Paul Schiemann

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Paul Schiemann (1876–1944), caricature from the Rigaschen Rundschau 1932 by Michael Perts

Carl Christian Theodor Paul Schiemann ( Latvian Pauls Sīmanis ; born March 17 . Jul / 29. March  1876 greg. In Mitau ; † 23. June 1944 in Riga ) was a Baltic German politician and publicist.

Adolescent years

Paul Schiemann was born as the son of the lawyer Julius Schiemann and nephew Theodor Schiemann in 1876 ​​in a German Baltic family. After attending school in Germany , he began studying at the University of Dorpat , but continued after the Russification of academic life in Germany. After completing his legal studies and doctorate in Greifswald in 1902, he returned to the Baltic States to become a theater critic in Reval , before the opportunity arose in 1907 to work as a critic for the Rigaschen Rundschau . There he rose quickly due to his talent, which he used to turn against the conservative classes (especially the knights ). Such was his hope at the outbreak of World War I that no power would triumph. He only saw an option for the future in democratization. However, because of what was happening in Russia, he warned in 1917 against a proletarian revolution that would only lead to anarchy . At the same time he joined the Baltic German Democratic Party .

Minority politicians

Towards the end of the war, Schiemann was in Berlin , where he made the acquaintance of a number of personalities from the liberal bourgeoisie such as Max Weber , Friedrich Naumann , Theodor Heuss and Hans Delbrück . He used his stay to campaign for the German government to support democracy in Latvia and Estonia . Back in Latvia, he took part in the National Committee under Kārlis Ulmanis , which ultimately meant his entry into national politics. In addition to his work at the Rigaschen Rundschau , where he was editor-in-chief from 1919 to 1933, he was now more and more involved in political Baltic-Germanship. He was in charge of a list with which the Baltic German parties ran for elections. Schiemann was a co-founder and board member of the Association of German Minorities in Europe and from 1925 Vice-President of the European Nationalities Congress (ENK). In 1923 Schiemann initiated a - ultimately unsuccessful - referendum against the transfer of the Lutheran Church of St. Jacob in Riga to the Catholic Church.

Despite his criticism of communism , on the question of nationality politics he leaned on the ideas of Austrian Marxists such as Karl Renner and Otto Bauer . At the same time, he found a field of activity in this area that would become a passion for him in the following years. The post-war period raised a number of problems, one of which was the coexistence of nations in the newly created states. Schiemann also saw this as a threat to the future and developed his theory of "anational states" from this. He called for the overcoming of nation states and the establishment of nation states, precisely those "anational states". He presented this idea at the European Nationalities Congress. Inspired by the Locarno treaties and Stresemann's peace policy , Schiemann saw an opportunity to assert the interests of the minorities. But this confidence did not last long after more and more authoritarian systems prevailed in Europe. As early as 1924, Schiemann had warned of a victory for the nationalist movement in Germany, which would mean the end of Germanism in the Baltic States; a prediction that came true after Hitler came to power . As editor-in-chief of the Rigaschen Rundschau at the beginning of 1933, Schiemann resisted the pressure of the Reich trustee, who had the majority of shares in the Rigaschen Rundschau , to take account of the new conditions that had arisen after Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor, and declared that it should be unacceptable if the Rigasche Rundschau suddenly wanted to take up National Socialist ideas. In March 1933 Schiemann fell ill and went to Vienna, where the headquarters of the ENK was located; on June 30, 1933, he resigned as editor-in-chief. His illness was the vehicle to cover his dismissal after more than 25 years working for the Rigasche Rundschau . In September 1935 he resigned from his position as Vice President of the European Nationalities Congress for health reasons.


On March 29, 1936, the employees of the Rigaschen Rundschau thanked their former editor-in-chief on the front page of the newspaper for his services combined with congratulations on his 60th birthday. Marked by illness, he avoided a direct confrontation with the National Socialists and escaped to Latvia in 1938 after the “Anschluss” and the German invasion of Austria, "quasi into exile at home". When in December 1939, based on the Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939, the " relocation " of the German ethnic group in the Baltic States agreed in the confidential protocol of September 28, 1939 between the German Reich and the Soviet Union began, he refused to leave his home to leave. During the German occupation he showed moral courage and hid a Jewish woman, who later became film sociologist Valentīna Freimane . The minority politician died in 1944 shortly before the Red Army marched into Riga again.


On the 50th anniversary of his death in 1994, two memorial plaques in Latvian and German were erected in Riga on Herderplatz opposite the entrance to the cathedral in recognition of his services as a member of all four parliaments and opponents of totalitarianism of all kinds at his former place of work, the Haus der Rigaschen Rundschau appropriate. In 2000, the Yad Vashem Memorial honored him with the title Righteous Among the Nations .


  • Valentīna Freimane : Chapter Paul Schiemann in: Adieu, Atlantis , Wallstein, Göttingen 2015, pp. 301–319.
  • Michael GarleffSchiemann, Carl Christian Theodor Paul. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 743 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Michael Garleff: On the reception history of Paul Schiemann in Deutsch-Baltisches Jahrbuch , Volume 62 (2014), published by the Carl Schirren Society, Lüneburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-923149-75-9 .
  • Carola L. Gottzmann / Petra Hörner: Lexicon of the German-language literature of the Baltic States and St. Petersburg . 3 volumes; Verlag Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-11019338-1 , Volume 3, pp. 1129-1132.
  • John Hiden : Defender of minorities. Paul Schiemann 1876–1944 . Hurst Verlag, London 2004, ISBN 1-85065-751-3 (reviews on and in yearbooks for the history of Eastern Europe ).
  • Paul Schiemann: Cultural autonomy as a solution to the minority problem. In: Half-monthly publication of the Working Committee of German Associations. Journal for Foreign Policy, Volume 6 (1926), pp. 120–124. Reprinted in Deutsch-Baltisches Jahrbuch , Volume 62 (2014), published by the Carl-Schirren-Gesellschaft, Lüneburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-923149-75-9 .
  • Bastiaan Schot: Exile in the Diaspora. Paul Schiemann and the question of nationalities in the interwar period. In: Sjaak Onderdelinden (Ed.): Interbellum and Exil. Rodopi, Amsterdam 1991, ISBN 90-5183-232-X , pp. 55-71 .
  • Helēna Šimkuva (ed.): Paul Schiemann, publications 1933-1940. (Ed. On the occasion of an international conference dedicated to Paul Schiemann on September 26, 2000 in Riga.) Verlag Loeber, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-9805082-1-8 .
  • Wolfgang Wachtsmuth : About German Work in Latvia 1918-1934. An activity report. Materials on the history of the Baltic Germanness. 3 volumes; Comel Verlag, Cologne 1953, Volume 3, pp. 427-430.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Rigasche Rundschau of August 8, 1932, page 2
  2. ^ Helga Wermuth: Max Winkler - A helper of state press policy in the Weimar Republic. Dissertation. Munich 1975. p. 95.
  3. Schiemann, Carl Christian Theodor Paul German Biography online, accessed on October 28, 2017
  4. John Hiden: Defender of minorities. Paul Schiemann, 1876–1944 . Hurst, London 2004, ISBN 1-85065-751-3 , p. 92.
  5. ^ Helmut Kause: Paul Schiemann's journalistic resistance to National Socialism in the German ethnic groups . In: Michael Garleff (Ed.): German-Balten, Weimar Republic and Third Reich . tape 1 . Böhlau Verlag, Cologne Weimar and Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-412-12199-0 , pp. 204, 205, 206 .
  6. ^ Dan Diner : Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture : Volume 2: Co - Ha. Springer-Verlag, 2016. pp. 288–289.
  7. ^ Rigasche Rundschau: Paul Schiemann's portrait for his 60th birthday.
  8. ^ Helmut Kause: Paul Schiemann's journalistic resistance to National Socialism in the German ethnic groups . In: Michael Garleff (Ed.): German-Balten, Weimar Republic and Third Reich . tape 1 . Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, Weimar and Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-412-12199-0 , pp. 209 .
  9. Dietrich A. Loeber: Dictated option . Karl Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster 1972, ISBN 3-529-06142-5 , p. 16.46 .
  10. John Hiden: Defender of minorities. Paul Schiemann 1876–1944. Hurst, London 2004, ISBN 1-85065-751-3 , pp. 244f.
  11. Valentīna Freimane: Ardievu, Atlantīda! Atēna, Riga 2010, ISBN 978-9984-34-410-2 , pp. 343-362
  13. Paul Schiemann on the website of Yad Vashem (English)