Frankfurter Zeitung

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Newspaper head 1933
The anniversary edition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Frankfurter Zeitung in 1906

The Frankfurter Zeitung was founded in 1856 as the "Frankfurter Geschäftsbericht" by Leopold Sonnemann and Heinrich Bernhard Rosenthal in Frankfurt am Main and was most recently located at Große Eschenheimer Straße 81-87. Since 1860 the company operated as Frankfurter Societäts-Druckerei , in which the “Frankfurter Zeitung” appeared from 1866 to 1943, which was supplemented with “Frankfurter Handelszeitung” and “Neue Frankfurter Zeitung” in brackets.


Until the founding of the empire

Founded as the Frankfurt annual report , the paper changed its title in the Frankfurter Handelszeitung in the same year (1856) . In 1859 the banker Leopold Sonnemann named the newspaper Neue Frankfurter Zeitung after adding a political section shortly before. The newspaper appeared 19 times a week (three times a working day, once on Sunday) and advocated the liberalization of capital movements and a reform of stock corporation law so that trade and industry could be financed more easily. Since January 1, 1860, Sonnemann's company was called Frankfurter Societäts-Druckerei .

After the occupation of Frankfurt by Prussia , the newspaper was banned from July 1866. Sonnemann moved to Stuttgart and supplied his customers with the Neue Deutsche Zeitung for three months . On November 16, 1866, the paper could appear again as the Frankfurter Zeitung and Handelsblatt .

Committed to liberalism

After the establishment of the Reich in 1871, the Frankfurter Zeitung developed into an important forum for the extra-parliamentary, liberal-bourgeois opposition. This attitude should also be reflected in the structure of the newspaper; the editor-in-chief was abolished and replaced by a permanent editorial conference. All members of the editorial team had equal rights, the chairman (after the death of Leopold Sonnemann until the Nazi seizure of power, his grandson Heinrich Simon ) chaired the meeting, but had no decision-making authority. The leading article reflected the opinion of the editorial board and was therefore not signed.

As the editors steadfastly refused repeatedly to betray investigating authorities informants explosive articles, they were often 1871-1879 to obsessive because of evidentiary convicted.

Of the established parties, the Frankfurter Zeitung was closest to the left-wing liberal South German People's Party . After the turn of the century, the newspaper supported efforts to unite to overcome the political fragmentation in German left-wing liberalism. Even before 1914 and then during the First World War , the Frankfurter Zeitung advocated peace in Europe.

Report in the Frankfurter Zeitung from "New Turkey" 1908–1918

Before and during the First World War, the three journalists Paul Weitz (head of the Frankfurter Zeitung office in Constantinople), Friedrich Schrader (active in Turkey from 1891, literary critic and columnist) and Max Rudolf Kaufmann reported on the "New Turkey" and reform efforts the Young Turks . The three correspondents were not allowed to report on the course of the war or the genocide of the Armenians (due to declarations of commitment by the newspaper publishers, which had also been signed by well-known left and liberal newspapers as a result of the " truce "), but they tried to answer them in numerous internal dispatches to influence German bodies. Kaufmann, who was a Swiss citizen, was therefore fired in 1912 as an employee of the local semi-official newspaper "Ottoman Lloyd", then later interned by the Turks and deported to Germany in 1916. Schrader himself was then deputy editor-in-chief of the local Istanbul newspaper in 1917 after an intrigue. Ottoman Lloyd ”was also fired. In 1918, Paul Weitz reported extensively in internal memoranda on the atrocities and mass murders of the Armenians in Anatolia. All three were in sharp contrast, above all, to Pan-Germanic ethnic nationalists such as the naval attaché of the Constantinople embassy, Hans Humann , but also to “liberal” apologists for Young Turkish nationalism and the action against non-Muslim minorities such as Ernst Jäckh and Friedrich Naumann .

Paul Weitz and Friedrich Schrader were important contact persons in Constantinople from 1913 to 1917 for Richard Lichtheim , the then official representative of the Zionist World Organization in Constantinople, in his efforts to influence the Jewish settlers in Palestine in the so-called " Yishuv. " "to spare a fate similar to that of other non-Muslim population groups in the Ottoman Empire at that time, especially in the so-called" Levant ".

Weimar Republic

During the Weimar Republic , the Frankfurter Zeitung attracted hostility from nationalist circles because it had spoken out in favor of the Versailles Treaty in 1918 . She was no longer in opposition to the government and supported Gustav Stresemann's policy of reconciliation .

It was one of the few democratic papers of the time. She was particularly famous for her feature section , in which almost all the great intellectuals of the Weimar Republic published texts.

However, the economic situation for the paper deteriorated significantly. At the beginning of the 1930s, FC had to be secretly supported by Carl Bosch , CEO of IG Farben , through Imprimatur GmbH, with substantial funds to avoid insolvency.

The IG-Farben's aid campaign gave the newspaper its independence. But people from the supervisory board tried to influence the content of critical reporting on IG Farben and large-scale industry. The supervisory board member Hermann Hummel complained with the following words about a report by the writer Joseph Roth in the Christmas edition of 1930, in which he had denounced cases of environmental destruction by large-scale industry using an example from the Leunawerke : “You simply did not succeed in finding the elements to remove from the editorial staff who let off their resentment against the economy with all shoddy means, if necessary. "

National Socialism

After the takeover of the Nazis in 1933 had many Jewish people the Frankfurter Zeitung leave, most famous of which Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin . Was also affected the Jewish publisher Heinrich Simon , who due to the editor of the Law the possession in favor of the imprimatur GmbH was forced to retire. The newspaper was initially sponsored by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels because it was useful to him for propaganda abroad, as its articles, some of which were critical, were supposed to stand for an alleged freedom in Germany.

On June 17, 1934, the paper was the only medium in Germany to print in its evening edition the Marburg speech given by Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen on the same day , which had caused a stir abroad and the text of which had previously been leaked to the editors. The issue was confiscated and publication of the speech prohibited.

During this time the newspaper had to use the weapon of quietly expressed resistance in order to survive the co-ordination of the press. But even the liberal journalist and writer Herbert Kranz (1891–1973), who worked for the newspaper at the time , had to put his pen down before the ban. In May 1943, Adolf Hitler banned the publication of the Frankfurter Zeitung because of an article dated March 23, 1943 about Dietrich Eckart , and the author Herbert Küsel escaped prison sentence only by taking up military service. The last edition appeared on August 31, 1943.


  • “Only those who have felt the grave silence of the Third Reich on their own body will be able to gauge what an opposing position in public has meant for the spiritual people in Germany. When the 'Frankfurter Zeitung' was discontinued in Germany, it was as if the last candle had been blown out in a semi-dark room. ”( Benno Reifenberg to Willy Bretscher )
  • "The effort to evade the intellectual alignment can nowhere be seen better than in the story of the 'Frankfurter Zeitung', which endeavored to preserve its special face and its 'spirit of the house' to the end." ( Peter de Mendelssohn )

Attempts to re-establish

After the end of the war, former editors of the Frankfurter Zeitung gathered in Freiburg im Breisgau with the aim of re-establishing the traditional newspaper together with the former publishing director Wendelin Hecht . However, the occupying powers had forbidden the re-publication of newspapers that had appeared during the Nazi era, so this plan had to be postponed. Hecht also tried to establish a new company in his Upper Swabian homeland, which was also part of the French occupation zone (see Schwäbische Zeitung ). Finally, on December 24, 1945, the editors founded the magazine Die Gegenwart with a French license . The magazine was later published by the Frankfurter Societät, which held the rights to the Frankfurter Zeitung.

On November 29, 1946, the former member of the editorial board Erich Dombrowski founded the Allgemeine Zeitung with a French license in Mainz , which was to succeed the Frankfurter Zeitung with a national edition. German emigrants obtained a license in Paris that allowed them to be sold throughout the French zone. This main edition was entitled Allgemeine Zeitung mit Wirtschaftsblatt .

A visible sign of the resumption of the FC tradition was the title in Fraktur. The editors also included the former deputy editor-in-chief of the Frankfurter Zeitung, Erich Welter .

On September 23, 1949, General License No. 3 lifted all Allied restrictions on the press. On October 31, 1949 , the Allgemeine Zeitung and the Wirtschaftsblatt informed its readers that it and its editorial team would be absorbed into the newly founded Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . The Allgemeine Zeitung (Mainz) continues to exist as a regional newspaper to this day.

On November 1, 1949, the newspaper's first sample number for Germany appeared . The present ceased in December 1958. Now the way was clear for a long-term relationship between the Frankfurter Societätsdruckerei, the former publisher of the FZ, and the FAZ. In 1959 it was agreed that the FAZ would be printed permanently by the Frankfurter Societätsdruckerei. In return, the FAZ was given the right to use the old Frankfurter Zeitung title in the imprint.

The editorial building

Facade of the editorial building in 1909

From 1863 onwards, the newspaper's editorial office was housed in rented rooms at 31 Große Eschenheimer Straße . In 1871 Sonnemann acquired the house at Große Eschenheimer Straße 37 for 52,000 guilders and the editorial office was relocated there. The property included a garden with outbuildings on what is now Schillerstrasse. In 1888 the house was expanded. As the space requirement continued to increase, the neighboring house number 35 was acquired and also used for the editorial office from 1895. In 1908, property number 33 was also acquired and the editorial building was expanded again. The architect was Franz von Hoven . In addition, there were the three houses at the back in Schillerstrasse and three outbuildings. These were connected to one another at the rear by three courtyards. The entire area covered a floor area of ​​2890 m² of which 2150 was allocated to the buildings and 740 m² to the courtyards. The property was opposite the Palais Thurn und Taxis .

Well-known editors, regular freelancers and authors


  • Karl Apfel: In the twenties. Memories of the Frankfurter Zeitung. In: Archive for Frankfurt's History and Art 55 (1976), pp. 235–253.
  • Frankfurt Historical Commission (ed.): Frankfurt am Main - The history of the city in nine contributions (= publications of the Frankfurt Historical Commission. Volume 17). Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1991, ISBN 3-7995-4158-6 .
  • Alfred Estermann (Ed.): Newspaper City Frankfurt am Main. On the history of the Frankfurt press in five centuries. Published on behalf of Frankfurter Sparkasse. Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-89282-028-7 .
  • Günther Gillessen : At a losing position. The Frankfurter Zeitung in the Third Reich. Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-88680-223-X , (2nd revised edition: ibid., 1987).
  • Kurt Paupié : The Frankfurter Zeitung. In: Heinz-Dietrich Fischer (Hrsg.): German newspapers from the 17th to the 20th century (= journalism-historical contributions. Volume 2). Verlag Documentation, Pullach 1972, ISBN 3-7940-3602-6 , pp. 241-256.
  • History of the Frankfurter Zeitung 1856 to 1906. Frankfurt am Main 1906 ( ).
  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch : Intellektuellendämmerung: On the situation of the Frankfurt intelligentsia in the twenties . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1982. Paperback: Suhrkamp-TB 1121, Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-518-37621-7 , therein: Die Frankfurter Zeitung , pp. 53-76.
  • Almut Todorow: The feature section of the "Frankfurter Zeitung" in the Weimar Republic. To lay the foundations for rhetorical media research (= rhetoric research. Volume 8). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1996, ISBN 3-484-68008-3 .
  • Werner Wirthle : Frankfurter Zeitung and Frankfurter Societätsdruckerei GmbH. The economic situation 1927–1939. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-7973-0309-2 .

Web links

Commons : Frankfurter Zeitung  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
File category Files: Frankfurter Zeitung  - local collection of images and media files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heinrich Bernhard Rosenthal, 1829–1876.
  2. Cf. Konstanze Wegner : Theodor Barth and the Freeless Association. Studies on the history of left-wing liberalism in Wilhelmine Germany (= Tübingen studies on history and politics. Volume 24). Mohr Siebeck, DNB 458590355 , Tübingen 1968, p. 12.
  3. See Wegner 1968, pp. 104–110.
  4. ^ Ambassador Morgenthau's Story: Doubleday , New York, 1919, p. 440. See Wikisource
  5. “Among the German newspapers there are three more frequent articles about Turkish intellectual life in general and Turkish literature in particular: the Berliner Tageblatt with the excellent articles by Wilhelm Feldmann, the Frankfurter Zeitung , where Friedrich Schrader occasionally writes about the area he has mastered writes, and the Vossische Zeitung . ”(Otto Hachtmann: Die Neuere und Latest Turkish Literature - An introduction to your studies: Die Welt des Islams, Volume 5, 1917, S. 57–152, there S. 63) JSTOR 1568851
  6. Max Rudolf Kaufmann: Experiences in Turkey 50 Years Ago: Journal for Cultural Exchange, Volume 12, Institute for Foreign Relations, pp. 237–241 (1962)
  7. Political Archive of the Foreign Office 1918-06-20-DE-001 ( OpenDocument )
  8. Richard Lichtheim: Return - Memoirs from the early days of German Zionism. DVA, Stuttgart, 1970.
  9. Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem: Letter from Lichtheim to the Zionist Action Committee in Berlin, November 13, 1913 CZA 3:47
  10. Stefan Aust: Hitler's first enemy. The fight of Konrad Heiden . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2016, ISBN 978-3-498-00090-5 , p. 147 f.
  11. Cf. Elisabeth Noelle : The last candle. The ban on the Frankfurter Zeitung in August 1943. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 27, 2002, p. 8.
  12. See Franz Taucher: The end of the "Frankfurter Zeitung". In: Arbeiter-Zeitung . April 20, 1952, p. 8.
  13. The Mayflower , Der Spiegel, February 25, 1959, p. 27
  14. ^ Frankfurter Zeitung of November 6, 1909, front page.