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The Reichsschrifttumskammer ( RSK ) was one of the seven individual chambers of the Reich Chamber of Culture founded by Joseph Goebbels in 1933 .

Foundation and organization

The founding of the Reich Chamber had preceded book burning on 10 May 1933, announced with how the Nazi regime , the free attitude of the literature of unsuitable and unreliable elements introduced.

In order to be able to establish an institutionalized cultural policy in line with the National Socialists, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels created the professionally organized Reich Chamber of Culture (RKK) in September 1933 . According to Section 1 of the Reich Chamber of Culture Act, the RKK was assigned seven individual chambers, including the Reich Chamber of Literature.

The Reichsschrifttumskammer was responsible for all cultural professions related to books: z. B. Writers , publishers , booksellers and librarians . Like the RKK and its other chambers, it was a compulsory organization . This means that if you wanted to work professionally in the field of literature, you had to be a member of the RSK. At the same time, this gave those in power the opportunity to be banned from the profession against unpopular people - e.g. B. Jewish - to impose persons.

The “Federation of German Translators”, BdÜ, was formed in the spring of 1929 as a special group or specialist group in the Protection Association of German Writers , SdS, which had existed since 1909 . The BdÜ was chaired by Jack London translator and literary agent Erwin Magnus , while the rest of the board included Ida Jacob-Anders (* 1871), Gertrud Sternberg-Isolani , Käthe Miethe , Friedrich von Oppeln-Bronikowski , Lothar Schmidt (= Lothar Goldschmidt? 1862 -1931) and Paul Wiegler . In 1931, 83 translators belonged to the BdÜ, which insisted against the SdS on independent membership. After the DC circuit of MOM by Nazi and national conservative organization members in the spring of 1933, the BDÜ went on imputed RSK in the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The BdÜ was now no longer trade union, but professional.

The RSK was based on a number of professional associations that were incorporated into the chamber in the course of the synchronization, above all the Reich Association of German Writers (RDS), the Exchange Association of German Booksellers , the Association of German Librarians (VDB), and the "Association of German People's Librarians “(VDV) and the Society of Bibliophiles . The RDS was dissolved in September 1935 and became part of the RSK. The Börsenverein was spun off from the RSK again in September 1934 and replaced by a newly founded association of Reich German booksellers . VDB, VDV and the Society of Bibliophiles survived until the end of the Third Reich.

The culture chamber magazine for authors was published by Kurt Metzner under the title The German writer . It was published by Willi Bischoff's Brunnen-Verlag from January 1936 to July 1944. We wrote for the magazine. a. Fritz Müller-Partenkirchen , Friedrich Kayssler , Karl Bröger , Mathias Ludwig Schroeder , Gerd Eckert , Richard Sexau , Josef Stollreiter , Eduard Koelwel , Bert Brennecke , Franz Schauwecker , Hanns Johst , Rudolf Ahlers , Sigmund Graff , Gerhard Schumann and Robert Hohlbaum .

After many restructuring in the first years of its existence, the RSK was in its final form divided into three departments: Department I (administration), Department II (group of writers), Department III (group of booksellers). The administration department was headed by Karl Heinl . Kurt Metzner became the first head of the “Writer's Group” in 1936, followed by Gerhard Schumann and finally in 1941 Alfred Richard Meyer . The “Book Trade Group” was headed by Wilhelm Baur , the sub-department “Working Group of Fine Art Publishers” by Adolf Spemann .

Felix Wilhelm Beielstein (Essen), Bruno Peyn (Hamburg), Georg Grabenhorst (Hanover), Heinz Steguweit (Cologne-Aachen), Walter Best and Karl Kaltwasser (Kurhessen), Hanns Maria Lux (Moselland ) belonged to the "regional leaders " of the individual districts ), Linus Kefer (Upper Danube), Kurt Kölsch (Saarpfalz), Hans Ehrke (Schleswig-Holstein), Paul Anton Keller (Styria), Hans Christoph Kaergel and Alfons Hayduk (Silesia), Fritz Fink (Thuringia), Rudolf Ahlers (Mecklenburg) , Will Vesper (Saxony), August Hinrichs (Weser-Ems), Fritz Nölle and Josef Bergenthal (Westphalia), Karl Hans Strobl (Vienna) and Georg Schmückle (Württemberg). Most of the country leaders belonged to the second department, group of writers . Few such as B. Martin Wülfing (Berlin) and Franz Kraus (Sudetenland) belonged to the third department of the book trade .

Literature reports of the Reich Security Main Office

In August 1943, parts of Department III C 4 "Propaganda and Public Leadership" of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), to which the liaison office of the Reichsführer SS (SD) Security Service, Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig, belonged, under the code name "Oberon" Manor or "Schloss Gautzsch" in the small town of Markkleeberg, in today's Keesschen Park, relocated. The literary-political reports checked all new publications on the German book market as well as newspapers and magazines and submitted regular reports on them to the SD / RSHA. In addition, proposals to ban Jewish and opposing writings were made and implemented.

Numerous wooden barracks were built in the park to accommodate the thirty or, according to other sources, 80 to 100 employees. From January 1945 the "Oberon" alternative point was also a reception point for women and children of numerous RSHA employees who fled from the Allies and the bombing of Berlin. The historians who fled from the University of Strasbourg and avowed National Socialists Ernst Anrich and Günther Franz were also housed in the manor house.

The Presidential Council of the Reichsschrifttumskammer Theodor Fritsch lived in the immediate vicinity of the literature department of the Reich Security Main Office.

The managing directors of the RSK were Gunther Haupt (1933–1934), Richard Suchewirth (1934–1936), Karl Heinl (1936–1937), Wilhelm Ihde (1937–1944) and Günther Gentz ​​(1944–1945). The presidential councils of the Reichsschrifttumskammer included Hans Grimm , Hugo Bruckmann , Theodor Fritsch , Paul Graener , Richard Suchewirth and Carl Vincent Krogmann .


One of the tasks of the Reichsschrifttumskammer was the “administration” of the profession, that is, admission, exclusion and control of the people employed in the field of literature. She had to check the “reliability” and “suitability” of these people. Lack of suitability and thus a reason for exclusion from the chamber was e.g. B. Jewish descent, homosexuality or criminal record.

According to the handbook of the Reich Chamber of Culture , one of the tasks of the RSK was to keep the profession from "undesirable elements" and the book market from "un-German goods" through its "Department for Surveillance". Since 1935, this has essentially also included the creation and updating of two lists: a) on harmful and undesirable literature and b) on texts that are not publicly advertised, are only sold by certain authorized dealers and are not given to young people under the age of 18 were allowed to be. Ultimately, the decision on complete book bans was not made by the RSK, but by Goebbels' Ministry. In 1934 Goebbels himself emphasized the authority of the chamber presidents in the RKK, which was under the special protection of the Reich government. According to the Fiihrer principle, the chamber presidents not only had final decision-making power in all questions concerning their chamber; they were also authorized to impose administrative fines "up to 100,000 Reichsmarks against anyone" who, for example, contravened the orders of a chamber. The police authorities had to ensure that this ordinance was implemented if necessary.

“While Jews were fully integrated in the course of the establishment of the chambers [...], restrictive admission regulations were already put into effect in the spring of 1934 after Goebbels had declared that“ a Jewish contemporary ”in his“ view and experience ”“ in general unsuitable "is" to administer Germany's cultural property. "From 1935 onwards, all Jews were removed from the chambers."

- Dahm: The National Socialist Literature Policy after May 10, 1933, in: May 10, 1933. Book burning in Germany and the consequences. Fischer, Frankfurt 1983, p. 78

In addition, the tasks of the RSK included the legal, social and technical support of the members, the economic market regulation of the book trade as well as the control of the book market through the promotion of desired, i.e. Nazi literature.

Events (selection)



Vice Presidents:

See also


  • Jan-Pieter Barbian : Literary politics in the "Third Reich". Institutions, competencies, fields of activity. Revised and actual Edition Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag , Munich 1995 ISBN 3-423-04668-6 At the same time: Diss. Phil. University of Trier 1991
    • Revised: literary policy in the Nazi state. From "synchronization" to ruin. Fischer Paperback , 2010
  • Volker Dahm : Beginnings and ideology of the Reich Chamber of Culture. The “professional community” as an instrument of cultural-political control and social regulation, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 34, 1, 1986 ISSN  0042-5702 pp. 53-84 (readable online)
  • Rolf Düsterberg : The Reichsschrifttumskammer. Structure and tasks, management staff, competitors , in: Wolfgang Benz et al .: Art in the Nazi state. Ideology, Aesthetics, Protagonists , Berlin 2015, pp. 117–130
  • Uwe Julius Faustmann: The Reich Chamber of Culture. Structure, function and legal basis of a corporation under public law in the National Socialist regime. Diss. Jur. University of Bonn 1990
  • Jürgen Kühnert: The Reichsschrifttumskammer. On the history of a compulsory professional organization with a special focus on the book trade. In: Leipziger Jahrbuch zur Buchgeschichte, Vol. 17. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-447-05858-2 , pp. 255–363
  • Handbook of the Reich Chamber of Culture. Ed. Hans Hinkel . German publishing house for politics and business, Berlin 1937
Archival material
  • Reich Chamber of Culture and its individual chambers. Finding aid for inventory R 56. Arranged by Wolfram Werner. In: Finding aids on the holdings of the Federal Archives , 31st Federal Archives Koblenz , 1987

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. also Ida Anders, according to the Goethe and Schiller archive , date of death not known, archive material only exists from 1930.
  2. Jan Pieter Barbian, Edition 2010, pp. 611–638
  3. ^ Thomas Dietzel, Hans-Otto Huegel: German literary journals 1880-1945: A repertory . 5 volumes, Ed .: German Literature Archive, Publisher: KG Saur, 1988, ISBN 3-598-10645-9 .
  4. ^ Jan-Pieter Barbian: The Politics of Literature in Nazi Germany: Books in the Media Dictatorship, Bloomsbury, 2010 ISBN 978-1-4411-7923-4 p. 85
  5. ^ "Aryanization" in Leipzig, Ed. Monika Gibas, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2007 ISBN 978-3-86583-142-2 p. 86
  6. ^ Spelling reform and National Socialism. A chapter from the political history of the German language . Ed. Hanno Birken-Bertsch, Reinhard Markner. Wallstein, Göttingen 2004 ISBN 978-3-89244-450-3 p. 83
  8. Cf. Volker Dahm: The National Socialist Literature Policy after May 10, 1933, in: May 10, 1933. Book burning in Germany and the consequences. Fischer, Frankfurt 1983, p. 54
  9. p. 136
  10. ^ Dahm: The National Socialist Literature Policy after May 10, 1933, in: May 10, 1933. Book burning in Germany and the consequences. Fischer, Frankfurt 1983, p. 80
  11. Handbook of the Reich Chamber of Culture , p. 33