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1934 Stürmer special issue, image shows Jews extracting blood from Christian children for use in religious rituals (the Blood libel against Jews)
1934 Stürmer issue: "Storm above Juda" - criticizing institutional churches as "Judaized" organizations. Caption: I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation.

Der Stürmer (literally, "The Stormer;" or more accurately, "The Attacker") was a weekly Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in circulation due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic. Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter (translatable as The People's Observer), the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance, the tabloid-style Der Stürmer often ran obscene materials such as anti-Semitic caricatures and propaganda-like accusations of blood libel, pornography, anti-Catholic, anti-capitalist and anti-"reactionary" propaganda too, in order to appeal to a larger public of readers, especially among the lower class.

Contents

Racist caricatures

Der Stürmer was best-known for its vulgar anti-semitic caricatures, which portrayed Jews as ugly characters with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. In his propaganda work, Streicher furthered old myths from the middle ages, e.g. that Jews killed children, sacrificed them and drank their blood. Many of these drawing were the work of Philipp Rupprecht, known as Fips, who was one of the best-known anti-Semitic cartoonists, his virulent attacks wedding "Jewish capitalists" with "Jewish Communism" etc.

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.[1] In the nameplate was the motto "Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampfe um die Wahrheit" ("German Weekly Newspaper in the Fight for Truth").

Circulation

Boys in front of a Stürmerkasten, the public stands in German cities featuring Der Stürmer
German citizens, public reading of "Der Stürmer", Worms 1933

Most of its readers were young people and people from the lowest strata of German society. Copies of Der Stürmer were displayed in prominent display cases throughout the Reich. In 1927, it sold about 27,000 copies every week; by 1935, its circulation had reached around 480,000.

Hermann Göring forbade Der Stürmer in all of his departments, and Baldur von Schirach banned it as a means of education in the Hitlerjugend (HJ)-hostels and other HJ-education facilities by a "Reichsbefehl", ("Reich command"). (IMT vol. XIII/XIV).

However, other senior Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler (Head of the SS), Robert Ley (Leader of the DAF), and Max Amann (Proprietor of the Zentral Verlag (Central Press), comprising 80 percent of the German press in 1942), endorsed the publication, and their statements were often published in Der Stürmer. Albert Forster, Gauleiter of Danzig (Gdańsk), 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 unvarnished truth about the Jewish question will read the Stürmer."

Hitler considered Streicher's "primitive methods" to be effective in influencing the man on the street. A senior Nazi politician 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, the paper's circulation dropped because of paper shortages, as well as Streicher's exile from Nuremberg for corruption. More ominously, perhaps, the Jews, its main target, had begun to disappear from everyday life, which diminished the paper's relevance. Hitler, however, insisted that Streicher receive sufficient support to continue publishing Der Stürmer.

After the war, Streicher was tried at the Nuremberg trials for crimes against humanity for his role in inciting Germans to exterminate Jews. His publishing activities were a major part of the evidence presented against him. Streicher was found guilty and hanged.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ben-Sasson, H.H., ed. (1976): A History of the Jewish People. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge). ISBN 0-674-39730-4, p.875
  • 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.
  • Wistrich, Robert. Who’s Who in Nazi Germany (Routledge, New York, 1995), q.v. Streicher, Julius.
  • Bytwerk, R.L. Julius Streicher (New York: Cooper Square, 2001), p 59.

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