Association of German Writers Austria

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The disguised National Socialist Association of German Writers in Austria was founded in November 1936 by former PEN Club members under the presidency of Max Mell . The members worked energetically towards the annexation of Austria to the German Reich in order to “pave the way for the liberation of their people and to complete it” , and welcomed the invasion of Hitler in 1938 with a “confession book” to the “Third Reich”.


The founding of the federation was a reaction to a resolution against the book burning in March 1933 in the German Reich and the persecution and incarceration of fellow German writers, which was carried out in June 1933 by 25 members of the PEN Club after the XI. Congress of the international PEN club from 25 to 28 May 1933 in Ragusa (Dubrovnik) was signed, including later emigrants such as Raoul Auernheimer , Franz Theodor Csokor , Ernst Lothar , Alma Wittlin and Friedrich Torberg . The writer Ernst Toller had accused the National Socialist regime in Germany at this conference and accused the German PEN delegation of supporting the proceedings by keeping quiet. He also criticized the anti-Semitic orientation of the German PEN.

This led to the formation of a faction among the Austrian authors when the delegates Grete von Urbanitzky and Felix Salten did not join the protest against the book burning initiated by Toller. The “German-friendly” and Nazi-minded members in Austria withdrew from the PEN Club, including Max Mell , Richard Billinger , Bruno Brehm , Robert Hohlbaum , Mirko Jelusich and Josef Weinheber . Several attempts followed to organize the Austrian “singers of German heroism” and “priests of the German heart”. After the July Agreement between Adolf Hitler and the Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg , the “Association of German Writers Austria” was established in November 1936 under the presidency of the Catholic Greater German Max Mell.

On April 30, 1933, the Wiener Arbeiter-Zeitung wrote: “The Third Reich needs lackeys [...] A poet's spring should be green on mounds of corpses. [...] Goebbels invited for tea - the writers had to choose: spirit or power, character or business, valiant isolation or cowardly conformity . You have chosen. The men went into exile, the creatures went to tea. "

Franz Theodor Csokor, like many of his colleagues dependent on the German market, wrote on May 19, 1933: “You just have to decide: good business - or a good conscience? I am in favor of the second - at all risk, even that of an emigration, in case the brown magic should take hold with us! "

And Kurt Tucholsky also wrote in 1933 about the takeover of the “vacated” places by opportunistic fellow writers: “They are now crawling out of all the holes, the little provincial whores of literature, now finally, finally the Jewish competition is gone - but now! [...] life stories of the new heroes. And then: Alpenrausch and Edelweiss. Mat green and furrow. Schollenkranz and Maienblut - you have no idea, level zero. "


In the Association of German Writers in Austria, the members and sympathizers of the NSDAP came together to form an illegal cover organization. Membership in the NSDAP, which was banned in Austria since 1933, is secured for 50% of the members.

Members were u. a. Bruno Brehm , Franz Karl Ginzkey , Hermann Graedener , Paula Grogger , Robert Hohlbaum , Mirko Jelusich , Erich Landgrebe , Robert Michel , Franz Nabl , Joseph Georg Oberkofler , Hermann Heinz Ortner , Josef Friedrich Perkonig , Friedrich Schreyvogl , Karl Springenschmid , Franz Spunda , Erika Spann-Rheinsch , Hermann Stuppäck , Franz Tumler , Karl Wache , Karl Heinrich Waggerl and Josef Weinheber .

Since the National Socialist writers of Austria already had a well-developed infrastructure in 1938, they succeeded in constituting the Reichsschrifttumskammer , provincial management of Austria, immediately after the annexation . The managing director of the Association of German Writers Austria, Max Stebich , also became managing director of the Reich Chamber of Literature in Austria and held this position until 1940. Franz Spunda became the country leader of the Reich Association of German Writers for Austria.

The Austrian PEN Club was dissolved in 1938, and the center's assets and archives were confiscated.

Confession Book

Confession book, inside title
Confession Book, Confessing

In 1938 the association published the Confession Book of Austrian Poets in Vienna's Krystall-Verlag , in which the authors enthusiastically welcomed the “Anschluss” .

Max Stebich described the task of the poets, who were called "singers of German heroism, priests of the German heart" , as follows:

"[...] The goal of their struggle, which they waged with the flawless weapons of the spirit, was the same goal that all upright German poets wrote on their flags in past centuries: a single, free, happy and eternal Germany, a Germany, that embraces all who are of the same blood and language. [...] "

The contributions came from Gabriele Marie Arthur , Otto Aull , Richard Billinger , Erna Blaas , Bruno Brehm , Friederike Candido-Kubin , Egmont Colerus , Egon Cäsar Conte Corti , Eduard P. Danszky , Hans Deißinger , Ida Maria Deschmann , Edmund Finke , Arthur Fischer -Colbrie , Wilhelm Franke , Siegfried Freiberg , Fred Fritsch , Hubert Ludo Gerwald , Hans Giebisch , Franz Karl Ginzkey , Hermann Graedener , Paula Grogger , Otto Emmerich Groh , Wladimir von Hartlieb , Robert Hohlbaum , Mirko Jelusich , Linus Kefer , Hans Kloepfer , Walter H. Kotas , Ernst Kratzmann , Erich Landgrebe , Ann Tizia Leitich , Rudolf List , Franz Löser , Juliane Ludwig-Braun , Erich August Mayer , Max Mell , Oswald Menghin , Robert Michel , Maria Neuhauser , Heinz Nonveiller , Joseph Georg Oberkofler , Hermann Heinz Ortner , Josef Friedrich Perkonig , Richard Plattensteiner , Bruno Wolfgang (Prochaska) , Erwin H. Rainalter , Werner Riemerschmid , Ilse Ringler-Kellner , Karl Anton Prince Rohan , Friedrich Sacher , Ernst Scheibelreiter , Friedrich Schreyvogl , Karl Springenschmid , Franz Spunda , Franz Staude , Max Stebich , Albert von Streerbach , Karl Hans Strobl , Herbert Strutz , Hermann Stuppäck , Franz Tumler , Karl Heinrich Waggerl , Hildegard Wais , Carl Hans Watzinger , Josef Weinheber , Josef Wenter , Friedrich Winkelmüller , Friedrich Winterholler , Josef Rudolf Woworsky , Johannes Würtz and Julius Zerzer .

post war period

In 1945, the “Association of Democratic Writers and Journalists Austria” (VdSJÖ) was founded under Edwin Rollett , with the aim of eliminating authors who had been burdened by National Socialism from the literature business.

After the war, numerous members of the Association of German Writers in Austria were included in the list of banned authors and books , which was published by the Federal Ministry of Education in January 1946 and contained works “whose content clearly pursued National Socialist or fascist ideologies”. It listed around 1,600 authors and a number of non-fiction titles that were banned from printing, sales and distribution, including Bruno Brehm, Gertrud Fussenegger , Mirko Jelusich, Josef Friedrich Perkonig, Friedrich Schreyvogl, Karl Hans Strobl, Ingeborg Teuffenbach , Franz Tournament and Josef wine lifter.

On the initiative of Robert Neumann , the General Secretary of the Austrian Exile PEN Club (Free Austrian PEN Club) founded in London in 1939, the Austrian PEN Club was re-established in 1947. Franz Theodor Csokor was elected first post-war president.

After the end of National Socialist rule , some authors who had been members of the Association of German Writers in Austria received the Peter Rosegger Prize : Max Mell, Paula Grogger, Franz Nabl , Paul Anton Keller , Julius Zerzer, Rudolf List, Bruno Brehm and Josef Papesch .

Some authors of the Association of German Writers in Austria can also be found on the "Dichterstein" in Offenhausen in Upper Austria, which was built in 1963 by the Dichterstein Offenhausen Association and on which the names of around 400 ethnic and National Socialist poets are engraved on the bricks and tablets . The poet's stone is a "stone made contribution to saving the honor of the Nazi authors discredited and 'incriminated' 'in 1945" . The association was founded in 1963 by Joseph Hieß , a racist and anti-Semite who was imprisoned in the allied war crimes camp Glasenbach from 1945 to 1948 .

At the Institute for German Studies at the Karl Franzens University in Graz , a department entitled “Austrian Literature in National Socialism” was set up in 1986.


  • Confession book of Austrian poets. Edited by the Association of German Writers Austria . Krystall, Vienna 1938 ÖNB
  • Claus-Peter Böhner: The “Confession Book of Austrian Poets published by the Association of German Writers in Austria”. 1938. (Reprint: Hänsel-Hohenhausen, Egelsbach / Cologne / New York 1992, ISBN 3-89349-502-9 . Micro-edition, consisting of two fiches)
  • Gerhard Renner: Austrian writers and National Socialism (1933-1940). The "Federation of German Writers Austria" and the establishment of the Reichsschrifttumskammer in the "Ostmark" . Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-7657-1370-8 .
  • Uwe Baur: Metropolis and Province - Austrian writers' associations between the First World War and 1945 . In: stimulus. 2000, H. 1-2, pp. 65-72.
  • Uwe Baur, Karin Gradwohl-Schlacher, Sabine Fuchs with the collaboration of Helga Mitterbauer (ed.): Power – Literature – War. Austrian Literature in National Socialism . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 1998, ISBN 3-205-98451-X .
  • Literature in Austria 1938–1945: Handbook of a literary system . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2008, DNB 989834581 .

Individual evidence

  1. Max Stebich , 1938, quoted from an entry on literature, Austrian in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon )
  2. ^ Protest and Remembrance Book Burning in Germany in 1933 # Protest and Remembrance
  3. Kirsten Reimers: Coping with the real. Investigations into the dramatic work of Ernst Toller between the world wars. (Writings of the Ernst Toller Society, Volume II). Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2000, ISBN 3-8260-1766-8 .
  5. ( Memento from September 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Association of German writers Austria (ed.): Confession book of Austrian poets . Krystall, Vienna 1938.
  7. Federal Ministry for Education (Ed.): List of blocked authors and books. Relevant for bookshops and libraries. Ueberreuter, Vienna 1946.
  8. ^ Literature prizes of the state of Styria. to:
  9. Karl Müller: Statement on the "Dichterstein Offenhausen" for the district administration Wels-Land . March 1998. (online at: ) ( Memento from March 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  10.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /