Heimatwerk Saxony

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In October 1936, on the initiative of the Saxon Gauleiter Martin Mutschmann and the Saxon State Chancellery, the “ Heimatwerk Sachsen - Association for the Promotion of Saxon Ethnicity e. V. “founded. The goals were to control all regional cultural endeavors in Saxony and their use for political education by the NSDAP . The “Heimatwerk Sachsen” was intended to encourage identification with the Nazi state in the Gau Sachsen and existed until 1945.

History and structure

The Saxon was the first of the German Gauheimatwerke . In 1936 the Gau and the State of Saxony could hardly pursue an independent cultural policy besides the Reich Propaganda Ministry and the Gau Propaganda Office under it. The state chancellery's news office had already started public relations work under Arthur Graefes' direction in 1933. Gauleiter Mutschmann took over the state government in 1935 and was soon involved in regional cultural care, which had previously been the "State Office for Folk Research and Folk Culture" of the Nazi teachers 'association , the "Saxon Association for Folklore", the " Saxon Commission for History ", the " State Farmers' Association of Saxony" , the Saxon country teams, individual municipalities and homeland, history and hiking clubs, the " Erzgebirgsverein " or the " Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz ". The previously maintained image of Saxony had the following elements:

  • Representation as a traditional German border region and bridge to the Sudeten Germans ,
  • Description as an old Germanic settlement area and the Upper Saxony as an optimal mixture of blood from all German tribes
  • Reich loyalty
  • Significance for the rise of the Nazi movement
  • scenic beauty
  • economic and cultural position
  • Significance for the development of the standard German language. The Saxon dialect met with moderate criticism .

New accents became visible when the “ Sachsenaktion ” began in April 1936 to combat the alleged degradation of Saxony, for which the “ Saxon comics” were responsible, who supposedly invented the so-called “Saxon dialect” to make Saxony ridiculous in the eyes of the world close. The “Sachsenaktion” and, from October 1936, the “Heimatwerk Sachsen” demanded the elimination of the “Saxon comics”, better advertising for Saxony in the German Empire, the speech training in the standard German language and the education of the Saxons to be proud of their homeland, in order to increase the reputation of Saxony among others To raise Germans, to contribute to the National Socialist education and to win over all Saxons to support the construction.

On October 2, 1936, the “Heimatwerk Sachsen” was established as the umbrella organization for all regional cultural activities in Saxony. The formal establishment made it possible to act in advance of the NSDAP (with its own cash register). While the chairman Friedrich Emil Krauss only performed representative tasks, the actual management of the "Heimatwerk" was with Graefe and the head of the State Chancellery Curt Robert Lahr . The other organs were a narrower and a further advisory board, nationality, district and local representatives as well as specialist departments. The advisory boards, in which various regional offices, NSDAP branches, educational institutions, tourism organizations and the regional clubs and associations were represented, served to subordinate the "Heimatwerk" headquarters in Dresden. The nationality, district and local representatives as executive organs of the "Heimatwerk" were almost identical to the respective district and local group leaders of the NSDAP. After a build-up phase in 1936/37, the Heimatwerk started in 1937 mainly with exhibitions ( "Feierohmd" show in Schwarzenberg / Erzgeb. 1937, "Great Men of Saxony in Pictures" and "No Beautiful Land ..." 1939), a broad publication program, Competition and speech training for the Saxon population. Even during the war it was expanded up to the establishment of the "Language Office Saxony" in April 1942 under the direction of the "Heimatwerk" employee Georg Hartmann . The Annaberg teacher trainer Max Günther took care of folk art and handicrafts in the Ore Mountains . The Lord Mayor of Meissen , Karl Hans Drechsel, was also involved in founding the Heimatwerk.

Entrance stone to the Heimatwerk in Meerane with the course swords

The Heimatwerk used the old Saxon Kurschwerter as the "Sachsenzeichen", analogous to the trademark of the Meissen porcelain . In prints, the swords were mostly made in green. According to the head of the news office of the Saxon State Chancellery and managing director of the Heimatwerk, Arthur Graefe, the swords are a "symbol of the defensive, value-creating borderland" and of "culture and workmanship".

Joseph Goebbels tried again in 1942 with the NS- Volkskulturwerk to centralize all regional cultural organizations, but Mutschmann was able to install his colleague Graefe as head of the NS-Volkskulturwerk in Saxony. Out of consideration for the local cooperation partners, the “Volkstumsarbeit” of the “Heimatwerk Sachsen” ultimately resulted in indiscriminate support for all regional cultural activities.

Individual evidence

  1. Hanno Birken-Bertsch, Reinhard Markner: Spelling reform and National Socialism: a chapter from the political history of the German language . Göttingen 2004, p. 73 ( online ).
  2. Arthur Graefe, cit. based on: Manuel Schramm: Consumption and regional identity in Saxony 1880–2000: the regionalization of consumer goods in the field of tension between nationalization and globalization . Franz Steiner Verlag, 2002, ISBN 978-3-515-08169-6 ( google.de [accessed on October 21, 2017]).


  • Volker Dahm: National unity and particular diversity . On the question of cultural-political harmonization in the Third Reich (=  Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 43, No. 2 ). Munich 1995, p. 221–265 ( ifz-muenchen.de [PDF]).
  • Thomas Schaarschmidt: From Volkish Myth to “Socialist Patriotism” . Saxon regional culture in the Third Reich and in the Soviet Zone / GDR. In: Günther Heydemann, Eckhard Jesse (Hrsg.): Comparison of dictatorships as a challenge . Theory and practice. Berlin 1998, p. 235-257 .
  • Mike Schmeitzner , Clemens Vollnhals , Francesca Weil: From Stalingrad to the SBZ: Saxony 1943 to 1949 , Göttingen 2016

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