Heinrich Class

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Heinrich Claß (born February 29, 1868 in Alzey ; † April 16, 1953 in Jena ) was from 1908 to 1939 chairman of the Pan-German Association , the loudest nationalist association in the German Empire . Claß u. a. through his works published under the pseudonyms Daniel Frymann and Einhart , in which he propagated an extremely nationalist and expansive policy. He was one of the leading right-wing national politicians and publicists in Germany and is one of the ideological pioneers of National Socialism .

Heinrich Claß (1938)


Heinrich Claß came from a Protestant-liberal legal family. He studied from 1888 to 1891 in Berlin , Freiburg and casting law and settled in 1894 after the Second State Exam in Mainz as a lawyer down. He was particularly influenced by the lectures of Heinrich von Treitschke , who called for the strengthening of the German nation and the fight against Judaism .

In 1897, after having previously been a leader in the ethnic-anti-Semitic German Association , Claß joined the Pan-German Association, whose colonial goals inspired him. In 1901 he was elected to the board, in 1904 he became deputy chairman and began to bring the association increasingly into a more radical position. After the turn of the century, under the influence of Claß, the association increasingly turned to a primitive biological and anti-Semitic worldview. In 1908 he took over the chairmanship of the association, which he brought into sharp conflict with the Reich government under Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg before the First World War . In particular, the Second Morocco Crisis in 1911 clearly demonstrated the radical position of the Pan-German Association. In September 1911, together with August Keim , he pushed ahead with the establishment of the German Defense Association in order to force armament. Claß believed that a great war was inevitable. He propagated the hereditary enmity with France and the perfidy of England . In his book If I would be the Kaiser , published in 1912 under a pseudonym, Claß referred to the Jews as "the bearers and teachers of today's materialism". In order to ward off the "Jewish danger", he called for the immigration of Jews to be banned, for the "resident" Jews to be excluded from public life, for the right to vote and for the proportion of Jewish students to be reduced to that of the Jewish population. His battle cry was: "Germany for the Germans". He rejected a "universal humanism" with the words:

“Where does it begin and where does it end, what should be expected of us to love as belonging to humanity and to include it in our striving? Is the depraved or half-animal Russian farmer of Mir, the black in East Africa, the half-breed German Southwest or the unbearable Jew of Galicia or Romania a member of this human race? "

During the First World War, he called for a victory peace with extensive annexations in East and West Europe. For example, Belgium should be incorporated into Germany. In 1917 he founded the German Fatherland Party , together with Alfred von Tirpitz and Wolfgang Kapp , which spoke out against a mutual agreement.

During the Weimar Republic, Claß was a representative of the anti-democratic "national opposition". As early as February 1917, a consortium led by Claß had taken over the Deutsche Zeitung . As chairman of the supervisory board and editor, he controlled their reporting. He mostly acted in the background. After 1918 he had contact with Adolf Hitler . Hitler was impressed by Class 'bestseller If I were the Kaiser' and drew from it for his book Mein Kampf (1925/26). Claß played a leading role in founding the Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund in 1919, as a subsidiary or subsidiary of the Pan-German Association. In the early Weimar Republic, the Bund became the largest ethnic and anti-Semitic mass organization. The Schutz- und Trutzbund agitated against the Weimar Republic, supported attacks on its proponents and had around 180,000 members before it was banned because of the murder of Walther Rathenau in 1922. Claß supported the Kapp putsch and the Hitler putsch . He also played a role in the dictatorship plans of the Pan-German Association in 1926 and the referendum against the Young Plan in 1929. In 1931 he helped found the Harzburg Front .

In November 1933, Claß received a seat in the Reichstag as a guest in the faction of the NSDAP . In new editions of his "German History", which was popular until 1945, he welcomed the Second World War , which he saw as a decisive debate with " World Jewry " about the future of the German people. Its actual political influence declined rapidly and sharply in the 1930s.

At the end of the war, Claß withdrew from Berlin to his daughter's house in Jena. Its political importance was no longer there , and the Soviet occupying power did not concern it.

Fonts (selection)

  • Balance of the new course . Alldeutscher Verlag, Berlin 1903
  • (Einhart): German history . Dieterich, Leipzig 1909
  • West Morocco German! Lehmanns Vlgsbuchhdlg. , Munich 1911
  • (Daniel Frymann): If I were the emperor. Political truths and necessities , Dieterich, Leipzig 1912 (from 1925 with the author's indication of Claß-Frymann under the title Das Kaiserbuch ) Therein p. 30–38: Die Juden . (PDF; 488 kB) total of 5 changes Edition until 1914
  • To the German war goal. A pamphlet. Lehmanns , Munich 1917
  • Against the current. On the development and growth of the national opposition in the old empire. Koehler, Leipzig 1932


Web links

Commons : Heinrich Claß  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Johannes Leicht: Claß, Heinrich. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Hostility to Jews in the past and present. Volume 2/1. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin / Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-24072-0 , pp. 141–144, here p. 141.
  2. ^ Heinrich August Winkler : Germany, a question of the century. In: Der Spiegel special , February 20, 2007.
  3. Götz Aly , Wolf Gruner (ed.): The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 . Volume 1: German Empire 1933–1937. Modifications made by Wolf Gruner. Verlag Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58480-6 , p. 21.
  4. Daniel Frymann: "If I were the emperor." Political truths and necessities. Dieterich, Leipzig 1912, p. 86.
  5. Dirk Stegmann: From neoconservatism to protofascism. Conservative party, clubs and associations 1893–1920. In: Dirk Stegmann, Bernd-Jürgen Wendt, Peter-Christian Witt (eds.): German conservatism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Festschrift for Fritz Fischer on his 75th birthday. Neue Gesellschaft, Bonn 1983, ISBN 3-87831-369-1 , pp. 199–230, here: p. 219.
  6. Johannes Leicht: Heinrich Claß. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
  7. Volker Weiß : Heinrich Claß: The Jew is to blame for everything. In: Zeit Online . November 8, 2012, accessed January 21, 2017.
  8. ^ Walter Jung: Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund (DVSTB), 1919–1924 / 35. In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria . January 21, 2011, accessed June 2, 2013 .
  9. Johannes Leicht: Claß, Heinrich. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Hostility to Jews in the past and present. De Gruyter Saur, Volume 2/1, Berlin / Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-24072-0 , pp. 141–144, here p. 143.
  10. ^ Fabian von Schlabrendorff : Encounters in five decades. Wunderlich, Tübingen 1979, ISBN 3-8052-0323-3 , p. 150f.