1934 Stürmer special issue, image shows Jews extracting blood from Christian children for use in religious rituals (an example of the blood libel against Jews)
|Founded||20 April 1923|
|Ceased publication||1 February 1945|
|Headquarters||Nuremberg, Nazi Germany|
Der Stürmer (pronounced [deːɐ̯ ˈʃtʏʁmɐ], literally "The Stormer") was a weekly German tabloid-format newspaper published by Julius Streicher, the Gauleiter of Franconia, from 1923 to the end of World War II, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It editorially supported the Nazi Party and it was also vehemently anti-Semitic. The paper was a private enterprise of Streicher's and its editorial content was not controlled by the Party.
The paper was a cornerstone of Streicher's publishing business, and the profits from sales and advertising made him a multi-millionaire.
The first edition of Der Stürmer was published on 20 April 1923 in the early days of the NSDAP's struggle against the "system". Initially it only circulated in Nuremberg and neighbouring districts, but was soon distributed all over Germany, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
Unlike the official organ of the NSDAP, the Völkischer Beobachter (the Völkisch Observer), which was a serious newspaper of record, Der Stürmer published sensationalist and sometimes even outright libellous material such as stories about ritual murder, grotesque caricatures of Jews,, sexually explicit allegations about public ficures, and anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, and anti-monarchist articles. As early as 1933, articles calling for the extermination of the Jews were occasionally appearing in Der Stürmer. During the war the newspaper regularly featured articles demanding the annihilation of the Jewish race. After the war Streicher was executed on the charge of accessory to murder for the articles he allowed to be printed.
Most of the paper's readership were young working class Germans. In order to maximise the paper's reach Streicher bought hoarding space in many towns and cities throughout Germany displaying the week's edition in glass Stürmerkästen below a large billboard advertising the newspaper. As well as advertising the publication itself these hoardings provided discounted promotion for Streicher's advertisers and allowed the articles to reach those readers who either did not have time to buy and read a newspaper in depth or could not afford the expense.
Nazi attitudes towards the paper
From the late 1920s, Julius Streicher's vulgar style of journalism increasingly became a source of embarrassment for the Nazi Party. In 1936, the distribution of Der Stürmer was suspended during the Olympic Games. Joseph Goebbels, unimpressed by Streicher's overt lack of integrity, briefly banned the paper in 1938. Hermann Göring forbade Der Stürmer in all of his departments, and Baldur von Schirach banned it from the libraries of Hitler Youth hostels and other educational and youth institutions by a "Reichsbefehl" ("Reich command"). Göring harboured a particularly intense hatred of the paper, especially after it published a libellous article alleging that his daughter Edda had been conceived through artificial insemination. It was only through Hitler's intervention that Streicher was spared any punishment.
However, a number of senior officials, including Heinrich Himmler (head of the SS), Robert Ley (leader of the German Labour Front), and Max Amann (proprietor of the Zentral Verlag (Central Press), comprising 80% of the German press in 1942), endorsed the publication, and their statements were often published in the paper. Albert Forster, Gauleiter of Danzig, wrote in 1937:
With pleasure, I say that the Stürmer, more than any other daily or weekly newspaper, has made clear to the people in simple ways the danger of Jewry. Without Julius Streicher and his Stürmer, the importance of a solution to the Jewish question would not be seen to be as critical as it actually is by many citizens. It is therefore to be hoped that those who want to learn [the] unvarnished truth about the Jewish question will read the Stürmer.
Hitler considered Streicher's primitive methods to be effective in influencing "the man in the street". Although Streicher and his paper were increasingly isolated in the Nazi Party, Hitler continued to support Streicher, and according to some sources was an avid reader of Der Stürmer. In December 1941, he stated: "Streicher is reproached for his Stürmer. The truth is the opposite of what people say: He idealized the Jew. The Jew is baser, fiercer, more diabolical than Streicher depicted him." In February 1942, he praised the newspaper: "One must never forget the services rendered by the Stürmer ... Now that Jews are known for what they are, nobody any longer thinks that Streicher libelled them."
Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler's "confidant", said in the mid-1930s:
Anti-Semitism ... was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler's] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere, it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man's stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last.
During the war Der Stürmer's circulation heavily declined due to paper rationing and Streicher's conviction and subsequent exile from Nuremberg for corruption. More ominously, the Jews had begun to disappear from public life, diminishing the paper's relevance. The final edition was published on 1 February 1945.
According to the American writer Dennis Showalter, "a major challenge of political anti-Semitism involves overcoming the images of the 'Jew next door' – the living, breathing acquaintance or associate whose simple existence appears to deny the validity of that negative stereotype". The newspaper's lurid content appealed to a large spectrum of readers who were lower class and less-sophisticated. Der Stürmer was known for its use of simple themes that required little thought. The newspaper often gave descriptions of how to identify Jewish people, and included racist political cartoons, including anti-Semitic caricatures. Besides the graphic depictions, articles often focused on imaginary fears, exaggerations, and perceived behavioral differences between Jews and other German citizens.
After the war, Streicher was tried at the Nuremberg trials. His publishing and speaking activities were a major part of the evidence presented against him. In essence, the prosecutors took the line that Streicher's role in inciting Germans to exterminate Jews made him an accessory to murder, and thus as culpable as those who actually carried out the killing. Prosecutors also introduced evidence that Streicher continued his incendiary articles and speeches when he was well aware that Jews were being slaughtered. Streicher was found guilty of crimes against humanity, and hanged.
Der Stürmer was known for its anti-Semitic caricatures, which depicted Jews as ugly characters with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. In his propaganda work, Streicher furthered medieval stereotypes such as Blood Libel. The majority of these cartoons were the work of Philipp Rupprecht, known as Fips, who was one of the best-known anti-Semitic cartoonists of Nazi Germany. Through the adaptation and amalgamation of almost every existing anti-Semitic stereotype, myth, and tradition, Rupprecht's virulent attacks aimed predominantly at the dehumanization and demonization of Jews. At the bottom of the title page there was always the motto "Die Juden sind unser Unglück!" ("The Jews are our misfortune!"), coined by Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s. In the nameplate was the motto "Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampfe um die Wahrheit" ("German Weekly Newspaper in the Fight for Truth").
Stories of Rassenschande, i. e., Jewish men and German women having sex, were staples of Der Stürmer. Streicher described Jews as sex offenders who were "violators of the innocent", "perpetrators of bizarre sex crimes", and "ritual murderers" who performed religious ceremonies using the blood of other humans, usually Christians (see Blood libel). Streicher also frequently reported attempts of child molestation by Jews. Der Stürmer never lacked details about sex, names, and crimes in order to keep readers aroused and entertained. These accusations, articles, and crimes which were printed in Der Stürmer were often inaccurate, and they were rarely investigated by its staff members. In the newspaper's opinion, if a German girl became pregnant by a Jew, the Jew would deny his paternity, offer to pay for an abortion, fail to pay child support, or simply leave for the U.S. In Der Stürmer, it was not uncommon to hear reports of German women aborting their children because they did not want to bring a "Jewish bastard into the world".
Streicher believed in the anti-Semitic telegony theories of Artur Dinter, whose 1917 bestseller Die Sünde wider das Blut ("The Sin Against the Blood") claimed that an ejaculation of a Jewish man into the vagina of a "German-blooded" woman was sufficient enough to change the woman so effectively that all of her future descendants would have Jewish blood. This theory was rejected by the Nazis in the 1935 racials laws and was called a "heresy" by the Racial Office of the NSDAP. The official Nazi position stated that "the racial characteristics of a person were determined by heredity".
Showalter said, "For Julius Streicher, the Jews' hatred for Christianity was only concealed for one reason: Business." Jewish businessmen were often portrayed as doing almost anything to obtain financial wealth, which included, in his words, "becoming a usurer, a traitor, a murderer". In the summer of 1931, Streicher focused much of the paper's attention on a Jewish-owned butchery. One philanthropic merchant operated a soup kitchen; Der Stürmer ran articles which accused the business of poisoning all of the food which it served to its customers. Der Stürmer criticized and twisted the reason for every single price increase and decrease in Jewish shops, as well as the reasons for their charitable donations, as a further form of Jewish financial greed. This attack on Jewish benevolence received the most public criticism out of all of Der Stürmer's anti-Semitic propaganda. Its "Letter Box" page published letters from readers about crimes and other forms of anti-social behavior which were reportedly committed by Jews, lending an air of authenticity to its editorial content.
- Other newspapers of Nazi Germany:
- The Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi news website which is named and modeled after Der Stürmer
- Koonz, p. 228
- Zelnhefer, Siegfried (ndg) "Der Stürmer. Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampf um die Wahrheit" Historisches Lexikon Bayerns
- Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team. Holocaust Research Project. 2009. Web. 21 October 2009.
- Streicher, Julius (1933). Die Geheimpläne gegen Deutschland enthüllt (in German). Der Stürmer.
- "Streicher judgement".
- IMT vol. XIII/XIV[clarification needed]
- Dolibois, John E. (2001) Pattern of Circles: An Ambassador's Story. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0873387023[page needed]
- Thompson, Allan (2007) The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. London: Pluto Press. p. 334 ISBN 9780745326252
- Trevor-Roper, Hugh R. and Weinberg, Gerhard L. (2013). Hitler's Table Talk 1941–1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books. pp.118, 250. ISBN 978-1-936274-93-2.
- Rauschning, Hermann (1939) Hitler Speaks. London: Thornton Buttersworth. pp. 233–234
- Jennifer Rosenberg (2 April 2017). "Der Stuermer: An Overview of the Nazi's Antisemitic Newspaper". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
- Showalter, Dennis E. (1982) Little Man What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimer Republic Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books.[page needed]
- Linsler, Carl-Eric. Stürmer-Karikaturen, in: Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Judenfeindschaft in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Bd. 7: Literatur, Film, Theater und Kunst, hrsg. von Wolfgang Benz, Berlin 2015, p. 477.
- Ben-Sasson, H.H., ed. (1976) A History of the Jewish People. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 875. ISBN 0-674-39730-4
- Fink, Fritz (1935) "The End: Betrayed to Death by a Jew" Der Sturner from Calvin College German Propaganda Archive
- Bensow, Laura (2016). "Frauen und Mädchen, die Juden sind Euer Verderben!" Eine Untersuchung antisemitischer NS-Propaganda unter Anwendung der Analysekategorie Geschlecht. Hamburg: Marta Press. p. 140.
- Koonz, pp. 230–231
- Bytwerk, R.L. Julius Streicher (New York: Cooper Square, 2001), p. 59.
- Imbleau, Martin. "Der Stürmer." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Ed. Dinah Shelton. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 247-249. 3 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Thomson Gale.
- Keysers, Ralph. Der Stürmer: Instrument de l'idéologie nazie: Une analyse des caricatures d'intoxication. L'Harmattan, Paris 2012. ISBN 978-2-296-96258-3.
- Koonz, Claudia (2003) The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press.ISBN 0-674-01172-4
- Wistrich, Robert. Who's Who in Nazi Germany (Routledge, New York, 1995), q. v. Streicher, Julius.
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