Der Stürmer

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Der Stürmer
Der Sturmer Christian blood.jpg
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)
TypeWeekly newspaper
Publisher Julius Streicher
Founded20 April 1923
Political alignment
Language German
Ceased publication1 February 1945
Headquarters Nuremberg, Nazi Germany
Circulation 480,000 (1938)

Der Stürmer (pronounced [deːɐ̯ ˈʃtʏʁmɐ] , lit., "The Stormer/Attacker/Striker") 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 was a significant part of Nazi propaganda, and was vehemently anti-Semitic. [1] The paper was not an official publication of the Nazi party, but was published privately by Streicher. For this reason, the paper did not display the Nazi party swastika in its logo. The paper was a very lucrative business for Streicher, and made him a multi-millionaire. [2]

Tabloid (newspaper format) type of newspaper format

A tabloid is a newspaper with a compact page size smaller than broadsheet. There is no standard size for this newspaper format.

Newspaper scheduled publication containing news of events, articles, features, editorials, and advertising

A newspaper is a periodical publication containing written information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background.

Julius Streicher German politician and publisher

Julius Streicher was a prominent member of the Nazi Party. He was the founder and publisher of the semi-pornographic and virulently anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz, one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which warned about the supposed dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor of an attractive yet deadly mushroom. The publishing firm was financially very successful and made Streicher a multi-millionaire.


Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter (The Völkisch Observer), the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance, Der Stürmer often ran material such as caricatures of Jews and accusations of blood libel, [1] as well as sexually explicit, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, and anti-monarchist propaganda.

<i>Völkischer Beobachter</i> periodical literature

The Völkischer Beobachter was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party from 25 December 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from 8 February 1923. For twenty-four years it formed part of the official public face of the Nazi Party until its last edition at the end of April 1945. The paper was banned and ceased publication between November 1923, after Adolf Hitler's arrest for leading the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, and February 1925, the approximate time of the rally which relaunched the NSDAP.


A caricature is a rendered image showing the features of its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way through sketching, pencil strokes, or through other artistic drawings.

Blood libel or ritual murder libel is an antisemitic canard accusing Jews of kidnapping and murdering Christian children in order to use their blood as part of religious rituals. Historically, these claims—alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration—have been a major theme of the persecution of Jews in Europe.

The newspaper originated at Nuremberg during Adolf Hitler's attempt to establish power and control. The first copy of Der Stürmer was published on 20 April 1923. [3] Der Stürmer’s circulation grew over time, distributing to a large percentage of the German population, as well as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The newspaper reached a peak circulation of 486,000 in 1937. [2]

Nuremberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city in Germany. On the Pegnitz River and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, and is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. Nuremberg forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring cities of Fürth, Erlangen and Schwabach with a total population of 787,976 (2016), while the larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has approximately 3.5 million inhabitants. The city lies about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich. It is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area.

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

As early as 1933, Streicher was calling for the extermination of the Jews in Der Stürmer. [4] During the war, Streicher regularly authorized articles demanding the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race. [3] After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity, and executed. [5]

Crimes against humanity deliberate attack against civilians

Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.

Racist caricatures

Der Stürmer was best 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, e. g., that Jews killed children, sacrificed them, and drank their blood. The large majority of these drawings were the work of Philipp Rupprecht, known as Fips, who was one of the best-known anti-Semitic cartoonists of the "Third Reich". 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. [6]

Philipp Rupprecht was a German cartoonist best known for his anti-Semitic caricatures in the Nazi publication Der Stürmer, under the pen-name Fips.

Julius Streicher, Der Sturmer's publisher, at the Nuremberg trials StreicherDarkerSharpHLSL.jpg
Julius Streicher, Der Stürmer's publisher, at the Nuremberg trials

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

Heinrich von Treitschke Historian, political writer

Heinrich Gotthard von Treitschke was a German historian, political writer and National Liberal member of the Reichstag during the time of the German Empire. He was an outspoken nationalist, who favored German colonialism and opposed the British Empire. He also opposed Catholics, Poles and socialists inside Germany.


Most of its readers were young people and people from the lowest strata of German society. Copies of Der Stürmer were displayed in prominent red Stürmerkasten throughout the Reich; as well as advertising the publication, the cases also allowed its articles to reach those readers who either did not have time to buy and read a daily newspaper in depth, or could not afford the expense. In 1927, Der Stürmer sold about 27,000 copies every week; by 1935, its circulation had increased to around 480,000.[ citation needed ]

Nazi attitudes towards the paper

Since the late 1920s, Streicher's vulgar and inconsiderate style was increasingly a cause of embarrassment for the Nazi party. In 1936, the sale of the Der Stürmer in Berlin was restricted during the Olympic Games. Joseph Goebbels tried to ban the newspaper in 1938. [2] Hermann Göring forbade Der Stürmer in all of his departments, and Baldur von Schirach banned it as a means of education in the Hitler Youth hostels and other education facilities by a "Reichsbefehl" ("Reich command"). [8] 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. [9]

However, other senior Nazi 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 (now Gdańsk), wrote in 1937:

Boys in front of a Sturmerkasten, the public stands in cities featuring Der Sturmer during the Nazi era in Germany USHMM 64415.jpg
Boys in front of a Stürmerkasten, the public stands in cities featuring Der Stürmer during the Nazi era in Germany
German citizens, publicly reading Der Sturmer, in Worms, 1933. The billboard heading reads: "With the Sturmer against Judea" Bundesarchiv Bild 133-075, Worms, Antisemitische Presse, "Sturmerkasten".jpg
German citizens, publicly reading Der Stürmer, in Worms, 1933. The billboard heading reads: "With the Stürmer against Judea"

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. [10]

Hitler considered Streicher's primitive methods to be effective in influencing "the man in the street". [3] Although Streicher and his paper were increasingly isolated in the Nazi party, Hitler continued to support Streicher, and was an avid reader of Der Stürmer. [2] 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." [11]

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. [12]

During the war, the paper's circulation dropped because of paper shortages, as well as Streicher's exile from Nuremberg for corruption. More ominously, because of the Holocaust, the people it targeted had begun to disappear from everyday life, which diminished the paper's relevance.[ citation needed ] Hitler, however, insisted that Streicher receive sufficient support to continue publishing Der Stürmer. The final edition of the newspaper was published on 1 February 1945. [13]

The body of Julius Streicher after being hanged, 16 October 1946 Dead Julius Streicher.jpg
The body of Julius Streicher after being hanged, 16 October 1946

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. [5]

1934 Sturmer issue: "Storm above Judah" - attacking institutional churches as "Judaized" organizations. Caption: Two thousand years ago I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation. Stuermer1934.gif
1934 Stürmer issue: "Storm above Judah" - attacking institutional churches as "Judaized" organizations. Caption: Two thousand years ago I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation.

Anti-Semitic content

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. [3] 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. [14]

Sexual crimes

Stories of Rassenschande , i. e., the Jewish men and German women having sex, were staples of Der Stürmer. [15] Streicher described Jews as sex offenders who were [14] "violators of the innocent", "perpetrators of bizarre sex crimes", and "ritual murderers" who performed in religious ceremonies using blood of other humans, usually Christians. 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 printed in Der Stürmer were often inaccurate, and rarely investigated by staff members.

In the newspaper's opinion, if a German girl became pregnant by a Jew, the Jew would deny paternity, offer to pay for an abortion, fail to pay child support, or simply leave for the U.S. Within 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". [14]

Showlter said, "For Julius Streicher, the Jews' hatred for Christianity was concealed only for one reason: Business." Jewish businessmen were often portrayed as doing almost anything to obtain financial wealth, which included, in his words, "become a usurer, a traitor, a murderer". [14] 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 accusing the business of poisoning the food served. Der Stürmer criticized and twisted every single price increase and decrease in Jewish shops, as well as their charitable donations, as a further form of 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" encouraged the reporting of Jewish illegal acts; the unofficial style helped prevent suspicion of propaganda, and lent it an air of authenticity. [16]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Koonz, p. 228
  2. 1 2 3 4 Zelnhefer, Siegfried (ndg) "Der Stürmer. Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampf um die Wahrheit" Historisches Lexikon Bayerns
  3. 1 2 3 4 Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team. Holocaust Research Project. 2009. Web. 21 October 2009.
  4. Streicher, Julius (1933). Die Geheimpläne gegen Deutschland enthüllt (in German). Der Stürmer.
  5. 1 2 "Streicher judgement".
  6. 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.
  7. Ben-Sasson, H.H., ed. (1976) A History of the Jewish People. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 875. ISBN   0-674-39730-4
  8. IMT vol. XIII/XIV[ clarification needed ]
  9. Dolibois, John E. (2001) Pattern of Circles: An Ambassador's Story. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN   0873387023 [ page needed ]
  10. Thompson, Allan (2007) The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. London: Pluto Press. p. 334 ISBN   9780745326252
  11. 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.
  12. Rauschning, Hermann (1939) Hitler Speaks. London: Thornton Buttersworth. pp. 233–234
  13. Jennifer Rosenberg (2 April 2017). "Der Stuermer - An Overview of the Nazi's Antisemitic Newspaper". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Showalter, Dennis E. (1982) Little Man What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimer Republic Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books. [ page needed ]
  15. Fink, Fritz (1935) "The End: Betrayed to Death by a Jew" Der Sturner from Calvin College German Propaganda Archive
  16. Koonz, pp. 230–231