Nietzsche archive

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Villa Silberblick, museum and former seat of the archive

The Nietzsche Archive was the first institution that was dedicated to the archiving, indexing and publication of documents on the life and work of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche . Today the museum in the Villa Silberblick bears this name.

The archive was founded in Naumburg in 1894 and has been in Weimar since 1896 . Up to the middle of the 20th century, its history is closely linked to its founder and director Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche , the philosopher's sister, for decades . Although it was subject to severe criticism from the beginning, the archive - managed as the Nietzsche Archive Foundation from 1908 - was able to maintain itself as the central point of Nietzsche reception in Germany until the end of the Second World War . In the GDR it was attached to the National Research and Memorial Centers for Classical German Literature in Weimar and formally dissolved in 1956. Its holdings were made available to western researchers who were able to replace the questionable earlier Nietzsche editions with scientifically tenable ones. In the GDR, however, Nietzsche remained a de facto forbidden author.

Today the former archive holdings are kept in various facilities of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar . The former seat of the archive, Villa Silberblick , is used as a museum and as the seat of the Friedrich Nietzsche College . This building, too, is sometimes referred to as the Nietzsche Archive and today it bears this signature again above its entrance. The Nietzsche Archive also contains parts (unordered) of the Peter Guest Archive ( Heinrich Köselitz ).


Objectives of the archive

Elisabeth Förster, 1894

After Elisabeth Förster returned to Germany from Paraguay in autumn 1893, she planned to set up a Nietzsche archive. Models are likely to have been the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar, operated under this name since 1889, and the “Bayreuth Movement” around Cosima Wagner . The aim of founding the archive was to collect sources in order to avoid dispersing them and to gain a monopoly on their analysis.

Since the beginning of the 1890s, the reception of Nietzsche in German-speaking countries has skyrocketed. The Nietzsche Archive tried to gain the authority to interpret Friedrich Nietzsche and his philosophy in the public debate. In the following decades, this was not only served by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche's biographical books, but also by a large number of magazine and newspaper articles that came from or from the archive. Förster-Nietzsche had been collecting documents about the brother she admired since her youth and was now buying up his correspondence for sometimes considerable sums. In addition to Friedrich Nietzsche's works, from now on his letters were also published directly or indirectly by the archive. Another reason for the archive's lively publication activity, which was soon to begin, and for its monopoly on Nietzsche's work, may have been that it made high profits.

Foundation in Naumburg

After Nietzsche's collapse in 1889, Heinrich Köselitz and Franz Overbeck initially acted as responsible for Nietzsche's literary estate. In the winter of 1893/94, Köselitz temporarily turned away from any preoccupation with Nietzsche when Förster had withdrawn and crushed the Nietzsche edition he had begun. Overbeck and Förster had already quarreled before that. Förster obtained other manuscripts from her brother that were in strange hands and negotiated new contracts with the publisher CG Naumann. For her mother's 68th birthday on February 2, 1894, she surprised them with fully furnished archive rooms in the shared Naumburg apartment. In April the writer and art historian Fritz Koegel (1860–1904) was hired as editor of the planned Nietzsche Complete Edition. In September the archive moved from the home of the mother and the sick brother to a larger Naumburg quarter, where visitors like Harry Graf Kessler were soon received.

During a visit to the Goethe Archive, Ms. Förster made the acquaintance of the Goethe editors Eduard von der Hellen and Rudolf Steiner . The latter, also considered to be a Nietzsche connoisseur, visited her several times and was allowed to look at the original manuscripts. On October 1st, von der Hellen was hired as a new employee. This commitment coup drew some public attention to the archive. Because of this, there was a dispute between Steiner and von der Hellen, the background of which has not been fully clarified. He later vigorously denied that Steiner would have preferred to become the publisher himself, but later publicly portrayed it in this way by Förster-Nietzsche in a dispute with Steiner.

Meta von Salis, early patroness of the Nietzsche archive

Soon after he was employed by der Hellens, Fritz Koegel was given a leave of absence for some time. Von der Hellen left the archive by mutual agreement after just a few months. The complete edition begun by Koegel with the collaboration of von der Hellens made rapid progress in 1895. The first volume of Förster's Nietzsche biography was also a literary success. From today's perspective, this font was also the first component of the distorted Nietzsche image, which the archive distributed in the following years (see The Nietzsche image of the archive ).

In December 1895, after considerable pressure, Förster succeeded in buying all rights to her brother's writings from her mother and the patient's second guardian, Adalbert Oehler . For this she borrowed 30,000 marks from banker Robert von Mendelssohn , with Nietzsche friends and admirers Meta von Salis , Harry Graf Kessler, Hermann Hecker and Raoul Richter acting as guarantors. During this time there were repeated arguments between the philosopher's sister and mother: the latter felt the conduct of the archive and her daughter as unworthy and felt that she was being treated unfairly. She died on April 20, 1897 at the age of 71 in Naumburg.

Move to Weimar

On August 1, 1896, with financial support from Meta von Salis', the archive moved to Weimar, initially to a rented apartment. The reason for choosing Weimar was probably the desire to benefit from the aura of the cultural city and to equate to the already mentioned example of the Goethe and Schiller Archives. Harry Graf Kessler, an important protagonist of the “ New Weimar ”, had also advertised this move.

The sick Nietzsche on the balcony of Villa Silberblick. Photograph by Hans Olde , summer 1899.

In the winter of 1896/97 there was a first serious crisis in the archive, about the exact course of which no definitive information is available. Förster-Nietzsche wanted to win Rudolf Steiner as editor and, if necessary, dismiss Koegel, with whom there had been factual differences and personal tensions. According to Steiner and others, she incited Steiner and Koegel against each other, but they eventually saw through this. Förster-Nietzsche later put it in such a way that Steiner wanted to become editor and thus got into conflict with Koegel on his own initiative. As a result of this crisis, Koegel was finally dismissed on July 1, 1897, and subsequent negotiations with Steiner, who continued to distance himself from the archive, failed.

Also on July 1, 1897, Meta von Salis bought the villa “ Zum Silberblick ” in Weimar for 39,000 marks and made it available to the archive. The move took place in the summer, and Friedrich Nietzsche, who was in need of care, was also moved here. Förster-Nietzsche annoyed her friend and patroness Meta von Salis with unauthorized renovation work, who sold the house to Adalbert Oehler in 1898 and broke off contact with Förster-Nietzsche.

In October 1898 Arthur Seidl was able to be won over as editor of a new complete edition - already the third after the Köselitz 'and Koegels which were canceled. In the period that followed, the brothers Ernst and August Horneffer also joined the archive as employees, and Heinrich Köselitz at the end of 1899. In Köselitz's unexpected entry, his difficult financial situation may have played a role. Mazzino Montinari later put forward the thesis that there was a kind of “non-aggression pact” between Köselitz and Förster-Nietzsche, both of whom were aware of Friedrich Nietzsche's disparaging judgments about the other.

Public disputes

The later founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner - here around 1905 - was never an official employee of the archive, but at times enjoyed the trust of the archive director and created the first Nietzsche bibliography. He later sharply criticized Förster-Nietzsche.

In 1900 the first public dispute arose over the archive's editing methods and its philosophical and philological competence. It was triggered by an essay by Ernst Horneffers, in which the former editor Koegel was sharply attacked; thus the article should also justify the withdrawal of the old and the beginning of the new complete edition. Rudolf Steiner, who was involved in the above-mentioned archive crisis, responded with a “disclosure” in the magazine for literature . He defended Koegel and gave a very negative characterization of Förster-Nietzsche, which culminated in the assertion:

That Ms. Förster-Nietzsche is completely a layman in everything that concerns her brother's teaching. It does not have any independent judgment about the simplest of this teaching. [… In addition, she] lacks any sense of […] logical distinctions; There is not the slightest logical consistency in their thinking; it lacks any sense of objectivity and objectivity. An event that takes place today will take on a shape tomorrow in her, which [...] is formed just as she needs it for what she wants to achieve. [But she does not deliberately lie:] No, she believes what she says in every moment. Today she tells herself that yesterday was red, which was definitely blue.

This was the first time that the accusation not only of philosophical incompetence but also of (conscious or unconscious) falsification of Friedrich Nietzsche's work and person had been publicly raised against the archive. A dispute developed in several magazines, which revolved not only about these points, but also about philosophical questions of Nietzsche's interpretation.

The above-mentioned allegations against the archive were repeatedly raised to varying degrees in the following years, often directly or indirectly by former archive employees. Today's Nietzsche research largely agrees that they were justified.

The Basel "counter archive"

The main public opponents of the archive saw themselves as succeeding Franz Overbeck in Basel ; one therefore spoke of the “Basel Interpretation”, “Basel Tradition” or even the “Basel Counter Archive”. The University Library of Basel keeps the second largest collection of Nietzscheana after the archive with the bequests of F. Overbeck, Carl Albrecht Bernoulli , Jacob Burckhardt , M. von Salis', Josef Hofmillers , P. Lauterbachs, P. Lanzkys, Karl Joëls and Gustav Naumann. The largest disputes took place between 1905 and 1909 and mixed up very different questions.

  • They began with Förster-Nietzsche's accusation that Nietzsche's manuscripts for a complete text “The Revaluation of All Values ” had been lost through Overbeck's fault . The legal and literary defense of the deceased was started by his widow Ida and his pupil Carl Albrecht Bernoulli. The legal dispute ended in 1907 with a settlement; Förster-Nietzsche ( The Nietzsche Archive, His Friends and Enemies , 1907) and Bernoulli ( Friedrich Nietzsche and Franz Overbeck , 1908) also made their point of view clear in books. Today's Nietzsche research clearly shows that the “Baslers” are right.
  • As early as 1901, the brothers Horneffer and Köselitz had published a work “ Der Wille zur Macht ” compiled from Nietzsche's estate for the archive . In 1906 a heavily modified and expanded version of it appeared, edited by Förster-Nietzsche and Köselitz. The archive referred to the script as Nietzsche's “main prose work” and, from today's point of view, unfolded an effect that was questionable and distorted Nietzsche's work. The dispute over the question of how Nietzsche's estate should be published was initiated self-critically by the Horneffer brothers (August Horneffer: Nietzsche as a moralist and writer , 1906; Ernst Horneffer: Nietzsche's last creation , 1907) and conducted in various magazines. Ernst Holzer attempted an objective defense of the archive.
  • In 1908 Heinrich Köselitz took legal action against the second volume of Bernoulli's above-mentioned book by Friedrich Nietzsche and Franz Overbeck . He wanted to prevent the publication of his earlier letters to Overbeck, in which he had sharply criticized Förster-Nietzsche. In fact, Bernoulli and his publisher Eugen Diederichs first had to blacken the spots and then delete them entirely. Legal disputes over the publication of the Nietzsche-Overbeck correspondence dragged on into the First World War. This process was also accompanied by attacks and counter-attacks in the press. It is important that Bernoulli quoted here for the first time from the so-called "Koegel excerpts": During his time in the archive (see above), the late editor Fritz Koegel had secretly copied a number of passages from Nietzsche's manuscripts and letters that among others showed Friedrich Nietzsche's tense relationship with mother and sister and thus contradicted Förster-Nietzsche's biographical writings. The Nietzsche archive denied their authenticity until the 1930s.

Archival-critical Nietzsche research was continued by Charles Andler , Josef Hofmiller and Erich Podach . In the course of all these disputes, the archive and its director lost their credibility for some interested parties and found themselves subject to ridicule in critical circles. For example, Alfred Kerr published a mocking poem “ Die Übermenschin ” on Förster-Nietzsche's 60th birthday , in which he characterized the intellectual situation in the archive: “ Übermenschenkaffeekränzchen ”. In 1931 Kurt Tucholsky noted :

“But now Lieschen is the sister. [...] She is allowed to introduce Nietzsche's works, she is allowed to administer Nietzsche's estate, his letters and notes, and she manages them as we know. It was of no use to her. Nietzsche, not the little brother, the real Nietzsche became known, mainly through Andler - despite this archive. "

Yet the archive retained and gained powerful supporters.

Establishment as a foundation, First World War and Weimar Republic

In May 1908, thanks to an extraordinarily large donation from the Swedish banker and Nietzsche admirer Ernest Thiel, the “ Nietzsche Archive Foundation ” was established, which was recognized by the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach as a non-profit, scientific and cultural institution. Legally, the management of the archive passed into the hands of the foundation's board of directors, but in fact Förster-Nietzsche had the last word on all crucial questions, as the board members were either loyal to her or were not interested in the actual work of the archive. In the following years, different people from political and cultural life belonged to the board. The chairmanship of the foundation was held by: Adalbert Oehler (1908–1923, resigned after differences with Förster-Nietzsche), Arnold Paulssen (1923–1931) and Richard Leutheußer (1931–1945).

In the First World War, the archive joined the general enthusiasm for war. Cheap war editions of selected Nietzsche writings found large sales. After the war, Förster-Nietzsche took a clear political position: namely in opposition to the Weimar Republic. She joined the German National People's Party , represented the stab-in- the-back legend , among other things, and called for Paul von Hindenburg to be elected in the 1925 presidential election . Nevertheless, the archive wanted to maintain party-political neutrality to the outside world, as it was symbolized by the aforementioned foundation chairmen: Paulssen belonged to the DDP , Leutheußer to the DVP . In fact, the archive managed to gain support from DDP and SPD- led ministries.

Adalbert , Max and Richard Oehler , all of Förster-Nietzsche's relatives, were already connected to the archive before the war. From 1919 they all lived and worked directly at the archive, their political attitudes corresponded to that of their cousins. The administrative officer Adalbert Oehler, previously among other things mayor of Düsseldorf, had been driven out of the Düsseldorf mayor's office by Spartakists . He had been chairman of the Nietzsche Archive Foundation since it was founded, but resigned the chair in 1923 after a dispute with Förster-Nietzsche. The professional soldier Max Oehler retired from the army in 1919 and became an archivist . He did a large part of the day-to-day work in the archive and became the determining figure after Förster-Nietzsche.

Well-known supporters of the archive in the first years of the Weimar Republic were Ernst Bertram and Thomas Mann , whose works Nietzsche. Attempts at a mythology (Bertram, 1918) and considerations of an apolitical (Mann, 1918) presented Nietzsche in a way that basically corresponded to the image of the archive. Harry Graf Kessler, on the other hand, stayed in contact with Förster-Nietzsche, but in the course of his transformation into a pacifist and “red count” he alienated himself from the line of the archive, which in turn moved politically ever further to the right. From 1923 onwards, Oswald Spengler in particular was courted by Förster-Nietzsche, made a board member and speaker at important events in the Nietzsche archive. The archive was located “in the wake of the ' Conservative Revolution ' ”.

In 1923 the archive was on the brink of bankruptcy due to inflation , but was able to hold on thanks to constant support from upper-class circles. The aforementioned Ernest Thiel, although of Jewish descent on his mother's side, was perhaps the most generous patron of the archive, which repeatedly got into financial difficulties. He deeply admired Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Another major donor was the cigarette manufacturer Philipp Reemtsma , who from 1929 to 1945 donated 28,000 Reichsmarks annually to the archive - initially anonymously. In comparison to this, Reich President von Hindenburg made a rather symbolic contribution, who guaranteed Förster-Nietzsche a monthly " honorary salary " of 450 Reichsmarks on her 80th birthday (1926) . The archive director was in 1921 by the University of Jena the honorary doctorate conferred, it was also of German professors several times for the Nobel Prize for literature suggested. Finally, the Society of Friends of the Nietzsche Archive was founded in 1926 with the primary purpose of collecting donations for the archive. While prominent notables represented this society externally, it was actually managed by the same people as the Nietzsche Archives. However, it had comparatively little success.

Contacts between the archive and the fascist leader Benito Mussolini began around 1925 . Mussolini was an admirer of Nietzsche and subsequently also supported the archive financially. Conversely, the archive praised fascism as an intellectual movement in Nietzsche's entourage, which also led to tensions in the foundation's board of directors. The aforementioned support from Reemtsma or several visits by the “Empress” Hermine were favored by the archive's increasingly right-wing extremist orientation. The relationship with fascist Italy also led to a rapprochement with the National Socialist movement in Germany, which was already above average in the Weimar area at the end of the 1920s (compare Baum-Frick government ). The aforementioned Max Oehler was an avowed National Socialist. At the beginning of 1932, on the occasion of the German premiere of Mussolini's and Forzano's play The Hundred Days ( Campo di maggio ), Förster-Nietzsche and Adolf Hitler met for the first time , who subsequently visited the archive several times.

National Socialism and the death of Förster-Nietzsche

In several letters, Förster-Nietzsche greeted Hitler's accession to power with euphoria. She saw the Nietzsche archive " in warm admiration for the Führer " and in " solidarity with the ideals of National Socialism ". The brothers Richard and Max Oehler propagated the intellectual closeness between Nietzsche and fascism or National Socialism (Richard Oehler: Friedrich Nietzsche and the German Future , 1935). Not everyone shared such views: in 1933, for example, Romain Rolland resigned from the Society of Friends of the Nietzsche Archives , protesting against his proximity to Mussolini . In 1935, Oswald Spengler also left the Foundation Board because of the political tendencies of the archive.

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche died in 1935. Adolf Hitler and many other dignitaries of the Nazi state attended the memorial service and the funeral . Max Oehler took over the management of the archive, which lost its salon-like character. Until shortly before the end of the Second World War, Oehler organized tours of the archive and disseminated his Nazi image of Nietzsche in writings and lectures. In fact, he went further than Förster-Nietzsche in adapting to the prevailing politics.

After the protection period for Nietzsche's works had expired, a Scientific Committee (WA) was set up at the archive as early as 1931 to create a "historical-critical complete edition" (compare Nietzsche edition: expiry of the protection period 1930 ). After Förster-Nietzsche's death, there was a power struggle between its director, Carl August Emge - also an active National Socialist - and the Oehlers. After Emge's plan to incorporate the archive of the Prussian Academy of Sciences had failed, he left the archive in 1935.

Archive employees established the forgeries, interventions and embezzlement of the deceased in Nietzsche's letters and manuscripts and reported them to the WA. In 1937 Karl Schlechta traveled to Basel to do further research in the university library there - the “counter archive” . In internal reports, for example, the “Koegel excerpts” have now been declared to be authentic. However, there was no public discussion.

The government initiated and supported the construction of a Nietzsche memorial hall, which, however, was actually demolished when the war began (see architecture ). The archive also received financial support; Reich governor Fritz Sauckel in particular wanted to establish Weimar as the central location of National Socialism with the help of the archive, but this did not succeed to the desired extent. In 1937, at Sauckel's request, three official representatives of the Nazi state, including Prime Minister Willy Marschler , were accepted into the foundation's board of directors.

There are different opinions about the actual importance of the Nietzsche Archive during the National Socialist era . At the end of 1933, the aforementioned Carl August Emge proudly emphasized the “ direct [n] relationship with the Führer ” and “ probably saw no other site apart from Bayreuth that is so externally recognized by the Führer as a culturally important company like the Nietzsche Archives. “A later author writes of an“ inclusion of the Nietzsche archive in the propaganda apparatus of fascism ”. With regard to the Nietzsche memorial hall mentioned, reference has also been made to the " distance between the quasi-official celebrity artists and the activities on the 'Silberblick' " as well as the " desolate fate " of the Weimar Nietzsche community, which was only half-finished for Nietzsche's centenary in 1944 Memorial hall and a greeting telegram from Hitler, who was represented by Alfred Rosenberg , was found. A systematic investigation of the role of the Nietzsche archive in the “Third Reich”, as well as the use of Nietzsche in National Socialism, is still pending.

In the course of the war, some archive employees were drafted, so that work on Nietzsche documents essentially came to a standstill from around 1942. Almost all archive holdings were spared from destruction during the war.

Closure, re-establishment and dissolution

In April 1945, Weimar was occupied by US troops and in July the city was handed over to Soviet troops. Max Oehler already presented the archives to the Americans in a defense letter "against the charge of reaction" as an apolitical institution in the service of free research. In July, the Soviet military administration blocked the archives ' accounts. Max Oehler was arrested at the beginning of December, shortly afterwards the house was closed and sealed, the entire contents were confiscated and transported away in the spring of 1946. Oehler, sentenced to forced labor in Siberia, died earlier in March 1946 in Weimar.

The contents of the Nietzsche archive, packed in boxes, were apparently to be transported to the Soviet Union. This did not happen, however: in the summer of 1946 the boxes were returned and the contents placed back in the Villa Silberblick. There are various reports about the background to this return. It seems certain that the Thuringian state president Rudolf Paul intervened with the Soviet military administration in favor of a return. According to the documented account of Wolfgang Stephans, this happened at the suggestion of the Goethe researcher Hans Wahl . Karl Schlechta writes without evidence that he himself had drawn Rudolf Paul 's attention to the risk of loss through the publisher Anton Kippenberg .

Unlike his manuscripts, Friedrich Nietzsche's library has been kept in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library since the 1950s (here being restored after the 2004 fire).

Hans Wahl was appointed acting head of the archive in December 1946, who made various suggestions for reopening and continued use, but these were not pursued any further. After Wahl's death in 1949, the literary scholar Gerhard Scholz (1903–1989) was appointed head of the archive, which continued to exist as a foundation. The board of the Nietzsche Archive Foundation included a representative of the state and an employee of Scholz, as well as - possibly only formally - Ernst Bloch , Franz Altheim and Reinhard Buchwald .

The holdings of the Nietzsche Archive and other Weimar institutions were incorporated into the Goethe and Schiller Archive (GSA) from 1950. The Villa Silberblick should be used as a seminar of the GSA. Nietzsche's manuscripts were sorted and made available to Western researchers.

In 1953 the archive became the legal entity of the newly founded National Research and Memorial Centers for Classical German Literature in Weimar (NFG). Its director Helmut Holtzhauer applied for the dissolution of the Nietzsche Archive Foundation, which finally took place in 1956. While Nietzsche was a de facto banned author in the GDR, Holtzhauer and his successor Walter Dietze as directors of the NFG and Karl-Heinz Hahn (1921–1990) as head of the Goethe and Schiller Archives supported the creation of Nietzsche's new Critical Complete Edition .

After the turn

After reunification , the Weimar Classic Foundation , now the Weimar Classic Foundation , took over the archive and Villa Silberblick as the successor company to the NFG. The ground floor of Villa Silberblick was opened to the public as early as 1990/91. Today, after the restoration of van de Velde's interior (see architecture ), it has the character of a museum and shows Nietzsche documents and Nietzsche icons, as arranged by Förster-Nietzsche, as well as documents on the history of the archive up to 1945 As in the GDR, the upper rooms serve as a guest house.

In 1999 a Friedrich Nietzsche college was established by the Weimar Classic Foundation . This organizes seminars and conferences, awards fellowships - so far, fellows have been Jean Baudrillard , Dieter Henrich , Peter Sloterdijk , Gianni Vattimo and Slavoj Žižek - and has published a number of papers. The focus of the work is the research of the Nietzsche reception as well as general cultural history and philosophy of science. The head of the college is Rüdiger Schmidt-Grépály .

The emeritus philosophy professor Manfred Riedel has accused the Weimar Classic Foundation of insufficiently processing the GDR verdict on Nietzsche and its own involvement in it as the successor organization of the NFG.

The Nietzsche cult


The history of "Nietzscheanism" and "Nietzsche cult" in Germany is very complex; There are different opinions about the influence that the Nietzsche Archive exerted directly and indirectly on it. It certainly played a “ decisive role in the popularization and monumentalization of the philosopher's works ” and attempted “ to institutionalize the cult around the philosopher, to erect monuments to him, to put together a liturgy and to develop rituals and ceremonies. "

The Nietzsche picture of the archive

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and the archive disseminated a Nietzsche image that on the one hand was agreeable to her, on the other hand was intended to help the philosopher to gain respect: she sought to “ free him from the smell of the pathological and to take the sting of subversion from his ideas . "In the semi-official accounts of the archive he appeared" as a healthy patriot , as a selfless and loving brother [...] an almost holy figure [...] of external and internal beauty, sociable and cheerful, but condemned to be alone by an uncomprehending public, a determined Prussians who love his fatherland ”.

Heinrich Köselitz stated in 1910 " how passionately Ms. Förster is burning to interest the emperor in Nietzsche and possibly to get him to make an appreciative statement about Nietzsche's tendencies " and how she had forged a letter from Nietzsche in this sense. She portrayed Nietzsche's derogatory remarks about the Germans and the German Reich as the disappointed love of a true patriot; she emphasized Nietzsche's enthusiasm for the military and interpreted Nietzsche's catchphrase “will to power” in this way.

Another important concern of Förster-Nietzsche was to combat any suspicion of both hereditary disease and syphilitic infection in her brother. For them, Nietzsche's collapse was the result of overworking and excessive consumption of chloral hydrate . She was absolutely certain that her brother had lived chaste. She portrayed her own role in Nietzsche's acquaintance with Lou Salomé positively, the Salomé she hated poorly. However, it was precisely on this point that she made herself vulnerable: critics were able to prove falsifications and cover-ups early on.

Forms of cult in the archive

In Weimar, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche initially sought and found a connection with the artistic avant-garde . Several artists were allowed to visit the ailing Nietzsche to make sculptures, drawings and paintings of him. Table parties were also organized, and until 1900 particularly welcome guests were allowed to see the sick living on the upper floor.

Reproduction of the Nietzsche statuette by Arnold Kramer , 1898

The archive knew about the forms of the Nietzsche myth and took care of them. Hubert Cancik stated that Förster-Nietzsche and her relatives from the Oehler family practiced a " gentiletic cult of the dead " with a " festival calendar and [...] ritual of memorial days ". In the spirit of an unbroken cult of the dead and grave, it was definitely intended to bury Nietzsche at the Villa Silberblick, for which, however, no permission was given. His death room was preserved as a mythical place, a death mask was also removed and was later shown in a clearly idealized "reconstruction" in magazines. Portraits, busts, statuettes and other cult objects enjoyed good sales in reproductions. As with its Nietzsche editions, the archive appealed to all groups of buyers with differentiated pricing and product design.

In addition, Nietzsche monuments were planned again and again. Most of these plans were never realized: in between there was often a lack of money and the " [i] m contrast to the undeniable unscrupulousness [...] more humanly sympathetic inconsistency, stylistic uncertainty and naivety " of the archive manager. In fact, only the renovation of the Villa Silberblick and the construction of the Nietzsche Hall were carried out from 1937, which was discontinued when the war began in 1939 (see architecture ).

Probably the most monumental design was an idea by Harry Graf Kessler and was pursued between 1911 and 1914: after that a gigantic festival area with a stadium, a temple and a statue of Apollo to be created by Aristide Maillol was to be built. Sports competitions in the spirit of the Olympic movement should take place in the stadium . Many well-known personalities volunteered to support the project, which combined Greek-pagan, anti-Christian and modern elements. The First World War broke this plan.


The Nietzsche Archive endeavored to collect all the documents Nietzsche left behind and was extremely successful in doing so. Nietzsche's legacy is still rarely complete and ranges from childhood notes and exercise books to study documents, extensive correspondence and personal documents to a philosophical legacy of dozens of notebooks, notebooks and single sheets of paper; For all important works either print manuscripts or at least fair copies or authorized proofs have been preserved. The most comprehensive overview of the manuscript holdings that has been accepted to this day was given by Hans Joachim Mette in 1932.

In addition, the Nietzsche archive kept papers from and about Nietzsche's ancestors and Nietzsche's library. The Goethe and Schiller archives kept by the annexation of the now also very extensive business records, correspondence, etc. of the Nietzsche Archive itself, including the discounts Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Peter Gast '.

The reason for the unusual extent to which Nietzsche's life and work can be documented is above all the sister's passion for collecting, who kept the writings of her idolized brother in her youth - sometimes against his will - and, as already mentioned, after founding the Nietzsche Archives went to great lengths to collect all of his papers. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that conversely she is also responsible for the destruction and mutilation of some documents and a distorted representation of Nietzsche.

In today's numbering of the Goethe and Schiller Archives, Nietzsche research is interested in:

  • Collection 71: Nietzsche, Friedrich
  • Collection 72: Förster-Nietzsche / Nietzsche-Archiv
  • Stock 100: Nietzsche family
  • Holdings 101: Weimar / Nietzsche Archive Iconography
  • Stock 102: Guest

The Friedrich Nietzsche libraries and the Nietzsche archive are now located in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, along with a collection of Nietzsche literature.


Villa Silberblick

The Wilhelminian style villa "Zum Silberblick", which had this name even before the Nietzsche Archives moved in, is located a little outside the city center of Weimar on a hill on today's Humboldtstrasse (formerly Luisenstrasse) and was owned by Elisabeth Förster in 1902 -Nietzsche about. She had the building renovated by the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde . The circle around Harry Graf Kessler, to which van de Velde and Förster-Nietzsche belonged, wanted to establish the “ New Weimar ” as the center of the artistic avant-garde during these years .

The Villa Silberblick today

Van de Velde redesigned the interior design on the ground floor and had a representative porch built. The converted building was officially inaugurated on Nietzsche's birthday on October 15, 1903. The villa and the Art Nouveau furnishings survived the Second World War and were maintained in the GDR at least in the 1950s. 1978 to 1983 the building was renovated; In 1992 a restoration of the interiors on the ground floor, which had begun before the reunification , was completed. The Art Nouveau interiors have been open to visitors since 1991.

Nietzsche memorial hall

Some of the Nietzsche supporters in the vicinity of the archive saw the time for a Nietzsche memorial hall, as it had been planned earlier (see Forms of Cult in the Archive ), after the National Socialists came to power. Hitler himself gave the impetus for concrete plans in October 1934 when he donated 50,000 Reichsmarks “from personal resources” during a visit to the archive . By 1938 donations totaling half a million Reichsmarks were collected; In addition to private individuals and various levels of government, Reich Interior Minister Frick , the Carl Zeiss Works and the Wilhelm Gustloff Foundation made donations . Nevertheless, there was a lack of money and further problems arose. The architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg had to adapt his plans, which initially belonged to the Neo- Biedermeier period , to the diverging wishes of the Oehler family, the Gauleiter Sauckel and Hitler. Some of those involved, including Förster-Nietzsche shortly before her death, favored a purely functional and functional building, while others wanted a monumental memorial building. The environment was artistically and structurally unsuitable, there was also a shortage of raw materials and repeated inconsistencies between those involved. Compared to other building projects of the “Third Reich”, the project was probably of secondary importance for the Nazi leadership.

In April 1937 Hitler approved a compromise plan by Schultze-Naumburg, and in August 1938 a topping-out ceremony was celebrated. When the war began in 1939, however, work on the unfinished building was almost completely stopped. Busts of important men from different times and at the same time a Nietzsche-Zarathustra monument were planned for installation in the building. However, no agreement was reached on the latter, for example Hitler rejected a proposal by Georg Kolbe . As an emergency solution, Mussolini sent a replica of an ancient Dionysus statue in 1942 , which only arrived in Weimar in 1944 and was no longer erected.

The existing buildings were used by the Wehrmacht during the war and as a warehouse for art collections and household items from bombed-out families. It was later taken over by the GDR radio , and after 1990 by the Central German Radio (MDR). The MDR moved out in 2000, after several years of vacancy, the building is now used for parties.


Board members of the Nietzsche Archive Foundation

The Nietzsche Archive Foundation was founded in 1908 by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. She herself did not take on an official post. In fact, Förster-Nietzsche had the right to object on all decisive points and the board members were usually elected on their proposal, which is why they can only be assigned an advisory role. The board of directors was constituted for the first time in 1909. It included, among others:

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee (WA) was set up in 1931 for the " historical-critical edition " and apparently remained formally in place until the end of the war. In retrospect, Erich Podach harshly criticized this committee: “ The WA was made up of men who, each in his own way, had decided to be interpreters or followers of Nietzsche. They can only be reduced to a common denominator by adopting a position on Nietzsche that conforms to the prevailing course. “Karl Schlechta and Mazzino Montinari, who were involved in the issue, expressed themselves somewhat more benevolently about the WA.

  • Carl August Emge, 1931–1935
  • Martin Heidegger , 1935–1942
  • Hans Heyse , 1935–1945 (editor of the "synchronized" Kant studies)
  • Walter Jesinghaus, 1931–1945 (Senior Councilor in the Thuringian Ministry of Education)
  • Max Oehler, 1931-1945
  • Richard Oehler, 1931-1945
  • Walter F. Otto , 1933–1945
  • Oswald Spengler , 1931-1935

Significant employees

  • Heinrich Köselitz ("Peter Gast"): was initially critical of the archive; Most important employee from 1899–1909; thereafter no public statement about the archive
  • Fritz Koegel : employed from 1895–1897, increasingly in contrast to Förster-Nietzsche; secret preparation of the " Koegel excerpts "; no comment on the archive after discharge
  • Rudolf Steiner : 1895–1897 close to the archive, then distancing; 1900 public attack on the archive; then a few comments on the archive
  • Arthur Seidl : employed from 1898–1899
  • Ernst and August Horneffer : employed 1899–1901 and 1903 respectively, initially a philologically correct criticism of Koegel's edition, then it was compromised through own editions of a similar design; after leaving, sharp criticism of the archive manager and the way she worked
  • Ernst Holzer : 1902–1910; Pupil of Erwin Rohdes , most important editor of the Philologica; gave the archive a certain scientific aura and was allowed to take some liberties, including criticism of the archive manager; deceased
  • Otto Crusius : further editor of the Philologica
  • Eduard von der Hellen : moved from the Goethe archives in 1894, mutual separation that same year
  • Richard Oehler
  • Otto Weiß : employed 1909–1913, published the estate volumes with “ Willen zur Macht ” ( Will to Power ) and wrote a critical apparatus that actually refuted the compilation; dismiss
  • Karl Schlechta
  • Hans Joachim Mette
  • Rüdiger Schmidt-Grépály : since 1999 head of the Friedrich Nietzsche College


  • Hubert Cancik: The Nietzsche cult in Weimar. A contribution to the religious history of the Wilhelmine era In: Nietzsche Studies 16 (1987), pp. 405–429 (On religious and cultic elements in the Nietzsche community and in particular Graf Kessler's stadium project)
  • Hubert Cancik: The Nietzsche cult in Weimar (II). A contribution to the religious history of the National Socialist era (1942-1944) In: ders. And Hildegard Cancik-Lindemaier : Philolog and cult figure. Friedrich Nietzsche and his antiquity in Germany . Metzler, Stuttgart and Weimar 1999, ISBN 3-476-01676-5 , pp. 252-277. (On religious and cultic elements of the Nietzsche celebrations in 1942 and 1944)
  • Karl-Heinz Hahn: The Nietzsche Archive In: Nietzsche Studies 18 , 1989, pp. 1-19 (Brief overview of the origins, goals of the founder, history and holdings from the then head of the Goethe and Schiller Archive shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall )
  • David Marc Hoffmann: On the history of the Nietzsche archive. de Gruyter, Berlin and New York 1991, ISBN 3-11-013014-9 (material- rich standard work, especially on history up to 1910; contains a detailed chronicle, studies and numerous documents)
  • Jürgen Krause: "Martyrs" and "Prophets". Studies on the Nietzsche cult in the visual arts of the turn of the century. de Gruyter, Berlin and New York 1984, ISBN 3-11-009818-0 - Monographs and texts on Nietzsche research, Volume 14. (Above all, the art-historical investigation of the wider archive environment up to 1945)
  • Raymond J. Benders et al. a. (Ed.): Friedrich Nietzsche: Chronicle in pictures and texts . dtv, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-423-30771-4 (Contains numerous documents from the founding phase of the archive up to Nietzsche's death in 1900)
  • Roswitha Wollkopf: The committees of the Nietzsche archive and their relationship to fascism up to 1933 in: Karl-Heinz Hahn (ed.): In the run-up to literature: the value of archival tradition for understanding literature and its history . Böhlau, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0122-4 , pp. 227-241. (Outline of the history of the archive up to 1933 and in particular its relations to fascism and National Socialism before 1933, by an archivist of the Goethe and Schiller archive)
  • Frank Simon-Ritz; Justus H. Ulbricht: "Home of the Zarathustrawerk": People, committees and activities of the Nietzsche archive in Weimar 1896–1945. In: Ways to Weimar: in search of the unity of art and politics: [an exhibition by the Free State of Thuringia in cooperation with the German Historical Museum Berlin, exhibition hall in the Thuringian State Administration Office Weimar, 6.2. until April 30, 1999]. - Berlin: Jovis, 1999, pp. 155–176.
  • Angelika Emmrich, Caroline Gille (Red.): The Nietzsche Archive in Weimar . Hanser, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-446-19953-5 .
  • Simone Bogner: The former Nietzsche Memorial Hall in Weimar by Paul Schultze Naumburg - From the cult site to the broadcasting house. In: Weimar-Jena. The big city. Vol. 7, Jena 2014, no. 1, pp. 52-71.

Web links

Commons : Nietzsche Archive  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Curt Paul Janz: Friedrich Nietzsche. Biography , Munich 1981, Volume 3, pp. 164ff.
  2. ^ Curt Paul Janz: Friedrich Nietzsche. Biography , Munich 1981, Volume 3. The publisher and Nietzsche interpreter Gustav Naumann pointed this out as early as 1896 in his unpublished manuscript “Der Fall Elisabeth”. See the print in Hoffmann, pp. 529-561, here in particular pp. 541-544.
  3. ^ Curt Paul Janz: Friedrich Nietzsche. Biography , Munich 1981, Volume 3, pp. 202f .; Reprint of contracts pp. 337–343
  4. Compare Franziska Nietzsche's letters to Franz Overbeck in Erich Podach: The sick Nietzsche. Letters from his mother to Franz Overbeck , Vienna 1937, and to Adalbert Oehler in Gernot Gabel, Carl Jagenberg: The incapacitated philosopher. Letters from Franziska Nietzsche to Adalbert Oehler from the years 1889-1897 , Hürth 1994. The most important passages are printed in Benders, Chronik , pp. 783–789; see. also Hoffmann, pp. 21–23 and 29
  5. This crisis is reconstructed in detail in Hoffmann, pp. 203–232; for the subsequent period see Hoffmann, pp. 247–285
  6. ^ Montinari, Read Nietzsche , Berlin 1982, p. 167f .; see. Hoffmann, pp. 42-46.
  7. On the controversy of 1900 see in detail Hoffmann, pp. 337–406 (Steiner's quote, p. 359); It is worth mentioning that Felix Hausdorff alias Paul Mongré also intervened in the dispute.
  8. Especially on Förster-Nietzsche's forgeries of Nietzsche's letters in order to legitimize oneself as the best interpreter of Nietzsche's work, see Karl Schlechta: Philological review in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Werke in three volumes , Munich 1954ff., Volume 3, p. 1408 -1421. Compare also Nietzsche edition . - Much of Förster-Nietzsche's information in the biographical writings about her brother can of course neither be proven nor refuted; Already on the first volume, however, the mother Franziska Nietzsche judged that it contained “Truth and Poetry” (letter to A. Oehler of June 23/24, 1895, printed by Gernot Gabel, Carl Jagenberg: The incapacitated philosopher. Letters from Franziska Nietzsche to Adalbert Oehler from the years 1889-1897 , Hürth 1994, pp. 34–40 and Chronik , pp. 18f. and 783)
  9. ^ For the first time a distinction was made explicitly in 1920 from Charles Andler; see. Hoffmann, p. 94ff.
  10. ^ Overview of the dispute itself in Hoffmann, pp. 61–65 and 71–75; see. Erich Podach, Friedrich Nietzsche's Works of Collapse , Heidelberg 1961, pp. 64–80; Mazzino Montinari refutes Förster-Nietzsche's "vile campaign [...] against the only man of higher rank among the friends who remained loyal to her brother" in Nietzsche , pp. 92–119 and 147f. and KSA 14, pp. 383-400 and 463.
  11. On the Köselitz trial against Bernoulli and Diederichs, see p. Hoffmann, pp. 75–78, and Montinari: The blackened passages in CA Bernoulli: “Friedrich Nietzsche and Franz Overbeck. A friendship ” in: Nietzsche Studies 6 (1977), pp. 300–328; for the Koegel excerpts s. Hoffmann, pp. 407-423 and 579-713
  12. ^ In the journal Der Tag , July 27, 1906
  13. Kurt Tucholsky [as Peter Panter]: Snippets in: Die Weltbühne , No. 37/1931, September 15, 1931, p. 416 Internet ; see. also the other. [as Ignaz Wrobel]: Miss Nietzsche in Die Weltbühne , No. 2/1932, January 12, 1932, pp. 54ff. Internet
  14. Krause, p. 213
  15. ^ Förster-Nietzsche to Oswald Spengler, October 11, 1935, cited above. after Hoffmann, p. 114
  16. Hoffmann, p. 115; Podach (1961), pp. 412-414
  17. cit. after Hoffmann, p. 110
  18. Hahn, p. 17
  19. Krause, pp. 225 and 233; see. Hoffmann, p. 111f. and 119f.
  20. Steven E. Aschheim, Nietzsche and the Germans. Cult career. Stuttgart 1996 (Orig. 1992), p. 252, refers to Hans Langreder's dissertation: The dispute with Nietzsche in the Third Reich , Kiel 1971, considers it to be inadequate.
  21. ^ M. Oehler: Brief outline of the history and activities of the Nietzsche archive , memorandum from 1945
  22. ^ W. Stephan: The access of the Soviet military administration to Nietzsche's estate in 1946 and his rescuers in: Nietzsche Studies 27 , 1998, pp. 527-534
  23. ^ Karl Schlechta: Philological review in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Works in three volumes , Munich 1954ff., Volume 3, pp. 1431f. Compare Manfred Riedel: Nietzsche in Weimar. A German Drama , Leipzig 1997/2000, p. 153ff., Which follows Schlechta's presentation.
  24. ^ Manfred Riedel: Nietzsche in Weimar. A German Drama , Leipzig 1997/2000, pp. 157–163; misleading on the accessibility of the archives in the post-war period Karl Schlechta: Philological review in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Works in three volumes , Munich 1954ff., Volume 3, p. 1431f., correcting Podach (1961), p. 393ff.
  25. ^ Manfred Riedel: Nietzsche in Weimar. A German drama , Leipzig 1997/2000 and Hans-Volkmar Findeisen: The Dionys von Weimer and his guardians. Stages in the history of a famous statue . Manuscript, SWR2, 2004
  26. Steven E. Aschheim, Nietzsche and the Germans. Cult career. Stuttgart 1996 (orig. 1992), p. 46
  27. Steven E. Aschheim, Nietzsche and the Germans. Cult career. Stuttgart 1996 (Orig. 1992), p. 47
  28. Köselitz to Ernst Holzer, January 26, 1910, cited above. after Montinari, Nietzsche read , Berlin 1982, p. 205
  29. So in 1914 she tried to recommend her brother as the ideal keyword for German warfare, see Andreas Urs Sommer : "Bismarck is Nietzsche in cuirassier boots, and Nietzsche ... is Bismarck in professor's skirt", in: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte, Issue VIII / 2, Sommer 2014: 1914, pp. 51–52
  30. cf. Karl Schlechta: Philological review in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Works in three volumes , Munich 1954ff., Volume 3, p. 1403
  31. cf. Erich Podach, Nietzsche's collapse , 1931 and Ein Blick in Notebooks Nietzsches , Heidelberg 1963, pp. 191–198; Article Carl Ludwig Nietzsche ; Pia Daniela Volz: Nietzsche in the labyrinth of his illness , Würzburg 1990
  32. ^ Reports of such encounters are printed in Sander L. Gilman , Encounters with Nietzsche , pp. 691ff.
  33. ^ Cancik, p. 414
  34. Krause, p. 89; Krause presents the drafts in detail, pp. 154–233; s. also Steven E. Aschheim, Nietzsche and the Germans. Cult career. Stuttgart 1996 (orig. 1992), p. 48f.
  35. s. on this plan in detail Cancik, pp. 414-420 and Krause, pp. 199-210
  36. ^ Mette, Hans Joachim: The handwritten estate of Friedrich Nietzsche. Sixth annual edition of the Society of Friends of the Nietzsche Archive, 1932. Scan ( Memento from March 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) html ( Memento from March 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  37. Preliminary overview of these holdings (multiple loading may be necessary): 71 72 100 101 102
  38. Nietzsche inventory on Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  39. Henry van de Velde. The Nietzsche Archive: PDF pp. 244–245. Retrieved April 26, 2020 .
  40. On the design of the library as a representation room and on some of the Nietzsche editions designed by van de Velde, cf. Sellinat, Frank; Simon-Ritz, Frank: Henry van de Velde as a book and library designer in Weimar: a contribution to the anniversary year 2013. In: Imprimatur: a yearbook for book lovers. 23 (2013), pp. 305–322.
  41. Podach (1961), p. 394
  42. Krause, pp. 213-233; Hoffmann, p. 111f .; H.-V. Findeisen, a. a. O.
  44. Wollkopf, pp. 228-230; Hoffmann, p. 80f. (also for the following)
  45. Hoffmann, pp. 104f .; Podach (1961), pp. 412-429 (citation p. 414). NB: Hoffmann erroneously writes Paul Heyse, Podach Carl Gustav Emge
  46. ^ Karl Schlechta: Philological review in: Friedrich Nietzsche: Works in three volumes , Munich 1954ff., Volume 3, passim and Montinari, Read Nietzsche , Berlin 1982, pp. 15-17
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on June 15, 2007 in this version .

Coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 17.8 ″  N , 11 ° 19 ′ 5 ″  E