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"Völkisch" Writers and National Socialism

A Study of Right-Wing Political Culture in Germany, 1890–1960


Guy Tourlamain

This book provides a view of literary life under the Nazis, highlighting the ambiguities, rivalries and conflicts that determined the cultural climate of that period and beyond. Focusing on a group of writers – in particular, Hans Grimm, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Wilhelm Schäfer, Emil Strauß, Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen and Rudolf Binding – it examines the continuities in völkisch-nationalist thought in Germany from c. 1890 into the post-war period and the ways in which völkisch-nationalists identified themselves in opposition to four successive German regimes: the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the Federal Republic. Although their work predated Hitler’s National Socialist movement, their contribution to preparing the cultural climate for the rise of Nazism ensured them continued prominence in the Third Reich. Those who survived into the post-war era continued to represent the völkisch-nationalist worldview in the West German public sphere, opposing both the Soviet and liberal-democratic models for Germany’s future. While not uncontroversial, they were able to achieve significant publishing success, suggesting that a demand existed for their works among the German public, stimulating debate about the nature of the recent past and its effect on Germany’s cultural and political identity and position in the world.
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Chapter 4: Beyond the Literature Academy

← 216 | 217 → CHAPTER 4

Beyond the Literature Academy

The völkisch-nationalist writers examined in this book defended the independence of ‘German’ writers, and sought to protect the German Geist from the tyranny of party politics. A self-professed elite, they viewed their role in German society as a calling. This determined their attitude towards the German Literature Academy. It also directed their actions in other spheres. Despite initial support for the regime, the significant group of völkisch-nationalist writers considered in the previous chapter demonstrated that they were not primarily concerned with winning Nazi favour or endorsing National Socialism for its own sake. A longer tradition of nationalist writing and thought provided them with an agenda in the Third Reich.

The German Literature Academy provided one focus for the energies of some of the most prominent völkisch-nationalist writers in the first years of the Third Reich. It was, however, not the only arena in which they sought to achieve their goals in the 1930s. While the production of original new work was relatively low they remained extremely active, as Ernst von Salomon pointed out in Der Fragebogen.1 Right-wing literary networks were more fluid than the history of the Literature Academy alone suggests. Add their frequent correspondence to regular meetings at literary events and a picture emerges of a more dynamic literary sphere during the Third Reich than the institutional history might at first suggest.

These writers also found ways to communicate their own vision and their dissatisfaction with the Nazi regime to a wider public. Völkisch ideology ← 217 | 218 → emphasised the importance of deeds over words, encouraging writers to reach beyond their immediate circles. Two ways in which they achieved this in the Third Reich, the journal Das innere Reich and Hans Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, are examined in this chapter. Attention will also be given to the history of the Langen-Müller Verlag, one of the most prominent völkisch-nationalist publishing houses in Germany in the 1930s, and publisher of Das innere Reich. The struggle of its director, Gustav Pezold, and several authors, including Grimm, Schäfer, Kolbenheyer and Strauß, to maintain its independence in the face of the Nazi Party’s own publishing house, the Eher Verlag, ended in failure. Nonetheless, it strengthened the ties between völkisch-nationalist intellectuals and demonstrated the extent to which some were willing to stand against the government, providing several with alibis for the post-war period.

Das innere Reich

Nazi literary censorship made inroads into journalistic and academic literary criticism. Nonetheless, in spite of increasingly stringent attempts to establish an all-encompassing system of literary control, between 1933 and 1936 it was unclear to many critics what constituted Nazi literature. In addition to a lack of public enthusiasm for many works that were branded ‘National Socialist’, many literary journals run or endorsed by the Party press organisations produced conflicting reviews of the same works.2 This undermined the Party’s claim to represent a unified and clear ideological structure. Goebbels prohibited artistic criticism altogether in 1936, a result of increasing complaints about the state of art and literary criticism, both from inside and outside the Nazi Party. It was replaced by ‘National Socialist ← 218 | 219 → contemplation of art,’ executed by officially authorised commentators over the age of thirty, thus ensuring a mature approach.3 It was pointed out that ‘criticism’ should now be unnecessary given that all published works had to be approved by the Party machinery. Organs that were caught breaching Party guidelines were subject to strict warnings.4 The tight controls imposed on the art review process were intended to ensure that the internal tensions and conflicting ideological interpretations within the Nazi Party did not make themselves apparent to the general public.5

Literary criticism was also affected by the nature of the books that were published: as controls over publishing tightened, the scope of available new literature became narrower. By the time Hanns Johst became president of the RSK on 3rd October 1935 the positions in the administration of literary life had been filled laregly by followers of the Nazi Party. In theory only works that made it past the Party’s censorship machinery were made available to the public; the fact that they had been declared suitable for publication by the Nazi Party made them immune to outside criticism. Increasingly, criticism of published literature came to equal criticism of the Nazi Party itself.6

The foundation of the new cultural journal Das innere Reich in 1934 was among the most significant developments in the völkisch-nationalist literary landscape following the Nazi Machtergreifung. Gustav Pezold first conceived the idea of establishing a conservative journal in the Langen-Müller Verlag in 1932.7 Its editors, Paul Alverdes and Benno von Mechow, were selected in that year. The title, suggested by von Mechow, was also decided before the Nazis came to power.8 Like the members of the Munich Consensus, with several of whom they were in close contact, Alverdes and ← 219 | 220 → von Mechow greeted the Third Reich with enthusiasm. Like the Munich Consensus, however, their relationship with the regime deteriorated and after 1945 they and their colleagues took pains to emphasise their opposition to the Nazis.9

Curt Hohoff, who was a member of the journal’s staff from 1935, later praised it as an ‘attempt at an intelligent journal in an anti-intellectual regime.’10 In his romanticised memoirs of his youth in Munich in the 1930s he described his arrival in Munich as a student in 1934.11 His mother had dispatched him with an introduction to Hans Severing, the proprietor of a bookshop in the Maximilianstraße. Hohoff described the shop as a place for serious literature, the presence of Langen-Müller publications, including Das innere Reich, alongside those of Insel, Rowohlt, S. Fischer, the Deutsche Verlagsanstalt and the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, confirming this fact.12 Subsequent attempts to place Das innere Reich in the cultural and political landscape of the Third Reich have not, however, resulted in a clear picture of its position. While Harry Pross placed it alongside the Hitler Youth organ, Wille und Macht, as an organ of the regime,13 Klaus Günther described it as a well-meaning, but feeble compromise by authors who were concerned to reconcile their cultural and intellectual concerns under the repressive rule of the fascist state.14 Hans Mayer, on the other hand, saw it as a secret gathering point for writers against the regime.15 Ernst Loewy and Horst Denkler have also added their voices to the debate, both attempting to reconcile the conflicting interpretations of the journal ← 220 | 221 → in literary historiography.16 Loewy describes it as ‘more representative of the “conservative” than the radical forces within German literature in the Reich.’17 On the other hand, he continues: ‘Admittedly, there were also no signs of opposition to the Third Reich in it; forced into line like all the remaining journals, it represented the spirit of the time to a “more demanding” public.’18

The journal catered for educated Germans who found the banal aspects of National Socialism unattractive. It reflected, in particular, the position of völkisch-nationalist literature in the Third Reich. The creators of the latter understood themselves as responding to a higher intellectual calling, beyond that of the mass National Socialist movement. Both Alverdes and von Mechow moved in the völkisch-nationalist literary circles in the 1930s. They shared common bonds forged not only by their journal, published by one of the last independent völkisch-nationalist publishing houses, but also by wartime experiences and associations and their contacts with Grimm, Binding and others. They understood their cultural role in terms similar to those presented by the Munich Consensus. Indeed, not only is there considerable evidence that members of the Munich Consensus regularly read the journal, but they also formed a significant section of its core contributors.19

By aligning Das innere Reiche with the Munich Consensus, it is also possible to address the attempts of those who sought to defend the journal after 1945 as an organ of inner emigration. The previous chapter demonstrated that while the Munich Consensus displayed some of the symptoms of inner emigration, the völkisch ideology that motivated its members also demanded ← 221 | 222 → that they take active responsibility for promoting their goals in Germany. Therefore, while they increasingly withdrew from direct engagement in politics, they were unable to retreat altogether. Instead they sought other outlets to achieve their aims. Das innere Reich thus became an organ of a more traditional form of völkisch thought than National Socialism. It should be viewed in the context of the activities of völkisch-nationalist writers, who were increasingly disillusioned by the Nazi regime, but rarely in direct opposition to it. They focused increasingly on the preservation and cultivation of the German Geist for the future. Instead of engaging directly in the politics of the present the journal became part of this longer struggle.

The second significant völkisch-nationalist element that characterised Das innere Reich was the experience of the First World War and Germany’s defeat in 1918. This is recognised by Denkler, who identifies the War as the underlying factor in the self-definition of the journal.20 The War certainly influenced its two editors, both of whom drew on their experiences in the trenches in their own work, and it also provided the prime source of inspiration for many of its contributors.21 However, though the unifying element in the journal was not to be found in its reaction to the Nazi regime, but in its reaction to the First World War, this cannot be separated from adherence to the völkisch-nationalist vision of a new Germany. Introducing the first edition of Das innere Reich, Alverdes and von Mechow made it clear that for them the First World War represented the beginning of the national ← 222 | 223 → revolution, which, after the struggle of the Weimar years, would finally end in victory for the National Socialist regime.22 The Nazis were, therefore, important to the extent they contributed to bringing about the Germany for which völkisch-nationalist writers had been fighting for decades.

True to its völkisch-nationalist pedigree, moreover, the journal also picked up on the themes that had occupied völkisch-nationalists throughout the Weimar Republic, defining itself against liberalism and republicanism and championing the most prominent völkisch-nationalist writers of the period. In the same edition, Alverdes addressed these issues in an article on new books, concentrating in particular on Grimm’s Lüderitzland,23 which he praised for its sparse but expressive language and masterful narrative that described the ‘simple, innocent person, the small man, the man on the street.’24 In approaching Grimm’s work more generally, Alverdes described the lack of appreciation it had found among republican literary figures before 1933, adding that the reviews in his new journal would seek to right the mistakes of the past. He asserted Grimm’s place among the modern Dichter, his writing reflecting his faith in the völkisch-nationalist themes he addressed.25 Alverdes’ understanding of Dichtung transcended its political usefulness. For him, as for other völkisch-nationalists, Dichtung was identifiable in its representation of the fundamental nature of the Volk from which it came.26 At pains to avoid defining it as an organ of artistic criticism in the face of increasing restrictions in this sphere from Goebbels, the editors of Das innere Reich presented it in the role of commentator. Their reluctance to issue any more formal programmatic statements for the journal, Denkler suggests, reflected the concern of Alverdes and von Mechow to mask their own ambivalent feelings towards the regime.27

← 223 | 224 → Alongside its editors, a wide variety of authors contributed to the journal. Most of them represented conservative or völkisch-nationalist thinking, but their attitudes towards National Socialism and the Nazi regime varied.28 In 1971, Alverdes asserted that the main concern of the editors was the quality of the writing, regardless of the political stance of contributors. The only outside pressure to which the editors responded, he claimed, was that of the LMV to publish house authors like Blunck, Schäfer and Kolbenheyer.29 While Alverdes’ memory was undoubtedly selective after 1945, and his eagerness to present his activities during the Third Reich in an innocent light probably caused him to downplay the degree to which the journal courted the favour of the regime, the majority of contributors were nonetheless brought to the journal through the networks of völkisch-nationalist writers. The result was a wide variety of literary forms in its pages, including dramas and radio-plays, novels and poetry, as well as academic essays and a review section that discussed books, exhibitions and cultural events. Thematically, the journal presented political commentaries alongside fiction and artistic and literary reviews. Overall, the impression it gives is one of commentary on German life, reflecting the intrinsic and inseparable relationship of politics, culture and art in the völkisch ideology.

Rudolf Binding played an important role in the formation of the opinions of both Alverdes and von Mechow, and contributed significantly to the creation of a close network of völkisch-nationalist writers based in Munich that had a significant influence on the nature of Das innere Reich. Following his divorce and subsequent move to a house on the Starnberger See outside Munich in 1935, he gathered around him a group of writers residing in the area. After 1945 they became known as the Starnberger Kreis, which in its embryonic years included Binding, Alverdes and von Mechow, as well as the expressionist Georg Britting, Ludwig Friedrich Barthel, Heinrich Zillich ← 224 | 225 → and Edwin Erich Dwinger. Gatherings frequently began with a meal in the late morning and went on into the night, the literary guests congregating to enjoy Binding’s hospitality and conversation.30 Among them Barthel, Dwinger and Zillich all upheld the ideals of National Socialism, both generally and in the pages of Das innere Reich, while others adopted a more ambiguous stance towards the regime.31 Binding himself was frequently described by his friends and in the press at this time as tall, slender and of knightly character as befitted a former cavalry officer. Like his younger guests, his writing career, which had begun with a collection of legends in 1909, when he was 40, was strongly influenced by his experiences in the First World War.32 During the Weimar Republic works of poetry and novellas followed, as well as an autobiographical work, Erlebtes Leben, first published in 1928.33 In the Third Reich he continued to publish, although less prolifically, up to his death in 1938.34

Binding also brought other writers to the journal, including Hans Grimm, whose annual Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, attended over the years by a large group of nationalist writers, served further to unite völkisch-nationalist writers independently of Party events. Among those who attended Grimm’s meetings, alongside Binding and Alverdes, Joachim von der Goltz, Hermann Claudius, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Werner Beumelburg, Friedrich Bischoff and Rudolf Alexander Schröder all contributed at some stage to Das innere Reich. Further contributors to the journal included Agnes Miegel, Wilhelm Schäfer and, posthumously, Paul ← 225 | 226 → Ernst. The latter, who was highly rated by the editors, had originally been a social-democrat. From the mid-1890s, however, his short novels and dramas dealt with the theme of duty, Heimat and loyalty to a Führer. His death in 1933 enabled both the editors and the Nazis to interpret his works according to their own ends, without any opposition from their creator.35

In the early years of the journal, some writers also appeared in its pages who later voiced opposition to the regime. Ernst Wiechert is among the best known among them. His work was not at odds with the Nazi ideology, but he openly protested against the Nazis and stood up for Martin Niemöller and Eduard Spranger during their incarceration in concentration camps. He later wrote about his own experiences as a prisoner in Buchenwald in Der Totenwald.36 As evidence of the journal’s non-Nazi stance, after the Second World War, Hohoff also cited numerous bans on the journal, including one in 1943, which allegedly brought its production to an end. In fact this did not occur and the journal was finally closed down by the LMV itself following its October number in 1944. Moreover, while the journal did conflict with several Nazi organs in its early years, during its lifetime it was only banned once.37

In August 1936 an article by Rudolf Thiel was published to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Frederick the Great.38 It began: ‘He is the most questionable figure in our history. It has come so far that we no longer really know why he is called “Great”,’ the article went on to question the idealisation of the Prussian king in Nazi Germany. Greatness, according to Thiel’s thesis, did not rest on personal characteristics. Instead, Frederick’s greatness lay in his belonging and service to his Volk, and his Machiavellian ability to recognise the different and sometimes conflicting moral demands made by his private and public lives. His greatness therefore ← 226 | 227 → lay in the cultivation of his personal nature, whilst carrying out the tasks required to rule Prussia, to which he was born. He represented the ultimate synthesis of the individual with the Volk. Only in subordination to the Volk could the individual achieve his or her fullest potential, the völkisch identity being the foremost characteristic of every human being.39

Adverse reaction to this essay was delayed until 8th October 1936 when an article appeared in the SS journal, Das schwarze Korps, entitled ‘Und das nennt sich “Inneres Reich”’. The following day Goebbels ordered a ban on Das innere Reich, which appeared in the press on 11th October. Alverdes, who was in Berlin for a meeting of writers who had been at the front during the First World War, was ordered to an interview with Goebbels.40 According to the Schriftleitergesetz of 1933, in such cases not only the author, but also the editor and even the director of the publishing house were responsible. The ban therefore threatened Alverdes and Pezold with arrest by the Gestapo. The author Thiel suffered nothing, being not only a member of the NSDAP, but also an ‘alter Kämpfer’. Von Mechow also remained unaffected, largely due to the mental illness from which he was known to suffer, which increasingly limited his influence over the journal.

As a former submarine captain in the war, Pezold turned to his contacts in the navy to vouch for his honour and that of his firm. He also activated his völkisch-nationalist networks in his defence, appealing to the son-in-law of the writer Ina Seidel, Ernst Schulte-Strathaus, who worked for the department of culture in the office of the Führer’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Hess had assisted the publishing house in the past. Four days after meeting Schulte-Strathaus, on 10th October 1936, Pezold sent letters to Rudolf Hess, as well as Himmler, and to SA-Obergruppenführer Dietrich von Jagow, outlining the position of the publishing house and appealing against the ban on Das innere Reich. Adopting a stance of aggrieved honour, he assured Himmler that he had always upheld the interests of his Volk. Outlining very clearly the injustices done by the Schwarze Korps, Pezold continued with a defence of the völkisch credentials he had brought with ← 227 | 228 → him to the LMV.41 He also suggested that the SS organ had damaged the LMV’s reputation as the leading publisher of serious nationalist literature both at home and, especially, abroad, before concluding:

I know how both the open and the hidden enemies of Germany, and especially those the ‘Schwarze Korps’ wishes to hit, are now laughing up their sleeves, and for the first time I can do nothing to spoil their fun, for I have naturally forbidden all my staff from resisting the decree of the state in defence of the publishing house, and I myself am doing nothing else. For I stand for this state, even when it treats me and my work in the worst possible way – namely takes its honour.42

Hans Grimm also wrote to the Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, while Binding drafted a letter to Goebbels, turning the ban into an attack on all those writers who contributed to the journal; a dangerously large number for Goebbels to alienate. He also suggested that this was an attack on those who fought at the front in the First World War, finally suggesting that Goebbels should place more faith in a publication under his own jurisdiction than in one that was governed by Himmler, one of his rivals in the government. In the end Binding’s letter remained unsent. Overall, however, the writers’ responses demonstrate the loyalty of those völkisch-nationalist writers closest to Das innere Reich, for whom it was a mouthpiece in an increasingly restrictive regime.43 The efforts of Pezold and his allies had the desired effect, moreover, and, probably due to the engagement of Rudolf Hess, the ban was lifted on 23rd October 1936.44

From its inception, the history of Das innere Reich mirrored the problems of völkisch writers: While, at first, belief in the new beginning heralded by the Nazi ‘Revolution’ was strong, this never amounted to more than a negative creed, focused on wiping away the evils plaguing Germany. Little that was constructive or new was produced in the literary sphere to take the place of the undesirable writers and works that were removed. As a result, ← 228 | 229 → the journal and its contributors quickly begin to sound stale. With Das innere Reich, Alverdes and von Mechow, supported in the background by Pezold, sought to create an organ that would represent völkisch thought positively in the Third Reich, and contribute to the ongoing struggle for a völkisch state. To this end, they were willing to work with the Nazis. Inevitably, however, the nature of the journal changed, reflecting the relationships of völkisch-nationalist thinkers with the regime. These, as has already been demonstrated, went from enthusiasm, through tension and outward defeat, to renewed vigour for the German war effort after 1939. Likewise, the enthusiastically proclaimed goals of the journal’s editors in 1934 were gradually reined in by pressure from the very state they hoped would enable their achievement. As a result of the ban in 1936 and Pezold’s problems and dismissal in the course of 1937, the articles increasingly demonstrated a retreat towards the aesthetic over the ideological.45

The withdrawal of Das innere Reich from the ideological and political spheres was only reversed by developments in Germany’s foreign policy in the late 1930s. Following the Anschluß of Austria on 12th March, Alverdes looked back in an editorial on the shared past of Austria and Germany. He discussed the Austro-Prussian War, a symbol of unsatisfactory division, but at the same time fundamental in the struggle to define the Germany. He suggested that the camaraderie of the First World War, in which they had fought side-by-side, had been instrumental in bringing the Austrian-Germans closer to their brethren in the German Reich. Hitler’s Anschluß, he argued brought an end to this chapter of history, finally settling the account:

A new generation, finally certain of its past and even more so of its future, is prepared to live for the Reich and the Reich of all Germans. The day before yesterday it still seemed to be an unachievable dream. One single man has made it reality through his deeds and, after centuries, has reunited brothers with brothers. Now he is calling brothers to bear witness before the whole world. For each other: that is for the National Socialist Reich of all Germans he has created. No German can refuse him this witness!46

← 229 | 230 → The following month, in May 1938 an entire edition of the journal was devoted to Austria’s ‘homecoming’ to the Reich. It included poetry from Josef Weinheber, Gertrud Fusenegger and Paul Anton Keller, as well as articles by Heinrich Ritter von Srbik and Bruno Brehm, among others. Srbik’s article recalled Austria’s past, asserting her German nature and stating that she returned to the Reich ‘as a limb of the German Volk that has recognised its greater national duty, always fulfilled it loyally and in far posts has protected and valuably extended Germany’s soil and inheritance.’47 Brehm also emphasized the glorious reunification of two parts of one body that had been artificially separated for so long.48

Germany’s foreign policy from the late 1930s therefore provided many of the völkisch-nationalist writers examined in this book with the common cause with the Nazi regime that they had failed to find in the government’s Kulturpolitik. Hitler’s expansionist policies were easily justified by writers whose ideological foundations were at least partially based on Germany’s colonial ambitions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The foreign successes of the Nazi government overturned the wrongs of the Versailles Treaty, which, in völkisch eyes, had protected the British monopoly on imperial power. In an ‘Antwort auf einen Brief aus England’ regarding the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland, Alverdes explained that Germany was at last breaking down the walls erected in Paris in 1918 that had been suffocating her ever since. The expansion of the Reich into Austria and Czechoslovakia was no less than the reunification of regions and peoples that had naturally belonged together for thousands of years; it was a necessary act of survival. And, Alverdes continued, ‘that is one of the reasons for the not only enthusiastic, but at the same time very ← 230 | 231 → serious and deep support of the German Volk for this act of statesmanship of its Führer.’49

Alverdes reacted similarly to the outbreak of war. His editorial for November 1939 presented an encounter between the author, a veteran of World War One, with a young German, off to join his battalion. The young man in the article represents the voice of the new generation. His understanding of the British, echoing Grimm’s work, is juxtaposed with the lack of British understanding of Germany and the Germans.50 There was, according to Alverdes’ account, inherent hypocrisy in English war policy: on the one hand, the English had conquered the world through might; on the other, they sought to prevent a similar expansion of Germany. Germany had entered the war reluctantly and her soldiers fought without hate, but with an understanding of the urgency to free their land and their Volk from the bonds that had been imposed on them from outside. The war was necessary for Germany’s survival because, in the words of Alverdes’ young soldier, ‘We must now finally gain air to breath for ourselves.’51 In contrast to the generation that fought the First World War, according to Alverdes the young man went to join the battle with a sober heart. He sought not glory but to rescue his Volk. This was the struggle that would end in absolute victory or in Germany’s final destruction.52

During the Second World War, Das innere Reich continued to appear monthly until April 1942, when, due to the growing shortage of paper, its output was halved. A year later it became a quarterly publication. Its average length also decreased from 140 pages to 60 pages.53 Until it was discontinued altogether in 1944, it continued to provide its editors and ← 231 | 232 → contributors with a vehicle with which they could express their support for the German war effort, their faith in German greatness and, towards the end, their consoling belief in the German character and the importance of German art and literature.

The Gleichschaltung of the Publishing Industry

The history of Das innere Reich was inevitably affected by developments in the LMV as the 1930s progressed. The measures established to control German literature in the Third Reich also had a significant impact on the publishing industry. Alongside the direct censorship of authors, which limited the freedom of publishers to control literary output, the government adopted measures aimed directly at the publishing industry. Nonetheless, continuity in publishing was important for the regime’s image at home and abroad, and economic considerations meant that the Nazis were concerned to avoid damaging the recovery that gradually gained momentum in the 1930s. As a result, the exclusion of Jews from German publishing, as well as the direct control exercised by the Nazi Party over the publishing industry in general, was initially approached cautiously. It was not until 1938 that the most significant Jewish publishing houses had all been closed or taken over by the Eher Verlag, or a Party organization.54

The first Nazi encroachments on publishing houses were directed at improving the position of authors in relation to publishers. On the 9th February 1934 an official declaration stated that no manuscript submitted to a publisher for consideration should be held for longer than four weeks without the author receiving notification of a decision or at least provisional decision.55 The aim of the RSK and the Department of Literature ← 232 | 233 → was to systematise and ‘officialise’ the relationship between publishers and writers. The decision-making authority of the RSK over the activities of the leading members of staff in publishing firms became one of the major tools used by the literary bureaucracy of the Nazi regime to steer the production of literature. On the whole, however, the Nazis did not officially exercise preventive censorship; it was not necessary for publishers to present every new book published for approval before its appearance. Instead publishers were held accountable for the publications they produced and could be penalised in the event that they were responsible for the appearance of works deemed unsuitable by the regime.56 As the years passed the controls became tighter. Between 1934 and 1937 five Beratungsstellen were established to carry out Nazi policy concerning publishing, particularly the ‘Aryanisation’ of publishing houses through the exclusion not only of Jewish employees, but also works written by Jewish authors and those deemed politically unsuitable.57 All five were closely connected to the RSK until early 1937, when their supervision was transferred to the Department of Literature in the Propaganda Ministry, where they were combined in a single department, the Beratungsstelle Verlag.58 They nonetheless continued in their function of advising the RSK on the censorship of specific works and mediating between government institutions and publishers.59

← 233 | 234 → The National Socialist government was not concerned only with subduing liberal and Jewish publishing houses. It also wanted to control nationalist, right-wing publishing. In 1934, therefore, it established the Parteiamtliche Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des Nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums (PPK). As its name suggests, this was to control literature published with the label ‘National Socialist’.60 The establishment of the PPK caused considerable consternation among publishers. While on the surface it appeared to be no more than an agency to protect the interpretation of National Socialism, it actually represented the establishment of a monopoly whereby manuscripts of works of a national-socialist nature would be offered first to the central party publishing house, the Eher Verlag. The Eher Verlag therefore became, as Friedrich Oldenbourg, a member of the board of the RSK and the head of the Börsenverein der deutschen Buchhändler, warned Hess, nothing less than the state publisher of political works, given that works which did not conform to National Socialism were prohibited altogether.61

At the same time, the Nazi Eher Verlag was also consolidated through the Nazi takeover of private publishing houses. The cases of the Jewish-owned Ullstein publishing empire was one of the most notable.62 It was, however, only one of seven significant firms, including a number of newspaper producers, bought by the Party and directly administered by the Eher Verlag. In addition Eher gained control of a large proportion of the local press through the Standartes Verlag und Druckerei and the Herold Verlag. These organisations acted as a front for the Party’s publishing house, ← 234 | 235 → preventing public knowledge of the coercive methods used to take over and run a total of 115 small publishing firms in Germany, and, through the Europa Verlag, 27 German newspapers established in occupied territories.63 The full extent of the Eher Verlag was not, therefore, immediately obvious to all, and those publishers it bought out were not always aware how powerful it was becoming. At its height it controlled, either directly, or indirectly through intermediary organisations, one third of the German press and large sections of the book publishing business.64

The Nazi rulers also sought to capitalise on right wing cultural movements already in existence during their rise to power. This was both necessary for maintaining the illusion of continuity in the book trade, and ensuring that the völkisch-nationalist writers whose works they published continued to cooperate with the regime. Many of these writers, however, were increasingly disinclined to publish with the Eher Verlag, and determined to maintain at least the appearance of independence from the NSDAP. They hoped the Langen-Müller Verlag and its sister firm, the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, and one or two further influential conservative and völkisch publishing houses that had no direct allegiance to National Socialism, would provide homes for their work in the regime. Among the most significant firms were the Munich based J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, and the Eugen Diederichs Verlag of Jena. Both were well-established publishers of right wing intellectual works before World War One. In the interwar period they sought to promote the role of the intelligentsia in an ideal German society, seeking to find the recipe for a conflict-free socio-economic order based on völkisch-nationalist principles to replace the Weimar Republic. Lehmann flirted with National Socialism in 1923/24, but was only finally converted in 1929. In 1931, he placed himself and his firm at the disposal of the Party.65 After 1933, the J.F. Lehmann Verlag and its proprietor were honoured by the Nazis for their work for the movement and the role they ← 235 | 236 → played in helping the Nazis to power. Nevertheless, with the Nazis in power, the political role of the publishing house became increasingly obsolete and it returned to its original function, the publication of works of medicine, ‘racial science’, and technical and military affairs. The company did, however, continue to thrive in the Third Reich. It opened a new branch office in Berlin in 1938/39 and was the recipient of an award to honour its ‘exceptional achievements as a model enterprise.’66

While Lehmann bridged the gap between the völkisch-nationalists and the Nazi movement, other völkisch-nationalist publishers had greater trouble, including the Eugen Diederichs Verlag and the Langen-Müller Verlag.67 Eugen Diederichs died in 1930 and was never forced to confront the realities of the Third Reich. His sons, Peter and Niels soon realised that the Nazis were not going to deliver the social revolution they hoped for. On inheriting the firm they gave the editors of the company’s journal, Die Tat, complete independence in its management. In the early 1930s it became a leading right-wing voice against the Nazis. Following the bookburning of May 1933, right-wing publishing houses, like those on the left, were subjects for the Gleichschaltung of the book trade. It quickly became clear that the Nazis were intent on eradicating criticism in all its forms. The Nazi acquisition of power therefore meant the end of the independent role of the völkisch-nationalist publishers. Since his death left him unable to threaten the Nazi system, Eugen Diederichs himself was the subject of praise for his vision of an ‘organic society’ based on the German Volk. His sons nevertheless steered a safe course during the Third Reich, publishing volumes of poetry, fiction, travelogues, works on religion and folklore, and ‘classic’ German authors like Luther, Herder, Goethe or Jahn.68 Under pressure from the Nazi government, Die Tat was closed down in 1935.69

← 236 | 237 → The Langen-Müller Verlag

Of all the independent nationalist firms, however, perhaps the most significant in the 1930s was the Langen-Müller Verlag, which, like the Literature Academy, was instrumental in cementing the ties between völkisch-nationalist writers in the Third Reich. Of the fourteen writers called to join the reconstituted Literature Academy in 1933, it was responsible for the publication of all or some of the works of nine. Moreover, alongside Hanns Johst, Hans Grimm, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Wilhelm Schäfer, Emil Strauß, Paul Ernst, Hans Friedrich Blunck, Friedrich Griese and Joseph Magnus Wehner, numerous prominent names in wider völkisch-nationalist and conservative literary circles published their works through the LMV.70 Paul Alverdes, Konrad Beste, Hermann Claudius, Richard Euringer, Knut Hamsun, Karl Benno von Mechow, Selma Lagerlöf, Heinz Steguweit, Josef Magnus Wehner and Ernst Wiechert all helped make the publishing house the leading ‘Dichterverlag’ of the Third Reich.71 The LMV enabled its authors to claim the right to belong to an organic intellectual elite as the interpreters and mediators of the Volksseele. As a result it became a refuge for völkisch-nationalist authors who sought to preserve the integrity of German literature from the demands of a party programme. The introduction to the firm’s 1933 prospectus was explicit; the publishing house, it declared, was not concerned with the promotion of Party writers.72

Before 1933 the LMV already counted among the leading right-wing publishing houses in Germany, and the early years of the Third Reich saw its continued success. Initially the ownership of the house by the DHV remained unchanged. However, when Hermann Miltzow, already a member of the NSDAP, replaced Hans Bechly as director of the DHV, the LMV ← 237 | 238 → was brought under nominal Nazi direction. In 1934, along with all trade union organisations, the DHV was incorporated into Robert Ley’s Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF), which took over control of its publishing enterprises. In addition to its own ‘Verlag der Deutschen Arbeitsfront’, it now owned the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt and the LMV. Meyer notes that as a result of this change a considerable number of the most prominent authors in Germany at this time published their works in a publishing house that was directly owned by the Nazi Party. As far as the LMV was concerned, however, there is little evidence that the DAF involved itself in the literary details of its business, reserving its concern largely for its economic viability.73 For a time, therefore, Pezold was largely left to his own devices by his new masters.

The LMV’s identity as a völkisch rather than Nazi publishing house nonetheless made it vulnerable to the Nazis who viewed it as competition to their own literary concerns.74 Pezold was quick to recognise this situation and went to considerable lengths to cultivate contacts with those in influential positions. He made the most of his good relations with the Brown House in Munich in his efforts to safeguard the LMV’s independence. He was also aided by the fact that a number of the most prominent authors published by the LMV were members of the NSDAP or Rosenberg’s Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur, among them Johst, Schäfer, Kolbenheyer and Strauß. He turned to Johst, for example, with a generous royalty payment and requested that he organise meetings for him with important men in Berlin. Initially, these efforts were successful, and in April 1934 he was able to boast of a collection of powerful connections, including Dr. Wismann; Rust; the secretary of the KfdK, Dr. Urban; the director of the Reichsstelle zur Förderung des Deutschen Schrifttums, Habemeyer; and finally the Führer’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.75

Pezold wanted to establish a sphere of influence for the LMV in the new regime.76 The autonomy of the firm was also vital to the ambitions ← 238 | 239 → of its most prominent völkisch-nationalist writers, as Grimm pointed out to Kolbenheyer on 2nd August 1934. Emphasising the importance of the independence of German writers and publishers for the reputation of German literature abroad, he made it clear that he was prepared to take advantage of the terms of his contract with the LMV should the publishing house come under the direct control of the Nazi Party. In such a case, he assured Kolbenheyer that he would terminate his association with it and move his works to one of the dwindling number of independent publishing houses.77 Grimm encouraged Kolbenheyer to do the same, pointing out that the latter’s contract with the publishing house was similar to his own. In the case of such an eventuality, Grimm clung to the belief in joint action that also underpinned the co-operation of the Munich Consensus, although he made it clear that he would act alone if necessary.

The LMV’s reputation for independence rested to no small extent on the way in which the firm presented itself, over which Pezold exercised considerable influence.78 Rather than favouring ownership by a Nazi organisation, Pezold tolerated it as unavoidable. Defending himself and the LMV after 1945, he wrote: ‘The Langen-Müller Verlag was, in spite of the fact that from the beginning of the Third Reich it was owned by a party organisation, never a “Nazi publisher” in terms of ethos.’79 Pezold’s reference to the ethos of the firm is the key to the LMV’s understanding of itself in the Third Reich. It reflected its völkisch-nationalist roots, which emphasised the decisiveness of the German Geist over all else. After 1933, Pezold put his energies into achieving the LMV’s goals, set out in the early 1930s, regardless of the ambiguous proprietary situation. The image of the LMV at home and abroad as guardian of serious German literature was, moreover, recognised and even encouraged by the authorities. The Vice-President of the RSK and member of the board of directors of the LMV, ← 239 | 240 → Wilhelm Baur, for example, declared at a board meeting in 1938: ‘We want to create a global publisher with a high reputation beyond Germany’s borders.’80 By this stage the publishing house was finally under full Nazi control and Pezold had been dismissed the previous year. Nonetheless, the image of the firm as a publisher of good German literature, with a strong reputation abroad as well as in Germany, was one the directors wished to preserve.

Cracks began to appear in Pezold’s control of the LMV by the mid-1930s. In 1935, Werner Bergengruen, Konrad Beste, Hans Friedrich Blunck, Richard Euringer, Heinz Steguweit, Ludwig Tügel, Josef Magnus Wehner and Wolf Justin Hartmann all transferred their allegiance from the LMV to the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, which was by now securely under the Party’s influence.81 Pezold’s dismissal in 1937 finally came after twelve months of wrangling with the DAF over the position of the LMV. On 10th December 1937 he wrote to Hans Grimm,82 reporting on a series of meetings that had taken place in Berlin. Pezold had been summoned to appear before the board of directors of the LMV, dominated by the DAF, the following Wednesday; his instincts told him that the situation was coming to a head.83 Ten days later, in a second letter to Grimm, he explained further that the board had hitherto been hesitant to act due to concern regarding the nature of the contracts between the LMV and some of its most prominent authors, most notably Grimm and Kolbenheyer. By the end of 1937, sure of support from the RSK, which, Pezold assumed, would simply declare such contracts invalid, it nonetheless dismissed the managing director of the LMV; Pezold was finally removed from his post in January 1938.84

← 240 | 241 → Pezold was replaced as the managing director of the LMV by Walter Fischer, not yet a member of the NSDAP but already trusted by the Nazi-dominated board. Following Pezold’s dismissal only Reinhold Geheeb and Korfiz Holm remained of the Langen-Müller stalwarts, supervising the firm’s literary concerns until their deaths in 1939 and 1942 respectively. In 1943 the firm was taken over by the Knorr & Hirth Verlag, thereby becoming part of the Eher empire. The LMV was closed by the Allies in 1945, along with all Nazi Party enterprises. After the war, it was eventually granted a license by the American occupation authorities, but it was only re-established under its old name in 1952 after the license requirement had been revoked. And Pezold’s ambitions to regain control did not come to fruition.

After 1945, Pezold suggested that his dismissal was the result of ideological considerations that made him unacceptable to the Nazi leadership.85 It is likely, however, that it had more to do with his determination to retain control over the LMV and maintain its independence as a völkisch-nationalist concern, which certainly did not endear him to the firm’s Nazi owners. This was manifested in his refusal to write a report on his activities for the board of directors, which he felt had been imposed on his publishing house against his wishes. He also resisted the appointment by that body of Benno Ziegler, the director of the Hanseatische Verlaganstalt, as co-director of the LMV. Ziegler, he told Grimm in December 1937, was under pressure to take up a position on the board of the LMV. This, he was told, would be a mere formality, necessary due to Pezold’s ill health. According to Pezold, however, Ziegler had seen through the game and refused. Pezold also objected to the appointment of an additional commercial director for the LMV.86

In addition, the attitude of leading writers like Grimm and Kolbenheyer towards the regime is likely to have influenced the decision to dismiss Petzold. Among the most prominent authors of the LMV, reactions to Pezold’s dismissal were overwhelmingly negative. For many, Pezold was the heart of the LMV, but his departure was also a sign of a larger problem ← 241 | 242 → in German literature. Kolbenheyer summed the situation up in a letter to Grimm on 19th January 1938, in which he presented a pessimistic, but ultimately accurate assessment of the situation. He demonstrated little hope for Pezold’s reinstatement as director of the publishing house, even after the ongoing appeals to the highest authorities in the DAF. He then went on to examine how much freedom Grimm, Schäfer, Strauß and he himself possessed. Schäfer and Strauß, he concluded, were bound, like the majority of the house’s authors, to stay with the publishing house. As far as he himself was concerned, his contract allowed him to withdraw his work if certain conditions outlined in the contract were not met. By this time, Kolbenheyer had developed a personal dislike of Pezold and his reluctance to leave the publishing house was predictable.87 That left only Grimm with the freedom to choose.88

Grimm responded to Kolbenheyer by explaining that the decision whether to stay or leave the LMV, so long threatened, in the end depended less on Pezold’s dismissal than on his already very apparent displeasure with the overall direction in which the LMV was developing:

Things won’t be improved just by returning P. to his office, as long as the present board of directors continues to exist and the [business of the] greatest national publishing house is disrupted by the personal whims of wholly lightweight and incapable people. It therefore depends on whether, first of all, a more worthy situation can be found for the entire firm. […] The men on the board of directors do not comprehend and are also incapable of comprehending that this publishing house must remain untouched simply for reasons of foreign policy. The publishing house will, however, ← 242 | 243 → not remain untouched as long as it is subordinated to the A.F. [Arbeitsfront] or is otherwise used as a commercial object and sold off to another publishing house, the name of which I do not want to mention here.89

Grimm concluded by explaining to Kolbenheyer that at the time of writing, he was only waiting to see whether the publishing house could be rescued. To that end, he informed Pezold in a letter on 15th May 1938, he did not hold back from writing to the head of the DAF, Robert Ley, to communicate his concerns. He would, he told Pezold, wait fourteen days for Ley’s answer. Pezold’s response to Grimm demonstrated his own continued loyalty to the firm he had done so much to shape, and his concern for its future, even after his dismissal. On 18th May 1938 he wrote: ‘With regard to the publishing house, the conversations in Berlin resulted in one clear impression […], namely that it is seen as a non-independent organisation that can be commanded at will.’90 Both Pezold and Grimm were reluctant to view the unsatisfactory situation as final, no matter how hopeless it looked. While positive change appeared increasingly unlikely, Pezold nonetheless sought to encourage Grimm to stay with the LMV. As far as the former director was concerned, Grimm’s departure would be the final nail in the firm’s coffin: ‘The Langen-Müller Verlag will then lose its crown and will no longer be able to be what it was.’91 He also pointed out that by leaving, Grimm would relinquish any part he might be able to play in future developments.

Grimm did not remain with the LMV. In February 1938, he wrote to Schäfer, informing him that he had given notice of his departure and again asserting that he was only waiting to see whether the firm could be rescued. He would not, he declared, remain with a publishing house that was not completely independent.92 In August he transferred his work to the Bertelsmann Verlag, which was still privately owned. He told Schäfer ← 243 | 244 → that this was necessary for political reasons; his future work, he said, would concentrate to a significant degree on foreign affairs, in particular German-English relations. As a result, he felt it was necessary that he publish only with a firm that was viewed, both in Germany and abroad, as politically neutral. The Bertelsmann Verlag had been courting Grimm since the early 1930s and he was therefore able to negotiate excellent terms for his contract. While his biggest project during the Third Reich, Heynade und England, was never completed, he did achieve success with the publication of the Englische Rede: Wie ich den Engländer sehe, brought out by Bertelsmann in October 1938.93 Moreover, the continued appearance of Volk ohne Raum under the Bertelsmann imprint in no way damaged its popularity; by 1944 over half a million copies of the single-volume Volksausgabe had been sold.94

Due to the outbreak of the Second World War a year later, it is difficult to assess whether changing publishers made a significant difference to Grimm’s long-term fortunes in the Third Reich. By 1943, due to severe paper shortages, little could be published that did not directly contribute to the war-effort. During the war, the Bertelsmann Verlag focused almost exclusively on producing volumes of stories and tales of adventure, largely destined for the front. These Feldausgaben of previously published works were uncontroversial with the Nazi rulers and produced in huge quantities, some reaching two digit editions and print runs of 300,000 or more.95

It is also difficult to assess the effect of the changes in the LMV on those who stayed. While it is noticeable that by the end of 1938 many völkisch-nationalist writers were withdrawing from the public sphere, the war altered their political frame of reference, providing them with a common cause with the Nazis to which they could devote themselves with renewed ← 244 | 245 → vigour. The history of the LMV up to the outbreak of the war nonetheless represents a significant chapter in the history of völkisch-nationalism in Germany in the 1930s, illustrating not only the conflicting agendas of the Nazi government and some völkisch-nationalist writers, but also the efforts of the latter to maintain institutions through which they could disseminate their point of view. That this was possible for the first five years of the Third Reich was due to a lack of good writers in the Party’s own ranks. As a result, the Nazis were forced to promote those völkisch-nationalist writers whose work could be used to promote Nazi ideology. As the case of Hans Grimm demonstrates, this did not make them into ‘NS-Dichter’. Their relationship with the regime was more complex, a situation also reflected in the history of Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertage in the 1930s.

‘Es soll keine Freude mehr geben ausser der konzessionierten’:96 Hans Grimm and the ‘Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen’97

Even before 1933 Hans Grimm’s political engagement and contacts in the Nazi Party combined with the success of his novel Volk ohne Raum gave him prominence in right-wing literary circles. In the course of the 1930s he became one of the most outspoken representatives of völkisch-nationalist literature, attracting the attention of both the German public and several of the highest-ranking government officials with his opinions. Above all, ← 245 | 246 → however, the annual Dichtertreffen held at his home in Lippoldsberg an der Weser damaged his relations with the Nazi hierarchy. Ernst von Salomon devoted several pages of Der Fragebogen to a description of Hans Grimm and the Dichtertreffen that took place between 1934 and 1939. According to Salomon Grimm was a ‘Dichter mit Landhaus’, Salomon’s categorisation of those völkisch-nationalist writers who lived in the country and devoted their literary energies to the eternal values of the Blut-und-Boden literature they espoused. They spoke, he said, of the soil, the smell of the earth, and the people most closely connected to the land.98

In May 1939, Goebbels demanded a report on the existing Dichterkreise, or writers’ circles, in Germany. His request showed his concern at the number of independent and often informal groups operating in the German literary sphere. The results of the enquiries undertaken by the staff of the Propaganda Ministry identified nine functioning groups.99 Membership lists showed moreover that some writers were involved in more than one group; Hans Friedrich Blunck, for example, was a member of at least three.100 Of the nine groups, however, only two were of real political significance: the Wartburg-Treffen, the brainchild of Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen, which was eventually subsumed into the Nazi Party’s own Woche des deutschen Buches in Weimar, and Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. While the two were initially motivated by similar concerns, they were very different in organisation, form and impact, reflecting the different characters and priorities of their originators. While Münchhausen’s meetings increasingly took on a semi-official nature in the course of the 1930s, Grimm’s more independent initiative had a greater impact in Germany.

← 246 | 247 → Münchhausen began to develop the idea of the Wartburg as the seat of a German Writers Academy in the early 1930s. In doing so, he took a stand against the Literature Section of the Prussian Academy of Arts following the resignation of Kolbenheyer, Schäfer and Strauß in January 1931. In establishing the Wartburg Circle, he relied on support from prominent Nazis. In Burg Saaleck, the home of the conservative architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg, he regularly met not only with the architect himself, but also Hans Severus Ziegler, Wilhelm Frick, Richard Walter Darré and Baldur von Schirach. With Frick’s help he was able to overcome initial resistance from the Wartburg Foundation, which was responsible for the site itself. As Thuringian Minister of State in 1930–1931, Frick briefly served on the Foundation’s governing board and championed Münchhausen’s suggestion that the Wartburg Foundation should support an annual meeting of writers and establish a literature prize. The first recipients of the Wartburg Prize were Hermann Stehr, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer and Paul Ernst.101

In addition to the prize, worth 2,000 RM, Münchhausen introduced the idea of Wartburg Roses, designed as badges of honour in recognition of services to German literature. He desired the establishment of an elite order of Knights of the Rose, limited in number and representing the essence of German literary life. His efforts did not meet with unequivocal approval from his völkisch-nationalist colleagues. Wilhelm Schäfer, for example, wrote to Hans von der Gabelentz, the Burg Hauptmann at the Wartburg, expressing scorn for the Roses and distancing himself from the initiative.102 The first Wartburgdichtertagung was held on 29th and 30th May 1932. Among those invited were Hans Grimm, Hanns Johst, Hans Friedrich Blunck, Will Vesper, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Paul Ernst, Hermann Stehr, Agnes Miegel and Heinrich Lilienfein. Grimm and Johst turned the invitation down, the latter expressing sincere regret.103

The Wartburg was important to Münchhausen as a place where the literary elite could be protected from the influences of the cities and aesthetic modernism. Despite financial pressures, he succeeded in staging ← 247 | 248 → a successful meeting in 1933, at which Wartburg Roses were awarded to Hermann Stehr, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Paul Ernst, Heinrich Lilienfein and Münchhausen himself.104 In 1934 no meeting was held, but in 1935, 1936 and 1937 they followed annually. The Wartburg was thus prepared to take up the reins should the Literature Academy in Berlin run out of steam, an inevitable outcome in Münchhausen’s eyes.105 Münchhausen nonetheless faced limitations in establishing the Wartburgdichtertage that Hans Grimm did not experience with the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. Not the least of these was his dependence on outside organisations to achieve his goals. The Wartburg Foundation demonstrated reluctance to limit itself to the role of financial provider, while Münchhausen was determined to decide himself who should be invited to attend the meetings, and who should be admitted to the Rosenritterschaft. He also had to contend with the Nazi authorities in Thuringia and Berlin. In order to keep their involvement to a minimum he went to great lengths to cultivate his contacts among high-ranking Nazis, not least Rudolf Hess and his adjutant Schulte-Strathaus. The latter was the son-in-law of his friend Ina Seidel.106

The Rosenritterschaft remained very close to Münchhausen’s heart throughout the history of the Wartburg meetings. It was therefore with significant regret that he was forced in 1938 to accept the end of its short life. The other Rosenritter, however, had consistently displayed less enthusiasm for the project.107 The deathblow came from Goebbels and the propaganda office in Thuringia. In May 1938 the Mayor of Eisenach and chairman of the Wartburg Foundation, Janson, was informed that the Propaganda Minister had decided that the Wartburgdichtertage were to be replaced by a ‘Deutscher Dichtertag auf der Wartburg’ as part of the ‘Woche des deutschen Buches 1938’ in Weimar. In the end, plans to invite two hundred writers to the Wartburg were changed and the event was held in Weimar. ← 248 | 249 → The days of the Rosenritter and the Wartburgdichtertage had passed.108 More generally, many völkisch-nationalist writers were increasingly retreating from the public sphere, disillusioned with the course the Third Reich was taking.

Hans Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, on the other hand, came to occupy an increasingly important place in the völkisch literary calendar in the 1930s, and made a significant contribution to keeping völkisch literary networks alive. Held annually between 1934 and 1939, these events were originally conceived as an opportunity to bring like-minded writers of the older and younger generations together. In the first instance, the writers invited to take part were bound by their common experience of the First World War, whether like Binding and Grimm they had volunteered in early middle age, or, like Alverdes and von Mechow, they had gone to the front straight from school. The Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen not only forged acquaintanceships and nurtured the networks of writers in private; they raised awareness and enthusiasm for their literature in public. The initiative differed from Münchhausen’s Wartburgdichtertage in several fundamental ways. As well as combining informal, private interaction between writers with public musical and literary events, the profile of participants was more diverse in Lippoldsberg. One of Grimm’s intentions from the outset was to enable young nationalist writers to mix with their older, established colleagues. Another major strength of Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen was their more organic, less contrived development in comparison with the Wartburgdichtertage.

The idea for the meetings went back to 1930, and was given further impetus by a suggestion made by Münchhausen at one of the meetings of the Literature Academy in October 1933, to which Grimm responded positively, writing to Binding on 31st October 1933: ‘Münchhausen’s suggestion of a day for young writers makes excellent sense to me.’109 When this event did not occur under the auspices of the Academy, Grimm decided to make it happen himself. He was further motivated by his attempts to bring the Munich Consensus together in early 1934 to discuss ← 249 | 250 → the problems of the Literature Academy. The form the Dichtertreffen would take began to emerge as he tried to organise a meeting between Binding, Kolbenheyer, Schäfer, Strauß and himself. Suggesting a date in March 1934, he offered his home in Lippoldsberg as a venue, adding in a letter to Schäfer that he would be in a position to use a house in the village owned by the nearby University of Göttingen to accommodate his guests. They could then conduct relaxed discussions over several days, during which the guests would have complete freedom to come and go as they pleased.110 While this meeting did not take place as Grimm suggested, he nonetheless adopted this plan for the writers who attended his Dichtertreffen. With the use of the university’s house, he was able to build on the success of the first, small meeting in 1934, and to invite more writers in subsequent years.

From their inception the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen were politically as well as artistically motivated. They developed out of Grimm’s desire for völkisch-nationalist writers to develop and maintain contact in the Third Reich. Outside the realm of Nazi influence, most meetings lasted five days. From the second year, 1935, the Sunday became a day for the public. Thousands came to hear the musical and literary performances, mingle with the writers, buy their books and enjoy the idyllic surroundings of Lippoldsberg. In addition, one or two evening readings were staged each year for military units stationed in the vicinity of Lippoldsberg.111 Grimm’s view of the army as representing something intrinsically ‘German’, the foundation for the defence of the Fatherland, reflected the way in which völkisch-nationalists accepted military actions as necessary for the fulfilment of the German national cause. This was also evident in their positive responses to the ‘Anschluß’ with Austria, the annexation of the Sudetenland and the outbreak of the Second World War.112

← 250 | 251 → With the exception of the public Sundays and the evenings orgainised for the troops, the remaining days of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen were free for writers to relax and talk, Grimm’s hospitality guided by his desire to facilitate social and professional interaction and candid discussions on all subjects, particularly literature and politics. He also hosted several formal evening meals at which the guests were brought together as one group.113

Although the meetings lasted much longer, the annual Sunday festivities inevitably did most to influence the way in which the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen were viewed by the public. Their development occurred largely due to demand from outside. As part of the first meeting in 1934, Grimm had organised an evening of readings by the writers in attendance for local units of the Reichswehr. A great success, in subsequent years this evening was repeated and the numbers invited increased. Nonetheless, this did not address the growing interest of the wider public in what was going on in Lippoldsberg. This demand was met by the Sunday events, including a morning concert by the Akademischer Orchester-Vereinigung Göttingen (AOV) in the church that adjoined Grimm’s home. The involvement of the orchestra was not the result of Grimm’s initiative, but of the orchestra’s chairman, Studienrat Willi Rehkopf.114 The musical contributions intentionally focused on German composers of the past, Rehkopf’s concept of concerts that would revive Germany’s musical heritage fitting in well with Grimm’s völkisch-nationalist ideology and his goals for the meetings. In a review of the 1935 meeting by Dr. Max Maass in the Hannoverscher Kurier on 2nd July 1935 it was reported that the music selected that first year was by the seventeenth-century German composer Heinrich Schütz. According to Maass, the church was full beyond its capacity with listeners sitting on the steps and the altar, and many being forced to stand. He continued:

In the villages the audiences are much more receptive, for they have a more natural comprehension. Such concerts are like devotions, they are not only to be enjoyed, ← 251 | 252 → but they shape and form, they thereby fulfil the highest meaning of art. And that was also bestowed on us at Lippoldsberg, because the surroundings had a simplifying effect on the city-dweller used to concert halls, and made him [or her] noticeably more receptive.115

Press reports of the meetings in Lippoldsberg mainly focused on the day for the public. A special train, chartered by the orchestra, brought the musicians and public, about 500 people, from Göttingen as far as Bodenfelde, whence it was a half-hour walk along the river to Lippoldsberg.116 The Göttinger Tageblatt described the walk from Bodenfelde along the Weser, ‘the current of Lower Saxony’, as following the ‘path of the fate’ of pilgrims of earlier centuries to Lippoldsberg. The stone gateway of Grimm’s home ceremoniously welcomed them to the old convent.117 While the orchestra was responsible for organising transportation, it was not the only organisation that went to lengths to get people to the events. For example, the Bücherstube Seifert in Hameln an der Weser organised two buses to transport the citizens of that town to Lippoldsberg in 1936.118 Journalists’ estimates of the number of participants for 1935 vary between 1,000 and 2,000, most of them coming from Göttingen, Hanover, Kassel and the neighbouring towns and villages, but also quite a few from further afield in Germany. They gathered in the courtyard of the former convent to listen to German music and German writers.

As the backdrop to Volk ohne Raum, the location of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen in the Weser Valley added to its symbolic significance. The public enjoyed the atmosphere in the surroundings in which Grimm’s hero, Cornelius Friebott, grew up, whilst listening to prominent and popular writers read from their work. Over a lunch of pea soup provided by the ← 252 | 253 → army, and tea and cake on sale for 40Pf. in the afternoon, people could mingle more informally with the same writers. Bookstalls were set up to sell the works of the authors present, and others, allowing an opportunity for book signings and more general advertisement of their works.119

While the concert provided the focal point of the morning, the afternoon was devoted to literary pursuits with readings from selected writers and musical interludes provided by the musicians from Göttingen. In 1935, Rudolf Binding read his short story, Sankt Georgs Stellvertreter to great acclaim.120 The Göttinger Tageblatt reported:

The elements of Binding’s narrative art underpinned the presentation: the well-bred economy of words, which nonetheless achieve the highest expressiveness, the unbreakable closeness of form […], and the manful, knightly poise of the horseman. One can say nothing better about these evening hours than that Binding succeeded in welding the thousand-headed crowd of listeners, who listened in breathless silence, into a great community of listeners. A community formed from all social classes, from members of the Reichswehr, the SA, and school pupils, from students and agricultural labourers.121

The writers were part of the romance of the literature, something that was emphasised during these events, in accordance with völkisch ideology. The writer was not just an artist, but the mediator of the Volksseele and as such part of the spiritual drama of the literature. The readings gave the listeners, frequently referred to as ‘readers’ by reporters, an active role in the literary sphere, allowing them to participate in the same drama. Crossing class boundaries, they represented the Volksgemeinschaft, bound together in the moment by the literature of the Volk, read by the priests of the Volksseele.

In 1935, the first meeting in which the AOV was involved, the Lippoldsberg meetings were still a novelty. They nonetheless attracted the attention not only of the regional newspapers in Lower Saxony, but the press across Germany. Even the Völkischer Beobachter carried a short notice ← 253 | 254 → of the event. It emphasized the musical aspects over the literary, which was presented as an informal, almost chance congregation of a number of writers, whose presence in Lippoldsberg happened to coincide with the concert.122 Illustrated journals like Germania also reported on the meeting in 1935. Here Grimm was congratulated on his efforts, ‘to pull art once again out of the racially foreign, solitary sphere of pure aesthetics and to root it once more in the Volk, from which in the end it comes, because only he who comes from the community of his Volk […] can be a true artist.’123 The Frankfurter Zeitung, one of the more independent, liberal newspapers to survive in the Third Reich, also reported on the event, emphasizing the inter-class nature of those in attendance, and congratulating Binding on holding their attention.124

In many ways the meetings in the two following years, 1936 and 1937, represented the heyday of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. Of these, 1936 was probably the most significant. While Hans Grimm’s relationship with the Nazi state had already deteriorated – he was no longer a member of the governing board of the RSK, he was disillusioned with the progress of the Literature Academy, and problems for the Langen-Müller publishing house were looming on the horizon125 – the meetings at Lippoldsberg had not yet become a target for Goebbels. Instead, as the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported, the meeting’s main purpose in 1936 appeared to lie in the justification, consolidation and development of the event.126 In 1936 the number of writers who attended increased. Alongside the veterans of the year before – Paul Alverdes, Rudolf G. Binding, Bruno Brehm and Moritz ← 254 | 255 → Jahn – Friedrich Bischoff, Walter Julius Bloem, Hermann Claudius, Edwin Erich Dwinger, Georg Grabenhorst, Börries von Münchhausen, Uwe Lars Nobbe and Rudolf Alexander Schröder all accepted Grimm’s invitation. Noticeably, among previous participants who were not present in 1936 were Ernst von Salomon and Joachim von der Goltz. In neither case, however, was absence an expression of disaffection; both were kept away by mundane concerns. The public Sunday followed the same pattern as in the previous year. Once again, the orchestra from Göttingen performed music from the seventeenth century, with a programme of works by Schein and Heinrich Schütz, both, it was emphasised, German composers.127

In 1936, the literature was definitely in the foreground. In contrast to 1935, this time Grimm asked five writers to read from their work, providing the public not only with a more varied programme, but also giving them the chance to experience a larger number of well-known authors in person. The afternoon session therefore began with a ballad by Münchhausen, the ‘Totspieler’. This was followed by two poems from Hermann Claudius, the ‘Lumpenlegende’ and his most famous piece, ‘Wenn wir schreiten.’ After a testimony to their friendship delivered by Grimm, Claudius ended with a final poem, ‘Volk!’ Rudolf Alexander Schröder also read a war poem, followed by a Christmas legend, before Friedrich Bischoff contributed three poems from his new volume, Schlesischer Psalter. To round the afternoon off, Binding took to the stage as he had a year before, this time reciting three poems on landscapes. He concluded the proceedings with one more work, ‘Marsch der Jugend’, described as a ‘call to arms addressed to the German youth.’128

In reflecting on the significance of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, commentators increasingly suggested that it represented the beginnings of a new German Dichterkreis. Such a suggestion was dangerous. The idea ← 255 | 256 → of a new literary movement coming into being around Hans Grimm was potentially threatening to the Nazis’ demand that cultural movements in the Third Reich be centred on the Party and the National Socialist movement. The Lippoldsberg meetings were increasingly perceived as a challenge by leading Nazis in the late 1930s, not least Goebbels. Rumours began to grow that Grimm was sowing the seeds of sedition among his guests.

The idea of a new literary movement did not come from Grimm himself, who, possibly learning from his disappointment with the Literature Academy, preferred to keep proceedings and relationships on a non-institutional level. Instead it was propagated in the press. On 30th June 1936, for example, the Göttinger Nachrichten ran an article entitled ‘Dichtung aus nationaler Verantwortlichkeit. Ein neuer deutscher Dichterkreis um Hans Grimm, dem Lippoldsberger Rufer.’129 Dichterkreise, the article asserted, were characteristic in the history of German literature, particularly in moments of change. The article does not, however, comment on whether the circles were themselves agents of change, or a response to it. Instead it continues by suggesting that never before had a group of writers come together to form such a complete circle, stating: ‘Here now, with the “Lippoldsberger Dichterkreis” it appears to us that streams of power flow together from different directions towards an ideal focal point: Literature out of national responsibility, literature out of the new ethos formed by the experience of war, literature which combines both: the great task and the great legacy.’130 While the connection between landscape and tribe, the article goes on, had brought writers together in the various individual regions, and the large Nazi cultural events notwithstanding, nowhere in Germany did any single group or event represent the coming together of the German Geist more than in Lippoldsberg. As Germany became increasingly united under the Nazis, therefore, literature too was uniting across Germany. Grimm was given full credit for bringing the group together.131 ← 256 | 257 → Such reports were unlikely to be welcomed by the Nazi hierarchy. Grimm’s meetings attracted a greater and more enthusiastic public than officially organised cultural events. The involvement of the army, as well as local SS and HJ groups made it difficult to reject the Lippoldsberg events as being against the regime, and yet the Nazis had no control over them.

At the Wartburg Dichtertage in 1936, Blunck raised the subject of an article by Münchhausen about Lippoldsberg that appeared in Deutsche Zukunft on 19th July 1936 and was fiercely criticised in the Nazi Party controlled Wille und Macht on 1st August 1936.132 Blunck suggested that Lippoldsberg was a breeding ground for sedition against the Reich. Other Rosenritter agreed that this was certainly how the public viewed it.133 This was not the case. As the press reports showed, in general the public image of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen was extremely positive right up to 1939. In no way were they perceived as counter to the spirit of the regime. The only negative coverage was in Nazi owned organs, reflecting the negative views held by the Party hierarchy. This was due to their inability to control either the attendance or the programme – Blunck for one never received an invitation from Grimm, which is unsurprising given the relationship of the two men in the 1930s – and also possibly partly due to the fact that domination over the cultural sphere was already hotly contested and Grimm’s success only made the arena more competitive for men like Rosenberg and Goebbels.

Addressing the matter, Münchhausen’s diary recorded its author’s public defence of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. The extract he sent to Grimm in January 1937 suggests he had enjoyed the event:

I answered that there could be no such talk. After all, large numbers of S.A. and S.S. men, army officers and non-commissioned officers, professors and students ← 257 | 258 → from Göttingen were all among the audience; among the writers, for example, was the Austrian party representative Nobbe and furthermore three English professors of literature, – all of these were in themselves clear evidence that no one among the participants would have been able to come onto such misguided thoughts. But apparently the organisation of public lectures by writers outside the N.S. Kulturgemeinde counts as insurgency […]. There shall no longer be any joy other than that which has been officially sanctioned.134

Münchhausen continued by stating that as a result of the criticisms sparked off by Blunck’s comment, he would not attend the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen again, wondering somewhat ironically how long association with Hans Grimm had been considered a crime. While he underlined his fundamental and solid support for Hitler’s government, which, he said, had done more good in three years than any previous German government, he did also express in the diary his intention to withdraw from the Wartburg project. At sixty he felt too old to deal with criticism and he suggested that Blunck’s comments had marred his otherwise very happy memories of the time he had spent at Lippoldsberg. While Blunck held back from outright criticism of Grimm, Münchhausen, whose loyalty was always stronger than his good judgement, was torn between his two friends.135

The discussion at the Wartburg mirrored a growing suspicion in party circles of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. Grimm did not react directly to Münchhausen’s letter. He did, however, decide that contrary to his original plans he would hold a meeting in Lippoldsberg in 1937. This was partly a response to growing criticism and partly a response to several negative experiences whilst on a lecture tour in London, which convinced him of the need for such an event.136 The last was also the reason for the larger number of foreign professors and intellectuals invited in 1937. Therefore, alongside a long list of German writers – Alverdes, Binding, Bischoff, Brehm, Carossa, Claudius, Dwinger, Fechter, Grabenhorst, Heinz, Jahn, v. Mechow, Schröder, Winnig, Zillich – he invited Professor Heusler from ← 258 | 259 → New York, Professor Bennett from Cambridge, Professor Fiedler from Oxford and Professor Gabetti from Rome, all of them specialists in German studies in their home countries.137

The English writer Edmund Blunden was also present. In an article he contributed to German Life and Letters, he described the experience, comparing it to the Glyndebourne opera. Blunden’s description of the event captures its informal atmosphere, characterised by the status of the writers as Grimm’s guests. He also showed appreciation for the conservative approach to literature adopted by the völkisch-nationalist writers he met:

It was the naturalness of the German feeling for rhyme and metre, for pure ballad verse – the firmness of the popular tradition, uniting the poetic Germany of Uhland’s day with that of 1937. The experiments in unfamiliar form and rhythm which modern times have seen in Germany have not, I gather, affected this general capacity for being made happy with simple stanzas and symmetrical versification.138

This was exactly the response Grimm was looking for. By inviting visitors from abroad to join his guests in Lippoldsberg, he addressed one of his biggest concerns: the reputation of German literature abroad. Here he was in a good position to build not only on his own experiences in Britain and Africa, and his work in the Foreign Ministry during the First World War, but also his extensive network of contacts around the world. Well aware of the fact that many of Germany’s most prominent and gifted writers had gone into exile since 1933, often publicly denouncing the Nazi regime, Grimm had long championed the cause of German literature abroad. During the 1930s he undertook several lecture tours to Britain, America, and even Brazil.139 Through these trips and the international visitors to Lippoldsberg, he probably achieved more than Blunck in this area, despite the fact that this ← 259 | 260 → became the latter’s particular concern following his dismissal as President of the RSK in 1935.

In spite of its continued success with the public and the writers who participated, by 1938 Grimm was under pressure from various corners regarding the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen. The authorities were clear in their antipathy towards the events.140 In addition, in his own life changes were occurring that meant that he was gradually pulling away from public activity. Disillusioned with the Literature Academy and the situation regarding the Langen-Müller Verlag, he increasingly devoted his energy to his writing. His novel on German-British relations, Heynade und England, had been in the pipeline for most of the 1930s, but neglected due to Grimm’s public and political activities. By the beginning of 1938 he had also decided to move away from Lippoldsberg. His correspondence details various journeys undertaken to East Prussia and parts of Austria to look at estates he might buy.141 While the plan was never fulfilled on account of the outbreak of war in 1939, it was the subject of a number of the newspaper commentaries on the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen in 1938. As Grimm read extracts from Volk ohne Raum to the gathered public, the Kölnische Volkszeitung discussed the collective sorrow at the thought that he would leave the landscape that had been so central to his work, and that he had made familiar to readers far beyond the region.142

The meeting in 1938 was best remembered, however, as the last public appearance of Rudolf Binding, who died only weeks after the event. Further poignancy was added by the fact that Grimm had requested his guests this year to read something autobiographical at the meeting, in response to which Binding selected the passage from his autobiography, Erlebtes Leben, in which he described the death of his father.143 Binding’s sudden ← 260 | 261 → death following a routine operation provided an opportunity to invest his performance with symbolic significance in the press that further added to the interest in the event as a whole.144 Even as Grimm was distancing himself from his creation, the public was more than ever determined to maintain this annual event.145

Given Grimm’s own decision to withdraw from the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, the fact that they survived, albeit in rather curtailed form, until 1939 and were only really stopped by the outbreak of the Second World War, owed much to the opposition of the Nazi leadership itself. Goebbels’ determination to close the event down served to fan the flames of Grimm’s determination to keep it going. By 1938, the authorities were clear in their antipathy towards the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage.146 On 5th August 1938, Goebbels noted in his diary: ‘The writer Hans Grimm is staging a writers’ meeting with a somewhat negative tendency. I will now examine this meeting rather more closely. I will not tolerate a confessional front among the writers.’147

Following attempts to evade a personal meeting, giving bad health and work commitments as his reasons, Grimm was finally forced to attend an interview with Goebbels on 2nd December 1938.148 The conversation between the writer and the Minister for Propaganda lasted two hours, during which the latter listed Grimm’s sins. In addition to the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen, Grimm was also criticised for his refusal to attend Party events and conferences, and for the letter he had written to Wilhelm Frick ← 261 | 262 → on 4th April 1936.149 Here he had criticised the way an openly oppositional resident of Lippoldsberg had been treated by various Party institutions and functionaries after he voted against the re-militarisation of the Rhineland in a plebiscite in March 1936. Referring to the fate of Ernst Wiechert, Goebbels then threatened Grimm with imprisonment: ‘Dr. Grimm, I send people to concentration camps for four months. If I send them there a second time, they never come out.’150 Grimm responded by distancing himself from the comparison with Wiechert and reminded Goebbels that he was openly in favour of National Socialism, but that he remained consciously outside the Party. While the interview ended with further threats from Goebbels, Grimm remained unrepentant.151 He still refused to participate in the Weimarer Dichtertage. The refusal of the organiser of Germany’s most spontaneously popular annual literary event to support the government’s official equivalent was bound to send a negative message to the German public. Only the outbreak of the Second World War allowed the rift between him and the Propaganda Minister to be at least partially repaired. His activities during the War were focused largely on his German-English novel. Grimm viewed this as an essential contribution to the national cause, providing insight into the longstanding difficulties in the relationship between the two nations. He believed the War to be a result of the mistaken view among the British that Germany’s desire to join the ranks of great powers from the late nineteenth century was a threat, a perspective that was also fundamental to his response to the post-war years.152

← 262 | 263 → The final Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen held during the Third Reich, in July 1939, was organised not by Grimm, but by the Göttinger Akademische Orchester-Vereinigung. All the same, Grimm was not only present, but as usual the meeting was held at his home. In many ways, therefore, it was quite a dangerous undertaking. In addition to Grimm, Rudolf Alexander Schröder, Moritz Jahn, August Winnig and Hermann Claudius were also present. In newspaper reports, however, this last meeting was mainly characterised by the gap left by Binding.153 It is difficult to ascertain from Grimm’s correspondence exactly what his own thoughts on this meeting were. With the death of Binding, one his closest professional confidants had gone. Following the dismissal of Gustav Pezold from the Langen-Müller Verlag,154 he was no longer on speaking terms with Kolbenheyer, and the two men only resumed their correspondence in 1946 when circumstances in Germany had changed and the old guard among völkisch-nationalist writers felt the need to hold together.155

By 1939, the old Munich alliance had also largely dissolved. Having given up on the Literature Academy, its members, all of whom were either in or rapidly approaching old age, had largely turned inwards towards their work and individual projects. Grimm too, it is true, was increasingly concerned with his work on German-British relations. His endeavours were only interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, which claimed his attention and saw a renewal of his popularity with the Nazi leadership. The latter welcomed the anti-English standpoint of his novel, Heynade und England, and encouraged him to work for its swift completion. In the end he did not achieve this, but nonetheless, in 1940 Goebbels’ offices also ← 263 | 264 → promoted an American translation of Volk ohne Raum, with which it was hoped to counter the negative effect of anti-Nazi statements and publications by German writers in exile.156 The Second World War also claimed the attention of his erstwhile colleagues in the Munich Consensus, giving them a clear focus for their nationalism. They became involved in the war effort, although as elderly men there were by this stage significant limits to the active work they could carry out.

Like many projects in which Grimm and his völkisch-nationalist colleagues were involved, the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen eventually ground to a halt in the Third Reich, only to be resumed again by Grimm after the War. Nonetheless, their impact was widespread and significant, probably doing more to spread the völkisch message in the 1930s than any other single initiative. Moreover, while outside influences were allowed on the public days, in the form of contributions from various groups from the region, lending the occasions a co-operative character, Grimm took great care to ensure that the private time at Lippoldsberg each year remained free of outside and official influences. His greatest achievement with the Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen was ensuring that they remained entirely free of interference from the Nazi government.

The public days played their part in this. In involving the nearby University of Göttingen, as well as SA, SS and Reichswehr units stationed in the vicinity, and in allowing the public to come and enjoy a day of music, literature and relaxation in the idyllic surroundings of Lippoldsberg, and finally by encouraging newspaper coverage of the events, Grimm gained a degree of protection against Goebbels’ attempts to end the meetings. The latter was unable to force Grimm to give them up without damaging his own public image. Paradoxically, Grimm’s credentials not only as a loyal German nationalist, but also as a supporter and contributor to the regime, were partly gained thanks to Goebbels’ own efforts to publicise Grimm’s support for the Nazis’ endeavours in the early 1930s. In the public eye, he represented much of what the Third Reich meant to many ordinary Germans.

← 264 | 265 → The Lippoldsberger Dichtertage and the Survival of Völkisch-Nationalism after 1945

The unpopularity of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage with the Nazi government was highlighted by Grimm after the war, partly to distance himself from association with the Nazi regime. He revived the meetings in August 1949. The first post-war meeting, presented to the public as a dörfliche Goethefeier, marked the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s birth. Its success and the popularity of the event thereafter is an example of the extent to which völkisch-nationalist writers were able to continue their careers after 1945, shedding light on the nature of their post-war work and their position in the political and cultural spheres of West Germany in the 1950s. The large number of newspaper articles that appeared across Germany, and even abroad, show widespread public awareness of the events. They were not, however, uncontroversial. The press responded with widely varying opinions, a contrast with the almost universally favourable reports of the 1930s. Nonetheless, this probably reflected increased freedom of the press as much as changed public consciousness; indeed thousands of people continued to turn up each year to hear Grimm’s literary guests read from their works.

Grimm insisted on the continuity between the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage in the 1950s and those of the 1930s, putting a gloss on the idea that the event had been born as a result of his concern to maintain the independence of German literature in the Third Reich.157 He supported his position with reference to the problems he had experienced with Goebbels in the late 1930s and an emphasis on his refusal to join the NSDAP.

On the other hand, he had always defined himself as a political writer and in the course of the 1950s the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage increasingly emphasised political rather than literary independence. Whereas Grimm ← 265 | 266 → had previously fought to ensure that ‘German’ literature was elevated above Nazi propaganda, now he was concerned with the maintenance of the ‘German’ spirit in the chaotic and uncertain climate of the post-war years. He sought to counter the perceived dominance of a new political and cultural elite supported by the occupying powers. This elite was composed in large degree of those returning from exile and victims of Nazi racial and political persecution. The former were unpopular for having left while others had stayed and suffered the hardships of war; the latter represented living reminders of Nazi atrocities many preferred to forget.158 As far as Grimm was concerned, a third influential category was represented by those who had been involved in the resistance during the Third Reich. Their efforts were seen by many to have not only undermined the regime, but the nation, contributing to Germany’s defeat and amounting to treason, an outright betrayal of the German Fatherland.159

In spite of his ambivalence towards the Nazi regime Grimm considered the downfall of the Third Reich a retrograde development in German history, exacerbated by the ‘distorted’ worldview that determined the actions of the Western Allies after May 1945. While he rejected the label ‘National Socialist’, he made it clear in a letter to the widow of the Nazi Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in February 1951 that his intention was to defend the politics of Hitler’s regime.160 The conditions in Germany after the Second World War lent new urgency to his völkisch crusade, evident also in his writing after 1945: his efforts to complete the epic novel he had been working on since the 1930s were superseded by his desire to ← 266 | 267 → address the problems he identified in domestic and international affairs. His post-war political analyses, particularly the Erzbischofschrift (1950) and Warum – Woher – Aber Wohin? (1954), both of which gained considerable attention, represented Grimm’s response to the recent past.161

As Detlef Garbe has observed, the efforts to confront the Nazi past in the immediate post-war period were not carried out with broad popular support, but instead antagonised many Germans.162 The Lippoldsberger Dichtertage provided visitors with an opportunity to take refuge from the uncomfortable demands of the post-Nazi present, while they helped the writers involved reaffirm their ideological position, drawing on völkisch ideas to make sense of Germany’s defeat and the post-war political and cultural developments encouraged by the allies and the new Federal government. The events allowed the reestablishment of a live relationship between völkisch writers and representatives of the German Volk. The meetings provided not only a context in which völkisch writers could communicate their ideas, but also a context for collective endorsement of their political position, presented as an alternative to both the new West German parliamentary democracy and the socialism of the GDR.

Alongside several well-known, popular names and veterans of the Dichtertage of the 1930s, a number of new figures appeared behind the lectern in Lippoldsberg after the War. In 1949, Grimm was joined by his old friend, the poet Hermann Claudius, as well as Will Vesper, a new face at the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, but a prominent figure in the literary sphere of the Third Reich, not least as the editor of Die Neue Literatur.163 In the years that followed, readings from Heimat poets like Moritz Jahn were complemented by the reminiscences of military men, for example ← 267 | 268 → Hans-Ulrich Rudel, and political commentaries delivered by nationalist publicists like Heinz Mahnke. Particularly prominent on the programme each year were eulogies to Germany’s lost territories delivered by the likes of the Sudeten-German Vertriebene Wilhelm Pleyer and Hans Venatier, or the East Prussian Renate von Fischer, to say nothing of the poems of Ursel Peter, dedicated to those who had sacrificed their homes or even their lives for Germany.164

Grimm’s skill lay in his ability to join the individual writers together in the name of the German cause for which he had spent his life fighting, and to link this cause to the challenges large sectors of the population faced in the immediate post-war years. The Dichtertage helped Grimm and his colleagues gain new currency in the post-war political and cultural climate by linking their ideological programme to the immediate experiences of the audience.

Grimm’s concerns in these years were clear in his Dörfliche Goetherede in 1949: Germany’s position in the world and the ongoing suffering experienced by her population as a result of the war and defeat at the hands of the Allies. These included not only the treatment of Germany after the War, but also the conditions of those expelled from the former Eastern territories. The material destruction of the German homeland was manifold, caused by the loss of large territories and the bombing raids on her cities. Furthermore, the Germans were no longer the free masters of what was left of their country; they had been subjected to deliberate ‘Seelentotschlag’ by the propaganda of foreign opinion-makers. Thus, far from accepting the idea of ‘collective guilt’, as far as Grimm was concerned the Germans had become the scapegoats of history, prevented over centuries from unfolding their full potential by jealous neighbours determined to limit their development. The contributions made by the German Volk to humankind, evident in Goethe’s works, had been forgotten. Rejecting the political structures established after 1945 in both East and West Germany, Grimm’s ← 268 | 269 → concern for the future of the German Volk was reflected in his emphasis on the importance of German youth, and his call for the unification of Europe along völkisch lines. This would preserve European civilisation in the face of foreign threats coming from the USA and the USSR, creating a third superpower.165

Establishing what would become a common feature of future meetings, in 1949 Grimm also included a ‘greeting’ to those who had died or suffered in the previous ten years, calling on his listeners to bow their heads to those who had gone un-thanked for the sacrifices they had made for Germany. The formal remembrance of dead fellows became a core element of the meetings held in the decades that followed. Grimm himself joined their ranks in 1959, after which a ceremony at his grave was conducted each year. In addition, the ‘sacrifices’ of those who had lost their homes through Vertreibung or the wartime destruction of German cities were also remembered. In this way, the individual experiences of Germans during and after the War were united in a collective spirit of sacrifice for the Volk.166

While the content of the events laid bare the political position of the writers involved, Grimm consciously sought to limit undue public controversy, particularly in the early 1950s. He therefore sought a balance between the true representation of the völkisch ideology that was fundamental to his understanding of literature, as well as to the character of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, and his desire to avoid controversy. In 1950 and 1951 Grimm stuck to readings from his South African tales, avoiding overt political provocation, although for many the colonial and racist agenda of these stories would have been clear. A more explicit politial agenda was, however, evident in 1952 with Karl Kaltwasser’s lecture ‘Vom Amt des Dichters im Volk.’167 This question of the writer’s ← 269 | 270 → role in society, which had long occupied völkisch-nationalist intellectuals, was picked up again at the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage in subsequent years. Grimm introduced the proceedings in 1953 by emphasising that the writers had come together as a result of their concern with more than finding solutions to literary problems; they were gathered because of their common sense of obligation to the German whole.168 At this meeting, the young Heinz Mahnke presented a perspective from the younger generation of nationalists who had grown up and been educated in the Third Reich. Having fought in the Second World War, they were, Mahnke insisted, determined to protect and nurture German consciousness in literature and poetry. Mahnke had been a volunteer in the Waffen SS under the Nazis and after the War became a member of the Sozialistische Reichspartei (SRP), banned in the Federal Republic in 1952. He later functioned as a nationalist publicist and joined the right-wing Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD). On 14th July 1953, the Fulda-Bote, the Beraer Zeitung and the Rotenburger Tageblatt, as well as the Hessische Nachrichten, all carried a syndicated article praising his presentation in Lippoldsberg.169 In 1954, Grimm followed up the theme of the previous year with a lecture, ‘Die Aufgabe und Verantwortung des Dichters in unserer Zeit’, which he also delivered on several lecture tours in Germany in the course of this year.170

While Grimm publicly played down the political nature of the Lippoldsberg meetings, in private he was quite clear that the opposite was the case. His emphasis on the German writer rooted in the Volk had its genesis in völkisch-nationalism as a political ideology in which authority and legitimacy were not established on institutional foundations ← 270 | 271 → or constitutional systems, but came directly from the Volk.171 In this spirit, the meetings sought to spread a message of fundamental social renewal along nationalist lines. His position was shared by the writers who attended the post-war Dichtertage. Nonetheless, association with Grimm was not always perceived as advantageous and a letter in 1954 shows that he was conscious of the precarious nature of his situation. On 8th February, he asked the writer Wilhelm Pleyer whether he would be prepared in theory to attend a meeting, noting that: ‘some authors are marked by coming here. Such agitation, fully without purpose or sense, was already underway before the “Erzbischofschrift”, where emigrants targeted a few well-known names. After the “Erzbischofschrift” those members of society with dirt on their shoes joined the attack.’172 The friendly, mutually supportive correspondence between the two writers up to Grimm’s death in 1959, as well as Pleyer’s regular attendance at the Dichtertage each year from 1958 show that he had no reservations about association with Grimm. Similarly, Wilhelm Pleyer’s fellow expellee from Czechoslovakia, Hans Venatier, displayed no qualms about attending, in spite of the fact that he was twice required to justify his presence before committees of the government in Rhineland-Palatinate in the second half of the 1950s.173

In spite of his desire to avoid criticism in 1956, by the end of the decade Grimm’s sense of urgency after ten years of perceived degeneration in West Germany meant he was prepared to be more provocative. As the Lippoldsberger Dichtertag became increasingly political in the post-war years, Grimm also relinquished his old demand that the writers present should represent the zenith of German literary achievement. Instead a ‘national’ attitude that expressed their dedication to the German Volk became the only qualification for participation.

← 271 | 272 → The changing nature of the Dichtertage was already reflected in some reviews of the event in 1951. The Deister- und Weserzeitung was compelled to admit that, while Grimm, still a respected figure, could not be blamed for Germany’s problems, he appeared to have lost his sense of diplomacy and the wisdom and fairness for which he had always been esteemed.174 It praised his engagement for all those who were suffering ‘nur weil sie Deutsche sind’, noting that many fell into this category, not least in connection with the Nuremberg trials. The journalist felt, however, that it was not appropriate, for Grimm to describe the inmates of Spandau prison175 as martyrs of the German Volk in his welcome address, and to follow this with a rendition of the Andreas-Hofer-Lied by the Lippoldsberg choral society. This served to destroy the distance that should be established between older German history and the shameful legacy of the twelve-year Nazi regime. Anyone who, like Grimm, was prepared to excuse the ‘agonising’ practices of this regime as ‘unavoidable cruelty’ and part of a ‘process of purification’ was clearly unaware of his own actions in the new post-war context.176

Nonetheless, the same article went on to comment positively on the readings of Hermann Claudius and Moritz Jahn, both described as ‘masters of self-recitation’, as well as Georg Grabenhorst’s ‘boys’ tale ‘Ruhig Blut, Old Shatterhand!’. August Hinrichs’ readings from his Swinskomödie and a ‘charming’ low German poem were also praised. Little was said, on the other hand, about Hans Grimm’s own story of the ‘singende Werker’, and humorous suggestions of ways to avoid war from Will Vesper were lost on the journalist. Most significantly, perhaps, Renate von Fischer’s three verses about the ‘catastrophe of East Prussia’ undeniably represented, according to the newspaper, true, deep-felt experience, had little to do with poetry. This served to strengthen ‘erst recht unsere Befürchtung, daß in Lippoldsberg ← 272 | 273 → zunehmend immer mehr Wert auf Gesinnungen, und weniger Gewicht auf die dichterischen Fähigkeiten gelegt werde.’177

In 1953 a similarly mixed tone was evident in the centrist Hessische Nachrichten, which discussed the meeting in terms reminiscent of the idyllic descriptions of the events of many of the pre-war commentaries, often written by the same journalists who later reviewed the post-war meetings: ‘The midday sun pushed its way over the high gables into the courtyard, a mild wind played with the vines on the timbers of the fine old convent walls and with the grey hair of writers in front of a thousand-headed […] audience.’178 Nonetheless, the article expressed a clear sense of disappointment, suggesting that the readings in 1953 had not been of the same literary quality as those at the pre-war meetings. Similarly, the following year the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung threw a ‘besorgter Blick nach Lippoldsberg’. It complimented Moritz Jahn and praised Hans Grimm’s speech on ‘Die Aufgabe und Verantwortung des Dichters in unserer Zeit’, but expressed doubts about the ability of the other readers present to live up to Grimm’s vision: ‘The magnificent, eternally true has, in Grimm’s opinion, long been said. The masters of the past all lived, as he stated, in a formed […] time. Today, in an unformed time, it is the task of the writers to highlight the current confusion using artistic methods and to break through false tattle – always conscious of their responsibility for a united Europe.’179 The situation in Lippoldsberg reflected the problems in Germany’s post-war cultural life, the article concluded, suggesting a continued desire for leadership of the kind to which Germans were accustomed under Hitler. None had yet emerged who were able to redefine the inner existence of the nation, which was still divided nine years after the War and lacking clear political direction from above. Serious concern, the journalist maintained, was reflected in the faces of at least some of those who had ← 273 | 274 → gathered in the cloister courtyard, among whom were a number who would have remembered the days before the War when ‘great’ writers such as Rudolf G. Binding, Börries von Münchhausen, Hans Carossa and Rudolf Alexander Schröder had stood at the lectern.180

On the other hand, there were also a large number of purely positive reports of the meetings, suggesting that for many they continued to represent something on the level of a village fete or cultural festival. Reporting the visit of ‘Warburger Literaturfreunde’ to the Dichtertag in 1951, the Freie Presse in Bielefeld, for example, adopted an unreflective attitude towards the events, enjoying the Low German theme of the meeting that year.181 In 1952, the Kasseler Post also reported very positively on the Dichtertag: ‘The thousand guests heartily thanked the men who had taken them out of their everyday lives for three hours.’182 Similarly, the Göttinger Tageblatt, which had followed the events closely in the 1930s, presented an uncritical commentary on the proceedings of that year.183

The enthusiasm for the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage in local and regional newspapers, in particular, suggests that their appeal reached beyond the circles of the extreme right. Estimates of the size of the public that attended the Goethe celebrations in 1949 varied in the press, but most newspapers spoke in terms of thousands, with 4000 a frequently cited figure.184 Moreover, the Dichtertage continued to attract large audiences throughout the 1950s. Writing to Prof. Heuser at Columbia University in 1953, Grimm reported ← 274 | 275 → that 2,600 people had been present for the readings; in a later letter, he reported again that over 2,000 people had turned up in 1957.185

As far as it is possible to judge, photographs of the events in the 1950s support Grimm’s estimates, showing the public packed into the convent yard each year.186 And the presence of large crowds is also generally supported by the newspaper and magazine reports, although here the exact figures vary. There are a number of possible reasons for this. In a number of cases it is possible to assume that the figures cited also reflected the political weight given to the meetings. A paradox is evident in the responses of left-wing and liberal commentators in particular. Some played down the size of the meetings, presumably seeking to downplay the continued significance of Grimm and his völkisch colleagues. Others built up the ongoing threat of the right by emphasising a high number of visitors. A left-wing schoolteacher from Göttingen who criticised the event in the student magazine Impuls suggested that 5,000 people had been present in 1949, expressing concern that the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage were attracting large numbers of youth in particular. Towards the other end of the spectrum, the Kasseler Zeitung suggested an attendance of 1,500.187 In general, right-wing and local newspapers were more matter of fact about the numbers than their left-wing counterparts. Their tendency to cite figures that corresponded to those of the pre-war years perhaps indicates a search for comforting continuity with the past in uncertain times.

An antagonistic article in Politik und Wirtschaft (1954) suggested that a large number of the listeners came from the circles of the right-wing DRP, ← 275 | 276 → for which Grimm had stood as a candidate in the Bundestag election the previous year. Alongside the later leader of the DRP, Adolf von Thadden, the newspaper identified further representatives of right-wing groups and publications, including Arthur Ehrhardt from the journal Nation Europa, Bruno Fricke of the Deutsche National-Zeitung and Dieter Vollmer of Der Weg.188 The accusation that Grimm’s meetings played host to former Nazis and neo-Nazis also appeared in other publications in the course of the 1950s. In 1955, Wolfgang Wirsig contributed a piece to the Hannoversche Presse, in which he described the visit to Lippoldsberg of the members of the Hanover branch of the ‘Deutsches Kulturwerk europäischen Geistes’, a right-wing organisation established in Munich by the writer Herbert Böhme. Similarly, in 1957 the Neue Presse contrasted the earlier meetings with those of the later 1950s, suggesting that the latter were now attended by ‘einige Herren mit Breeches und Wickelgamaschen. Frauen mit der deutschen Sendung im Blick. Knotenfrisur überwiegt. Man ist unter sich.’189 In addition, the presence of a youth group dressed in a uniform of black shirts, with knives in leather cases and emblems on their breasts was noted.

Nonetheless, the crowds appear to have been mixed, as Holle Grimm (Grimm’s daughter) suggested in a letter to Hans Venatier in 1954: ‘Perhaps you are asking who you will have before you as listeners. I would respond by saying, a cross-section of society, of the entire Volk, politically people who feel themselves to be absolutely German.’190 Overall, it would seem that the reasons for attendance varied, with an increasingly right-wing political agenda becoming evident over the course of the decade. Nonetheless, there were still some listeners with less overt political intentions. While, as Holle Grimm’s comments suggest, Hans Grimm and his associates viewed the presence of substantial crowds as an endorsement of their own ‘German’ position, it is likely that many visitors simply enjoyed the day out on the banks of the Weser, as they had during the 1930s. The appeal of the events, ← 276 | 277 → beyond immediate entertainment, could be found in their familiarity, which provided reassurance that not everything in Germany had been bad before 1945. Continuity was not only evident, but also part of the appeal of the Lippoldsberger Dichtertage after the War. The desire for familiar literature also allowed völkisch-nationalist writers to revive their careers after 1945. Their position with regard to the changed circumstances in West Germany in the post-war era is examined in the following chapter. ← 277 | 278 →


1 Ernst von Salomon, Der Fragebogen (Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1951; edition consulted 1993), pp. 189–190. See also Dietrich Strothmann, Nationalsozialistische Literaturpolitik: Ein Beitrag zur Publistik im Dritten Reich (2nd edn, Bonn: Bouvier, 1963), p. 91.

2 B. Zimmermann, ‘Literary Criticism from 1933 to the Present’ in P. Hohendahl (ed.), A History of German Literary Criticism, 1730–1980 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), p. 368.

3 Ibid., p. 369.

4 See, for example, note on the Kulturpolitische Pressekonferenz, B.Arch.R56V–48.

5 Zimmermann, ‘Literary Criticism’, p. 370; see also Joseph Goebbels’ diary entry for 29th November 1929 in Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I, vol. 2, p. 739.

6 Zimmermann ‘Literary Criticism’, p. 361.

7 Lokatis, Die Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, p. 103.

8 Mallmann, ‘Das innere Reich’, p. 48.

9 Benno Mascher, ‘Im Schlagschatten der Diktatur’, Frankfurter neue Presse, 2.8.1958, p. 19 quoted in Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, p. 3.

10 Quoted in Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig’, p. 382.

11 Curt Hohoff, Unter den Fischen: Erinnerungen an Männer, Mädchen und Bücher, 1934–1939 (Wiesbaden & München: Limes Verlag, 1982)

12 Ibid., pp. 13–15

13 Harry Pross, Literatur und Politik: Geschichte und Programme der politisch-literarischen Zeitschriften im deutschen Sprachgebiet seit 1870 (Freiburg im Breisgau: Walter, 1963), p. 125.

14 Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig,’ p. 382.

15 Ibid. p. 382.

16 Loewy, Literatur unterm Hakenkreuz, p. 331; Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig,’ pp. 382–405

17 Loewy, Literatur unterm Hakenkreuz, p. 331.

18 Ibid. p. 331.

19 See for example: Binding to Grimm, 4.3.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Binding to Grimm, 1935–1936; Binding to Grimm, 6.3.1936, DLA – A Grimm, Binding to Grimm, 1935–1936; Binding to Grimm, 6.4.1937, DLA: Nachlaß Grimm, Binding to Grimm, 1937–1938; Schäfer to Grimm, 16.9.1934, DLA – A: Grimm, Schäfer to Grimm, 1911–1935; Schäfer to Grimm, 26.5.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Schäfer to Grimm, 1936–1948; Grimm to Strauß. 23.2.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Strauß, 1933–1956.

20 Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig,’ pp. 386.

21 Paul Alverdes, Die Nördlichen (Berlin: Weiße Ritter Verlag, 1922); Die Pfeiferstube (Frankfurt am Main: Rütten & Loening, 1929); Reinhold oder die Verwandelten (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1931); Die Freiwilligen (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1934); Das Winterlager (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1935); Eine Infanterie Division bricht durch (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1943). For a summary of Alverdes’ career see: Sarkowicz & Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland, pp. 69–70; Ingeborg Schuldt-Britting, Sankt-Anna-Platz 10: Erinnerungen an Georg Britting und seinen Münchener Freundeskreis (Munich: Buchendorfer, 1999), pp. 182–184. Karl Benno von Mechow’s work reflected his background as a farmer, as well as his wartime experiences. For example: Das ländliche Jahr (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1930); Vorsommer (München: Langen-Müller, 1934); Leben und Zeit aus dem Land Österreich: ein Erinnerungsbuch (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1938).

22 Paul Alverdes and Karl Benno von Mechow, Editorial to first issue of Das innere Reich (1. Jahrgang, 1. Halbjahresband 1934), pp. 1–4.

23 Grimm, Lüderitzland: Sieben Begebenheiten (Munich: Langen-Müller, 1934).

24 Paul Alverdes ‘Zu neuen Büchern’, Inneres Reich (Jahrgang, 1. 1. Halbjahr), pp. 406–415, quotation, p. 412.

25 Ibid. p. 412.

26 Paul Alverdes ‘Zu neuen Büchern’, Inneres Reich (Jahrgang, 1. 1. Halbjahr), p. 408.

27 Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig’, p. 385.

28 For a full analysis of contributions to the journal see Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, pp. 78–86.

29 Letter from Paul Alverdes to Marian Mallmann, 31.5.1971, quoted by Mallmann in Das Innere Reich, p. 71.

30 Binding to Wiechert, 26.2.1936 in Ludwig Friedrich Barthel (ed.), Rudolf G. Binding: Die Briefe (Hamburg: Dulk, 1957), p. 315; Binding to Barthel, 6.4.1937 in Barthel (ed.), Rudolf G. Binding, p. 353; Binding to Barthel, 26.9.1937 in Barthel (ed.), Rudolf G. Binding, p. 378; Binding to Alverdes, 24.11.1937 in Barthel (ed.), Rudolf G. Binding, p. 390; Schuldt-Britting, Sankt-Anna-Platz 10, pp. 187–188.

31 Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, p. 75.

32 Schuldt-Britting, Sankt-Anna-Platz 10, pp. 78–79.

33 Rudolf G. Binding, Erlebtes Leben (Frankfurt am Main: Rütten & Loening, 1928).

34 As well as numerous volumes of poetry, short stories and legends, after 1918 Binding was also influenced by the theme of war, for example in works like: Aus dem Kriege (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Loening, 1925); Deutsche Jugend vor den Toten des Krieges (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Loening, 1933).

35 Mallmann, Das Innere Reich. pp. 78–86.

36 Ernst Wiechert, Der Totenwald (Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, 1946). Mallmann discusses a range of further examples in Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, pp. 86–92.

37 Mallmann, Das innere Reich, p. 138.

38 Rudolf Thiel, ‘Friedrich der Große: Charakterstudien zu einer Biographie. Zur 150. Wiederkehr seines Todestages am 17. August’, Das innere Reich, 1936, Year 3, vol. 2, pp. 543–573.

39 Ibid. p. 573.

40 Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, p. 143.

41 Pezold to Himmler, 14.10.1936, DLA: Langen-Müller Verlag / Pezold.

42 Ibid.

43 Draft of an undated letter from Binding to Goebbels, October 1936 in Barthels (ed.), Rudolf G. Binding, pp. 340–342.

44 ‘Erklärung’, Das Innere Reich, 1936, Year 3, vol. 3, p. 921.

45 Denkler, ‘Janusköpfig’, p. 386.

46 Paul Alverdes, ‘“Brüder”: Zum Tag der Volksabstimmung am 10. April 1938’, Das Innere Reich, April 1938 (Jahrgang 5, 1. Halbjahr, 1938/39), pp. 100–103. Quotation, p. 103.

47 Heinrich Ritter von Srbik, ‘Stirb und werde’, Das innere Reich: Sonderheft zur Heimkehr Deutsch-Österreichs ins Reich (May 1938), pp 118–119; quotation, p. 119.

48 Bruno Brehm, ‘Ein Brief aus Wien’, Das innere Reich: Sonderheft zur Heimkehr Deutsch-Österreichs ins Reich (May 1938), p. 121. He similarly greeted the annexation of the Sudetenland later the same year: Bruno Brehm, ‘Tage der Heimkehr’, Das Innere Reich: Zeitschrift für Dichtung, Kunst und deutsches Leben, November 1938 (Jahrgang 5, 2.Halbjahr), pp. 845–858.

49 Paul Alverdes, ‘Antwort auf einen Brief aus England’, Das innere Reich, April 1939 (Jahrgang 6, 1. Halbjahr, 1939/1940), pp. 2–7; quotation, p. 3.

50 Hans Grimm, ‘Englische Begegnung: Entwurf eines Vorwortes’, Das innere Reich, Jahrgang 3, Band 4, 1937, pp. 1197–1207.

51 Paul Alverdes, ‘Tagebuch in dieser Zeit: I. Der Reisegefährte, 29th September ’39,’, Das innere Reich, November 1939 (Jahrgang 6, 2. Halbjahr), pp. 799–805; quotation, p. 800.

52 Ibid. pp. 803–804

53 Mallmann, Das innere Reich, pp. 66–67.

54 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, pp. 245–254,

55 E.g. June 1935: Anordnung für Einzelvertreter des Reisebuchhandels; February 1937: Normalvertrag zwischen Verlagsbuchhandlungen und Verlagsvertretern. See Barbian, Literaturpolitk, p. 572.

56 Ibid.

57 The first of these, established in April 1934, was the Beobachtungsstelle für den Reisebuchhandel, which required the registration of all new and re-released travel books as well as any price changes. It was followed by the Anordnung zur Förderung guter Unterhaltungsliteratur in July 1935; the Beratungsstelle für astrologisches und verwandtes Schrifttum; the Beratungsstelle für Fachverleger in der RSK, and the Beratungsstelle für das Adreß- und Anzeigenbuchverlags-Gewerbe.

58 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, pp. 569–570.

59 For examples of individual decisions see the letters from the Beratungsstelle Verlag to the RSK asking for the inclusion of Leo Reissinger, Die Handschrift verschweigt nichts (Stuttgart, 1937), 14.7.1937, and Franz Weschke, Beiträge zur Handschriftenbeurteilung (Leipzig, 1937) 15.7.1937 in the lists of ‘schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums’, B.Arch.R56V(50-05)FB, No. 7. The reasons given in both cases were that the works were ‘dilenttantisch’, un-scientific and badly-written and would thus lead the lay-reader astray. See also the correspondence between the Beratungsstelle Verlag and the Verlagsbuchhandlung W. Grunow, Leipzig, in 1937, regarding numerous ‘Unterhaltungsromane’, B.Arch.R56V(50-05)FB, No. 6.

60 Decree issued by Rudolf Hess as the representative of the Führer on 16th April 1934, establishing the ‘Parteiamtlichen Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums’, in Michaelis and Schraepler (eds), Ursachen und Folgen, vol. IX, pp. 507–508.

61 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, p. 106.

62 Modris Eksteins, The Limits of Reason: The German Democratic Press and the Collapse of Weimar Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975). pp. 295–301; Oron. J. Hale, The Captive Press in the Third Reich (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 106.

63 Hale, The Captive Press, p. 325.

64 S. Noller and H. von Kotze (eds), Facsimile Querschnitt durch den Völkischen Beobachter (1967), pp. 4–6; see also Hale, The Captive Press, pp. 15–16.

65 Quoted by Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, p. 223; see also Lehmann (ed.), Verleger J.F. Lehmann, pp. 78–79.

66 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, pp. 228–229.

67 On the fate of the LMV see below, pp. 237–245.

68 The inclusion of Peter Diederich’s name on the list of participants at the Großdeutsches Dichtertreffen in 1942, alongside many other völkisch-nationalists and Nazi officials, is one example of his ongoing activity in the literary sphere during the Third Reich, B.Arch.R56V–12.

69 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, pp. 232–234; Kurt Sontheimer, ‘Der Tatkreis’, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Jahrgang 7, Heft 3 (1959), pp. 229–260; Florian Triebel, Der Eugen Diederichs Verlag, 1930–1949: Ein Unternehmen zwischen Kultur und Kalkül (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2004), pp. 298–299.

70 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, p. 77; Brenner, Ende einer bürgerlichen Kunst-Institution, pp. 13–14; Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion Langen-Müller, pp. 207–209.

71 Lokatis, ‘Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt’, p. 4.

72 Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 216.

73 Mallmann, Das Innere Reich, p. 45.

74 Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology, p. 230.

75 Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 209.

76 Lokatis, ‘Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt’, pp. 102–103; Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 208.

77 Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 2.8.1934, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 1933–1959.

78 Lokatis, ‘Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt’, p. 102.

79 Gustav Pezold, ‘Über den Verlag Langen-Müller u. seinen Autor Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer’, DLA – A: Alverdes, Gustav Pezold, versch. Also quoted in Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 217.

80 Ibid. p. 217.

81 In comparison to the LMV, the HAVA’s programme took a very different course after 1933, carving out a niche for itself by publishing in particular political and historical works in line with the Nazi ideology, for Nazi institutions, and by members of the NSDAP. See Lokatis, ‘Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt’.

82 Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 2.8.1934, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 1933–1959.

83 Pezold to Grimm, 10.12.1937, DLA: Pezold to Grimm, 1937–1938.

84 Pezold to Grimm, 20.12.1937, DLA: Pezold to Grimm, 1937–1938.

85 Meyer, Die Verlagsfusion, p. 218.

86 Pezold to Grimm, 10.12.1937, DLA: Pezold to Grimm, 1937–1938.

87 In a letter to Kolbenheyer on 29.1.1937, Grimm exhorted Kolbenheyer not to let his personal dislike of Pezold get in the way of his actions regarding the publishing house: ‘I am naturally aware that you yourself are not particularly fond of Herr Pezold. I would nonetheless like to ask you not to let that lead you to make a mistake. For, even if initially the officious men only look to Pezold in isolation, that is only in order that, eventually, they will be better able to get at individual authors […].’ Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 29.1.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 1933–1939. See also Gustav Pezold, ‘Über den Verlag Langen-Müller u. seinen Autor Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer’, DLA – A: Alverdes, Gustav Pezold, versch.

88 Kolbenheyer to Grimm, 19.1.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Kolbenheyer to Grimm, 1918–1938.

89 Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 23.1.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Kolbenheyer 1933–1959.

90 Pezold to Grimm, 18.5.1938, DLA: Pezold to Grimm, 1937–1938.

91 Ibid.

92 Grimm to Schäfer, 6.2.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Schäfer, 1928–1950.

93 Friedländer et al., Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich, pp. 377–382.

94 The single-volume edition of Volk ohne Raum published by Bertelsmann in 1944 covered numbers 486,000 to 505,000.

95 For example, copies 71,000 to 100,000 of the Feldausgabe of Herbert Volck, Die Wölfe, were printed in 1942, being copies 272,000 to 301,000 of the total editions of this work. Likewise the edition 106,000 to 135,000 of the Feldausgabe of P.C. Ettighoffer’s Nacht über Sibirien, published in 1941, was numbers 331,000 to 360,000 of the total editions.

96 Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen, Wartburg Tagebuch 1936, DLA: Nachlaß Grimm, Münchhausen to Grimm.

97 An earlier version of this section was published in Guy Tourlamain, ‘“In Defence of the Volk”: Hans Grimm’s Lippoldsberger Dichtertage and völkisch Continuity in Germany before and after the Second World War’, Oxford German Studies, vol. 39, No. 3 (2010) pp. 229–249 ( I would like to thank the editors, Jim Reed and Nigel Palmer, and Maney Publishing for permission to reuse this material.

98 Salomon, Der Fragebogen, pp. 192–193. This work was based on Salomon’s answers to an allied questionnaire and is an attempt to explain the German position regarding the Nazis after 1945.

99 Report for Johst, RSK Berlin, 26.8.1936, B.Arch.R56V–12; see also memorandum from Bischoff to Ihde, in the RSK, ‘Zusammenstellung der jetzt bestehenden Dichterkreise,’ 27.7.1938, B.Arch.R56V–77; Wulf Segebrecht (ed.), Der Bamberger Dichterkreis, 1936–1945: Eine Austellung in der Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (Bamberg: Lang, 1987).

100 Internal memorandum to Ihde in RSK, 10.9.1938, Betrifft: Dichterische Gemeinschaften, Kreise, Veranstaltungen etc. im Reich’, B.Arch.R56V–77; See also Mittenzwei, Der Untergang einer Akademie, p. 427.

101 Mittenzwei, Der Untergang einer Akademie, pp. 175–178.

102 Ibid. pp. 175–176.

103 Ibid. p. 178.

104 Münchhausen to Grimm, 1.12.1933, DLA – A: Grimm, Münchhausen to Grimm, 1927–1945; Mittenzwei, Der Untergang einer Akademie, pp. 176–177.

105 Mittenzwei, Der Untergang einer Akademie, pp. 409–410.

106 Ibid. p. 410.

107 Ibid. p. 424.

108 Ibid., pp. 421–425.

109 Grimm to Binding, 31.10.1933, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Binding, 1933–1934.

110 Grimm to Schäfer, 25.3.1934, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Binding, 1933–1934.

111 Grimm to Pezold, 14th July 1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Pezold, 1938–1946.

112 This should not be taken to mean that Grimm, for example, was pleased at the outbreak of the Second World War – see, for example letter to Pezold, 25th March 1939 in which he states his worries regarding Germany’s relationship with Britain, but there was no doubt once war had been declared where his loyalties lay. See Grimm to Pezold, 25.03.1939, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Pezold, 1938–1946. See also discussion of German foreign policy in Inneres Reich, Chapter 4, pp. 229–232.

113 Salomon to Grimm, 24.7.1934, DLA – A: Grimm, Salomon to Grimm, 1934–1952.

114 Gerd Koch, ‘1936: Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm in Lippoldsberg’, pp. 337–349.

115 Max Maass, ‘Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm: Besuch in Lippoldsberg an der Weser’, Hannoverschen Kurier, Nr.302, Jahrgang 1935, 2nd July 1935, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte 1935–1936.

116 Max Maass estimated that 500 visitors arrived by train in ‘Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm: Besuch in Lippoldsberg an der Weser.’

117 Jürgen Schüddekopf, ‘Das Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen’, Göttinger Tageblatt, 2.7.1935, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

118 Koch, ‘1936: Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm’, p. 342.

119 Schüddekopf, ‘Das Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen.’

120 Rudolf Binding, ‘Sankt Georgs Stellvertreter’ in Legenden der Zeit (Frankfurt a/M: Rütten & Loening, 1909), pp. 61–123.

121 In Schüddekopf, ‘Das Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen.’

122 Völkischer Beobachter (Süddeutsche Ausgabe), No. 185, 3.7.1935, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte 1935–1936.

123 Germania, 1935: undated newspaper cutting, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

124 Frankfurter Zeitung, 1935: undated newspaper cutting, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

125 See below, pp. 297–307.

126 Jürgen Schüddekopf, ‘Lesestunde auf dem Klosterhof. Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm’ in Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 1.7.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

127 Börries von Münchhausen, ‘Lippoldsberger Dichtertage’, Deutscher Zukunft, Sunday 19th July 1936, p. 7, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1936–1936.

128 Schüddekopf, ‘Lesestunde auf dem Klosterhof. Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm.’; G.W. Pfeiffer, ‘Lippoldsberger Fahrten. Erfurcht vor dem Ewigen und heiße Liebe zu unserer Heimat’, Göttinger Nachrichten, No. 149, 29.6.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

129 G.W. Pfeiffer, ‘Dichtung aus nationaler Verantwortlichkeit. Ein neuer deutscher Dichterkreis um Hans Grimm, dem Lippoldsberger Rufer’, Göttinger Nachrichten, 30.6.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte 1935–1936.

130 Ibid.

131 Ibid.

132 Börries von Münchhausen, ‘Lippoldsberger Dichtertage,’ p. 7, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1936–1936; ‘Andenklich der Lippoldsberger Tagung’, Wille und Macht, 1.8.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1935–1936.

133 Excerpt from Münchhausen’s Wartburg Tagebuch, sent to Grimm in a letter on 20.1.1937, DLA – A: Grimm, Münchhausen to Grimm.

134 Ibid.

135 Ibid.

136 Grimm to Salomon, 16.2.1937, DLA: Nachlaß Grimm, Grimm to Salomon, 1934–1958; Grimm to Binding, 24.2.1937, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Binding, 1936–1937.

137 Undated article in Literatur (1937), DLA: Nachlaß Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1937.

138 Edmund Blunden, ‘The Klosterhaus Readings 1937’, German Life and Letters, vol. 2, no. 1 (1937), pp. 33–38, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertreffen – Zeitungsberichte, 1937.

139 Grimm to Salomon, 22.11.1936, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Salomon, 1934–1958; Grimm to President of the Deutsche Akademie, München, 8th January 1937, DLA – A: Grimm.

140 Memorandum from Bischoff to Ihde in the RSK, 27.7.1938, B.Arch.R56V–77; Letter from Hanns Johst’s secretary, R.Hauff, to Frl. Schneider in RSK, 2.7.1938, B.Arch R56V–77.

141 Grimm to Binding, 6.4.1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Binding, 1938.

142 ‘Das Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm’, Kölnische Volkszeitung, No. 183, 7.7.1938, p. 4, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1938–1939.

143 Rudolf Binding, Erlebtes Leben, pp. 276–293.

144 For example: ‘Bindings Abschied – Eine Erinnerung’, Hannoversches Kurier, Friday 11th November 1938, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1938–1939.

145 ‘Das Dichtertreffen bei Hans Grimm’, Kölnische Volkszeitung, No. 183, 7.7.1938, p. 4, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1938–1939.

146 Memorandum from Bischoff to Ihde in the RSK, 27.7.1938, B.Arch.R56V–77; Letter from Hanns Johst’s secretary, R.Hauff, to Frl. Schneider in RSK, 2.7.1938, B.Arch R56V–77.

147 Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, part I., vol. 3, 5.8.1938, p. 500.

148 Letter from Grimm’s secretary to Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, June 1938; two letters from Grimm’s secretary to Herrn Jaensch, Reichsministerium für Volksauflärung und Propaganda, 16th 17th November 1938; two letters from Grimm to Goebbels, 20th November 1938, all in DLA – A: Grimm – Grimm to Deutschland, Deutsches Reich, Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, 1931–1939.

149 Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Part I., Volume 3, 20.11.1938, pp. 541–542; see discussion of Grimm’s correspondence with Frick, Chapter 2, pp. 153–156.

150 Hans Grimm, minutes of meeting with Joseph Goebbels on 1st December 1938, written from memory during the night of 1st – 2nd December 1938 and witnessed by the lawyer Dr. Pondorf, DLA – A: Grimm – Gedächtnisprotokoll der Unterredung mit Joseph Goebbels am 2.12.1938; see also Barbian, Literaturpolitik, p. 407.

151 Grimm, minutes of meeting with Joseph Goebbels on 1st December 1938; see also Barbian, Literaturpolitik, pp. 406–409.

152 See, for example, Grimm to Hadamovsky at RMVP, 24.1.1940, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Deutschland, Deutsches Reich, Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, 1940–1944. This correspondence also contains discussion of a possible English translation of Volk ohne Raum, which Grimm also viewed as necessary for the national cause.

153 ‘Der 6. Lippoldsberger Dichtertag. Gedenkstunde für R.G. Binding’ in Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 315/16, 5.7.1939, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage – Zeitungsberichte, 1938–1939.

154 See below, pp. 300–306.

155 Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 12.9.1946, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Kolbenheyer, 1933–1959.

156 Barbian, Literaturpolitik, p. 409.

157 Die Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, pamphlet published by the Klosterhaus-Verlag, Lippoldsberg for the Dichtertag 1960, DLA – A: Grimm, Lippoldsberger Dichtertage. Zugehörige Materialien, 1960–1981.

158 Detlef Garbe, ‘Äußerliche Abkehr, Erinnerungsverweigerung und “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”: Der Umgang mit dem Nationalsozialismus in der frühen Bundesrepublik’ in Axel Schildt and Arnold Sywottek (eds), Modernisierung im Wiederaufbau: Die westdeutsche Gesellschaft der 50er Jahre (Bonn: Dietz, 1993), pp. 698–699.

159 This is particularly clear, for example, in Grimm’s correspondence with Annelies von Ribbentrop throughout the 1950s – DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Annelies von Ribbentrop, 1950–1959; DLA – A: Grimm, Annelies von Ribbentrop to Grimm, 1950–1959.

160 Grimm to Annelies von Ribbentrop, 12. Februar 1951, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Annelies von Ribbentrop, 1950–1959.

161 Grimm, Hans, Die Erzbischofschrift: Antwort eines Deutschen (Göttingen, 1950); Warum – Woher – Aber wohin? Vor, unter und nach der geschichtlichen Erscheinung Hitler (Lippoldsberg, 1954).

162 Detlef Garbe, ‘Äußerliche Abkehr’, pp. 698–699.

163 Gisela Berglund, Der Kampf um den Leser im Dritten Reich: Die Literaturpolitik der ‘Neuen Literatur’ (Will Vesper) und der ‘Nationalsozialistischen Monatshefte’ (Worms: Heintz, 1980); Sarkowicz and Mentzer, Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland., pp. 340–342.

164 Full lists of participants are available, DLA – A: Grimm / Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, Konv. Teilnehmerlisten 1934–1939 / 1958–1959; see also Die Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, pamphlet published by the Klosterhaus-Verlag, Lippoldsberg for the Dichtertag 1960, DLA – A: Grimm / Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, Zugehörige Materialien, 1960–1981.

165 Hans Grimm, ‘Eine dörfliche Goethe-Rede’ in Erkenntnisse und Bekenntnisse (Göttingen: Göttinger Verlags-Anstalt, 1955), pp. 38–52.

166 Die Lippoldsberger Dichtertage, pamphlet published by the Klosterhaus-Verlag, Lippoldsberg for the Dichtertag 1960, DLA – A: Grimm – Lippoldsberger Dichtertage. Zugehörige Materialien, 1960–1981.

167 ‘Vom Amt des Dichters im Volk. Dichter lasen in Lippoldsberg’, Göttinger Tageblatt, 12.8.1952 in DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1951–1952.

168 ‘Auch Jugend kam zu Hans Grimm. Dichtertreffen in Lippoldsberg fand ein starkes Echo’, Kasseler Post, undated clipping from 1953, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1953–1954.

169 ‘Im Klosterhaus zu Lippoldsberg’, Hessische Nachriften, Fulda-Bote, Beraer Zeitung, Rotenburger Tageblatt, 14.7.1953, DLA – A: Grimm, DIchtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1953–1954.

170 The following year it was published in his collection of essays, Erkenntnisse und Bekenntnisse (Göttingen, 1955).

171 See, for example, Hans Grimm to Hans Venatier, 22.6.1956, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Venatier, 1932–1958.

172 Hans Grimm to Wilhelm Pleyer, 8.2.1954, DLA – A: Pleyer – Grimm to Pleyer, 1947–1959.

173 Hans Grimm to Hans Venatier, 22.6.1956; 4.7.1956, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Venatier, 1932–1958; Hans Venatier to Hans Grimm, 8.7.1956 in DLA – A: Grimm, Venatier to Grimm, 1932–1958.

174 Deister- und Weserzeitung – Heimatzeitung für das mittlere Wesergebiet und die angrenzenden Landesteile, 16th July 1951, p. 2.

175 Grimm is referring here to the seven former Nazi leaders serving sentences in Spandau: Baldur von Schirach, Karl Dönitz, Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath, Erich Raeder, Albert Speer, Walther Frank, Rudof Hess.

176 Deister- und Weserzeitung – Heimatzeitung für das mittlere Wesergebiet und die angrenzenden Landesteile, 16th July 1951, p. 2.

177 Ibid., p. 2

178 Hessische Nachrichten, 14.7.53, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1953–1954.

179 Dr. Rudolf Lange, ‘Besorgter Blick nach Lippoldsberg’, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, undated clipping from 1954, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1953–1954.

180 Ibid. A similar concern is also expressed in a report by the Freie Nachrichten-Büro on the Lippoldsberger Dichtertag, 23.7.1955, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1955–1956.

181 Freie Presse, Nr. 164, Dienstag, 17. Juli 1951.

182 Kasseler Post, 11.08.1952.

183 ‘Vom Amt des Dichters im Volk – Dichterlesen in Lippoldsberg’, Göttinger Tageblatt, Dienstag, 12. August 1952.

184 See among others ‘Eine dörfliche Goethe-Feier bei Hans Grimm’ in the right-wing Deutsche Volkszeitung, undated clipping, 1949; ‘Dörfliche Goethefeier’, Weser Nachrichten, 16.8 1949; ‘Dörfliche Goethefeier bei Hans Grimm’, Niedersächsische Landbote, 28.8.1949: All in DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1949–1950.

185 Grimm to Heuser, 11.12.1953 and 12.11.1957, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Heuser 1935–1959.

186 A large collection of photographs of the event can be found with Grimm’s papers, DLA – A: Grimm, Bildkonvolut Hans Grimm. See also Tourlamain, ‘In Defence of the Volk’.

187 H. Heick, ‘Nun spinnen sie wieder … ’ in Impuls – Göttinger Schülerzeitschrift, Jahrgang 1, Heft 7, Oktober / November 1949, p. 100, DLA – A: Grimm / Lippoldsberger Dichtertage: Konv – Zeitungsberichte Dichtertag 1949 u. 1950; Kasseler Zeitung, 17.8.1949, DLA – A: Grimm / Lippoldsberger Dichtertage: Konv – Zeitungsberichte Dichtertag 1949 u. 1950.

188 Politik und Wirtschaft, 23.7.1954.

189 ‘Legendäres aus Lippoldsberg’, Neuen Presse, 16.7.1957, DLA – A: Grimm, Dichtertage, Zeitungsberichte, 1957.1958.

190 Holle Grimm to Hans Venatier, 22.4.1954, DLA – A: Grimm, Grimm to Venatier, 1932–1958.