Fritz Klein (journalist)

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Michael Arthur Friedrich "Fritz" Klein senior (born September 1, 1895 in Weißkirch , Transylvania , Austria-Hungary , † May 3, 1936 in Liegnitz ) was a German journalist and publicist.

Life and activity

Youth and education

Michael Arthur Friedrich (short: Fritz) Klein was born on September 1, 1895 as the eldest of four children of Protestant pastor Friedrich Michael Klein (1851–1913) in Weisskirch, Transylvania. His mother, Hermine Klein b. Csallner (1872–1961), also came from a pastor's family. The scholar Karl Kurt Klein was one of his brothers . After graduating from high school in Sibiu, Fritz Klein began serving as a one-year volunteer in an Austro-Hungarian field artillery regiment in 1913. During the First World War he rose to the rank of first lieutenant. He studied law and political science as well as political economy at the universities of Vienna, Klausenburg and Debrecen. In 1921 he completed his studies with a doctoral thesis on neo-mercantilism in Romania . During his studies Fritz Klein worked as a freelancer for various newspapers in Austria-Hungary and the German Reich.

Weimar Republic

From 1919 he worked as an editor for the Hermannstädter Deutsche Tagespost and in 1921 became its editor-in-chief. The Transylvanian politician Rudolf Brandsch , who had already co-founded the Deutsche Tagespost , was planning a new German daily newspaper in Bucharest, for whose editorial management he favored Fritz Klein. During the summer of 1921, Fritz Klein was therefore to expand his editorial experience in Berlin and at the same time establish a network of additional contacts. Although the Bucharest newspaper project could not be realized, his career was accelerated by his stay in Berlin. He sat in on one of the most important daily newspapers, the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (DAZ), and was employed as its editor in 1922. In the same year he married Gertrud Orendt (1900–1938) from Sibiu. The marriage produced several children, including the historian Fritz Klein Jr. Two years later, Fritz Klein was promoted to deputy editor-in-chief Paul Lensch (1873–1926), whose post he took over a year later, in November 1925. Since then, Fritz Klein has been working with his widely read editorials, which he goes by the abbreviation “Dr. FK “published on public opinion in Berlin and in the Reich. As foreign policy reporter for the DAZ, he followed meetings of the League of Nations in Geneva and attended international conferences (Locarno 1925, The Hague 1929 and 1930, Lausanne 1932). He was u. a. Member of the German Men's Club and the Rotary Club and was elected chairman of the Berlin Press Association in 1929. His successful journalistic activities soon brought Klein personal wealth and social standing. As one of the best networked men in Berlin's political scene, Klein maintained close contacts with numerous important public figures - such as industrialists such as Hugo Stinnes and Wilhelm Cuno or publicists such as Edgar Jung and Paul Fechter . Fritz Klein developed a position of trust with some politicians of the Weimar Republic, such as Gustav Stresemann (1878–1929) and Heinrich Brüning (1885–1970), which corresponded to his concern to also act politically. Under his editorial management, the DAZ consistently represented the interests of the Ruhr industrialists, banks and major shipping companies. They were represented on the DAZ's supervisory board and financed the newspaper to varying degrees over the entire period. Due to the extensive state subsidies that the newspaper received at the beginning of Klein's time as editor-in-chief, it was initially criticized for being the official language organ of the Reich government. Fritz Klein was not a member of any party, but he was close to the bourgeois-conservative politics of the German People's Party (DVP). The course of the Ruhr industrialists, advocated from the beginning of the 1930s, to demand government participation for the strengthening NSDAP, was supported by him.

Klein turned down the offer of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning , appointed in 1930, to appoint him as Reich Press Chief.

Period of National Socialism (1933 to 1936)

After their “seizure of power” in 1933, however, he did not join the general euphoria, but found critical tones in view of some of the measures taken by the new government. For example, he was quoted as Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945) and Head of the Ministry of Defense Walter von Reichenau (1884–1942) because of his article of March 13, 1933 , which basically gave the DAZ a positive assessment welcomed the political turnaround, but Klein's regret about the sharp decline in the number of votes from non-National Socialist right-wing forces - such as B. the German Nationals and their declining influence in the government - criticized. After Fritz Klein criticized Hitler's policy on Austria in his leading article “Bruderkampf” on May 29, 1933, the DAZ was banned for a short time on the personal orders of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945). During this time Fritz Klein was relieved of his position as editor-in-chief by the owners and the supervisory board of the DAZ . He turned down a position as a correspondent for the DAZ in London, which he was offered. The behavior of the supervisory board disappointed him greatly, and he resigned himself. He did not accept offers from abroad because of his national German views, as he did not want to be made an emigrant. At the beginning of September, Fritz Klein still hoped to have a personal interview with Adolf Hitler to correct his negative judgment. He also tried in vain to talk to Joseph Goebbels and the Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Göring (1893–1946).

On October 3, 1933, Fritz Klein and Paul Fechter (1880–1958) founded the weekly German Future (DZ), the first issue of which was published on October 15, 1933. In economic terms, the career change led to financial problems. Although hardly any more critical in its articles, the magazine managed to be perceived by some readers as a kind of silent opposition.

In 1936 Fritz Klein took part in a military exercise with an artillery regiment in Liegnitz as a first lieutenant in the reserve. During a ride on May 8, he fell from his horse and died at the scene of the accident. He left his wife Gertrud and their four children between the ages of 5 and 11.


  • Thirteen men rule Europe. Outlines of the European future policy . Berlin 1930.
  • Why war in Abyssinia? Leipzig 1935.


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