Der Stürmer

Der Stürmer
1934 Stürmer special issue, image shows Jews extracting blood from Christian children for use in religious rituals (the Blood libel against Jews)

Der Stürmer (literally, "The Stormer;" or more accurately, "The Attacker") was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic.[1] Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter (translatable as The People's Observer), the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance, the tabloid-style Der Stürmer often ran obscene and tasteless materials such as anti-Semitic caricatures and propaganda-like accusations of blood libel,[1] pornography, anti-Catholic, anti-capitalist and anti-"reactionary" propaganda too.

The paper originated at Nuremberg during Hitler’s attempt to establish power and control. During the struggle to achieve power, Streicher was accused by the opposition of the Nazi party as being “a liar, a coward, of having unsavory friends, mistreating his wife and of flirting with women”. Despite the accusations, the first copy of Der Stürmer was published April 20, 1923.[2] Der Stürmer’s circulation grew over time, distributing to a large percentage of the German population as well as Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States. Between August 1941 and September 1944, Streicher authorized articles demanding the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race.[2]


Racist caricatures

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

At the bottom of the title page there was always the motto "Die Juden sind unser Unglück!" ("The Jews are our misfortune!"), coined by Heinrich von Treitschke in the 1880s.[3] In the nameplate was the motto "Deutsches Wochenblatt zum Kampfe um die Wahrheit" ("German Weekly Newspaper in the Fight for Truth").


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

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

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

However, other senior Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler (head of the SS), Robert Ley (leader of the DAF), and Max Amann (proprietor of the Zentral Verlag (Central Press), comprising 80 percent of the German press in 1942), endorsed the publication, and their statements were often published in Der Stürmer. Albert Forster, Gauleiter of Danzig (now Gdańsk), wrote in 1937:

"With pleasure I say that the Stürmer, more than any other daily or weekly newspaper, has made clear to the people in simple ways the danger of Jewry. Without Julius Streicher and his Stürmer, the importance of a solution to the Jewish question would not be seen to be as critical as it actually is by many citizens. It is therefore to be hoped that those who want to learn unvarnished truth about the Jewish question will read the Stürmer."[4]

Hitler considered Streicher's "primitive methods" to be effective in influencing "the man on the street."[2] Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler's confidant, said in the mid-1930s:

"Anti-Semitism … was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler's] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man’s stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last".[5]

During the war, the paper's circulation dropped because of paper shortages, as well as Streicher's exile from Nuremberg for corruption. More ominously, perhaps, the Jews, its main target, had begun to disappear from everyday life, which diminished the paper's relevance. Hitler, however, insisted that Streicher receive sufficient support to continue publishing Der Stürmer.

After the war, Streicher was tried at the Nuremberg trials. His publishing and speaking activities were a major part of the evidence presented against him. In essence, the prosecutors took the line that Streicher's role in inciting Germans to exterminate Jews made him an accessory to murder, and thus no different from those who actually carried out the killings. Streicher was found guilty and hanged.

Anti-Semitic content

1934 Stürmer issue: "Storm above Judah" - criticizing institutional churches as "Judaized" organizations. Caption: I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation.

According to Dennis Showalter, "a major challenge of political anti-Semitism involves overcoming the images of the 'Jew next door' — the living, breathing acquaintance or associate whose simple existence appears to deny the validity of that negative stereotype."[6] Der Stürmer's lurid content appealed to a large spectrum of readers who were lower class and less-sophisticated.[2] Der Stürmer was known for its use of simple themes that took little thought. Streicher attacks the Jews in three categories:[6]

Sexual crimes

Stories of Jewish men and German women having sex were staples of Der Stürmer[7] but many were creations of Streicher’s imagination, derived from little fact, or random occurrences. Streicher described Jews as sex offenders who were[6] “violators of the innocent”, “perpetrators of bizarre sex crimes”, and “ritual murderers” performed in religious ceremonies using blood of other humans, usually Christians. Streicher also frequently reported attempts of child molestation by Jews. Der Stürmer never lacked details about sex, names, and crimes in order to keep readers aroused and entertained. These accusations, articles and crimes printed in Der Stürmer were often inaccurate and rarely investigated by staff members.

In the newspaper's opinion, if a German girl became pregnant by a Jew, the Jew would deny paternity, offer to pay for abortion, fail to pay child support, or simply leave for the U.S.[6] Within Der Stürmer it was not uncommon to hear reports of German women killing their children because they did not want to bring a “Jewish bastard into the world”.[6]

Business life

"For Julius Streicher the Jews hatred for Christianity was concealed only for one reason: Business." [6] Jewish businessmen were often portrayed as doing almost anything to obtain financial wealth which included, in his words, “become a usurer, a traitor, a murderer”.[6] In the summer of 1931, Streicher focused much of the paper's attention on a Jewish owned butchery. One philanthropic merchant operated a soup kitchen; Der Stürmer ran articles accusing the business of poisoning the food served. Der Stürmer criticized and twisted every single price increase and decrease in Jewish shops, as well as their charitable donations as a further form of financial greed. This attack on Jewish philanthropy received the most public criticism out of all of Der Stürmer’s anti-Semitic propaganda.

Jewish neighbors

Der Stürmer often gave descriptions of how to know a Jew when you see one. The paper often included racist political cartoons, including caricatures. Besides the graphic depictions, articles often focused on imaginary fears, exaggerations and behavioral differences between Jews and German citizens.[6]

Letter box

Its "Letter Box" encouraged the reporting of Jewish acts; the unofficial style helped prevent suspicion of propaganda, and lent it authenticity.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 228 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
  2. ^ a b c d Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team.Holocaust Research Project. 2009. Web. 21 Oct. 2009.
  3. ^ Ben-Sasson, H.H., ed. (1976): A History of the Jewish People. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge). ISBN 0-674-39730-4, p.875
  4. ^ Allan Thompson, The media and the Rwanda genocide, IDRC, 2007, p. 334
  5. ^ Hermann Rauschning, Hitler Speaks (London: Thornton Buttersworth, 1939), pp. 233-34
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Showalter, Dennis E. Little Man What Now? Der Stürmer in the Weimer Republic. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Book, 1982. Print.
  7. ^ "The End"
  8. ^ Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 230-1 ISBN 0-674-01172-4


  • Imbleau, Martin. "Der Stürmer." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Ed. Dinah Shelton. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 247-249. 3 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Thomson Gale.
  • Wistrich, Robert. Who’s Who in Nazi Germany (Routledge, New York, 1995), q.v. Streicher, Julius.
  • Bytwerk, R.L. Julius Streicher (New York: Cooper Square, 2001), p 59.

External links

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