from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Poster for the Pegida demonstration in Dresden , March 23, 2015

The term Volksverrat was used in German at the beginning of the 19th century a. a. coined by socialists and revolutionaries of the Vormärz as a political battle term . Later it was used frequently in the language of National Socialism . The swear word “traitor to the people” derived from this - the Duden online defines it as derogatory for “someone who betrays, betrays, cheats” - became a bad word of the year 2016.

Concept history

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels classified the French politician Alphonse de Lamartine , 1848 member of the ruling commission executive, as a traitor to the people. In 1884 Engels describes the "treason" among the Germans . Karl Georg Büchner , revolutionary of the Vormärz , revolted in 1834 against Grand Dukes and the estates that supported them as traitors to the people. 1849 called Marxist MPs Wilhelm Wolff the Archduke John of Austria , the regent , as "the first traitor". In an illegal leaflet from May 1916, Rosa Luxemburg “branded” Social Democrats as “a group of traitors”.

The term spread after the First World War in the parlance of right-wing extremists in the political context of the stab in the back legend as a term for the democratic supporters of the Weimar Republic . The “ November criminals ” would have betrayed the people and fatherland and inflicted a “stab in the back” on the undefeated army. The National Socialists were extreme advocates of this conspiracy theory in word and deed . After their seizure of power they introduced the offense of treason in their sense in criminal law .

He described the "crime of a national comrade , directed directly against the German people, who seeks to shake the political unity, freedom and power of the German people". People accused of this were labeled as traitors. This initially referred to crimes of high treason and treason (Sections 80–93 StGB). In particular through the case law of the People's Court under Roland Freisler (1893-1945), any kind of criticism of National Socialism was denoted and often sentenced to death .

In November 2016, Stefan Räpple , member of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) member of the Baden-Württemberg state parliament , applied the term to members of the CDU, SPD, Greens and FDP, which caused internal disputes. It is also used at demonstrations by supporters of the AfD and the right-wing populist Pegida movement.

Unword of the year 2016

The word traitor was chosen as the bad word of the year 2016. The jury justified this by stating that it was a “typical legacy of dictatorships , including the National Socialists ”. As a reproach to politicians need to be "undifferentiated in a manner and defamatory that such language could stall serious conversation and so necessary for democracy discussions in society." Similar ethnic or umvolkung it does not stand for the state people as such, but for “An ethnic category that excludes parts of the population.” The use is undemocratic, as it u. a. "The validity of the basic rights for all people in the territory of the Federal Republic" denied.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Viewable online:
  2. Volksverräter in, accessed on January 10, 2017
  3. ^ Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels - Works, Volume 6, Dietz Verlag, Berlin / GDR 1959. P. 270.
  4. ^ Friedrich Engels in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State 1884, online
  5. ^ Georg Büchner in Der Hessische Landbote 1834, online
  6. Wilhelm Wolff (publicist) , speech in the Paulskirche meeting on May 26, 1849, Der-first-Volksverraeter-was-an-Oesterreicher , Die Welt
  7. dogs Policy (May 1916) ,
  8. a b Press report Spiegel online from October 4, 2016
  9. ^ A b National Socialist Principles for a New German Criminal Law
  12. Press report Spiegel online from January 2015
  13. Press report Focus online from January 2015
  14. SPIEGEL online from January 10, 2017
  15. Press release of the language critical campaign Unwort des Jahres from January 10, 2017, accessed on the same day


  1. ↑ Reference to the source : The translator Dorothea Tieck translates the English word traitor for traitor with “traitor” into William Shakespeare's Coriolanus .