Karl Dietz (publisher)

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Karl Dietz (born March 26, 1890 in Neumarkt , † August 12, 1964 in Rudolstadt ) was a German publisher . He was the publishing director of the Greifenverlag and namesake of the Karl-Dietz-Verlag in Berlin .


The son of a local court secretary graduated from high school and began an apprenticeship as a bookseller in Stuttgart in 1910 . He then worked there for some time as a bookseller's assistant. In Stuttgart at the latest, perhaps even earlier, he joined the Wandervogel e. V. at (journey name "Michel"), in which he was "Gauleiter of Swabia" until 1914 and also worked in the student branch of the Wandervogel movement, the Free German student body .

At the beginning of 1915 Dietz was drafted into the Württemberg Landwehr Regiment 126 and in 1915 assigned to the Württemberg Mountain Battalion, where he did medical service and participated in the trench warfare in the Vosges and the campaigns in Romania , France and Italy . He also participated in the network of field gray migrating birds with his own newspaper. He was wounded twice and was awarded the Iron Cross II. Class and the German Army Medal of Merit.

After the war, Dietz initially wanted to become a fruit grower, but in 1920 received the offer to take over the management of the Greifenverlag , which had been founded in 1919 in Hartenstein (Saxony) as the Wandervogels publishing house as the successor to the Hartenstein Federal Chancellery . The attempt of the youth movement to affiliate business enterprises on a cooperative basis was already failing at this point. The branches of the Federal Chancellery passed into the possession of individual protagonists in various ways. Dietz gradually received the ownership rights to the Greifenverlag. In addition, Dietz fell out with the heads of sales, Walther Eickelbeck and Adolf Rittershaus . Faults are also reported. Dietz took this as an opportunity to move the publishing house to Rudolstadt in the summer of 1921 .

In 1922 Dietz took over the publishers Gesundes Leben and Melchior Kupferschmid from the völkisch doctor and publisher Wilhelm Hotz (1870–1953), who was close to the youth movement and in which popular scientific, life-reforming and völkisch writings had been published to date . Apparently Dietz wanted to create a second pillar in publishing and was now able to publish fonts that would not have fit into the Greifenverlag program.

In the 1920s, Dietz opened the Greifenverlag for left-wing authors like Johannes R. Becher . In addition, sex education works appeared, among others by Max Hodann , but also folkish literature, for example by Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer . In 1930 the publishing house ran into economic difficulties and production was severely restricted.

Since 1934 Dietz, as a member of the Society for Scientific Pendulum Research , emerged as author and editor of pseudo-scientific works under the pseudonym Christoff Dietrich . His book The Truth About the Pendulum , published in 1936, was successful.

After the takeover of the Nazis in 1933 presented Dietz multiple unsuccessful applications for admission to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), and in 1934 a supporting member of the SS . Nevertheless, from 1939 to 1942 he was temporarily excluded from the Reichsschrifttumskammer and was not allowed to publish in Germany. The cause was probably long-term arguments with local Nazi functionaries. In 1944 Dietz was drafted into the Wehrmacht and served in a reserve hospital until the end of the war. At the end of the Second World War he was briefly captured by the US as a prisoner of war .

After the end of the war, Dietz settled in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany (SBZ) and in 1945 became a member of the supervisory board of Thuringian Zellwolle AG , a member of the Kulturbund and the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD).

In 1946 Dietz joined the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). In 1947 he became a founding partner and pro forma namesake of the Dietz Verlag of the Central Committee (ZK) of the SED . Originally, the SED wanted to tie in with the name of the Dietz publishing house of Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Dietz , who published well-known German authors of the labor movement in the 19th and early 20th centuries . The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) appealed against this name because it was claimed for itself. Therefore, on August 18, 1947, the SED, with Karl Dietz as a partner, founded Dietz Verlag GmbH , based in Berlin, some of which also operated under the name Karl-Dietz-Verlag . Since 1999 the name of the publisher is officially Karl Dietz Verlag Berlin GmbH .

In addition to this role, Dietz was able to establish himself as managing director of Greifenverlag as one of the few private publishers in the GDR and developed him into one of the leading literary publishers in the GDR since the 1950s. Dietz set publishing accents by publishing works by left-wing authors from the Weimar Republic , literature in exile during the time of National Socialism, in particular the works of Lion Feuchtwanger , and classic world literature . The Greifenverlag was nationalized only after his death.


Works (selection)

  • Karl Dietz (under the pseudonym Christoff Dietrich): How do I learn to commute? First introduction to applied practical radiation research. Erfurt 1935.
  • Karl Dietz (under the pseudonym Christoff Dietrich): Disease diagnosis by the pendulum. Practical Guide. Rudolstadt 1936.
  • Karl Dietz: Lion Feuchtwanger in memory. Rudolstadt 1959.
  • Karl Dietz and PG Hesse: Dictionary of Sexology and its Border Areas Rudolstadt 1964.


  • Jens Henkel: The publishing house "Gesundes Leben" Mellenbach-Rudolstadt, from the life reform ideas of Wilhelm Hotz to the pendulum research by Karl Dietz - publishing history and bibliography 1904–1941 . In: Blätter der Gesellschaft für Buchkultur und Geschichte , 6th year, Hain-Verlag Rudolstadt 2002, pp. 83–144.
  • Christian Krause:  Karl Dietz . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • C. Wurm, J. Henkel, G. Ballon: The Greifenverlag zu Rudolstadt 1919–93. Publishing history and bibliography. Wiesbaden 2001.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Links: The fate of the GDR publishers: Privatization and its consequences. Ch.links Verlag , December 17, 2013.