Even Eugen Diesel, a writer by trade and son of the inventor and design engineer Rudolf Diesel, contributed one of the most widely read life stories in this particular form of biography. That said, Diesel was in no way uncontroversial and was under surveillance by the authorities. The Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, or SD) of the Leader of the SS (Reichsführer SS) sent some of its personnel off to Upper Bavaria in the summer of 1944, to Brannenburg am Inn, where the inventor’s son had settled. The SD was attempting to find out ‘how the writer Eugen Diesel … had comported himself recently, both politically and in terms of his character.’33 The spies did not have to undertake a protracted investigation. Just a short time later, the local group leader of the NSDAP in the author’s hometown was able to report to his superiors that Diesel lived ‘very reclusively’. ‘He has little interest officially [sic] in contemporary events. Nothing negative is known about him. His outlook is cosmopolitan. But his wife, on the other hand, has repeatedly spoken unfavourably about our present system of government.’34 His two children, at least, were members of the League of German Girls (BdM) and the Hitler Youth (HJ), respectively – a small consolation for the local group leader.

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For however reclusively Diesel might have lived in his community, he was a successful author who had a significant impact on the public. His best-known book, a biographical work about his father, sold more than 160,000 copies. In the Berliner Tageblatt, Paul Fechter described it as ‘one of the most exciting books of recent times’.35 The most striking difference between it and Unger’s book, for instance, is the differentiated view of Rudolf Diesel the man, beginning with the foreword, in which the author gives the reader a glimpse of his difficult relationship with his inventor father. He himself had suffered from an ‘uncontrollable poetic and philosophical bent, which was an insurmountable obstacle to the technical plans the father had for his son’.36 In short, the son did not write a pure hagiography. ‘The temptation to portray the rich, fantastical fate of this exceptional man in a novelistic manner may have been strong’, the Frankfurter Zeitung observed. ‘But Eugen Diesel has remained a biographer, and we are grateful to him for a truthful and gripping portrayal of a life.’37 The son is also unsparing in his descriptions of some downsides, including the (very probable) suicide of Rudolf Diesel on board a ship during a passage from Holland to England. The body of the inventor was never found, so no post-mortem could be carried out, but Eugen Diesel implies that his father was aware of his impending death and made appropriate provisions. The fact that the family is described as having become upset when news of his death reached them above all due to the fact that his fortune had apparently already been completely lost suggests a realistic portrayal. Diesel and his book were initially received extremely favourably by NS literary critics. Under the rubric ‘From Well-Known Pens’ (‘Aus bekannten Federn’), Alfred Rosenberg’s Die Bücherkunde even went as far as to recommend the work.38 Diesel was and still is considered by many to be a thought leader of a progressive form of National Socialism. Such people did not think of themselves as technophobes propagating a somewhat mannered backto-the-soil movement, but rather as proponents of a special way of using technology, one designed to bring man, machine, technology and nature into harmony with one another. Diesel also saw the NS movement moving in this direction. In this way, the crises and dislocations of the old capitalist system, such as the Great Depression, would be consigned to history. Diesel put it like this: ‘In the Germany of today we are anxious to develop the forms in which we can live as German people, in which we feel the heartbeat of our homeland and our old history, in which we push back overstretched organization and mechanization, gain an organic connectedness to other members of the Volk, and yet, at the same time, surrender none of our modernity, or our commitment to technology and to being open to the world.’39 However, although there was soon a broad consensus in Germany regarding an affirmation of technology (on purely pragmatic grounds, in light of rearmament and the war, it could not be otherwise), Diesel came under

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increasing criticism.40 It went down particularly badly that he openly stated that Germany, in spite of National Socialist rule, had not yet achieved its goal. But people who, like those in the fairy tale ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, point out the potentate’s nakedness, were not viewed favourably in the Third Reich. The SD’s investigations may have been related to distrust of the author along these lines. These doubts concerning Diesel’s loyalty to Party principles did not, however, impede his commercial success in the book market. Certainly, he was not one of the very top earners in the sector, but his annual income of between 20,000 and 30,000 RM in the years 1940–42 was still impressive. The film rights for Diesel alone brought in 12,500 RM, and his work as a consultant during the filming earned him an additional 5,000 RM.41 For the flick itself, which appeared in cinemas in November 1942, it was possible to secure the services of leading actors, including, among others, Willy Birgel, Paul Wegener and Erich Ponto.

Beinhorn-Rosemeyer, Dream Couple of the NS Jetset ‘All the essentials in your life were heroic and large-scale’ – Elly Beinhorn set the tone already in the foreword.42 Mein Mann Der Rennfahrer (My Husband the Racing-Car Driver) is yet another book in the life stories genre, and one which to a large extent also has autobiographical features. Beinhorn had got to know the famous race driver Bernd Rosemeyer in 1935, at the side of the racetrack. There – although she herself was already renowned as one of the few female flyers in Germany – she was playing the role of the ‘pit-babe’. The following year, they married, and a year later, Elly was pregnant, and ‘little Bernd’ was born. But as early as 1938, Rosemeyer had a fatal accident. While trying to set a speed record for Auto-Union on the Reichsautobahn near Darmstadt, his car was knocked off the carriageway by side winds. The newspapers were full of reports on the accident, many of which were on the front page and several columns long. The telegrams of sympathy from Hitler and Himmler (Rosemeyer had been a member of the SS) also appeared in the papers.43 Elly and Bernd had long since constituted brands, which sold not only on account of their sporting abilities but also their image. The people in and around automobiles were part of large-scale PR campaigns financed with a ton of money and led primarily by the two most powerful concerns – AutoUnion and Daimler-Benz.44 The marketing of the racing idol did not end with his death, either. Afterwards, Beinhorn decided to start drafting the book that she had intended to write with her husband. The aim was to impart ‘more about the man Bernd Rosemeyer than had appeared in the newspapers’.45 It became a heroic epic of the modern era – albeit with a few ingredients that were not to

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be expected a priori in Nazi Germany. Rosemeyer’s personality was esteemed by the top brass. The condolence letters of the NS elite, from Adolf Hitler to Gertrud Scholz-Klink, were reprinted in Beinhorn’s book, and Heinrich Himmler announced in it that he wanted to memorialize the deceased by having an SS Motor Corps (Motorsturm) ‘bear his name forever’.46 The book offered insights into the life of Nazi high society. A world was unfurled which, had it served as the backdrop to an easy-read novel, would have attracted sharp criticism as ‘belonging to the system time’. Beinhorn and Rosemeyer led a decidedly jet-setting life: here one day, somewhere else the next, while the domestic staff held down the home. Lecture tours, visits to various races and expedition flights took the couple across Europe and halfway around the world. ‘You have to decide in life: just the office and home or else simply aviation’,47 Beinhorn reasoned. Clearly, the life of the average Volksgenosse (‘national comrade’) is neither being described nor considered a point of reference here. The book, alongside other works by the author, was very successful. Over 200,000 copies crossed booksellers’ counters. The public’s warm reception can be easily explained: those enthused by cars and technology (including many adolescents) were crazy about the ‘female pilot’ and the ‘racing-car driver’, who took concrete form and shape in the book. But the tabloid press’s craving for gossip and scandal was also served. The stomping grounds of the rich and beautiful were enticing, as they could not be experienced in everyday life by the masses, but were desired by many. ‘From time to time, we let off steam in the countryside, bathed in the Indian Ocean, … caught enormous fish, visited interesting native tribes, and occasionally, as a special treat, we gave away a present of a little passenger flight in our Taifun plane.’48 They met up with the family of the racing-car driver Hans Stuck on the Côte d’Azur, sunbathed on the beach and were happy ‘to have gamed in the Monte Carlo casino’.49 After they were married, their unruly behaviour got a little tamer; the emancipated bachelorette Beinhorn becomes almost a housewife. However, it could be said that through her husband’s early death, she finds her way back to her old life, making her living from adventure flights and their exploitation in the media. In her book, Beinhorn eschewed bowing too obviously to the new Germany. The principal NS leaders are quite peripheral. Only Korpsführer Hühnlein, the head of the National Socialist Motor Corps (Kraftfahrerkorps), features frequently, since he played a decisive role in the racing business. It could hardly be expected that such a publication would meet with resistance from the authorities, since these glamourous heroes seemed to set clear goals and were completely in keeping with trends, above all with respect to German youth: becoming a pilot and serving Germany. The not-entirelyconformist view of the world of the rich and beautiful could therefore be

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ignored. More generally also, with regard to ‘making Germany ready for war’ (‘Wehrhaftmachung’), Elly Beinhorn provided a concrete example. Her airplane, the Bf 108 Taifun, with which she undertook spectacular solo flights, including over Africa, later served as the basis for the standard fighter plane of the German air force, the Messerschmitt Me 109. Elly Beinhorn helped test its prototypes under extreme conditions.

‘Kings of Hearts’: The Görings Two of the most successful biographical texts from the NS era were dedicated to the most colourful couple among the ranks of the Nazi leadership: the Görings. Hermann Göring was considered by many to be one of the most popular men among Germany’s leaders. It has been suggested that the evidence for this is that ‘there were not as many humorous anecdotes circulating among the public about anyone other than him’.50 That’s certainly true: there were more jokes about ‘fat Hermann’ than about any other public figure. ‘Tinsel to the left, tinsel to the right, the belt around your middle gets more and more tight’ (‘Links Lametta, rechts Lametta und der Bauch wird imma fetta’). This was just one of the aphorisms written about the Prussian Minister President, Master of the Reich’s Forests and Hunt, Minister for Aviation and Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan (to name just a few of his titles). Hermann Göring. Werk und Mensch (Hermann Göring: The Work and the Man), published by Eher Verlag, sold no fewer than 810,000 copies following its publication in 1937.51 The author, Erich Gritzbach, was one of Göring’s closest associates among his staff, so the biography can be considered authorized, if not maybe even commissioned. Gritzbach first addresses ‘the work’, that is, the various functions Göring performed in the Nazi state. After that he deals with ‘the man’, offering retrospective portraits of Göring’s life before the Nazi seizure of power, including, for instance, his time as a pilot in the First World War. Erich Gritzbach bore responsibility for Göring’s public image, serving to some extent as the Reichsmarshall’s media spokesman. Thus, the publication of the book took on a semi-official character. On the one hand, it disseminated the heroic tale of the ‘first paladin of the Führer’, and, on the other, it lobbied for the offices and ministries that Göring presided over. Göring was too powerful for such unrivalled self-adulation to ignite any criticism. It is remarkable that the brief discussion of the book in Die Bücherkunde, although positively disposed to the work, deviates from such usual heavily standardized formulations as ‘the work is recommended’. Willingly or not, and playing on Göring’s stature, the text ended: ‘All in all, the book must be described as a wide-ranging phenomenon.’52 This applied as much to the biography as to its subject.

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More remarkable, however, was the success of a book about Göring’s first wife Carin, who was Swedish. She had died in 1931, but Göring did everything to preserve her memory. Since Hitler was considered to be single until the end of the war, Göring’s wives occupied the position of First Lady in the new state. As the First Lady of Hearts who died prematurely, Carin Göring hovered over everything. And this was not coincidental; Göring unleashed an unparalleled death cult surrounding his wife. He named his country estate to the north of Berlin Carinhall after her and erected an ostentatious crypt on the adjacent lake. Then, in 1934, he had his wife’s body transferred from Sweden to Germany. Amid a great outpouring of grief from the people who lined the streets and squares, the sarcophagus was transported to its destination. The entire event took on the scale of a state funeral, at which, in the presence of Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and several guests from the realms of politics and economic life, Carin was buried once again.53 Carin Göring’s biography had appeared just the previous year. ‘On the occasion of her transfer to, and burial in, German soil, demand will once again be great. Please, get your copies soon’,54 the publisher advertised in the Börsenblatt. And not in vain: in the year it appeared, the book had sold over 280,000 copies. From a marketing point of view, the author, one of the deceased’s sisters, had timed the appearance of the title extremely skilfully to coincide with the transfer of her sister’s mortal remains. In later editions, the conclusion is devoted entirely to Carin Göring’s reburial. This is where the political and the societal levels dovetailed. And the reward: Carin Göring sold around 720,000 copies, making it one of the thirty bestselling titles of the era.55 Under different circumstances, a book like this may well have been demonized as kitsch (which it undoubtedly was). However, under the guise of a biography from the inner circle of the Nazi potentate, a niche presented itself for the author and readers – as was the case with Elly Beinhorn. Heinrich Himmler, who read the book in December 1933, held it in high esteem: ‘The exquisitely written biography of an eternally exalted and noble woman, whose death for Göring was, and remains, a terrible loss.’56

From Kneipp Cures to Naturism: Self-Help Books on the Track to Success The books understood to be non-fiction that are available on the market are as diverse as the definitions of, and standpoints on, non-fiction itself. Naturally, such diversity also existed in the Third Reich, where non-fiction included factual books, guidebooks, companions and self-help books, the most successful and most peculiar of which will be examined here for the sake of comprehensiveness. Among them, way out in front, is a genuine long

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seller that first came onto the market in 1886: Sebastian Kneipp’s Meine Wasserkur (My Water Cure). Health advice books of this kind were the height of fashion, and Kneipp’s books, regardless of which edition, were all reputed to be ‘genuine books of the people’.57 Although it is difficult to establish an exact sales figure for the years 1933 to 1945, around 500,000 copies of this particular title (along with various other ‘Kneipp books’, which were also produced in high numbers) were sold. Equally successful was Johanna Haarer’s contribution to ensuring the people’s health, Die deutsche Mutter und ihr erstes Kind (The German Mother and Her First Child). The first edition appeared in 1934 in J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, and in 1943, right in the middle of the war, sales surpassed half a million copies. An early book review in Die Bücherkunde had expressed the hope that the book would find a ‘wide distribution’. ‘It is especially gratifying that clear and reassuring instructions are provided for the proper breeding [sic – yes, really!] of newborns and infants. What raises this little book above the many existing titles in this area is the spirit in which it is written.’58 That was, of course, the National Socialist spirit. After 1945, the book was able to build on its earlier success, although now it was not only German mothers who were addressed. The times had changed. By the 1980s, the work, now entitled Die Mutter und ihr erstes Kind (The Mother and Her First Child), had long since sold over a million copies. Haarer’s book fitted neatly into the Lehmann publishing programme. Julius Friedrich Lehmann was a National Socialist from the very start (Party number 878), and his publishing house enjoyed great success, above all with books on racial science and racial hygiene (or eugenics).59 Haarer translated the educational ideals of the National Socialists into practical advice. The fact that book titles took on a life of their own even at that time, tapping into genuine bestsellers like that of Haarer, is demonstrated by Ernst Heimeran’s Der Vater und sein erstes Kind (The Father and His First Child) of 1938. The book, which engaged with its subject in a humorous way, nevertheless climbed toward 100,000 in overall sales. Heimeran represented an unusual phenomenon in the book market of the time: an author, publisher and publishing house rep rolled into one. The Berlin book dealer Hans Benecke recalled: ‘I had a particularly friendly relationship with Ernst Heimeran. He travelled throughout Germany as the sole representative of his publishing house with a DKW automobile.’60 And Heimeran had positioned his book product skilfully: the appeal of Haarer’s work helped bring about vigorous sales. Without a doubt, however, one of the strangest bestseller successes in the Third Reich was a book on naturism. Achieving impressive sales of over 200,000, this book provides tangible evidence for the thesis that the National Socialists did indeed repeatedly make ‘sexual-conservative rallying cries’ on

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Figures 4.1 and 4.2. A small difference. By 1945 Johanna Haarer’s book had sold over half a million copies. Not only freed of the tiny adjunct ‘German’, but of all ideological ballast, the title went on to sell a further 1.2 million copies by 1987. Author’s collection.

the one hand, but that their reign was, on the other hand, ‘characterized sexually by the fuelling of many liberalizing tendencies’.61 In other words, in general there was no puritanical and prudish atmosphere in the Third Reich. Promiscuity, however, was coupled with racial ideology and thus constituted a freedom that only certain segments of the population could enjoy. The naturist movement had initially come under pressure shortly after the Nazis seized power, but it managed to survive through rapid voluntary conformity to the regime, eventually even achieving state recognition. The biggest success of the ‘people’s naturist movement’ was a ‘Police Decree on the Regulation of Bathing Culture’ (‘Polizeiverordnung zur Regelung des Badewesens’), passed in 1942.62 The decree permitted naked bathing in places where one could assume that one would not be seen. In 1936, the year of the Olympics, Hans Surén had his book on naturism, which had first appeared in 1924 under the title Der Mensch und die Sonne (Man and Sun), reissued as Mensch und Sonne. Arisch-olympischer Geist (Man and Sun in the Aryan-Olympic Spirit), a title more in keeping with the spirit of the times. The work, featuring a large number of photos, was published by Scherl Verlag, and was favourably certified and recorded in the NS Bibliography of Bouhler’s Party Examination

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Commission (PPK). Under the slogan ‘Committed to Germandom’,63 Surén undertook an ideological backfill with a portrayal of nude bathing in the spirit of National Socialism, providing, in the process, all sorts of tips for nude hiking, gymnastic exercises, clay baths and nude skiing (!). ‘In remote areas, lonesome nude hiking meets with universal approval. There are men who have savoured the exhilaration of such treks without incurring the disapproval of others’, Surén enthused: On the other hand, one should never want to force the sight of one’s naked body on others, because unstable, poorly raised people might lose their inner balance and become damaged. Such an imposition and the intentional exhibition of the naked person – as has, in fact, taken place in objectionable ways in the case of both women and men – such un-German excesses have been particularly prevalent among communists in recent years.64

This is just a brief taster from the book, in which the author showed himself quite happily undressed, or wearing only a ‘naked apron’ (Nacktschurz), a shining example of his Aryanized naturism. Even the SS magazine Das Schwarze Korps advertised Surén’s book, devoting an entire page to it in the run up to Christmas. ‘We want … – and here we are in complete agreement with Surén and his work – a strong and joyful affirmation of body awareness, because we need this to build up a strong and self-confident race.’65 Here, naturism was being viewed as a means to maintain or improve ‘racial health’. Surén was banned from the NSDAP in 1942 and was even imprisoned for allegedly masturbating in public, among other things. At this point, he was still represented in the book market with nine books, including Selbstmassage (Self-massage) and Surén-Atemgymnastik (Surén Breathing Technique).

Wunschkonzert (Request Concert): Books in Combination with other Media Non-fiction books and factual novels were the most successful types of books in the Third Reich. Furthermore, freed of their political time reference, many of the texts lived on after 1945. The genre consequently left a long-term mark on the book market. The way in which they oscillated between verifiable facts and shameless propaganda renders these works of popular non-fiction particularly typical of this period. One of the most advanced books of the publishing sector in media terms – and one of the most successful in propaganda terms – stemmed from a multimedia mega-project: the Wunschkonzert

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für die Wehrmacht (Request Concert for the Wehrmacht). It was, first and foremost, one of the most modern radio programme formats of the NS period, corresponding fairly precisely to what the Propaganda Minister had envisaged as a successful combination of propaganda and entertainment. In a similar fashion to his contribution to the discussion on light literature, Goebbels was also a proponent of light entertainment in the music sector, if that was what the people wanted. Here, too, he stood in opposition to conservative music critics and the President of the Reich Chamber of Music (Reichsmusikkammer), who polemicized against ‘hit songs’, ‘film kitsch’ and ‘revue operetta trash’.66 The request concert format corresponded fairly closely to the needs of the front, where soldiers were missing light radio entertainment: the man in the field no longer wanted simply to hear ‘oompah music’. And so music requests received by letter or phone with a donation and greetings to the homeland or the front were fulfilled. The reading out of the names of newborns also featured on the programme. The most prominent musicians, actors and orchestras of the time were lured on board, including Barnabás von Géczy, Heinrich George, Ilse Werner, Hans Moser, Zarah Leander, Charlie Rivel, Grethe Weiser, Paul Hörbiger, Lale Andersen, Heinz Rühmann, Theo Lingen and Marika Rökk. And the originator and producer of the request concerts, actor and radio announcer Heinz Goedecke, was commissioned by the Propaganda Minister to write a book about the extremely successful series, which aired twice a week for three hours during the winter months.67 If the publisher’s advertisements for the book are to be believed, the first 150,000 copies were sold in spring 1940 practically from a standing start. This would not be untypical for a book tied in with another media event, which cannot fail to be a so-called fast-moving product. Sales rose further to around 350,000 by 1942. Goebbels was extremely satisfied with the commissioned book, which Heinz Goedecke and one of his editors, Wilhelm Krug, had pulled together: Hadamovsky wrote a downright idiotic book about the campaign in Poland. In contrast, Goedecke has produced a wonderful book on the army’s request concerts. It sometimes moves one to tears. Our people reveal themselves to be wonderfully generous and good. Now we’ll carry off the request concerts again. This time, our first soloists will once again play a part. Each time, there must be a real demonstration of the culture of our people to the people themselves and to the world.68

It was a coffee-table book which succeeded in capturing the character of the concerts and thus became a souvenir for listeners across the country. Illustrated with a wealth of photos from the production of the series, and

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with portraits of stars and little caricatures, it practically invited one to page through it. At the same time, however, the semi-official nature of the enterprise was not concealed. A preface from the Minister and a foreword by one of the Ministry’s top radio functionaries open the volume. And, in the authors’ texts, too, current events are in no way suppressed. ‘And then there was war…’, one reads, and: In the East, the soldiers marched. Their current report on their location was out of date the following day already. The accommodation for the troops changed as the battlefields changed – and in the fresh footsteps of the regiments, in the broad tracks of the tanks, in the suction of the flying rockets, the youngest child of our war technology – radio – rolled and swam along with them.69

A film entitled ‘Request Concert’ even appeared in cinemas in December 1940, to a certain extent in the high phase of the request concert boom. In the film, the request concert forms a bridge between two lovers (Ilse Werner and Carl Raddatz), who met during the Olympics in Berlin in 1936, but then lost contact with one another during the war. Through a greeting aired on the request concert show, they eventually find each other again. The Propaganda Ministry used all its resources to ensure the film was enthusiastically received. At the cultural policy press conference held in the Ministry, the high-ranking editors present were expressly requested by Ministry representatives ‘to review the film “Request Concert” favourably’.70 With an estimated 23 million viewers, the flick was regarded as the second most successful NS entertainment film, directly behind Die große Liebe (The Great Love) featuring Zarah Leander.71 The astonishing thing about the radio programme was that the reality of war was not only not blanked out, but, when possible, actually hyped up or embedded in humour. Thus, the donations collected in connection with music requests were parcelled up into amusing verses over the air. ‘A pair of twins – two strapping lads – / ought to get a Christmas rabbit – / But the next set of triplets will get / 1,000 marks in cash // Ten mothers will, if nothing else / get their teeth completely mended – / Two men forego butter / for a child-rich mother.’ (‘Ein Zwillingspaar – zwei stramme Knaben –/ soll einen Weihnachtshasen haben. / Jedoch das nächste Drillingspaar / kriegt diesmal 1000 Mark in bar. // Zehn Müttern werden nicht zuletzt / die Zähne ganz instand gesetzt – / Zwei Mann verzichten auf die Butter / für eine kinderreiche Mutter.’)72 But it was not just heroic deeds and acts of charity that were discussed on the request concert programme. Those who had fallen also had their place. Thus, the names of soldiers who greeted their relatives back in the Heimat

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Figure 4.3. The Request Concert for the Wehrmacht was equally successful in radio, book and film format. Cover design by Manfred Schmidt, who later in the 1950s invented the comic character Nick Knatterton. Author’s collection.

were simultaneously a sign that they were still alive, that is, one which said: I’m okay. But, of course, it was also a sad reminder to those who were mourning a loved one. The book recounts the story of one such mother. ‘Her son could not be among those called. He had fallen at Radom. His comrades had removed his identity tag, taken a notebook from his pocket, and dug him a grave – and a bright birch cross now wore the brave boy’s steel helmet.’ The

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mother called the radio while the programme was on the air. She had found the lines of a song that her son had always liked to sing in his notebook: ‘Gute Nacht, Mutter’ (‘Good night, mother’). And the folks at the radio station sprang into action. The bassist Wilhelm Strienz knew the song. ‘Half an hour later. The mother was sitting once again in front of her radio – and then the announcer recounted the story of the notebook. Silence descended – in the broadcasting booth and all over the world, wherever the announcer’s voice reached. – And now the mother knew: Walter did not fall only for you but for everyone! ‘Gute Nacht, Mutter…’, the loudspeaker rang out.’73 There were many contributions of this kind, and it must be admitted that they were dramaturgically perfect and brilliantly enacted, and they spoke to the masses on a purely emotional level. In winter 1941, however, the series was not resumed after the summer break, allegedly because the technical and organizational costs were too great. Up to that point, seventy-five request concerts had been broadcast across the Reich.74 Perhaps it was a form of propaganda better suited to the era of lightning wars and reports of victory than to a country on the brink of ‘total war’.

Notes 1. Schenzinger, Anilin. Radio play adaptation in the Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv, recorded on 13 March 1937, broadcast on Deutschlandsender on 25 March 1937. 2. Cited in the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 106, no. 156, 8 July 1939, 3865. 3. Schütz, ‘“Ein Geruch von Blut und Schande …”’, 151. 4. ‘Was liest der Landser. Soldaten der Front und der Heimat antworten’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt 1943, 105. 5. Wehrenalp, ‘Volkstümliche Wissenschaft’, Die Literatur 39 (1937), no. 5, 273. 6. Gedanken über ein Jugendbuch. Besprechung mit Dr. Soll, Scherl-Verlag am 8. Mai [o. J.], Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL 337/10. 7. See ‘Schenzinger’ in Klee, Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich. 8. Schenzinger, Der Hitlerjunge Quex, 4. 9. Schenzinger, Anilin, 297. 10. Ibid., 305. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., 5. 13. Ibid., 375. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., 378. 16. For this and what follows, see Hahnemann, ‘Vom Sieg der Arbeit’. 17. Cited in Ibid., 125. 18. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no. 1, 6. 19. Zischka to Präsident des Kriegsschädenamtes Leipzig, 18 April 1944, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Zischka, Anton, 14 September 1904.

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20. Lebenslauf zum Fragebogen der Reichsschrifttumskammer, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Zischka, Anton, 14 September 1904. 21. Zischka to Präsident des Kriegsschädenamtes Leipzig, 18 April 1944, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Zischka, Anton, 14 September 1904. 22. Ibid. 23. Michael Prawdin, ‘Der Tatsachenroman’, Die Literatur 36 (1933/34), 256–59. Cited in Forschungsprojekt ‘Das populäre deutschsprachige Sachbuch im 20. Jahrhundert’, ‘Zum Tatsachenroman’. 24. For the influence of the film on sales, see Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 19, 278. 25. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 8, 25 April 1939, 5. 26. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 4, 199. 27. See Kiessling, Dr. med. Hellmuth Unger, 71, footnote 104. 28. Unger, Robert Koch. 29. See Kiessling, Dr. med. Hellmuth Unger, 37–44. 30. BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Unger, Hellmuth, 10 February 1891. 31. See Kiessling, Dr. med. Hellmuth Unger, 75. 32. See Ibid., 203. 33. Correspondence of SD des Reichsleiters SS to Kreisleiter der NSDAP Rosenheim, 10 July 1944, BArch (formerly BDC), PK, Diesel, Eugen, 3 May 1887. 34. Ortsgruppenleiter Belling, Brandenburg, to Kreisleiter der NSDAP Rosenheim, BArch (formerly BDC), PK, Diesel, Eugen, 3 May 1887. 35. Book review by Paul Fechter in the Berliner Tageblatt, 31 October 1937. Cited in Die Buchbesprechung 1 (1938), no. 1, 14–15. 36. Diesel, Diesel: Der Mensch – Das Werk – Das Schicksal, 5. 37. Quoted from advertising blurb of the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt Hamburg, in Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 10, 25 May 1938, 16. 38. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 8, 433. 39. Cited by Graeb-Könneker, Autochthone Modernität, 161. 40. For this and what follows, see Ibid., 165–69. 41. BArch (formerly BDC), PK, Diesel, Eugen, 3 May 1887. 42. Rosemeyer-Beinhorn, Mein Mann, der Rennfahrer, 7. 43. Day, Silberpfeil und Hakenkreuz, 183. 44. Ibid., 54–59. 45. Rosemeyer-Beinhorn, Mein Mann, der Rennfahrer, 7. 46. Ibid. 47. Ibid., 65. 48. Ibid., 111. 49. Ibid., 159. 50. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 2, 94. 51. Gritzbach, Hermann Göring. 52. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 2, 94. 53. Knopf and Martens, Görings Reich, 28–32. 54. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 141, 20 June 1934, 2638. 55. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff geb. Baronin von Fock-Stockholm, Carin Göring. 56. Lektüre, [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 69. The original falsely states ‘Göhr’ instead of ‘Göring’. 57. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 3,10 December 1939, 8. 58. Die Bücherkunde 2 (1935), no. 1, 35.

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59. See Heidler, ‘J.F. Lehmanns Verlag’. 60. Benecke, Eine Buchhandlung in Berlin, 121–22. 61. Herzog, Die Politisierung der Lust, 311. The original English version was Herzog, Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany. 62. See Linse, ‘Sonnenmenschen unter der Swastika’, 239–41. 63. Surén, Mensch und Sonne, 54. 64. Ibid., 55. 65. ‘Köperkultur, Privatsache?’, Das Schwarze Korps, 17 December 1936, 6. 66. Koch, ‘Das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht’, 5. 67. Letter from Goedecke to Landeskulturwalter Gau Berlin, 17 September 1940, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Goedecke, Heinz, 20 January 1901. 68. 4 March 1940, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 332. 69. Goedecke and Krug, Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, 30. 70. Protokoll der Kulturpolitischen Pressekonferenz vom 20. 12. 1940, BArch, R 55 /741. 71. Koch, ‘Das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht’, 7. 72. Goedecke and Krug, Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, 87. 73. See Ibid., 44–45. 74. Koch, ‘Das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht’, 7.

Chapter 5


鵷鵸 The ‘Book of all Books’: Hitler’s Mein Kampf The interrogation of Hitler’s former personal adjutant, Julius Schaub, on 27 October 1947, brought something astonishing to light. The American investigator, Rudolph L. Pins, actually wanted Hitler’s courtier to provide information on Hitler’s financial backers more than anything else. He assumed that German industrialists had supported him financially. On the afternoon in question, the investigator was especially interested in learning more about Hitler’s relationship with other members of the government. A particular focus was Max Amann, who had been Hitler’s sergeant (and his direct superior) in the First World War. Amann was Party member number 3, and among other things, served as director of the Party’s central publishing house, Franz Eher Verlag in Munich, and had therefore been the Führer’s publisher, as well as that of many of his comrades-in-arms. Amman was, in short, one of the most powerful figures in the media landscape of the Third Reich. Pins was extremely astonished when Schaub stated that ‘the Führer’s … bank account was with Eher Verlag.’1 ‘His entire account?’ was Pins’ incredulous follow-up question, as recorded in the transcript of the interrogation. This was confirmed by Hitler’s assistant: ‘His entire fortune that he had earned in royalties.’ This, he said, had been the case since the Party publisher came into existence, or more precisely, since Mein Kampf first appeared in 1925. ‘The royalties stayed in the account. He himself did not have a separate bank account, because he didn’t want one. Whenever the Führer needed money for his household, or if he wanted to buy anything, I called up Eher Verlag,

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or rather Herr Amann or Herr Pickel. Pickel was his personal accountant.’ If, say, Hitler told his adjutant that he needed 10,000 or 20,000 RM, then these sums were immediately placed at his disposal by Eher Verlag. And due to the sales figures of Mein Kampf, the account was always well stocked. According to Amann’s testimony after the war, Hitler had raked in contractual royalties amounting to around 15 million RM, of which he had accessed about 8 million by the end.2 As early as 1935, on the tenth anniversary of the first edition of Mein Kampf, Eher Verlag could boast total sales of over 1.9 million copies. Sales had picked up swiftly especially after 1933. Still, in March 1933, shortly after the Nazis came to power, only a quarter of a million copies had been printed and sold. The eventual great success of the book had not been foreseen immediately after it appeared. In 1925, the book market was in a deep crisis, and at 12 RM, the first volume was exorbitantly expensive. The clientele initially included Hitler’s direct followers, with the result that by Christmas of the first year after publication, around 10,000 copies had found a buyer.3 When the second volume came onto the market in December 1926, however, its sales were considerably more sluggish. And the absolute low point was reached in 1928, when the sum total of sales was only 3,000 copies for both volumes. The final sales balance for the book, viewed retrospectively, reads quite differently, though: by the time the Third Reich fell, over 12,450,000 copies had been printed and distributed to the people, of which fully 40 per cent were sold in the final years of the war, from 1942 until the regime’s demise.4 What holds for Hitler’s Mein Kampf applies to all National Socialist propaganda literature: the production numbers alone reveal nothing of how copies found their way to consumers, or if they were read. They were ‘compulsory reading’ or ‘compulsory gifts’, and thus ought not to be absent from any bookshelf, and so they constitute a crucial part of the bestseller lists of these years. And from 1933 onwards, of course, the work featured on all lists of recommended NS literature, and all libraries had to have it. In 1934, moreover, thanks to donations from German industry, all invalids from the First World War and all of those harmed in the ‘national uprising’ received a copy of Mein Kampf. And an oft-cited reason for its wide circulation is the fact that all couples marrying received a gift copy of it at the registry office. Obviously, after 1933, sales had nosedived to such an extent that Eher Verlag had to look for new markets and, in the process, turned to the municipalities and their registry offices – with only moderate success for the most part. Years later, above all large cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin were still refusing to pay 7.20 RM per married couple for the book. It was only through mass sales to the army that Eher Verlag was eventually able to exploit a lucrative and centrally controllable new market, especially during the war.5

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Figure 5.1. Going on the offensive with sales figures for advertising purposes: publisher’s ad from the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel in June 1933. Author’s collection.

‘In Germany, there are still national comrades, homes and families that do not yet own a copy of the Führer’s work Mein Kampf. But Mein Kampf is the sacred text of National Socialism and of the new Germany, and every German should own a copy. It isn’t a book to be read through, but instead a book to be worked and lived through’.6 This was how the man of letters Will Vesper expressed every German’s duty towards the work. And the Führer’s text could, naturally, not be bought second-hand. While authors today do not like finding their books on the bargain tables of bookshops, this must have constituted a real sacrilege in the case of Mein Kampf. Thus, on 11 October 1938, Hans Friedrich Blunck, the chairman by seniority of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), announced ‘that copies of the book [had to] disappear from display in second-hand bookshops.’ ‘No retail bookseller ought to be so politically antiquated as not to have internalized this guideline.’7 Prior to 1933, it was not easy for even the Führer to live from his royalties alone. What applied to him applied also to most of the other functionaries writing in the Third Reich. Having gained power, they exploited their

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influence and names to successfully disseminate their ‘products’, or, more precisely, their books and articles, among the people. In fact, already in the so-called ‘period of struggle’, many tried to cash in on their occupation as authors. The written word was thus a means to an end in two respects: it served to disseminate National Socialist propaganda slogans, and, at the same time, to create the financial means required by the movement and its key office-bearers. With royalties from journalistic and publishing occupation, Hitler and Co. financed first their Party work and then later their lavish lifestyles as well. Books (and the royalties from them) could – as the example of the Propaganda Minister in particular demonstrates – serve as a very concrete financial basis for a position of power within the leadership elite.

From Competitor to ‘Thought Leader’: Rosenberg’s Mythus (Myth) It is only possible in retrospect to say that Hitler’s Mein Kampf was the book, the catechism, the bible of National Socialism. In the ‘period of struggle’ before the seizure of power, however, this was an outcome that was far from given. Various authors in the Party competed through their publications for the ideological prerogative of interpretational sovereignty. Then, by the start of the 1930s, Hitler’s work had prevailed sustainably, while one of Hitler’s competitors, Alfred Rosenberg, had achieved only modest success with his Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (Myth of the Twentieth Century). The latter work, which first appeared in 1930, was ‘ignored for the most part outside of völkisch or … religious circles.’8 After 1933, the book had received the status of ‘semi-official’ literature, and its sales rose rapidly: from 73,000 in 1933 to 293,000 in 1935, and then 500,000 in 1938. In 1942, the book finally hit the million mark, a level that barely more than a dozen books attained during the Third Reich. Remarkably, however, the book was initially largely overlooked or consciously ignored by critics. The Rosenberg biographer Ernst Piper located only one single ‘review’ from before 1933, an article in the Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte, which had been penned by Rosenberg himself. And later, the large newspapers, including the Völkischer Beobachter, did not feel compelled to acknowledge it. In 1935 still, the press reviews, which the Hoheneichen Verlag printed for advertising purposes, came from such distinguished newspapers as the Hauptorgan der Dänischen Nationalsozialistischen Partei or the Darmstädter Tagblatt.9 The author himself, naturally, saw his mission quite differently. ‘The revolution in national policy is now over, but the transformation of minds has only just begun. The Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts now stands at the forefront in its service’, he philosophized in a foreword to his work.10 ‘As a source of royalty income, at least, Mythus was most certainly at the forefront’,

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Rosenberg biographer Piper claims. ‘While in 1932 Rosenberg had still had an annual taxable income of 19,000 RM, in 1934, it had already exceeded 57,000 RM. Of this, 15,100 RM were apportioned to income from salaried work, but 42,670 RM came from self-employment, first and foremost, from journalistic work, of which Mythus with its large print run must have constituted a large percentage. The struggle for people’s souls thus also yielded worldly recompense.’11 In 1935, Rosenberg’s royalties had reached 100,000 RM, which included 70,000 RM for sales of Mythus.12 The fact that surpassing the million mark bore significance beyond sales statistics was demonstrated by the event’s celebration in the press. ‘Rosenberg’s Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts one million copies!’ the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt proudly announced.13 Admittedly, unlike the Führer’s book, it had not become ‘a fundamental formulation of faith for the German people’, but it served as a catalyst for numerous intellectual debates, it was argued. And an article on the same subject in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung was also quoted, which stated that regardless of how lively intellectual life may have been in Germany, the book demonstrated ‘that the thunder of the artillery has not been silenced’.14 The passing reference to the fact that Mythus had not become a ‘fundamental formulation of faith’ points to the small but decisive difference between Mein Kampf and Rosenberg’s work. Practically from the time the Nazis came to power, the Führer and his work were above and beyond discussion. The Party Examination Commission (PPK) under Philipp Bouhler oversaw the use of all citations and excerpts from the book in other publications. Any kind of differentiated analysis was out of the question. The only acceptable reception appears to have been unconditional homage.15 While as late as 1935, for instance, the journal Der Katholik wrote in a rejoinder to Rosenberg of ‘unquestionable errors’ in Mythus and expressed the hope that the author would ‘withdraw his book or remove all parts that every Catholic would find most painful’,16 this would have been unthinkable in the case of Mein Kampf, akin, in fact, to blasphemy. Rosenberg’s ‘statement of faith’ – ‘that the myth of the blood and the myth of the soul, race and ego, of people and personality, of blood and honour, these alone and completely alone and uncompromisingly must permeate, support and determine all areas of life’17 – was more profound intellectually than Hitler’s (own) creed. Nevertheless, it was and remained nothing more than a commentary by one of Hitler’s ‘disciples’, not that of the would-be ‘Messiah’ himself. Regarding the ‘myth of the blood’, which is conjured up everywhere in Rosenberg’s writing, Victor Klemperer asked ‘whether the NS theory should not be reduced to a literal … murderous frenzy, which these people had imbibed during the World War – for all of them are somehow drunk, destabilized, obsessed, dangerously delirious’.18

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‘Number 12’ in the NSDAP: Philipp Bouhler In history books, Philipp Bouhler is known above all else as the person Hitler commissioned to carry out the criminal euthanasia policy. At the same time, he was and remained one of the regime’s most influential cultural functionaries and – unsurprisingly – also one of the most commercially successful authors. Bouhler was NSDAP member number 12. In 1920, he gathered his first experience in publishing as a volunteer in the völkisch publishing house J.F. Lehmanns in Munich. One year later, he was working for the Völkischer Beobachter, and later he became the Party’s deputy managing director, and was termed an old fighter in Party jargon – although still relatively youthful – because of his participation in the Hitler-Putsch of 1923. In 1937, he was personally tasked by the Führer with writing a ‘history of the movement’. His CV gave him the necessary legitimation for the job. Bouhler deployed his entire official Party apparatus for the preparatory work. The first volume of this scholarly work appeared two years later under the title Schriften zur Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung (Writings on the History of the National Socialist Movement). But such dry fare could not easily be monetized, even in the NS period. For that, it required a shrewd secondary exploitation. The resulting Lesebuch für die deutsche Jugend (Reader for German Youth), written by Bouhler and appearing under the actual title of Kampf um Deutschland (Struggle for Germany), provided a brief history of the NSDAP. It was considered compulsory reading in all youth associations and schools, and, in contrast to Bouhler’s initial work, it occupied one of the top spots on the Third Reich’s bestseller lists. Over 1.75 million copies of this book crossed the (virtual) bookseller’s counter between 1938 and 1945. Already in the brief preface to the book, Bouhler invoked biblical motifs. Like a disciple at the side of Jesus, he can be seen at the side of the Führer, roaming through the ‘forests of the Obersalzberg’. It was here, he claims, that the Führer had suggested to him that German schools urgently needed a history of the NSDAP. ‘With these pages, I have tried to solve this problem. May the book contribute to motivating German boys and girls to faithfully fulfil their duties and strengthen their fanatical belief in the German Volk and Reich and the Führer, whose legacy they will one day keep alive. For they are destined to be bearers of the German future.’19 Naturally, this mega-seller was put on the market by the Party-owned Eher Verlag. And once again, the Party elite to a certain extent printed their own cash. (Incidentally, Hoheneichen Verlag, which had published Mythus, belonged to the Eher concern from 1929, and was thus also a Party publishing house.) According to the records of the Finance Office in Munich, between 1940 and 1944, the Eher concern recorded annual turnovers of around 100 million

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RM and above.20 As a result, the NS press and publishing empire did not pale in comparison with other large enterprises during those years. The value-added chain worked, first and foremost, in favour of the Party barons who were directly involved. Whoever had their work adopted in the Party’s canon was assured a stable income. Numbering among the ‘Standard Works of German Writing’ from the perspective of the publishing house, alongside Mein Kampf, were the writings of Goebbels, Robert Ley, Rosenberg and Zöberlein, among others, but also Hermann Göring. Werk und Mensch (Herman Göring: Work and Man) by Erich Gritzbach.21 Alongside the omnipresent advertising of such works, their ‘sales success’ could in many ways even be guaranteed by decree. This occurred, for example, when the Reich Ministry of Education issued an edict stating that ‘the book of Reichsleiter Bouhler, Kampf um Deutschland (Eher Verlag, Munich) [is] to be used in secondary schools in history lessons for fifth-year pupils’.22 The decree was clearly a resounding success. Even Victor Klemperer managed to get hold of the book through an acquaintance. ‘It was a compulsory purchase by her 16-year-old daughter, who had apparently been required to use it at a vocational college, as a 14- or 15-year-old, and now wanted to burn it.’23 It is fascinating how meticulously Klemperer read and annotated such propaganda literature in January 1945 in the context of the decline of the Nazi regime. In particular, with regard to his investigation into the language of the Third Reich (Lingua Tertii Imperii, or LTI), the philologist struck it rich with Bouhler. ‘The poor, deliberately poor LTI’, he wrote. ‘Bouhler uses the dozen stereotypical words and expressions.’ Klemperer then counts up the stereotypes, including ‘fantastic, conditioned by the blood, soil, generous propaganda, movement, subhumandom’, as well as many images from the realm of technology, such as ‘crank up the economy’. And ‘destiny’ (Vorsehung) was also very popular, in Bouhler as well as in Hitler’s writings. ‘“The Almighty”’, Klemperer went on, had ‘come into the parlance only in the New Year’s address of 1944.’

Dr. med. Ahlswede: Ghost writer in Dollar Paradise The type of book that Anton Zischka had been instrumental in co-developing, and which was already heavily propagandistic in his case, was carried to extremes in a publication by Eduard Ahlswede, both in terms of form and publishing success. In Gottes eigenem Land: Ein Blick ins ‘Dollar Paradies’ (In God’s Own Country: A Look Inside ‘Dollar Paradise’), a polemical reckoning with modern North America, sold over 1.1 million copies through 1945. Whether they were all sold, or also reached readers via distribution by mass organizations, is anyone’s guess.

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Ahlswede was yet another medical doctor who reached for a typewriter – to great acclaim. He also continued to work as a doctor, including during the war, in the service of the army in a reserves’ hospital in Hamburg. The Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) exempted him from having to join, since he only wrote occasionally, even though, together with his father, he had written a book with the English title Made in England which took the British health system to task. Presumably Ahlswede was approached directly by Eher Verlag for In Gottes eigenem Land and was encouraged to produce the booklet. He knew the US first-hand, having lived in New York from 1923 to 1932 and worked as a doctor there – charged, among other things, with the cosmetic treatment of ‘young, but mostly prematurely washed-out actresses and dancers.’24 Already in his youth, and later as a student, he lived – quite the cosmopolitan – in London and Cambridge, among other places. And at the end of his time in the States, he had stepped forward before an expert audience with an eighthundred-page textbook on the treatment of skin diseases.25 As a doctor, he thus also seems to have been above average. Ahlswede’s booklet came as if cooked to order, as a propagandistic accompaniment to the changed Party line vis-á-vis the US after the Reich’s declaration of war on Washington in December 1941. Basically, Germany’s relationship to the United States had always swayed between admiration and condescension. ‘Americanism’ could be a bogeyman and wishful thinking combined into one. This remained the case initially in the Third Reich. But after the Japanese attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbour, it became urgent for the German population to commit itself to the new enemy. Ahlswede reported as one who had been to the US, a fact which lent him credibility. As a parody of the fourteen points that US President Wilson outlined in 1918 for the establishment of a European post-war order, Ahlswede opens his booklet with the ‘American 14 Points’: Of the united philistines in the US one can say: 1. They believe everything they see in print (I saw it in the papers.), e.g. including aliens from Mars and Germany preparing to attack the US, and such like. 2. They all have the same point of view … The somewhat bleak sources of wisdom are mostly the Hebraic variety stages on Broadway. … 5. They all chew gum and have a gap in their teeth … where the gum occasionally rests. …

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Figure 5.2. In Gottes eigenem Land: Ein Blick ins ‘Dollar-Paradies’ (In God’s Own Country: A Look Inside Dollar Paradise) promised authentic insights into life in the United States, but was instead a polemical settling of scores with the wartime enemy. Author’s collection.

10. They all confuse civilization with culture. … 13. They survive on canned food and are upset that the cans cannot be opened with a zipper …’26

It is a catalogue in which Ahlswede pulls together and rehashes all the old clichés and enemy images of anti-Americanists. Ahlswede’s frequent use of such turns of phrase give the impression that he possesses linguistic insider knowledge. The medic describes it all quite pointedly. After a few pages, however, the reader begins to wonder how the author, if he found everything

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as he describes it, could hold out for almost ten years in this country, where money is everything. From Ahlswede’s point of view, what is most characteristic of conditions in America are the contrasts between rich and poor, the lack of all education (he relishes descriptions of libraries in his hosts’ homes, consisting only of fake books) and the ‘unhealthy’ atmosphere of a mix of peoples. The author also points up wherever possible the ‘harmful influence’ of Jews, not to mention native Americans and Blacks, who are also mentioned disparagingly. And, of course, the US Americans invented the ‘ghostwriter’: Numerous reporters … have specialized in writing the desired essay, autobiography or even technical book for any nutcase who has become known across the land for his baking powder or scrubbing brushes, and presenting them in the shortest time possible under the nutcase’s signature. The latter is then a writer whose book can be found in the front row in bookshops. Of course, in order to become an American author, one must help out with the required ‘coconuts’.27

In such cases, Ahlswede goes on, the publishers would mostly approach the celebrity and pitch the idea of a ghostwriter. In this respect, though, the German book market in the 1930s and 1940s would have to be described as working under American conditions: in other words, this was simply common practice in modern publishing, something that German publishers could not forego either. It could be that in Germany, the ghostwriter was frequently just a better-kept secret. But Ahlswede will not have turned down the ‘coconuts’ on offer from the Party publishing house. In light of the enormous print runs, which will have brought Ahlswede’s writing most surely into the hands of soldiers among others, it should come as no surprise that anti-American resentment was disseminated among the German people, with lasting effect. The good doctor’s images and motifs could be drawn on after 1945. And ‘American conditions’ are repeatedly invoked to this day to characterize a society as antisocial and polarized in terms of the rich and poor. Many propaganda messages thus had their desired effect only years or even decades later.

‘Our Doctor’: Joseph Goebbels as Journalist and Book Author Where would the Nazis have found their Berlin Gauleiter and later Reich Propaganda Minister (Reichspropagandaminister) if Joseph Goebbels’ job applications at the start of the 1920s had been successful, and, instead of embarking on the career of propagandist, he had become a successful journalist? Maybe even a successful novelist? These two questions are not

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purely hypothetical. Between 1922 and 1924, Goebbels volunteered at the Westdeutsche Landeszeitung. Later he offered his services to the Vossische Zeitung as well as the Berliner Tageblatt, without success. The two renowned newspapers, one published by Ullstein, the other by Mosse, did not wish to hire the unemployed academic. Perhaps this affront accounts for some of his hatred toward the established press and the traditional Jewish publishing houses? As a grammar-school boy and student of German philology, Goebbels had already felt a compulsion to write. He began with outlines for a novel entitled Michael Voormann. Ein Menschenschicksal in Tagebuchblättern (Michael Voormann: A Human Fate in Diary Entries), which was first published in 1929 by the NSDAP’s central publishing house, Franz Eher Verlag. At this point, the author who had been Gauleiter for a few years in the battleground city of Berlin had already received attention in other areas. Measured against the high profile of its author, Michael did not become a genuine bestseller. It only sold around 90,000 copies. But Goebbels was in a writing mania that was not to stop until the end of National Socialist rule in 1945. ‘I don’t write for pleasure but because my thoughts are at once a torture and a pleasure … I have the sense that I must confess. I want to write down everything in my soul.’28 Goebbels’ extensive diary entries, an important source on the history of the Third Reich, were an expression of this urge to communicate. With the Nazi takeover and the founding of the Ministry of Propaganda in March 1933, the freshly baked Minister had a new area of responsibility. Journalistic work took a bit of a backseat. The Propaganda Minister initially reached out to the public with books – Das erwachende Berlin (The Awakening of Berlin, 1933) as well as Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei and Kampf um Berlin (From the Kaiserhof Hotel to the Reich Chancellery, and Struggle for Berlin, both 1934). The most successful publication, with sales of around 660,000, was his report from the period of struggle, Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei. Among the leading lights of the NSDAP, there was some journalistic jousting as well. The trade press followed the popularity of the top three very closely. Over a few years, the public library trade journal Die Bücherei published a list of the hit titles that were purchased most frequently by the public libraries. In 1935, Mein Kampf was number 21, with 243 copies. In first place was the Propaganda Minister with Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei (404 copies). And far behind in 70th place was Rosenberg, with 126 copies.29 This competition among the big propagandists seems all the more remarkable considering that they and their offices were engaged in a fervent battle against ‘vogue writing’ at the time. The temptation to make money from ‘national writing’ dumped hastily onto the market was simply too great. A veritable deluge of NS publications was disgorged into the book market after 1933. Many authors and publishing houses suddenly discovered their

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National Socialist vein. The Party leaders’ battle against this phenomenon was also intended to protect sales of their own works more than anything else. They did not want to have to share this lucrative business segment with others. The rapid saturation of the market with NS literature was registered by publishers as early as summer 1933. The head of the Coleman publishing house in Lübeck, which had published, among other things, one of the first Goebbels biographies, was quick to complain: Our travellers [i.e. sales reps] have all confirmed to us that the wholesalers’ inventories as well as those of retail booksellers are overstocked with nationalist literature. At the moment, the German book trade is in a deep depression. This is most definitely a trade-cyclical phenomenon, because the public doesn’t usually buy books over the summer. But, in this year, a veritable high tide of so-called national literature has been brought onto the market with the result that wholesalers as well as retailers [are] saturated right now.30

And other publishers, such as the well-known Loewe Verlag, which specialized in children’s and young adult literature, had to admit two years after the Nazis came to power that ‘contemporary books are no longer in demand.’31 In part, the sharp tone the NS press adopted towards the ‘boom riders’ (‘Konjunkturritter’) is almost understandable, since the boom in national material produced strange effects. The writer Wilfrid Bade, for instance, whose novel Die SA erobert Berlin (The SA Takes Berlin) was serialized in more than seventy newspapers and sold over 60,000 copies in book form, received an offer from a translator who wanted to translate the work into Plattdeutsch (Low German) with the title Wodennis de S.A. Berlin in ne Wull kreegen hett (How the SA Fought for Berlin). The enclosed sample, however, did not convince Bade, who was also an assistant head of a department in Goebbels’ Ministry, to agree to the translation plan.32 In the meantime, as Goebbels saw it, the sales of his own books could not be high enough. He was no boom rider; he was merely setting the tone. Only in this way was it possible for him to live consistently beyond his means. He bought his villa on Schwanenwerder Island in Berlin with money that Max Amann, at Hitler’s insistence, had sent his way, in recognition of his significance as one ‘of Eher Verlag’s best authors’.33

Soft Propaganda at Its Finest: The Reemtsma Cigarette Picture Albums Alongside the flood of Nazi titles on the book market, the standard-bearers of the Third Reich had to deal with some other, very different problems after 1933. Their extremely successful propaganda campaign against the hated

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Figure 5.3. Family Album. The cigarette picture albums of the Reemtsma company were part of the so-called soft propaganda. A range of volumes, such as Deutschland erwacht (Germany’s Awakening) featured here, containing photos of Hitler, were published in their millions. From Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, Deutschland erwacht, 1933, author’s collection.

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Weimar Republic during the ‘period of struggle’ had outlived its usefulness. Against whom or what should they continue to rage when they themselves were at the helm? Now they had to succeed in redirecting the ‘momentum of the movement’ towards new goals. The hour had struck for ‘integration propaganda’.34 The propagandist no longer had first and foremost to stir up a band of sworn fighters against the ‘system’, but instead needed to persuade many Volksgenossen (‘national comrades’) to support the new state. And the only thing to do was to reach back to forms of popular culture which were known to large swathes of the population. Media that had been frowned upon for some time, such as pulp fiction, thus gained a new and unexpected pride of place. But modern kinds of publications were also picked up, developed further and exploited for the party’s own goals with concentrated economic and propagandistic force. No product on the book market epitomizes this form of propaganda as perfectly as the collector card albums. The best-known among these were the cigarette picture albums produced by Reemtsma, which were also the print products with the highest circulation on the book market at the time. Many of them exceeded the million mark, and they all sold in the hundreds of thousands. A good example is Deutschland erwacht (Germany’s Awakening). The choice of photos for many of these works was the responsibility of Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann. The text of the album in question was produced by Wilfrid Bade, but it was expanded by shorter contributions from Hitler’s adjutant Julius Schaub, Reich Youth Leader (Reichsjugendführer) Baldur von Schirach and Reich Head of Media (Reichspressechef ) Otto Dietrich, among others. The album is dominated by images of marching NSDAP supporters from all conceivable perspectives – jubilant masses, young flag bearers and, of course, the dynamic and decisive Führer of the movement – in a set of appealing photos. The album that the reader stuck the pictures into – like a personal photo album – became a collective souvenir album of the National Socialist ‘people’s community’. It preserved a past that was now shared with hundreds of thousands of other people. And the little pictures or picture vouchers found in cigarette packets also served to strengthen the brand loyalty of the smoking customers. Even though the private company Reemtsma, established in 1932, appeared from the outside to be the producer of the albums through its Cigarette Picture Service, the responsibility for images and texts – as can be evidenced for this volume, at least – lay in the very different hands of the Propaganda Ministry. Karl Hanke, Undersecretary in the Propaganda Ministry and a close confidant of Goebbels, had first introduced Bade, the author of the text, to Reemtsma. Hanke had been a personal adjutant of the ‘Doctor’ since 1932, and served as Goebbels’s personal assistant in the Minister’s Office from its founding. He had editorial responsibility for the Cigarette Picture Service titles in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, carried out

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negotiations with Reemtsma – along with Heinrich Hoffmann – and had an advisory role in the whole production process. What is more, during the development phase, all sections of the manuscripts were presented to him for approval. Hanke thus played a considerable role in determining the thematic direction of the album.35 The albums make it strikingly clear how commercial and propagandistic interests worked hand in glove. Certainly, beyond any doubt, they constituted part of the boom writing, but they were not excommunicated, since they had the blessing of those at the very top, and leading offices were instrumental in bringing them about. For they had an integrating effect in two respects: to begin with, they were supposed to help enthuse all Volksgenossen (‘national comrades’) for the good cause, and, aside from this, they helped Reemtsma change its image fundamentally, from that of a representative big business, originally viewed with considerable hostility, to a well-regarded supporter of the NS cause.36 There were also many albums on civil subjects, such as art history, or on the secret world of plants and animals. Günter Grass recalls acquiring his first knowledge of art history through these albums, not least thanks to his mother’s smoking habit, which kept the albums coming.37

Of Print-Run Millionaires and ‘Commercial Bee-Keeping’ In view of such official Party co-productions in the grand style, a campaign that Goebbels carried out from time to time within his Ministry seems more than a little hypocritical. In an internal memo, he railed as early as 1934 against everyone who was creatively engaged while also working in an official capacity. And there were quite a few such people. A ‘conflation of official and private creative work’ was considered by the Minister to be highly problematic. ‘In my Ministry, there should be neither sculptors, nor poets, nor actors, nor theatre directors,’ and, he continued, ‘my staff are instead tasked with looking after art and artists out of true artistic sensibility and with channelling the activity of these artists in the proper direction.’38 In the event that someone could not renounce creative work, the Minister put it to his subordinates, they should quit the service. In formal terms, the guidelines of the Propaganda Ministry were clear. Any spare-time work, including writing, had to be sanctioned through official channels. Ministry officials, particularly when it came to ‘publications with political content’,39 and ones that touched on the Ministry’s business, could not name their office in the publication. Books were not to give the false impression of being official statements in this way. However, neither guideline was ever fully adhered to. People within the Ministry had to be reminded

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again and again of the guidelines, and Goebbels’ strident appeal in the early years of the Propaganda Ministry that one should either work creatively or administratively – but not both – eventually died away. Over the years, the ministerial bureaucracy repeatedly endeavoured to channel artistic energy. As late as 1941, high-ranking officials in the Ministry gathered to overcome the problem of additional income from writing. Considerable sums had, on occasion, been earned by employees, which ‘in a few cases, even surpassed the income from their main activity’.40 It was claimed, moreover, that, since information was frequently used that the individual had received through their official activity, such side business was doubly unjustifiable, because private income had been earned through this official knowledge. The highranking circle consequently came up with the plan of setting up a charitable foundation to which at least a portion of such income could be directed, in order to finance expenses for the community, such as ‘social evenings’ within the Ministry. The planned foundation was never set up, however. Alongside sceptics in the ministerial bureaucracy, Goebbels himself would scarcely have been in favour of such a model out of self-interest. Ultimately, enrichment at all levels of the dictatorship had had its methods for some time, and why should the pseudo-rule of law through the experiments of a few administrators change that? The highest reaches of government, furthermore, were always busy regulating far more harmless sidelines: ‘The Herr Reich Minister of the Interior (Reichsminister des Innern) points out that the commercial activity of bee-keeping by officials as an additional occupation is always subject to authorization.’41 However, while some worried about their royalties, reading books had meanwhile become the ‘lifeblood’ of others – and had also become lifethreatening. Victor Klemperer recorded in his diary after reading Rosenberg’s Mythus: ‘I didn’t understand very much of it, & the little that I did is always the same.’42 Reading Rosenberg, moreover, almost proved disastrous for the brave Romance philologist, when the book was discovered during one of the Gestapo’s frequent ‘visits’ to his home. ‘This time this reading matter counted against me as a terrible crime. They hit me on the head with the book, I was slapped across the face, they put a ridiculous straw hat … on me: “You look beautiful!” When I then answered upon being questioned that I had been in office until 1935, two geezers who were known to me spat between my eyes.’43 Victor’s ‘Aryan’ wife Eva, who arrived on the scene a short while later, came to her husband’s defence by stating that she had borrowed the book, and that she alone had any interest in it. Still, the Gestapo men insisted that the book had to be returned without delay and that the Klemperers should refrain from even visiting a lending library in future. The couple’s household was then ransacked by the Gestapo henchmen, on top of the emotional vandalism. But, in his inimitable way, totally concentrated on his academic

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work, Klemperer summed it up afterwards like this: ‘But the really irreparable damage is losing access to the lending library. Now my opportunities to study are even more limited than before. I will ask and beg around in all Jewish families … ; but, without question, I am, as it were, even more feebly positioned than before.’44 This, too, was ‘bestseller reading matter’ in Germany in the Reich of the National Socialists.

Notes 1. Hoover Institution Archives, German Subject Collection, Box 44, File: German Subject, Post WW II, Nuremberg, Prosecution. 2. Plöckinger, Geschichte eines Buches, 184. 3. Ibid., 177. 4. Ibid., 188. 5. See Ibid., 432–43. 6. Cited in Overesch, Das Dritte Reich, 8279. 7. Cited in Ibid., 8524. 8. Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 184. 9. Publisher’s ad in Rosenberg, An die Dunkelmänner unserer Zeit, 105. 10. The preface to Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts elaborated in this way in spring 1934. Cited in Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 293. 11. Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 293. 12. Honorarabrechnungen mit dem Eher-Verlag per 31.12. 1935, in BArch, NS 8/144, A-E,1928–1945, Bl. 15. 13. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 21, 311. 14. Ibid. 15. See Plöckinger, Geschichte eines Buches, 415. 16. ‘Die Antwort Alfred Rosenbergs. Seine neue Schrift An die Dunkelmänner unserer Zeit’, Der Katholik, 12 May 1935, 4. 17. Rosenberg, Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts, 699. 18. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 4 June 1942. 19. Bouhler, Kampf um Deutschland, 7. 20 . Tavernaro, Der Verlag Hitlers und der NSDAP, 70. 21. Ad from the NSDAP’s central publishing house, Franz Eher Nachf. GmbH, Munich-Berlin, in Bouhler, Kampf um Deutschland, 110–11. 22. ‘Bouhlers Kampf um Deutschland im Geschichtsunterricht [Kurznotiz]’, JugendschriftenWarte 44 (1939), no. 5, 79. 23. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 10 January 1945. 24. Ahlswede, In Gottes eigenem Land, 89. 25. BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Ahlswede, Eduard, 4 November1891. The book was Ahlswede, Practical Treatment of Skin Diseases, 1932. 26. Ahlswede, In Gottes eigenem Land, 4. 27. Ibid., 78. 28. Cited in Reuth, Goebbels, 71. 29. Cited in Plöckinger, Geschichte eines Buches, 423.

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30. Letter from Otto Fuchs, Verlagsdirektor bei Coleman, to Wilfrid Bade, 2 August 1933, Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Collection, Box 2, Correspondence 1933 (A–F). 31. Letter from Loewe Verlag to Wilfrid Bade, 26 November 1935 [Carbon copy], Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Collection, Box 3, Correspondence 1936 (A–P). 32. Attachment to letter from Friede Stabani to Wilfrid Bade, 4 December 1934, Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Collection, Box 1, Correspondence 1933 (P–Z). 33. Cited in Reuth, Goebbels, 341. 34. This was described in detail by Thymian Bussemer in Propaganda und Populärkultur. 35. Letter from Wilfrid Bade to Fa. Reemtsma, 5 March 1939 [Carbon copy], Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Collection, Box 5, Correspondence 1939 (R–Z). 36. See Lindner, Die Reemtsmas, 110–13. 37. Grass, Beim Häuten der Zwiebel, 11–14, 52. 38. Nachrichtenblatt des Reichsministeriums für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, 1 August 1934, BArch R 55 / 432, Bl. 48. 39. Vermerk von RR Dr. Baumann, 29 February 1941, BArch R 55 / 46, Bl. 275. 40. Bericht über die Sitzung vom 11. November 1941 in Abt. Pers., 26 November 1941, BArch R 55 / 831, Bl. 40. 41. Nachrichtenblatt des Reichsministeriums für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, no. 11, 1 June 1934, BArch R 55/432, Bl. 38. 42. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, entry from 9 June 1942. 43. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, entry from 11 June 1942. 44. Ibid.

Chapter 6


鵷鵸 From the Trenches to the Writing Desk He had a hard time with the plunge into insignificance. No professional ban was imposed on him, but compared to his epic bestseller successes before 1945, he was now only selling a few books. He had to keep his head above water with commissions, such as company festschrifts among other things. In the denazification process, Paul C. Ettighoffer successfully convinced the committee of his personal integrity. Certainly, he had belonged to the NSDAP, which was initially a burden for him. However, they were satisfied that he had to some extent become a member of the Party as part of his existential struggle against the Party, to retain his status as a freelance writer – a feat of skill involving some attitudinal acrobatics: ‘Belonging to the Party, however, did not protect him from the intrigues and hatred of the Party bigwigs.’1 With this sentence, the members of the main denazification committee in Bonn in 1949 formally commiserated with him, thus appropriating a form of argumentation almost surely penned by his lawyer. In the Third Reich, Paul Coelestin Ettighoffer counted as one of the greats in his field. Almost all of his books achieved print runs of 200,000 or more. His Verdun. Das Große Gericht (Verdun: The Great Judgement) was one of the most successful First World War books of its time. It sold around 400,000 copies. It was also its publisher C. Bertelsmann’s first ever book to shift 100,000 copies within a year.2 It numbers among the products that signalled the rise of the old, established family firm to a worldwide media

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concern. This publishing house in Gütersloh was responsible for Ettighoffer’s first success, and vice versa. Resolute and clear-eyed, the young Ettighoffer had posed for a photo of himself as ‘leader of a combat patrol’ surrounded by his men somewhere on the Western Front, which would later grace the frontispiece of his book recounting his wartime experiences. An author could scarcely get any closer to his subject. The photo was allegedly taken ‘just a few hours before an attack’, a fact which vouches for the authenticity of the account. The report on Verdun, a commissioned piece, appeared on the book market in 1936, twenty years after the great battle. In the years that followed, Ettighoffer became one of the most successful Bertelsmann authors ever.3 Ettighoffer’s work was part of a whole glut of war novels, war-experience books or – as the phenomenon has been called elsewhere – ‘armed services belles lettres’ (Wehrbelletristik).4 When the book appeared in 1936, this large boom had already been going on for several years. Indeed, the book-market researchers of the time reckoned that the market for this form of literature must be nearing saturation point. The Leipzig Institute for Reading and Book Research (Leipziger Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde) had, already in the 1920s, been conducting research into reading habits on the basis of statistics on loans from various local libraries. It compiled a detailed study on the ‘World War Book’, in other words the ‘book of experiences and memories of frontline soldiers’ – a report which was (no less militaristically) entitled ‘A Reading and Writing Studies Report on the Front’. In it, the researchers detected reader interest in the topic ‘World War’, which started in 1929 and then increased sharply thereafter. This increase, to some degree, was indicative of a ‘national renewal’ already before 1933. It mentions pertinent authors such as Edwin Erich Dwinger, Werner Beumelburg, Hans Zöberlein and Ernst Jünger. On the other hand, the study discreetly ignored authors such as Ernst Glaeser and Ludwig Renn, who, with Jahrgang 1902 (Born in 1902) and Krieg (War) respectively, had spearheaded this reawakening of interest in the First World War around ten years after Germany’s defeat in 1918. Frequently hushed up – or only mentioned as a negative example – is Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, the epitome of the First World War novel. Remarque’s book had, on the one hand, intuitively and skilfully picked up on the public’s great interest in the subject, and, on the other, also aroused and strengthened new interest. The work was serialized in the Vossische Zeitung in 1928–29, and the book itself, subsequently published by Ullstein, had a print run of over one million copies within a year. A year later, the sound film based on it appeared in cinemas.5 The title had sold at a rate previously unknown in this period. For a long time, it was consequently considered to be the first real bestseller in the history of

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Figure 6.1. Paul Coelestin Ettighoffer, one of the most successful authors of war novels and experience reports, poses in summer 1943 in his Wehrmacht uniform at the Arctic Circle. Private picture, author’s collection.

German literature, and it remains one of the most successful German books to this day. Joseph Goebbels, later Propaganda Minister, had read it already in July 1929, and in one sitting: ‘A vile, subversive book. The war memoir of a conscript. Nothing more. In two years, no one will be speaking about this book any longer. But it has affected millions of hearts. The book exists. For that reason, so dangerous.’6 But Goebbels was wrong about the book’s lifespan. For many years, Remarque remained the favourite adversary of the Right, someone who had to be dealt with, someone they wanted to outdo. When the film appeared in German cinemas, the National Socialists got a ban imposed on it by organizing riots at several performances in Berlin, something that Gauleiter Goebbels could hail as a great victory. However, whether explicitly or only through insinuation, Remarque was always present in discussions about books on the First World War. The critics in Alfred Rosenberg’s Die Bücherkunde, for

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instance, could crow, on the one hand, about the vast number of war books – since here, finally, ‘the epic achievement of the front fighter [was being] honoured’. But, on the other hand, in view of the glut of texts, there was a danger that things might go awry: ‘In the case of other [authors], naturalism is so foregrounded that it seems to almost displace the heroic and reminds one alarmingly of Remarque.’7 Wherever the NS author went, Remarque – the ‘asphalt writer’ so vilified by right-wing critics – was already there, at least as measured by his success. The ‘book about the war’ was to become the most successful as well as the predominant type of literary book in the Third Reich, and not only because of the new conflict that soon appeared on the horizon. Anyone looking at the sales figures and scrutinizing the top one-hundred books cannot avoid drawing this conclusion. And if one adds non-fiction books, war experience books, novels on the subject and the almost daily reports from the front, beginning with the Spanish civil war, the history of bestsellers under the swastika could be described as a non-stop confrontation with the First World War and its direct consequences. At the same time, there is a permanent ‘need to prove oneself ’, both in terms of content and economically. The nationalist authors wanted – indeed, had to – write the best, most authentic and successful war books.

Frontline Soldiers in Hitler’s Service: P.C. Ettighoffer, Werner Beumelburg and Hans Zöberlein Ettighoffer participated in the competition to write the best book about the war which was now unleashed. He had also taken part in the war itself, as mentioned above. In 1914, the Alsatian, who had been born in Colmar, had volunteered to fight, was wounded several times and was decorated for special services. After the war, he worked as a reporter and writer. Verdun. Das Große Gericht is a work of journalism. The book presents itself as an overview based on historical sources of the events around Verdun, which the author, to a certain extent, brings to life through having ‘been there’. The documentary character is also reinforced with numerous photos. Whereas in Remarque’s work, individuals with a face suffer and die, the machine of war is the focus here. The narrator has an overview of events and evokes a spirit that unites all frontline soldiers, including former enemies. The book leaves no doubt that the ‘blood-mill’ senselessly consumed Germans as well as Frenchmen. It rounds off with an epilogue, in which Ettighoffer reports on commemorations of the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, which are being marked by former combatants from all nations. ‘In the languages of the frontline soldiers assembled here, thousands swore on

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the mortal remains of the dead to uphold and protect world peace. And in all of Europe’s languages, far through the night, the refrain echoes: “We swear!”’8 The pledge, however, could not prevent Europe being at war again only three years later – but nonetheless, Ettighoffer’s First World War epic continued to be printed. And a good twenty years after Verdun, the author was once again in uniform, this time that of the Wehrmacht. He served as deputy company commander of a propaganda unit,9 where he was able to use his journalistic skills in the service of the war. During this time, Ettighoffer and his books belonged to the top earners of popular fiction. In 1942, he achieved an income of around 100,000 RM. In the same year, he received the Erwin von Steinbach Prize of the Goethe Foundation. His publishing house celebrated this with an ad on the front pages of the Börsenblatt: ‘He, the warrior in the Great War, gave the remembrance and example of their fathers to the new generation. He strengthened their fighting spirit through his books and donned the steel helmet with them once again for the great military engagement that will bring victory – also to those who fell back then – so that we may live.’10 The conflict, which was later termed the Second World War, is portrayed here as a logical continuation of the First World War. The interwar period was to some extent a pause to catch one’s breath. In a brief portrait of Ettighoffer with the headline ‘Poet amidst the Weapons’, the author himself had struck an even more fanatical tone. In the form of a profession of faith, he wrote: We soldiers believe in a German victory! We all believe in it as steadfastly as in God and the mission of the Führer. … We have faith in our victory as we do in our strength and our goodwill. And our victory will be as great as that humiliation we experienced during the time of the long ceasefire from November 1918 to August 1939. We believe in the Führer and in Germany and in victory, we soldiers of 1914 to 1940! We believe! So be it!’11

Years before Ettighoffer, Werner Beumelburg was one of the first from the national-conservative camp to try to respond to Remarque and others with a book. Beumelburg had been a soldier on the Western front, and he, too, became a journalist after the war, working, among other things, for the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung in Berlin.12 His Sperrfeuer um Deutschland (Barrage Fire around Germany) appeared in the same year as Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front). Although Beumelburg indicates in his foreword that he wishes to fuse the ‘events of the war with spiritual processes’,13 his Sperrfeuer essentially chronicles the First World War, from the ‘shots at Sarajevo’ to the collapse in November 1918 under the heading ‘Vae victis!’, or ‘woe to the vanquished!’ The omniscient narrator leads the reader authoritatively through what took place and juxtaposes the events in the trenches with conversations taking place back at headquarters. Here, too,

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enemy and German soldiers are shown the same ‘respect’. In the process, the death of the individual is frequently intertwined with images which conceal more than they reveal: ‘The divisions continually change. Some are already here for the second time, some for the third. They are going through the mill, are replenished and then go through the mill again.’14 The nationalist writer’s confrontation with Remarque was quite detailed at times. Even Remarque’s emotional ending, from which the successful book took its title, is picked up by Beumelburg – albeit in a defused manner: ‘The world has long become accustomed to the drama. It knows that no more sensations are to be expected. The army reports of both sides have nothing interesting to say about Verdun any more. The “usual artillery fire” is the daily laconic phrase.’15 Beumelberg had already written various books about the battles of the First World War for the Reich Archive (Reichsarchiv) back in the 1920s. These were preliminary studies, on which he could draw for his two successful books, the First World War chronicle Sperrfeuer (which sold 363,000 copies) and his novel about the front, Gruppe Bosemüller (Bosemüller Squad, which sold 164,000 copies). Although the author was able to draw more than many others upon the experiences of turmoil in the trenches, and to describe precisely and in a very readable way some of the context of what occurred during the war and the mechanics of battle, this was in no way great literature. Even if one acknowledges certain literary qualities in Gruppe Bosemüller, the fact that someone like Beumelburg could be a member and secretary of the Academy of Authors (Dichterakademie), which had been brought into line ideologically, says a lot about the level of the authors who remained in Nazi Germany. The effect of the First World War chronicle depended much more on its political integration and value than on its quality as a text. The spirit of the generation who served at the front was invoked in order to give Germany confidence at a time of economic crisis. Versailles and its consequences were held responsible for Germany’s plight. And here, too, the dead of the World War obliged the living to make new sacrifices: ‘… that from the mortal remains of the dead a generation will grow up faithful and bold and manly like them – This we pray.’16 A trenchant analysis of war literature in the midst of the war was provided by Victor Klemperer, who, as late as August 1944, engaged with Beumelburg’s books. At about the same time, he noted in his diary that there were street battles between the allies and the Wehrmacht on the outskirts of Paris. The most interesting thing, according to the philologist, who remained an astonishingly objective observer despite the situation he found himself in, was to ‘follow the chronological stratification of the World War novel. First the ubiquitous cheering, and then pacifism, followed by counter currents in two directions: as a new chauvinism and as a new ethic.’17 Klemperer

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placed Beumelburg in the latter category. And indeed, in Sperrfeuer, the author highlighted what united the soldiers of all warring powers, describing a generation of frontline soldiers that cut across national borders. Hans Zöberlein, on the other hand, heralded the ‘new chauvinism’. He was considered an unwavering Party loyalist. His ‘long-nosed, dark-eyed subaltern face adorned with a Hitler small brush’, Klemperer observed with his pointed pen, was seen by hundreds of thousands of readers as soon as they opened his book Glaube an Deutschland (Believing in Germany). The work, first published by Eher Verlag in 1931, sold over 740,000 copies. His second novel, Befehl des Gewissens (The Command of Conscience), with sales of almost half a million copies, was equally successful. Zöberlein, however, achieved widespread notoriety beyond the book market at the end of April 1945, when the war – many believed, at least – was actually long over. But not Zöberlein. The former frontline soldier and Freikorps fighter, who had also participated in the Nazi putsch on 9 November 1923,18 took part as leader of a Werewolf commando unit in a crime that came to be known as the ‘night of murder in Penzberg’. Sixteen people in total from the Upper Bavarian principality of Penzberg, men as well as women, were murdered because they had deposed their NSDAP mayor as the Allies approached. This ‘reprisal’ is one of the few actual crimes that can be attributed to the propaganda spectre going around in Germany at the end of the war known as Werewolf – an underground movement planned by Himmler and others in the end phase of the war. In 1948, Zöberlein was condemned to death for murder, although the sentence was later commuted to lifelong imprisonment. In 1958, he was then released on the grounds of ill health. Even during the denazification process, Zöberlein had prided himself on continuing to be a convinced Nazi and antisemite. Just over twenty years before his release from prison, in a publication that had originally appeared in 1931, Zöberlein had taken a stand in the public debate on Remarque’s novel, accusing the author of fraud in the Völkischer Beobachter.19 The rumour that Remarque had not been a frontline soldier and thus – according to the logic of people like Zöberlein – had no right to write about such a topic, was fuelled from sources such as this. From that point forward, the assertion that the author had himself served at the front became an integral part of every book about the war. Indeed, Zöberlein’s own work opens with a two-page inventory of all the battles recorded in his military papers. Such close attention to detail continues throughout the book, in which the reader can follow the experiences of Zöberlein, depicted in epic breadth over the course of nearly 900 pages. And he does not shrink back from wartime atrocities. Soldiery is not a clean trade; rather, in the clash of man against man, getting wounded, mutilated and killed are ever-present and described in drastic terms. In contrast to Beumelburg’s work, the enemy

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here is spoken of in a derogatory fashion. ‘But the slinging about did not go down without some bloodshed for the frogs. I once saw a steel helmet swirl up in the cloud of a hand grenade. “I’d like to have seen the head of the man who had that on,” the man next to me said.’ 20 The Germans’ material inferiority, which could not be overcome through heroic fighting, is often invoked as the reason for their defeat. Through the detailed description, though, the author actually invalidates the deferred authenticity of his war experience. Following countless artillery attacks and crazed wanderings through cratered fields, grenade attacks and dialogue are recounted at a level of exactitude that could at best be achieved today by a blogger with a laptop and digital camera present on the battlefield. It beggars belief that that Zöberlein, a common soldier, remembers so many details more than ten years after the event. ‘How does the book achieve such renown?’ Victor Klemperer wondered, shaking his head: After the first 100 of almost 900 pages, it is not yet clear to me. Artistically and in terms of military technology, so to speak, it is far inferior to Beumelburg’s work. Starting with Verdun and then remaining on the Western Front, it portrays the situation of the common soldier in battle very vividly, but, at the same time, extremely monotonously, with endless variations and repetitions. This is described a thousand times over. Is Z. one of the first or the 900th?21

‘Z’ was most surely not the first, but for many years he was the most successful after Remarque. The most important basis for Zöberlein’s success was the protection bestowed on him by the so-called ‘greatest field commander of all time’. Adolf Hitler had written in a preface to the book: ‘You can hear the heart of the front beating, the wellhead of that strength which created our immortal victories.’22 The book was thus something like the bequest of the front generation to contemporary youth. That is why it was a compulsory text on the First World War for the National Socialists, appearing on all lists of recommendations and considered by its publisher to be one of the ‘standard works of German literature’. Judging from his sales figures, the multiply decorated frontline soldier was one of the most successful writers of the National Socialist ‘movement’.

Across the Fronts: The German–French Love Story of André und Ursula What is surprising is that it was not only the aggressive nationalism of a writer such as Zöberlein that dominated the scene. Alongside him – and despite all attacks on Remarque and the much-maligned defeatism and pacifism associated with him – a totally different type of text also enjoyed enormous success:

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‘pacifist war novels’. Klemperer had spotted the trend, and the system’s arbiters of literature debated it. The majority of these texts can be placed in the category of ‘German–French rapprochement novels’. As a trade journal for the lending library sector pontificated as late as 1939, before the war broke out: ‘They have arisen from a genuine readiness for rapprochement’, which showed ‘how close this topic of understanding between two great European cultural nations is to the hearts of German citizens and artists.’23 A whole series of German–French love stories appeared in Germany and France in the interwar period, often featuring the war as a backdrop.24 In the mid-1930s, this mutual understanding was also in vogue in Germany. Initially, the nation projected the image of itself as an open-minded host of the Olympic Games in 1936, and, in 1937, Hitler’s Reich presented itself to the international public at the Paris International Exposition. In the same year, one of the most surprising bestsellers of the time appeared: the love story André und Ursula by Polly Maria Höfler. By the end of the war, the novel would sell around 400,000 copies. ‘A woman wrote this book. For this reason, it did not turn out to be a war book, as it seemed at the outset, but rather the story of a deep love’,25 is how the reviewer in the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei described it. But the book’s character nevertheless means that it must be mentioned in any discussion of war literature. Polly Maria Höfler (actually Paula Sofie Höfler),26 who came from the Lorraine region, must be considered a Nazi sympathizer. She had experienced the previous German–French conflict first-hand. Born in 1907 in Metz, which was still part of Germany at that time, she was expelled from her homeland along with the rest of her family in 1919.27 After high school, she attended a commercial college, learned shorthand and typing, and worked in various commercial companies as a secretary before ending up as a shorthand typist at the Reich Radio Company in Frankfurt am Main. Given her job, the success of the novel must have come as a surprise, but it motivated her, in any event, to give up her temporary job as a typist in July 1937.28 After the Second World War, she made no secret of her attitude towards the National Socialists. But despite this, she had imbued the love story between the German Ursula and the Frenchman André Duval with a very peculiar twist. The novel became an urgent appeal for a German–French reconciliation, and to the people’s will for peace. Indeed, the author depicted peace as one of the highest of all values. She tells her story against the backdrop of the traumatic experience of the First World War. ‘The war cost hundreds of lives and created life a thousand-fold. What we create and aspire to from this point forward, we owe to the deeds of our dead. They sacrificed themselves for us, and they won what we, too, must win in order to possess it constantly: peace.’29

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The German Ursula received the diary of a French soldier serving at the front as a birthday present when she was a young girl. When she comes across it again years later, she begins reading it eagerly and develops a desire to return the book to the soldier’s relatives. She believes that the soldier himself, André Duval, is dead – but very soon she learns the opposite. Ursula travels to France and falls in love with André, who is considerably older and earns his living as a doctor. However, their love ends tragically when André dies in a car accident before their wedding day. At the end of the book, it is insinuated that Ursula may only have dreamt of this love story. Her lover had fallen in 1916 at Fort Douaumont. Höfler herself appears to have believed the National Socialists’ professions of peace. Her Ursula is asked in the book if ‘“le Führer” is serious in his guarantees of peace?’, and answers, ‘Inviolably serious’. ‘You can ask any German, Monsieur. We should know, right? For it is our innermost emotions and thoughts which the Führer expresses in his words.’30 Once again, it is the frontline soldier on each side who wishes to extend a hand of friendship, and the author is at one with her protagonist in her love of France, the country, its people and its culture. Certainly, the work contains some clichéd notions of Paris as a ‘hotbed of vice’ with its ‘neon advertising signs, Negro bars, striptease artists, and dancing girls’.31 But Paris is no more France than the Berlin of the ‘system time’, that is, during the Weimar Republic, was the German Reich as a whole for many Nazis. Politics is also discussed surprisingly openly in the novel. This easy read does not deal with settings that are entirely without contemporary reference; quite the opposite, in fact. The protagonist does not approve of the Bolshevist turn which French politics threatens to take from time to time, and she has to try very hard to convince the people she meets that ‘the dreaded army of Adolf Hitler is not marching towards, but rather away from war’.32 And if you look for Nazi ideology, it is there to be found. André, for instance, has two stepsiblings, who – if one applies the standards of ‘racial hygiene’ – should not have been allowed to be born in the first place. André’s stepbrother, constantly tottering on the edge of insanity, is even responsible for André’s death in the end. Admittedly, it should not be forgotten that such ‘medical interventions’ were carried out all over the world in the 1920s and 1930s, although they were never so drastically put into practice as in the German euthanasia programme. Nonetheless, the novel neither fulfils the expectations that one has of a propaganda text nor works as pure escapist literature. The First World War and its dead form the basis of the entire story. The dependency of human fate on the events of political history is stressed repeatedly. More than anything else, though, it is bewildering that this text continued to be printed, sold and read long after Adolf Hitler’s army had enslaved all of Europe and marched into France. Indeed, special editions were even produced for troops.33 And in

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times when the omnipresent Propaganda Minister blustered about ‘total war’, the pacifist thoughts of Höfler seem out of place. However, the fact that such texts were gratefully received by readers can perhaps be explained. Through reading, many could indulge their own longing for peace. In fact, the reception of André und Ursula elucidates why literature that had been ‘brought into line’ ideologically still had a certain subversive potential. Reading quietly within their own four walls, people could make what they wanted of the text. Even the readers and reviewers at the Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege), who were otherwise so stern, placed the novel under the category of ‘good entertainment books’. The book was considered to be ‘valuable in literary as well as human-political terms’ and could ‘only be highly recommended to all’.34 The reader in Rosenberg’s office, moreover, had also highlighted the promotion of ‘world peace’ in the book. At the time the book review was written, the German Reich was still in the age of appeasement. Above all, in her portrayal of both peoples, the young author was attempting ‘to be just on the basis of political, racial and national (volkhaft) conditions prevailing at the time’, and in so doing was ‘far removed from wimpish pacifism’. What was decisive in this and many other ‘war books that glorified peace’ was the fact that the mutual understanding between nations was grounded in völkisch national culture. In the case of André und Ursula, this means that each of them knows where they belong and what kind of blood flows in their veins. Only when people remember their roots and honour them can they extend a hand to one another, it seems. It is not internationalism that is being preached, but nationalism that is prepared for mutual understanding. The book does not seem to have brought the author any lasting prosperity initially. In 1939 and 1940, she received benefits from the German Schiller Foundation, for which she politely thanked Reich Minister Dr Goebbels. The money, she claimed, helped her work on her third novel. In a letter to the foundation, Polly Maria Höfler explained her precarious financial situation in this way: ‘It was her publisher’s fault’ that she had been ‘so morally and economically damaged’ that she ‘faced catastrophe’.35 The previous year, the referee for the Foundation had given the young author an excellent reference report. ‘All in all, this constitutes an achievement that is rooted in the poetic and thus should be highly valued. Support from the regular funds of the Foundation is therefore justified from an artistic point of view. The documents submitted provide no information on the human side of the case.’36 The referees of the Schiller Foundation also highlighted what distinguished the love story in André und Ursula from others. A bridge of love was built between a French man and a German woman, ‘without either of them giving up their national-cultural allegiance in the end’. The author consequently did not find it difficult to present herself as a ‘pacifist’ after the war. Her

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text alone, which was also successfully published after 1945, supported this interpretation. At the start of the 1980s, a paperback edition was issued, bearing the advertising caption, ‘One of the most beautiful love stories of this century. A legacy of peace.’ It was completely in step with the spirit of a growing peace movement in the Federal Republic at the time. The afterword from the first post-war edition of the work, which the author had committed to paper ‘in the ruins of Frankfurt am Main, on All Saints Day 1948’, was also included. In it, she attempted to play down her previous actions and to contextualize her book: ‘When I was writing back then, I was young and believing. I believed above all else in imminent world peace, since it was 1936, around the time of the Olympics in Berlin, the great Paris International Exposition. … And so I wrote a few words then that are no longer valid. Because meanwhile a world has sunk in rubble … and we are almost too feeble still to believe – since we had to acknowledge that we prayed to graven idols.37

And since the conflagration that Germany had unleashed on the world had passed, she now dedicated this novel ‘to the unknown soldier of the Second World War; no matter which flag he fought under’.38 This gesture of reconciliation thus continued to have currency. The author did not live to see the filming of her novel. She died in 1952, three years before the film ‘André and Ursula’, starring Ivan Desny, appeared in German cinemas.

Trading in Heroic Death: From Kaiser’s Corvette Captain Fritz Otto Busch to Hitler’s U-Boat Commander Günther Prien ‘What will literature of the Second World War look like?’39 Victor Klemperer mused about this already when he was studying the war novels of the First World War. The new war literature – especially in the case of the really successful books – became a literature of non-fiction. If one leaves to one side the more humorous titles containing squaddie anecdotes, the bestselling war books of the time were the autobiography of Hitler’s highly decorated U-boat commander Günther Prien, Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow (My Way to Scapa Flow), followed by a book about the Battle of Narvik by the naval writer and corvette captain in the reserves Fritz Otto Busch, which sold over 600,000 copies. Günther Prien was one of the first to be elevated to the status of a war hero. Born in 1908, he belonged to the generation to which the Nazis owed everything. Following an apprenticeship in the merchant navy, he received his captain’s license in 1931, but due to the Great Depression, he was unable to find a position and eked out an existence in voluntary work service. In

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January 1933, he joined the Navy and rose to the position of U-boat commander. In October 1939, in a lightning operation, his soon-to-be-legendary U-boat 47 entered Scapa Bay, the homeport of the British Navy, and sank the battleship Royal Oak. After a victorious return, a star cult was created around him, which occasioned a stampede of young volunteers for the U-boat service. ‘He’s a great lad and a proper hero of the people. And writes only audacious snippets’, Goebbels wrote in his diary, ‘and so nice and likeable with it.’40 Such ‘war luck’ also had to be analysed in the media. ‘Hundreds of thousands have been waiting for this book, have wished that the Navy’s first recipient of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross would write about his life. Now he has done so’, a short review in the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt stated, ‘and now hundreds of thousands will want to read it!’41 In the end, it sold almost 900,000 copies, making it one of the top 20 bestsellers in the Third Reich. It is the story of a young boy of ordinary circumstances, who rises to the position of captain and eventually becomes a celebrated star – thanks to the National Socialists. The climax of the book is the attack at Scapa Flow and the subsequent visit to the Reich Chancellery, where the entire crew was decorated for their bravery. In contrast to the books on the First World War, camaraderie beyond the front no longer figured here. On the contrary, talk is of the deep hatred that held sway over the opponents in the war, although chivalry was also enshrined in such literature. ‘We are polite to one another, chivalric opponents, as if from a school textbook. But behind this politeness is an ice-cold, ringing hatred, the hatred of two peoples who confront each other in a final, decisive battle to remain in this world or not.’42 This is how Prien describes a meeting with the captain of a freighter he attacked on the high seas. It appears that the war, despite all the attacks and casualties, is glossed over much more here than in the First World War literature. The attack seems clean and precise; the ‘Bull of Scapa Flow’ – his nickname – had carried out this precision strike himself. Death and suffering have no place in this book. In the afterword, Prien acknowledges that he altered the series of events portrayed in the work slightly for dramatic effect. The book was commissioned by Deutscher Verlag. It is very likely that a ghostwriter helped Prien out, for large non-fiction book publishers regularly teamed up a wellknown author with someone with writing ability. Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow would become the most successful title of the book-publishing division of the Deutscher Verlag, the new name for the Aryanized Ullstein Verlag. An initial print run of 120,000 copies sold out on the first day in October 1940. A good year after the attack on Poland, the public’s appetite for the subject of war was still not sated. After all, such success stories sold well in a period characterized by initial victories. Deutscher Verlag, like many other publishing houses, registered

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huge increases in demand for reading matter after the war began. The book publisher’s sales volume – not least thanks to the U-boat commander’s successful title – was around 50 per cent above that of the same month in the previous year.43 The ‘Prien’ doubtlessly remained, first and foremost, a book for youths. In the third year of the war, 145 members of the Hitler Youth were conscripted for wartime deployment in Deutscher Verlag and helped out in the retail branch service by delivering newspapers and magazines, replacing the many regular employees who had been called up for military service. The Hitler Youths then left the publishing house three months later, and at a festive gathering to thank them for their service, they received ‘KaLeu’ Prien’s book with a certificate pasted inside to remind them of their stint at the Deutscher Verlag.44 By this time, the book’s author had already fallen while on a tour of duty in the North Atlantic. However, the NS Propaganda service did not announce his death for more than two months. The loss of this highly decorated war hero weighed heavily, but could not be kept secret forever. Sales of Fritz Otto Busch’s Narvik. Vom Heldenkampf deutscher Zerstörer (Narvik: The Heroic Struggle of German Destroyers) were just as buoyant as the book about Prien. Busch’s title appeared in the same year that Norway was occupied and the battle for Narvik took place. By January 1941 already, 200,000 copies were sold, and the event was celebrated in the trade press.45 Clearly, topicality played a role in the success of these books. In the language of book marketing, they were ‘fast-moving goods’, that is, books that could be sold in large quantities in a very short time. Narvik – if one sets aside moral standards – was, by and large, cleanly executed, even if it is obvious in a number of places that it was ‘written hastily’. In a mixture of reportage, fictional elements and documentary passages, it portrays the Operation ‘Weserübung’ commando raid, which resulted in the occupation of Norway. Narvik is what would today be termed faction. Busch’s war book, and Prien’s for that matter, too, are in any event easier to read and more accessible than the shoddy efforts of someone like Zöberlein. The former thus undoubtedly constituted suitable reading material for the Hitler Youth generation. For Busch, who served in the 1930s as editorin-chief of the Navy newspapers Die Reichsmarine and Deutsche MarineZeitung,46 producing texts for this market constituted more than just a small amount of additional income. In 1941, the year in which the first warm rain of royalties pelted down from Christmas sales of his Narvik bestseller, Busch earned a whopping 242,084.47 RM in royalties from writing. These royalties were generated ‘from the more than 60 books that I wrote over the course of my lifetime’, he felt obliged to explain in a commentary to the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK). With an income in the following year of around 97,400 RM from royalties alone, he remained one of the absolute

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Figure 6.2. ‘Out of stock until Christmas’: With the onset of war in 1939, the time of ‘fast-movers’ began in the book market: 200,000 copies of Fritz Otto Busch’s Narvik sold within a few months. From Börsenblatt für den deutschen Buchhandel, 2 December 1940, author’s collection.

top earners in the sector.47 Just how high his earnings actually were can only be understood by comparing them to the average income of ordinary people, which would have lain somewhere between 150 and 200 RM per month for a blue-collar or white-collar worker, respectively. Unquestionably, Busch’s book was an enormous economic success, and it will undoubtedly also have achieved its propagandistic effect by generating enthusiasm among young men for a senseless war. Here, too, a ‘clean’ war is portrayed as though from a commanding height. Death and suffering are blocked out, or recede into the distance. And the camaraderie featured in First World War books is also nowhere in evidence. British atrocities against

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defenceless shipwrecked German soldiers are depicted over and over again, and it is said that ‘The Englishman, when he shows his typical arrogance, has to be hit hard in the chops, for the sons of the island respond to nothing else.’48 Fritz Otto Busch was a genuine writing pro. The corvette captain in the reserves – a designation of rank invariably affixed to his name – had taken part in the First World War and worked from the 1920s as a Navy writer. But his big success only came after the Nazis came to power. Busch had been very involved in the politics of NS writing from early on. At the suggestion of the Militant League for German Culture (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur), he was admitted to the ideologically aligned German PEN. In May 1933, Busch was a member of the German delegation at the international PEN Club Congress in Ragusa. There, the representatives of the ‘new Germany’ understandably came under heavy criticism. ‘The whole atmosphere was so poisoned by the book burnings’, he wrote in an internal report for his home association, ‘and befogged by hatred for our current form of government that it really was incredibly difficult to bring the more reasonable ones among them to a milder and fairer judgement of Germany. This judgement, though, immediately evaporated the moment Toller spoke or telegrams arrived from the “emigrants” and the Jewish question … was brought up.’49 Just whose spiritual child the corvette captain was emerged particularly strongly in a speech which he had already prepared in manuscript form with the intention of delivering it at the international PEN conference. This was prevented in the end by the early departure in protest of the German delegation. But it was later printed verbatim in a magazine in Germany. ‘Our own, national (volkhaft) writing was downtrodden for 14 years’, it states, ‘now it can finally, finally find its full flowering of expression. The essential must be given freedom for the best of the nation, not the nonessential, the eternally naysaying, the petty and the sordid.’50 Even if further documents on Busch’s development and attitude in the twelve years of Nazi rule are rather thin on the ground, he was unquestionably one of the winners in the ‘clean-up operation’ of German writing. He had a hotline to Hans Hinkel, the executive director of the Reich Chamber of Culture (RKK). Hinkel praised his political stance: ‘As requested, I gladly confirm … that for many years you have been known to me as a sterling, reliable Party comrade, and an editor fighting in the interests of our movement’.51 And although commercial success and the presumable propagandistic interest of those in power came together here, literary critics were in no way unanimous. There were attacks, in particular, from press circles close to the SS. In the journal Weltliteratur, for instance, Kurt Eggers used Busch’s book as

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a vehicle to consider the future development of war literature. Eggers himself was the prototype of a young SS poet. He served as a tank commander in the Viking SS Division; his later death in battle rendered him a hero and an SS company of war correspondents was named after him. From the point of view of the SS, and most certainly from the perspective of Rosenberg’s people, no mere professional writer had the right to pontificate on the subject of war and literature. ‘Busch is a well-known naval writer, who has written a whole series of books and volumes about German navigation, above all about the Navy. And the fact that his Narvik book will be a success is already clear from the fact that his publisher has already printed 150,000 copies.’52 But Eggers begrudged Busch’s success because he was, after all, not writing based on direct experience. He maintained that it was only from the circles of those who fought at Narvik that ‘when the time is right, the herald and the bard’ would come who would write the definitive heroic epic of this odyssey to the Nordic countries. Busch’s book, according to Eggers, was merely a report on current events. The young generation, who had ‘a little notebook in their map case’ to sketch out draft versions so as to be able to write about them later, he went on, were the only ones who would write true war literature. And the reviewer clearly considered himself one of them. What he criticized above all else about Busch were his backward ideas, for instance when he has a Navy Dean see the units off with a ceremonial mass. According to Eggers, soldiers of this war did not need such spiritual care. They drew their strength from the wellspring of National Socialism alone. And this criticism of a Christian mindset and the false nostalgia for Friedrich the Great, whom Busch’s Navy Dean sees off to the pearly gate in an anecdote during his sermon, was something that was levelled by others besides Eggers. Behind the scenes, a controversy had broken out about Busch’s book, initiated by the Party Examination Commission’s (PPK) criticism of some passages in the work. A spate of correspondence was unleashed around the ‘Narvik case’, whose participants, besides the head of the PPK, Philipp Bouhler, also included the head of the Party Chancellery, Martin Bormann, as well as Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelm Keitel and Admiral Raeder, who had written a foreword to the book. The controversy was only ended by a ‘Führer proclamation’. ‘The Führer declared that he wished no new edition to appear in the existing form.’53 The historical commission responsible for examining the extent of the complicity of the Bertelsmann publishing house in the Third Reich claimed in their investigation that the book sold 605,000 copies. So, perhaps the title had outlived itself anyway, in that the market could not accommodate any more books? In the end, the book, with a net profit of 650,000 RM, earned revenues like no other for Bertelsmann during the war. Here, the investigators continued, ‘the name of the successful Gütersloh firm [was linked] for the first time with an unpleasant aftertaste for Hitler, Goebbels,

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Bormann and Bouhler.’ It demonstrated, according to the historians’ bold line of argumentation, ‘how quickly the continuing latent mistrust of the publishing house, which had been established on the basis of theology, could be activated’.54 One is consequently tempted to ask if Busch and Bertelsmann were plunged into a crisis because both were such devout Christians? However, this is hardly likely. For its part, Bertelsmann went on to earn hundreds of thousands with platitudinous propaganda glorifying war, while Busch, in his Narvik book, had the mass conducted by the Naval Dean end with a declaration of faith in the new Germany: ‘We thought of our fallen comrades. Bravely and proudly, they went to their death for our Führer, our people and our fatherland. They remain ours. New tasks await us. We will fulfil them. We have sworn this to the Führer. Whoever swears on the Führer’s flag no longer possesses anything that belongs to him alone. Long live the Führer!’55 These are not the words of someone who had attracted fundamental criticism from the NS system but, rather, of someone whose success had made some envious and, at a certain point, more by chance than anything else, had become a pawn in the hands of small-minded literary bureaucrats who were always out for their own advantage. No more and no less. His publishing house, too, did not fall victim to its fundamental theological orientation, but was one of the winners of the war.

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Ettighoffer, Paul Coelestin, 14 April 1896. Friedländer et al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 269. Ibid. Die Bücherkunde 2 (1935), no. 9, 302. Schneider, ‘Der Buchverlag in der perfektionierten Vermarktungskette’, Axel Springer Verlag AG, 125 Jahre Ullstein, 51. 21 July 1929, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 1, 390. Die Bücherkunde 2 (1935), no. 9, 302. Ettighoffer, Verdun. Das große Gericht, 302–3. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 155. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 108 (1941), no. 255. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no. 21, 326. On Beumelburg, see Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 96–97, as well as the Munzinger Archiv,Werner Beumelburg. Beumelburg, Sperrfeuer um Deutschland, 7. Ibid., 189. Ibid. Ibid., 542. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 26 August 1944. On Zöberlein, see Munzinger Archiv, Hans Zöberlein.

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19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52.

On this, see Delabar, ‘“Aufhören, aufhören, he, aufhören – hört doch einmal auf!”’, 403. Zöberlein, Der Glaube an Deutschland, 184. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 4 March 1945. Adolf Hitler, ‘Auf den Weg!’, foreword to Zöberlein, Der Glaube an Deutschland, 7. (Originally published in 1931.) Bernhard Payr, ‘Der deutsch-französische Verständigungsroman’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 1 (1939), no. 1, 16. See Keller, ‘Siegfried, je t’aime!’, 21–46. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 18, 25 September1937, 8. I owe this to Thomas Keller, who worked extensively on the author. See Keller, ‘Siegfried, je t’aime!’, 37–40. BArch (formerly BDC), PK, Höfler, Paula Höfler, André und Ursula, 7. Ibid., 179. Ibid., 193. Ibid., 197. The copy consulted by the author is stamped on the copyright page: ‘Special Edition for the Wehrmacht’ (‘Sonderauflage für die Wehrmacht’). Above that is the inscription ‘15th unaltered edition’ (‘15. unveränderte Auflage’), as well as the copyright date 1937. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 2, 69. Correspondence of Polly Maria Höfler, Frankfurt, 10 January 1939, to the Deutsche Schillerstiftung Weimar, Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv Weimar, GSA 134/137, 12. Gutachten von Dr. Hans Walbers im Auftrag der Schiller-Stiftung, 31 December 1938, Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv Weimar, GSA 134/137, 12. Höfler, André und Ursula, 315 (1981 edition). Ibid., 317. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 26 August 1944. 1 November 1940, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 4, 1492. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 12, 211. Prien, Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow, 142. Deutscher Verlag, Bericht über wichtige Geschäftsvorfälle im Oktober 1940, Ullstein Archiv. Deutscher Verlag, Bericht über wichtige Geschäftsvorfälle im Oktober 1942, Ullstein Archiv. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no.1, 13. Correspondence from Busch to Hans Hinkel, 3 January 1934, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Busch, Fritz Otto, 30 December 1890. Erklärung für die Reichsschrifttumskammer, 12 February 1942 and 26 July 1943, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Busch, Fritz Otto, 30 December 1890. Busch, Narvik, 332. Bericht, gez. Busch, 27 May 1933, cited by Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 84–85. Fritz Otto Busch, ‘Der freie Schriftsteller und die Presse’ [speech], printed in Deutsche Kultur-Wacht (1933), no.11, 13, cited by Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 93. Correspondence from Hans Hinkel to Busch, 9 November 1934, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Busch, Fritz Otto, 30 December 1890. Kurt Eggers, ‘Notwendige Gedanken über die kommende Kriegsliteratur’, Die Weltliteratur (1941), no. 4, 117.

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53. The Narvik controversy is documented in BArch NS 11, 21 a. 54. Friedländer, Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 440. 55. Busch, Narvik, 29.

Chapter 7


鵷鵸 The Führer’s Maulkorb (Muzzle): The Bestsellers of Heinrich Spoerl Heinrich Spoerl was one of the most successful authors in the Third Reich. Almost all of his texts sold hundreds of thousands of copies: Die Feuerzangenbowle (Brandy Punch), Der Gasmann (The Gas Man), Wenn wir alle Engel wären (If We Were All Angels) and Der Maulkorb (The Muzzle). But his short story collection, Man kann ruhig darüber sprechen (It’s Okay to Talk about It), was his most successful work, selling over a million copies.1 Most of his books, moreover, were made into films a short time after they came out: Der Maulkorb in 1938, Der Gasmann in 1941 and finally, his most iconic text, Die Feuerzangenbowle, which was filmed on two occasions: as So ein Flegel (What a Cad) in 1934 and as Feuerzangenbowle in 1944.2 Typical of Spoerl’s work, and of many successful pieces of light literature during this period, is a striking timelessness. Apart from Der Gasmann, which is clearly set in National Socialist Germany, the place and time of Spoerl’s texts are otherwise hard to fathom. They are set in indefinable small towns somewhere or other in Germany, at some point in the first half of the twentieth century. Both the book and film Feuerzangenbowle are part of the shared popular-cultural property of Germans today. And hardly anyone – if you were to ask them on the street – would regard the work as typical ‘Nazi subject matter’. But the book, which came out in 1933, and the second film, which appeared in cinemas in 1944 (Heinz Rühmann played the main role

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in both movies), are clearly of their time, not least on account of the fact that they are apparently ahistorical. The most astonishing thing about them, however, is that Spoerl’s novels, viewed from today’s perspective, appear to have critical potential. In Der Maulkorb, which was published in 1936, a drunken public prosecutor defaces the monument to a territorial prince after a wild bout of drinking. The ruler was rumoured to have spoken about his subjects in a derogatory fashion. In the days immediately after he has sobered up, the public prosecutor begins an investigation into an offense of lese-majesty against an unknown person, which, naturally, must inevitably be directed against himself. Der Maulkorb parodies par excellence trust in authority and subservience. Also interwoven in the plot is a love story between the daughter of the public prosecutor and an artist, who witnessed the prosecutor’s ‘assassination attempt’. The novel thus contains all the ingredients of a successful easy read. As the plot unfolds, there is ample opportunity to be amused by small-minded bureaucrats. The text also contains many allusions to the current ruling regime. However, it would not have been as successful – nor tolerated at an official level – if a conciliatory chord had not been struck in the end. The lovers quarrel; the prosecutor does not have to face his own ‘depravity’, that is, guilt; and even the prince is eventually able to chuckle about the incident. And, what is more, the fundamental criticism of the prince’s behaviour is also defused. The prince, it turns out, did not make derogatory remarks about his subjects after all. This, and thus also the entanglements of the entire plot, were imaginary, the products of a sphere beyond reality. Inebriation appears to be the condition in which the whole business was best tolerated, not only in Der Maulkorb, but also in the Feuerzangenbowle. In the latter, the drug, brandy punch, even features in the title. The same petit-bourgeois stench and the same harmless humour pervaded all of Spoerl’s work and remained in the mainstream in post-war Germany during the economic miracle. When films such as Wenn wir alle Engel wären or Feuerzangenbowle flickered through living rooms in the 1960s and 1970s, the world still seemed to be in order. Thoughtlessly and breezily, people availed themselves of the icons of another era, and made them their own. Remarkably, Spoerl’s work garnered official praise from all sides. For Goebbels, the author, more than anything else, provided splendid material for scripts, and was thus someone who stood out from the majority of writers: ‘Looked through a series of manuscripts for propaganda and film’, he noted in his diary, ‘good material from Spoerl manuscript Der Gasmann.’3 Spoerl wrote for the masses, who bought books or borrowed them from the library. In 1940, the book trade specialist Erich Langenbucher counted him among the ‘most read authors in our libraries’.4 And even Die Bücherkunde,

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the organ of Goebbels’ favourite adversary, Rosenberg, was full of praise. Here, too, ‘Spoerl’s wonderful humour’ seemed to be ‘generally acknowledged’.5 And Spoerl’s Wenn wir alle Engel wären could even be ‘thoroughly recommended as above-average light reading’.6 From the mouths of those in Rosenberg’s camp, who were otherwise opposed to mere entertainment, this was an inestimable distinction. What the reviewer highlighted in the case of Der Maulkorb is indicative of two things. First, the satirical qualities of the work were recognized and named as such. Second, from the viewpoint of the authorities, the conciliatory ending was particularly valued. ‘Should a government agency shield an official who has committed misconduct, or should it cast him off in order to preserve the authority of the authorities over him?’7 – this, for the reviewer, was Spoerl’s central question. The particularly fortunate coincidence for the author consisted in the fact that he had resolved the imbroglio without debunking the authorities: ‘The official is spared the consequences of his misconduct, but, at the same time, the authority of the government agency remains intact.’ Thanks to this reassurance, the final verdict was: ‘The book can be recommended.’ Die Bücherkunde’s advice on the collection of anecdotes Man kann ruhig daruber sprechen, it turns out, was even more revealing: it was a ‘wonderful book, which, admittedly, did not impart any profound worldly wisdom, but seeks to delight and relieve.’8 Clearly, there was an awareness that these texts functioned as a safety valve. This was surely one of the reasons why the author was permitted certain liberties, why critical comments about the Nazi leadership were not taken badly. ‘We’re living through a spiritual rebirth’, Spoerl declared in his text ‘Bücher haben ihr Schicksal’ (Books Have Their Fate),9 which was included in the aforementioned anecdote collection. And he did not hold back on sideswipes at NS interventions in literature, when stating, for example, that ‘Most books are time-bound, and, at best, curiosa for posterity. Only the really great ones are timeless, but we can’t know if they are really great, for it is only obvious once they have become timeless.’10 This was a fate that was to befall almost all time-bound NS writing. Today, these works, along with the majority of the writing discussed in this book, are only of interest as ‘curiosities’. But the official slogans used to promote writing were not spared either in Spoerl’s text ‘Books Have Their Fate.’ ‘The book is a sword of the intellect’, he wrote, seizing upon the pathos of the propaganda about writing: It should fight and also shoot with cannons, if you like: in a raucous period, quiet books are not heard. But it should not shoot blanks. And even less pollute the air with poison gas. I also consider tear gas undignified. Many books do not fight but just pretend to. They follow behind along the broad military route, with drums and trumpets, struggling against what has long since been conquered and settled. They are all right, not much can happen to them.

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In that case, gentle books are preferable, for gentle people who want peace everywhere, including when they are reading.’11

The nonconformist reader knew all too well that there was too much drumming and trumpeting and shooting with blank ammunition. This was a text that reflected that reader’s own critique, and the reader felt understood – but this was no subversive text; instead, it made its peace with the new state in the end. On and off, there were rumours that Spoerl possibly did not write his novels on his own. In documents from the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), for example, Spoerl attempts to float the idea of his wife Gertrud’s co-authorship.12 It would not be unusual for there to be a range of conceivable versions of the origins of texts in modern light literature. In any event, a definitive biography of this extremely successful author-lawyer has yet to be written.

Readymade Amusements: Banzhaf ’s Humorous Collections Published by the House of Bertelsmann Among the twenty most widely published books in the Third Reich are two anthologies by Johannes Banzhaf, Lachendes Leben (A Laughing Life) and Lustiges Volk (A Jolly Volk). The former sold more than 900,000 copies, the latter over 800,000. Lachendes Leben was in fact the bestselling Bertelsmann title in the Nazi era. Johannes Banzhaf, senior executive at C. Bertelsman Verlag in Gütersloh, filled the book with a mixture of tried and tested ‘classics’ and contemporary authors. Alongside Peter Rosegger and Ludwig Thoma, there are Bertelsmann house writers such as Will Vesper and Fritz MüllerPartenkirchen. While in 1938, Banzhaf described his position as that of a ‘literary contributor and copy editor’, three years later, he presented himself before the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) as a production manager.13 Apparently, his ambition to establish himself as programme-maker for publication of books of fiction had failed.14 Born in 1907, and still young, he was active across the board in the field of publishing, concerning himself with content and production as well as savvy sales and marketing ideas. Banzhaf thought about and conceived bestseller success beginning with the end of the sales chain. What do people want to read? What is necessary to create a successful product? Both anthologies had been oriented to the market from the outset. Once the product and target audience had been determined, then the optimal production and marketing strategy had to be put in place to secure maximum earning potential, both for the publisher and for the editor – in both cases, Banzhaf himself. He

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managed to get the bulk of the authors – above all the ‘smaller and less significant’ contributors – to settle for a flat-rate, one-off fee regardless of sales. Only better-known authors such as Heinz Steguweit or Paul Keller received additional money for each subsequent printing of 20,000 copies.15 According to Bertelsmann’s records, Banzhaf himself received royalties of 7.5 per cent of the retail price. The first edition of Lachendes Leben, which sold for 2.85 RM, generated a royalty pot of 4,275 RM, of which only 2,000 RM went to the authors. In the case of subsequent editions, for every 20,000 sold, a thumping 3,275 RM went to the editor. A nice stroke of business! And Banzhaf tried to make the revenue side more favourable still by incorporating contributions ‘in the public domain’, such as the folk song ‘Auf de schwäbsche Eisebahne’ (On the Swabian Railway). However, he erred in the case of a contribution from a certain ‘Woerner’, receiving an unpleasant letter by post just after it appeared. Seeking help, he turned to the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK): ‘This short story looks exactly like an anecdote. … I have searched through all literary histories at my disposal for the name Woerner, but couldn’t find it. This strengthened my assumption that the contribution was free to print.’16 The female writer hiding behind the name ‘Woerner’ did not, however, want to settle for the 12 RM offered by Banzhaf, demanding 250 RM instead. This was certainly an excessive demand, although not entirely unreasonable considering the later success of the anthology. The outcome of the battle over royalties is not documented. On the other hand, Johannes Banzhaf ’s unusual earning capacity is. He earned around 32,000 RM from writing in 1941,17 on top of his regular monthly salary of 475 RM, which was also above average.18 Two years later, at the highpoint of the book boom induced by the war, Banzhaf ’s income from writing rose to over 73,000 RM. The temptation to earn a lot of money quickly in the book market through skilful manoeuvres must have been particularly great during this time. To do so, Banzhaf combined operations with the mail-order bookseller Matthias Lackas, who transferred his ‘business’ during the course of the war to shaky deals based on paper cheques. These vouchers permitted publishing houses to get access to specific quotas of paper. Without such a paper coupon attesting to the importance of production for the war effort, no printing contracts could be concluded. Lackas was later actually arrested and sentenced to death for illegal trade in paper and for trading in counterfeit cheques. Banzhaf himself was also soon in custody in prison along with other Bertelsmann employees, where he had to remain until the war was almost over. In the end, Lackas escaped with his life, and was able to resume his activities in the book trade in post-war Germany. In its concluding remarks on the ‘Lackas case’, the report of the independent commission on the history of Bertelsmann in the Third Reich was that:

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The driving force behind the publisher [i.e. Heinrich Mohn] was economic calculation, not only in the sense of maximizing profit … but also in the sense of securing a dominant market position. But even if Mohn did not participate in, or knew nothing of the actions of his employees, he had nonetheless created a company culture in which, during the war, tremendous business successes were certainly achieved; but, alongside this, personal and business ambition, pursuit of enrichment and lax business morals could flourish.’19

The temptation to get rich had also proved too great for Johannes Banzhaf. Thirty-eight officers’ homes which he had acquired in East Prussia in 1943 together with Lackas for around 1.4 million RM were lost after the war.20 After 1945, Banzhaf carried out no noteworthy activities in the book sector.

Harmless Entertainment? Wilhelm Busch, Ludwig Thoma and O.E. Plauen in War Deployment There were heated debates about the term ‘entertainment’ among the most important arbiters of writing in the Third Reich. Goebbels was decidedly in favour of it: Above all, we placed value on cultivating light fiction as such. Because we were of the conviction that the more fed up a people was with the concerns of everyday life, the greater its entitlement to relaxation and recreation. … We were convinced that the nation needed the strength for the difficult existential struggles that it would have to contend with in the future, and we were also convinced that the nation’s reservoir of strength would best be filled by national joy.

This was typical Goebbels-style agitation, which he used when addressing the most important representatives of the German book trade at the Cantata Convention in Leipzig on 10 May 1936. The war was still some way off, but the ‘existential struggle’ was already casting its shadow. The Propaganda Minister continued: In connection with this, I must, however, protest against the notion that joy is synonymous with vapid kitsch. … We have saved German literature from sinking into a repugnant, malodorous hunt carried out by the hyenas of economic boom. … Entertainment does not always need to be burdened by the weight of thought, but it must be pure, it must be fresh, it must be skilful. A purely entertaining read is also justified …. A relaxed person works more easily and more joyfully than a tense and uptight one.’21

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Especially after the war began, the demand for entertaining literature increased exponentially. This surprise boom even resulted in the opening of numerous new publishing houses.22 Against the backdrop of these developments, appeals for a ‘good easy read’ were unrelenting. Sebastian Losch, a secretary among other things for the book trade in Main Department I of the Propaganda Ministry, spoke of a ‘flood of light and the lightest literature’ of bad quality.23 When war began in September 1939, he went on, this undesirable development, which despite frequent warnings from relevant authorities to publishers had continued apace, had been of considerable consequence. Those surrounding Rosenberg had already reacted with sharp criticism to Goebbels’ statements on the occasion of the Cantata Convention in 1936. They feared that the Propaganda Ministry’s approach to kitsch and lightweight entertainment would be all too lax. In the face of increased demand during the war, and particularly with regard to the question of what soldiers in the field wanted – and, above all else, ought – to read, they prepared themselves for a journalistic ‘show-down’. In 1944, an entire issue of Die Bücherkunde was devoted to the core theme of entertainment. Here, the argument was put forward that a relaxed person could not in fact work or fight better, but that instead, entertainment and recreation actually weakened fighting strength. The easy read, it was claimed, was part ‘of the big seduction, which celebrated virtual orgies in film’, and at the centre of which lay ‘thought of escape and diversion’.24 The argument went on: in the end, it had to be understood ‘that we will not come through this most fraught time with distractions, but only with a prodigious concentration of all of our strength, as the comrades at the front, who are asking for the best and most uplifting German literary products, sense instinctively.’25 A look at the bestseller list shows that on account of the war, the Propaganda Minister’s line had won out, if initially only for purely pragmatic reasons. Readers wanted entertaining books, and so they got them. In a National Socialist post-war Germany, these discussions would most certainly have flared up again. The definitive National Socialist attitude toward entertainment cannot be ascertained. There were always various streams of thought, sometimes with more, sometimes with less influence. It is not surprising then that the publishing houses fell back, above all else, on treasured authors. The safest bets were authors who had been part of the trivial literary canon before 1933, and whose national sympathies and provenance were – in the NS sense – ‘impeccable’. Ludwig Thoma is a good example. His Jozef Filsers gesamelter Briefwexel (Jozef Filser’s Collected Correspondence) sold over 300,000 copies, many of them to the Wehrmacht. The work of the indestructible Wilhelm Busch – the German progenitor of the comic strip – also met with some success. Exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, but the

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albums produced between 1933 and 1945, which had first appeared sixty years previously, frequently sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Busch was considered an unassailable classic author of humorous sketches and texts. He belonged to the bourgeois educational canon. His comics were a fixture in the rooms of Joachim Fest and his siblings when they were children: The other Eden, which began to open up to me at the age of eight or nine, as if with a secret ‘open sesame!’, was the world of books. … Later, to our insatiable joy, came Wilhelm Busch; I remember that Die fromme Helene (Helen Who Couldn’t Help It), Fipps der Affe (Fipps the Monkey), and, in particular, Max und Moritz, were the first texts that I read – initially using my finger as a guide – before I started school.26

Ample copies of Busch’s albums were also produced to entertain troops. But ‘real’ comics did not enter Germany until after 1945. Certainly, Walt Disney was still present in the German market in 1935, with his children’s book Three Little Pigs, for instance, but it was anything but a bestseller,27 even if the Berliner Lokalanzeiger was convinced that ‘This book will be a source of unprecedented joy!’28 One might classify the trivial literature of those years as harmless in terms of content, pretty much completely free of any allusions to the regime and without any concrete time reference. In terms of their function, however, these materials were actually the exact opposite of harmless. They played (at least in Goebbels’ sense) their part in the ‘militarization’ (‘Wehrhaftmachung’) of the German people – whether this was their intention or not. But can these authors be blamed for what they wrote? Answering this question is rendered even more difficult by virtue of the fact that many authors who were anything other than loyal to the regime dabbled in light literature. One of the most tragic stories in this respect is that of Erich Ohser, better known by his pseudonym O.E. Plauen.29 Under his given name, Ohser had drawn political caricatures directed against the Nazis before they came to power, and on account of this he was initially banned from working when they took over. The illustrated stories of father and son that he later published under his pseudonym became bestsellers in book form as well. Ohser was even able to publish political caricatures in Goebbels’ flagship paper Das Reich from time to time, albeit now in accordance with the wishes of the regime. But the fact that he continued to be opposed to the regime internally proved disastrous for Ohser in 1944. He and his friend, the journalist and author Erich Knauf, were denounced for their criticism of the government. Knauf was hanged, and Ohser evaded his impending trial before the People’s Court by committing suicide.30

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From Concentration Camp Inmate to Successful Author: Ehm Welk and Die Heiden von Kummerow (The Heathens of Kummerow) ‘This is a marvellous tale of scallywags, full of naughtiness, cheekiness, cockiness and humour. … We expect this book to be especially successful!’ This is how Ullstein Verlag advertised a ‘cheerful summer novel’ by Ehm Welk in May 1937. Die Heiden Vom Kummerow (The Heathens of Kummerow) was to become a gigantic ‘special success’. Selling over 730,000 copies, it was the third best-selling novel in the Third Reich, outstripped only by Schenzinger’s factual novel Anilin and the blood-and-soil epic Barb by Kuni Tremel-Eggert. Die Heiden von Kummerow contained all the ingredients required of a bestselling easy read during this period. The preface to Welk’s work states: ‘Based on a true story, this book recounts over the course of eighteen chapters what took place in half a year, from Palm Sunday to Michaelmas, when the cowherd had to leave the area. It tells the tale of bright and dark events, human acts of love and goodwill, weakness and malevolence, which happened in Kummerow in the marsh behind the mountain’.31 Welk situated his scallywag stories in a fictional little place somewhere in Western Pomerania. Welk himself was born in Biesenbrow in the Uckermark in 1884, and he knew it well. His father and other defining figures from his childhood, such as the village teacher and pastor, were his models. The stories of the heathens are technically good and entertaining. The events he writes about are situated in Imperial Germany, sometime around the turn of the century. Here, too, Welk’s youth furnished the necessary period atmosphere. ‘An excellent book full of unrivalled humour and brimming full of life’,32 the reviewer in the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei exclaimed enthusiastically. As in Heinrich Spoerl’s work, a slightly rebellious element is discernible in Welk’s. The reader’s sympathies are directed toward Martin Grambauer, his friend Johannes Bärensprung from the alms-house, and Martin’s father Gottlieb. The latter is held to be worldly-wise, since he worked in Berlin, and practically an intellectual, because he is the only farmer in the place who reads the newspaper. Gottlieb Grambauer protests against the church and the pastor, and a certain anticlerical spirit runs through the work, which may have pleased some National Socialists. But all of Welk’s characters (including the people of the church) are portrayed with a lot of love and sympathy. Despite any resemblance in his work to conventional Heimat literature, Welk thinks and writes differently. He builds little breaks and surprising moments and motifs into the plot, which repeatedly break away from the worst narrative conventions. Here, as in the case of Ganghofer, a level of self-reflection on the medium of the easy read itself is also in evidence, for instance, when trashy books fall into Martin’s hands while he is waiting at the seamstress’s, and their cliché-laden plot is highlighted. And if one wishes

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to read between the lines for resistance, this is possible in the case of Ehm Welk. In one passage, for instance, Kannegießer the cantor pontificates to the assembled school class: I say to you, the spirit will be victorious, most certainly always when an honest heart joins up with it. And most definitely when courage is also present. Not simply a courage that strikes out, but also the courage to avow. Note well, you Kummerow slackers. … The person who strives for great things knows neither friend nor foe. … He knows simply bad and good people, but he should not judge them by how they treat him but by whether they do good or bad to others.33

What great and telling words in such dark times. Ehm Welk was ‘basically unpolitical, certainly not fanatical, and no Nazi’, Victor Klemperer noted in February 1945 after reading the novel Die Lebensuhr des Gottlieb Grambauer (Gottlieb Grambauer’s Life Clock).34 However, the Romance philologist was animated by the question of what it was about Welk that endeared him to those in power. This, he thought, came about: ‘1) through his love of country life; and 2) through his constant insistence that faith was more essential than knowledge.’35 And 3) – and not necessarily in third place – to expand upon Klemperer, it should be noted that it was precisely the unpolitical, somewhat other-worldly aspect of this sunny landscape and the primitive people in the marsh that made the stories from Kummerow suitable reading material in the Third Reich. In 1944, an honour was even bestowed from on high upon the follow-up volume to Heiden. Although the book had first appeared in 1943, its sales had also quickly exceeded the hundred-thousand mark. ‘Our author Ehm Welk received the 1st prize of 15,000 RM for light literature from the Reich Ministry of Propaganda for the novel Die Gerechten von Kummerow (The Righteous from Kummerow), which we published. Heinz Steguweit received the 2nd prize of 10,000 RM for Ritter Habenichts (Knight Have-Not)’,36 the Director of the Deutscher Verlag (previously Ullstein), Max Wießner, noted proudly in his report for the month of October, which he submitted to the parent company, the party-owned Eher Verlag in Munich. The prize competition was part of the large-scale efforts made by the Propaganda Ministry to encourage the production of entertaining reading materials. Goebbels repeatedly highlighted that light literature was of the ‘greatest significance’, especially ‘since the start of the war’.37 What was called for was: A light, captivating style of writing, which did not demand a great deal of emotional involvement, but instead subtly distracted readers from everyday life. The content as well as the language must be immediately accessible to

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the broad mass of our people’s comrades and our soldiers; a fresh and progressive flow of plot, without long-winded interpretations and reflections, should captivate the reader and pull them under the spell of the book. It is precisely stories like this that have been sought after again and again since the start of the war by the Wehrmacht and the Volk in the Heimat.38

The prize competition ‘for entertaining writing’, announced in 1942 by the Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature (Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum) in Goebbels’s Ministry, was part of this campaign. ‘Eligible works include humorous writing, books of adventure and experiences, crime, love, and sports novels, etc.’39 Presently, there was no ‘shortage of important books that capture the big issues of the day in literary form’, it continued, but there was still a lack of ‘engrossing books that serve the needs of the people’s comrades’ for relaxation and entertainment, something which was also true especially in the case of the ‘soldiers in the field’. The deadline had to be extended several times, and, when all was said and done, the Deutscher Verlag could no longer even exploit its author’s triumph for advertising purposes: Goebbels’s Ministry had meanwhile issued regulations on the use of language, which banned the reporting of prizes and any other similar events in the press. Welk’s victory occurred in the shadow of ‘total war’ and was closed to the public.40 But what a story it was, this career of the author Ehm Welk. His time as a journalist had come to a sudden end in 1934, because he – at that time already working for Ullstein – had adopted a critical stance towards the ideologically aligned press, going as far as to confront Goebbels in an editorial in Die Grüne Post. The newspaper was subsequently banned for three months, and Welk himself was imprisoned for several days in Oranienburg concentration camp.41 ‘The article represents a single irresponsible vilification of the intention of the Reich Propaganda Minister Dr Goebbels, to loosen the uniformity of the German press’,42 commented the Berliner Tageblatt, which had already been brought into line. After Welk was banned from his profession, he had no choice but to flee to the countryside. There he began to work again for Ullstein as a ghostwriter and book author, apparently protected through the intercession of Hans Friedrich Blunck. Many years later, in 1942, he was even permitted to work as an editor again.43 But how great must the NS cultural bureaucracy’s plight have been, if no author genuinely true to Party principles received the first prize in a competition for entertaining writing? Or how pragmatically did one indulge what the Volk of readers wanted, which perhaps even functioned as a kind of outlet for circles of bourgeois and critical readers? Today Ehm Welk is still known to many as the ‘Bard of the Heimat’, someone who memorialized the Uckermark and its inhabitants. However,

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the author’s appeal was not always confined to that region. After 1945, he belonged to the common German-German heritage of light literature. The filming of his Heiden von Kummerow followed in 1967 and was one of the few co-productions between the GDR and the Federal Republic, featuring Paul Dahlke, Theo Lingen and Ralf Wolter, as well as children selected for the shooting of the film on the island of Rügen, where most of the outdoor scenes were shot. Ehm Welk attained great prestige in the GDR. In 1954, he received the GDR National Prize, and he was a member of the Academy of Arts in East Berlin (Akademie der Künste, Berlin [Ost]). Humour and comedy played a glittering role in the Third Reich. On one side, critical voices can most easily be detected and corresponding impulses intercepted here. But humour and comedy are always subversive at heart, even if not necessarily directed against the dictatorship. This may be one reason why light literature in its entirety, and humorous writing in particular, remained suspect for certain circles of National Socialists. On the other hand, humorous literature became more vital for the regime as a place of refuge and retreat for the masses exhausted from the work effort and war service. ‘Those carrying out a job as serious as that of soldiers also want to laugh heartily’,44 a bookshop on the frontline reported on the desires of its readers. ‘To help people forget the hardship of the existential struggle’ is a function fulfilled by ‘the usual means available to us through our richly textured cultural life on the radio, in the cinema, at the theatre and in writing. Here, above all, the humorous book is at the forefront.’45 This is how the role of light entertainment was summarized succinctly in a trade publication for lending librarians. There was a broad consensus by parties who otherwise argued vociferously about light literature on the fact that humour could not entirely be done without. More cautiously, but nonetheless in fundamental agreement, a writer commented in Die Bücherkunde: ‘Humour in many forms flows from a well-nigh inexhaustible fountain. Certainly, the war has become the catalyst for many of the works that have appeared, and certainly there are some that were written for the present moment alone, but a part, indeed a good part, will stand the test of time. A war can also be won in this way.’46 In first place on the list of recommendations printed below was an old and successful acquaintance from the entertainment industry: Johannes Banzhaf ’s Lachendes Leben.

Notes 1. See Schneider, ‘Bestseller im Dritten Reich’, 77. 2. I am grateful to Volker Pietsch, Hildesheim, for providing additional information on the two films.

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3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

17 November 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol 7, 199. ‘Der Büchertisch’ [supplement], Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 9, XII. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 4, 180. Die Bücherkunde 4 (1937), no. 6, 343. Ibid. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 4, 180. Spoerl, Man kann ruhig darüber sprechen, 129. Ibid. Ibid., 133. BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Spoerl, Heinrich, 8 February 1887. BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Banzhaf, Johannes, 20 December 1907. Bühler and Simons, ‘Stichwort Johannes Banzhaf ’, (accessed 22 October 2020). Correspondence Johannes Banzhaf to the Reichsschrifttumskammer, 14 January 1938, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Banzhaf, Johannes, 20 December 1907. Correspondence Johannes Banzhaf to the Reichsschrifttumskammer, 27 December 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Banzhaf, Johannes, 20 December 1907. Erklärung für die Reichsschrifttumskammer, 31 January 1942, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Banzhaf, Johannes, 20 December 1907. This figure for 1939 is in Friedländer et al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 476. Ibid., 512. Ibid., 477. Dr Goebbels speaks of the successes of the book trade in Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 103, no. 109, 12 May 1936, 424. Arbeitstagung der Reichsschrifttumskammer, Gruppe Buchhandel, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 108, no. 113, 17 May 1941, 202. Sebastian Losch, ‘Unterhaltungsschrifttum – so oder so?’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 88, 16 April 1940, 137. Hans W. Hagen, ‘Um den Unterhaltungsroman’, Die Bücherkunde 11, vol 3/4, 43. Ibid., 44. Fest, Ich nicht, 110. ‘Neue Williams Jugendschriften. Ein Brotartikel für jede Leihbücherei’ (publisher’s advertisement), Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 8, 25 April 1935, 14. Undated, cited from Ibid. See Herzog, Heil Hitler, das Schwein ist tot! I am grateful to Wolfgang Eckert, Meerane, for providing additional information on Ohser and Knauf. Welk, Die Heiden von Kummerow, 5. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no.10, 25 May 1937, 9. Welk, Die Heiden von Kummerow, 188. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 4 February 1945. Ibid. Deutscher Verlag, Bericht über wichtige Geschäftsvorfälle im Oktober 1944, Ullstein Archiv. ‘Rede von Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 109, no. 235, 17 October 1942, 222. The speech was delivered at the Herbstveranstaltung des deutschen Schrifttums in Weimar on 10 October 1942. Ibid.

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39. See the competition announcement in Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 109, no. 163, 25 July 1942, 145. 40. The winners were finally announced in the Zeitschriften-Dienst in November 1944. It was also noted, however, that the ‘Prizes and winners were no longer to be listed in the press’. Zeitschriften-Dienst, 288./157. A 848. 10 November 1944 edition, [4], cited by Würmann, Zwischen Unterhaltung und Propaganda, 144. 41. See Reich, Ehm Welk, 191–93. 42. Berliner Tageblatt, cited in Reich, Ehm Welk, 190. 43. See Reich, Ehm Welk, 268. 44. Werner Enßlin, ‘Frontbuchhandlung im Westen’, Der Buchhändler im neuen Reich 6, 1941, vol 1, 17. 45. ‘Humor’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 5, 73. 46. Heinz von Arndt, ‘Bücher des Humors. Ein Griff in den Stapel humorvoller Neuerscheinungen des vergangenen Jahres’, Die Bücherkunde 8 (1941), no. 4, 113.

Chapter 8

FROM MEDICAL ROMANCE NOVELS TO SCIENCE FICTION The Themes and Authors of Modern Light Literature

鵷鵸 The Story of a Young Female Doctor: Angela Koldewey One of the most pervasive species of author in the 1930s and 1940s was the writing medic. Alongside medical doctors who are widely known in literary history, such as Alfred Döblin (who had to leave Germany in 1933), Hans Carossa and Gottfried Benn (who accommodated themselves with the regime), and Hanns Johst and Rudolf Georg Binding (neither of whom completed their medical studies), a range of writers discussed in this book were also doctors: Eduard Ahlswede, Hellmuth Unger, Karl-Aloys Schenzinger, A.J. Cronin, Axel Munthe and Johanna Haarer. The connection between doctor and author seems to have had marketing appeal at the time. Erich Langenbucher, for instance, summarized several new works in an article in the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt entitled ‘Romane aus der Welt des Arztes’ (Novels from the Doctor’s World). The publishing house of Hellmuth Unger and Betina Ewerbeck, Neues Volk, even disseminated the formulation ‘literary medical doctor’.1 Neues Volk became the new name for the publishing house of the German Medical Doctor Community (Verlag der Deutschen Ärzteschaft). Originating in the Hartmannbund (German Association of Physicians), it was closely connected to the NSDAP Office for Racial Policy.2 The Office itself was tasked with disseminating propaganda about National Socialist medical ideas on racial hygiene and demographic policy. The writings they published were thus cogs in the propaganda machine. The notion we have today of a novel about medical doctors stereotypically involves a love

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story situated in the world of those with white coats, but this applies only partly to these publications. Nevertheless, there was a whole range of fictional material that was located in a medical setting.3 Betina Ewerbeck’s novel Angela Koldewey is one such work. It sold over 240,000 copies. Ewerbeck was a doctor herself and so knew ‘their struggles and hardships through her own work’4 – this seal of quality was given to the work in a review. Both Ewerbeck’s text and her life are also typical in many respects. Ewerbeck wrote on the side, but her writing brought her a considerable income, at least for a time. While she listed earnings of 1,300 RM from publishing activities in 1937, in 1941 (two years after Angela Koldewey appeared), this sum had increased to a tidy 35,880 RM.5 A love story is also woven into Ewerbeck’s novel, and the story has pronounced autobiographical features. The titular heroine attends university in Freiburg im Breisgau, where the author herself had completed a doctorate with a thesis entitled ‘Changes in Skin Temperature in Particular Rheumatism during Spa Therapy’. The novel, however, contains only very subtle indications that the plot is situated in the 1930s. It portrays a young female doctor’s struggle for professional emancipation as well as scientific success. The sad and fatal aspects of the life of a doctor are not only not omitted, but are in fact depicted quite drastically in parts. This is something that might have led to the book being banned had the author not had support from some circles in the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK).6 The young doctor whom Ewerbeck describes feels called to medicine because she wants to help people. She is prepared to sacrifice everything for her vocation. At first glance, it might perhaps seem astonishing that aspects of holistic medicine are a strong focus in the book. Doctors who not only trust textbook medicine but always keep sight of the complete person and their social background, and in this way achieve the highest rate of cures, are portrayed particularly positively. In the process, the novel depicts trends that were emerging in medicine in the 1930s: natural healing, or biological medicine, was gaining in acceptance. High-ranking Nazis such as the Franconian Gauleiter Julius Streicher and the Reich’s chief medical doctor were trying to bring orthodox medicine and biological medicine together into a grand synthesis for the good of the ‘people’s community’.7 The official promotion of homeopathy and natural healing is one side of the coin; the other was racial science and euthanasia. And even these aspects of medicine in the Third Reich feature in passing as ‘soft propaganda’ in the book. The protagonist’s most significant boyfriend from her youth is from a family that is ‘handicapped’ by the logic of raciology: ‘“A difficult hereditary disease”, she thought with horror’.8 And the only way out in future would be to abandon the idea of having children with this man – voluntarily, of course. But then, ‘The pain that she had quietly felt at the time overcame her again with full force. She couldn’t marry Martin. Everything depended on her having a child.’9 The

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protagonist and figure of identification in the novel thus adopts an exemplary attitude in the spirit of the teachings of hereditary health. Propaganda for the ideological principles of the National Socialists was not expressed forcefully, but instead was woven subtly into the plot. The image of women is also adjusted to conform with ideology. Certainly, it is not a matter of ‘going back to the stove’, but a woman can only attain true fulfilment – even when she has a successful career – through motherhood. This was also the reality under National Socialism. Women were celebrated as mothers and were, at the same time, also urgently needed in the workforce (especially during the war). Angela Koldewey, the main character, dedicates herself to the fight against a hitherto badly researched form of cancer, which she finally diagnoses in herself. Knowing that she only has a few years to live, she nevertheless marries a fellow doctor and has a son. In the end, her husband carries on her research, after she literally sacrifices herself as doctor and mother: ‘Now the time had come. The big task was over, the way to a cure had been found. She had worked on it to the very end – and now that he was able to tell her: It is done, you too can still be saved – her strength waned.’10 Angela Koldewey continued to be sold and read in post-war Germany. The version published in 1956 in Bertelsmann’s Lesering could be printed unaltered, including the scene on ‘hereditary health’.11

Picture Books for Lovers: Reinhold Conrad Muschler and Dinah Nelken Karl Drucklieb was a bookseller with all his heart. He even got to know his wife through the book trade. Times were hard for a true bibliophile in 1938, when he embarked on his apprenticeship, which took him to Kassel and Leipzig among other places. What the young man quickly grasped were the codes that had become established in many bookshops between customers and sellers. He also recalls that all booksellers – if not out of deep conviction, then simply to cover themselves – had to have an alibi shelf of popular NS literature. But if one came across a reader who said, ‘I’d like a book that gives me something’,12 Drucklieb knew that the person wanted to read different literature, that is, something non-conforming to the regime. Perhaps he might even have been able to recommend a book by Reinhold Conrad Muschler, although it did not quite conform to his ideas of good literature, since it was ‘attractive kitsch’, as he still calls it. And successful kitsch on top of that! Muschler’s novella Die Unbekannte (The Unknown Woman), which sold 460,000 copies, ranks, in fact, as one of the top fifty best-selling books in NS Germany.

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Muschler had taken the death mask of the ‘Inconnue de la Seine’ as the starting point of his work. The castings and images of the mask of the unknown dead woman, whose corpse was discovered in Paris around 1900, had quickly become a favourite wall decoration in artistic circles, and had inspired various literary works on account of the unknown woman’s mysterious smile. A photo of the mask also graced the cover of Muschler’s little volume, which was published by Heyne Verlag. And the book, which was inspired by a true story, was soon translated into Danish, English, Dutch, Italian, Finnish, Norwegian, Hungarian and Swedish. Like others before him, Muschler tried to get to the bottom of the mystery of the unknown woman. In his novella, the corpse is that of an orphan who, following the death of her foster aunt, sets off from the provinces to Paris and meets her first and only love on the way. But since the man is already promised to another, and, after a few blissfully happy days, returns to his fiancée, the love between Lord Bentick and Madeleine Lavin has no future. Madeleine thereupon takes her life and dies in raptures, since she sees herself united with her lover in death: ‘“Yes, Thom, it’s me … I’m coming!” – Her face was smiling, transfigured, when they found her.’13 But what contributed to Muschler’s success in this instance? After all, he wrote other widely disseminated texts with large print runs. By virtue of its size and price, however, Die Unbekannte, in contrast, made an ideal gift. What is more, it contained harmless content by a contemporary author who ‘wrote poetically’ in the style of the nineteenth-century classicists. On the surface, Muschler might also be considered a National Socialist author. He was a member of the Militant League for German Culture (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur) and for a time was a member of the NSDAP. In 1933, his Jewish wife divorced him – on private as well as political grounds perhaps – and after 1945, he tried in vain to restore his reputation; he had wanted being stamped as a Nazi henchman removed from his record.14 Muschler had joined the NSDAP as early as 1932 and had made an outstanding contribution as a Party comrade in the struggle for power, as his local group leader from Berlin-Halensee certified.15 This did not prevent people, particularly those around Rosenberg, taking potshots at him; but at the very same time, other organs praised his work: ‘The language is of rare beauty, thoroughly musical and tuneful. Form and content are in wonderful harmony’,16 according to the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei. Quite a different view, on the other hand, was expressed in Die Bücherkunde, where Muschler was referred to as a ‘writing maniac’ and an ‘asphalt writer’ – and where he was also reviled as a ‘Jewish man of letters’.17 The reviewer, moreover, threatened the worst: ‘Such an unbelievable book as this, whose writer hasn’t shied away from treating the most sleazy and despicable things as national affairs, no longer makes a well-disposed critique possible, which might still be helpful even if it is

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largely negative. The only possible response is the uncompromising demand: “écrasez l’infame.”’18 Exterminate him. All in all, Muschler could not escape a fundamental dilemma: wanting, on the one hand, to serve the movement, but, on the other, having to reap sarcasm and odium. If Muschler’s closest companions are to be believed, this almost broke the author. Public scolding affected him enormously. In 1937, the local Party group leader of Berlin-Halensee, who was closely connected to the author, turned once again to Hans Hinkel, managing director of the Reich Chamber of Culture (RKK), for help and advice. Muschler had informed the local group leader that he had left the Party. ‘The fact is that he must quite rightly feel immensely aggrieved as a Party comrade whenever the National Socialist press criticizes his work in a way that should not be repeated.’ Certainly, Muschler did not expect his Party membership to bring him any advantages, but ‘an honest fighter can most surely demand one thing, and that is that the Party that he has served unreservedly does not besmirch him, as has, in fact, happened and continues to happen now and again in so-called book reviews.’19 This ambivalent relationship to official National Socialism did not harm Muschler financially, however. During the 1940s, he still had fifteen titles available on the book market. A far more critical relationship to the National Socialist leadership clique must be assumed in the case of Dinah Nelken. This author, born Bernhardine Schneider in 1900, lived in the artistic colony in Berlin-Wilmersdorf – illustrious surroundings until the Nazis came to power. From 1923, settlement blocks had been set up there as homes intended especially for actors, writers and visual artists. In March 1933, the new rulers had their SA goon squad carry out large-scale crackdown raids there, as well as everywhere else in the country. The Völkischer Beobachter reported with some pride on the same day of such an attack that ‘The Berlin “artist colony” is finally excavated.’ ‘This building complex housed from the very outset, an elite selection of the very worst sort of intellectuals and communist blood preachers’, it continued, ‘who penned their songs of hate against the awakening Germany in luxurious flats, which were protected by iron-clad doors.’20 Among this ‘worst sort of intellectuals’ in Dinah Nelken’s neighbourhood lived, or had lived, Johannes R. Becher, Ernst Bloch, Sebastian Haffner, Ludwig Renn and Erich Weinert, to name but a few.21 In her first novel Eineinhalb Zimmer-Wohnung (One and a Half Room Flat), which was published under her maiden name by Goldmann in 1933, Nelken had used life in the artists’ colony as a source of inspiration. Above all, though, we have Dinah Nelken to thank for one of the most unusual bestsellers of the 1930s and 1940s: Ich an Dich. Ein Roman in Briefen mit einer Geschichte und ihrer Moral für Liebende und solche, die es werden wollen (Me to You: An Epistolary Novel with a Story and Moral for Lovers and Those Who Wish to Become Such).

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Ich an Dich is a love story, but first and foremost, it is a successful gift book. The story is not told in a traditional way, but comprises a collage of texts and images. ‘The story of a love so trivial and tragic, as simple and noble as any love, in letters, notes, tickets, telegrams, cinema tickets and small, chance confessions of desire. A picture book? No, a reading book, in which we – smiling, so as not to cry – are told the story of two lovers.’22 The production costs of the book were very high. Multicoloured, and consisting in part of pasted-in photos, facsimile tickets and memos, it has the look and feel of a private album. Indeed, Dinah Nelken’s brother Rolf Gero Schneider’s contribution to the success of the work as idea generator and designer must be estimated just as highly as that of the author herself. Ich an Dich, which was reprinted a number of times after 1945, can consequently be considered a precursor to the batteries of gift and gimmick books that fill the shelves of bookshops today. Their success stems, above all, from a brilliant idea and an inspired title. Their content is of secondary importance. And in the case of Ich an Dich, demand undoubtedly arose from the sad fact that from the start of the war, after countless couples were forced into long, involuntary separations, books of this kind must have experienced a boom. The volume sold well over 200,000 copies by the end of the Third Reich, and the filming of the material just after it came out in book form, under the title Eine Frau wie du (A Woman Like You) and starring Brigitte Horney, increased sales fivefold in a short period.23 Contemporaries saw the film’s advertising effect as the main reason for the novel’s success – particularly in this case, but also more generally, as exemplified by other titles of the time. Even before the book appeared, Dinah Nelken characterized the ‘strong positive response’ to the novel, which was serialized in Silberspiegel, a fashion and lifestyle magazine published by Scherl Verlag, as her ‘most beautiful success up till now.’24 Nelken had lent her epistolary novel a light, carefree tone. She preserved in it an attitude towards life that, at first glance, seemed more in keeping with the 1920s, and evoked journalistic texts of that time as well as works by Kurt Tucholsky, Erich Kästner and Irmgard Keun. It is thus no wonder that Nelken eventually also came to feature large in publications ranging from the Morgenpost to Dame. Her brother Rolf Gero Schneider’s illustrations, done with a stroke of the pen with which readers of that era were familiar from advertisements, also lent a good and proper sense of life in the roaring twenties. Here, again, there was no direct reference to Nazi Germany. This gave rise to friendly reminiscences about the recent past, something which also helped render other works of light literature, from Spoerl’s novels to Rühmann’s films, successful. The book reminded one of loved ones who were far away, and of other, better times, which lay only a few years back.

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Figure 8.1. One of the most unusual bestsellers in the Third Reich, and the prototype for many gift books: Dinah Nelken’s Ich an Dich: Ein Roman in Briefen mit einer Geschichte und ihrer Moral für Liebende und solche, die es werden wollen (Me to You: An Epistolary Novel with a Story and Moral for Lovers and Those Who Wish to Become Such) from 1939. Author’s collection.

But how did the author get her bearings in National Socialist Germany? She was not openly confrontational, but instead, since she was a full-time writer, cooperated with the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK). A certain pragmatism is evident in her dealings with state authorities, for, as a divorced woman, she had had to provide for herself from early on. If the chief market for her texts continued to be Germany, she managed to distance herself spatially at least. First, we find her in Vienna, until the so-called Anschluss of

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Austria into Nazi Germany caught up with her in 1938. Later, she lived for a time in Yugoslavia. An application for travel expenses for work on a book about the Dalmatian coast which she wanted to undertake, once again with her brother, was declined in 1940 by the relevant authorities in Germany.25 Eventually, she travelled on to Italy, where she experienced the end of the war; she didn’t return to West Berlin until the 1950s. Dinah Nelken’s literary work went largely unnoticed in the Federal Republic, although she received some recognition in the GDR, among other things in 1976 through the filming of her novel Das angstvolle Heldenleben einer gewissen Fleur Lafontaine (Fleur Lafontaine), starring Angelica Domröse. Nelken’s son Peter had survived the Nazi regime in emigration and through illegality, and consciously opted for the Soviet-occupied zone in 1945. In the GDR, from 1958 until his death eight years later, he was editor-in-chief of the satirical magazine Eulenspiegel.26 In the 1980s, his mother became engaged in the initiative ‘Artists for Peace’, which, as part of the peace movement, opposed the military build-up in Europe. She died in West Berlin in January 1989, the year the Wall came down.

Social Novels on the Brink: Hans Fallada He is one of the few authors who was successful in the Weimar Republic as well as in the Third Reich, and who is still part of the literary canon today: Hans Fallada. His storyline is one of tragic success. The bestseller with which he finally broke through was the novel Kleiner Mann – was nun? (Little Man, What Now?), which appeared in 1932 when the Republic was already dying. Fallada had no choice but to adjust his works to the spirit of the hour, since he did not wish to leave Germany, and he continued his fight for recognition. In 1933, he was informed upon and was imprisoned by the SA for ten days. The people’s edition of Kleiner Mann – was nun?, which appeared the year after the Nazis seized power, had been amended substantially on the advice of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK).27 Passages referring to Germany’s new masters, in particular, which could easily have been misunderstood, were removed. Thus, the ‘Lauterbach’ character, who had joined the Nazis ‘simply out of boredom’, became someone who became a ‘goalie’ out of boredom. However, ‘Football was not boring. He rushed onto the pitch, and proved himself in tackles to be an extraordinarily level-headed young man.’ And football resembled street fights, for ahead of 1933, it is said that ‘The Nazis were not boring. He quickly got into position as a striker, proving himself in tackles to be an extraordinarily level-headed young man.’28 What applied to Fallada’s texts applied equally to countless others: precisely where the Nazis were invisible, they were particularly present. Conformity

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often did not consist of flying the new flag, but, on the contrary, of lowering it. In 1934, the front page of the Börsenblatt, which was always an ad, was dedicated to Rowohlt publishing house’s successful author. Kleiner Mann had sold 84,000 copies by this point and would go on to sell over 180,000 in the Third Reich. Moreover, 25,000 copies of Wer einmal aus dem Blechnapf frisst (Who Once Eats out of the Tin Bowl) had already been sold. Advertisements for Bauern, Bonzen und Bomben (A Small Circus) cited reviews from Der Angriff, Goebbels’ Berlin-based battle organ: ‘A serious and good book of our time.’29 The writer Thor Goote also had his say. Here, too, the publishing house attempted to draw readers’ (and critics’) attention to aspects of Fallada’s work that seemed particularly topical to the staff at Rowohlt: ‘The struggle of the upright German farmer for the plough is presented to us here in a fresh way. Fallada has created a rare picture of the present, a really skilful novel, which is also excellently suited to drawing attention to the strengths of the German peasantry.’30 Someone like Fallada was inevitably in danger of being trampled underfoot, for there were no voices that were exclusively positive. Certainly, the Propaganda Minister himself was favourably inclined towards him: ‘Read Fallada’s Wolf unter Wölfen (Wolf among Wolves) this afternoon. A fantastic book. The lad really puts himself through his paces’.31 Fallada was the type of successful author from the ‘system time’ that Goebbels wanted to win over for his new Reich. But there were contradictory voices even within his own Ministry. ‘Our Writing Department comes out against Fallada very strongly in a report. I expected nothing else from this quarter.’32 As was also to be expected, the bourgeois newspapers that still existed recognized the qualities of the author and the significance of his books for critical readers and discussed him positively, whereas vitriolic criticism came from Rosenberg’s entourage. The prefaces to his books, which the author wanted to insert – against the advice of his Rowohlt editor – so as to direct reception in a favourable way,33 did nothing to save him. Quite the opposite, in fact. In a section of Die Bücherkunde which was tellingly called ‘Rumpelkammer’ (‘The Junk Room’), his novel Wolf unter Wölfen was trashed in 1938. In the ‘Rumpelkammer’, they even took issue with the work’s positive reception in the rest of the press, ranging from reviews in the Völkischer Beobachter to those in the B.Z. am Mittag and the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. ‘You will discover that the writer, like hardly any other German, can tell a story’, the reviewer quoted from the Berliner Tageblatt.34 He then went on to note that the success Fallada enjoyed with the public could not be disputed. In fact, he continued, precisely because press and radio projected such a positive image of his books, their popularity among the wider public could scarcely

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be denied. However, success among the masses was not a positive quality for Rosenberg and his people: What might explain Fallada’s popularity is, firstly, his easily accessible style, this flat and banal daily jargon he never manages to get past, beyond this, the ability to create tension through an extremely skilful structure, and finally the rapid pace of his narrative. The chaotic accumulation of material in his work satisfies the strong desire of the uncritical masses for entertainment. But it remains our task to raise our voices vociferously against literary concoctions such as those of Fallada.35

However, the successful sales figures speak for a continued overwhelmingly positive reception of the author, on the whole. His income from royalties rose from 48,000 RM in 1939 to over 74,000 RM in 1942.36 In both cases, the sums allowed the author to lead a very comfortable, independent existence. But in spite of his secure financial position, the case of Fallada shows just how destructive a state of permanent personal insecurity could be for an author. This was highlighted by the screenplay for the film Der eiserne Gustav (Iron Gustav), which Fallada was commissioned to write by Goebbels. Fallada’s first version was rejected. He had to shift the time setting and have the son of the cabman join the NSDAP. Only after this did the text meet with the Propaganda Minister’s approval. However, the filming, which began shortly afterwards, was stopped after Rosenberg intervened. His office also had the novel based on the screenplay placed on the List of Undesirable Writing (Liste des unerwünschten Schrifttums). To be sure, in 1941–42, it could still be found among the thirteen books available from the author, but his commercial success could not permanently heal the psychological and emotional wounds. Hans Fallada died of the consequences of alcohol and morphine addiction in 1947. Another form of social novel that was extremely successful in the light literature market segment was the family saga – also referred to as the domestic novel at the time. While Fallada has been part of the canon of modern classics for some time, the authors in this category are largely forgotten today. A good example is William von Simpson, whose novels Die Barrings (The Barrings) and Der Enkel (The Grandson), two parts of a family saga, had combined sales of well over 300,000 copies. ‘On the whole, though, this family novel is respectably skilful, technically sound, well composed, economically executed, and, above all, rich in knowledge about the things it deals with, thus: a testimony of excellent authorial spirit!’,37 the journal Weltliteratur declared when it came out. This story of an East Prussian noble family, from just after the establishment of Imperial Germany in 1871 to the First World War, was consequently extremely successful. Some editors desperately tried to ‘identify’

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it somehow with the spirit of the time, even though it was more a successor to Fontane’s work than oriented towards völkisch literature. The family, it is stated at one point, experienced ‘a disassociation from homeland and soil; but the inner legacy of the Barrings, who are true to their furrows, will again demand and find fulfilment.’ And further: ‘The contemporary sensibility is especially stirred by the high and warm notion of the furrowed fields and the economic and social duties of its owner.’38 Even more successful were the merchant and apprentice novels of one Fritz Müller-Partenkirchen, whose Kramer & Friemann sold over 400,000 copies, and whose Die Firma (The Firm) sold over 130,000. These works, to some extent, exemplify the bourgeois-mercantile variety of family saga, in the tradition of Gustav Freytag’s Soll und Haben (Debit and Credit). While Die Firma was only recommended to ‘readers of highbrow literature’, Die Bücherkunde was able to recommend Kramer & Friemann ‘without reservation’.39 Titles by both authors are only available second-hand today.

Georg von der Vring: On the Trail of the Crime Novel ‘After reading serious texts for a while, or when Eva is shattered, she needs something “exciting” to read, preferably a crime novel. This brings us to Edgar Wallace’s Der Grüne Bogenschütze (The Green Archer).’40 Not only the Klemperers, but all readers, viewed and continue to view crime novels as the flagships of light literature. They also played a significant role in the Third Reich. Around three thousand crime novels appeared in Germany during this time.41 The crest of the crime novel wave was reached in 1937 and 1938, when 385 and 447 new publications appeared respectively. And initially, German readers were not even cut off from international crime writing. Edgar Wallace, whom Klemperer read, was well established and widely read in Germany. A Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag advertisement from 1934 listed no fewer than thirty-two detective novels by the author, under the headline ‘Cheap, good and exciting books to read while travelling’.42 And Georges Simenon books featured in double-page ads, on which the author’s surname appeared oversized, reinforcing the fact that the writer himself was a brand.43 Presumably because it was so widespread, the crime novel, from the outset, was a particular focus for the NS arbiters of culture. It seems, though, that it was less the crime novel per se so much as the crime novel as a particularly striking example of popular literature that caught the attention of the bureaucrats of the written word. The ‘detectives with the requisite pipes in their mouths’ became for many critics a symbol of a kind of literature that had to be transcended.44 The arbiters of the written word were soon in agreement that the detective novel, in particular, was a ‘specific product of

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bourgeois society of capitalistic, western and, above all, Anglo-Saxon character’,45 which was no longer compatible with the new Germany. Additionally, there was a perceived danger that ‘portrayals of crime’ in literature might, especially in the case of the young, encourage the ‘impulse to form gangs and to rebel’46 – thus, in the eyes of those responsible for controlling literature, the genre had a pronounced anarchic and destabilizing aspect. Here, arguments characteristic of debates during the Weimar period about writing that endangered youth arose again; and, in altered form, they still surface today in discussions on youth protection. After the start of the war, two striking tendencies are evident in the book market: on the one hand, the increasing need for entertaining reading material, as previously described; on the other, radically imposed censorship of certain forms of literature by the bureaucracy responsible for writing. These trends also particularly affected the crime novel in all its shades. Some publishing houses found practically their entire programme of offerings on the lists of banned books during these years. In 1940, for instance, Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag’s complete works of Edgar Wallace and all available titles by Agatha Christie were affected, just to name a few of the authors who are still widely known today.47 In the wake of this censorship, some critics even claimed to see the revival of a literary genre such as that of the crime novel as a final, and in part successful, rearguard action by bourgeois society. ‘Is it perhaps the case that bourgeois society, which appears outwardly to have been conquered, was attempting a final push in the literary field? In this regard, one should recall the Christmas bestsellers in recent years. Did this not constitute a late blossoming of “noble-minded liberalism?”’48 However, while there was a broad consensus regarding the rejection of Anglo-Saxon ‘excesses’, opinions on the extent to which the genre could be reformed were more divided. In this discussion, the position of Sebastian Losch – Secretary, among other things, for the book trade in Main Department I of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (RMVP) – was very clear. He reiterated the Ministry’s customary basic commitment to books ‘which serve no other purpose than relaxation and entertainment, diversion from the monotony of the day and of work, and to cheer people up.’49 A possible way of rescuing the genre for the new era, and one which was frequently practised at the time, was to remove the reviled Anglo-Saxon trappings, populate crime novels with German police and set them in a modern industrial society with constitutional norms that provided no direct references to the NS state.50 The other way, which was also successfully adopted, was to historicize the material. What had already been called for in other places, that is, that ‘a form

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could – could! – develop which would allow writers to build on the tradition of Schiller, Kleist and Droste-Hülshoff,’51 was successfully achieved by Georg von der Vring. His novel Die Spur im Hafen (The Clue in the Harbour), first published by Scherl and later by Bertelsmann, was the bestselling crime novel of this era, selling at least 350,000 copies. Von der Vring was a technically proficient storyteller who could mesmerize his readers. The story revolves around Assessor Tewes, who wishes to clear up the (at first only presumed) murder of his uncle, and is set in the period before the 1848 revolution. The book was received extremely positively by critics. ‘This new novel by the bard is suitable for a large readership, and it is to be hoped that the good treatment of criminological material, skilfully combined with a love story, squeezes out some of the products of an amply known type from the lending libraries.’52 Noteworthy elements of von der Vring’s text are the passages alluding to political events of the 1840s, in which the characters consistently sympathize with the freedom fighters: ‘In this moment, it became cruelly evident to me what happens when a large and intelligent nation is governed in the most unjust and short-sighted way, such that the youth has no other choice but to rise up against all follies. In practice, the sons rose up against their fathers and demanded of them what their fresh hearts, thirsting for freedom, desired. Many families were destroyed at that time by this discord.’53 This left lots of room for interpretation, a ‘between-the-lines-reading’ by those wishing to see the idea of freedom and democracy upheld in Germany in dark times. Critics at the time, on the other hand, saw what they wanted to see: they interpreted the freedom fighters as ‘German-minded men’ fighting for a ‘Greater Germany’, and thus co-opted them – whether the author intended it or not – for Nazi Germany. After the war, von der Vring was viewed by many as an inner emigrant. Before 1933, he had initially published texts on the First World War, on the senselessness of war and appeasement with former enemies. He was also committed to the Weimar democracy at this time.54 Later, however, he allowed himself to be co-opted by the NS regime. In public, this was most apparent when he showed up as the main speaker at the German Writers’ Conference (Deutsches Dichtertreffen) and at the Congress of the European Writers’ Association (Tagung der Europäischen Schriftstellervereinigung) in Weimar in October 1942. In a speech entitled ‘The Simple in Writing’,55 von der Vring developed thoughts on a prototype of the people’s writer, who fulfils certain basic criteria in terms of quality, but nonetheless always remains on equal footing with the reader. Of these two qualities, the first was not fulfilled by the producers of kitsch, and the second was left unfulfilled by the vilified ‘literati’ of the Weimar era. All literary arbiters who were concerned with light literature could thus regard von der Vring’s suggested path as the ideal way forward for light literature in the Third Reich. ‘Georg von der Vring,

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with a small number of other German writers, immediately placed himself in the service of entertaining books, which are among the best achievements in this area and represent a felicitous treatment of exciting and adventurous materials using cultivated language and literary responsibility.’56 And with direct reference, among other things, to his crime novel Die Spur im Hafen, it was claimed that he had striven for a line ‘which our classical storytellers also followed, namely to create works poetically, which, at the same time, embody all the elements of a popular, easily accessible literature that is strong in plot for a broad range of social classes’.

Back to the Future: Hans Dominik and Co. Dejected by the situation, held in check by the constant expectation of being drafted into doing factory work, always asleep on my feet due to permanently bad nutrition – potatoes, potatoes, potatoes – I gave a lot of readings from the potboiler, which, like a flat crime novel, is initially tense and then leaves a bland taste in one’s mouth & a feeling of shame – shame that there are still people who write such things and people who read the like, and that I am one of them. Hans Dominik, Die Spur des Dschingis Khan [The Trail of Genghis Khan]. But we do in fact want to read this Roman aus dem einundzwanzigsten Jahrhundert [Novel from the Twenty-first Century], which was published by Scherl in 1923, all the way to the end, despite the hollowness & shallowness & hackneyed quality of its love and crime scenes, because it is interesting as a technical and political utopia.57

And as the sales figures show, there were quite a lot of people, from the Imperial Reich into the Federal Republic, who, like Victor Klemperer, reached for the books of Hans Dominik. At least four of his works exceeded the 100,000 sales mark in the Third Reich, among them his novel Land aus Feuer und Wasser (Land of Fire and Water), which appeared in 1939 and sold more than a quarter of a million copies. Altogether, between 1933 and 1945, a few hundred futuristic novels were published – novels which would be sold as science fiction today. But no other author was as successful as the former Siemens engineer Hans Dominik. The bestselling Land aus Feuer und Wasser belongs to a trilogy of novels about Professor Eggerth, a brilliant inventor. The work combined several themes typical of futuristic novels. A German engineer fights for new settlements and to gain independence from other powers for his fatherland. At first his mission – which he was assigned by a government minister in Germany – was to create an intermediate landing base for the stratospheric airplanes. But, in the end, he achieves more than this – a colony for 500,000 inhabitants. ‘On new land, born of fire and water, German work paid off.’58 The eternal adversaries of the Eggerth people are

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Americans, who are competing with the Germans to make new discoveries – but are, of course, defeated in the end. In his retrospective analysis of his reading of Dominik, which is written in a vexed tone, Klemperer captures the essential elements of texts of this kind. Yes, it is the case that the futuristic novels of the 1930s and 1940s were in no way innovative. They picked up on the themes of the 1920s, which were, first and foremost, fantasies of engineers and of omnipotence, as well as visions of technical progress. This was no vehicle for social utopias, especially because the National Socialists fashioned themselves as those who would fulfil all that was wished for or desired by society. If, then, the goal had already been reached, pondering alternative worlds was out of the question. Among the futuristic novels of those years, there are some texts that are set beyond Planet Earth, and even one in which a space traveller has sex with an extraterrestrial. These texts were mostly niche products with small print runs, and they were often distributed only through the lending libraries. However, readers of the latter comprised a broad public, although its size is difficult to assess. The aforementioned saucy episode comes from Gerhard Naundorf ’s Stern in Not (Stricken Star). In this book, earthlings travel to the asteroid Ceres, which is ruled by Amazonians who, sparsely dressed, wander around in a permanent state of suffering due to the shortage of men. The inevitable is therefore bound to happen sooner or later. It is perhaps these somewhat risqué passages – which most surely did not satisfy the pure teachings of racial ideology – that may have led to the work being classified by Die Bücherkunde shortly after its release as ‘literature not to be promoted’.59 However, the classification did not have a major impact on sales. Two years later, the book could still be ordered from wholesalers. The case of Hans Dominik also demonstrates that the arbiters of culture were not entirely free of contradictions. His Ein Stern fiel vom Himmel (A Star Fell out of the Sky), for example, was described as ‘materialistic’60 and was rejected as unsuitable for public libraries, although Die Bücherkunde expressly recommended ‘the promotion of the book, above all to libraries for young people and lending libraries’.61 And the fact that such statements by the bureaucrats of the written word were always carefully checked by those producing literature is clear from an exchange of letters between Dominik and his publisher, Dr von Hase. The latter’s publishing house, Hase & Koehler in Leipzig, had previously published Dominik’s Land aus Feuer und Wasser, and von Hase had consequently been horrified by an article in Das Reich on the ‘future of the German novel’. In it, Bernhard Payr, the editor of Die Bücherkunde as well as editor-in-chief for the sector giant Eher from 1943, clearly opposed ‘technical futuristic novels’, which he claimed had been long since outstripped by reality. What was described in them, he argued, was ‘far removed from playful fantasy and implicated instead in the

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tragic’.62 Von Hase was deeply concerned at the basic tenor of the article, for, as he explained to Dominik: ‘It sounds like a formal rejection by the Party of your novels.’63 But no such fundamental rejection actually occurred. Dominik was able to console his publisher. ‘Fortunately, literature is not made by these people but by others who know about such matters’, he wrote to von Hase. The ‘others’ were undoubtedly those working in the Propaganda Ministry, not least Goebbels himself, who sent a telegraph to Dominik on his seventieth birthday which read: ‘With your novels, you have provided hundreds of thousands of readers with gripping books, and afforded them joy and relaxation. I send you my warmest wishes.’64 Dominik thanked the Minister for his kind words: ‘You prove to me … that the government, too, generously appreciates my attempts for years on end to convey scientific and technical knowledge in an entertaining way and to awaken interest and understanding for the exploits of German research.’65 This was the key to Dominik’s success: fantasy was not foregrounded. Instead, the futuristic worlds he conjured up in his narratives were merely a vehicle for conveying scientific and technical information. This, in any case, is how the author characterized his work. Dr Karl Soll, the head of ScherlBuchverlag and one of the fathers of Dominik’s success with futuristic novels, described Dominik’s work in a similar vein in a 1936 letter to the author: ‘Above all, though, they are not true products of fantasy; the technical construction of every single [novel] was built on a sound scientific basis.’66 And what Soll said of Dominik applies to almost all other authors of this genre: the futuristic novel in Germany of the 1930s and 1940s has more in common with the technical and raw materials novel (Rohstoffroman) than with what is generally termed science fiction today. Dominik thus also saw the historical novel as his literary model. He had already discontinued space odysseys and encounters with alien civilizations in the late 1920s, in his novel Das Erbe der Uraniden (The Legacy of the Uranides). For ‘a futuristic novel set in the year 6000 A.D.’ was ‘simply impossible’.67 ‘More than anywhere else’, the author went on, ‘a wise restraint is called for if the author wishes his work to seem believable and wishes to captivate the reader. Basically, he would do well to choose a time setting for his story which at least the youngest of his national comrades is likely to experience within his lifetime.68

Notes 1. Verlag Neues Volk advertisement in Ewerbeck, Angela Koldewey, 336 2. Kiessling, Dr. med. Hellmuth Unger. (1891–1953), 150–52. 3. See Cygan, ‘Braune Weißkittel’.

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4. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Romane aus der Welt des Arztes’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 1, 7. 5. Compiled on the basis of documents in BArch (formerly BDC), cited in Cygan, ‘Braune Weißkittel’, 147, note 10. 6. On this, see Ibid., note 11. 7. Vasold, ‘Medizin’, 243–44. 8. Ewerbeck, Angela Koldewey, 211. 9. Ibid., 212. 10. Ibid., 332. 11. Ewerbeck, Angela Koldewey (1956 edition). 12. Interview with Karl Drucklieb on 23 April 2009. 13. Muschler, Die Unbekannte, 62. 14. ‘Muschler, Reinhold Conrad’, in Klee, Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich. 15. Ortsgruppenleiter Berger to Hans Hinkel, 22 September 1933, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Muschler, Reinhold Conrad, 9 August 1882. 16. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 22, 25 November 1933, 4. 17. Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 167. 18. Die Bücherkunde 1 (1934), no. 1–4, 8. 19. Ortsgruppenleiter Berger to Hans Hinkel, 21 July 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Muschler, Reinhold Conrad, 9 August 1882. 20. Völkischer Beobachter, 15 March 1933. 21. On this see (accessed 22 October 2020). 22. Nelken, Ich an Dich, foreword. 23. See Erich Langenbucher, ‘Betrachtungen zum Thema Film und Buch’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 19, 280. 24. CV of Dinah Nelken, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Nelken, Dinah, 16 May 1900. 25. Letter to Devisenstelle beim Oberfinanzpräsidenten, 5 March 1940, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Nelken, Dinah, 16 May 1900. 26. ‘Nelken, Peter’, in Müller-Enbergs et al., Wer war wer in der DDR? 27. For this and the following, see Hübner, ‘“Erfolgsautor mit allem Drum und Dran”’. 28. All citations from Ibid., 200. 29. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 126, 2. 6. 1934, title page. 30. Ibid. 31. 31 January 1938, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1192. 32. Ibid., 1197. 33. See Hübner, ‘“Erfolgsautor mit allem Drum und Dran”’, 202. 34. Die Bücherkunde 5 (1938), no. 1, 49. 35. Ibid. 36. See Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 164. 37. Franke, ‘Eine Geschichte ostpreußischen Adels’, Die Weltliteratur (1941), no. 3, 92. 38. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 23,10 December 1937, 7. 39. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 7, 10 April 1936, 7; Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 1, 19. 40. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 2 September 1934. 41. On this, see Carsten Würmann, ‘Zwischen Unterhaltung und Propaganda’, 61. 42. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 132, 9 June 1934, 2504–5. 43. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 144, 23 June 1934, 2696–97. 44. Wilhelm Müller, ‘Spannung im Buch des Jugendlichen’, Jugendschriften-Warte 44 (1939), no. 5, 65. 45. Erich Thier, ‘Über den Detektivroman’, Die Bücherei 7 (1940), vol. 7/8, 207.

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46. Sebastian Losch, ‘Unterhaltungsschrifttum – so oder so?’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 88, 16 April 1940, 138. 47. ‘Bücher, deren Ausleihe und Verkauf einzustellen ist! Liste III (mitgeteilt vom Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum)’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 7, 105. 48. Erich Their, ‘Über den Detektivroman’, Die Bücherei 7 (1940), no. 7/8, 215. 49. Sebastian Losch, ‘Unterhaltungsschrifttum – so oder so?’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 88, 16 April 1940, 137. 50. See, among others, Würmann, ‘Zwischen Unterhaltung und Propaganda’, 274–75. 51. Erich Thier, ‘Über den Detektivroman’, Die Bücherei 7 (1940), no. 7/8, 217. 52. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 7,10 April 1936, 7. 53. Von der Vring, Die Spur im Hafen, 108. 54. See Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 391. 55. See Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 109, no. 235, 17 October 1942, 219. 56. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 20, 290. 57. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 10 March 1943. 58. Hans Dominik, Land aus Feuer und Wasser, 336. 59. Gutachtenanzeiger. Beilage zur Bücherkunde Ausgabe B, no. 10, October 1938. 60. Die Bücherei 2 (1935), no. 9/10, 27. 61. Die Bücherkunde 2 (1935), no. 3, 109. 62. Correspondence v. Hase to Dominik, 18 December 1944, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL337 / 50. The article was supposed to appear in Das Reich on 17 December 1944. 63. Ibid. 64. Telegram Goebbels to Dominik, 14 November 1942, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL 337 / 49. 65. Correspondence Dominik to Goebbels, 19 November 1942, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL 337 / 49. 66. Correspondence Dr Soll to Dominik, 4 September 1936, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL 337 / 10. 67. Hans Dominik, ‘Warum Zukunftsromane?’, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, NL 337/11, [no place of publication], 1. 68. Ibid., 2.

Chapter 9

COMMODIFYING AUTHENTIC PEOPLE’S LITERATURE Karl May, Courths-Mahler and the Heroes of Pulp Fiction

鵷鵸 Even the ‘Führer’ Reads Karl May! When the Karl May Verlag celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1938, its press department had recourse to a veritable deluge of articles, which had appeared in the wake of Achenbach’s reportage about his visit to the Obersalzberg. The journalist’s piece had initiated a real boom. Achenbach is credited with being the first to have made ‘the people aware of the Führer’s May volumes’,1 and the Karl May Verlag used citations from Achenbach’s article in its brochures. Indirectly, therefore, the Führer himself drummed up business for the Saxon author.2 Many positive reviews could also be trotted out, in publications ranging from the Völkischer Beobachter to Das Schwarze Korps, the magazine of the SS. Prominent Nazi authors, too, spoke approvingly in public about May: ‘If I hadn’t read Karl May in my youth, there would be a perceptible gap in my development today. In his works, he boldly carved out the space of our youthful fantasy, and he also fathomed the depths of young, and as yet unhardened hearts – the eternally youthful German Karl May. Hans Zöberlein on 20 February 1938, after the Führer’s speech in the Reichstag.’3 Adolf Hitler shared this passion for these adventure books with many Germans, in particular young Volksgenossen (‘national comrades’). Admittedly, of course, the first editions of Karl May’s books had appeared several decades before the Nazis came to power, but many of them – presumably because of the prominent backing – still figured amongst the bestselling novels in the

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Third Reich. Around 300,000 copies of Schatz im Silbersee (Treasure of the Silver Lake) alone were sold, and the first volume of Winnetou achieved sales of almost 100,000. In fact, in 1943, a special edition of Schatz im Silbersee, prepared for the High Command of the Wehrmacht, appeared with the notation, ‘for use only by the armed forces.’4 Patronage at the highest level of the regime also had the effect, however, of leading several prominent opponents of the Nazis to take potshots at Karl May. Here, educated middle-class reservations about this form of mass literature combined with attempts to locate fascistoid tendencies in the work of the adventure writer. ‘In his 1940 article “Karl May, Hitler’s Literary Mentor”, Klaus Mann launched an attack on the writer of the adventure books’, Barbara Haible notes in her study Indianer im Dienste der NS-Ideologie (Indians in the Service of NS Ideology): He accused him of having negatively influenced millions of readers, and of having poisoned their hearts and souls with duplicitous morals and with the glorification of cruelty. Hitler’s preference for May’s novels and his view that Old Shatterhand’s convictions and tactics could be transferred to real politics, were in Mann’s opinion, not an exception, but had to be considered alongside May’s effect on many other German readers.5

Even before 1933, the creator of Winnetou had been subject to repeated criticism, mostly in circles concerned with ‘good youth writing’. One of their most active representatives was the teacher Wilhelm Fronemann, who fought against the increased recognition that May’s work apparently received after the Nazi takeover. He wrote, for instance, to the National Socialist League of Teachers (Nationalsozialistischer Lehrerbund), protesting against the inclusion of May’s work in the Katalog guter Jugendschriften (Catalogue of Good Writing for Young People).6 In so doing, he took a position that was diametrically opposed to that of Hans Schemm, the Franconian Gauleiter and Bavarian Culture Minister, who also served as head of the League of Teachers (Lehrerbund), and had written that ‘German boys and girls … are more than merely well-behaved in school, namely they possess courage, resolution, pluck, thirst for adventure and Karl May spirit!’7 Fronemann’s arguments that May’s books disseminated pacifist, indeed Marxist ideas among the people did not find a sympathetic ear with Schemm. Fronemann, though, continued his attacks against May after the war (in the GDR). His argument then, however, was that May had conformed congenially to National Socialism and had served many of its tendencies.8 In short, all the official speeches in praise of Karl May’s books and the alleged protection from the highest quarters cannot conceal the fact that the Saxon author was never completely uncontroversial. May was located relatively far up on the ‘path leading down’ to trashy writing, but he was certainly

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no bard; instead, and at best, he was a successful popular writer. He did not appear on many of the various lists of recommendations for the ‘good book’. There were policy clashes surrounding such popular authors among the diverse camps within National Socialist cultural policy. Two basic questions arose repeatedly during the debates: for one, whether light literature was necessary, and if so, which form was appropriate for the NS period; and second, whether the border line between the ‘people’s literature’ (‘Volksliteratur’) that was being talked up by many functionaries and trivial literature had to be revised downward. The second point was in no way new. Debates about the harmful influence of certain types of trivial entertainment have existed as long as there have been more or less serially and industrially produced texts. So, when shallow entertainment, the trashy novel or the light crime or adventure novel was railed against in certain quarters – in particular by those surrounding Rosenberg and his journal Die Bücherkunde – May was rarely named directly; but he was often in people’s minds.

The Literary Demi-Monde, from Hedwig Courths-Mahler to Ludwig Ganghofer Besides Karl May, there were other writers who were children of the Wilhelmine era and whose books remained on the market. While the success of some of them continued or even grew, others steered a difficult course after 1933. In terms of total sales, Hedwig Courths-Mahler is one of the most successful German-speaking female writers of all time. In total, she wrote around two hundred novels and novellas. During the Third Reich, however, she constantly had to defend herself. Whenever the literature of the ‘perfect world’ was railed against, she was viewed as a prime example. None of her books that appeared between 1933 and 1945 was able to live up to her previous commercial success. But the titles were available everywhere: in private libraries, commercial lending libraries and, not least, in readers’ memories. Her unvarying love stories, in which love helps break down class barriers and procures fortune and respect for the socially disadvantaged (for example), became prototypes of trivial literature’s promise of wish fulfilment, and epitomize kitsch to this day. In 1935, the publishing house that published the books of CourthsMahler, as well as those of her daughter, Friede Birkner, engaged in a desperate form of advertising. It began with comments from Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen which had appeared in the Börsenblatt on 2 January 1934: ‘The much-maligned Frau Courths-Mahler once wrote that she had awoken the need to read in millions of people for the very first time, that she had, in fact, given them their first lesson in book buying …’ After this,

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in large letters, they took a stand against the attacks on their author: ‘The bigwigs of the world of literature should remain conscious at all times of the fact that, purely in terms of sales figures, purely on the face of it, H. Courths-Mahler, in a certain sense, enables the very existence of the publishing house and the sale of valuable books.’9 But mass success of the new books published by the author could no longer be achieved under the new regime. The inventory catalogue of the most significant wholesalers for 1941–42 listed only five of her titles available for purchase.10 On the other hand, an application to remove Courths-Mahler from the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) failed due to the fact that ‘the works of Courths-Mahler were still in circulation.’11 During the war, however, this reviled form of literature received a new lease of life. In 1943, Hamburg lending libraries reported, for instance, that ‘80 “new” Courths-Mahlers … had gone “out of stock” in next to no time’. Yes, the reporter had to concede that, in times of war, writers were once again in demand ‘who, in a higher state of consciousness, could be considered to be outgrown.’12 With the increased need for entertainment after 1939, some standards seemed to shift. Some of those responsible were more inclined to accept more trivial material, even as debates on the proper form of entertainment grew increasingly fierce. Thus, whenever cultural-political articles in those years used the label ‘true people’s author’, Hedwig Courths-Mahler and her ilk would be deemed the opposite, the ‘false’ people’s authors who ‘befuddle’ readers with their works. In the struggle against such forms of entertainment, Alfred Rosenberg’s publication, Die Bücherkunde, was particularly vehement, serving as a mouthpiece for his Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege). This office – which viewed high literature as the gold standard – saw the easy read as the second lowest level of text in terms of quality (only just above ‘pulp fiction’). Both forms originated from the ‘literary dream factory.’13 They propagated a world which, from the National Socialist perspective, was long since obsolete: the world of glamour, of the rich and beautiful, a world that had nothing to do with real life. In Rosenberg’s sphere, arrows were also slung quite blatantly at Goebbels, who, of course, supported a far broader definition of entertainment. Ludwig Ganghofer, an author of light literature himself, was another who toiled in the ‘dream factory’. The books of this author, who had died in 1920, continued to enjoy great success in the Third Reich. Between 1933 and 1945, four of his books sold 300,000 copies each. Admittedly, they escaped suspicion from the outset due to the author’s origins and the setting of the novels, since Ganghofer rode on the coattails of the regional art movement of the turn of the century. The pope of völkisch literature, Adolf Bartels, had categorized the Bavarian author as an ‘entertainer’, but he had, nevertheless,

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accepted him into his literary canon.14 Hitler, too, had come across the author as a young man in Vienna, but, as his friend from those years later recalled, ‘Adolf found absolutely nothing in Ganghofer.’15 Presumably, Ganghofer remained so popular because his Heimat novels served certain demands of the new era, without belonging to NS writing as such. Readers could pick up something that had a whiff of ‘blood and soil’, but in reality he conveyed imagery from the good old days. Additionally, the halo of being almost a modern classical writer of Heimat literature (alongside Ludwig Thoma) protected him from unprovoked criticism. Even his contemporaries had noted his orientation to the classical popular fiction of the turn of the century. It was claimed that this happened out of ‘embarrassment’ and was a ‘deferment of the altercation of the self that was lagging behind currentday cultural and political reality. At best, this arose from the compunction to reawaken illusions, which constituted the lustre, the “delight” of those who had been youths around 1910–29.’16 Translated: among the hardliners, Ganghofer’s work was tolerated. However, it did not constitute a long-term solution, but was instead only a transitional phenomenon until their own true NS popular fiction could replace these traditional titles. This applied not only to Ganghofer, but also to the likes of the Norwegian writer Trygve Gulbranssen. Both owed their success to the same source: they were sold because they could handle relevant materials and subjects without aping boom literature in a pandering way. That said, both offered literature that was schematic. Ganghofer’s novels all bore hallmarks of trivial light literature, including, for instance, Schweigen im Walde (Silence in the Forest), which first appeared in 1899 and was already proverbial in Germany. The characters are clearly defined and conform to a simple, good–evil formula. There are no nuances, no ambiguities. All the images and motifs are blatantly obvious, so that even the most inattentive reader can grasp the text’s messages. For example, the leitmotif of the silent forest in the novel is belaboured, almost to the point of driving the reader to distraction. At the centre of the plot is a love story between an aristocrat fleeing from civilization and a bourgeois artist’s daughter, and they get each other in the end, of course. The book constitutes a variation on the old popular fiction subject of upward social mobility, thus fulfilling the dreams of so many readers, in the realm of literature at least. At the same time, Ganghofer was also sophisticated enough to weave a few self-ironic passages into the book. One of the main characters, the forester, is addicted to reading trivial English light literature. He seeks compensation in such books for his otherwise stunted inner life. However, reading this escapist literature ultimately disappoints him; it turns out to be inadequate. But perhaps this is only because it deals with a foreign and, to some extent, ‘degenerate’ escapist world?

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It is very likely that the radical cultural warriors around Rosenberg – provided that National Socialist Germany reached its ‘ultimate victory’ (Endsieg), and Rosenberg’s warriors reached their own cultural-political victory – would have weeded a Ganghofer out of their literary canon sooner or later. Even earlier, Rosenberg’s lads struck some sharp tones: was this nothing more or less than a fight against the ‘literary demi-monde’? The ‘readers of literary kitsch’, Werner Bökenkamp wrote in Die Bücherkunde, were located in all ‘classes of the Volk’. Admittedly, the author was referring to serialized novels published in magazine form above all else, but his comments also applied to light literature more broadly: The characters stand at the ready like stereotypes … The con artist Count Babbiani or the noble German engineer … A world of illusions, of hunger for life experience, of stereotypes and constant repetition unfurls before us. After 1933, in the wake of ideas concerning race, the heroes became blond and Nordic and the crooks dark and black; fancy bars were left behind, to some extent, and characters were transported instead to a village inn; it no longer smelled of Parisian perfume but of dung, and the managing director began to behave as though he were so closely connected to the common people that he married the secretary. What more could one ask for? The blood-and-soil wave [Blubo-Welle] then quickly ebbed, and the bourgeois milieu henceforth held sway, cleansed to such a degree that it harmonized well with the laws on writing.17

Rosenberg also had his people carry out an open attack on Goebbels and his Propaganda Ministry. A year before, at the 1936 Cantata Convention (the large annual meeting of the German book trade), Goebbels had given a speech in which he laid out his position on popular literature. He clearly acknowledged the need for entertaining writing – ‘The more a Volk is eroded by everyday concerns, the greater its claim to relaxation and recreation’ – and he accentuated this point by introducing the slogan ‘Strength through Joy’.18 Goebbels was then paraphrased by Rosenberg’s man Bökenkamp when the latter enumerated the arguments of the defenders of kitsch: ‘With our literature we are helping the poor national comrade forget the concerns and joylessness of our everyday life and transporting him to a more beautiful world’. Then he stuck in a sarcastic ‘Strength through Joy!’19 Clearly this was an affront against the good ‘Doctor’ Goebbels himself. And the author also made it clear not only that he found the Propaganda Minister’s position quite lame and indulgent, but that Goebbels had not properly recognized the problem posed by kitsch: ‘We are of the opinion that this evil must be tackled more radically and more unmercifully than has been the case up till now. We see in it a danger to the people’s spirit, which is tolerated in peaceful times under the pretence that it is harmless, but which can have disastrous consequences in decisive times.’20

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It should therefore come as no surprise that the journalistic debate between the Goebbels and Rosenberg camps came to a head during the war. In the case of Ganghofer, however, the author’s success through 1945 – and ultimately even beyond that – proved him right in the end. Already in the 1930s, many Ganghofer books had been turned into films. An article written in 1942 mentions no fewer than twelve of his novels that had either been captured on celluloid or were being made into films.21 This boom continued in 1950s Germany with a wave of Heimat films. Goebbels regarded the success of this genre across media quite pragmatically – as he frequently did – and above all, in monetary terms: ‘Gewitter im Mai’ [A Thunderstorm in May], a Ganghofer film – as all films like these are. But they bring in the cash.’22 This same bottom line applied equally well to Ganghofer’s books.

The ‘Pulp Fiction’ Bogeyman Light fiction was not just the subject of debates on cultural policy in Nazi Germany. It was also a target in the propaganda war against the allies. The fronts between the great powers worldwide were broadly clear in 1941. The USA found itself on the side of Germany’s enemies. It was high time to revive old enemy images, such as that of the uneducated American, for example. Pulp (in German, ‘Brei’, or pap) was said to be the intellectual diet of hundreds of thousands of Americans. With sales amounting to 85 million dollars a year, cheap pulp fiction disseminated hair-raising stories and earned its producers huge profits. ‘And the name is absolutely spot on, because such trashy pulp can really only be stuffed into naïve children’,23 the Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt commented. More than one hundred dime novels, it was claimed, were on the American market, with total sales of around 15 million copies each week. In the case of the dime novels or ‘hero books’ – ‘pulp fiction’ in the true sense – we are at the opposite end of the imaginary value scale from high literature. And the reviewer from 1941 quoted above was in this respect talking out of his hat, because the work in question was largely banned on the German market. The popular American-style pulp fiction which generations of young people (and grown-ups) had previously read keenly all landed on the List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries (Liste der für Jugendliche und Büchereien ungeeigneten Druckschriften) published by Goebbels’ Ministry in October 1941: Jörn Farow’s Abenteuer (Jörn Farow’s Adventures, 1937–39, 114 issues), Die Abenteuer des Billy Jenkins: WildWest-Reihe (The Adventures of Billy Jenkins: Wild West series, 1934–39, 263 issues), Rolf Torrings Abenteuer (Rolf Torring’s Adventures, 1937–39, 132 issues), Jan Mayen (1936–38, 120 issues), Sun Koh, der Erbe von Atlantis

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(1933–36, 150 issues, some published in English as Sun-Koh, Heir to Atlantis) and Tom Shark: Der König der Detektive (Tom Shark: The King of the Detectives, 1929–39, 553 issues) – to name but a few. The list approximated a total ban for the pulp titles in question; they were in good company, alongside all of Edgar Wallace’s novels, which at this time included around 150 different titles and editions which could no longer be published, nor sold by hawkers, nor lent by any kind of library, nor made accessible to youths under 18 years old. This is what the President of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), Hanns Johst, had decreed. But until the ban, the pulp series had been an integral part of mass entertainment literature. Admittedly, it is difficult to establish concrete publication figures today, but these series clearly cannot be left out of any discussion of bestsellers in the Third Reich. They are part of the overall picture. According to statements made by one of the publishers, in the mid-1930s print runs of individual issues of such works lay between 250,000 and 500,000 copies;24 German pulps were thus thoroughly on a par with their American counterparts in terms of their wide appeal.

Endangerment of Youth in the Year 1933: Sun Koh, der Erbe von Atlantis (Sun-Koh, Heir to Atlantis) But the Nazis were not the first to declare war on filth and trash. Pulp fiction experienced its first heyday above all in the German Empire and in the Weimar Republic – but it was always eyed suspiciously and constantly fought against by eager pedagogues and self-appointed protectors of the youth. A pulp series such as Sun Koh, der Erbe von Atlantis, by Paul Alfred Müller, which appeared for the first time in the year the Nazis came to power, gives special insight into the development of light literature after 1933. Due to its runtime of three years, during which an issue came out every week, the consequences of Nazi literary policy can, to a certain degree, be observed on a living object as it evolved over time. The story, which the author published under the pseudonym Lok Myler, can be summarized quickly: Sun Koh, the descendent of a secret royal dynasty, undertakes numerous adventures all over the globe, aided by his confederates: Hal Mervin, an English rogue, and the Black prize boxer Nimba. The trio have an unimaginable range of technical gadgets at their disposal, which are being developed by previously unemployed German engineers (!) in a secret city in the Mexican jungle. All their efforts are aimed at preparing for the reappearance of the sensational continent of Atlantis, and claiming it in the end for new settlers. Paul Alfred Müller was an extremely successful author of popular literature. A full-time teacher in a vocational school, he earned 3,615 RM from his

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writing in 1937.25 All told, he made a good living as an author in the Third Reich. However, joining the Party on 1 May 1933, shortly after it came to power,26 did not protect him from coming into conflict with the bureaucracy controlling the written word. For it was not so much the author’s attitude as the medium of pulp fiction itself that remained suspect for the new rulers. As early as the end of 1934, proceedings seeking to ban the Sun Koh series were underway in the Berlin Inspectorate for Smutty and Trashy Literature (Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur), which was working under the auspices of the Reich Minister of the Interior, based on a 1926 law enacted by the Weimar Republic which forbade sales of indexed publications to youths under 18. Such proceedings could be instigated by the central authorities of the federal states and by the states’ youth offices. In the case of Sun Koh, it was initiated by Württemberg’s Ministry of the Interior. In a formal submission to the board overseeing the process, the publishing house put on record that through spring 1935, over one hundred different pulp titles appeared weekly. Initially, 10,000 copies of each title had been printed; and since 1934, it had been 8,000. In the reports that were gathered over the course of the proceedings on the individual books, the main criticisms focused on the fact that they were serialized. The view was that these constituted the ‘worst sort of novel’. People were forced to buy the entire series, despite the fact that it would have been possible to buy a good book for the price of ten of these ‘little pamphlets’:27 ‘The crudeness of the sentiments, the disregard for human life … have a repulsive effect. … Continuous reading of such “literature” gradually stifles the more noble stirrings of the heart in adolescents’, was the judgement of one expert assessor. He also found it particularly noteworthy that ‘the characters in the little magazines … without exception all [have] English or Spanish names.’28

And – as the example of Sun Koh shows – it would not necessarily have been an advantage in the eyes of the expert assessor if an author tried to incorporate the spirit of the new era into their work. Certainly, the author had ‘skilfully anchored [the stories] geographically and historically’, and there had been an opportunity to deal with ‘particularly modern problems’, as, for example, right at the start of issue no. 63, when ‘the conquest of territory, and then of “colonial peoples”, determined the mastery of the world.’29 But it ‘was a debasement of the problems that the best among us are struggling to solve to see them dealt with as mere padding in these stories, and in such rhetorical tones. If the writer has included them in order to salvage these stories of robbery and murder, the exact opposite has perhaps been achieved.’30 The examination proceedings described here, however, still involved a process based on the rule of law, and one which therefore had a legal basis.

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The publishers and authors in question had the right to state their position, a right which they availed themselves of amply in the case in question. The publisher brought in not only the author, but also the editor tasked with preparing the manuscript, along with his guarantors in the Propaganda Ministry. It was argued that the author promoted popular literature (Volksliteratur) in his writings. Certainly, it might be possible to try to bring readers to a higher stage of development through education, but it would ‘take generations to achieve this goal. In the meantime, we would have to continue to plan on millions of readers who, owing to intellectual limitations, were not able to reach for the “good book” but instead only for “popular literature”’.31 The advisory board of the Association of Publishers of Popular Literature (Beratungsstelle der Vereinigung der Verleger für Volksliteratur) also stepped into the breach against the inspectorate, claiming that it was working under the auspices of the Reich Literature Office (Reichsschrifttumsstelle),‘in the service of the wishes of the Propaganda Ministry’, and at the behest of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK). As far as the association was concerned, it was economic reasons above all else that spoke against overly harsh interdictions: Moreover, the leading authorities are entirely clear in their view that businesses should not be driven to ruin, but instead should adapt. I therefore request in the case at hand, that Bergmann Verlag also be given the chance to adapt its series of pamphlets, insofar as it gives rise to complaints. This can happen quite easily if the pamphlets that are alleged to contain improbable events or crudeness are altered.32

Representatives of the advisory office had to intervene in the interests of the publishers. After all, it was an institution that had grown out of the work of the trade association, which was tasked with mediating between economic and political interests. In 1937, this advisory body became an office within the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), and a year later, its censorship duties were taken over by the Literature Department (Abteilung Schrifttum) of the Propaganda Ministry directly.33 Finally, the editor who had been employed by the publisher also piped up. He had been tasked as ‘an old Party comrade’ with checking the manuscript to ensure that it ‘contained nothing that contradicted the National Socialist spirit, and, for that reason, could somehow be objected to.’34 The deployment of editors such as this one indicates that the publishing houses were trying to make their products as unassailable as possible. A harsh and retrospective intervention meant economic losses, no matter which censorship authority was involved. The editor also took issue with some of the points in the inspectorate’s expert report. He protested, for instance, against the accusation of ‘foreigner-loving’ (‘Ausländerei’), adding that, ‘It appears, however, to have escaped the expert assessor that Sun Koh’s best friend, the

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only person he is on truly familiar terms with, is an exceptional German engineer with the good German name Dr Peters!’ This combined effort, however, did not prevent the series initially being placed on the index because of the proceedings undertaken by the inspectorate. But it did not remain there for very long, thanks to the National Socialist rulers: the Law to Protect Young People against Smutty and Trashy Literature (Gesetz zur Bewahrung der Jugend vor Schund und Schmutzschriften) was rescinded in April 1935. Why exactly this happened can only be surmised. For one thing, the process of ‘book banning’ was now to be extracted from the quasiconstitutional domain. The new custodians of literature no longer wanted to show their hand. However, the hiatus in monitoring and control was to last for a whopping five years, because the first List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries (Liste der für Jugendliche und Büchereien ungeeigneten Druckschriften), although announced in 1935, did not appear until 1940.35 Whether any interruption of the weekly publication pattern actually occurred in the case of Sun Koh is not clear from the surviving records. But it is a fact that the hero – even though the inspectorate started to kill him off in issue no. 103 – was able to persevere through issue no. 150, when he experienced the long-desired resurfacing of Atlantis while on board his airship.

A ‘Negro’ Disappears: The Creeping Adaptation to the Spirit of the Times The development of the Sun Koh series over time demonstrates the process of gradual accommodation to the new power relationships. In the first issues, racial segregation is sharply criticized through the example of the US, but over time it is acknowledged that there are people of ‘different value’, and Nimba – Sun Koh’s dark-skinned companion – belongs to this group, since he ‘carries foreign blood’.36 In issue no. 139, moreover, the author finally kills Nimba off. It had become too dangerous for the heroes of series to surround themselves with black accomplices. It was not only ‘wimpish literary infatuation with the coloured’37 in pulp fiction that was a bête noir for literary critics such as the NS bard Will Vesper, who argued from a racist perspective. Even clichéd images, such as the ‘poor black’ or the ‘noble Indian’, frequently found in popular literature, were perceived as ‘glorification of the coloured races’38 and rejected outright by National Socialists. What is more, it is not only in terms of chronological development that such changes are evident in the series. Text and images were altered in reprints of books that had been published beforehand. Nimba had to ‘be killed off’ here as well. In second or third editions, he was, more or less skilfully, simply airbrushed out of the covers.

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Figures 9.1 and 9.2. ‘Wimpish literary infatuation with coloureds’ was a bête noir for literary critics who argued from a racist perspective. As a consequence, Sun Koh’s helper Nimba had to be airbrushed out of the covers of reprints. Author’s collection.

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Sun Koh also breaks promises towards other companions. While in issue no. 21, he promised the descendants of the Incas in the Andes that he would ‘summon them to another country, where you could be free and great once again in its mountains’,39 an attentive reader would have been quite astonished a few issues and around half a year later, when one of Koh’s accomplices declares with reference to the settlers who would be required for Atlantis that ‘He needs … capable people. … These people should all be from Germany – with the permission and will of the government of the Reich.’40 Admittedly, after the war began, numerous pulp series landed on the lists of banned publications, but this did not signal a general end of the medium. Only certain subjects and varieties were excluded, for instance ‘the detective with the customary pipe in his mouth.’41 That said, ‘cheap adventure and crime stories’42 were also bought, read and exchanged enthusiastically among young people raised as National Socialists. ‘Wherever they turn up, the reading of these magazines spreads like an epidemic.’43 The well-established narrative templates of popular fiction were often attacked particularly harshly: ‘The true hero always acts in the service of a great idea, of a community, of a völkisch task. The pulp “hero” almost always acts in his own private interest.’44 It was claimed further that such heroes knew no ‘völkisch limits’, were cosmopolitan, and maybe even romanticized foreign countries or the exotic. It was the enticing escape room of fantasy which attracted the young and which ought to be made inaccessible from the perspective of many NS cultural policymakers.

At the Behest of the Party and the Wehrmacht: Pulp Series as Propaganda Vehicles Many pulp series could continue to appear with ‘the permission and will of the government of the Reich’. Indeed, new series were added: new wine in old bottles. It was a proven fact that young people liked them. It is striking, especially in light of the recent lashing out against writings unsuitable for youths, that a number of new series that were close to the NS regime started up. These included the Erlebnis-Bücherei (Experience Library, 1940–45, 105 issues), the Aufwärts-Jugend-Bücherei (Upwards – Youth – Library, 1940– 44, 97 issues), the Kriegsbücherei der deutschen Jugend (War Library of the German Youth, 1939–45, 156 issues) and the Kolonial-Bücherei (Colonial Library, 1940–42, 88 issues). Moreover, other series that were ‘supportive of the state’, such as Bertelsmann’s Spannende Geschichten (Suspense Stories, 1935–41, 126 issues), were permitted to continue.45 The Erlebnis-Bücherei quite obviously drew upon the successful pulps of the pre-war era, as was clear from their title images. Issue no. 45, Auf Jagd im australischen Busch (Hunting

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in the Australian Bush), looks like a Wild West dime novel. Admittedly, though, the report on the ‘campaigns against the rabbit menace’ is presented as a ‘factual report’.46 A characteristic feature of many successful conformist series was that offices and people close to the state or Party were involved in their publication, and also partook of their profits. Wilhelm Ihde, who as the managing director of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) from 1937 to 1943 held an official position in Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry, entered the scene as an editor of the Erlebnis-Bücherei – most certainly not only for the love of the job – and he had also operated in other publishing houses as a crime fiction writer.47 The Kriegsbücherei der deutschen Jugend, published by Steiniger Verlage in Berlin, showed that the pulp magazine had now been transformed into its very opposite. It no longer transported young people away from everyday life and into some far-off fantasy world, but instead forced them back into the omnipresent war. The series were published ‘by order of the Youth Leader of the German Reich [Reichsjugendführer] and in consultation with the High Command of the Army and the Navy, and with the High Commander of the Luftwaffe.’48 They are propaganda and advertising texts for the unconditional war deployment of German youths. Thematically, they link up with the wide current of war literature. In the case of Bertelsmann’s Spannende Geschichten, this connection also extended to the authors, in that people like Beumelburg or Ettighoffer also wrote for this small form of publication. This means of seduction eventually had deadly consequences for those it seduced. These pulp magazines, after all, accompanied young soldiers into the senseless war as kitbag readings. One, with the telling title Die eisernen Drei: In jedem Feldzug einmal abgeschossen und auch jetzt wieder dabei (The Iron Trio: Shot Down in Every Campaign and Here Yet Again), was nothing less than a blatant recruitment advertisement: ‘German lad! You have once again read page after page of this magazine with passion in your heart. What enthused you more then? The wonderful comradeship of the Iron Three, their courage in battle, the ways they were deployed? The desire will now be doubly alive within you to cruise, to fight and to be victorious in one of these giant birds.’49 This was followed by a description of how to become a pilot, down to detailed physical requirements, including – as if self-evident – ‘pure Aryan blood’. And there was more: ‘You can get information about an application from the National Socialist Air Corps, the district recruiting headquarters (Airforce Group) or the junior officers at the regional air command (Luftgaukommando).’ The slogan ‘Strength through Joy’, which Goebbels had proclaimed with reference to popular literature, is quite literally associated with one of the most successful pulp series in the Third Reich: Hillgers Deutsche Bücherei (Hillger’s German Library). The Reich Office for Education of the People of the NS Society for Strength through Joy (Reichsamt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk

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der NS-Gemeinschaft Kraft durch Freude) published around one thousand individual titles under this label. The German Work Front (DAF) – the ideologically aligned trade unions, to which the Strength through Joy organization belonged – was the largest mass organization in the Third Reich, even bigger than the Party itself. Hillgers Deutsche Bücherei illustrates in exemplary form how a popular literary canon had to present itself in a National Socialist spirit. Just as in the case of Reclams Universalbibliothek (Reclams Universal Library), all genres – from non-fiction to narrative prose to lyric poetry – were represented here, among them classics of popular fiction from both home and abroad. The first titles of the series, by James Fenimore Cooper and Charles Sealsfield, continue to draw on the Wild West genre. But overall, it is nineteenth-century German authors who dominate, including writers such as Storm, Keller, Fontane, Freytag, Hebbel and Droste-Hülshoff, as well as the most important representatives of German classicism. And there was absolutely no problem with the idea of manufacturing an urge to purchase the entire series; indeed, that was exactly what was desired. It was envisaged that the titles would be bought in large quantities by mass organizations and educational establishments. Discounts for the purchase of 500 or 1,000 copies support this. After the Eher concern, the German Work Front (DAF) was the second largest actor close to the Party in the publishing sector, encompassing, for instance, the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt. Alongside classics, the series accommodated titles that were purely and simply propaganda brochures, for instance Spione, Verräter, Saboteure (Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs), published in conjunction with the High Command of the Wehrmacht. In this ‘educational pamphlet’ – the copy I have in front of me indicates a print run of 240,000 – instructions are given on how to detect enemy attempts at espionage, and how they can be prevented. At the start and end is the motto: ‘Fidelity to the Führer! Protection to the German Volk! Death to the traitor!’ However, such snappy slogans should not lead one to forget: propaganda in the Third Reich, besides serving as a means to influence the masses politically, was also – and not least – a big business. Entertaining subject matter, alongside the small format of the pulp magazine, was a good means of conveying ideas as well as an ideal growth medium.

Biene Maja (Maya the Bee), Heidi, Lederstrumpf (Leatherstocking): A Brief Foray into Children’s and Young Adult Literature There were many young people who indulged in ‘pulp fiction’ as their tutors and teachers looked on critically, although what young people read naturally depended on their social background. Alongside the cheap paperbacks, there

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was, of course, also a market segment for classical children’s and young adult books. And, yes, they did exist, those inflammatory, antisemitic pamphlets from Stürmer Verlag posing as children’s books: Der Giftpilz: Ein Stürmer-Buch für Jung und Alt (The Poisonous Mushroom) by Ernst Hiemer, or the appropriately titled Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid und keinem Jud bei seinem Eid: Ein Bilderbuch für Groß und Klein (Trust No Fox in the Green Meadow and No Jew on his Oath: A Picture Book for Big and Small) by Elvira Bauer. At least for the year 1938, when it first appeared, there is firm evidence that Der Giftpilz sold 70,000 copies.50 Its purpose was to acquaint the very youngest with antisemitic ideas. Start them early! Today, these unspeakable pamphlets sell second-hand for horrendously large sums of money. To be sure, volumes such as these had their buyers and readership. But they were not the only things shaping the picture of children’s and young adult literature. This market segment deserves a full study of its own, but will be briefly touched upon here, not least since several of the authors discussed in this chapter, such as Hans Dominik or Karl May, figured among the writers of young adult fiction, or their works are alternately categorized as adult writing and adolescent pulp fiction. Overall, many classics of adolescent literature continued to be read after 1933, among them Grimm’s fairy tales, which, in numerous editions and adaptations, remained on the market and were printed in large numbers into the war years. The same is true of Gustav Schwab’s retellings of the Schönsten Sagen des klassischen Altertums (Most Beautiful Tales of Classical Antiquity), and not only because Hitler had supposedly enjoyed reading them in his youth. The world in which a child grew up – or as we would put it today, how educationally privileged or underprivileged a child was – naturally influenced what they read. Joachim Fest, from a bourgeois household, was aware of how successful the pulp magazines were among his classmates, but he also noted that he himself had little to do with them. If we follow his reading experiences as a child and adolescent, we find a few books that would most surely have been present in many households. First and foremost, of course, Struwwelpeter (Struwwelpeter or Pretty Stories and Funny Pictures); but then, above all, Wilhelm Busch and all his characters – which also continued to be popular with grown-ups – and, of course, Karl May. Many foreign titles intended for young adults were also to be found on his bookshelves. For the time after 1934–35, for instance, Fest comments on Onkel Toms Hütte (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) by Harriet Beecher-Stowe, the Dr Doolittle series by Hugh Lofting and James Fenimore Cooper’s Lederstrumpf and Wildtöter (Leatherstocking and The Deerslayer), as well as the stories and novels of Mark Twain and Hermann Melville. And, last but not least, alongside genuine

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German classics, which the teacher’s son likewise read, there was also Hans Dominik, ‘whose novels opened your eyes to a highly technicized future crammed with silvery apparatus.’51 Others report similarly. Marcel Reich-Ranicki remembers Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in particular. ‘I also, very early on, went through a period where I was interested in popular historical novels – the bestseller Ben Hur by the American Wallace, for example, and Quo Vadis by the Polish Nobel Prize Winner Henryk Sienkiewicz … Beyond this, I read, with respect, but also some boredom, Cooper’s Lederstrumpf (Leatherstocking) tales.’52 As well as, of course, again and again and also in Reich-Ranicki’s case, Erich Kästner’s books for young people, which, from Emil und die Detective (Emil and the Detectives) to Doppeltes Lottchen (Lottie and Lisa), were banned in the Reich. ‘Admittedly, one could get them in some second-hand bookshops for a few pennies. The unwelcome titles would be flogged secretly.’53 Ilse Kleberger’s memory54 of a reading mix of young adult fiction that included Erich Kästner and Rudyard Kipling, but also Hitlerjungen Quex (Hitler Youth Quex), is probably somewhat more representative than the reports of Fest, who came from a family which had positioned itself quite clearly against National Socialism, something which would most surely have influenced its children’s reading. A German-speaking writer from Switzerland whose books remain a core component of writing for young people (even if possibly frequently only in the film versions) was already present back then: Johanna Spyri and her Heidi novels. Even though most of these titles, which had first appeared in the 1910s, had total sales of about 300,000 copies, the books continued to be printed into the 1940s. And in 1943, one of her titles was even included as a recommendation in the First Basic List for the German Lending Book Trade and Factory Libraries (Erste Grundliste für den deutschen Leihbuchhandel und das Werkbüchereiwesen).55 As with other types of fiction, Scandinavian texts were also popular with young adults. Marie Hamsun, the wife of the German-friendly Nobel Prize winner Knut Hamsun, sold around 125,000 copies of Die Langerudkinder (The Langerud Children). Selma Lagerloef ’s Nils Holgersson also sold respectably well. Another classic – a German children’s book that first appeared in 1924, and between 1933 and 1945 alone probably sold as many as 200,000 copies – was Die Häschenschule (A Day at Bunny School), written by Albert Sixtus and illustrated by Fritz Koch-Gotha. To this day, and in frequent new editions, it is still to be found in children’s rooms. Like Heidi, Die Biene Maja und ihre Abenteuer (The Adventures of Maya the Bee) by Waldemar Bonsels represented a genuine international success

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among German-speaking children’s books. It first appeared in 1912, and by 1938 it had sold around 770,000 copies in total, a figure not achieved by very many books. Between 1933 and 1945 alone, it is estimated to have sold at least 150,000 copies. What is striking about this book is that the author was not considered to be uncontroversial in the Third Reich. At the outset, several of his works were banned and landed on the book pyre. Just why this was the case cannot be fully explained. Possibly, some of his texts were ‘too anarchic and the erotic scenes too liberal.’56 This definitely did not apply to Die Biene Maja and Himmelsvolk (Heavenly People), however, which brought their author fame during his lifetime which continues to this day. The points of criticism just outlined are supported by the fact that something similar was said in a book review of a Bonsels biography in Die Bücherkunde. The review mentions books whose ‘transparent suspense artistry’ makes them appear like ‘a higher-level Karl May’. On the other hand, the review also notes ‘plenty of oppressive and overheated fictions, in which the writer does not successfully fight against and come to grips with the erotic problem.’57 When Bonsels was to be called on to give readings in the Third Reich, there were no negative points raised in an expert report written on request by the NSDAP District Leader (Kreisleiter) from Starnberg: ‘W. Bonsels suffered significant damages through the destruction of some of his books. But, in spite of this, he is attempting to conform and align himself with the new era.’58 And the Gauleitung of Munich-Upper Bavaria, which had requested the ‘expert report’, came to the conclusion that: ‘The above-named is not a member of the NSDAP, but is a member of the NSV [Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt, NS People’s Welfare Organization]. His social conduct is impeccable. Bonsels tries to uphold his duties for the movement. The Gauleitung of Munich-Upper Bavaria raises no political concerns’. About four years later, the same position prevailed at the Propaganda Ministry. The author’s writings that had previously been banned were consequently not included in a new version of the List of Harmful and Undesirable Writing (Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums), since, as the Ministry noted, they were no longer even available for purchase. The Propaganda Ministry was looking for a pragmatic way forward and found it without even having to examine the books individually. The other thing in the author’s favour was the fact that Goebbels personally congratulated him by telegram on his sixtieth birthday. But what was decisive for the exclusion of his works was an agreement between the Propaganda Ministry and Rosenberg’s office: ‘In view of the good effect abroad, which Bonsels undoubtedly achieved through his works, no difficulties will be imposed on his person or his work. The Party itself still has some reservations, but has no concerns about a normal promotion of his work.’59

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The story surrounding the author of Biene Maja has another peculiar twist. After 1945, Bonsels suddenly found himself subject to accusations of having spread antisemitic ideas in parts of his work. His book Dositos: Ein mythischer Bericht aus der Zeitwende (Dositos: A Mythical Report from the Turn of Eras), which had originally appeared in 1943, was initially banned. An American cultural officer in the military occupation that followed Germany’s defeat characterized the content as ‘very sordid’. The Americans tasked with examining the case proceeded adroitly. They asked the publisher, with whom Bonsels was already in negotiations concerning the publication of a new work, to request a statement on Dositos from the author – without revealing to him who had asked for the statement in the first place. ‘In reality’, Bonsels wrote in response, ‘it deals with purely objective debates about German-ness and Jewishness, in which I (then, not now) expressly distanced myself from the Party.’60 Bonsels had come onto the Americans’ radar because, among other things, he had dedicated individual copies of Dositos to high-ranking Nazi leaders, such as Reich Minister Frick. However, regardless of how one might evaluate the content of the pamphlet (according to the cultural officers) and Bonsels’ attitude towards antisemitism, the situation might be summed up thus: Bonsels, whose existence was threatened existentially by bans, and who clearly strove hard to conform in the Third Reich, was caught between two stools a second time. The novel Perdita by German-English author Isabel Hamer also met with a mixed reception, although it was not subjected to such sharp attacks as Bonsels’ book. In contrast to the author of Biene Maja, Hamer is almost completely forgotten today; Perdita was last published thirty years ago. During the Third Reich, the novel, which first appeared in 1938, sold around 130,000 copies. After 1945, it sold in the millions, with book club and paperback editions following. Isabel Dorothy Hamer, who was born in 1912 to an English officer father and a German aristocratic mother, was raised in England and moved to Germany in the 1930s. Sometime later, she married Hermann Leins, the publisher of the Rainer Wunderlich Verlag in Tübingen, who published Perdita. The book is strongly autobiographical. The author describes the life of a girl, who – with a German mother and an English father – is orphaned at an early age, and, after the death of her Bavarian foster aunt, is ‘transplanted to English relatives in London’: The longing for people who are related to her, and the conflict associated with having two homelands determine Perdita’s development as she grows up. The life of the English aristocracy stands in stark contrast to that in Germany after the Great War. When the eighteen-year-old finally starts to put down roots in England, a meeting with a German man … reawakens her longing for her lost German Heimat. For Perdita, this double love becomes an allegory for finding one’s homeland.61

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The author’s English name may well have fit with the publishing house’s marketing concept at the time, since it promised to bring something along the lines of a whiff of the big wide world into people’s sitting rooms. Perdita is a text which was possibly conceived with adult readers in mind. It was, at least, categorized as such at the time. But these fluid boundaries between young adult and adult writing are, as we have seen, typical of certain authors. It is also a phenomenon which is common to this day – one only has to think of the children’s and the adult editions of Harry Potter. The story of the woman searching for her Heimat was initially entirely in keeping with the range of literary topics of the time. The individual looking for a homeland or meaning is an archetype of National Socialist völkisch literature, from Hermann Burte to Gustav Schröer and Kuni Tremel-Eggert. But it is precisely in this regard, according to a reviewer of the time, that Hamer falls short. ‘We read comparisons of values that are all too objectively weighed, almost one-dimensional, and somewhat superficial – the condition of hotel towels, the performance of cars, social issues – when we would expect a genuine presentation of the struggle for belonging, in which the ultimate question revolves around the blood.’62 The title character, the reviewer claims, also made her decision on the basis of superficialities, ‘with complete disregard for the fateful constraints that determine the decision, and which are completely independent of personal factors.’ ‘This weakness’, the reviewer continues, is ‘all the more regrettable because the book, aside from this, with its lively and, in part, highly amusing portrayal of the English relatives and family life, is a charming love story of our time.’ It must be noted, however, that while Isabel Hamer’s novel was published without any changes, it did not correspond entirely to the spirit of the times. The author steered clear of the ‘völkisch blood stream’ – something that was actually to be expected from Wunderlich Verlag’s publishing programme. Berlin bookseller Hans Benecke mentioned the Wunderlich Verlag in Tübingen in the same breath as other publishers with which he ‘felt particular sympathy.’63 Booksellers also welcomed the remnants of a certain degree of publishing independence, as represented in the case of Wunderlich.

Notes 1. Johannes Nixdorf, ‘Karl May im Spiegel der Presse’, in 25 Jahre Schaffen am Werke Karl Mays, 42. 2. Heinemann, ‘“Karl May paßt zum Nationalsozialismus wie die Faust aufs Auge”’, 234. 3. ‘Eintragung im Gästebuch des Blockhauses’, in 25 Jahre Schaffen am Werke Karl Mays, 48. 4. Karl May, Der Schatz im Silbersee: Erzählung aus dem wilden Westen, edited by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt, Abt. Inland [1943], Soldatenbücherei Volume 58.

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5. Klaus Mann, ‘Karl May: Hitler’s Literary Mentor’, The Kenyon Review 2 (1940), 391–400, referenced by Haible, Indianer im Dienste der NS-Ideologie, 87. 6. Heinemann, ‘“Karl May paßt zum Nationalsozialismus wie die Faust aufs Auge”’, 237. 7. Cited in Ibid., 234. 8. On this, see Heermann, ‘Karl May’, 360–61. 9. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, Nr. 22, 25 November 1935, 16. 10. Koehler & Volckmar, Leipzig; Koch, Neff & Oetinger, Stuttgart, Barsortiments-Lagerkatalog 1941/42. 11. Memo cited in Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi- Deutschland, 138. 12. Walter Herrmann, ‘Das Leihbuch im Kriegseinsatz. Leserwünsche von Courths-Mahler über Mungenast bis zu Hamsun’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt 5 (1943), 74. 13. Werder, Literatur im Bann der Verstädterung,127. 14. Bartels, Die deutsche Dichtung der Gegenwart, 14. 15. Kubizek, Adolf Hitler, 227. 16. Viktor Kosmowski, ‘Der Unterhaltungsroman im Dienste seiner Zeitgeltung’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt 5 (1943), 173. 17. Werner Bökenkamp, ‘Über die literarische Halbwelt’, Die Bücherkunde 4 (1937), no. 7, 388–89. 18. ‘Dr. Goebbels spricht von den Erfolgen des Buchhandels [10. Mai 1936]’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 103, no. 109, 12 May 1936, 422–24, here 424. 19. Werner Bökenkamp, ‘Über die literarische Halbwelt’, Die Bücherkunde 4 (1937), no. 7, 388. 20. Ibid., 392. 21. E.[rich] Lgb. [Langenbucher], ‘Betrachtungen zum Thema “Film und Buch”’, in Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 19, 280. 22. 21 December 1937, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1172. 23. ‘85 Millionen Dollar im Jahr für Schundromane’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 3 (1941), no. 16, 244. 24. On this, see the remarks of a former publisher on the Jörn-Farow and Rolf-Torring series in Galle, Groschenhefte, 119, and also Galle, Sun Koh, 215. 25. BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Müller, Paul Alfred, 18 October 1901. 26. His membership number was 2 997 507. See Ibid. 27. BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927– 1935, Bl. 345. 28. BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927– 1935, Bl. 348. 29. BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927– 1935, Bl. 349 RS. 30. BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927– 1935, Bl. 350. 31. Correspondence Paul Alfred Müller to Prüfstelle Berlin, 1 February [Carbon copy], BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927–1935, Bl. 367–77. 32. Correspondence of the Vereinigung der Verleger für Volksliteratur im Deutschen Verlegerverein, 28 January 1935 [Carbon copy, not signed by any individual], BArch, R

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33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63.

181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927–1935, Bl. 357. See finding aid for BArch R 56 RKK for the history of this department. Note of Dr. Christoph, 2 February 1935, BArch, R 181–2, Sammlung von Beschlüssen der Oberprüfstelle Leipzig und der Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur, Bd. 2: Beschlüsse der Prüfstelle Berlin 1927–1935, Bl. 378. Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 530–31. Lok Myler, Sun Koh. Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 98, 37. Will Vesper, ‘Unsere Meinung’, Die Neue Literatur 40 (1939), no. 2, 102. Ibid. Lok Myler, Sun Koh. Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 21, 21. Lok Myler, Sun Koh. Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 57, 43. Wilhelm Müller, ‘Spannung im Buch des Jugendlichen,’ Jugendschriften-Warte 44 (1939), no. 5, 65. Alfred Müller, ‘Rolf Torring, Tom Shark und andere “Helden”’, Jugendschriften-Warte 44 (1939), no. 5, 69. Ibid. Ibid., 71. All figures from Schalow, Allgemeiner Deutscher Roman-Preiskatalog 1994/95. Riedel, Auf Jagd im australischen Busch. On this, see Würmann, ‘Zwischen Unterhaltung und Propaganda’, 243. Cited in Riha,’Massenliteratur im Dritten Reich’, 292. Cited in Ibid., 293. See the database of the title in the Deutschen Nationalbibliothek at 580937461. Fest, Ich nicht, 110–13, here 113. Reich-Ranicki, Mein Leben, 36. Ibid., 39. Interview with Ilse Kleberger, Berlin, 10 December 2008. Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Das Buch ein Schwert des Geistes, 88. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 112. On the ban, see also Weidermann, Das Buch der verbrannten Bücher, 87–88. Dr R.B., ‘“Waldemar Bonsels – ein deutscher Dichter”. Ein Buch über Bonsels’, Die Bücherkunde 9 (1942), no. 7, 215–16. Gauleitung München-Oberbayern to Kreisleitung Starnberg, 17 July 1939, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Bonsels, Waldemar, 21 February 1881. Correspondence [probably RSK] to Wilhelm Baur, 23 February 1943, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Bonsels, Waldemar, 21 February 1881. Letter Book Section, Library, Cultural Relations Branch, Information Services Division to Licensing Adviser, 16 July 1948, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Bonsels, Waldemar, 21 February 1881. Information on contents in an attachment to the correspondence of the Rainer Wunderlich Verlag to the RSK, 4 May 1938, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Hamer, Isabel, 15 March 1912. Book review of Perdita by Sebastian Losch, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 1 (1939), no. 5, 172. Benecke, Eine Buchhandlung in Berlin, 140.

Chapter 10

FOREIGN NARRATIVE ART Bestsellers from Abroad

鵷鵸 On the Slippery Slope: The Swiss Author John Knittel and his Via Mala He was a veritable cosmopolitan phenomenon: the Swiss bestselling author John Knittel. In his light-coloured linen suit and colourful shirt, he looked like an elegant Englishman strolling ‘through the palm-shaded part of the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor’.1 He was passing the time before an interview with an Austrian journalist, smoking cigarettes with a cigarette holder ‘like a Frenchman’. His gait was reminiscent of ‘Swiss shepherds and hunters’, his ‘watchful gaze’ like that of a ‘German seaman’, and his ‘youthful, bright laugh’ resembled that of an ‘Austrian officer’. There he was: the cosmopolitan European par excellence. For readers in Germany in the 1930s, Knittel personified the fashionable life of the upper ten thousand. He brought glitz and glamour into the lives of ordinary people. He personified what people liked to read about in popular fiction: a life in exotic countries surrounded by glamour and mystery. An attitude which was rejected – at any rate by the political hardliners – in the Third Reich, and was ascribed to the reviled Weimar ‘system time’. But it still appealed to people in the NS period. Knittel was born into a missionary family in British India in 1891, and grew up in Basel, Switzerland. Already at school, his exotic background earned him the nickname ‘Hindu-Knittel’.2 Carl Jacob Burckhardt, who shared a school bench with him, later reminisced: ‘He remained a wanderer, but wherever he pitched his tent, he was entirely at home: For years that was in Egypt, on the edge of the desert, on the back of Arabian horses, or

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in Biarritz, in the Alps, or at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, he reigned in his own way, and left in his wake an astonished legion of fans who could not fathom why everyday life had suddenly become so colourful.’3 He also added colour to the lives of hundreds of thousands of readers across Europe. He was a born storyteller who vouched through his very person for the authenticity of his tales. And even though he wrote in English, German-speaking countries remained his most important market. At the end of the 1930s, probably the author’s most successful decade, no less a figure than Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels counted among his biggest fans. After reading Knittel of an evening, Goebbels often made comments such as ‘wonderfully written’,4 ‘a captivating book’5 and ‘a gruesomely beautiful, gripping novel, which is deeply moving’6 in his diary. Later, when Europe was at war, the Swiss cosmopolite and the National Socialist agitator got to know one another personally. However, Knittel’s extensive sales success in Nazi Germany and his meeting with Goebbels, which was soon widely known about among the general public, brought him under suspicion in Switzerland of spying for the German Reich during the war, or of attempting to spread National Socialist propaganda among Swiss intellectuals. The Swiss police and army undertook investigations, but found no evidence to support these allegations.7 Instead, extant documents in Switzerland suggest that Knittel’s meetings had always taken place in the knowledge and with the approval of the Swiss government offices, to which he had been obliged to report after his return. Goebbels also recorded in his notes that Knittel would ‘at the first opportunity … inform the Swiss Federal Council’8 of the content of these secret talks. Knittel had almost certainly presented himself to both sides as some sort of diplomat. But it must not have been difficult after 1945 for those envious of the prominent author’s position to intensify and continue to circulate allegations that Knittel was a Nazi sympathizer. As a result, Knittel left the Swiss Writers’ Association (Schweizerischer Schriftsteller Verband, SSV), and sales of his books collapsed for a while, at least in the Alpine republic.9 In post-1945 Germany, however, no one held his conduct against him. Indeed, with respect to his post-war reception, the author and his work typify bestsellers in the Third Reich. His success not only continued in the Federal Republic, it actually increased. Indeed, countless book club and paperback editions of Knittel’s works continue to be published today. A film version starring Gert Froebe (1961) and a TV miniseries featuring Mario Adorf (1985) turned the Via Mala material into a common popular cultural good. But what Knittel could be accused of in connection with his meetings with Goebbels – according to a letter written by his stepson Hubert Furtwängler (a nephew of the director, who was a friend of Knittel) – was ‘his initial ease about, as it were, supping with devil when it pleased him on account of writer’s

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curiosity, a desire for freedom and a certain missionary optimism. He was of the opinion that visiting a madhouse didn’t make one a madman.’10 But the stigma of allegedly having been a Nazi sympathizer lingers to this day.11 If Goebbels’ notes are to be believed, the successful author and the Propaganda Minister met on several occasions, sometimes on a more ‘private’ basis at the Minister’s villa in Lanke on the Bogensee, and sometimes on official occasions, as at the Authors’ Meeting (Dichtertreffen) in Weimar in 1942. There would seem to be no reason to doubt Goebbels’ notes, at least on this matter. After all, what would be the point of his fabricating a record of such meetings? For Goebbels, the case was clear. He named Knittel in the same breath as Hamsun. In both, he claimed to have the ‘the best friends of the Reich from intellectual Europe.’12 The international reputation of such an author was always very important to those responsible for culture. They did not want to lose Knittel as a poster child for popular fiction that was linked to Germany. For this reason, in 1937, the Propaganda Ministry reacted decisively to stave off an attempt to place one of Knittel’s books, the novel Der Commandant, on the List of Harmful and Undesirable Literature (Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums) on account of its ‘communist and pacifist leanings.’13 The Propaganda Ministry vehemently opposed this. For one, the tendencies that were being objected to were utterances by individual characters and were thus not to be confused with the opinions of the author or the basic thrust of the work. But the reactions that could be expected from the public carried more weight still: The author of the book is one of the most widely read foreign writers in Germany, and in no way does he represent communist or pacifist tendencies in his works. What is more, his writings are internationally recognized, so a ban of this work, which appeared already in 1933, would, from today’s perspective, have consequences that would be disadvantageous for Germany’s cultural and political reputation in propagandistic terms.14

On a final visit to the Propaganda Minister in 1943, Knittel was accompanied by his daughter Margaret, a concert pianist. On the evening in question, she entertained those gathered in Goebbels’ home with music by Bach and Beethoven. However, father and daughter had above all one thing in mind: they wanted to plead for the lives of some members of the White Rose resistance group, who were friends of Knittel’s daughter and his son-in-law Hubert Furtwängler. However, the Swiss writer’s visit to Lanke was unsuccessful in this regard. Today, it is not possible to know Knittel’s true motivations. What is clear, though, is that before 1945, he did not take a demonstrative stance against Nazi Germany. After the war ended, it may well have been opportune to

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claim to have interceded on behalf of the condemned resistance fighters. But this does not explain his many other visits and appearances in Nazi Germany. It is difficult, of course, to condemn this morally today. However, it is clearly the case that the Swiss author was one of the most successful foreign authors in the German Reich. And considering that he wrote in English, he was also one of the most successful foreign-language writers. His El Hakim, as well as Via Mala (which, translated from the Rhaeto-Romanic language, means something along the lines of ‘bad path’, and has multiple meanings in the novel), sold over 200,000 copies, and this does not include various book club editions. And if one adds the copies produced by Orell Füssli for the Swiss market, some of which presumably also found their way to Germany, then it is probably better to assume sales of 300,000–400,000 copies of Via Mala alone. This latter book is about the Lauretz family dynasty, who live in the narrow, humid Alpine valley of the Via Mala and earn their living there as sawmillers. It has all the ingredients of a great easy read (to this day). It is powerfully told. Love and crime, combined with a character’s entanglement in fateful relationships, which he – no matter what he does – can scarcely escape, captivate the reader from the outset. Andreas von Richenau, one of the main characters in Knittel’s novel, links his fate to that of the sawmiller family out of love for Sylvia Lauretz. As an examining magistrate, he is tasked with investigating the disappearance of his wife’s father, the brutal patriarch Jonas Lauretz. In the process, he discovers a terrible family secret: they had acted collectively, in league with one another, to murder the tyrant. What is more, Richenau’s beloved wife Sylvia also knew about it. To protect her and the child they have together, the public servant, who has a lot of natural integrity, commits fraud and falsifies documents. This is the only way to bring the investigation to a close, and to shelve the case. By doing so, however, he betrays his ideals for the sake of a very personal, private happiness – which is necessarily overshadowed by his action, and remains tarnished. Indeed, no matter what he might have done, his happiness was and would have remained destroyed. A crime, once committed – Knittel’s work seems to imply – cannot simply be undone. It must be atoned for sooner or later. Evil cannot be turned into good through further transgressions. The newspapers in Europe were thrilled with the book. The Neue Freie Presse in Vienna exuded effusively that Via Mala ‘is one of the most beautiful and greatest novels of recent years.’15 And newspapers in Britain, too, were full of praise. Here it was emphasized that Knittel was Swiss, but wrote his texts in English. Still, reviewers noted, his writing grew better with each book, and his style was ‘powerful and direct.’ And, aside from a few points of criticism, the reviewer in the Daily Telegraph claimed that ‘Via Mala [was] a

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powerful and not unoriginal work, that the majority of people are going to want to read.’16 With the publication of Via Mala in 1934, Knittel finally broke through as a major writer. He dedicated the book to his ‘dear friend, the great Wilhelm Furtwängler, with great warmth’. Later, the material was reworked for the stage. It was still running in the Rose Theater in Berlin in 1941, as a ‘people’s drama in four acts and six images’ under the direction of Hugo Welle.17 A lavish UFA (Universum Film AG) production of the material was also undertaken. However, the film was not released before the war ended. It had turned out to be too ‘dark and pessimistic’, Goebbels declared after the first viewing of the flick in 1944. ‘I don’t believe that we can show it to the public in its current form at this point in time.’ In the lead-up to Christmas 1943, the book also found its way into the hands of Victor Klemperer, who had to go to considerable lengths to acquire the reading materials that were so vital to him. Klemperer found Knittel ‘surprisingly good and significant. Reminiscent of Dostoevsky in places. Patricide to protect the family. The judge’s dilemma. Social conditions in present-day Switzerland. A thrilling storyteller, serious psychologist and moralist.’18 However, from 1942–43 at the latest, many people in Germany had presumably had more than enough of the kind of fateful entanglements portrayed in Via Mala. The ‘fortunes of war’ – hardly to be ignored since the defeat at Stalingrad – had turned against the aggressors. The film and the book were entertainment suited first and foremost to times of peace – the Propaganda Minister was probably right about that.

‘An Alarmingly High Number of Translations’ Were there other bestsellers among literature in translation in Nazi Germany? The question seems almost absurd – but there were some. Leading the way were Scandinavian authors – which is little wonder given many NS ideologues’ weakness for everything Nordic. If, however, one considers the two hundred bestselling books between 1933 and 1945, there are only around a dozen authors who were not German. Compared with its place in the contemporary book market, foreign literature was more of a niche phenomenon. The few titles published must therefore have left a deep impression (also, and in particular, on readers). Just after 1933, those who were interested in knowing about such things eagerly soaked up whatever extended beyond the horizon of the Reich. The last two years of peace, 1937–38, were a heyday for translated literature. By then, the system of supervision and control of literature had become more or less established in the NS state. The first big phases of uncertainty were over, and no restrictions had as yet been imposed by the war economy. During this period, more than five hundred translated

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works appeared annually. All in all, the percentage of translated works during the twelve years of the Third Reich lay between 4 and 12 per cent.19 For comparison: in 2008, the German publishing houses translated 7,340 books from other languages; 8.8 per cent of all first editions during this period were translations. The requirements placed on good translated literature during the war were presented in a 1941 article that appeared in the journal Die Weltliteratur: 1. It must give a clear and genuine picture of the essence and character of the country, for this is its first great advantage and value. 2. The creation must be of high standing artistically, valuable and masterly. 3. We reject all authors who agitate against us.20

Point 3, in particular, rendered books that might be considered for translation a rarity. The course of the war is reflected in the original languages of translated literature. The number of titles translated from British and American English, for example, fell drastically after the war began, from a high of around 250 works in 1938. Translations from Scandinavian languages, on the other hand, remained at a high level of around 100 books per year throughout. That said, over the entire twelve years, translations from English still dominated (1,378 from Britain and an additional 173 from the US), closely followed by titles from France (438), Norway (418), Denmark (244,) and Sweden (234).21 Alongside the authors already named, out front were the Americans Warwick Deeping, with Hauptmann Sorell und sein Sohn (Sorrell and Son, 300,000 copies), and Hervey Allan, with Antonio Adverso (Anthony Adverse, 264,000 copies); the Dutch writer Felix Timmermanns; the Swede Axel Munthe, with Das Buch von San Michele (The Story of San Michele, 160,000 copies); and the Hungarian Zsolt von Hasarnyi and the Frenchman Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with more than 100,000 copies sold in each case. A bookseller later recalled: Until the war was underway, publishers offered a lot of translations from foreign languages especially, and, for the public, this was a guarantee that these works had nothing to do with the officially sanctioned literature. Intellectual connectivity with foreign countries was only possible through literature, and many publishers dared to take a risk.’22

The notion that foreign-language literature was generally banned during the Nazi era is thus a clear misjudgement of Nazi Germany. However, for various reasons, foreign authors turned up repeatedly on the lists of banned books, and the literature of other countries was generally discredited in line

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with the course of the war. Thus, for instance, although American authors were initially still highly regarded, this changed overnight when the US entered the war. Nevertheless, a few US Americans were among the one hundred best-selling authors between 1933 and 1945, including Margaret Mitchell with the success of the century, Gone with the Wind. Bans were also occasionally lifted in individual cases, if, for example, a certain book had propagandistic value. Through the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), a control mechanism for translated literature existed from 1935 onwards: publishing houses had to get permission to conclude license agreements with foreign publishers. Additionally, those controlling the written word attempted to take journalistic countermeasures against what they considered to be a flood of translated literature. Anglo-American novels were defamed in the relevant mags and rags23 – with only moderate success – because they were popular with the public. ‘Admittedly, there still seems today to be valuable literature appearing in the Reich of the swastika: foreign translations of books from days of yore, in which writers could still talk about the world as they saw it. These books are preferred by a considerable proportion of German readers …’24 This was how the Deutschlandberichte der Sozialdemokratischen Partei in November 1937 noted and explained the not-inconsiderable demand for foreign-language reading matter. ‘In short, the discerning reader in Germany prefers to reach for works through which the breath of freedom, truth and the free air of a liberal age flows. The recent past has become an enticement, a longing, romantic material.’25 In contrast, the informants working for the SS Security Service (SD) spoke in their reports of ‘an alarmingly large number of translations’,26 which could scarcely be controlled. What was criticized above all was the quality of the translated texts. This was true even in the case of books that were not particularly ‘valuable’. ‘In part, the success of translations lies in the flight of bourgeois readers from “politics’”(huge print runs of Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind), in the same way that publishers are withdrawing from the responsibilities of cultural policy by publishing translations.’27 But even the Scandinavian books were not spared by those in the SD, because here, too, it was believed that to some degree, ideas directed against National Socialism were seeping into Germany. The report, in any case, added insult to injury in its comments on German writing: In part, the translations also offset the obvious lack of good popular fiction (instruction plus relaxation). The NSLB [Nationalsozialistischer Lehrerbund, or National Socialist Teachers League] and the HJ [Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youth] have tried on a number of occasions to gradually raise the level and to eliminate trivial eroticism. Practical successes in this area have been as low up till now as attempts to create a genuine young adult book.28

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So, censorship measures directed against foreign-language literature remained in place, not least for pragmatic reasons, and they were only gradually adapted to the prevailing general political climate. In September 1939, bookshops and lending libraries, for example, were asked to remove most of their translations of French and English contemporary writers ‘from shop windows and sales counters.’29 But such books could still be purchased; this did not constitute a 100 per cent ‘purge’ of readers’ bookshelves. For quite some time, it was also possible to obtain books from Switzerland and Austria. Those who could read in the original language of publication could continue to do so. The catalogues of the book trade offered a wide range of choice, for instance in English-language and French literature. The Reich’s foreign currency shortage was the only impediment to imports. In the book catalogue of the Nicolaische Buchhandlung in Berlin, for instance, a note in the French literature section read: ‘New additions were not possible due to foreign exchange difficulties.’ A later confidential notification to publishers and retail booksellers made it clear that for the duration of the war, the distribution and sale of translations from French and English was not permitted – although academic works and those by authors who died before 1904 (and whose works were thus no longer subject to copyright) were not affected by the ban. In 1939, in the Nicolaische Buchhandlung for instance, (almost) everything was available that could be read in English-language literature: from Hervey Allen to Edgar Wallace, and from Pearl S. Buck to Thomas Wolfe. Finally, in 1941, after the US entered the war, a ban on the distribution of all American printed material followed. This was decreed by Himmler as Reichsführer SS in consultation with the Propaganda Ministry (RMVP).30 The issue of copyright-free foreign-language authors is of central significance in connection with indexing. It reveals that an essential motivation for banning many foreign works involved the effort to save foreign currency. Reasons related to content, or the fact that an author belonged to an ‘enemy people’, were only of secondary importance. In short, literary policy in this sector was similar to economic policy in its ambitions for autarky. All actions were undertaken in the understanding that nothing expensive was to be bought on the world market if it was out of copyright or could be produced at home.

A Hospital Romance: A.J. Cronin’s Zitadelle (Citadel) From a German perspective, aspects of the Scottish medical doctor and writer A.J. Cronin’s stories could be used for propaganda purposes. His books thus had a strange career. It did not really kick off until Austria – and thus the Zsolnay Verlag in Vienna – was annexed by the German Reich in 1938. Cronin and his works had been taken on already in 1932 by the publishing

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house of the Jewish publisher Paul Zsolnay. His books all first appeared in relatively small first editions of between 3,000 and 5,000 copies. This was also true of Die Zitadelle (The Citadel), which first appeared in February 1938, and was to become his biggest-selling book – first in the Third Reich, and later also in post-war Germany. ‘Doctor’s romance novel, almost like a Dumas play … but a poet and a storyteller’,31 was Victor Klemperer’s brief verdict on the work. By October 1939, Die Zitadelle had sold a whopping 110,000 copies before its sale was prohibited. Ten years after the war, sales exceeded half a million in the German-speaking area, and its success continued. After 1945, Cronin’s book, produced in editions for various book clubs, was also a staple in numerous German bookcases in East and West Germany.32 Why did this peculiar development occur? Not long after the work appeared, it was praised at official level: ‘The book should also be distributed throughout Germany. It is recommended.’33 It is a novel that is still highly readable today, because, as Klemperer noted, it is well told. Cronin displayed a quality which, even Goebbels had to admit, many German authors (above all, those who were faithful to the regime and who remained in Germany) did not possess. A young doctor sets out to do his work, entering the citadel, only to find himself in the entrenched British medical system. The reader follows his career and life, and, in the process, gains insights into the social problems and dislocations in 1920s Great Britain. Drawing on his professional background, Cronin describes medical contexts knowledgeably and in detail, but without alienating the lay reader, and without too much didacticism. This popular work is also spiced up by a love story, the doctor’s professional highs and lows, the danger of straying from the right path and the catharsis that occurs at the end. The official report cited above, however, outlined a grave fault: in his portrayal, the author had not been conscious of the ‘corrosive role of Jews’ in British medicine. This is what the official reviewers considered to be the most problematic point of criticism. Cronin, however, was treasured by those in power on account of his criticism of British society, so much so, in fact, that even after his works were banned, one of his books was re-released for propagandistic purposes: his industrial novel about the struggle against capitalism, Die Sterne blicken herab (The Stars Look Down), which thematized social injustices in British mining communities. ‘The new edition of the book was not brought about at the suggestion of the publishing house, but was driven mainly by the Reich Propaganda Office here in Vienna’, the publisher of the ‘Aryanized’ Zsolnay Verlag, Karl H. Bischoff, wrote to the Party Examination Commission (PPK). ‘The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (RMVP)

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agreed, following the intervention of the Reich Propaganda Office in Vienna, that this work should be re-released. The advertising for the book does not expressly point out the propagandistic aspect. I think it better that the book’s content speaks for itself.’34 And so, viewed with suspicion by some Party comrades, the banned book was allowed to be used as propaganda. The end justified the means. All in all, around 80,000 copies of the work were produced through state subsidy, and in 1943 and 1944, foreign-language editions followed, for instance in Latvian and Czech, as did a special edition for the Wehrmacht. Victor Klemperer had already read the book in 1936 and had established enthusiastically that it was ‘A powerful work, a slow starter, but then it doesn’t let up. The most significant work by Cronin I have read. Also the most comprehensive. … A wonderful, rich book, classical and powerful.’35 Thus, it is once again clear that in certain circles, such as in the Propaganda Ministry (RMVP), a conception of quality in two senses prevailed: on the one hand, a sense for the technically well-written work; and, on the other, a sense that such quality, when combined with the right messages, was more useful for propagandistic purposes than any official Party tracts or brochures. In the case of Cronin’s book, at least, the gentlemen from the Gestapo and the Party Examination Commission (PPK), who had their eyes fixed first and foremost on the regulations, lost out. And consequently some titles were present on the book market even when whole literatures (as, for instance, English literature) were otherwise banned. The contradiction was clear to all. Klemperer made a note to this effect under the revealing heading ‘Propaganda’. ‘English novels are, of course, forbidden; but every shop window contains books by Cronin: he is a Scot, and reveals faults of social establishments in England.’36 What can no longer be ascertained today is whether the author ever received royalties for this unauthorized use of his work. For propagandistic purposes, in 1943, the Propaganda Ministry among other things expressly recommended the following German editions of titles from the Englishspeaking area: Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt, Jack London’s In den Slums (The People of the Abyss), John Steinbeck’s Die Früchte des Zornes (The Grapes of Wrath), Eric Linklater’s Juan in Amerika (Juan in America) and Liam O’Flaherty’s Skerrett: Ein irischer Freiheitskämpfer (Skerrett).37 The schizophrenic nature of this attitude was not lost on attentive contemporaries like Klemperer: You let English books circulate in lending libraries and advertise works critical of English and American conditions, which you believe you can use to ‘defame’ Anglo-American morals [as in the case of ] Cronin’s Die Sterne blicken herab and Linklater’s Juan in Amerika; Gone with the Wind is forbidden (along with all other English books), and when no one can check what it contains, you then make allegations about it.38

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Constructing Successful Books Like Building an Engine: Gone with the Wind The fact that Margaret Mitchell’s world bestseller also found a grateful public in Germany may astonish some, but it makes perfect sense. In every respect, the work has the stuff of an entertaining read. At the same time, though, Mitchell’s thousand-page tome was also discussed in the literary pages of the Frankfurter Zeitung after it appeared, for, as a bestseller, the title was known internationally, and thus also in Germany. The job of reviewing the book for the respected newspaper, which, until it was banned in 1943, served as a showpiece for ideologically aligned journalism, fell to the journalist Irene Seligo. In her article, she could not help reflecting on the essence of books such as this one. Even if ‘intellectually discerning people in England and America’ used the term (bestseller) derogatively, people everywhere were trying to fathom the secret of such works. Was there a trick? A construction plan ‘according to which it ought to be possible to put together a reliable bestseller as one would an engine?’39 There was no answer to this, even though Gone with the Wind had already sold 1.5 million copies in America and over 110,000 copies in Britain. And the book had ‘since this autumn also met with success in Germany.’ In fact, around 300,000 copies would eventually be sold in the German Reich – despite the hefty price of 12.50 RM, which was a huge sum. The forthright consideration of the essence of the bestseller in the Frankfurter Zeitung must have seemed frivolous to the guardians of literary policy: ‘No one can deny’, Seligo continued, ‘that bestsellers have alternated between those of crass mediocrity – basically long forgotten despite their millions in sales – and those of stark originality and poetic quality.’40 To grant these artificially created (rather than ‘organically’ grown) successes ‘poetic qualities’ on top of everything else was like breaking a taboo. With the phrase ‘fanatic opponents of the bestseller’, Seligo then went on to address these guardians directly, people who never tired of castigating the bestsellers of the ‘system time’ that were created ‘through trickery’ (Erich Langenbucher), but who had also never really succeeded since coming to power in countering the earlier bestsellers with their own successes. The phenomenon of Gone with the Wind also affected educated circles. The Klemperers read Mitchell with fascination: ‘A tremendous work of art. The war between the North and the South, 1861–65, viewed by the South as the destruction of a higher culture. All light lies with the human “slave owners”, all darkness with the Yankees.’ Victor Klemperer even wished at the end that ‘the Mitchell novel was a thousand pages longer.’ Like the Klemperers, the Jews excluded from cultural and social life, many hundreds of thousands of readers in Germany who let themselves be transported with fascination into the world of the American Civil War must have felt the same

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way, and – again, like the Klemperers – they will also have found ‘connections to the present’.41 Book marketing at that time already followed the same laws that govern it today. ‘When Mitchell’s book became a bestseller, the German translation had not yet appeared … We bought the cheap English edition bit by bit and had a magnet for customers’,42 reported the bookseller Peter Weber, who was working in the Amelang’sche bookshop in Berlin at the time of Mitchell’s triumph. As today, booksellers were fed sample copies. In the case of Mitchell’s work, these came from the unbound raw page proofs. In this way, the bookseller Karl Drucklieb recalls, several colleagues could read a book at the same time. ‘As an apprentice, I was naturally at the end of the line. At home, my mother and my sister were always waiting impatiently to get their hands on the next “delivery” of the Mitchell.’43 And German readers could feel at home in the book in yet another way. After all, it portrays the struggle between two very different cultures: the southern states versus the North; the cultivated states versus the civilized states, where money and business hold sway. With the victory of the North, the better of these two worlds disappeared. The author leaves the reader in no doubt about this. And the finely cultivated racism of the confederates, who are vilified by the ‘Yankees’ as ‘slave owners’, is not questioned, but rather condoned as right and proper. There is a ‘master race’, and the ‘good blacks’ subordinate themselves willingly in the novel, because they need someone to tell them what to do and to provide for them. It was precisely this concluding argument in favour of a society of firstand second-class citizens that made this book a wonderful fit for the German Reich of the 1930s, where the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ of 1935 had given racist antisemitism the force of law. Thus, the reader could, on the one hand, delight in foreign worlds, without, on the other, jeopardizing their own world view of a natural supremacy of one race over another. In this sense, Mitchell’s work served the zeitgeist. But how had this bestseller been constructed for the German market? The fact that its success could be transferred from the Anglo-American sphere to the German one was thanks to the efforts of two of the few strong remaining German publishers: Henry Goverts and Eugen Claassen, two of the three publishers who, along with Peter Suhrkamp, were classified in the Geheimreport (Secret Report) of the dramatist Carl Zuckmayer as belonging to Group I: ‘Positive (unaffected by Nazi influence, resisting, reliable).’44 In the eyes of Zuckmayer, who wrote such reports for the American secret service in exile, they had therefore commended themselves as suitable for work in German publishing after the end of the Third Reich. Claassen and Goverts founded what was initially called the H. Goverts Verlag in Hamburg in 1934. The American global bestseller became their most successful title,

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and equipped their still-young company with the requisite financial means. Henry Goverts had heard of the great success of the book in America from an English-speaking critic, and via an American literary agent, he acquired an option on it already in 1936, which led shortly afterwards to a contract with the American publisher. The potential commercial success of the book was viewed sceptically by his publishing partner, Claassen, who thought that the work, ‘despite [its] literary qualities, [was] not free of trashy passages.’45 Possibly, Claassen’s judgement was also informed by the fear that the small publishing house could become too successful, and thus attract more attention than was desirable from the controllers of culture and writing. A friend expressed this view years later in a letter to Claassen. ‘It’s best to be as small as possible today…’46 – at least if one was (and wanted to remain) an independent, private publishing house, which could not count on any protection from the Party or the state. But, in 1937, all such doubts proved to be unfounded. Edition after edition came out of the printing press and found their way to customers. Even the Party press was full of praise. ‘A great and passionate portrayal of American history’, the Völkischer Beobachter declared, ‘with an uncanny rendering of the historical milieu and human characters drawn from an admirable spiritual vantage point.’47 Gone with the Wind must already have had a large, broad and deep effect at that time. In the 1940s, although originally belonging to American literature, it had become part of the popular literature canon in Germany. The post-war success of both the book and the film emerged so instantaneously because the ground had been thoroughly prepared between autumn 1937 and summer 1941, from which point the book was no longer available. When the US entered the war against Germany, further print runs became impossible. Nevertheless, Mitchell’s book once again became an object of journalistic thought experiments in prominent places. Writing in the magazine Das Reich in 1944, Bernhard Payr, an employee in Rosenberg’s Literature Promotion Office (Amt Schrifttumspflege), chief editor at Eher Verlag and someone who might be viewed as an ‘opponent of popular literature’, took the work as a point of departure for his ‘Wartime Thoughts on a Pre-War Book’. Payr could not deny the literary qualities of Mitchell’s work. She had an ‘unusual great skill of depiction’ and the people in her book were ‘described so vividly … that one will remember certain details of them and their fates for years to come.’48 Payr provides details of individual motifs in the work, and even cites page numbers – a fact which highlights that Mitchell’s work was still a firm fixture on many bookshelves. His deliberations, however, reveal the spiritual destitution of dogmatic NS literary functionaries. Fictionality seemed to be an unknown concept to them. Literary characters were perceived as unchanging, and an ironic distancing of the author from the material and

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protagonist was not viewed as possible. Scarlett and Rhett, in Payr’s eyes, are propagandists for ‘dollar imperialism’ – no matter how unsympathetically Scarlett may have been portrayed. And the fact that the reader might adopt their own attitude to the protagonists and their actions does not occur to Payr, or, rather, it seems to be beyond his grasp. What could be worse for a censor than the knowledge that others might possibly read between the lines here or there, but that he himself cannot understand in the least what is written there? In October 1944, however, Payr’s main concern was to develop moraleboosting slogans against the backdrop of the novel. ‘The idea that a lost war is worse than all horrors experienced during the war itself is one of the most positive insights and lessons of this book.’ The book, quite simply, carried the spirit of America, the Reich’s most powerful adversary. ‘We have all, meanwhile, come to know this spirit of hypocrisy and scrupulous lack of consideration, and know what we can expect if old Europe were ever to be subject to it.’ The contrast between the ‘cultivated’ South and the ‘civilized’ North (as personified in the Yankees), which characterized the book’s reception in the early years, is no longer desired in 1944. Scarlett, after all, finds herself once again experiencing an awakening at the end of the novel, as conveyed in the wonderful closing line, ‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’ ‘Yankeedom’ appears indestructible, and the entire book is ‘poisoned’ by this spirit. Years after reading Mitchell, the article from Das Reich fell into Victor Klemperer’s hands. For him, ‘it is obvious, that the article in Das Reich is a mendacious product of the war. For the statements of the heroes in the book are supposed to point up the immorality of the Yankees, and the victory of the northern states is supposed to represent the victory of barbarism.’49

Nordic Authors: Trygve Gulbranssen and Knut Hamsun They wrote the foreign-language books that sold best on the German market during those years and were simultaneously those whose success is the least surprising: Scandinavian authors, and first and foremost, the Norwegians Trygve Gulbranssen and Knut Hamsun. Gulbranssen was above all successful with his Bjoerndal trilogy, which appeared in German in just two parts, entitled Und ewig singen die Wälder (And the Forests Sing Eternally) and Das Erbe von Björndal (The Legacy of Bjoerndal). Langen-Müller Verlag in Munich sold well over half a million copies of each. This made the Norwegian’s books some of the best-selling works in the Third Reich. His sales figures were only surpassed by a few German belletristic authors, and no other foreign author sold more. Gulbranssen, however, was viewed with disdain by many of those

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responsible for literature, who categorized him as a writer of trivial literature. But the representatives of the lending library trade, who were completely devoted to popular titles, were eventually proven correct: ‘The excellent novel derives as much from a strong imagination as a strict self-discipline, both of which work in the service of a great writing talent. We recommend this book to lending libraries most warmly. It will find many readers indeed.’50 The fate of Gulbranssen’s books was the same as that of a number of German works of the twentieth century. In the 1930s, the author had his first international bestseller success, which on the German market was even quite extraordinary, and this success resumed seamlessly in the post-war era. In 1950, Und ewig singen die Wälder was number one on the list of the seventeen most successful books of the year, with estimated sales of over 1 million copies.51 Its extremely wide popularization, during the course of which the work became the prototype of the Heimat book par excellence in Germany, was then followed by the 1959 premiere of the film based on the novel, starring Gert Fröbe, Maj-Britt Nilsson and Hansjörg Felmy. The sports enthusiast Gulbrannsen was a correspondent for the newspaper Aftenposten at the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin. However, he viewed the regime critically, and turned down invitations to conduct lecture tours in the German Reich.52 Furthermore, after Norway was occupied, he maintained his distance from the German occupiers. But after the war, his work was regarded by many critics as the Scandinavian form of blood-and-soil literature. For German readers, the charm of reading Gulbrannsen was that they could read up-to-date material without having to read ‘real’ Nazi tomes by the likes of Tremel-Eggert. In this sense, reading him was like taking a flight into the familiar. And regarding literary quality, it had to be admitted: the Norwegian could indeed tell a story. The next foreigner on the bestseller list, surpassed only by Mitchell and Gulbrannsen, was Knut Hamsun, with at least two works that sold around 300,000 copies: Segen der Erde (Growth of the Soil) and Victoria. Goebbels recognized Hamsun’s qualities early on. As early as the 1920s, he was a fan of the Norwegian Nobel Prize winner: ‘Hamsun is one of the greatest living storytellers.’53 While serving as a government minister, Goebbels turned repeatedly to the books of the Norwegian author. His commentaries on what he read were always characterized by extraordinary appreciation and admiration. And the longing for a similarly talented contemporary German writer, which the German book market did not manage to produce before the end of the Reich, was always also a consideration for Goebbels. An additional attraction was the Norwegian’s German-friendly attitude and his support for the National Socialist Quisling regime in his homeland. Hamsun’s wife also did a great deal for the National Socialists in Norway. In autumn 1940, following the German invasion, she joined the Nasjonal Samling, the Norwegian Fascist

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party.54 She also exerted influence in Germany as a writer of successful young adult fiction. Goebbels had counted Hamsun among ‘the best friends of the Reich from intellectual Europe’. And while he initially worshipped him as a writer, over the course of the war, Hamsun became more and more dear to him as a prominent ally. After all, the sympathetic supporters of Germany in neutral foreign lands quickly became rather thin on the ground. A year after the war began, Goebbels consequently had Hamsun’s publications scrutinized politically within the Ministry. The outcome was to his liking: ‘Rarely has a great man expressed himself with such hostility towards Britain as he has.’55 Just one month later, the Nobel Prize winner addressed his countrymen in a similar vein, following the Wehrmacht attack on Norway: ‘Norwegians! Put away your guns and return home! The Germans are fighting for all of us and are now breaking Britain’s tyranny over us and all neutral territories.’56 And the affection was not just one sided. In the early summer of 1943, Hamsun paid a visit to Goebbels and Hitler. In gratitude for Goebbels’ hospitality, Hamsun even gave him his Nobel Prize medal. ‘I know no one, Herr Minister’, he wrote eloquently to the Propaganda Minister, ‘who has worked so idealistically and tirelessly in writing and in speech for Europe and humanity as you have, year in, year out.’57 Hamsun’s short visit to the ‘Führer’, however, was, as Goebbels recalled, ‘somewhat unsuccessful.’58 Whether this was due to Hamsun’s hearing difficulties, which led to misunderstandings, or because Hamsun posed difficult questions about the future of Norway – for instance, if the German occupation would end after peace was concluded – cannot be determined conclusively. ‘Yes, Hamsun is a child when it comes to politics’, Goebbels reassured himself, ‘and he wasn’t conscious of the consequences of what he said.’ It was, above all, the good ‘Doctor’ himself who was enthused by contact with the great writer. By 1943, such contact constituted precious and rare moments apart from the events of the war, which were no longer as pleasing for the Germans as they had once been. The visit from the Nobel Prize winner seems, in any case, to have been of much less interest to Hitler. He had far greater concerns. Goebbels continued that ‘in future, it will be somewhat more difficult for the Führer to receive visits from lyric and epic poets, as he calls them. But apart from Hamsun, there is also hardly anyone far and wide who would be worthwhile.’ In literary terms, Hamsun was valuable to the German arbiters of literature because he was a people’s writer in their sense. He was of the Volk, and had something to say to everyone, ‘from the worker at the machine to the scholar.’59 Due to his origins, he was a born mediator between worlds governed by nature and modernity respectively, because his Heimat ‘in Northern Europe lies, as it were, at the edge of civilization.’ Hamsun was celebrated, then, above all else as someone who reconciled the modern and the peasant worlds, an attempt at reconciliation that a broad current in National

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Socialism – the representatives of an autochthonous modernity, who were likewise looking for a synthesis of modern and traditional ways of life – very much favoured. Individual readers’ voices on the work of the Norwegian, admittedly instrumentalized for propagandistic purposes, also point in this direction. A financial accountant from Mainfranken, for instance, wrote: Blessings of the soil! The book has a lot to say to all of us. To which people other than the Germans has fate shown more urgently during endlessly long years of hardship just how ruinous and execrable it is when a people loses the sense of the value of work on mother earth, when it can no longer recognize and appreciate the blessings of such toil.60

Hamsun, in any event, was an ‘item’ in the Third Reich. ‘I quickly understood what the name of my father meant in the Germany that I was now getting to know’,61 Hamsun’s son Tore later recalled of his time in Germany. To be a Hamsun opened all doors. Knut Hamsun’s eighty-fifth birthday on 4 August 1944 was celebrated at length in the German press. Victor Klemperer also took notice of it: ‘He visited a German U-boat and expressed the hope that Germany would be victorious against Bolshevism and Judaism.’ Up to this point, Klemperer had never read a book by the Nobel Prize winner. He was baffled. After everything he knew, he could not explain to himself ‘how this naturalist and psychologist comes to National Socialism, comes to it now, or stays with it, when his country is being subjugated, when all the NS criminality is quite apparent. The puzzle interests me all the more because Hamsun has not only harvested a good write-up from Goebbels, but also a homage from Dwinger, which was most certainly reprinted in many newspapers.’62 Klemperer’s bafflement is shared by many of the Norwegian author’s admirers to this day. How could he have gone so wrong in his political judgement? ‘How this man can adhere to National Socialism is only explicable to me through total senility’,63 Klemperer states elsewhere, in an attempt to penetrate this mystery. In a lawsuit that was filed against Hamsun in Norway, the psychiatric consultants identified mitigating circumstances, since they diagnosed diminished mental powers, and the criminal procedure was halted. However, the amount he was required to pay in compensation almost ruined his family.64

The Death of the Little Prince: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ‘The perfection of an invention comes close to an utter inability to invent. Only when every visible trace of technical workmanship has disappeared from our devices, and we understand rounded pebbles as naturally and

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matter-of-factly as the sea, will we slowly forget that they have something to do with a machine.’ The person who wrote this, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is one of the most popular authors in Germany today on account of his novella Der kleine Prinz (The Little Prince). These lines are from his work Wind, Sand und Sterne (Wind, Sand and Stars), which first came out in French in 1939, appearing a year later in German translation. The enthusiastic pilot described his fascination with aeronautics in gripping language and in a tone that was grasped in Germany as well as elsewhere. With his vision of a technology that imitated nature – that is, one that assumed the characteristics of an organism – he was not far removed from a broad current of technical philosophy in 1930’s Germany. But above all, he succeeded in not boring people with philosophical thought experiments, instead entertaining them with stories about flying. Saint-Exupéry is probably the only bestselling author in the Third Reich who actively opposed the Germans – in the final stages of the war, as a pilot on the American side – but whose books remained available in Germany throughout the war. After France’s defeat, he had travelled in December 1940 via Lisbon to New York. When the war began, the books of undesired authors from ‘enemy states’ were pulled from the shelves of bookshops in Germany. But not Saint-Exupéry. He is even to be found on lists of books that lending book dealers were meant to push to their customers. In fact, he is still there on the list in 1940 – for whatever reason – together with other French and English authors ‘who, due to the author’s critical attitude towards the politics of his fatherland, are in a position to impart important information to us.’65 And a few months before that, the list promoted his book Nachtflug (Night Flight), which – if one follows the short summary composed by Dr Vernunft – evokes the heroic person completely. ‘But the happiness of the individual has no place in the face of the omnipotence of action. The matter demands that the dictates of action be served. Without sacrificing the private self, nothing is gained for humanity.’66 As remorselessly as all of those who turned their backs on Germany were eradicated from literary life, the Frenchman was overlooked. What is more, he did not remain quiet. In November 1942, in an open letter to ‘all French people’ in the New York Times Magazine, he summoned them to unite in the struggle against the Germans.67 And later, at his own instigation, he once again took up military service, as a reconnaissance pilot on the side of the Americans. The fact, then, that the books of this prominent and active opponent of the Nazis continued to be sold and read in Nazi Germany demonstrates that the censorship and control apparatus was anything other than all-powerful. Saint-Exupéry hoped that, at least in the collective battle involving ‘five or six Messerschmitts’,68 the differences between the French of rival political persuasions might be forgotten. But the encounter with the Messerschmitt

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did not end happily for the author of The Little Prince. He failed to return from a reconnaissance mission along the French Mediterranean coast in July 1944. Almost sixty years later, a search was undertaken for his remains. His plane was rescued, and a former German fighter pilot confessed in various interviews to having shot down the famous author. At the time in question, Horst Rippert had also been on a reconnaissance flight from Marseille with his Messerschmitt 109 when he caught sight of a foreign plane and, without hesitation, shot it down. Rippert had already read all of Saint-Exupéry’s books at the time. ‘He was one of my favourites. Because he also wrote so much about flying.’69 And another Wehrmacht soldier was similarly enthused by the Frenchman: Ernst Jünger. Saint-Exupéry numbered, he said, along with very few others, ‘among the extremely small but high-ranking chevaliers who had arisen from the Great War. Only when the embers die do the diamonds come to the fore, from the black carbon base, so to speak.’70 He wrote this in his typical style in his French diary, clearly counting himself among the diamonds. By 1945, Karl Rauch Verlag in Leipzig had sold a whopping 135,000 copies of Wind, Sand und Sterne.

Notes 1. Neue Freie Presse, 11 April 1937, Supplement, 26–27, cited in Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 27. 2. See website maintained by Knittel’s daughter, Margaret Furtwängler-Knittel: www.knittel .ch (accessed 9 March 2009). 3. Carl Jacob Burckhardt, ‘John Knittel’, Gesammelte Werke, vol. 4, Portraits und Begegnungen, Bern, 1971, 364–71. Cited in Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 30. 4. On El Hakim; see entry of 5 August 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 58. 5. On El Hakim; see entry of 6 August 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 59. 6. On Therese Etienne; see entry of 5 July 1939, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I, vol. 7, 32. 7. See Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 54. 8. 30 October 1941, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part II, vol. 2, Diktate, 207. 9. Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 62. 10. Hubert Furtwängler to v. Salis, 6 February 1979. Cited by Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 67. 11. For a recent example of this in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, see Frank-Rutger Hausmann, ‘Dichterfreund Hitlerdeutschlands’, 20 September 2003, and the ‘Reply’ by Notker Hammerstein, ‘John Knittel und der Nationalsozialismus’, 5 August 2006. 12. 30 October 1941, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part II, vol. 2, Diktate, 207. 13. Correspondence RSK to the RMVP, 5 July 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Knittel, John, 24 March 1891. 14. Correspondence RMVP to the President of the RSK, 23 July 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Knittel, John, 24 March 1891.

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15. Neue Freie Presse, 6 January 1935. Cited by Höhn-Gloor, John Knittel, 182. 16. The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 1934. 17. Blätter des Rose-Theaters, Berlin (1941), 137–48, here the programme booklet in the centre section. 18. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 12 December 1943. 19. Sturge, ‘The Alien Within’, 57. 20. Die Weltliteratur (1941), no. 4, 109. 21. All numbers from Sturge, ‘The Alien Within’, 60. 22. Benecke, Eine Buchhandlung in Berlin, 143. 23. See Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 561–66. 24. Report of 4 November 1937, in Deutschland-Berichte der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (Sopade) 1934–1940, 1640. 25. Ibid. 26. ‘Das Schriftum im Jahr 1938’, Meldungen aus dem Reich, vol. 2, 155. 27. Ibid., 155–56. 28. Ibid., 156. 29. Cited in Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 562. 30. See Ibid., 565. 31. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 2 April 1938. 32. Murray G. Hall was able to evaluate the extensive publishing archive in his study on publishing history. We have him to thank for the details on the development of editions. See Hall, Der Paul Zsolnay Verlag. 33. ‘Gutachten der Reichsstelle zur Förderung des deutschen Schrifttums vom 30. August 1938’, printed in Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 105, no. 242, 17 October 1938. Cited in Hall, Der Paul Zsolnay Verlag, 264. 34. Karl H. Bischoff to the PPK on the protection of NS writing, 8 December 1941, Cronin Folder, Archiv des Paul Zsolnay Verlags. Cited in Hall, Der Paul Zsolnay Verlag, 265. 35. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 1 January 1936. 36. Ibid., 4 April 1944. 37. RMVP, Das Buch ein Schwert des Geistes, 105. 38. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 23 November 1943. 39. Irene Seligo, ‘“Vom Winde verweht”. Die Geschichte eines Best Seller’, Literaturblatt der Frankfurter Zeitung, 5. December 1937. 40. Ibid. 41. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 28 November 1937. 42. Cited in Schäfer, Das gespaltene Bewusstsein, 13. 43. Interview with Karl Drucklieb on 23 April 2009. 44. Zuckmayer, Geheimreport, 15. 45. Letter from Eugen Claassen to Hilde Claassen on 17 July 1937. Cited in WallrathJanssen, Der Verlag H. Goverts im Dritten Reich, 194. 46. Letter from Gerhard F. Hering to Eugen Claassen on 18 November 1943. Cited in Wallrath-Janssen, Der Verlag H. Goverts im Dritten Reich, 195. 47. From a publisher’s ad. Cited in Wallrath-Janssen, Der Verlag H. Goverts im Dritten Reich, 193. 48. Bernhard Payr, ‘Vom Winde verweht. Kriegsgedanken zu einem Vorkriegsbuch’, Das Reich, 29 October 1944. 49. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 13 November 1944. 50. Die Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 15, 10 August 1935, 9. 51. Schulz, Das Schicksal der Bücher und der Buchhandel, 22.

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52. On this and what follows, see Hoel, ‘Trygve Gulbranssen und Deutschand’. 53. 24 August 1928, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 1, 314. 54. Knut Hamsun’s membership is not explained conclusively. See Baumgartner, Knut Hamsun, 117. 55. 8 March 1940, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 4, 1387. 56. Cited in Keel, ‘Knut Hamsun und die Nazis’. 57. Ibid., 117. 58. 27 June 1943, Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part II, vol 8, Diktate, 418. 59. Lorch, Was soll ich lesen, 67. 60. Ibid., 72. 61. Cited in Baumgartner, Knut Hamsun, 112. 62. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 7 August 1944. 63. Ibid., 5 September 1944. 64. See Baumgartner, Knut Hamsun, 131. 65. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 1, January, 8. 66. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 1 (1939), no. 2, May, 70. 67. ‘An Open Letter to Frenchmen Everywhere’, The New York Times Magazine, 29 November 1942, 7. 68 Ibid. 69. See, for example, ‘Interview with Horst Rippert: Rätsel um Saint-Exupéry gelöst? “Ich bedaure es zutiefst, den verehrten Autor getötet zu haben”’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17 March 2008. 70. Jünger, Gärten und Strassen, 104–5.

Chapter 11


鵷鵸 Between Safeguarding Power and Anarchy: From Lichtenberg to Goethe A festive and ceremonial atmosphere in autumnal Weimar. On the occasion of the opening of the second annual ‘Week of the German Book’ in 1935, the most powerful figures in German literature strode to the tombs of Goethe and Schiller to lay down a wreath – first and foremost among them Joseph Goebbels. After this pompous prelude, events to advertise the book were conducted throughout the Reich. This was a ritual that was continued in the years that followed. The leaders of the ‘movement’ liked to be seen at the side of the poet-princes of the past. The spirit of the great poets was meant to invoke an unbroken line of tradition between them and National Socialism. German Classicism was and remained one of the most important points of reference within the literature of the Third Reich. Because these authors belonged to the school educational canon, people had grown up with them. And an additional advantage was that they could no longer defend themselves against any appropriation of their work and ideas. Frequently set as reading in schools, classical authors such as Goethe and Schiller were among the genuine long sellers in the German book market. However, after 1933, numerous editions, collections and anthologies were added and instrumentalized for more or less propagandistic purposes. And it was not only German Classicism that served as a point of reference. Romanticism and Greek antiquity were frequently drawn upon, and elements from these époques were used as features in the accoutrements of the regime.1

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One widely distributed new edition of a classical text was Goethe an uns. Ewige Gedanken des großen Deutschen (Goethe to Us: Eternal Thoughts of the Great German),2 which featured as its preface a speech by the Reich Youth Leader (Reichsjugendführer) Baldur von Schirach. The speech, first published as a pamphlet in 1938, had a print run of more than 170,000 copies. Goethe had been deliberately and carefully chosen for the youth. Karl Otto Conrady, who was a member of the Jungvolk (10–14-year-olds) within the Hitler Youth (HJ) at the time, and later entered the Wehrmacht as an 18-year-old, recalls that to him, as someone educated in the humanities, Goethe meant something like Heimat. Besides, ‘there was a lot in it that was apt (whether putatively or concretely): “What man is wholly useless, say? / He who cannot order and cannot obey.”’3 But the classics were not only instrumentalized by those in power; they appealed to everyone who was unable to relate to contemporary authors, and to those whose preferred contemporary writers had been banned or driven into exile. What else could explain the fact that a figure from the Enlightenment such as Georg Christoph Lichtenberg enjoyed great popularity, with numerous new editions of his work and biographical works about him appearing? After the war started, some of his works were even released in conveniently sized editions that were intended as gifts for soldiers in the field. Lichtenberg, of all people, among the favourite classic authors in the dictatorship? A thinker who was known, above all else, for his fresh, unconventional, indeed sometimes revolutionary way of thinking? In 1938, Dolf Sternberger, in an article in the Frankfurter Zeitung, detected a fully fledged Lichtenberg wave: ‘Sympathy for Lichtenberg has spread quite a bit recently, but, to cite Lichtenberg: “It is poor charity!”’4 The article appeared under the tellingly progressive title ‘Independent Thinking’ and was a typical example of a text published in the relatively liberal Frankfurter Zeitung, which functioned as an intellectual arena for dissidents. Anyone wishing to read between the lines could do so copiously here. Sternberger did not use his reflections on the brilliant writer from Göttingen as a place to retreat into the past. Instead, they served as a point of departure for taking a lunge at contemporary – that is, National Socialist – writing, stating that Lichtenberg was one of the ‘rare proper authors and essayists writing in the German language.’ Further, ‘This seems to be symptomatic of a strong thirst for common sense, precision of expression, and critical wit – all of which most certainly might then represent a useful corrective and a good school for our literature.’ The use of ‘might’ should be noted. He will not really have presumed to think that the dashing bards of National Socialism could even hold a candle to the ‘hunchbacked’ Lichtenberg.

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Klemperer later commented on the banning of the Frankfurter Zeitung: ‘The last newspaper to maintain a decent tone and a certain level. Closed down on account of this, or simply due to lack of paper and workers?’5

Cult Books of the War Generations: Rilke’s Cornet and Flex’s Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between the Two Worlds) ‘As successful as it is questionable, as famous as it is notorious’, 6 Marcel Reich-Ranicki writes in his memoir, and he is right: Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke) was not among the best things that Rainer Maria Rilke ever committed to paper. It is truly ‘saccharine’ and ‘sentimental’,7 but it was also very, very popular. The small Insel volume, which was first published in 1906 as No. 1 of the bibliophile Insel-Bücherei publishing house, sold around 350,000 copies between 1933 and 1945 alone. As early as 1938, total sales had reached around half a million since it first appeared.8 But the story of Cornet was not simply a matter of large sales volume. It also had a huge impact as a text. Marcel Reich-Ranicki had come across the book during a Jewish scouts’ social evening in Berlin. ‘One of our leaders, who must have been barely over twenty, switched the overhead light off and dragged a desk that was off to one side into the centre of the room. … He was wearing a long military coat from the First World War. In one hand, he had a torch, and in the other a slim book. … The young man began to read aloud.’9 And Joachim Fest, born in 1926, recalled having had to learn sections of Cornet by heart.10 The novella recounts the story of another young man, the aristocrat Christoph Rilke, who experiences love for the first time during a military campaign, and dies a hero’s death the following day in a battle against the Turks. ‘The following spring (which was sad and cold), a messenger of Baron von Pirovano rode slowly into Langenau, where he saw an old woman crying.’11 This is the ending of the slim volume, which could be read aloud in one evening. Rilke allegedly penned his book in one night as well – the author himself fuelled this rumour – and it captured the attitude towards life of two war generations: ‘Out of a moment of deep and strong youthful existence … an emotion may have flowed into these lines, some kind of happiness that is not and cannot be given out, a pool that still speaks to you today. Otherwise, it would not be possible to understand how such a flawed performance as this could sell in the hundreds of thousands.’12 The great demand for the volume

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during the First and Second World Wars can hardly be explained otherwise. It was a story with which the countless inexperienced young men who were forced into, or willingly surrendered to, love or war could identify; experiences which in retrospect some would have happily done without. ‘Von Langenau writes a letter, deep in thought’, Rilke writes of Cornet: slowly he scrawls in large, serious, upright characters: ‘My good mother, be proud: I carry the flag, do not worry: I carry the flag, love me: I carry the flag.’ – Then he puts the letter in his uniform tunic, in the most secret place, next to the rose petal. And thinks: It will soon smell of it. And thinks: Perhaps someone will find it at some point … And thinks: … ; because the enemy is near.13

At least one other book enjoyed cult status after the First World War: Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between the Two Worlds) by Walter Flex. Here, again, ‘heroic death’ is a central theme, and one which additionally gains ‘particular charm’ from the fact that the author and firstperson narrator did in fact fall in the war in the East, and so to some degree shared the fate of his literary hero himself. ‘Wildgänse rauschen durch die Nacht / Mit schrillem Schrei nach Norden – / Unstäte Fahrt! Habt acht, habt acht! / Die Welt ist voller Morden!’ (‘Wild geese murmur through the night / Flying to the north with shrill cries- / Restless journey! Be careful, be careful! / The world is full of killing!’). These are the most famous lines of the work, which describes the transformation of members of the German youth movement (Wandervogel or ‘Wandering Birds’) into the generation of frontline soldiers. The book was received enthusiastically by young people who belonged to youth organizations and by academic youths in particular, staking out ‘a field of understanding that is accessible across a broad range of social strata’,14 according to a study on literature in the Third Reich. Flex’s book is one in which an anti-modern, rebellious stance and idealistic traditions came together, in a ‘model book for an ideologically renewed national conservatism in the late-Wilhelmine years.’15 Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten – what is meant is both the world of the Wandering Birds (‘Aller Glanz und alles Heil deutscher Zukunft schien ihm aus dem Geist des Wandervogels zu kommen…’)16 (‘All of the lustre and all of the salvation of Germany’s future seemed to him to come from the spirit of the Wandering Bird…’), and that of the soldiers – was nearly as successful as Cornet. Over the course of the Third Reich, total sales of the slim volume, which had first appeared in 1917, reached the million mark, of which two thirds were sold after 1933. It was, like Cornet, a companion book for soldiers, a piece of writing intended at once for the knapsack as well as for the quiet consolation of those at home. Hellmuth Langenbucher stated succinctly what was special

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about Walter Flex for National Socialism: he fell in war and thus lent his book the ultimate form of authenticity. Langenbucher’s 1937 literary history refers explicitly to ‘Martyrdom as the consummation of life and work’17 in relation to Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten. The delusion of an entire people, which led ultimately to doom and destruction, could hardly have been put more madly. The only, albeit decisive, difference between the cult books by Flex and Rilke is that the author of Wanderer is, for the most part, quite rightly just as forgotten today as is his main work, which was once the creed of an entire generation. Rilke’s oeuvre, in total contrast, is an integral part of every German literary history, although hardly a word is wasted on Cornet.

Hesse, Frisch and Bergengruen: Out of the Third Reich and into the Post-War Literary Canon Given all the pomp and circumstance that the giants of NS literary policy assigned to the Classicists, one might expect an outpouring of original NS writing in the wake of the great German writers, whom the National Socialists were attempting to reclaim for their own tradition. But far from it: a search for National Socialist literature with any aesthetic standards in terms of quality comes up empty time and time again. Instead, what turns up everywhere is everything else, from the intractable to the oppositional. Hermann Hesse was read before, during and after the Third Reich. During those years, he did not count among the absolute top sellers, but many of his books were available well into the war. Hesse had been living in Switzerland from 1922, and in 1924 became a Swiss citizen, no less. In the 1940s around thirty individual titles of Hesse’s work were still available in the German book trade, including classics such as Unterm Rad (Beneath the Wheel), Steppenwolf and Siddhartha. A large part of this work was published by S. Fischer – later Suhrkamp – Verlag. Hermann Hesse was most certainly not a collaborator, and indeed was not even a supporter of the Nazi Party – although Heinrich Himmler loved to read him. Hesse ‘maintained a neutral position between the fronts’,18 and was criticized for this by NS agitators as well as by some emigrés. In his lexicon of Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, Hans Sarkowicz has documented that the regime even imposed an official ban on attacks on the author. Prestigious German-speaking authors, who were also respected abroad and could still publish in the Reich, were few and far between. For this reason, a confidential announcement, obviously supported by the Propaganda Ministry and the Party Examination Commission (PPK), decreed ‘that the writer Hermann Hesse should not be subject to any attacks whatsoever in future, and that the

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distribution of his works throughout the Reich should accordingly not be obstructed.’19 The Propaganda Ministry had already defended Hesse’s compatriot John Knittel from accusations in a similar way. In both cases, they did not want to spoil one of the last remaining poster children on display for foreign countries. Another of Hesse’s countrymen, who is generally only associated with post-war German literature, should also be mentioned at this point. His first books, however, were far from bestsellers, or even much heeded by the wider public: Max Frisch. Nevertheless, three of his works were able to appear in Germany between 1934 and 1943. Frisch tried at all costs to avoid open confrontation with the National Socialists. He described his attitude as ‘intellectual national defence.’20 Like Hesse, he successfully kept his distance, and avoided collaboration. The book wholesalers’ catalogue of 1941–42 includes Frisch’s Antwort aus der Stille (An Answer from the Silence), a story about a mountaineer that was published by the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt.21 ‘We received reading matter – I’m now reading aloud the grandiose Großtyrann (The Grand Tyrant) by Bergengruen’,22 Victor Klemperer noted enthusiastically in April 1945. The steadfast Klemperer got hold of this extraordinary book shortly before the war ended. It is a truly astonishing piece of literature, which was published ten years earlier by the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, as the opening to their belletristic programme.23 It is particularly amazing when one considers the literary environment during those years in Germany, and when one bears in mind that the publishing house in which it appeared – which also published Ernst Jünger – was part of the German Labour Front (DAF), that is, the ideologically aligned trade unions, and thus directly subordinated to Robert Ley. Werner Bergengruen’s novel Der Großtyrann und das Gericht (The Grand Tyrant and the Court) is a mystery story of sorts, set in the Italian Renaissance. An important emissary of the great tyrant is found murdered, whereupon the tyrant orders his head of security to find out who did it. In the course of the novel, the entire city state gets into an uproar. Dead people are accused of the murder, confessions are falsely attributed to doomed individuals and innocent people confess to the crime. The bewildering revelation at the end is that the grand tyrant himself is the killer. Putting his people to the test, he almost lost his power. The grand tyrant is portrayed as a totalitarian ruler who shares some characteristics with Nazi leaders, in particular Hitler. He is omnipresent, turning up on private occasions as though out of the ether. He presents himself as all powerful and is above the law. And in governing, he invokes the will of the people, which he ‘knows better than they do themselves.’24 The grand tyrant also ended the reign of the ‘feuds among the families and the guilds’,25 which

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were frequently disunified, thus enabling great feats of construction under his rule, such as the building of a bridge. A young lawyer, struggling to retain his inheritance and to prove his father’s innocence, looks behind the mask of power. ‘Diomede shuddered. Because here for the first time it was as if he were looking through a chink in a wall into the interior of the grand tyrant and realized that behind all the cynical cleverness of this man, protected but not refuted by it, lay concealed a chunk of disproportionate, indeed, almost crazy-seeming hubris.’26 The fact that there were many ways of reading Großtyrann as a parable of the Third Reich, indeed the fact that this practically suggested itself, was not lost on contemporaries either. ‘The figure of the grand tyrant, of the Principe, is turned into an ideal Hitler. The man has a will to power, is a tyrant – but in order to hoist up all of Cassano, which was declining under democratic rule’,27 Klemperer recorded soberly. It is all the more astonishing, then, that the novel initially received a positive review even from the dogmatists in Rosenberg’s Literature Office (Schrifttumsstelle): ‘The book has a lot to offer the reader, above all because the language is vivid and artistically valuable!’28 And the public also accepted Großtyrann. Over 200,000 copies of the work were sold in the Third Reich, with special editions for the Wehrmacht bookshops on the frontline going into production as late as 1941. And all this despite the fact that at an official level, nothing very good was ever said about the author. The local group leader of the NSDAP in the place where Bergengruen lived reported to the Gauleitung: Bergengruen may not be politically reliable. Although he occasionally displays a swastika in his window, or always and willingly appears forthcoming at meetings, his behaviour otherwise gives cause to consider him politically unreliable. Neither he nor his wife and children are members of an organization. The German greeting ‘Heil Hitler’ is used neither by him nor his family, even though he raises his hand a little now and then. As far as I know, he doesn’t subscribe to an NS newspaper either.29

In 1937, Bergengruen had already been excluded from the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), which more or less equated to a writing prohibition. But he was able to continue to work with ‘permanent special permission’ certification. The head of Goebbels’ Literature Department (Abteilung Schrifttum) had campaigned personally for the author ‘on account of the literary value’ of his publications.30 Indeed, the dismissive attitude of many officials towards Bergengruen seems to lie less in the critical potential of his work than in the fact that he was married to a ‘three-quarters Jewess’ – and continued to stand by her after 1933.

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Fin-de-siècle: Binding’s Opfergang (Sacrifice) and Carossa’s Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen (The Year of Sweet Illusions) It is certainly no coincidence that all literature which demonstrated a certain amount of skill, and which was able to appear more or less without interference within the broad category of literature in the Third Reich, was oriented around classical-conventional models. ‘It is difficult to understand today’, Hans Sarkowicz writes in his lexicon, why Rudolf Georg Binding ‘enjoyed such recognition as a “bard” during his lifetime.’31 However, critics at the time – and, not least, readers – would have found his style to be ‘classical and perfectly structured’. Nothing avant-garde is to be found in this category of upmarket popular literature; instead, there is nothing other than a recourse to established forms. Binding’s novella Der Opfergang (The Sacrifice), which first appeared in 1912, sold over 450,000 copies between 1933 and 1945 alone. The work, as macabre as it may sound, was also produced by Insel Verlag in Leipzig as a field edition. That said, Opfergang had little to do with what was demanded of hundreds of thousands of soldiers: self-sacrifice. Instead, it is a clever little piece of entertainment that is outfitted with fin-de-siècle motifs and set in cholera-infested Hamburg. But the title alone had propaganda potential. It is thus not surprising that Binding’s novella was turned into a colour film by director Veit Harlan and shown in cinemas in 1942. However, the heart of the story was completely distorted in the film. ‘A white horse, a female, and the sparkling waters of the Alster are the magical prelude to a deep, lovely, and blissful experience’, is how the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung characterized the work when the film first came out, under the headline ‘Binding’s Masterly Novella Opfergang’.32 Here an old medium was plainly advertising the new one. At the heart of Binding’s fable is Albrecht Froben’s marriage to the heartthrob of his youth, his cousin Octavia. While he finds ‘calm at sea’ and ‘soft light’ with her, his own elements are ‘blazing sun’ and ‘a desire for sun’,33 as his wife Octavia recognizes. Fate takes its course, and Albrecht eventually meets the mysterious neighbour Joie, and is attracted to her Amazonian nature and erotic aura. The two become lovers, and come down with cholera after becoming infected while rescuing a poverty-stricken child. Albrecht dies in the arms of his wife before his beloved has passed away. His greatest concern, though, is that Joie will now have to die, too, because she will no longer see his evening greeting, which, throughout her illness, he had sent her from a distance during an evening walk. Octavia therefore undertakes the sacrificial walk. She dresses up as her husband Albrecht and greets her husband’s lover from a distance, in order to deceive – and thus save – her. ‘And then Joie felt something like a duty to get well, and struggled to find

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peace and to recover so that the sacrificial walk of the noble woman will not have been in vain.’34 Although Binding was not a National Socialist by conviction, he was taken in by it to some degree. His early death prevented him from having to justify his pact with the devil after the war. He had supported the new Reich in journalistic debates, especially shortly after the Nazis came to power. Nevertheless, official Germany was not present at his funeral,35 although Hellmuth Langenbucher still paid tribute to the ‘bard’ Binding in 1940 in a longish article in Die Bücherkunde. With regard to the equestrian literature that Binding wrote (the author was an enthusiastic rider and horse breeder), Langenbucher’s piece points out that these works demonstrate a ‘judicious use of language’ which ‘Binding affords them, and which make these works a joy for everyone who appreciates a gentlemanly disposition.’36 Heinrich Himmler devoured Opfergang again immediately after his first reading. ‘Story of a high-minded, self-sacrificing woman, who controls her feelings completely’,37 he noted after his first reading. And eight years later, he wrote: ‘A story of tragedy, full of humanity and female majesty. These people are noble and great.’38 Hans Carossa also stood in the shadows of Goethe and the classical authors of the nineteenth century. He frequently acknowledged the past masters, as noted in a book review in Die Bücherkunde, where Carossa’s affiliation is described incredibly openly: he was a man ‘of his time …, of the time that was shaped by the bourgeoisie.’39 The reviewer explained further, however, that Carossa again and again committed himself from his standpoint to ‘our time’, that is, to National Socialism. And beyond this, the discovery that Carossa was a ‘poet of a high order’ contributed to the positive judgement of his entire work. The work in question, like most of his other books, was said to be extensively biographical, and the reviewer was struck by ‘how little Carossa relies on invention.’ The book Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen (The Year of Sweet Illusions), which first appeared in 1941, became one of his most successful works during the Third Reich. The title is as poetic and felicitous as the portrayal as a whole, which concerns the time when Carossa began his studies in Munich around the turn of the century; the work is still thoroughly readable as a period portrait even today. However, Carossa’s work has no critical potential – at most, perhaps, when the author, in connection with a poetry reading, comments that ‘we older people … are perhaps still holding on too much to a time when there were no writers’ associations, and no state institutions concerned with writing.’40 This book also evokes the fin-de-siècle mood of the turn of the century. But Carossa looks back with devotion at the nineteenth century, at least to the technical achievements of ‘Eichendorff and Mörike’, to ‘the great and novel writers and artists of France’ and to the ‘Geneva Convention’. ‘Pride and joy ran through those living in the period;

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they felt blessed to breathe the air in this time of all times, believing that all curses had been removed from the world.’41 Over 140,000 copies of the Insel edition were sold. This success can be easily explained: the book was an innocuous, escapist read, ‘recognized by the state’, and one which could also challenge even the most discerning reader. Moreover, Carossa’s (as well as Binding’s) work contained two elements that moved people in Germany in the 1940s. For one thing, both sketched pictures of a century past, the ‘good old days’, as it were, which provided a screen onto which young people’s wishes and dreams could be projected. For another, people themselves were living in a time that was doomed, with all of the consequences that entailed. This was already obvious to anyone who wished to see it. ‘Strange – the peace that is manifest in such books seems somehow barren to me, and yet we long unspeakably for peace!’, Heinrich Böll wrote to his wife Annemarie while he was reading Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen. And Böll was not at all as taken with some of the ‘bourgeois’ elements of Carossa’s texts as many of his contemporaries were: What often alienates me from these – I’d like to say ‘bourgeois’ – writers is the fact that their heroes always eventually marry the beautiful, loveable, but in no way unusual, girls, and the ‘adventures’ disappear. I find this ‘happy ending’ of orderliness abhorrent … But a certain type of writing cannot round off a novel without such an ‘ending’, and in this way they show – under duress perhaps – the principle of their being …42

– and, of course, their limits. But how did Carossa behave in relation to the NS regime, and how did the NS arbiters of literature treat him? Carossa – according to Hans Sarkowicz in his lexicon on literature in the Third Reich – ‘firmly’ rejected National Socialism, and ‘courageously’ resisted the call to the ideologically aligned Academy of Authors (Dichterakademie) after 1933.43 On the other hand, though, he was repeatedly prepared to make concessions. He accepted important literary prizes, wrote a welcome address for the Führer’s fiftieth birthday and, in one of his speeches, ‘effusively’ welcomed the ‘annexation’ of Austria and the Sudetenland.44 It was obvious that both sides needed one another. Carossa needed his market in the German-speaking area; Goebbels and Co. required a representative of bourgeois literature to parade before foreign countries, but also to serve as a figure with whom bourgeois readers at home, who naturally still existed, could identify. Goebbels’ greatest coup was his success in gaining Carossa as the President of the European Writers’ Association (Europäische Schriftstellervereinigung), which he brought into existence. Carossa, however, was more pressured and persuaded than convinced.45 The association was conceived as a counterbalance to International PEN: an association of writers from the occupied or neutral parts of Europe

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under German leadership. As Carossa himself later noted, Goebbels regarded him ‘as an unpolitical man, who was exactly what was needed for the political purpose they had in mind’.46 They needed a neutral, presentable figurehead.

From ‘Wish Child’ to ‘Best Wishes Child’: Ina Seidel As late as 1944, the magazine Das Reich reported on the altered book market during ‘total war’. Books and readers ‘between wish and fulfilment’ was the motto. And the question, ‘Which books are most sought after?’ was answered, as so often here and elsewhere, with Das Wunschkind (The Wish Child) by Ina Seidel.47 This large tome appeared in 1930 and became one of the most successful novels of the 1930s and 1940s. ‘Influential retail booksellers all agree that the new, cheap edition of Ina Seidel’s Das Wunschkind will dominate Christmas sales’,48 stated the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, beating the drum for its author on the front page of the Börsenblatt in autumn 1934. One year later, on the occasion of Seidel’s fiftieth birthday, the publisher once again pulled out all the stops, pointing out that the author and her work would feature in the press through reports on the anniversary, and offering various advertising materials such as ‘a four-page Wunschkind special brochure’, a ‘Wunschkind poster’ and a ‘24 x 30 cm photo of the writer’ to the book trade.49 ‘The Cohns brought us a thick book, which I’d often heard people speak of, and always – I don’t know why – considered just a piece of light entertainment: Das Wunschkind by Ina Seidel’, Victor Klemperer noted: I said to myself, if a tome more than 1,000 pages long, which appeared in 1930, can sell 350,000 copies, then it must somehow typify the thinking of its time. This is how I justified reading the volume. My judgement, for now, after the first 100 pages: enormously characteristic of Blood Romanticism, for the relationship between Romanticism and materialism – race – kith and kin. Unquestionably a significant and interesting achievement, even if, for me personally, it has little to say. The style seems to me to be reminiscent of Ricarda Huch. Classical form for Romantic dissolution of boundaries and de-spiritualization in nature and blood.50

Presumably total sales of Seidel’s work at the time were already somewhat higher than Klemperer assumed. His characterization prompts the question of whether the author should not have been discussed under authors close to National Socialism in this book. But what applies to Seidel’s work applies to all of the books discussed here: an attempt has been made to see and evaluate her work first and foremost from the perspective of contemporary readers. Additionally, in the case of literature, as with so many other things, a

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strict classification was not possible, and Das Wunschkind found enthusiastic readers from all walks of life, and well into the war. ‘Really a very beautiful and gripping book, which I couldn’t set aside until I had downed it entirely’,51 the soldier Heinrich Böll wrote to his wife Annemarie. And indeed, the novel was technically good, and the author wrote in the literary tradition of the nineteenth century. The novel tells the story of Cornelie von Tracht, a Prussian aristocrat who marries into Catholic Mainz, and it is set between 1793 and 1813, against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. Cornelia’s husband falls in the campaign against the French. She remains behind with Christoph, the ‘Wunschkind’ (‘wish child’), who was conceived during the lovers’ last night together: ‘And it happened that, in this night, blazing weather bashed the sky and earth – that the clattering rain threshed out the ripe ears of corn, and thumped the young corn into the ground. The following day, the head hung empty. But the seed was already swelling in the earth.’52 There are many similar passages in which motherhood is invoked in connection with the furrowed field and with blood: ‘“Earth is your mother!”, rang out in her head, above her, within her.’53 It was passages like these that gave rise to Klemperer’s comment on Blood Romanticism. Central themes of the book are origin and ancestry, and the question of the extent to which they influence life, or if a person can free themself from being defined by their ‘blood’. In the end, Cornelie also loses her son to the war. But a vague hope lingers that the maternal might win out over the war: ‘But the day will come – and come it must – for women’s tears will become strong enough to extinguish the fire of war forever like a river.’54 What is modern about the work, though, is its attempt to describe events solely from the perspective of the protagonist Cornelie and the other female characters in the novel. In his biographical lexicon, Hans Sarkowicz comes to the conclusion that Ina Seidel might, in some respects, have come to be regarded as the precursor of feminist writing. The fact that she is not viewed in this way today, he proposes, is related ‘above all to the heroization of the motherly rooted in mythical “primal ground”, which corresponded to the National Socialist cult of the mother.’55 A further danger for Ina Seidel – and it was one that hovered over everyone who wanted to write and publish in Nazi Germany – was corruption through the regime. Who wouldn’t want to be wooed and courted? But the question is, at what price? The answers cannot be listed here. And the consequences for these artists’ lives cannot be described more succinctly than Victor Klemperer put it with regard to Ina Seidel: Here, too, tolerance and spirituality: the platonic idea of Germany, mixed and abstracted from the South and Prussia, embodied by Christoph. But here, too,

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the danger of lapsing into blood. This is how it was in 1930 for an inwardly pure writer. From here, it can be seen what Nat. Soc. inherits and how it draws down that legacy, from spirit to blood, to materialism, to enslavement, to deceit.56

Seidel was a member of the section for writing within the Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste) from as early as 1932. Her writer colleague Werner Bergengruen gave her the nickname ‘Glück-Wunschkind’ (‘Best Wishes Child’), because she had let herself be drawn into a homage to Hitler that was printed for the Führer’s birthday on 20 April 1942, and ended with the words: ‘Wherever we stand as Germans, as fathers and mothers of the youth and the future of the Reich, we felt our striving and our work gratefully and humbly merge today with the work of the chosen one from this generation – with the work of Adolf Hitler.’57 Initially, however, none of this affected her literary career after 1945. She was a staple of the literary canon in the post-war era, and later attempted to attribute her missteps to a lack of political education. ‘I would like to point out once again that that contribution to a congratulatory rally was written in 1939. … When the trade publication Der Schriftsteller reprinted it in 1942 without my knowledge, I would no longer have been capable of expressing myself in this way due to the experiences and insights I had meanwhile gained.’58 Today, the author is largely forgotten. Only very few of her texts are still available, and solely in anthologies.

The Supreme Disciplines: Drama and Poetry with Bestseller Dimensions, from Hanns Johst to Eugen Roth By its very nature, a play is not created to be a top-selling product. Its function is to attract the masses to the theatre. Yet the dramas of Kleist or Schiller number among the bestselling books of many eras, not least because they have been set texts in schools for decades. A guide to the book market in 1938 points out the extraordinarily high print runs that some copyright-free works had achieved: ‘In 1917 already, the famous Reclamsche Universalbibliothek could report that they had sold 2,300,000 copies of Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell (William Tell), 124,000 copies of Edda, and 313,000 copies of Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs).’59 Similar successes, aside from those by an author of modern classics such as Gerhart Hauptmann, who did not publish anything of significance in the Third Reich, were only achieved by ‘writers of the movement’, and only with the friendly assistance of the typical NS marketing machinery. Hanns Johst’s play Schlageter (Schlageter), about a rebellious worker in the French-occupied Rhineland

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after the First World War, who is hanged by the occupation power and then stylized by the National Socialists into a martyr, achieved sales of over 35,000 by autumn 1935. ‘The biggest success of a drama in book form for years!’, Langen-Müller Verlag boasted in an advertisement, in which the Völkischer Beobachter was also cited: ‘Schlageter is the first great play of the German transformation.’60 It was also proclaimed boldly in the double-page ad that Johst was one of the chosen ones: ‘We ask you to continue to disseminate the books of the author, whom the Führer himself has honoured to such a great degree, through displays with information and a recommendation, and to advertise the new book already at this stage.’ A considerable number of copies of Schlageter were actually sold: around 80,000 in the end. ‘This must be one of the few plays available in book form’, those active in the trade press presumed, ‘to have achieved such high sales figures in recent years.’61 But what about poetry in the Third Reich? Were there poems that were genuine bestsellers? First and foremost, there was the NS body of songs, which accompanied the marching columns of youths into the Wehrmacht. Such verses were automatically disseminated on a massive scale – for instance, the marching song of the Hitler Youth, ‘Vorwärts! Vorwärts! Schmettern die hellen Fanfaren’ (‘Forward! Forward! Blare the Bright Fanfares’), with the chorus: Uns’re Fahne flattert uns voran / In die Zukunft ziehen wir Mann für Mann / Wir marschieren für Hitler / Durch Nacht und durch Not / Mit der Fahne der Jugend / Für Freiheit und Brot./ Uns’re Fahne flattert uns voran, / Uns’re Fahne ist die neue Zeit. / Und die Fahne führt uns in die Ewigkeit! / Ja die Fahne ist mehr als der Tod!’62 (Our flag flutters out ahead / We march into the future man for man / We march for Hitler / Through night and adversity / With the flag of the youth / For freedom and bread / Our flag flutters ahead / Our flag is the new era / And the flag leads us to eternity / Yes, the flag is more than death!’)

Here, the movement from flag to death encapsulates in a few lines what could mould and destroy a young life in the NS era. The writer of these lines, Baldur von Schirach, became Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP at the tender age of 24, and by virtue of his marriage to the daughter of Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, he was part of the inner circle. The ‘short, almost formulaic poems’ sounded like ‘slogans of a secret society’,63 according to Hans Sarkowicz in his lexicon. These were the type of songs that people could march to, and they are readily available on the internet today in the form of MP3 downloads – for a particular clientele, of course.

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Figure 11.1. Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach (second from the right) visits a book exhibition in Vienna (no date). Photo by A. Schostal, author’s collection.

Hellmuth Langenbucher stated pompously in his literary history: ‘The most profound and brilliantly formed representation of contrived spiritual goods’ brings us no further in such times, but instead this happens more through songs, which approach ‘often the conciseness of slogans’, and thus achieve ‘the most powerful effect.’64 Propaganda in place of feeling. March step instead of quiet reflection. At Nuremberg, Baldur von Schirach was condemned to twenty years in prison. His was the sound of eager NS propaganda poetry, which was in great demand as official poetry and filled the songbooks of the SA and the SS, the League of German Girls (BdM) and other Party organizations. Schirach’s effusions are thus representative of the verses of countless others who are fortunately and rightly forgotten today. Schirach’s edited volume Das Lied der Getreuen (The Song of the Loyal),

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containing verses ‘of unnamed Austrian Hitler Youths from the years of persecution, 1933–37’,65 was also a great sales success. This slim volume was intended for massive sales through the mass organizations. Graduated bulkbuying prices are printed on the copyright page: ‘50 copies or more 1.70 … over 300 copies 1.50.’ Inside are poems with titles such as ‘Bekenntnis zum Führer’ (Oath of Allegiance to the Führer), ‘Die deutschen Mädchen dem Führer’ (German Girls to the Führer) and ‘Sturmlied’ (Storm Song). Reclam Verlag in Leipzig sold around 300,000 copies. The income from royalties – as printed on the copyright page – went directly to the Hitler Youth in Vienna. To round off with another example, here are a few more lines from Gerhard Schumann – not just anyone, but a member of the Presidential Council of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) and leader of the Writers’ Group (Gruppe Schriftsteller), adorned with the title of a Reich Cultural Senator (Reichskultursenator):66 ‘Schweißt aus den Stolzen und den stumm Getreuen / Die Garde, die den letzten Sturm besteht, / Die keinen Tod und keine Tat bereuen / Wenn sie die Fahne adelt und erhöht.’67 (Welded from the proud and the silent loyalists / The guard that survives the last storm / And regrets no death and no action / When it ennobles and raises the flag.’) After 1945, Schumann was one of the founders of the Europäischer Buchklub publishing house, which offered former NS authors a publishing bolthole, and was subsumed by the Bertelsmann Lesering in 1965. Here, authors who had remained in Germany, such as Frank Thiess, Mirko Jelusich, Hans Grimm, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer and the editor of Gustav Schwab’s sagas, Hans Friedrich Blunck, encountered European Modernist authors and writers who had returned from exile.68 And another old acquaintance was once again active here: the writer of the history of völkisch literature, Hellmuth Langenbucher – now editor of a programme in which Thomas Mann, Arnold Zweig and others were represented. But let us return to the Third Reich. Certainly, at that time, poetry as a whole had quite a different status than it does today. For many writers it was vital for their self-image as a ‘literary author’. Among those who have already been mentioned – including Hans Carossa and Hermann Hesse, as well as Rudolf G. Binding, Ina Seidel and Werner Bergengruen – there was hardly anyone who had not already published a few poems. But poetry collections naturally sold in different quantities than narrative prose or non-fiction books. Thus, a Josef Weinheber, whose ‘lyric poetry’ of ‘crystal-clear beauty’69 was often highly praised in contemporary literary histories, sold only just over 30,000 copies of all his poetry collections combined. Even Carossa and Rilke only sold 100,000 and 140,000 copies respectively of their entire collections: Carossa’s Gedichte. Vom Dichter ausgewählt (Poems Selected by the

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Poet) of 1937, and Rilke’s Ausgewählte Gedichte (Selected Poems), which first appeared as an Insel-Bändchen in 1927. Additionally, politically innocuous functional poetry achieved genuine success. The best-selling poetry collection of the NS period was Ein Mensch (Merely Human) by Eugen Roth. First published in 1935, it sold over 450,000 copies, while Die Frau in der Weltgeschichte (Women in World History) by the same author sold almost 240,000 copies, followed closely by his Der Wunderdoktor – Heitere Verse (The Miracle Doctor’s Humorous Verses), which sold 230,000 copies. Roth’s verses, which begin with the characteristic expression ‘Ein Mensch …’, became a brand. ‘Ein Mensch erblickt das Licht der Welt – / Doch oft hat sich herausgestellt, / Nach manchem trüb verbrachten Jahr, / Daß dies der einzige Lichtblick war.’70 (‘A human spots the light of the world – / but often it turned out / After many a dull year, / That this was the only bright spot.’) Roth’s biography and the history of his success resemble those of Ehm Welk in many respects. Roth, born in 1895, was also a journalist in the Weimar Republic, latterly in the local newsroom of the Münchner Neuester Nachrichten.71 In his early twenties, he published his first serious poetry collections – but he did not manage to break through. Then, in April 1933, he lost his post as subeditor, presumably for political reasons. And as in the case of Welk, during this involuntary ‘freelance phase’ he made a commercial breakthrough. His first collection Ein Mensch has sold a million copies to date. An exclusive special edition for the Wehrmacht was published under the title Ein Mensch lädt Kameraden ein, mit ihm ein Stündchen froh zu sein (A Human Invites Friends Over to Pass an Hour in Clover). It contains a selection of texts that had been compiled especially for the volume and for the target audience of soldiers. In it were verses about the everyday life of the infantryman: ‘Vor dem Tore der Kaserne / Kann man vieles stehen sehn: / Ziemlich häufig die Laterne – / Selten nur Lily Marlen.’72 (‘In front of the gate to the barracks / You can see a lot standing: / Fairly often the lantern / Only rarely Lili Marlene.’) In the afterword, Roth took stock of his personal contribution: ‘Only once – as we all hope – victory is achieved will some books that are already completed appear, including new Mensch-poems that are unpublished to this point, or are scattered throughout magazines. Until then, we must wait, work, and fight – and if I can elicit a little smile in the midst of such strain and travail, it will give me joy.’73 The author continued with variations on the Mensch theme in the post-war era as well, with the collections Mensch und Unmensch (Human and Non-Human) and Der letzte Mensch (The Last Human), for example. This humorous verse was just as successful as Ehm Welk’s funny tales from the village, because both were apolitical and thus met people’s reading

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Figure 11.2. Special edition of Eugen Roth’s Ein Mensch for the Wehrmacht, containing texts and layout specifically designed for the target audience. Author’s collection.

requirements. The timeless book offered a retreat in a double sense: the author whom the regime considered unreliable could eschew all concrete references to time that might render them vulnerable, and the reader, tired of politics, and later also of war, was happy with something light that promised them an hour of relaxation.

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Notes 1. On this, see among others Denkler, ‘Hellas als Spiegel deutscher Gegenwart in der Literatur des “Dritten Reiches”’. 2. Schirach, Goethe an uns. 3. Karl Otto Conrady, ‘Ein Junge, der 1944 achtzehn wurde’, in DuMont, Jahrgang 1926/27, 209. 4. Dolf Sternberger, ‘Selbstdenken’, Literaturblatt der Frankfurter Zeitung, 30 October 1938, 3. 5. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 23 August 1943. 6. Reich-Ranicki, Mein Leben, 65. 7. Ibid. 8. Langenbucher, Die Welt des Buches, 149. 9. Reich-Ranicki, Mein Leben, 65. 10. Fest, Ich nicht, 236. 11. Rilke, Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke, 31. 12. Letter from Rilke to Paule Lévy from 4 November 1925, cited in Krüger, ‘Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke’. 13. Rilke, Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke, 16. 14. Ketelsen, Literatur und Drittes Reich, 117. 15. Ibid. 16. Flex, Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten, 12. 17. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 430. 18. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 217. 19. Ibid. 20. Cited in Ibid., 174. 21. Koehler & Volckmar, Leipzig; Koch, Neff & Oetinger, Stuttgart, Barsortiments-Lagerkatalog 1941/42, 419. 22. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 21 April 1945. 23. See Lokatis, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 91. 24. Bergengruen, Der Großtyrann und das Gericht, 218. 25. Ibid., 213. 26. Ibid., 222. 27. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 25 April 1945. 28. ‘Rezension’, Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 3, 81. 29. Letter of the Ortsgruppen München-Solln der NSDAP, 14 June 1940, cited in Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 519. 30. Cited in Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 373. 31. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 101. 32. ‘Bindings Meisternovelle Opfergang. Ein neuer deutscher Farbfilm’, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, 5 November 1942, 595. 33. Binding, Der Opfergang, 14. 34. Ibid., 61. 35. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 104. 36. Hellmuth Langenbucher, ‘Rudolf G. Binding als Künder deutscher Diesseitsfreudigkeit’, Die Bücherkunde 7 (1940), no. 7. 37. Lektüre. [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler. BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 24. 38. Lektüre. [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler. BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 63.

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39. ‘Buchbesprechung zu Hans Carossa: Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen’, Die Bücherkunde 9 (1942), no. 7. 40. Carossa, Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen, 128. 41. Ibid., 150. 42. Heinrich Böll to Annemarie Böll, 21 March 1943, Böll, Briefe aus dem Krieg 1939–1945, 656–57. 43. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 132. 44. Ibid., 133. 45. On the process, see Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 442–50. 46. Cited in Ibid., 443, footnote 118. 47. ‘Bücher geliehen, gekauft, gelesen’, Das Reich, 10 December 1944. 48. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, 101, no. 271, 20 November 1934, title page. 49. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, 102, no. 208, 7 September 1935. 50. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 28 June 1944. 51. Heinrich Böll to Annemarie Böll, 3 May 1943, Böll, Briefe aus dem Krieg, 745. 52. Seidel, Das Wunschkind, 20. 53. Ibid., 370. 54. Ibid., 1048. 55. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 366. 56. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 5 July 1944. 57. ‘Zum Geburtstag des Führers’, Der deutsche Schriftsteller, April 1942, cited in Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 406. 58. Letter from Ina Seidel to Joseph Wulf, 2 January 1963, in Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 406. 59. Langenbucher, Die Welt des Buches, 150. 60. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, 102, no. 214, 14 September 1935, 3892–93. 61. E. Lgb. [Erich Langenbucher], ‘Über 1 Million’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 17, 247. 62. Reichsjugendführung, Wir Mädel singen, 96. 63. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 351. 64. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 464. 65. Schirach, Das Lied der Getreuen. 66. See Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 364–65. 67. Cited by Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 470. 68. See also Bautz, ‘Gerhard Schumann – Biographie’, 304. 69. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 190. 70. Roth, Ein Mensch, 9. 71. Biographical information from the Munzinger Archiv, as of 2006; Keyword: Roth, Eugen. 72. Roth, Ein Mensch lädt Kameraden ein, mit ihm ein Stündchen froh zu sein, 52. 73. Ibid., 111.

Chapter 12

BLOOD WITHOUT SOIL The Successes of National (Social)ist Authors

鵷鵸 One Time to the City and Back: The Life of Kuni Tremel-Eggert The phrase ‘Blut und Boden’ (blood and soil) haunts much of the discussion of literature in the Third Reich. It was used in a derogatory way even by contemporaries, who often shortened it to ‘Blubo’.1 Certainly, there were authors and texts to which this cliché applied. But a simple examination of sales figures makes it clear that this form of literature was not really very successful. Among the hundred best-selling books in the Third Reich, there are only a few which could be assigned without qualification to this genre. But were there blood-and-soil writers who did in fact reach a mass public? And an equally important question: was there such a thing as National Socialist literature in numerical terms? In other words, did those controlling and directing culture manage to translate their conception of National Socialist literature into practice? Of the handful of pertinent texts, Barb. Der Roman einer deutschen Frau (Barb: The Novel of a German Woman) is one of the more noteworthy in several respects. With sales of over 750,000 copies, it is, after Schenzinger’s Anilin (Aniline), the novel with the highest sales in the years 1933 to 1945, and thus one of the most successful belletristic texts of the period. On top of this, it is one of the few bestselling texts that could be termed ‘genuinely National Socialistic’ in the broadest sense. In the small Franconian town of Burgkunstadt, everyone knows the way to the house where regional writer Kuni Tremel-Eggert was born. She is revered

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there still. Across from the half-timbered house, which bears a sandstone plaque commemorating the birth in 1889 of the author of Barb as the daughter of a cobbler, begins the street that has borne her name since 1958. Neither commemoration is uncontroversial. The honouring of the ‘regional author’, as well as the naming of the street, provoke repeated debates that involve sometimes larger, sometimes smaller groups of people.2 Tremel-Eggert lost her mother when she was 11 years old. At 14, after her elder sister married, she had to take over the running of the large family household (which included numerous apprentice lads), and she became head of the family at 25, after her father died. All of this is reflected in the author’s autobiographically inspired books. ‘Yes, it’s all me. I’m in the midst of everything that happens in my stories’,3 she responded frankly to frequent enquiries as to whether her personal experience had informed this or that character. Her protagonist Barb also lives in a small Main-Franconian town reminiscent of Burgkunstadt. The character, like the author, gets to know the man she is to marry during the First World War. Tremel-Eggert met her future husband at theatre performances to aid the Red Cross in 1915. Josef Eggert was two years younger than the cobbler’s daughter and was being treated in a military hospital in Burgkunstadt at the time. A search for motifs typical of the blood-and-soil ideology in literature yields results in this case. Barb is more deeply rooted in her Heimat than the people around her. The first time she is allowed to sow corn on her own is described as if it were an initiation ritual. She finds it easier than her elder brother, and her father is proud of her. She strides through the fields, as though this is all she has ever done. ‘It is a celebration of the blood, a celebration of the most intimate connectedness to the brown soil that her foot sinks into.’4 What sets this particular kind of closeness to the earth apart is the fact that it is founded ‘in blood’. Either one belongs to it by origin, or else one remains an outsider forever. The NS ideologues made this the lethal criterion for exclusion. This was the fertile soil for the Nuremberg Laws. In Barb, various counter-worlds to that of the soil-bound existence of the shoemaker’s daughter are described. There are the uprooted ones, who lack the sacred native soil, and then there is her girlfriend, who marries and moves to Berlin (marrying up!), but whose marriage eventually fails: her father-in-law’s ‘dodgy dealings’ come to light, he commits suicide and her friend’s husband is arrested. Barb herself moves to Munich with her husband and suffers from city life with all its downsides – poverty, financial insecurity and political unrest. Barb presents a panorama of wartime and the interwar period. The First World War is omnipresent as the seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century, exemplified not least through fallen friends and, later, in stories told by frontline soldiers. War, inflation and the Great Depression serve as the

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backdrop. The only thing that proves constant is Barb’s love of her Heimat, of the soil, which she has passed on to her sons and is also able to impart to her husband. ‘We have to buy ourselves a piece of land!’5 For what has worried her all her life is ‘the greatest homesickness there was. Homesickness for awakening gardens, blooming meadows, whooshing woods, liberating waters and German landscape!’6 Barb is an active woman, who is certainly fulfilled by motherhood in addition to being a guardian of a close relationship to the soil, but she also remains stronger than all of the male characters (her husband included), and she ultimately determines the path they must take. There’s nothing the author would have wanted less than to project ‘a noncommittal, calm middlebrow ideal notion of womanhood, as foreign critics of the Third Reich’s National Socialism customarily imputed’,7 a reviewer in Die Bücherkunde commented in 1936. In the end, this developmental novel elevates the existence of Barb and those close to her to a higher plane: the victory of National Socialism is in the offing in spring 1933 and brings her to her dream goal. In the closing scene of the book, Barb fetches a sewing machine to make a swastika flag beneath the glowing eyes of her husband and sons. ‘From a nearby church an hour is struck! Any hour! Is it a special one? It is! It is the first hour of a new era: Within it, the spring wind sings to the German Volk, that they should – and may – believe again.’8 And Kuni Tremel-Eggert placed her new book, on which she claimed to have worked for several years, into the cradle of the new Reich. She quite consciously orchestrated the coming together of her artistic and political fulfilment to coincide with the takeover of power by the Nazis: ‘My notes lie far back in the years of struggle, of suffering and great turbulence’, she wrote in the afterword to the 32nd edition in 1938, ‘but with the day on which I would write the last – finally the last – chapter, I wanted to bring it to a close. It – became the day of Potsdam’,9 the day in March 1933 when the parliament (Reichstag) was reconvened following the Reichstag fire, consolidating the Nazi seizure of power. Barb was regarded by NS literary critics as the ‘developmental novel of a German woman’, and it was consequently positively received. Rosenberg’s Die Bücherkunde expressed the desire for the author’s entire work to be ‘far more extensively promoted by relevant official cultural channels responsible for educating the people.’10

Barb: Roman einer deutschen Frau, or How Typical NS Bestsellers Were Made What made Tremel-Eggert a typical NS author more than all the propaganda messages was her relentless rise, which was only possible due to the Nazi

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takeover of power. After the end of Nazi rule, it suddenly grew quiet around her again, and before 1933, she had waited in vain for a breakthrough. During a visit to Berlin in 1928, a journalist had told her that while her works were certainly known, they were ‘too rooted to her native soil’11 for the time, and therefore did not stand a chance. She was, in other words, a ‘reject’ like the young Goebbels, who had also applied in vain for a post with the Berliner Mosse Verlag in 1924. After Tremel-Eggert moved to Munich in 1917, she must soon have come into contact with circles close to National Socialism, including the early poet of the movement and promoter of Hitler, Dietrich Eckart. She was, however, never married to Eckart, as a recent biographical lexicon entry erroneously states.12 Eckart allegedly advised her early on just to wait: ‘Don’t drive yourself crazy. Don’t ever write any differently. Your time will come, even if you have to wait another ten years.’13 While her books had appeared almost unnoticed with Langen-Müller in Munich at the start of the 1920s, they were later marketed by the Party-owned Eher concern. Posthumously, so to speak, she also received the blessing of the deceased Ludwig Thoma. Shortly before his death, he had confided to his carer, ‘Listen, sister, if you can get hold of a book by this woman, you must read it. It’s worth it. Isn’t it?’ 14 Tremel-Eggert was promoted by the arbiters of literature around Rosenberg, because she interpreted Heimat literature in a way that suited them: she avoided ‘consciously that saccharine vagueness, which so often got in the way of a deeper effect (in the work of weaker, but much more diligent, representatives of this genre).’15 The target of this barbed comment was clearly Ganghofer and Co. The decisive difference, however, was the political topicality that the portrayal of closeness to home had in Tremel-Eggert’s work: ‘In a convincing and poetically mature portrayal, we experience … the contrast of the person who is rooted in his native soil and the forces of unrest and dissolution. These negative tendencies are strongest in the Jew Ignaz’,16 was the critical appraisal in Die Bücherkunde of her 1939 novel Freund Sansibar (My Friend Zanzibar), which was not quite as successful. Tremel-Eggert lost her only son Harald, who was born in 1923, to the war unleashed by Hitler and his consorts. He died in 1944, somewhere in Russia. Her writing career was over after 1945. At the end of 1955 and in early 1956, she was still working on a new novel: ‘This time, I think it’s good’, she wrote to a friend, ‘contemporary material that is confident about life – despite the “Cold War”.’17 But the book never appeared. The author died in 1957, in her adopted hometown, Munich. She was buried in Burgkunstadt, where an impressive tomb bearing a bronze bust commemorates her. The question of what constituted typical NS literature, which can scarcely be answered today, was problematic even for contemporaries. Literary critics at the time had difficulty compiling a National Socialist literary canon, despite

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Figure 12.1. Barb by Kuni Tremel-Eggert was one of the most successful novels to appear between 1933 and 1945, achieving sales of around 750,000 copies. The commemoration of the author in her hometown of Burgkunstadt remains controversial to this day. Author’s collection.

all sorts of attempts to establish clarity and lines of demarcation. People were initially clear about what they did not want. But even here, the principle of hushing up reigned: Jewish authors or those who were personae non grata politically were simply no longer mentioned. In 1934, when the editor of a Munich daily newspaper was confronted with the difficult task of determining for an article various sizes for the portraits of the members of the Academy of Authors (Dichterakademie) who had been ‘cleansed’, in the National Socialist sense, he turned informally for advice to a confidant in the Propaganda Ministry (RMVP), who wrote:

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I completely agree that the composition of the Academy of Authors poses certain challenges in terms of assessment of value, and that, namely, from a National Socialist standpoint something can be said against individual personalities. Certainly, it will always cause some upset if the members of such a body are pictured in various sizes. I can only give you my personal opinion, and I would, if the sizes definitely have to be differentiated, put Binding, Blunck, Claudius, Griese, Grimm, Loerke und Lersch in large format; Beumelburg, Hauptmann, Huch, Johst, Kolbenheyer, Mell, Miegel, Schäfer, Schaffner, Stehr, Strauss, Stucken and Vesper in medium format, and the rest in small format.18

Those in small format were Gottfried Benn, Peter Dörfler, Gustav Frenssen, Max Halbe, Enrica von Handel-Mazzetti, Isolde Kurz, Walter von Molo, Josef Ponten, Wilhelm Schmidtbonn, Johannes Schlaf, Karl Schönherr, Ina Seidel and Josef Magnus Wehner.19 In a study of nine literary histories from the NS period, the literary scholar Uwe K. Ketelsen ascertained that there were only forty-six authors who appeared in all of them. From a total of around two thousand writers, this was a fairly small yield.20 Tremel-Eggert, incidentally, is not among them, and of the forty-six only about twenty were bestsellers according to the criteria applied in this book.

The Prehistory: Gustav Schröer’s Road from Heimat Novel to Blubo-Epic Gustav Schröer cannot be found in most literary histories today. Yet his Heimat wider Heimat (Heimat against Heimat) was one of the ten best-selling novels in the Third Reich. The text, which came out in 1929, sold around 600,000 copies between 1933 and 1945 alone. Schröer was also Bertelsmann’s most successful literary author, with twenty publications in all.21 Schröer’s work was in large part ‘representative of the völkisch-national reassessment of the Heimat and peasant novel’,22 according to the study Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich. Heimat wider Heimat is in the romanticized narrative style of the nineteenth century. The setting is a little town on the river Saale in the year ‘eighteen hundred such and such.’23 In the centre of the plot is a wandering apprentice clock- and watchmaker – Heinrich Pimpfel – who quickly falls in love with the little town, and soon with one of its beautiful daughters as well. The world described exudes a snug middlebrowness. The keyword ‘Spitzweg’ – referring to the arch-romantic nineteenth-century artist Carl Spitzweg – even appears in the text. However, the idyll portrayed conveys very clear messages, which admittedly do not conjure up a ‘new era’ as in the case of Tremel-Eggert’s work (the novel appeared too early for that),

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but which can nevertheless be assigned to ideological trends. Pimpfel is led to Langenbrück by a force that is initially unknown to him, until he feels ‘that everything is wedded to your blood. You already felt all this in your heart.’24 It turns out that his father was cast away to the coast from Thuringia. He, too, had felt a yearning for the alpine world, but his wife did not want to follow him, and it broke him in the end. The son now fulfils the fate of his progenitor, to some extent. Heimat, according to Schröer, is determined by the blood that flows in people’s veins. It cannot be outwitted. When this is attempted, people are ruined. The protagonists speak ‘about the secret currents of blood, which sweep through the lineage, speak of the mystery that the word Heimat contains and which no word even from a poet would suffice to explain. Heimat! It is obligation and justification, happiness and a heavy burden, laughter and tears, strength and weakness.’25 The author leaves no doubt that the strength of one’s blood is stronger than any other human driving force. It also depends on the right people (with the right blood) coming together. Certainly, strong assets are positive (in Pimpfel himself, the blood of the noble Frisian comes together with that of the Thuringian to form a ‘good mixture’). However, incorrect selective breeding can also lead to the decline of a family, a lineage. ‘Then they didn’t select the right women’, one of Schröer’s characters argues; for ‘to come together simply because of good looks will end in tears. That is how the best lineages are ruined.’26 Heimat wider Heimat is a novel which can be assigned to the ‘Blubo’ wave. For obvious reasons, it could not yet pay overt homage to the regime. In the case of this novel, successful marketing combined with changed conditions which, especially after 1933, favoured the publishing house: the literary market that had come under siege with bans and exile required new fodder. Bertelsmann’s sales manager at the time came up with the campaign, including the concept for the design of the book jacket. The publishing house took inspiration for its advertising campaign from Ullstein Verlag, which had turned Remarque’s work All Quiet on the Western Front into a mega-success. Bertelsmann also broke fresh ground in the area of commercial sale or return: for every thirty copies ordered, the retailer received a further thirty with the right to return any that were unsold.27 This was a sales practice that the large players in the sector would later deploy for their bestsellers – ‘to push important titles into the market’ – in a more or less similar fashion. After the Nazi takeover, Bertelsmann then played the keyboard of the time to its fullest. In a Christmas advertisement in the Börsenblatt, the overall success of the belletristic division of the publishing house was celebrated: What accounts for this success? First and foremost, the literary and attitudinal principles of the house: It is the commitment to the German, rooted to the soil

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of his Heimat, who reaches, in joy and in sorrow, for eternal values. Today the hour of the German is fulfilled. For that reason, the authors of C. Bertelsmann Verlag are more in demand than ever. … Thus, C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Gütersloh, also hopes, most esteemed dear colleague, for your cooperation. For we are all fighting after all for the German species and the German essence / for faith und nationhood / Our front is here.28

The author himself did not hold back either in declaring his faith in the new state. For a Bertelsmann advertising brochure of 1942, he contributed a poem entitled ‘Everything is One’, which invoked the ‘people’s community’ (‘Volksgemeinschaft’). It concluded with the words: ‘Und den Führer, allen Mächten zum Trutz / Herr den Führer, nimm ihn in Schutz!’ (‘And the Führer, defend him with all Your might / Lord, take the Führer under your protection!’).29

Feeding the Lines: Hans Grimm with Volk ohne Raum (People without Space) He delivered one of the most important political slogans and yet remained a controversial figure. In the Third Reich, he preferred to stand on the sidelines at times. After 1945, the old school attracted him, and he repeatedly stepped into the centre of regressive circles. Klosterhaus Verlag, founded by Hans Grimm in 1951, still looks after his work, and its online bookshop distributes such pertinent works as Helden der Wehrmacht (Heroes of the Wehrmacht) and Schuldig! Schuldig! Die alliierten Siegerprozesse (Guilty! Guilty! The Allied Victors’ Trials). The publisher’s homepage advertises ‘the great German social novel’ Volk ohne Raum, which – it still states – has sold a million copies. Certainly, between 1933 and 1945, over 340,000 copies must have been sold. ‘This German story, in my opinion, is a political story, and it reveals our German fate in a way that schools and parties do not teach, because they neither can nor wish to. Whom should I dedicate the book to other than my dead parents, my mother mostly, and my two children, above all my young son, between whom I am a link in the chain, and through whom I belong to my Volk’,30 Hans Grimm wrote in the foreword. The story, which was first published in 1926 by Langen-Müller in Munich, starts in and around Lippoldsberg, where Grimm himself had settled down in an old monastic building after the First World War. In the course of well over a thousand pages, he tells the life story of Cornelius Friebott, who soon leaves his German homeland to emigrate to South Africa, where he takes part in the Boer War. Later, back in Germany, he works as a political speaker, until shortly before Hitler’s historic Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, he is killed

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by a stone hurled by an incensed worker. ‘But you stretch out your neck in superiority; but you say that the German people will live in any case and in spite of all fateful issues?’ is how the author opens his plea for ‘his’ people. ‘What does it mean to live, my friend? Sick people live, and the devil lives, and the whore lives, and worms live, devouring one another. But the German needs space around him and sun above him and freedom within, in order to become good and beautiful. Are we to have hoped for such things in vain for two thousand years?’31 These were images and thoughts that also moved the National Socialists. Both sides, Grimm and the NSDAP, recognized this affinity. Heinrich Himmler had already borrowed and read the novel in 1927. And he sensed the text’s effect: ‘It will be a book of historical and not mundane significance’,32 he summed up after reading it. And in 1931, during the ‘period of struggle’, Goebbels and Grimm had lunch together. ‘A quiet, cautious man from Lower Saxony, big, somewhat clumsy, but touchingly good and most certainly clever’, Goebbels later noted in his diary.33 What particularly impressed Goebbels was Grimm’s disdain of the ‘literati’. He was ‘scathing of Jünger, and very good and devoted to Hitler. I will win his heart in no time at all.’ Grimm bet on the National Socialists because they promised the best future for Germany. And clearly, the get-together very much pleased the Gauleiter of Berlin. ‘We depart as friends’, Goebbels noted, full of pathos. The Nazis were still on the lookout for strong allies; Hans Grimm, whose novel had already sold an estimated 200,000 copies by 1933, was no longer unknown. His popularity could serve Goebbels’ goals. ‘That is a gain! The bard of Volk ohne Raum supports our cause.’ During the Reich presidential election campaign, Goebbels then finally recorded in his diary on 31 March 1932: ‘The bard Hans Grimm openly pledges his support for the Führer.’34 But this close collaboration was not to last. Initially, Grimm moved up into the literature section of the Prussian Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste), and was also appointed by Goebbels to the five-person presidential council of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK).35 Despite ‘ideological alignment’, however, Grimm refused to hold his tongue. He criticized the chamber’s work and believed the cultural reputation of the Third Reich to be in danger. Additionally, he attempted through his own initiatives to dodge centrally organized cultural policy. From 1934 onwards, he invited certain authors to meetings in Lippoldsberg. Guests at Grimm’s cloistered courtyard included Werner Beumelburg, Rudolf G. Binding, Hans Carossa and Edwin Erich Dwinger.36 These were not meetings of opponents of the regime. In fact, all of the writers were from the national and conservative camp. But Goebbels could not stand an ancillary public sphere that was outside of his control. ‘The writer Hans Grimm is arranging writers’ meetings with a somewhat negative slant’, the minister wrote about his erstwhile ‘friend’.

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‘I will take a closer look at this activity. I won’t tolerate any resistance front [Bekenntnisfront] among writers. I will see these perpetual troublemakers off.’37 This ‘seeing off’ was meant seriously. Grimm was invited to speak with Goebbels in 1936, and he was openly threatened with a ‘concentration camp’ if he did not show more compliance.38 Attempts at intimidation proved successful in the end. The Lippoldsberg meetings were discontinued in 1939 and were not revived until after the war. Grimm did not attract negative attention again during the Third Reich. His work continued to be promoted, and it was – despite its somewhat rebellious author – a staple of the standard literature of the Nazi era.

Poets and Interpreters of the ‘Movement’: Hanns Johst, Hans Friedrich Blunck and Will Vesper Without a doubt, Hanns Johst was an avowed and active National Socialist. As a dramatist, he was initially still seen as belonging to Expressionism, but his transformation into a national author followed swiftly. Writing was always völkisch, belonged to the people – that is how Langenbucher paraphrases Johst in his literary history. ‘Only when we comprehend this poetic creed of Hanns Johst in all its depths’, he argued, ‘can we understand the development “from a human-oriented European to a self-conscious German”, which Hanns Johst has gone through, and the leading position that he holds in the literary life of the people today.’39 Johst was one of the most influential literary functionaries, among other roles as President of the Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung (German Academy of Authors) as well as of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK). In addition, he was a high-ranking member of the SS and a close friend of Heinrich Himmler. His two stories, Mutter ohne Tod (Undying Mother) und Die Begegnung (The Encounter), published as handy paperback editions by the Langen-Müller publishing house in Munich in 1933, sold around 200,000 copies. Mutter ohne Tod, the sentimental story of a son who visits his recently widowed father, and finds traces of his mother wherever he looks, is a piece of staid craftsmanship. The slim volume would have been particularly suitable as a gift, and anyone giving the book as a present would presumably have intimated their position vis-à-vis the system. Later the book also enjoyed success as a frontline read, as Victor Klemperer surmised when he read it. It was, Klemperer speculated, ‘something particularly characteristic of Johst, and something tolerated and preferred by the Party.’40 Johst disseminates an inflated image of the mother, which played to the National Socialist demands of women:

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The dead woman, who rests before me in the veil of tears, is disconnected from all motherly intimacy. She has passed into the powerful, immortal allegory of all mothers … Our Mother … Our Mother …41

While he behaved emotively on the one hand, he could be equally cold and cynical on the other. Directly after the First World War, Johst and Thomas Mann were close friends. The friendship was fuelled by the younger man’s admiration for the successful writer. Johst cut off contact with Mann in 1922, however, when Mann committed himself publicly to the young Weimar democracy.42 In October 1933, Johst then wrote to his close friend Himmler about the activities of émigré writers abroad: The hopeful offspring of Herr Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, is listed as the editor [of an exile magazine]. Since this half-Jew is hardly likely to come over to our side, and we cannot, unfortunately, sit him down on the naughty chair, I would indeed recommend punishment in this case. Might Herr Thomas Mann, Munich, not spend a little time in prison for his son? His intellectual production wouldn’t suffer from an autumn refresher in Dachau after all.43

Hans Friedrich Blunck, on the other hand, must have seemed a little too thin-skinned from the standpoint of the leading arbiters of culture. Blunck was the first President of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), Johst’s predecessor in this role. Together with Johst, he presided over the Academy’s Poetry Section (Sektion für Dichtung). When the Nazis came to power, he was no longer an unknown author, but he owed his very large breakthrough to them. His most successful novel König Geiserich (King Geiserich), which appeared in 1936, was published by the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt and sold over 300,000 copies, and was closely followed by Die große Fahrt (The Long Journey), which sold well over 200,000 copies. König Geiserich is set in the age of the migration of peoples, and took a great, historical ‘Führer figure’ as its subject: ‘In the arms of his son and friend, Geiserich died at his fortress in Carthage. His path led to the superhuman deeds, duty, sacrifice and loneliness of the great. He heard God’s calling and that of his people; he effected the freedom and power of his Reich; as a consequence, he lost all that brightens and brings delight to the lives of others. But could anything better be said about a man?’44 Contemporary literary commentators highlighted, in particular, Blunck’s deep rootedness in the national character (das Volkhafte) – in this respect, he was part of the broad current of völkisch literature. As early as 1937, Langenbucher noted with regard to Blunck’s historical novel, which had

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just appeared, that it had turned out to be disastrous for the literary figure Geiserich that his Volk was too small and that he, ‘despite all efforts, could not succeed in permeating the massive space as much as was required to hold onto his people’s conquests forever.’45 Was the author aware of the extent to which the work contained a dark foreboding of what lay before Germany and the world? In 1935, Blunck, still without party affiliation, was forced out of the office of President of the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK), and replaced by the better acolyte, Hanns Johst. To compensate Blunck somewhat, however, he was given the title of ‘Most Senior Member of the Reich Chamber of Literature’ (‘Alterspräsident der Reichsschrifttumskammer’), which he used on his letterhead from that point forth. Siegfried Lokatis, in his study on the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, established that Blunck’s commercial success was mostly thanks to the concern’s marketing power, for ‘it was taken for granted in Blunck’s case among the “Hanseatics” that increased demand could not possibly be associated with excitement about the goods on offer.’46 It was as if the publisher had wanted to prove ‘that under relatively stable conditions, they could push any book through in the new National Socialist mass market for books.’ But success bore Blunck out, and it also gave him a strong position within the publishing house. He received excellent contractual terms. The advance of 58,000 RM that he received for a collected edition of his works was used for the refurbishment of the barn on his hereditary estate, and accessed whenever payments to the builders were due.47 What Lokatis determined in Blunck’s case applies to NS-related literature in general: it is difficult to draw any conclusions about the public’s taste from sales figures. The advertising of uncontroversial authors was simply too overpowering; there was no escaping it. Will Vesper became just as successful as Blunck after the Nazi takeover. His historical epic Das harte Geschlecht (The Harsh Family) featured Viking heroes as protagonists. ‘Here still reigns the wild world, in which only courage and valour and the laws of tribe and faithfulness count’, Hellmuth Langenbucher wrote about the work. He described it as one of the ‘most valuable German historical novels of recent times.’48 All told, over 375,000 copies of this title were distributed among the ‘people’s comrades’. In the 1910s and 1920s, Vesper had first made a name for himself with a series of adaptations and translations of old literary material, from Tristan und Isolde to the Nibelungensage (The Nibelungen Saga). The meaning of the ‘invocation of the blood’ is once again clear in Vesper’s work: ‘And then – it is, after all, our own blood, which also flowed and lived in the hearts of people in those times. The blood flows, an invincible stream, from the most ancient time down to us.’ And the author happily let it continue to flow, for ‘we are only

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like the bed of the river, through which the eternal bloodstream roars, from the fathers to our children and grandchildren in the farthest future.’49 One might be tempted to discount such works as those of Tremel-Eggert, Schröer and Grimm as eccentric gibberish. However, in the case of Will Vespers, they had a very concrete manifestation: the author was far more influential as the editor of the journal Die Neue Literatur than through his literary publications. Already in the 1920s he had prepared the ground for a ‘völkisch-based’ study of literature, and he spearheaded the fight against the ‘literati of the [Weimar] system time’. What is more, after 1933, as if state authorities were not yet radical enough, he intervened, denouncing authors and publishing houses, and he made no secret of his radical antisemitism. In February 1937, for instance, he attacked in his journal a state of affairs that characterized the publishing sector well into the 1930s. German publishers from Austria or Switzerland, for example, could advertise alongside ‘Reich German’ publishing houses in the Börsenblatt, and had access to the German book market. Certainly, ‘Jewish literary dominance in Germany’ was now over, but the German book market was currently ‘flooded with literature from Jewish publishing houses from outside Germany.’ And Vesper drew the most radical conclusions from this: ‘If a German girl has a relationship with a Jew, both are rightly convicted of racial defilement. If a German writer and a German bookseller enter a relationship with Jewish publishing houses – is that not a far worse and more dangerous defilement of our race?’ This was followed by direct attacks on publishers such as Phaidon Verlag, dubbed ‘Aasgeier-Verlag’ (Vulture Verlag) by Vesper, which exploited the ‘dead’ as well as ‘royalty-free art’, and Bermann-Fischer Verlag, which had been forced into exile. Phaidon was in fact frequently still featured in the Börsenblatt, with large, expensively produced, full-colour advertisements and inserts, advertising for instance exquisite books on art from the antiquity. For Vesper, this was a shining example ‘of racial defilement by publishers’. And Vesper did not keep his desire for obliteration hidden either. ‘But it is now in no way enough that a single one of such rats is caught and tossed out. The books of these publishing houses must be clearly labelled, with the star of Judas, for instance. We demand nothing more than transparency. Who can oppose or complain about this if he isn’t hiding something shameful or harmful in the dark?’50 And in this way, he frequently sketched out the image of a racially grounded literature in his journal, a literature to which, in his view, the same rules had to apply as for a people. It was not the ‘genuine coloured races’ that were the problem, but the ‘deadly mixing of races’, he wrote two years later in the same publication. And literature also had to be cleansed in terms of content in his opinion: ‘We must put an end to all wimpish literary

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infatuation with coloured people, whether in academic, semi-literary works, popular literature, or the long out-dated Indian poetry in books for young adults. We are the essential and principal people of the white race. The white race is in danger.’51 Vesper managed to retain his views seamlessly into the early Federal Republic. Initially, he was even permitted to continue to work as an editor at Bertelsmann (where he had published a few more works before 1945).52 And he also appeared at the meetings of writers in Lippoldsberg (the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage), which were revived by Hans Grimm, and formed circles of his own where radical right-wing followers came together. His son Bernward drew a portrait of his father along these lines in his novelistic essay Die Reise (The Journey), which appeared in 1977.53

The Posthumous Reputation of the Regional Author: Josefa Berens-Totenohl and Felicitas Rose It is a fate that they share with many others. After the great fame they enjoyed in the Third Reich came to an abrupt end, they sank back into insignificance. Their names are widely known only at regional level. This applies not only to Kuni Tremel-Eggert, but also to Josefa Berens-Totenohl and Felicitas Rose. Josefa Berens-Totenohl had adopted the second part of her surname after a district in her Heimat. She was from a farming background, and eventually attended a teachers’ training college and dabbled in painting before she became successful as a writer. Her two novels, Der Femhof (Fem Farm, 1934) and Frau Magdlene (Mrs Magdalene, 1935) sold 250,000 and 100,000 copies respectively. Here, it might be noted that when considering the successful National Socialist belletristic authors, a remarkable picture emerges. Compared to the book market as a whole, there are astonishingly many women. While women were generally and frequently a minority in cultural life at the time, they appear to be very present in the widely appealing völkisch literature, not least through authors such as Kuni Tremel-Eggert or, indeed, Josefa Berens-Totenohl. This is nothing more than an impression, certainly not a thesis; but the question of what made female writers possibly more successful in this area would perhaps merit further research. In any event, returning to the works of Josefa Berens-Totenohl: critics were fulsome in their praise for her two abovementioned novels, which concern the fate of the farmer Wulf and his family. Whether in Die Bücherkunde or the Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, her work was recommended unreservedly. ‘She is völkisch in the deepest sense of the word; her works are towering “tableaus and symbols” of the primal forces of life’, a long consideration of the work and its author observed in Weltliteratur. ‘In her life as in her work,

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Josefa Berens-Totenohl exemplifies the invincible strength that rests in the blood-and-soil of a Volk.’54 At the centre of the story are the farmer Wulf and his daughter Magdlene, who run their large estate as the last descendants of an old noble family. The daughter’s lover is condemned to death in a secret court, and is killed by the old farmer, Magdlene’s father, who is a member of the court. ‘“So fall, profligate, of the holy eight!” Wulf called out as the other was sent into death.’55 In the second part of the story, Frau Magdlene, the daughter finally takes up arms against her own father, now for the sake of her child, whom she had conceived with her lover. ‘In addition to the dark family fate of this large estate, there is a struggle for the family’s existence against the outside world. War and treachery in the land, dark powers, outside and within, test the last of this old Germanic house to the limits – and the characters – first and foremost, that of Wulf ’s daughter, acquit themselves well!’56 The novels of Josefa Berens-Totenohl can also be read as a continuation of rustic and Heimat novels. ‘The Nazis, who were very conscious of the popularity of such literature, simply retained their subject matter and just tried to fill them with “völkisch substance”. … Der Femhof is in the tradition of the rustic novel. Only two things are different: One of the villains is racially inferior, a gypsy, and it all ends “tragically”’,57 writes Georg L. Mosse in his essay ‘Was die Deutschen wirklich lasen’ (What the Germans Really Read). The appropriation of the Heimat novel was also noted in the ‘reception research’ of the time, which was understood more as research into ‘reader guidance’. The working-class reader, in contrast to the bourgeois book consumer, was very interested in ‘village stories, rustic novels, and folktales’. Insofar as this included traditional forms of the Heimat novel, it was attributed to the readers’ ‘petit bourgeois attitude’. The prognosis of ‘those who studied reading habits’ must have been favourable from the perspective of traditionally oriented NS cultural grandees. It could continue to be observed that the ‘references to national character’ in this literature ‘were strengthened’ and that ‘what is reflective, sentimental and broken is being driven out. At the same time, they are being charged up with political energies. … The “national comrade” is preparing to defeat the “petty bourgeois”.’58 Of course, what was being described here was not what was or could be, but, instead, what corresponded to the political guidelines. The question of whether readers would have preferred a totally unpolitical rustic novel did not form part of the investigation. Josefa Berens-Totenohl was blessed from on high. Die Bücherkunde gave her a rare rating: the work of the author was to be ‘promoted by all possible means’. Rosenberg’s office considered the author’s books to be amongst the ‘most valuable aesthetic writing of recent years.’59 Indeed, the work of the Westphalian was included in a selection of books that the Reich Office for

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the Promotion of German Literature (Reichsstelle zur Förderung des deutschen Schrifttums) presented to the ‘Führer’ on his forty-seventh birthday. Felicitas Rose, or to give her her full name, Rose Felicitas Moersberger, nee Schliewen, was also one of the most successful authors in the Third Reich. Around twenty of her titles were available during the 1930s, and her total sales amounted to ‘over 1 million’.60 The Deutsches Verlagshaus Bong & Co. advertised heavily on behalf of its star writer. She belonged to a somewhat older generation than Berens-Totenohl; her most successful book, Heideschulmeister Uwe Karsten (Uwe Karsten, Schoolmaster of the Heath), had appeared in 1909, but around 300,000 additional copies of it were sold during the Third Reich alone, with total sales of around twice that amount. The revival of the author’s popularity was due to the relatively young medium of film. Contemporary observers of the book market estimated that the filming of Heideschulmeister alone gained the author around 150,000 new readers.61 Born in 1862, she was a contemporary of Ludwig Ganghofer. Both had been shaped in the pre-1918 German Empire. Her texts are best characterized as what we term regional literature today. Readers of her books were spared a sudden switch to politics; and in real life, too, the bestselling author retained a certain distance from the Nazis, formally at least. But shortly before her death, she tried to join the NSDAP. This was made difficult, however, by the fact that the Party imposed a general embargo on new memberships between 1933 and 1937. For years, she argued, on account of her large family and her writing, she had had too little time to engage in Party work, so had not attempted to join before. Her friend Hans Schemm, Gauleiter of Upper Franconia and a big fan of folk literature, had talked her out of the crazy notion that she had to become actively engaged in Party work, ‘because I could be more creative in private.’62 But now, ‘more urgently than ever’, she wished ‘to join the NSDAP’, justifying her application thus: ‘I myself, already before January 1933, led so many people to this good cause through my enthusiasm. Having served it inwardly for so many years, I would now like to come to it externally as well’. The Minister for Nutrition and Agriculture and Reich Peasant Führer (Minister für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft and Reichsbauernführer) Walter Richard Darré, who was connected with the author, interceded personally with Rudolf Hess to have her accepted into the Party. However, there is no evidence of her ever having been a member. Possibly the author’s death in June 1938 prevented ‘something worse’. In the village of Müden an der Örtze, where she last lived, the ‘Poetess of the Heathlands’ is still commemorated as a Heimat writer today. There is a commemorative stone in the graveyard. And her house, which she acquired in 1930 – her ‘schönes Gewese’ (‘beautiful estate’), as she herself

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described it – is highlighted in tourist information. In the winter months, the author often resided in the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin, ‘although she was even then also closely connected with her village.’63 Felicitas Rose should not automatically be assigned to the category of blood-and-soil literature. She was not named in Hellmuth Langenbucher’s literary history Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit (Contemporary Literature in the Völkisch-National Character). Perhaps the author seemed too ‘trivial’ to him, too closely aligned to popular literature. However, through the example of this author, we can see how fine the line always was between autonomy and political corruptibility. Many crossed this line all too willingly.

Notes 1. For example in Werner Bökenkamp, ‘Über die literarische Halbwelt’, Die Bücherkunde 4 (1937), no. 7, 389. 2. Thus, for example, in an article on the fiftieth anniversary of her death by Marius Meyer, ‘Ehrung für eine Antisemitin’, in, 17 May 2010 (accessed 24 October 2020). 3. Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 5, 10 March 1936, 4. 4. Tremel-Eggert, Barb, 27. 5. Ibid., 410. 6. Ibid. 7. Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 11, 351. 8. Tremel-Eggert, Barb, 413. 9. Ibid., 415. 10. Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 11, 351. 11. Kuni Tremel-Eggert, ‘Aus meinem Schaffen und Werden’, Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 20, 25 October 1934, 6. 12. See the entry on ‘Tremel-Eggert’ in Klee, Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich, 618. 13. ‘Kuni Tremel-Eggert erzählt vom Werden und Schaffen’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 11, 165. 14. Ibid. 15. Review of Sonnige Heimat. Erzählungen, Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 4, 122. 16. Die Bücherkunde 6 (1939), no. 8, 427. 17. Letter of Kuni Tremel-Eggert to Josef Wessely, 31 January 1956, in the possession of the author. 18. Correspondence from Wilfrid Bade to Verlagsdirektor Hausleiter der Münchner Illustrierten Presse, October 1934 [Carbon copy], in Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Papers, Box 2, Correspondence 1934 (H–Q). See also Härtel, Stromlinien, 120. 19. See the cross-off list ‘Dichterakademie’ [no date], in Hoover Institution Archives, Wilfrid Bade Papers, Box 2, Correspondence 1934 (H–Q). 20. Ketelsen, Literatur und Drittes Reich, 84–90. 21. Friedländer, Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 159. 22. Ibid., 160. 23. Schröer, Heimat wider Heimat, 3. 24. Ibid., 164.

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25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63.

Ibid., 225. Ibid., 289. On this, see Friedländer, Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 145. Cited in Ibid., 159. Cited in Ibid., 161. Grimm, Volk ohne Raum, 5. Ibid., 10. Lektüre [Himmlers Leseliste], Nachlass Himmler, BArch N 1126/9, Bl. 62. 15 February 1931, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 2, 561. 31 March 1932, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 2, 637. See Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 404. On this, see Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 20–21 and 195–96. 5 August 1938, Joseph Goebbels. Tagebücher 1924–1945, vol. 3, 1249. See Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 407. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 447. Klemperer, Die Tagebücher, 1 May 1943. Johst, Mutter ohne Tod, 28. On this, see Düsterberg, Hanns Johst, 97–98. Cited in Ibid., 288. Blunck, König Geiserich, 399. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 299. Lokatis, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 100. Ibid., 101. Langenbucher, Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 311. Vesper, Das harte Geschlecht, 5–6. Die Neue Literatur, February 1937, 103–4. Cited in Wulf, Literatur und Dichtung im Dritten Reich, 278–79. W[ill] V[esper], ‘Unsere Meinung’, Die Neue Literatur, February 1939, 102. On this, see Friedländer et al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 541–49. See Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 388. Günter Hahn, ‘Josefa Berens-Totenohl’, Die Weltliteratur (1942), no. 12, 250 and 253. Berens-Totenohl, Der Femhof, 285. ‘Gute neuere Romane und Anthologien’, Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 5, 156. On this thesis, see Mosse, ‘Was die Deutschen wirklich lasen’, 118. Thier, Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre, 66–67. ‘Gute neuere Romane und Anthologien’, Die Bücherkunde 3 (1936), no. 5, 156. Publisher’s advertisement, ‘Vielgelesene Romane der Dichterin der Heide’, Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, no. 5, 10 March 1934, 16. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Betrachtungen zum Thema “Film und Buch”’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 19, 278. Correspondence F.R. Moersberger to Reichsbauernführer Darré, 5 November 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Rose, Felicitas, 31 July 1862. Correspondence F.R. Moersberger to Reichsbauernführer Darré, 5 November 1937, BArch (formerly BDC), RK, Rose, Felicitas, 31 July 1862.

Chapter 13

FIELD GREY PAYS DIVIDENDS Reading Fodder for Wartime

鵷鵸 Target Audience – the Wehrmacht: The Völkischer Beobachter’s Field Post At the start of July 1944, the death of Colonel-General Dietl made the rounds on the German side, both at the front and back home. Dietl had been stylized as a war hero, particularly in the wake of his deployment in the occupation of the Norwegian town of Narvik. ‘For me, he is the first officer of the German Wehrmacht to have penetrated my thoughts’, Hitler proclaimed in Dietl’s obituary, ‘and who dedicated himself to the Wehrmacht blindly and without compromise.’1 Influenced by news of the death, the Officer Cadet Grothus also reached for pen and paper, and followed the example of many tens of thousands of soldiers before him. Grothus drafted a short text, which he headed ‘Word of the Day: Narvik’. It contains nothing sensational, nothing that could be described as particularly well styled in terms of narration. He simply reports on the events of 1940 as they related to Dietl. The homage begins with a formulaic introduction: ‘With the passing of this soldierly campaigner, his unforgettable deeds in the past have arisen in our memory.’2 Grothus had intended to send the paper to the editorial office of the Völkischer Beobachter, which was frequently successful in eliciting contributions from readers at the front, often in response to a prize competition. In response to the slogan ‘I’m still laughing about it today’ alone – if one can believe the editorial team – they received far in excess of 10,000 entries. It is not clear which subject Grothus wished to contribute to, or even if he ever sent off his letter. However, the publications of the Völkischer

246 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Beobachter, which were based on such squaddie stories ranging from the most serious to the most cheerful, were among the most widely distributed print publications of the time. The texts were published by the Party-owned Eher Verlag. The slim volumes Darüber lache ich noch heute (I’m Still Laughing about It Today) and Soldaten Alltag (The Soldier’s Life) sold 2.6 and 2.2 million copies respectively, while Im Angriff und im Biwak (On the Offensive and in a Bivouac) and Darüber lacht der Soldat (A Soldier Laughs at That) sold 1.2 and 1 million copies. These collections thus dominated like no other genre the imaginary top ten of the non-periodic publications of those years. Their success certainly rested to a large degree on widespread participation. Many wanted to present their personal experiences to a large audience under their own name. And once they had participated, they automatically became part of the innermost circle of customers as soon as the volume came out. Additionally, in this way the Völkischer Beobachter offered a platform for the ‘little man’s’ need to talk. He could join in, getting his experiences and concerns off his chest. However, an important step along the path to success was the concentrated marketing heft of the Völkischer Beobachter and Eher Verlag. While the one drummed up business, the other took care of production and distribution – including through the book trade. This example brings to light important aspects of book production during those years. The war dynamized certain processes in the book market and brought about highly effective marketing concepts. At the same time, commercial interests and actors interested in economic success continued to influence the book market, while certain market mechanisms were completely suspended. Only with this background in mind can the bestseller lists of those years be read and properly understood. Not everything that was produced on a large scale can be interpreted as having been a response to real demand on the same scale, and not every demand that actually existed could – whether from the private sector or not – be taken up and satisfied. But if a large demand and manifest economic interest came together, and it all chimed with the broad National Socialist line, there was nothing to stand in the way of commercial success. These are – in short – perhaps the most important ‘secrets’ of the bestsellers in the Third Reich. The publishing sector as a whole had very quickly discovered that the Wehrmacht and the enormous army of soldiers and others conscripted into service represented a large – if not the largest – target audience in the book trade’s history up to that point. Which publisher does not want to sell large numbers of copies to a few clients or a circle of customers with clearly defined interests, instead of having to conduct challenging business with an unmanageable array of individual consumers? Numerous enterprises not only owed their survival to the field post editions; these editions also served as the midwives for post-war careers and global enterprises. The economic

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significance of the phenomenon of the field post, and its considerable influence on bestseller statistics – which were based not only on six years of peace but also on six years of war – renders this concluding chapter to Part II indispensable with respect to the entire Nazi period.

Reading Hunger and Book Boom in Wartime Immediately after war broke out, book production initially slowed down. But soon the book trade’s balance sheet was back above average again. Already in 1939–40, the Christmas trade went extremely well, and the positive growth continued afterwards. ‘This is on the one hand conditioned by the public’s and soldiers’ great need to read, and on the other, as of late, by the lack of most other usual gift items’,3 was how it was explained in the Security Service of the SS’s Meldungen aus dem Reich. Books were also one of the few items that could be purchased without ration coupons. This made them particularly attractive as gifts. Increased demand was also registered in public and lending libraries, where ‘the need to read … was three to four times greater than in peacetime.’ The core of the readership was ‘the masses of working people, who, in their limited free time, seek respite in a book.’4 A proper ‘gluttony for books in war’ was lamented.5 A glance at the experiences of individual publishing houses illustrates even more dramatically how drastically the sales volume of the book sector increased. Between autumn 1940 and spring 1941, the Deutscher Verlag, for instance, registered growth rates at times of 50–75 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year. And this occurred, an internal report maintained, despite the fact that inventories continued to decline. In other words, customers simply bought whatever was available. ‘Just how strong the demand for books is among customers may be illustrated by a single example: We had 9,500 copies of Ulitz’s book Die Braut des Berühmten [The Celebrity’s Bride]; we had orders for it of approximately 205,000 copies.’6 There was thus an enormous disparity of supply and demand – to the delight of the publishing houses. On top of this, there was an unprecedented desire to buy among those interested in books. The undercover agents of the SS’s Security Service reported from a wide range of towns that in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1941, for example, ‘everything has been bought up that looked like a book.’7 This meant not only that large publishing houses could dramatically increase their turnover, but also that due to the wartime boom, other publishers that had hitherto specialized in well-defined niche markets grew into enterprises that could no longer be overlooked. C. Bertelsmann slowly but

248 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

steadily increased its turnover from 1 million RM to around 1.9 million RM between 1928 to 1937. Sales then shot up steeply with the outbreak of war. For 1939, the firm registered a turnover of 3.1 million RM; for 1940, 5.1 million RM; and for 1941, 8 million RM.8 Bertelsmann quickly developed into the Wehrmacht’s most important book supplier, followed closely by Eher Verlag as its biggest competitor, as well as W. Kohlhammer Verlag in Stuttgart and the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig. Additional publishing houses that were active and successful in this market segment and engaged on a grand scale were, among others, Insel Verlag and Reclam in Leipzig and Langen-Müller in Munich.9 In short, there was no publishing house in these years that would have voluntarily foregone doing business with the military. What made the book trade so attractive in wartime can once again be illustrated by the example of Bertelsmann. Its turnover rose sevenfold between 1933 and 1941; however, its profit increased thirtyfold in the same time period. The reasons for this are fairly obvious. During wartime especially, it was possible to produce and sell mass print runs, which were more economical per se and could also be produced with more lucrative profit margins than smaller print runs. The trend toward larger print runs can be documented for the entire publishing sector. Thus, the average print run of all books published in a year rose from 11,000 copies in 1940 to an average of 18,000 the following year.10 However, the real cost of distribution and advertising remained the same, since there were only a few large clients, and there was no need to advertise actively to retail customers in the case of the rare good book: it sold anyway. The ratio of books produced to those sold also reached levels that would seem completely utopian in peacetime. For instance, Bertelsmann managed to sell virtually its entire book output for 1940 over the course of the following twelve months, with only 1.1 per cent left over.11 In such circumstances, a book publisher could work more profitably than ever before – and as never again.

How Did Books Reach the Squaddies? From the NSDAP’s Book Donation to the Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops (Zentrale der Frontbuchhandlungen) It was Alfred Rosenberg’s office that started organizing the provision of books to soldiers on behalf of the Party. It went public in October 1939 with an appeal for a ‘Book Donation of the NSDAP for the Wehrmacht’ (‘Bücherspende der NSDAP für die Wehrmacht’). Initially, the appeal was directed first and foremost at publishers and bookshops, which were to provide especially good writing, worthy of promotion in Rosenberg’s view; later, however, it was also extended to the general public.12

Reading Fodder for Wartime • 249

The Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops was founded in the same month. Its personnel were closely associated with the German Labour Front (DAF) organization, the ideologically aligned, state-sponsored trade union. The job of the Headquarters was to coordinate the distribution of book deliveries between bookshops in the Reich and the sales outlets in occupied territories. It collected and bought books, and later even ordered and produced editions for troop entertainment purposes. The frontline bookshops, with the agreement of the Armed Forces High Command, organized sales of the books. There were sixty such bookshops in France alone in 1942. These were later supplemented by countless mobile bookshops, which, with their rolling shelves, reached the troops at the front or in the countryside. These mobile frontline bookshops consisted of a bus which simultaneously served as a tractor unit and salesroom. Their inventory of two thousand books was supplemented by a stockpile containing around fifteen hundred additional volumes, which was located in an attached trailer. These mobile shops, equipped with heating, a radio and a gramophone, also had various writing supplies available for sale.13 Frontline booksellers occasionally reported on their adventurous sales trips in the press. They described how they brought intellectual replenishments to men through heat and ice, as well as under the most difficult conditions, to the West and East, North and South: ‘Sold out!’, a frontline bookseller announced after only three days, to troops somewhere in the vastness of the occupied Soviet Union. ‘Our rangers in the mountains, the radio operators in the valleys, our pioneers on the bridges, the artillerymen in the far-off coastal positions, the special units behind the lines had stormed the frontline bookseller and literally torn his treasures out of his hands. The price, which is paid in German money, didn’t matter one bit to them!’14 In 1940, moreover, the Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature (Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum) within the Propaganda Ministry (RMVP) began a programme of posting books to the field. People on the home front were to be summoned to send books to their relatives at the front. Thanks to this campaign, firms and organizations soon also began to post books to their ‘work comrades’ who had been called up. In order to satisfy the constantly increasing demand, numerous publishers developed special field-post editions, which were suitable in terms of format and weight to be sent to the front. The Promotion and Advisory Office, in consultation with Rosenberg’s Literature Office (Schrifttumsstelle), constantly produced recommendation lists to help with the location of suitable material. It is estimated that by the end of 1943, around 75 million copies of such field-post editions had been brought into circulation.15 Before winter 1943–44, Rosenberg’s book donation initiative is also estimated to have distributed several million books to soldiers through libraries

250 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

at the front or in military hospitals. As early as January 1940, it could be reported that of the 8.5 million books collected up to that point, 27,000 field libraries had been compiled.16 If prominent individuals were the recipients of such donations, the book trade used this for self-promotion. Leipzig booksellers, for instance, provided the war hero Lieutenant-Captain Prien with twenty volumes for a ‘U-boat library’ and then boasted about the initiative in the trade press.17 This particular book market experienced hardly any supply shortages at all until the end of the war. The sector was informed by the authorities that the orders of the Headquarters of Frontline Bookshops (Zentrale der Frontbuchhandlungen) were to be given priority. If publishers could show that their production was important for the Wehrmacht, then they could claim the requisite quotas of paper. What is more, they also had a better chance of having their own employees deferred from military service, thus preventing them from being called up. The Wehrmacht, moreover, had considerable supplies of paper at its disposal, which it could use at its discretion for its own production.

Reading Material for the War of Extermination: Authors and Themes When Westermanns Monatshefte surveyed soldiers’ reading habits in 1943, the responses they received indicated a spectrum ranging from ‘good’ and ‘genuine’ – in the sense defined by the orthodox cultural policymakers – to ‘pulp fiction’. Even the reappearance of the pulps was defended in the interests of the squaddies: ‘They are much easier to handle than a book, and can, if need be, be stuck into the uppers of their jackboots, something that is only possible in exceptional cases with a book.’18 Pulp magazines were also disposable literature in purely physical terms – something that was read and then discarded. It could, however, be assumed – according to the tenor of the report – ‘that they only met needs to a limited extent’,19 for what was being read was merely what happened to be available. This eventually led to the idea of offering more valuable texts to soldiers in the form of cheap paperbacks, as ‘a way of stemming the consumption of inferior works.’20 In the Luftwaffe, ‘page-turners were also being devoured’, and the men who performed physical work preferred ‘slim love stories’ in particular.21 Franz Hinze, who was deployed as a frontline bookseller among other things in Paris, can remember to this day the bulk purchases of NS-oriented officers, who for Christmas, for example, ‘demanded one hundred and fifty war books and fifty others.’22 But what the undercover agents of the SD observed more generally also applied to Paris:

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Figure 13.1. Mobile bookshops in deployment in occupied France. The vehicle served as a shop and offered interested readers a range of around two thousand titles. Private picture, author’s collection.

… that political-ideological writing of an educational nature and NS writing in the narrower sense were not being read much at the moment. But it was precisely such books that were often being bought as gifts for frontline soldiers or for Germany’s allies. The distribution of such printed material via the Party or its organizations and publishing houses [e.g. the German Labour Front, or DAF] has certainly not waned. But this written material seems to have been more or less only leafed through and appears just now to have no noticeable effect.23

Besides good and tasteful historical or biographical easy reads, which pleased Franz Hinze’s customers in Paris, and ‘novels, funny books and biographies’ in general,24 soldiers wanted, in particular and above all, specialized texts. This was undoubtedly due to the fact that many men wished to use the compulsory break from their regular job to further their education, and to the fact that the many extremely young men in service wanted to educate themselves in order to begin a career. In Goebbels’ ministry, a proposal had been prepared for the Minister suggesting that book consignments for the front ought to consist of 95 per cent easy reads, and that the remaining 5 per cent should be ideological.25 Even if this was never precisely put into practice, the direction was clearly

252 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

signalled. In principle, it can be assumed that all books that were bestsellers during those years must also have found their way to those serving in the Wehrmacht. Additionally, books were produced as special editions for soldiers. Some of them were labelled as field-post editions, and some, based on their size and weight, were particularly well suited for sending to the front. Others were even produced and distributed on behalf of organizations close to the Party or the Wehrmacht itself. Throughout the war, there were some books published exclusively as special or field-post copies that found their way onto the imaginary bestseller list of the Third Reich – that is, with no regular retail edition. These included, for instance, the paperbacks produced by Eher Verlag entitled Soldaten-Kameraden (Soldiers – Comrades ), containing contributions by Heinz Steguweit, Tüdel Weller and Hans Zöberlein, to name but a few.26 Such products sometimes achieved single print runs of up to 350,000 copies. With regard to the question of what squaddies actually read, the titles that are of particular interest are those that one would not immediately assume would be among the reading materials officially promoted for soldiers. For instance, Ludwig Thoma’s Jozef Filsers gesamelter Briefwexel (Josef Filser’s Collected Correspondence), Der Schatz im Silbersee (The Treasure of Silver Lake) by Karl May, Irrungen, Wirrungen (Trials and Tribulations) by Theodor Fontane and the many works of Wilhelm Busch were all published as special editions by order of the Armed Forces High Command. Publishers also squeezed many other classics into the field-post editions market, or else the offices that made the recommendations selected them at the start of the war from among the already-existing series, as well as from titles suitable, in particular, for the field post. Since a 250-gram limit was initially imposed on items sent to the field, it was above all volumes from series appearing in the Insel-Bücherei or as Reclam-Hefte that came into question. From a list of first choices produced by the Office for the Propagation of Literature (Amt für Schrifttumspflege), the following, almost exclusively classics, were most in demand, among other titles: Eugen Roth’s Ein Mensch (Merely Human), Anzengruber’s Sternsteinhof (The Sternstein Manor), Grimmelshausen’s Simplizissimus (The Adventures of Simplicius), Walter Flex’s Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between the Two Worlds), Goethe’s Faust, Theodor Storm’s Schimmelreiter (The Rider on the White Horse), Ludwig Thoma’s Geschichtenbüchlein (Little Book of Tales), C.F. Meyer’s Der Schuß von der Kanze (The Shot from the Pulpit), Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), Eichendorff’s Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (The Life of a Good-for-Nothing) and Wilhelm Busch’s Bilderpossen (The Mischief Book).27 In the case of all field-post and special editions, not every one of them became a genuine bestseller achieving sales of over 100,000, but almost all of them had large to very large print runs.

Reading Fodder for Wartime • 253

In addition to the Soldatenbriefe zur Berufsförderung (Soldiers’ Letters on Career Advancement), which were intended to serve the continuing education of those in the Wehrmacht, and many works of geography and military science, which the Armed Forces High Command brought into circulation over the course of the years, the Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops published special works. These included, for instance, a Kant-Brevier (Kant Brevier), which was dedicated to the philosopher from Königsberg, a monograph about Rainer Maria Rilke and a utopian tech novel by Wilfrid Bade entitled Gloria. A bookseller who had undertaken several sales trips in a mobile frontline bookshop in France reported: A pleasing finding from our first trips: over half of the works requested are from the ranks of good, indeed, the best kind of popular literature. Names like Kolbenheyer, Binding, Grimm (Volk ohne Raum [People without Space]), Strauss, Zöberlein, Dwinger, Thor Goote (Wir fahren in den Tod [We’re going to our Death]), Paust (Volk im Feuer [People under Fire]), Keller, Koll (Urlaub auf Ehrenwort [Furloughed on Word of Honour]), Schröer, Kröger, Eugen Roth, Knittel etc. attest to this. Books by Wilhelm Busch, thrilling novels by Löhndorff and Dominik, and humour-laced works by Spoerl round off the demand among our soldiers for the joyful.28

Lance Corporal Werner Enßlin, deployed as a frontline bookseller in occupied Normandy, also noted a preference for popular literature. And here we again encounter many books that dominated the bestseller lists of the pre-war period: Thrillers as well as futuristic and factual novels are a special feature. Whether Dominik or Edmund Finke, Unger’s Germanin or Schenzinger’s Metall, these books are sold out before the next shipment comes in. And that is understandable, of course, because between two periods of guard duty, or two flights to England for that matter, not everyone feels like sitting down seriously with a large novel – let alone a piece of poetry – which requires concentration and exertion. It is the same with humour. Those who engage in such a serious trade as soldiers want a good laugh. … Of course, travelogues are also there, as long as they are of an adventurous nature. From Karl May to Gerstäcker to Sven Hedin, there’s something to suit every taste, and even if a book ‘with many dead’ is requested,

Enßlin continues in his specialized booksellers’ language, ‘we are not to be embarrassed’.29

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Bestsellers with a Hidden Message: Ernst Jünger’s Auf den Marmorklippen (On the Marble Cliffs) We do not know which book the friendly bookseller at the front recommended to his comrade when he received this request back then. It could have been one of the numerous First World War novels, in which there was well and truly no shortage of ‘dead’. One author in this genre, Ernst Jünger, who was also highly regarded internationally, was himself stationed for a long time in German-occupied Paris. The stories of some of his books are closely tied to the frontline bookshops and the Armed Forces High Command’s special editions. His First World War books, such as Wäldchen 125 (Copse 125) and In Stahlgewittern (The Storm of Steel), were generally recognized as ‘valuable literature’ and were part of the canon. They were also still to be found on the lists of recommendations issued by the Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops in 1941–42. In 1939, Auf den Marmorklippen, a book that may be read as a key text to the Third Reich, appeared. And in 1942 came Gärten und Strassen (Gardens and Streets), a work in which Jünger’s diary entries from 1939 and 1940 – thus quite current – were presented. Soon there were two versions of the text in circulation, differing in only one place: one diary entry is slightly shorter in one version than in the other. In this entry, Jünger reports on conversations with one of his NCOs during the advance into France: So, he said, it was strange that all musical instruments were deliberately smashed up first – this is a sign of the uncultivated character of Mars and, if I remember rightly, already noted in a large painting by Ruben devoted to this topic. The mirrors, on the other hand, were mostly undamaged – he explained that this was because they were needed for shaving; but there are plainly other reasons for this.30

These passages were permitted in the editions intended for Wehrmacht soldiers at the front, but in the propaganda editions, which were intended for the critical arbiters of the written word, for instance, they were omitted.31 At first glance, this passage – viewed from today’s perspective, at least – does not seem too explosive. But Ernst Jünger’s publisher’s hypervigilance was well founded: the appearance of Auf den Marmorklippen, a novel about the decline of a civilization and the loss of all values, was read by many as an allegory of the NS era. Auf den Marmorklippen was perhaps one of the most critical books on National Socialism to actually appear under National Socialism. After this, the author received heightened attention from the authorities. ‘Individual expressions, moments and motifs have remained unblurred in my memory since that time, indeed have remained in my reservoir of images

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Figure 13.2. ‘Just add the address and it’s ready to send!’ Books for soldiers became a lucrative mass market for all publishers. Special field-post editions complied with regulations on packages sent to the front in terms of weight and format and featured covers that served simultaneously as envelopes. Börsenblatt, 10 November 1939, author’s collection.

and vocabulary for over forty years.’ This is how Dolf Sternberger, a journalist with the Frankfurter Zeitung already before 1945, described his experience of reading Auf den Marmorklippen in retrospect: Above all, though, what will stay with us for the rest of our lives is that look of horror with which the narrator regarded the ‘knacker’s workplace’, a concealed opening in the forest where human bodies are carved up, and where a nondescript little man, whistling away to himself, processes human skin on a workbench. ‘Köppels-Bleek’ – the name of the harrowing place – has also

256 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

remained in the mind of everyone who read it back then. Because it was the world of the concentration camp, the sphere of secret terror, which seemed to be captured here in an unforgettable image of a specific point in time, far removed from photography and reportage, a scenic abbreviation with distinctive power and great poignancy.32

And beyond this depiction of Nazi terror – the reading of which still causes one to wonder even today how this text was able to appear in Nazi Germany – numerous characters allude to the ruling clique in the Third Reich: be it the senior forestry official, who could be interpreted as Hitler or Göring and certainly has characteristics of both, or the Mauritanian Braquemart, who represents a type of character not dissimilar to Goebbels or Heydrich. Basically, it does not matter where one stands in an evaluation of Jünger and his work – some consider him a representative of inner emigration, or even resistance; while others see him as a member of the retinue of the midwives of National Socialism, with his glorification of the soldierly.33 Auf den Marmorklippen is and remains an unusual work, particularly when one considers when it was written and when it appeared. While the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt initially printed several editions of the work, the Wehrmacht soon published its own, for instance in 1942 in Paris (where Jünger had been stationed the previous year), and in October 1944 in Riga, where the book was sold to a select circle of customers.34 All told, HansEugen Bühler estimates in his study on the frontline book trade, around 80,000 copies of the book were circulated, and from the Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops alone, Jünger earned royalties of 18,200 RM.35 It was a good three years after the book came out that the Headquarters issued a recall order, which did not, however, result in the return of all copies, nor apparently – as mentioned above – did it prevent further editions appearing elsewhere. Many of the power brokers of culture in the Nazi period were well aware of the critical content in Jünger’s work. There is evidence that the absence of stricter sanctions may have resulted from the direct intervention of Hitler, who valued the highly decorated frontline soldier of the First World War and protected him.36 ‘Precisely this was a masterful trait of the senior forestry official’, we read in Auf den Marmorklippen, ‘he administered fear in small doses, which he gradually increased, with the goal of paralysing resistance.’37 And as part of this strategy of ‘small doses’, he could, on a whim – arbitrarily and unpredictably – permit something apparently resistant to or critical of the regime.

Reading Fodder for Wartime • 257

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

Cited in Klee, Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich, 110. Manuscript by Officer Cadet Grothus, 25 July 1944, in possession of the author. Meldungen aus dem Reich, no. 72, 3 April 1940, vol. 4, 949. Walter Herrmann, ‘Das Leihbuch im Kriegseinsatz. Leserwünsche von Courths-Mahler über Mungenast bis zu Hamsun’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt 5 (1943), 73. Johanna Gantzer, ‘Statistik in der Leihbücherei’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt 5 (1943), 181– 82. Ullstein Archiv, Deutscher Verlag, ‘Bericht über wichtige Geschäftsvorfälle im Juli 1942’. ‘Zur Lage im Schrifttum’, January 1941, Meldungen aus dem Reich, 1926. Friedländer et. al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 568. The authors indicate explicitly that they were only able to include publications in their statistics that were expressly marked as Field or Wehrmacht edition or similar. See Friedländer et. al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 423. ‘Stolze Bilanz der Buchproduktion’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 11, 161. Friedländer et. al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, 427–28. For this and what follows, see the good overview in Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 717–22. Bernhard Eck, ‘Fahrbare Frontbuchhandlungen am Westwall. Auch ernstere Bücher finden lebhafte Beachtung’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 78, 4 April 1940, 106–7. Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 110, no. 177, 2 December 1943, 207. Barbian cites figures from a newsletter of the Reichsschrifttumskammer. See Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 719. Werner Kindt, ‘Eine Betriebsgemeinschaft fragt ihre Frontkameraden: Was wollen die Soldaten lesen?’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940) no. 1, 17. ‘Eine Buchstiftung für Kapitänleutnant Prien’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 2 (1940), no. 2, 2nd cover page. ‘Was liest der Landser? Soldaten der Front und Heimat antworten’, Deutsches Büchereiblatt [GdL] 5 (1943), 82. The articles were taken from Westermanns Monatsheften and were written by employees of this journal, who convey their observations. Ibid., 83. Ibid. Ibid., 105. Telephone interview with Franz Hinze, 24 March 2009. Meldungen aus dem Reich, no. 140, 11 November 1940, vol. 4, 1753. Telephone interview with Franz Hinze, 24 March 2009; Hinze, Frontbuchhandlung Paris, 30. Briefing note for Goebbels, 27 February 1942; Subject: Literature for the Front, BArch NS 18/483. Cited in Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 720. See Bühler and Bühler, Der Frontbuchhandel 1939–1945, 181–82. Die Bücherkunde 7 (1940), no. 2, 32. Bernhard Eck, ‘Fahrbare Frontbuchhandlungen am Westwall. Auch ernstere Bücher finden lebhafte Beachtung’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 107, no. 78, 4 April 1940, 107. Werner Enßlin, ‘Frontbuchhandlung im Westen’, Der Buchhändler im neuen Reich 6 (1941), no. 1, 17.

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30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.

Jünger, Gärten und Strassen, 137. The case is covered by Wimbauer, ‘Das Buch, das es zweimal gab’. Sternberger, ‘Eine Muse konnte nicht schweigen’, 25. For the reception at the time and scholarly debates, see, for instance, Kiesel, ‘Ernst Jüngers Marmor-Klippen’. For this and what follows, see Bühler and Bühler, Der Frontbuchhandel 1939–1945, 41. Ibid., 42. On this, see Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 544. Jünger, Auf den Marmorklippen, 46.

CONCLUSION On the Trail of Bestsellers

鵷鵸 From Schoolbook to Regional Literature The question of what remains, of which bestselling books from the Nazi period are still read today, should immediately be followed up by another question: read by whom? Only a few authors from that time made it into the literary canon. Of the writers who lived in Germany under National Socialist rule, above all Hans Fallada, Ernst Jünger and Eugen Roth ought still to be known to some. However, all three, viewed from a political perspective, were fairly peripheral figures in literary life during the Third Reich, each with his own points of friction with the regime. Still, these are three of the names one could say can, or really should, still be read today. Classicists, too, such as Rilke, Schiller and Goethe, have survived their sometimes-intense reception in the Third Reich more or less unscathed. The same is true of Hermann Hesse. And most of the foreign authors are also still known today; indeed, the works of some, such as Knut Hamsun or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, are part of world literature, while others, mostly works of popular fiction such as the books of John Knittel and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, have often served as the basis for films and consequently remain in people’s minds. Beyond this, there are smaller, more specialized audiences who nurture the work of other authors, but are not necessarily right-wing in orientation: readers of Heimat and regional literature, for instance. The careers of many authors who enjoyed a wide readership during the NS era headed in this direction after 1945, or else they simply returned to their origins: the safe harbour of Heimat literature. These include, among others, Hermann Burte in the Baden area, Kuni Tremel-Eggert in Franconia,

260 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Josefa Berens-Totenohl in Westphalia, Felicitas Rose in the Lüneburg Heath and Gustav Frenssen in Holstein. Non-fiction authors had somewhat different trajectories. In this segment of the market, some works are by their very nature more time-bound than others. Even the books of authors who would be completely acceptable politically are hardly available today. The best example is a friend of Ehm Welk’s, the so-called ‘people’s astronomer’ Bruno H. Bürgel. Between 1907 and 1942, he published over twenty books on popular science topics, which sold over 22 million copies in total. Today the names of schools, streets and observatories commemorate this author from Potsdam-Babelsberg, who died in 1948.1 But works by him, such as Hundert Tage Sonnenschein (One Hundred Days of Sunshine) or Aus fernen Welten (From Distant Worlds), which sold hundreds of thousands of copies, are no longer available. He was honoured – and, if you will, appropriated – more in the eastern part of the country. Authors such as Anton Zischka or Karl Aloys Schenzinger are also no longer read – the last paperback edition of Schenzinger’s Anilin (Aniline) appeared in 1973, for instance. It must be said, however, that up to that point, Schenzinger was still one of the most published post-war non-fiction writers. Success for people like him did not end all at once in 1945. Many authors, untarnished by their often all-too-overt alignment with the NS regime, continued to have a career after the war, particularly in West Germany: Paul C. Ettighoffer and Edwin Erich Dwinger, for instance. There was also Hellmuth Unger, who – despite his open connections with the crime of euthanasia – was able to bring various biographies, mainly of doctors, onto the market with some success until his death in 1953.2 Today these authors live on in the literary genres they influenced, in factual novels, biographies and, more generally, in narrative non-fiction. The reception of many authors who went into so-called inner emigration took a similar course – for instance, Hans Carossa and Werner Bergengruen, or Ina Seidel, who invoked her bourgeois-conservative background in order to maintain a distance from the Nazi regime. In contrast to authors who emigrated, they initially shaped literary life in the Federal Republic. Their texts featured in schoolbooks, and they set the tone in public discussion. Yet, although Werner Bergengruen is represented in today’s market with a few editions, and frequently also as a translator of works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, his name will only be known to a very few in the younger generation, while books by Ina Seidel and Hans Carossa can only be bought second-hand. Authors who were forced to emigrate frequently had difficulty finding a foothold in Germany again. ‘Often they could not find a publisher’, Hans Sarkowicz writes in his biographical lexicon, ‘even Heinrich Mann, Arnold

Conclusion • 261

Zweig and Lion Feuchtwanger had to wait a long time before their work became available in the Federal Republic.’3 The extent to which literary critics were also responsible for this has not yet been investigated. The same people (in the West, at least) who had provided ‘good book reviews’ in the feuilletons of newspapers and magazines before 1945 continued to do so after the war. The case of those who acted relatively in line with the Nazi regime was similar to that of the reporters and editors shaping the cultural pages of West German newspapers in the early Federal Republic. Sarkowicz maintains that ‘of more than one hundred authors who had received literary prizes on Goebbels’ watch, or had been given honorary posts’,4 only a sixth did not publish any books after 1945. People like Hans Grimm, Josefa Berens-Totenohl and Hans Friedrich Blunck, moreover, could still be relied on for high print runs. The case of Arnold Zweig illustrates the fact that any discussion of continuities and fractures in Germany after 1945 must include all zones. Zweig returned to the Soviet Zone of Occupation in 1948 and was highly distinguished in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Naturally, his work was soon widely available in the West, too. There was also a group of authors who had remained in Germany during the Nazi period whose careers subsequently led to the Soviet Zone of Occupation and the GDR, first and foremost Hans Fallada and Bernhard Kellermann. Especially in the early post-war years, considerable efforts – which were propelled by those responsible for culture on the Soviet side – were made to draw on ‘classical’ German literature. However, the influence of exiled authors seems to have been stronger here from the start, and the break with the NS past was somewhat clearer.5 In other words, an author involved with the NS regime in such an exposed position as Hans Friedrich Blunck, for instance, would have had no chance whatsoever in the GDR.

Paperback and Standard Contract: Steps towards a Modern Book Market In the book market sector it is apparent, time and again, that certain developments which were forced forward or even initiated under the Nazis continued after 1945. And it was rarely the case that these developments actually originated with the National Socialists; rather, those responsible were just smart enough to pick up on what was already available, and to use it for their own purposes. Frequently, plain and simple pragmatism prevailed. Developments could suddenly be promoted that had been strongly contested before, as, for example, when commercial lending libraries became valued once again because book provision would otherwise have completely collapsed. The

262 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

boom in lending libraries in the Federal Republic after 1945 did not occur because of the original National Socialist policy on libraries, but rather in spite of it. The war and its effects on reading habits and book provision had resulted in a change of direction, the effects of which continued after 1945. The same can also be said about the career of the paperback. There was already a precursor long before 1933, for instance Reclams Universalbibliothek, or the cheap editions of Ullstein books. And since 1945, many in Germany have connected the name of Rowohlt’s Rotations Romanen (rororo) above all with the medium. Certainly, the existing trend would have continued without the Wehrmacht and field-post editions, but the mass distribution of these paperbacks intensified it decisively. The reading habits of entire generations were formed, and the latter were made receptive to the mass literature of the post-war era. Publishers, too, were able to pick up on know-how and technology that had emerged from production methods developed under war conditions. The same most surely applies to the marketing and distribution system in the book trade, which was very well developed in Germany even before 1933, and which remained so for a long time in the Third Reich, continuing to function very well. If one forgets the fact that, at some point, customers’ wishes could no longer be satisfied and became more than anything else simply a matter of acquiring ‘any book’, then the interplay of publishers, book wholesalers and bookshops functioned well for a long time indeed. Former bookseller Karl Drucklieb remembers being able to get books within two days without a problem – into the war.6 Legally, too, with regard to the interaction of publishers and authors, NS functionaries consummated efforts that had begun years before. An ‘Ordinance on a Standard Publishing Contract’ (‘Anordnung über einen Normal-Verlagsvertrag’), issued by the Reich Chamber of Literature (RSK) in 1935, had its roots in talks that had started during the Weimar period, and was something that writers’ associations had been making efforts since then to achieve. But it was only now that certain clauses regarding royalties and ownership interests were established as standard. For the first time, there was a model agreement which both sides were expected to take as a point of orientation.7 This stricter regulation of the author–publisher relationship was necessary because the intellectual-property side of the business had become both more professionalized and more specialized. The type of pro writer who could serve up particular genres on suggestion and prompting became more established. Book types such as popular non-fiction or the factual novel had already been offered increasingly on the German market during the Weimar era, but now they became a true mass phenomenon. Authors like Zischka, Schenzinger and Ettighoffer thoroughly embodied this new type of writer.

Conclusion • 263

The evolution of the modern non-fiction book shows typical traces from this period: developments that were already present were further dynamized in the course of the 1930s, experienced a breakthrough and established themselves permanently.

Film Adaptations and TV Reviews: The Book as Reflected in the Media Then as now, reviews – or as they were referred to at the time, ‘book discussions’ – constituted one of the most important forms of advertising, the ‘gateway to the wider world.’8 Even as book criticism was increasingly reduced to a pure listing of contents, to a conventional report on the art scene, this important function was retained. There was continuity, in fact, in all means of advertising relating to the book. The advertisements in the Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel did not change fundamentally after 1933. The established methods were maintained but further refined. As before, the publishing houses produced expensive full-colour inserts for the trade magazine, which could be used as posters in shop windows and within bookshops themselves. After 1933, there were of course vehement discussions about certain forms of cover design, particularly with regard to publishers of the clear ‘pulps’ that were frequently produced for lending libraries or newspaper kiosks. But initially these covers seem only to have disappeared in advertisements in trade publications – where there was mention in coded form that they were available in the usual format. Consequently, their appearance did not necessarily change in a fundamental way. Additionally, there were many propaganda measures concerning the book and the propagation of the book trade that were stimulated by the authorities, starting with the ‘German Book Week’ and extending to advertising posters on special occasions, such as the Olympic Games in 1936. The motifs relating to the latter were intended to establish a connection between sport and books and to promote domestic sales of printed works in conjunction with the Olympics. In the Börsenblatt, book templates – so-called ‘masters’ – were repeatedly offered, which the booksellers could use for their own advertising purposes. In this way, slogans such as ‘The book fights for spirit and body’ reached the reading public in the year of the Olympics, 1936.9 Today this would be termed ‘trade advertising’. Certainly, at that time these actions aimed to instrumentalize the literary market in accordance with the wishes of the rulers. Nonetheless, viewed neutrally, this left its imprint on the ‘professionalization’ of the sector. The cross-connections to other media were also further strengthened and extended during this time. There was a plethora of radio broadcast formats

264 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

that were concerned with literature and book reviews. The Börsenblatt regularly made reference to relevant radio programmes that would be broadcast in the coming days. The same was true of films and books. From the outset, film had borrowed materials and narrative techniques from literature, and this continued after 1933. But the interplay between films and books was increasingly professionalized. The trade press provided many tips, for instance on how booksellers and cinema owners might work together to achieve joint success. ‘And in particular a film based on a piece of literature provided the best basis for working hand in hand.’10 It was also astonishing how quickly this hand-in-hand cooperation became focused on the purely commercial, the quantifiable. One industry insider stresses that films of literary works could also revive ‘old’ titles, for instance works by Theodor Storm and Hermann Löns;11 meanwhile, another trade journalist calculates down to the last penny the effect filming has on sales of various books.12 Here, too, the zeitgeist seems contradictory, as is often the case. While, on the one hand, it was posited that the ‘good book’ would inevitably assert itself in the end, suddenly capitalistic core values now made inroads: sales figures were increasingly celebrated. This might have been because it was imperative during the war to boast a great deal more about Germany’s own economic power, and this swept moral values, which the cultural policy hardliners loved to invoke, off to the side. Bestsellers which were frequently maligned initially, and whose American origins were gleefully pointed out, celebrated a joyous resurrection. And the newest mass medium was also deployed for book advertising: television. Not only were its technical bases decisively further developed during the Third Reich, it was also trialled in practice. During the Olympic Games, TV cameras were deployed for the first time, and TVs were set up in communal areas on a grand scale. And afterwards, particularly in Berlin, several TV parlours were retained, and the broadcasts continued. It appears that the world’s first ever TV book-review programme also took place. A ‘politically highly significant work’ for the era,13 about the ‘Jewish Quarters of Europe’ (Judenviertel Europas), was selected. Here, it was necessary to enter unknown territory in media-historical terms, and a form of presentation suitable for the book had to be found. The first programme already used elements that characterize TV review shows to this day: An expert, in this case the editor, came into the studio to discuss the book. In the opening sequence, the cover of the book was presented in a full-frame shot. It was expected that this would have positive effects on sales of the book: ‘Certainly, as such programmes become more common in future, it will no longer be the case that one day later the customer enters the retail bookshop and names a completely garbled book title, which he only half picked up on the radio. The customer who comes away from the TV will instead point with certainty to the already-familiar cover in the shop window

Conclusion • 265

and immediately get the correct book.’14 Other forms of TV presentation were also tried out: an announcer and studio guest holding the book in their hands during the discussion, while the camera perspective alternated back and forth between a detailed view and a long shot. A short introductory film, referred to at the time as a ‘film pass-through’ (‘Filmdurchgabe’), was even deployed, with scenes from an ‘eastern Jewish ghetto’ illustrating the content of the book by showing ‘the Judenviertel Europas once again in full operation in a sense’, as the contemporary report noted. The essence of NS rule was encapsulated here in a nutshell: it was technically advanced and morally and humanly depraved.

Victory or Defeat: NS Literary Policy Viewed in Retrospect The most important summary when looking back at bestsellers in the Third Reich is: there was never a unified literary policy. The internal power struggles for the leading role were finally resolved for a time by the war. The question of which cultural-political line would have prevailed in the event of a ‘peaceful’ post-war order under National Socialist rule – that of the ideological hardliners or the market-oriented pragmatists – must, fortunately, remain pure speculation. Additionally, the twelve-year period, viewed in historical terms, was very short, and it was divided between six years of peace and six of war. Grand new developments in the area of literature can hardly be expected in such a narrow and highly subdivided window of time. The National Socialists’ plan to create their own literature failed on a grand scale. Some perfection was achieved through bans and ‘weeding out’, but these instruments of repression and steering were not suited for stimulating a creative branch and the actors within it – publishers, authors, booksellers – over the long term. Nor could it stimulate creativity. The fact that a great deal of dilettantism would result was recognized early on by the Propaganda Minister; it is just that in the end, he could not prevent it. If any writing typical of National Socialism can be discerned from the bestsellers of the time, then this would most likely be from the non-fiction books and factual novels. With their war books, books on scientific topics and raw materials, biographies and many decidedly propagandistic writings, authors close to National Socialism had occupied certain genres and made a success of them. A book type like the factual novel centred on a raw material remains closely connected in our minds with the Third Reich. In the highbrow literature sector, on the other hand, interventions by NS arbiters of culture had dire consequences. Certainly, there were successful titles that conformed to the system, but they owed their success to a massive, oppressive market adjustment. If one leaves aside the authors who were

266 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

mainly productive before 1933, and who then, like Hans Grimm, positioned themselves more on the edge of the literary scene, there were at most a handful of really successful authors, measured in terms of bestsellers, who were completely true to Party principles. And that was after twelve years of drum beating, propagandizing and banning of the Other! Regarding the quality of some of the writing during those years, one would have to agree with Thomas Mann that much was ‘less than worthless and not good to read’. The names of many of the authors are justifiably no longer known today. The fact that based purely on sales figures, apolitical mediocrity above all was ultimately able to prevail and win out was inherent in the system itself. For one thing, writing that was aligned with the Party was under close observation from the beginning. Thus, anyone who did not have the backing of a powerful organization or individual, or who was not protected by a large publisher that was close to the Party, had best keep out of the writing sector. Particularly in the fight against ‘boom writers’ of the early years following the Nazi takeover, many authors failed in their attempts to ingratiate themselves with the new rulers. This critical attitude was evident even in the calls for submissions to competitions for novels. Consequently, the Völkischer Beobachter indicated expressly in its search for the ‘six best period novels’ what the NSDAP’s central publishing house did not expect: ‘Tendentious novels and overt works of propaganda will be disqualified from the competition.’15 On the other hand, almost the entire elite of German writers had been driven into exile or silenced. The actors in the second row now took their place and filled it – rather badly. The majority of institutions concerned with the control and adjustment of the literary market generated one thing above all else among the producers of content: a great and profound insecurity. In such a climate, only predominantly aligned, unambitious book projects could come about. Authors and publishers were quite afraid of causing offence and attracting negative attention. The clever ones refrained from too much experimentation and from referring too directly to the present. And this tendency towards mediocrity, which had been brought about by the over-regulation of the book market, was further exacerbated by the war. Escapist reading now seemed more valuable than ever before. An absurd development can in fact be observed: the war instigated by National Socialist Germany helped precisely those tendencies that many of the NS arbiters of literature had actually wanted to overcome break through on the book market. The book trade was pushed away from the mass propagandistic ‘cultural-political and educational’ task that took hold after 1933, and instead towards the ‘commercial’. Suddenly, the main issue was once more, first and foremost, satisfying the demand (now from people at home

Conclusion • 267

and at the front) for easy and entertaining reading material. The voices of those who demanded a concentration on ‘highbrow literature’ gradually grew weaker and weaker and were buried in an unprecedented avalanche of books. For 1941, the book trade press reported a total production of 341 million books. This was 100 million more than in the previous year. Over 100 million comprised belletristic, popular and crime fiction. Then came books on politics, administration and military science with 59 million, followed closely by youth literature, children’s books and books of fairy tales with 44 million copies in all.16 While the primary concern was originally to lead the ‘people’s comrades’ to ‘valuable books’, the authorities were now happy if they could merely satisfy a ravenous hunger for books, for a short time at least. Many successes on the book market during those twelve years can only be explained by the interaction of an extremely regulated market and a profit-oriented business community operating against the backdrop of war. In this respect, the book trade was determined by both massive state interventions and continuing commercial mechanisms.

Quiet Triumph of Insubordination? They were not resistance fighters, but they were nevertheless people who had expressed their opinion clearly to the new rulers. They had to pay for this initially with a career setback, and one of them even went to prison for a short time. Eugen Roth and Ehm Welk had similar experiences that were symptomatic of the Third Reich. It is telling that Ehm Welk’s Heiden von Kummerow (The Heathens of Kummerow) was among the three or four bestselling novels of the period. What a declaration of bankruptcy by the NS arbiters of culture, who were forced to permit a novelist who had openly attacked Goebbels, who was consequently initially reprimanded and who, for a long time, was deemed untenable as a newspaper editor, to publish. The same applied to Heinrich Spoerl. He, admittedly, never stood out as oppositional, but a certain subversive impetus characterized his work, even if, in the end, authoritative raison d’état triumphs again and again. The reader, however, if they wished, could access the critical potential of his books. If one considers all of the twenty or so bestselling titles of belletristic literature of the time – collections of anecdotes and novels included – Heinrich Spoerl is represented four times, Ehm Welk once, humorous fare three times and the foreigner Trygve Gulbranssen twice. This is ten titles in total. Opposite them, devoted to the regime, there are two titles by Karl Aloys Schenzinger and one each from Paul C. Ettighoffer, Hans Zöberlein, Walter

268 • Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Flex, Fritz Otto Busch, Gustav Schröer, Hans Grimm, Kuni Tremel-Eggert and Theodor Kröger – so likewise ten. The fact that titles with little to do with politics are so important can be explained by the general trend during wartime: this was the diet that people wanted. But popular literature above all also had a clearly defined and vital function during the war, which the Propaganda Minister never tired of stressing: through relaxation and entertainment, the ‘national comrades’ were meant to refuel in order to engage all the more vociferously in the ‘existential struggle of the Volk’ – as it was later called. Perhaps easy, apolitical reading matter was more stabilizing for the system in the final analysis than political polemics alone could have been. For that reason, one must be very careful when assigning the labels ‘subversive’ or ‘resistant’. Even if individual authors did not allow themselves to be officially co-opted, regardless of the consequences – something that is to their credit in any case – they were nevertheless functionalized by and harnessed for higher interests. Whether they wanted to be or not, they were part of the system. If there had been enough authors loyal to the regime who were able to write for this market, the arbiters of the written word would have used them instead. It is just that such authors were rare. The commercially successful ‘dissidents’, along with the entertainment pros with their sensitivity to commercial trends pretty much defined those twelve years. Without them, no ‘state’ could have been forged. From the perspective of the highest authorities directing NS culture, after twelve years of National Socialist control of the book market, what a meagre overall bottom line this represents.

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Glomb, ‘Erinnerung an einen fast Vergessenen’. See Kiessling, Dr. med. Hellmuth Unger. (1891–1953), 82–83. Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, 54. Ibid., 57. On this, see Jäger, Kultur und Politik in der DDR, 5. Interview with Karl Drucklieb, 23 April 2009. Barbian, Literaturpolitik im Dritten Reich, 469–89. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Buchverlag und Schriftleiter’, Die Buchbesprechung. Eine monatliche Umschau 1 (1937), March, 68. ‘Olympia-Buchwerbeplakat’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 103, no. 153, 4 July 1936, back cover. Gerd Eckert, ‘Das literarische Vorbild im Film’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 101, no. 128, 5 June 1934, 504. Ibid., 503. Ibid.

Conclusion • 269

13. Willy Sterzel, ‘Ein Buch – ferngesehen’, Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 106, no. 170, 15 July 1939, 576. 14. Ibid. 15. ‘Zeitroman, Kurzgeschichte und Jugendschrifttum. Drei Preisausschreiben’, Die Weltliteratur (1942), no. 1, 39. 16. Erich Langenbucher, ‘Stolze Bilanz der Buchproduktion’, Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt 4 (1942), no. 11, 161.

APPENDIX Selected Bestsellers and Their Sales Figures

鵷鵸 12,450,000 Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Munich, 1925/27. 2,600,000

VB-Feldpost (ed.). Darüber lache ich noch heute: Soldaten erzählen heitere Erlebnisse. Berlin, 1943.


Bouhler, Philipp. Kampf um Deutschland: Ein Lesebuch für die deutsche Jugend. Munich, 1938.


Rosenberg, Alfred. Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts: Eine Wertung der seelisch-geistigen Gestaltenkämpfe unserer Zeit. Munich, 1934 [1930].


Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Hamburg-Bahrenfeld (ed.). Deutschland erwacht: Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP. Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, 1933.


Ahlswede, Eduard. In Gottes eigenem Land: Ein Blick ins ‘Dollar-Paradies’. Nach eigenen Erlebnissen erzählt. Berlin, 1942.


Schenzinger, Karl Aloys. Anilin: Roman. Berlin, 1937.


Prien, Günther. Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow. Berlin, 1940.


Spoerl, Heinrich. Man kann ruhig darüber sprechen: Heitere Geschichten und Plaudereien. Berlin, 1937.


Banzhaf, Johannes. Lustiges Volk: Ein heiteres Geschichtenbuch. Gütersloh, 1937.

Appendix • 271


Tremel-Eggert, Kuni. Barb: Der Roman einer deutschen Frau. Munich, 1934.


Zöberlein, Hans. Der Glaube an Deutschland: Ein Kriegserleben von Verdun bis zum Umsturz. Munich, 1931.


Welk, Ehm. Die Heiden von Kummerow: Roman. Berlin, 1937.


Wilamowitz-Moellendorff geb. Baronin von Fock-Stockholm, Fanny Gräfin von. Carin Göring. Berlin, 1934.


Goebbels, Joseph. Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei: Eine historische Darstellung in Tagebuchblättern (Vom 1. Januar 1932 bis zum 1. Mai 1933). Munich, 1934.


Flex, Walter. Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten: Ein Kriegserlebnis. Munich [n.d.; 1st edition 1916].


Busch, Fritz Otto. Narvik: Vom Heldenkampf deutscher Zerstörer. Gütersloh, 1940.


Schröer, Gustav. Heimat wider Heimat. Gütersloh, 1929.


Gulbranssen, Trygve. Und ewig singen die Wälder. Munich, 1935.


Gulbranssen, Trygve. Das Erbe von Björndal. Munich, 1936.


Grimm, Hans. Volk ohne Raum. Munich, 1926.


Muschler, Reinhold Conrad. Die Unbekannte. Dresden, 1934.


Binding, Rudolf G. Der Opfergang. Leipzig, 1944 [1912].


Roth, Eugen. Ein Mensch: Heitere Verse. Weimar, 1935.


Zischka, Anton. Erfinder brechen die Blockade. Munich, 1940.


Seidel, Ina. Das Wunschkind. Stuttgart, 1930.


Ettighoffer, Paul Coelestin. Verdun: Das große Gericht. Gütersloh, 1936.


Höfler, Polly Maria. André und Ursula: Roman. Berlin: 1937.


Mitchell, Margaret. Vom Winde verweht. Hamburg/Leipzig, 1937.


Beumelburg, Werner. Sperrfeuer um Deutschland: Mit einer Widmung des Reichspräsidenten von Hindenburg. Oldenburg, 1929.

272 • Appendix


Rilke, Rainer Maria. Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke. Leipzig [n.d.; 1st edition 1906].


Von der Vring, Georg. Die Spur im Hafen: Roman. Gütersloh, 1936.


Goedecke, Heinz and Wilhelm Krug. Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht: Mit einem Geleitwort von Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels und einem Vorwort von Ministerialdirektor Alfred-Ingemar Berndt. Berlin, 1940.


Schenzinger, Karl Aloys. Der Hitlerjunge Quex: Roman. Berlin, 1935.


Ganghofer, Ludwig. Das Schweigen im Walde: Roman. Berlin, 1899.


May, Karl. Der Schatz im Silbersee. Radebeul, 1894.


Berens-Totenohl, Josefa. Der Femhof. Leipzig, 1934.


Knittel, John. Via Mala. Berlin, 1934.


Dominik, Hans. Land aus Feuer und Wasser. Leipzig, 1939.


Ewerbeck, Betina. Angela Koldewey: Roman einer jungen Ärztin. Berlin/Vienna, 1939.


Surén, Hans. Mensch und Sonne: Arisch-olympischer Geist. Berlin, 1936.


Nelken, Dinah. Ich an Dich: Ein Roman in Briefen mit einer Geschichte und ihrer Moral für Liebende und solche, die es werden wollen [concept and realization by Rolf Gero]. Berlin, 1939.


Rosemeyer-Beinhorn, Elly. Mein Mann, der Rennfahrer: Der Lebensweg Bernd Rosemeyers: Mit 77 Aufnahmen. Berlin, 1938.


Johst, Hanns. Mutter ohne Tod/Die Begegnung: Zwei Erzählungen. Munich, 1933.


Bergengruen, Werner. Der Großtyrann und das Gericht. Hamburg, 1935.


Fallada, Hans. Kleiner Mann – was nun? Berlin, 1932.


Diesel, Eugen. Diesel: Der Mensch – Das Werk – Das Schicksal. Hamburg, 1937.

Appendix • 273


Bonsels, Waldemar. Die Biene Maja und ihre Abenteuer. Berlin, 1912.


Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de. Wind, Sand und Sterne. Dessau, 1940 [1939].


Unger, Hellmuth. Robert Koch: Roman eines großen Lebens. Berlin, 1936.


Cronin, A.J. Die Zitadelle. Vienna, 1938.


Jünger, Ernst. Auf den Marmorklippen. Hamburg, 1939.

The following publications contain listings of bestsellers which served as the starting point for data compilation: Langenbucher, Hellmuth (ed.). Die Welt des Buches: Eine Kunde vom Buch. Munich, 1938. Magnum. Die Zeitschrift für das moderne Leben 55, ‘Deutschlands Schriftsteller’, Jahresheft 1964. Richards, Donald Ray. The German Bestseller in the 20th Century: A Complete Bibliography and Analysis 1915–1940. Bern, 1968 Schneider, Tobias. ‘Bestseller im Dritten Reich. Ermittlung und Analyse der meistverkauften Romane in Deutschland 1933–1944’. Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 52(1) (2004), 77–97. Schulz, Hans Ferdinand. Das Schicksal der Bücher und der Buchhandel: Elemente einer Vertriebskunde des Buches. Berlin, 1952. Wohlfromm, Hans-Jörg and Gisela Wohlfromm. ‘Und morgen gibt es Hitlerwetter!’ Alltägliches und Kurioses aus dem Dritten Reich. Frankfurt, 2006.


鵷鵸 Pre-1945 25 Jahre Schaffen am Werke Karl Mays: Allen Freunden des Volksschriftstellers gewidmet vom Karl-May-Verlag. Radebeul bei Dresden, 1938. Ahlswede, Eduard. In Gottes eigenem Land: Ein Blick ins ‘Dollar-Paradies’. Nach eigenen Erlebnissen erzählt. Berlin, 1942. Bade, Wilfrid. Die SA erobert Berlin: Ein Tatsachenbericht. Munich, 1933. Banzhaf, Johannes. Lachendes Leben. Gütersloh, 1939. ________. Lustiges Volk: Ein heiteres Geschichtenbuch. Gütersloh, 1937. Bartels, Adolf. Die deutsche Dichtung der Gegenwart: Die Jüngsten. Leipzig, 1921. Berens-Totenohl, Josefa. Der Femhof. Jena, 1934. Bergengruen, Werner. Der Großtyrann und das Gericht. Hamburg, 1935. Beumelburg, Werner. Sperrfeuer um Deutschland: Mit einer Widmung des Reichspräsidenten von Hindenburg. Oldenburg, 1929. Binding, Rudolf G. Der Opfergang. Leipzig, 1944 [1912]. Blätter des Rose-Theaters. Berlin [n.d.; 1st edition 1941]. Blunck, Hans Friedrich. König Geiserich: Eine Erzählung von Geiserich und dem Zug der Wandalen. Hamburg, 1936. Bouhler, Philipp. Kampf um Deutschland: Ein Lesebuch für die deutsche Jugend. Munich, 1938. Busch, Fritz Otto. Narvik: Vom Heldenkampf deutsche Zerstörer. Gütersloh, 1940. Carossa, Hans. Das Jahr der schönen Täuschungen. Leipzig, 1941. Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Hamburg-Bahrenfeld (ed.). Deutschland erwacht: Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP. Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, 1933. Cronin, A.J. Die Zitadelle. Vienna, 1938. Dettmann, Hans Eduard. Abenteuer in Brasilien. Berlin, 1942. Diesel, Eugen. Diesel: Der Mensch – Das Werk – Das Schicksal. Hamburg, 1937. Dominik, Hans. Land aus Feuer und Wasser. Leipzig, 1939. ________. Vom Schraubstock zum Schreibtisch: Lebenserinnerungen. Berlin, 1943. Ettighoffer, Paul Coelestin. Deutsche Tanks fahren in die Hölle. Gütersloh, 1937. ________. Verdun: Das große Gericht. Gütersloh, 1936. Ewerbeck, Betina. Angela Koldewey: Roman einer jungen Ärztin. Berlin/Vienna, 1939. ________. Angela Koldewey: Roman einer jungen Ärztin. Gütersloh, 1956.

Bibliography • 275

Fallada, Hans. Kleiner Mann – was nun? Berlin, 1932. Flex, Walter. Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten: Ein Kriegserlebnis. Munich, [n.d.; 1st edition 1916]. Ganghofer, Ludwig. Das Schweigen im Walde: Roman. Berlin [n.d., pre-1938]. Goebbels, Joseph. Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei: Eine historische Darstellung in Tagebuchblättern (Vom 1. Januar 1932 bis zum 1. Mai 1933). Munich, 1934. Goedecke, Heinz and Wilhelm Krug. Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht: Mit einem Geleitwort von Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels und einem Vorwort von Ministerialdirektor Alfred-Ingemar Berndt. Berlin, 1940. Grimm, Hans. Volk ohne Raum. Munich, 1926. Gritzbach, Erich. Hermann Göring: Werk und Mensch. Munich, 1937. Grundliste für das deutsche Leih- und Werkbüchereiwesen. 3rd Instalment. Leipzig, 1943. Gulbranssen, Trygve. Und ewig singen die Wälder. Munich, 1935. ________. Das Erbe von Björndal. Munich, 1936. Heß, Albert (ed.). Lehrbuch des Deutschen Buchhandels, vol. 3, 8th edition, Sortimentsbuchhandel, Leihbücherei, Zeitschriftenlesezirkel, Antiquariatsbuchhandel, Reisebuchhandel, Kommissionsgeschäft, Barsortiment. Leipzig, 1943. Höfler, Polly Maria. André und Ursula: Roman. Berlin, 1937. ________. André und Ursula, new edn. Hamburg, 1981. Johst, Hanns. Mutter ohne Tod/Die Begegnung: Zwei Erzählungen. Munich, 1933. Jünger, Ernst. Auf den Marmorklippen. Stuttgart, 1995 [1939]. ________. Gärten und Strassen: Aus den Tagebüchern von 1939 und 1940. Paris, 1942. Kellermann, Bernhard. Der Tunnel. Berlin, 1913. Knittel, John. Via Mala. Berlin, 1934. Koehler & Volckmar, Leipzig; Koch, Neff & Oetinger, Stuttgart (ed.). Barsortiments-Lagerkatalog 1941/42. Leipzig/Stuttgart, 1941. Langenbucher, Hellmuth (ed.). Die Welt des Buches: Eine Kunde vom Buch. Munich, 1938. ________. Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 3rd, completely revised edn. Berlin, 1937. Lok Myler. Sun Koh: Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 21: Der Geist der Inka. Leipzig, 1933–1936. ________. Sun Koh: Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 57: Vorpostengefecht. Leipzig. 1933–1936]. ________. Sun Koh: Der Erbe von Atlantis. No. 98: Gesetz über Leben und Tod. Leipzig, 1933–1936. Lorch, Willi (ed.) Was soll ich lessen: Werktätige in allen Stellungen und aus allen Gauen Deutschlands empfehlen ihren Arbeitskameraden gute Bücher und die Dichter schreiben Briefe an ihre Leser in den Fabriken. Stuttgart, 1938. Mitchell, Margaret. Vom Winde verweht, trans. Martin Beheim-Schwarzbach. Hamburg/ Leipzig, 1937. Muschler, Reinhold Conrad. Die Unbekannte. Dresden, 1934. Naundorf, Gerhard. Stern in Not. Berlin, 1938. Nelken, Dinah. Ich an Dich: Ein Roman in Briefen mit einer Geschichte und ihrer Moral für Liebende und solche, die es werden wollen [concept and realization by Rolf Gero]. Berlin, 1939. Nicolaische Buchhandlung (ed.). Bücher-Verzeichnis 1939 der Leihbücherei Fritz Borstells Lesezirkel. Berlin/Potsdam, 1938. Prien, Günther. Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow. Berlin, 1940. Reichsamt Deutsches Volksbildungswerk in co-operation with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (ed.) Spione, Verräter, Saboteure: Eine Aufklärungsschrift für das Deutsche Volk. Hillgers Deutsche Bücherei No. 650/51. Berlin/Leipzig, 1938. Reichsjugendführung (ed.). Wir Mädel singen, Liederbuch des Bundes Deutscher Mädel. Wolfenbüttel/Berlin, 1938.

276 • Bibliography

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Printed Sources Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers. 1941/42. Compiled, annotated and introduced by Peter Witte under the auspices of the Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg. Hamburg, 1999. Deutschland-Berichte der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (Sopade) 1934–1940, ed. Klaus Behnken, 7 vols. Salzhausen/Frankfurt, 1980. Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels [Diktate, Fragmente, Aufzeichnungen], ed. Elke Fröhlich on behalf of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte München. Munich, 1993–. Joseph Goebbels: Tagebücher 1924–1945, ed. Ralf Georg Reuth, 5 vols. Munich, 1999 [1992]. Klemperer, Victor. Die Tagebücher 1933–1945. Kommentierte Gesamtausgabe, ed. Walter Nowojski with Christian Löser. Berlin, 2007. Meldungen aus dem Reich: Die geheimen Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS 1938–1945, ed. Heinz Boberach, 17 vols and index. Herrsching, 1984. Albert Speer. Spandauer Tagebücher. Frankfurt/Berlin/Vienna, 1975.

Newspapers and Journals Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, Leipzig, 1834–1945. Bücherei und Bildungspflege, Leipzig/Stettin, 1921–33. Das Reich, Deutsche Wochenzeitung, München, 1940–45. Das Schwarze Korps, Berlin, 1935–45 Der Buchhändler im neuen Reich, Berlin, 1936–43. Der Katholik: Sonntagsblatt zur Pflege religiösen Denkens u. Fühlens, Mainz, 1931–37. Deutsches Büchereiblatt, Leipzig, 1943–44. Die Buchbesprechung, Leipzig, 1937–45. Die Bücherei, Zeitschrift der Reichsstelle für das Büchereiwesen, Leipzig, 1934–44. Die Bücherkunde, Bayreuth, 1937–44. Die Literatur, Monatsschrift für Literaturfreunde, Stuttgart/Berlin, 1923–42. Die Weltliteratur, Dortmund/Leipzig, 1915–44. Die Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei, Berlin, 1932–42. Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, Frankfurt, 1866–1943. Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt, Leipzig, 1939–42. Jugendschriften-Warte, Essen, Frankfurt, 1893–1944. The Bookman: A Monthly Journal for Book Readers, Book Buyers and Booksellers. London, February 1894. The Bookman: An Illustrated Literary Journal. New York, March 1897.


Abenteuer des Billy Jenkins (pulp series), 21, 170 Abenteuer in Brasilien (book), 1 Abteilung Schrifttum. See Literature Department Achenbach, Oscar Robert, 50–51, 164; Aus Adolf Hitlers Heimat, 50 advertising of books. See promotion of books Advisory board of the Association of Publishers of Popular Literature, 173 Aftenposten (newspaper), 200 Ahlswede, Eduard, 100–103, 146; In Gottes eigenem Land, 100–103, 270 Alfred Rosenberg Appeal, 16–17, 248–49 Alfred-Rosenberg-Spende. See Alfred Rosenberg Appeal alignment, 11–13, 27–31, 38; of authors, 13–15, 235, 260; and the book market, 38; of institutions, 11–19 All Quiet on the Western Front (movie), 113. See also Remarque, Erich Maria Allen, Hervey, 191, 193; Anthony Adverse, 191 Amann, Max, 26, 94–95, 105 Amt für Schrifttumspflege. See Office for the Propagation of Literature Andermann, Wilhelm, 71, 75 Andersen, Lale, 88 André und Ursula (movie), 123. See also Höfler, Polly Maria Angriff (newspaper), 154 anti-Americanism, 21–22, 100–103, 170–71, 157, 194–95, 198–99, 264 anti-Anglism, 21–22, 170–1, 194–95, 156–57

antisemitism, 56, 74, 118, 179, 182, 197, 239, 243n2. See persecution, see Holocaust Anzengruber, Ludwig, 252; Sternsteinhof, 252 Arndt, Ernst Moritz, 58 Aryanization, 24–27, 124, 194 Auf Jagd im australischen Busch (pulp novel), 176–7 Aufwärts-Jugend-Bücherei (pulp series), 176 Austen, Jane, 33; Pride and Prejudice, 33 authors; ban on employment, 13–15, 139, 142, 208, 267; career after 1945, 35, 73, 75, 85, 87, 123, 143, 148–49, 151, 182, 187, 194, 219, 222, 234, 259–61; collaboration, 187–90, 200–202; foreign, 10, 22, 57, 63, 179, 186–204, 259, 267; Jewish, 14, 24, 46, 49n27, 149, 231, 239; as propagandists, 100–103 Bachofen, Johann Jakob, 58 Bade, Wilfrid, 105–107, 253; Die SA erobert Berlin, 105; Gloria, 253 Balzac, Honoré de, 61 bans and recommendations, 13, 16, 19–25, 119, 143, 165–66, 172, 174, 180–81, 188, 193, 252, 254 Banzhaf, Johannes, 135–37, 143; Lachendes Leben, 135–36, 143; Lustiges Volk, 135, 270 Barbian, Jan-Pieter , 5n5, 25–26 Bartels, Adolf, 167 Basic List for the Lending Libraries, 22–23, 180

284 • Index

Bauer, Elvira, 179; Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid …, 179 Baum, Vicky, 43 BdM. See League of German Girls Becher, Johannes R., 150 Beecher-Stowe, Harriet, 179; Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 179 Beinhorn, Elly; 81–84; Mein Mann, der Rennfahrer, 81, 272 Benecke, Hans, 27, 85, 183 Benn, Gottfried, 146, 232 Benzinger, Josef, 64; Probate Kuren, 64 Berens-Totenohl, Josefa; 240–42; Der Femhof, 240–41, 272; Frau Magdlene, 240–41 Bergengruen, Werner, 44, 211–13, 219, 222, 260; Der Großtyrann und das Gericht, 44, 212–13, 272 Berlin Inspectorate for Smutty and Trashy Literature, 172 Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung (newspaper), 214 Berliner Lokalanzeiger (newspaper), 139 Berliner Tageblatt (newspaper), 28, 80, 104, 142, 154 Bermann Fischer, Gottfried, 26, 239 Bertelsmann Verlag / C. Bertelsmann Verlag, 27, 34, 112–13, 128–29, 135–37, 148, 158, 176–77, 222, 232–34, 240, 247–48 bestseller; derogatively, 37, 196; national literature vs. bestseller, 35–37; rebirth of the bestseller concept, 37–40, 44; term, 3, 34, 36–37, 75, 113, 196, 246, 264 bestseller list, 3, 33–38, 44, 69, 95, 99, 138, 200, 246, 252–53, 270–72; in Bookman (journal), 33; short history of, 33–35; in Spiegel (journal), 33–34 Beumelburg, Werner, 46, 113, 115–19, 177, 232, 235; Gruppe Bosemüller, 117; Sperrfeuer um Deutschland, 116–18, 271 Bialkowski, Stanislaus, 14; Leuchtfeuer im Mond, 14; Start ins Weltall, 14 Bibliographisches Institut, 248 Binding, Rudolf Georg, 63, 146, 214–16, 222, 232, 235, 253; Der Opfergang, 214–15, 271

Birgel, Willy, 81 Birkner, Friede, 166 Bischoff, Karl H., 194 Bloch, Ernst, 150 blood and soil, 63, 70, 140, 168–69, 200, 217, 227–28, 241, 243; literature, 35–37, 63, 227–243, 259–60, 265–68; and Nordic literature, 199–202, 267; and völkisch literature, 11, 15, 99, 122, 156, 167, 183, 222, 232, 236–37, 239–43 Blunck, Hans Friedrich, 15, 96, 142, 222, 232, 236–38, 261; Die große Fahrt, 237; König Geiserich, 237–38 Bökenkamp, Werner, 169 Böll, Annemarie, 216, 218 Böll, Heinrich, 4, 61, 216, 218 Bölsche, Wilhelm, 58 Bong & Co / Deutsches Verlagshaus Bong & Co, 242 Bonifatius-Druckerei (printing works) 26 Bonsels, Waldemar, 38, 180–82; Dositos, 182; Himmelsvolk, 181; Maya the Bee, 38, 178, 180–181, 273 book burnings, 1, 4, 9–10, 20, 37, 127 booksellers, 3, 9, 10, 13–15, 19, 20, 27, 30, 34, 36–38, 42, 46, 48, 69, 72, 74, 82, 85, 96, 99, 105, 136, 138, 148, 157, 169, 183, 191, 193, 197, 203, 217, 239, 247–67; and censored books, 46, 180; in wartime, 72, 247–256 Book Donation of the NSDAP for the Wehrmacht, 16–17, 248–49 Bookman / The Bookman (journal), 33–34 Bormann, Martin, 128–29 Börsenblatt für den deutschen Buchhandel (journal), 21, 24–25, 30, 36, 43, 45, 84, 96, 116, 126, 154, 166, 217, 233, 239, 255, 263–64 Bouhler, Philipp, 16–17, 86, 98–100, 128–129; as author, 99–100; as NS arbiter of culture, 16–17, 86, 98, 128–129; Kampf um Deutschland. Lesebuch für die deutsche Jugend, 99–100, 270; Schriften zur Geschichte der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung, 99 Bruhn, Peter, 46

Index • 285

Brunngraber, Rudolf, 74; Radium. Roman eines Elementes, 74 Buch ein Schwert des Geistes, Erste Grundliste für den deutschen Leihbuchhandel, 23 Bücherei (journal), 104 Bücherkunde (journal), 16, 39, 41, 78, 80, 83, 85, 114, 133, 138, 143, 149, 154, 156, 160, 166–67, 169, 181, 215, 229–30, 240–41 Bücherspende der NSDAP für die Wehrmacht. See Book Donation of the NSDAP for the Wehrmacht Buck, Pearl S., 193 Burckhardt, Carl Jacob, 186 Burckhardt, Jacob, 58 Bürgel, Bruno H., 72, 260; Aus fernen Welten, 260; Hundert Tage Sonnenschein, 260 Burte, Hermann, 183, 259 Busch, Fritz Otto, 123, 125–129, 268; Narvik. Vom Heldenkampf deutscher Zerstörer, 123, 125–129, 271 Busch, Wilhelm, 65, 137–39, 179, 252–53; Bilderpossen, 252; Fipps der Affe, 139; Helen Who Couldn’t Help It, 139; Max und Moritz, 139 Butzon & Bercker, 26 B.Z. am Mittag (newspaper), 154 C.V. Rock (Kurt Walter Röcken), 21 Carlyle, Thomas; History of Friedrich II of Prussia, 65–66 Carossa, Hans, 63, 146, 214–17, 222, 235, 260; The Year of Sweet Illusions, 214–16; Gedichte. Vom Dichter ausgewählt, 222 censorship, 9–10, 13, 15, 24–25, 157, 173, 193, 203; pre-publication censorship, 10, 15, 24–25, 27, 136, 250 censorship. See also indexing Central Party Propaganda Office, 11 Chamberlain, Houston Stewart, 62 Christie, Agatha, 157 Cigaretten-Bilderdienst (publisher), 105–8 Claassen, Eugen, 197–98 Claudius, Hermann, 232 Clausewitz, Carl von, 58

Coleman Verlag, 105 collaboration, 180, 186–190, 200–202, 211–12 Conrady, Karl Otto, 208 Cooper, James Fenimore, 178; The Deerslayer, 179; Leatherstocking, 179 Courths-Mahler, Hedwig, 34, 166–67 Cronin, Archibald Joseph, 146, 193–95; Citadel, 193–95, 273; The Stars Look Down, 194 cross media, 87–91, 170, 263–65 Dahlke, Paul, 143 Dahn, Felix; A Struggle for Rome, 43, 57 Daily Telegraph, 189 Dame (magazine), 151 Dante Alighieri; Divine Comedy, 54 Darmstädter Tagblatt (newspaper), 97 Darré, Walter Richard, 63, 242; Neuadel aus Blut und Boden, 63 Darüber lache ich noch heute (field-post edition), 246, 270 Darüber lacht der Soldat (field-post edition), 246 Darwin, Charles, 58 de Kruif, Paul; Microbe Hunters, 73 Deeping, Warwick; Sorrell and Son, 191 Defoe, Daniel; Robinson Crusoe, 180 Desny, Ivan, 123 Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung. See German Academy of Poetry Deutsche Arbeitsfront. See German Labour Front Deutsche Bücherei. See German Library Deutsche Marine-Zeitung (newspaper), 125 Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 212, 217 Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (newspaper), 98, 116, 154 Deutscher Verlag. See Ullstein Verlag Dichterakademie. See German Academy of Poetry Dickens, Charles; Oliver Twist, 180 Die große Liebe (movie), 89 Diederichs, Ulf, 3 Diesel (movie), 81. See also Diesel, Eugen Diesel, Eugen, 79–81, Diesel, 79–81, 272 Diesel, Rudolf, 79–81

286 • Index

Dietl, Eduard, 245 Dietrich, Otto, 107 Dinter, Artur; Die Sünde wider das Blut, 56 Disney, Walt; Three Little Pigs, 139 Döblin, Alfred, 43, 146 Dominik, Hans, 1, 63, 72–74, 159–61, 179–80, 253; Das Erbe der Uraniden, 161; Land aus Feuer und Wasser, 159–60, 272; Ein Stern fiel vom Himmel, 160; Vistra. Das weiße Gold Deutschlands, 74 Dörfler, Peter, 232 Dostoevsky, Fjodor Michailowitsch, 57, 61, 190, 260 Doyle, Conan; White Company, 33 Dreiser, Theodore Herman Albert, 61 Droste-Hülshoff, Anette von, 158, 178 Drucklieb, Karl, 46, 148, 197, 262 Dumas, Alexandre, 57, 194 Dwinger, Edwin Erich, 113, 202, 235, 253, 260 Eckart, Dietrich, 230 Econ Verlag, 72 Economic Office for the German Book Trade, 25 Edda, 219 Eggers, Kurt, 127–28 Eher Verlag/Franz Eher Nachf. München/ Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 16–17, 26, 50, 63, 83, 94–95, 99–101, 104–5, 118, 141, 198, 246, 248, 252 Eichendorff, Joseph Freiherr von, 215; The Life of a Good-for-Nothing, 252 emigration, 9, 26, 37, 153, 197, 208, 222, 233–34, 237, 239, 260–61, 266; inner emigration, 158, 211–217, 256, 260, 267 Enßlin, Werner, 253 entertainment, 22, 43, 48, 53, 61, 63, 65, 88–89, 122, 137–38, 142, 155, 157, 171, 190, 214, 217; as instrument of propaganda, 88, 105–8, 137–38, 143, 147, 268; vs. highbrow literature, 122, 134, 137–38, 166–67; for troops, 121, 165, 245–56 Erlebnis-Bücherei (pulp series), 176–77

Ettighoffer, Paul Coelestin, 112–16, 177, 260, 262, 267; Verdun, das große Gericht, 112–16, 271 Eulenspiegel (magazine), 153 Europäische Schriftstellervereinigung. See European Writers’ Association Europäischer Buchklub, 35, 222 European Writers’ Association, 158, 216 euthanasia, 79, 99, 121, 147, 260 Ewerbeck, Betina, 146–47; Angela Koldewey, 272 Fallada, Hans, 43, 65, 153–55, 259, 261; Iron Gustav (movie), 155; Little Man, What Now?, 153, 272; A Small Circus, 154; Who Once Eats out of the Tin Bowl, 154; Wolf among Wolves, 65, 154 Felmy, Hansjörg, 200 Fest, Joachim C., 4, 51, 61, 139, 179–80, 209 Feuchtwanger, Lion, 261 Feuerzangenbowle (movie), 132–33. See also Spoerl, Heinrich Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, 58–59 field-post editions, 40, 121, 165, 195, 213, 223–24, 245–56, 262, 270, 272 film, 10–12, 14, 52, 64, 73, 77, 88, 138; adaptions of books, 73, 77–79, 81, 87–91, 113–14, 123, 132–33, 143, 151, 153, 155, 170, 180, 187, 190, 198, 200, 214, 242, 259, 263–265 Finke, Edmund; Chapman & Cole wird ausgerottet, 64 Fischer Verlag / S. Fischer Verlag, 26–27, 211, 239 Fischer, Samuel, 26 Fleur Lafontaine (movie), 153. See also Nelken, Dinah Flex, Walter, 210–11; The Wanderer between the Two Worlds, 210–11, 252, 271 Fontane, Theodor, 156, 178, 252; Trials and Tribulations, 252 foreign literature. See translations Franck, Lothar, 46 Frankfurter Zeitung (newspaper), 40, 80, 196, 208–9, 255 Frenssen, Gustav, 232, 260

Index • 287

Freud, Sigmund, 9, 58 Freytag, Gustav, 156, 178; Debit and Credit, 156 Frick, Wilhelm, 11, 75, 182 Frisch, Max, 212; Antwort aus der Stille, 212 Fröbe, Gert, 200 Fronemann, Wilhelm, 165 Funk, Walther, 12 Furtwängler, Hubert, 187–88 Furtwängler, Wilhelm, 190 Furtwängler-Knittel, Margaret, 187, 204 Ganghofer, Ludwig, 63, 140, 166–170, 230, 242; Das Schweigen im Walde, 168, 272; Der Jäger von Fall, 63 Gebhardt, Karl, 63 Géczy, Barnabas von, 88 Geißler, Horst Wolfram; Lieber Augustin, 42 George, Heinrich, 71, 88 German Academy of Poetry, 62–63, 236 German Labour Front, 15, 18; as publisher, 18–19, 177–78, 212, 249, 251 German League of Girls, 21, 79, 221 German Library, 13, 18 German National Library. See German Library Gestapo, 17, 20, 109, 195 Gewitter im Mai (movie), 170 Glaeser, Ernst; Jahrgang 1902; 43, 113 Goebbels, Joseph, 58, 84, 107, 128, 139, 154, 235, 256, 267; as author, 12, 100, 103–5, 128; Das erwachende Berlin, 104; journalist, 36, 103–5, 230; Vom Kaiserhof zur Reichskanzlei, 104, 271; Kampf um Berlin, 104; Michael Voormann. Ein Menschenschicksal in Tagebuchblättern, 104; as Minister, 11–13, 17, 20, 25, 28, 35–36, 40, 108–9, 122, 133, 142, 155, 161, 170, 177, 181, 187–88, 200–202, 213, 235, 251, 261; as reader, 21, 64–66, 114, 124, 187, 194, 200; as NS arbiter of culture, 9–15, 17, 20, 25, 137, 139, 141, 177, 207, 216–17, 236; struggle with Rosenberg, 11, 38, 59, 88, 134, 138, 149, 154–55, 166–70

Goedecke, Heinz; 87–91; Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, 87–91, 272 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 58–59, 61–62, 116, 207–8, 259; Faust, 252 Gogol, Nikolai, 57 Goldmann, Wilhelm, 25, 76–77. See also Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag Goote, Thor, 154, 253; Wir fahren den Tod, 253 Göring, Carin, 59, 84, 271 Göring, Emmy, 84 Göring, Hermann, 83–84, 256; Air Transport Minister, 19; biographers view, 61, 83, 100; as reader, 59–61 Gorki, Maxim, 46 Götter und Heldensagen, germanisch-deutscher Sagenschatz (Germanic Legends), 54, 55 Goverts Verlag/H. Goverts Verlag/Claasen & Goverts Verlag, 27, 197 Goverts, Henry, 197–98 Grass, Günter, 4, 108 Griese, Friedrich, 232 Grimm, Hans, 53, 179, 222, 232, 234–36, 239–40, 253, 261, 266, 268; Volk ohne Raum, 43, 234–36, 253, 271 Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Christoffel von; The Adventures of Simplicius, 252 Gritzbach, Erich, 83; Hermann Göring. Werk und Mensch, 60, 83, 100 Großdeutsches Leihbüchereiblatt (journal), 36, 39, 44, 76, 98, 124, 146, 170 Grothus (Fahnenjunker), 245 Grundliste für die Leihbüchereien. See Basic List for the Lending Libraries Grüne Post (magazine), 142 Gulbranssen, Trygve, 168, 199–200, 267; Das Erbe von Björndal, 199–200, 271; Und ewig singen die Wälder, 199–200, 271 Günther, Agnes; The Saint and her Fool, 57 Haarer, Johanna, 85–86, 146; Die deutsche Mutter und ihr erstes Kind, 85–86; Die Mutter und ihr erstes Kind, 86 Hadamovsky, Eugen, 88 Haffner, Sebastian, 150

288 • Index

Halbe, Max, 232 Hamann, Brigitte, 52 Hamer, Isabel (Isabella Dorothea Leins), 182–83; Perdita, 182–83 Hamsun, Knut, 42, 63, 65, 180, 188, 199–202, 206n54, 259; Growth of the Soil, 200; Victoria, 200 Hamsun, Marie, 180; Die Langerudkinder, 180 Hamsun, Tore, 202 Handel-Mazzetti, Enrica von, 232 Hanke, Karl, 107–8 Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 19, 178, 212, 237–38, 256 Harding, Tex; 76 Kilo Gold, 64 Harlan, Veit, 214 Hasarnyi, Zsolt von, 191 Hase (publisher), 160–61 Hasenclever, Walter; Antigone, 65; The Son, 65 Hass, Hans, 63; Unter Korallen und Haien. Abenteuer in der Karibischen See, 63 Hauptmann, Gerhart, 219, 232 Hauptorgan der Dänischen Nationalsozialistischen Partei (newspaper), 97 Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops, 248–49, 253–54, 256 Hebbel, Friedrich, 178 Hederich, Karl Heinz, 15 Heiden von Kummerow (movie), 143. See also Welk, Ehm Heideschulmeister Uwe Karsten (movie), 242. See also Rose, Felicitas Heimat, 50, 89, 142, 170, 182–83, 201, 208, 228–29; authors of Heimat literature, 142, 168, 232–243, 259–260; literature, 140, 168, 200, 230, 232–243, 259–260 Heimeran, Ernst, 27, 85; Der Vater und sein erstes Kind, 85 Hein, Alfred; Kurts Maler, 34 Heine, Heinrich, 46 Hemingway, Ernest, 61 Herder, Johann Gottfried, 54, 58–59 Hess, Rudolf, 16, 242

Hesse, Hermann, 43, 57, 211–12, 222, 259; Beneath the Wheel, 211; Demian, 57; Siddhartha, 57, 211; Steppenwolf, 211 Heyne Verlag, 149 Hiemer, Ernst; Der Giftpilz, 179 High Command of the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht), 25, 165, 177–178, 249, 252–54; of the Army/Navy/Luftwaffe, 177 highbrow literature, 156, 207–224, 265, 267; vs. entertainment, 122, 134, 137–38, 166–67 Hillgers Deutsche Bücherei (pulp series), 19, 177–78 Himmler, Heinrich, 58, 61, 84; friendship with Johst, 62–63, 236–237; as reader, 55–57, 84, 211, 215, 235; Reichsführer SS, 81–82, 118, 193 Himmler, Katrin, 56–57; Die Brüder Himmler, 56–57 Hindenburg, Paul von, 12, 271 Hinkel, Hans, 127, 150 Hinze, Franz, 72, 250–251 Hitler Youth, 1, 21, 27, 45, 51, 73, 79, 125, 180, 192, 208, 220–22 Hitler, Adolf, 1, 45, 61, 66, 84, 106–7, 118, 234, 256; as author, 38, 43, 94–98, 100, 105, 119; biographers view, 52–54, 56; Mein Kampf, 38–39, 45, 51, 57, 94–98, 100, 104, 270; as NS arbiter of culture, 16–18, 20, 128; as reader, 50–55, 58, 61–62, 164–168, 179; Reich Chancellor and Führer, 18, 42, 46, 62, 73, 81–82, 99, 107, 115, 120–21, 123, 201, 212–13, 219–20, 230, 235, 245 Hitlerjugend/HJ. See Hitler Youth Hoffmann, Heinrich, 107–8, 220 Höfler, Polly Maria, 119–123; André und Ursula, 119–123, 271 Hofmann, Walter, 28, 41–42 Hoheneichen Verlag, 97, 99 Holocaust, 4, 49n27, 75, 79, 264–65. See also persecution Hörbiger, Hanns, 58 Hörbiger, Paul, 88

Index • 289

Horney, Brigitte, 151 Hühnlein, Adolf, 82 Hürter, Ludwig, 29 Huxley, Aldous, 10, 43; Brave New World, 10, 43; Welt wohin?, 43 I.G. Farben, 71, 74–75 Ibsen, Henrik, 57, 61, 65; Nora, 57 Ich klage an (movie), 79 Ihde, Wilhelm, 177 Im Angriff und im Biwak (field-post edition), 246 index and indexing, 19–22, 25, 172, 174, 193. See also censorship, See also bans and recommendations indexing lists. See lists of indexed works inner emigration. See emigration Insel Verlag, 209, 214, 216, 223, 248, 252 Insel-Bücherei (book series), 209, 216, 223, 252 Institut für Leser- und Schrifttumskunde. See Leipzig Institute for Reading and Book Research Iron Gustav (movie), 155. See also Fallada, Hans Jan Mayen (pulp series), 170 Jelusich, Mirko, 222 Johst, Hanns, 146; as author, 219–220, 232, 236–37; friendship to Himmler, 55; Mutter ohne Tod/Die Begegnung, 236, 272; President of the Reich Chamber of Literature, 15, 38, 62–64, 171, 238; as reader, 62–64; Schlageter, 219–220 Jörn Farows Abenteuer (pulp series), 170 Jörn Farows U-Boot-Abenteuer (pulp series), 43 Judenviertel Europas (book), 264–65 Jünger, Ernst, 4, 113, 204, 212, 235, 254–256, 259; Copse 125, 254; Gärten und Straße, 254; On the Marble Cliffs, 254–256, 273; The Storm of Steel, 254 Kaiser, Georg, 61, 65 Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur. See League for German Culture

Kant, Immanuel, 58–59, 253; Kant-Brevier, 253 Kark, Werner, 72 Karl-May-Verlag, 164–65 Kästner, Erich, 9, 14, 45, 151, 180; Emil and the Detectives, 180; Lottie and Lisa, 180 Katholik (journal), 98 Keitel, Wilhelm, 128 Keller, Gottfried, 178 Keller, Paul, 136, 253 Kellermann, Bernhard, 57, 75, 261; Der Tunnel, 75 Ketelsen, Uwe K., 232 Keun, Irmgard, 151 Kiepenheuer Verlag/Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, 27 Kipling, Rudyard, 33–34, 45, 180; The Jungle Book, 33; The Seven Seas, 34 Kleberger, Ilse, 45, 180 Kleist, Heinrich von, 61, 158, 219 Klemperer, Victor, 2, 4, 98, 100, 109–10, 117–20, 123, 141, 156, 159–60, 190, 194–97, 199, 202, 209, 212–13, 217–18, 236; Language of The Third Reich: LTI, Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist’s Notebook, 4, 100 Klosterhaus Verlag, 234 Knauf, Erich, 139 Kneipp, Sebastian; Meine Wasserkur, 85 Knittel, John, 42, 186–90, 212, 253, 259; Der Commandant, 188; El Hakim, 189; Via Mala, 186–90, 272 Knopf, Volker, 60 Koch, Robert, 71, 77–79 Koch-Gotha, Fritz; A Day at Bunny School, 180 Koerber, Adolf Viktor von; Adolf Hitler. Sein Leben und seine Reden, 56 Kolbenheyer, Erwin Guido, 222, 232, 253 Koll, Kilian; Urlaub auf Ehrenwort, 253 Kolonial-Bücherei (pulp series), 176 Kranz, Herbert; Die Sieger nachher, 65 Kriegsbücherei der deutschen Jugend (pulp series), 176–77 Kröger, Theodor, 253, 268

290 • Index

Krug, Wilhelm, 88; Wir beginnen das Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, 87–91, 272 Kubizek, August, 53–54 Kurz, Isolde, 232 Lackas, Matthias, 136–37 Lagerloef, Selma; Nils Holgersson, 180 Langenbucher, Erich, 35–37, 133, 146, 196 Langenbucher, Hellmuth, 30, 35–37, 39, 210–11, 215, 221–22, 236–238, 243; Volkhafte Dichtung der Zeit, 35–36, 243; Die Welt des Buches, 30, 38–39 Langen-Müller Verlag/Albert Langen Georg Müller München, 19, 35, 199, 220, 230, 234, 236, 248 Le Bon, Gustave, 58 League for German Culture, 11, 16, 127, 149 League of German Girls, 21, 79, 221 Leander, Zarah, 88–89 Lehmann, Julius Friedrich, 85 Lehmanns Verlag / J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 85, 99 Leins, Hermann, 182 Leins, Isabella Dorothea. See Hamer, Isabel Leipzig Institute for Reading and Book Research, 113 lending libraries, 22, 24, 31, 42, 53, 158, 160, 166, 195, 200, 261–63; rebirth of the lending libraries, 30–31, 46, 167, 247–248, 261; regulation of, 27–30, 48. See also libraries Lersch, Heinrich, 232 Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim; Minna von Barnhelm, 54 Lettow-Vorbeck, Paul von, 46 Lewis, Sinclair; Babbit, 195 Ley, Robert, 15, 18–19, 212; as author, 100 libraries, 18, 45–46, 103, 262, 166; and ban on books, 9, 20–24, 27–30, 46, 170, 174, 160; factory libraries, 18, 23, 180; as institutes of education and book promotion, 13, 22–23, 41, 95, 104, 173; as objects of market research, 41–43, 46–48, 113, 133; for troops, 16, 40, 249–50. See also lending libraries

Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph, 1, 208 Lingen, Theo, 88, 143 Linklater, Eric; Juan in America, 195 List 1 of Harmful and Undesirable Literature, 20, 43, 181, 188 List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries, 20, 22–23, 170, 174 Liste 1 des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums. See List 1 of Harmful and Undesirable Literature Liste der für Jugendliche und Büchereien ungeeigneten Druckschriften. See List of Publications Unsuitable for Young People and Libraries lists of indexed works, 19–20, 22–23, 25, 43, 170, 174, 181, 188 lists of recommended NS literature, 20–24, 29, 62–64, 143, 165, 180, 252 Literarische Welt (journal), 34 literary criticism, 2, 5n6, 69, 154; ban of literary criticism, 27–28, 71, 263; book discussions, 21, 78, 80–83, 97, 114–15, 127–29, 149–50, 154, 156–58, 165, 168, 172, 174–75, 181, 189, 194, 198, 200, 211, 214, 229–30, 240, 261 literary genres; blood and soil, 70, 140, 169, 200, 227–243; factual novels, 2–3, 63, 71–91, 140, 253, 260, 262, 265; German Classicism, 19, 46, 54, 60–61, 135, 149, 178, 180, 207–224, 252, 259, 261; Heimatliteratur, 140, 142, 168, 200–1, 230, 232–234, 240–243, 259; highbrow literature, 207–224; nonfiction, 71–110; original NS literature, 58, 74, 94–110, 148, 227–243, 265; pulp fiction, 170–78; Rohstoffromane, 71–76, 78, 161, 253, 265; science fiction, 1–2, 14, 63, 72–74, 159–61, 179–80, 253; self-help books, 84–87 literary modernism, 61, 65, 153–55, 186, 222; fight against, 11–12, 19, 36–37, 115, 149, 210, 239; Goebbels and, 65, 153–55; Himmler and, 57; Neue Sachlichkeit, 72

Index • 291

Literature Department of the Propaganda Ministry, 13, 15, 35, 173, 213 Loerke, Oskar, 232 Loewe Verlag, 105 Lofting, Hugh; Dr Doolittle, 179 Löhndorff, Ernst Friedrich, 64, 253 Lokatis, Siegfried, 238 London, Jack, 57, 195; The People of the Abyss, 195 Löns, Hermann, 43, 264; Der Werwolf, 43 Losch, Sebastian, 21–22, 138, 157 Luckner, Felix Graf von; Seeteufel erobert Amerika, 64 Malthus, Thomas, 58 Mann, Heinrich, 9, 260 Mann, Klaus, 165, 237 Mann, Thomas, 34, 43, 56–57, 65, 222, 237, 266; Buddenbrooks, 34; Death in Venice, 65; Royal Highness, 56 market research, 40–45, 113 Mastny, Vojtech, 61 Maupassant, Guy de, 61 May, Karl, 43, 45–46, 50–53, 58, 61–62, 164–66, 179, 181, 252–53; Old Shatterhand, 52, 62, 165; Old Surehand, 51; Schatz im Silbersee, 165, 252, 272; Schut, 51; Winnetou, 51–52, 62, 165 Mell, Max, 232 Mendel, Gregor, 58 Meyer, Conrad Ferdinand, 19, 252; The Shot from the Pulpit, 252 Meyrink, Gustav, 65 Miegel, Agnes, 232 Mitchell, Margaret, 10, 192, 196–99, 200, 259; Gone with the Wind, 10, 27, 192, 195, 196–99, 259, 271 modernization, 202; and book production, 103, 107, 261–63; and book promotion, 13; and the book market, 30–31, 48, 107, 261–63; cross-media, 88, 263–65; large print runs/paperback editions, 69, 178, 182, 187, 236, 250, 252, 261–63, 265–67; literary genres, 70, 72, 76, 267–68 Moersberger, Rose Felicitas. See Rose, Felicitas

Mohn, Heinrich, 137 Molo, Walter von, 232 Morgenpost (newspaper), 151 Mörike, Eduard, 215 Moser, Hans, 88 Mosse, Georg L., 241 Mosse Verlag, 104, 230 Müller, Paul Alfred, 21, 171–76 Müller-Partenkirchen, Fritz, 63, 135, 156; Die Firma, 156; Kramer & Friemann, 156 Münchhausen, Börries Freiherr von, 166 Münchner Neueste Nachrichten (newspaper), 223 Munthe, Axel, 146, 191; The Story of San Michele, 191 Muschler, Reinhold Conrad, 63, 148–50; Die Unbekannte, 148–50, 271 Mussolini, Benito, 57 Myler, Lok. See Müller, Paul Alfred National Association of Lending Libraries, 29 Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte (journal), 97 Naundorf, Gerhard; Stern in Not, 160 Nelken, Dinah, 150–53; Das angstvolle Heldenleben einer gewissen Fleur Lafontaine, 153; Ich an Dich. Ein Roman in Briefen, 150–53, 272 Nelken, Peter, 153 Neue Freie Presse (newspaper), 189 Neue Literatur (journal), 239 New York Times Magazine, 203 Nibelungen Saga, 238 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 54, 58, 252; Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 252 Nilsson, Maj-Britt, 200 Norkus, Herbert, 73 NS Women’s League, 27 NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), 11, 35, 50, 62, 73, 78– 79, 87, 99, 104, 107, 113, 118, 213, 220, 242; and literature, 9, 11, 16, 58, 73, 146, 149, 155, 181, 235, 248; as publisher, 26, 266. See also Eher Verlag NS-Frauenbund. See NS Women’s League

292 • Index

O’Flaherty, Liam; Skerrett, 195 Office for Racial Policy, 78, 146 Office for the Propagation of Literature, 17, 25, 39, 58, 122, 252. See also Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature Ohser, Erich (O.E. Plauen), 139 Opfergang (movie), 214. See also Binding, Rudolf Georg Orell Füssli Verlag, 189 Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums (PPK). See Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings, 15–18, 20, 24–25, 73, 86–87, 98, 128, 194–95, 211 Paust, Otto; Volk im Feuer, 253 Payr, Bernhard, 160, 198–99 PEN / PEN Club, 127, 216 persecution, 18, 26–28, 196, 209, 265–66; of authors, 14, 16, 26, 45–46, 64, 87, 114, 139, 142, 147, 157, 170–72, 174, 176, 180–82, 188, 191–95, 208, 223, 231, 233; through book burnings, 1, 4, 9–10, 20, 37, 127; of Jewish authors and publishers, 14, 24, 26, 37, 46, 49n27, 149, 182, 194, 239; of Jews, 14, 26, 28, 56, 78, 104, 109–10, 127, 149, 182, 209, 231, 264–65 Phaidon Verlag, 239 Pickel (accountant), 95 Pins, Rudolph L., 94 Piper, Ernst, 58–59, 97, 98 Ploetz, Alfred, 58 Ponten, Josef, 232 Ponto, Erich, 81 popular literature, 18, 22, 57, 63, 156, 171, 174, 214, 240, 243, 253, 268; Nazis relationship to, 22, 25, 42, 169, 173, 177, 198, 268. See also entertainment post-war success of authors and books, 63, 79, 123, 133, 136, 148, 187, 194, 198,

200, 211–13, 219, 223, 246, 260–62. See also authors careers after 1945 PPK. See Party Examination Commission for the Protection of National Socialist Writings Prawdin, Michael, 77 Prien, Günther, 123–25, 250; Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow, 123–25, 270 promotion of books, 13, 16–17, 24, 28, 34–35, 37, 69, 84, 87, 88, 92n37, 96–97, 100, 121, 123, 140, 142, 144n27, 151, 154, 156, 160, 166–67, 181, 195, 198, 217, 220, 233–34, 238–39, 242, 244n60, 248–50, 263; through film and TV, 73, 77–79, 81, 87–91, 113–14, 123, 132–33, 143, 151, 153, 155, 170, 180, 187, 190, 198, 200, 214, 242, 259, 263–265; through the Week of the German Book, 40, 207 Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature, 13, 142, 249 propaganda, 11–12, 52, 91, 116, 118, 125, 133, 170, 187, 263; and commercial interests, 17, 95–110, 129, 266; for euthanasia, 79, 146, 148; and literature, 3, 70, 73, 75–76, 95–110, 134, 176–78, 193, 214, 221, 229, 254; soft propaganda, 74, 87–90, 105–6, 137–38, 147, 266, 268. See also Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Propaganda Ministry. See Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Prüfstelle Berlin für Schund- und Schmutzliteratur. See Berlin Inspectorate for Smutty and Trashy Literature Prussian Academy of Arts, 62, 235 publishers, 3, 10, 19, 34, 48, 69, 72, 76, 94, 103, 105, 124, 135, 137, 191–92, 238–39, 260–61; and alignment, 14, 19, 24, 138, 173, 182, 193, 263, 265; and Aryanization, 24, 26–27 104, 124, 141, 194, 197, 211, 239; independent publishers, 27, 85, 182–83, 197; persecution of, 9, 24–25, 26, 266;

Index • 293

religious publishing houses, 24, 26–27, 112, 194; as winners of the war, 246–50, 252, 255, 262 pulp fiction, 3, 46, 170–76, 179, 263; as propaganda vehicle, 107, 176–78, 250; as subversive reading, 22, 43; censorship of, 20, 22–25, 170–76; fight against, 25, 29, 167, 170–76 Raddatz, Carl, 89 Raeder, Erich, 128 Rainer Wunderlich Verlag, 27, 182–83 Ranke, Leopold von, 58 Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP. See Office for Racial Policy Raubal, Angela, 50–51 readers, 3, 18, 24, 71; as censors, 16, 122, 169; individual reading experiences (contemporary witnesses), 2, 4, 45–46, 72, 98, 100, 109–10, 117–20, 123, 141, 148, 156, 159–60, 166, 180, 190, 192, 194–97, 199, 202, 209, 212–13, 217–18, 236, 250–251, 262; prominent readers, 4, 21, 50–66, 84, 114, 124, 164–168, 179, 187, 194, 200, 211, 215, 235; research on readers’ preferences, 3–4, 40–48, 113, 138, 142; soldiers as readers, 16–17, 27, 40, 42, 72, 88, 103, 138, 142–43, 177, 204, 208, 210, 218, 223, 245–56; subversive readers, 22, 84, 142, 154, 168, 190, 200, 242; young readers, 11, 20, 22–23, 43, 45–46, 49n27, 53, 55–56, 58, 62–63, 105, 157, 160, 164–65, 168, 170–183, 192, 201, 210, 216, 240, 260 reading; between the lines, 141, 158, 190, 199, 208; educational, 41, 72, 173 Reclam Verlag, 178, 219, 222, 248, 252, 262 Reclams Universalbibliothek (book series), 178, 219, 262 Regional Literature. See Heimat Reich (journal), 42, 65, 139, 160, 198, 199, 217 Reich Chamber of Culture, 13–15, 19, 127, 150

Reich Chamber of Literature, 13–15, 18, 25, 29, 55, 62, 77–78, 96, 101, 125, 135–37, 147, 152–53, 167, 171, 173, 177, 192, 213, 222, 235–38, 262 Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, 11–15, 19–22, 25–26, 29, 35, 37, 52, 89, 107–9, 138, 141, 157, 161, 169, 173, 177, 181, 188, 193–195, 211–12, 231, 249 Reich Ministry of the Interior, 11, 15, 19, 109, 172 Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Public Instruction, 18 Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature, 16, 35, 167. See also Office for the Propagation of Literature Reich-Ranicki, Marcel, 4, 46, 180, 209 Reichskulturkammer. See Reich Chamber of Culture Reichsmarine (journal), 125 Reichsministerium des Innern. See Reich Ministry of the Interior Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda. See Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung. See Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Public Instruction Reichspropagandaleitung. See Central Party Propaganda Office Reichsschrifttumskammer. See Reich Chamber of Literature Reichsstelle zur Förderung des deutschen Schrifttums. See Reich Office for the Promotion of German Literature Reichsverband der Leihbüchereien. See National Association of Lending Libraries Remarque, Erich Maria, 9, 43, 45, 113–119, 233; All Quiet on the Western Front, 29, 45, 113–16, 233; favourite adversary of the Right, 113–19 Renn, Ludwig, 150; Krieg, 45, 113 Richards, Donald Ray; The German Bestseller, 34 Richthofen, Manfred Freiherr von, 46

294 • Index

Rilke, Rainer Maria, 209–11, 222–23, 253, 259, Ausgewählte Gedichte, 223; The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke, 209–11, 272 Rippert, Horst, 204 Rivel, Charlie, 88 Roeingh, Rolf; Das Monument des Pferdes, 67n50 Rökk, Marika, 88 Rose, Felicitas, 240–243, 260; Heideschulmeister Uwe Karsten, 242 Rosegger, Peter, 54, 135 Rosemeyer, Bernd, 81–82, 272 Rosenberg, Alfred, 11; as author, 62, 97–98, 100, 104, 109; as leader of Amt für Schrifttumspflege, 11, 16–19, 25, 35, 38–40, 80, 114–15, 122, 128, 181, 198, 213, 229, 230, 241, 248–249; Myth of the Twentieth Century, 11, 39, 59, 97–99, 109, 270; struggle with Goebbels; 11, 38, 59, 88, 134, 138, 149, 154–55, 166–70; as reader, 58–59 Ross, Colin, 63, 76 Roth, Eugen, 223–24, 252–53, 259, 267; Die Frau in der Weltgeschichte, 223; Der letzte Mensch, 223; Mensch und Unmensch, 223; Ein Mensch lädt Kameraden ein …, 223; Merely Human, 223, 252; Wunderdoktor, 223 Rowohlt Verlag, 27, 154, 262 Rowohlt, Ernst, 27 Rühmann, Heinz, 88, 132, 151 Runge, Friedlieb Ferdinand, 71–74 Rust, Bernhard, 18 SA (Storm Division), 105, 150, 153, 221 Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de, 10, 191, 202–4, 259; The Little Prince, 202–4; Night Flight, 203; Wind, Sand and Stars, 10, 103, 273 Sarkowicz, Hans, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220, 260–61 Schäfer, Wilhelm, 232 Schaffner, Jakob, 232 Schaub, Julius, 94, 107 Schemm, Hans, 165, 242

Schenzinger, Karl Aloys, 1, 45, 63, 71–75, 77, 140, 146, 227, 253, 260, 262, 267; Anilin, 1, 71–75, 140, 227, 260, 270; Hitlerjunge Quex, 45, 73, 180, 272; Metall, 253 Scherl Verlag / August Scherl Verlag, 86, 151, 158–59, 161 Schiller, Friedrich von, 46, 61–62, 158, 207, 219, 259; William Tell, 219 Schillerstiftung, 122 Schirach, Baldur von, 73, 107, 208, 220–21; Das Lied der Getreuen, 221 Schlaf, Johannes, 232 Schmidt, Maria; Die Wirkung einiger Wirbeltierhormone auf den Süßwasserpolychaeten Lydastis raunaensis Feuerborn, 53 Schmidtbonn, Wilhelm, 232 Schneider, Bernhardine; Eineinhalb ZimmerWohnung, 150 See also Nelken, Dinah Schneider, Lambert, 27 Schneider, Rolf Gero, 151 Schneider, Tobias, 35 Schnitzler, Arthur, 61 Schocken Verlag, 24 Scholz-Klink, Gertrud, 82 Schönherr, Karl, 232 Schöningh Verlag/ Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, 26 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 54, 58–59 Schriftsteller (journal), 219 Schrifttumsabteilung des Propagandaministeriums. See Literature Department of the Propaganda Ministry Schröer, Gustav, 183, 232–33, 239, 252, 268; Heimat wider Heimat, 271 Schumann, Gerhard, 222 Schwab, Gustav, 51, 58, 179, 222; Die Schönsten Sagen des klassischen Altertums, 51, 179, 222 Schwarze Korps (journal), 87, 164 Schweizerischer Schriftsteller Verband. See Swiss Writers’Association SD (Sicherheitsdienst der SS). See SS Security Service Sealsfield, Charles, 178 Secret Report, 197

Index • 295

Seidel, Ina, 2, 42, 217–19, 222, 232, 260; The Wish Child, 2, 42, 217–19, 271 Sektion für Dichtung in der Preußischen Akademie der Künste. See Prussian Academy of Arts Seligo, Irene, 196 Sienkiewicz, Henry K.; Quo Vadis, 34, 43, 180 Silberspiegel (magazine), 151 Simenon, George, 156 Simpson, William von, 63, 155; Die Barrings, 63, 155; Der Enkel, 155 Sixtus, Albert; A Day at Bunny School, 180 smutty and trashy Literature, 11, 172, 174; law against, 11, 174. See also pulp fiction. See also Berlin Inspectorate for Smutty and Trashy Literature So ein Flegel (movie), 132–33. See also Spoerl, Heinrich Soldaten – Kameraden (pulp series), 252 Soldaten Alltag (field-post edition), 246 Soldatenbriefe zur Berufsförderung (educational series), 253 soldiers as readers. See readers Soll, Karl, 161 Song of the Nibelungs, 219 Sonntag Morgenpost (newspaper), 50 Spannende Geschichten (pulp series), 176–77 Speer, Albert, 61–62; as reader, 61–62 Spengler, Oswald, 58 Spiegel (journal), 33 Spione, Verräter, Saboteure (brochure), 178 Spoerl, Gertrud, 135 Spoerl, Heinrich, 132–35, 140, 151, 253, 267; Die Feuerzangenbowle (book and movie), 132–33; Der Gasmann, 132–33; Man kann ruhig darüber sprechen, 132, 134, 270; Der Maulkorb, 132–34; So ein Flegel (movie), 132; Wenn wir alle Engel wären (book and movie), 132–34 Spyri, Johanna; Heidi, 180 SS (Protection Squadron), 20, 36, 55–56, 62–64, 79, 81–82, 87, 127–28, 164, 193, 221, 236 SS Security Service (SD), 19, 26, 42, 79, 192

Steguweit, Heinz, 136, 141, 252; Ritter Habenichts, 141 Stehr, Hermann, 232 Steinbeck, John; The Grapes of Wrath, 195 Steiniger Verlage, 177 Sternberger, Dolf, 208, 255 Stevenson, Robert Louis; Catriona, 33 Stifter, Adalbert, 54 Storm, Theodor, 46, 178, 222, 252, 264; The Rider on the White Horse, 252 Strauss, Emil, 232, 253 Streicher, Julius, 147 Strienz, Wilhelm, 91 Strindberg, August; Days of Loneliness, 65; The Red Room, 65 struggle; for cultural sovereignty, 16–19, 265–66; re harmful influence of literature on young people, 22, 157, 166; re role of literature and entertainment, 10, 137, 166–67, 170; between Goebbels and Rosenberg, 11, 38, 59, 88, 134, 138, 149, 154–55, 166–70 Struwwelpeter (children’s book), 179 Stuck, Hans, 82 Stucken, Eduard, 232 Suhrkamp, Peter, 26–27, 197 Suhrkamp Verlag, 26–27, 211 Sun Koh, der Erbe von Atlantis (pulp series), 43, 170–76 Surén, Hans, 85–87; Der Mensch und die Sonne, 86; Mensch und Sonne. Arisch-olympischer Geist, 86, 272; Selbstmassage, 87; Surén-Atemgymnastik, 87 Swift, Jonathan, 61 Swiss Writers’ Association, 187 Thier, Erich, 47; Gestaltwandel des Arbeiters im Spiegel seiner Lektüre (study), 42, 47 Thiess, Frank, 222 Thoma, Ludwig, 63, 135, 138, 168, 230; Geschichtenbüchlein, 252; Jozef Filsers gesamelter Briefwexel, 138, 252 Timmermanns, Felix, 191 Toller, Ernst, 127 Tolstoy, Lew Nikolayevich, 61, 65, 260

296 • Index

Tom Shark. Der König der Detektive (pulp series), 43, 171 translations, 10, 43, 105, 186–204, 238; as instruments of propaganda, 194–95; fight against, 190–93; requirements of good translations, 191. See also authors Tremel-Eggert, Harald, 230 Tremel-Eggert, Kuni, 36, 140, 183, 200, 227–32, 239–40, 260, 268; Freund Sansibar, 230; Barb. Der Roman einer deutschen Frau, 140, 227–31, 271 Tristan und Isolde, 238 Tucholsky, Kurt, 151 Twain, Mark, 33, 179; Pudd’n Head Wilson, 33 Udet, Ernst, 63 Ulitz, Arnold, 247 Ullstein Verlag, 26, 34, 104, 113, 124–25, 140–42, 233, 247, 262 undesirable literature, 16, 20, 43, 188. See also lists of indexed works Undset, Sigrid, 63 Unger, Hellmuth, 77–80, 146, 253, 260; Robert Koch: Roman eines großen Lebens, 78–79, 273 Verlag der Deutschen Ärzteschaft / Neues Volk, 146 Verne, Jules, 43, 56, 61; Five Weeks in a Balloon, 56; Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, 56 Vernunft (journalist), 203 Vesper, Bernward; Die Reise, 240 Vesper, Will, 96, 135, 174, 232, 236, 238–40; Das harte Geschlecht, 238; Nibelungensage, 238; Tristan und Isolde, 238 Via Mala (movie), 187. See also Knittel, John völkisch. See blood and soil Völkischer Beobachter (newspaper), 27–28, 58–59, 97, 99, 118, 150, 154, 164, 198, 220, 245–46, 266 Voß, Richard; Zwei Menschen, 38 Vossische Zeitung (newspaper), 104, 113

Vring, Georg von der, 156–59; Die Spur im Hafen, 158–59, 272 W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 248 Wallace, Edgar, 21, 25, 156–57, 171, 193; Again the Ringer, 21; Ghosts, 21; The Gaunt Stranger, 21; The Green Archer, 156; The Ringer, 21; The Squeaker, 21 Wallace, Lewis; Ben Hur, 180 Walser, Martin, 61 Weber, Peter, 197 Week of the German Book, 40, 207 Wegener, Paul, 81 Wehner, Josef-Magnus, 232 Wehrenalp, Erwin Barth von, 72–73; Farbe aus Kohle, 73 Wehrmacht, 1, 114, 116–17, 142, 201, 208, 220, 234; as book dealer, 213, 249–51, 253–54, 256; as publisher, 130n33, 138, 165, 176–78, 195, 213, 223, 250, 252, 256, 257n9; as target group, 16, 87–88, 90, 204, 224, 245–56 Weinert, Erich, 150 Weinheber, Josef, 222 Weiser, Grethe, 88 Welk, Ehm, 140–43, 223, 260, 267; Die Gerechten von Kummerow, 141; Die Heiden von Kummerow, 140–43, 271; Die Lebensuhr des Gottlieb Grambauer, 141 Welle, Hugo, 190 Weller, Tüdel, 252 Weltliteratur (journal), 127, 155, 191, 240 Wenn wir alle Engel wären (movie), 133. See also Spoerl, Heinrich Werbe- und Beratungsamt für das deutsche Schrifttum. See Promotion and Advisory Office for German Literature Werner, Ilse, 88–89 Westdeutsche Landeszeitung (newspaper), 104 Westermanns Monatshefte (journal), 250, 257n18 Wichtl, Friedrich; Weltfreimaurerei, Weltrevolution, Weltrepublik, 56 Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Fanny Gräfin von; Carin Göring, 84, 271 Wilde, Oskar, 57

Index • 297

Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, 21, 76–77, 150, 156–57 Wilson, Woodrow, 101 Wirtschaftsstelle des deutschen Buchhandels. See Economic Office for the German Book Trade Woche des Deutschen Buches. See Week of the German Book Wolfe, Thomas, 193 Wolter, Ralf, 143 World War I, 73–75, 78, 83, 94–95, 98, 220, 228, 234, 237, 254, 256; books on, 41–42, 46–47, 56, 65, 112–23, 155, 158; boom of war books, 47, 112–29; cult books of, 209–11 World War II, 210; books on, 116, 123–29; boom of war books, 112–29, 245–56 Wunschkonzert (movie), 89. See also Goedecke, Heinz

Zeitschrift der Leihbücherei (journal), 22, 29, 120, 140, 149, 240 Zentrale der Frontbuchhandlungen. See Headquarters of the Frontline Bookshops Zentralverlag der NSDAP. See Eher Verlag Zischka, Anton, 63, 75–77, 100, 260, 262; Brot für zwei Milliarden Menschen, 76; Erfinder brechen die Blockade, 76, 271; Ölkrieg, 7; Sieg der Arbeit, 76 Zöberlein, Hans, 37, 46, 100, 113, 115, 118–19, 125, 164, 252–53, 267; Glaube an Deutschland, 37, 118, 271; Befehl des Gewissens, 118 Zola, Emile, 57 Zsolnay Verlag, 193–94 Zuckmayer, Carl, 197; Secret Report, 197 Zweig, Arnold, 222, 260–61 Zweig, Stephan, 43