"Die Juden sind unser Unglück!"
[Slogan printed on the bottom of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer]
Der Stürmer was an anti-Semitic "tabloid style" newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 almost continuously through to the end of World War II. Der Stürmer was viewed by Hitler as playing a significant role in the Nazi propaganda machinery and a useful tool in influencing the "common man on the street".
The origin of the paper lies in conflict within the party at Nuremberg during attempts to establish power and control. Streicher was deeply embroiled in the power struggle and in April 1923, the opposition held an "Evening of Revelations" where he was accused of being "a liar, a coward, of having unsavory friends, mistreating his wife, and of flirting with women".
In response to the accusations the first copy of Der Stuermer was published on April 20th, 1923.
Unlike the official party newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, "The fighting paper of the National Socialist movement of Greater Germany", which gave the appearance of being a serious political publication, 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-communist propaganda, in order to appeal to a larger spectrum of readers, but especially targeting the working class.
The tag line at the bottom of the papers cover page usually carried the following phrase coined by Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s:
"Die Juden sind unser Unglück!" The Jews are our misfortune!
Streicher used the publication as a platform for calculated smear campaigns against specific Jews, such as the Nuremberg city official Julius Fleischmann, who worked for Streicher’s nemesis, mayor Hermann Luppe. Der Stürmer accused Fleischmann of stealing socks from his quartermaster during combat in World War I.
Fleischmann subsequently sued Streicher and was successful in disproving the allegations in court, but revealing testimony in the courtroom regarding Fleischmann's earlier record as a public servant, severely damaged his reputation and Striecher who was fined 900 marks for the affair claimed a personal victory. "Something always sticks" became his new motto.
Scandal and sensationalism were the mainstay of the paper. As the Jews became more and more the primary focus, any scandal or crime that could be alleged would make its way into the paper. Particularly tales of crimes against Aryan women and girls by the "evil, disgusting, no good Jews!"
One of the favorite topics was "blood libel" or "Jewish ritual murder." It is a charge that was common in the middle ages and has been traced back even farther. Its claim is that in order to perform religious ceremonies, the blood of other humans usually Christians, was necessary. The "best blood" was always deemed the blood of infants or children, and the task was accomplished by kidnapping, torture and eventual murder by ritual sacrifice.
Soon Der Stürmer's popularity began to spread outside of Nuremberg and Munich, and Streicher needed topics of greater interest to a broader public. In keeping with its tabloid style, Der Stürmer tied Jews to sex and crime. The paper carried increasing numbers of stories of Jewish rape and other distasteful crimes against the German people. Der Stürmer never paid for a "scoop" in fact the staff worried little about even bothering to conduct any form of investigative reporting and rather relied heavily on their readers to provide them with news stories.
A printed card was distributed where a person could mail-in their story regardless of any proof or verifiable evidence. A large number of these unsubstantiated reports came from dedicated Nazis, but many also came from ordinary people seeking to avenge themselves for a perceived wrong.
Der Stürmer was also notorious for its anti-Semitic cartoons, most of which portrayed Jews as ugly characters with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Philipp Rupprecht later known from his pen name Fips, was dispatched to cover the second Luppe-Streicher trial with instructions to draw a caricature of Julius Streicher, he instead drew caricatures of Nuremberg's Mayor, Hermann Luppe, the cartoons were published by Der Stürmer in December 1925, and Rupprecht was hired as the new cartoonist.
Among his best-known works were illustrations for two anti-Semitic children's books published by Stürmer Verlag: Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid und keinem Jud auf seinem Eid or "Don't Trust a Fox in a Green Pasture Or a Jew Upon His Oath", and "Der Giftpilz" "The Poisonous Mushroom"
Fips also drew many cartoons attacking Jewish capitalism and the perceived link to communism, but he was perhaps most enjoyed for his artwork detailing "ritual murder" and "kosher butchering" in and attempt to portray Jews as heartless and cruel.
One cartoon caption from the July 1938 edition stated:
"Whoever had the occasion to be an eye-witness during the slaughtering of animals or to see at least a truthful film on the slaughtering-will never forget this horrible experience. It is atrocious. And unwillingly, he is reminded of the crimes which the Jews have committed for centuries on men. He will be reminded of the ritual murder.
History points out hundreds of cases in which non-Jewish children were tortured to death. They also were given the same incision through the throat as is found on slaughtered animals. They also were slowly bled to death while fully conscious"
Der Stürmer, July 1938
Over time Der Stürmer's circulation grew and it was distributed to any country with a large German population, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, among others.
But by 1938 the rhetoric began to change. Rather than the usual rants against the evils of the Jews, the paper began to call for the annihilation of the Jewish race. Between 1938 and 1941 the Nuremberg trials proved that twenty-three individual articles were printed in Der Stürmer where the key focus was the urging of the physical destruction of Jews as a vermin and pestilence.
One article from May, 1939 stated:
"A punitive expedition must come against the Jews in Russia. A punitive expedition which will provide the same fate for them that every murderer and criminal must expect. Death sentence and execution. The Jews in Russia must be killed. They must be exterminated root and branch."
As the war progressed successfully on both fronts, Streicher stepped up his efforts to incite anti-Jewish hatred through his speeches and his writings. Over the next few years between August, 1941 and September, 1944, he personally authored 12 articles demanding the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race in unequivocal terms.
One article written personally by Streicher dated 25th December, 1941 stated:
"If the danger of the reproduction of that curse of God in the Jewish blood is to finally come to an end, then there is only one way-the extermination of that people whose father is the devil."
On March 19, 1942 he also stated:
"There were two ways which might have led to a liberation of Europe from the Jews: Expulsion or extermination! Both methods have been tried in the course of the centuries, but they were never carried to a conclusion.... The teaching of Christianity has stood in the way of a radical solution of the Jewish problem in Europe...
Fate has decreed that it was finally left to the 20th century to see the total solution of the Jewish problem. Just how this solution will be achieved has been made known to the European nations and to entire non-Jewish humanity in a proclamation read out by the Führer of the German people on the 24th February 1942."
(quoting Adolf Hitler):
"Today the ideas of our National socialists and those of the Fascist revolution have conquered large and mighty nations and my prophecy will find its fulfillment, that in this war not the Aryan race will be destroyed, but the Jew will be exterminated. What ever else this struggle may lead to, or however long it may endure, this will be the final result."
Der Stürmer circulation 1927 -1938 (source www.calvin.edu)
|No. 6 (1934)||47,000|
|No. 17 (1934)||50,000|
|No. 19 (1934)||60,000|
|No. 33 (1934)||80,000|
|No. 35 (1934)||94,114|
|No. 42 (1934)||113,800|
|No. 6 (1935)||132,897|
|No. 19 (1935)||202,600|
|No. 29 (1935)||286,400|
|No. 36 (1935)||410,600|
|No. 40 (1935)||486,000|
|No. 5 (1938)||473,000|
During the war, the paper's circulation dropped because of paper shortages, as well as Streicher's exile from Nuremberg for corruption. What can be seen as a more ominous result is that Der Stürmer's main target, the Jews, had begun to disappear from everyday life. Fewer and fewer Jews were seen on the streets of Germany and its territories.
However Hitler, insisted that Streicher receive sufficient support to continue publishing Der Stürmer until the very end of the Third Reich.
The view of Streicher and Der Stürmer at the Nuremberg trials:
The crime of Streicher is that he made these crimes possible, which they would never have been had it not been for him and for those like him. Without Streicher and his propaganda, I.E " Der Stürmer", mass murderers such as Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner, Globocnik, Hoess, and even Himmler himself, would have had no one to do their dirty work for them.
In its extent Streicher's crime is probably greater and more far-reaching than that of any of the other defendants. The misery which they caused ceased with their capture.
The effects of this man's crime, of the poison that he has put into the minds of millions of young boys and girls will continue on for years to come, since he concentrated so much of his hatred for the Jews upon the youth and childhood of Germany.
He leaves behind him a legacy in print, that swayed the hearts of thousands of people poisoning them with hate, sadism, and the will to commit murder. Those thousands will remain a problem and perhaps even a menace to the rest of civilization for generations to come..
Streicher was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and sentenced to death on October 1, 1946.
The judgment against him read, in part:
“...For his 25 years of speaking, writing, and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One.’ In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution...
Streicher's incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.”
As Julius Streicher climbed the scaffolding on the day of his execution, he spat at the hangman and said, "The Bolsheviks will hang you one day!" He fell to his death, shouting, "Purim Festival, 1946!"
Randall Bytwerk, Julius Streicher: The Man Who Persuaded a Nation to Hate Jews (New York: Stein & Day, 1983).
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The Nazi Ideology of Race."
National Archives and Records Administration (USA),
The Holocaust Chronicle
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality Washington, DC 1946
Jews, Nazis, and the Law:The Case of Julius Streicher by Dennis E. Showalter
Copyright: Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009