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Sudetendeutsche Zeitung – Sudeten German Newspaper

Sudetendeutsche Zeitung, Bd.: 1. 1951, München, Folge 2, 14. April 1951 Sudetendeutsche Zeitung

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The first issue of the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" ("Sudeten German newspaper"), a weekly usually comprising 12 pages, was published in Bayreuth in April 1951. Since 1952 the newspaper's place of publication has been Munich. The earlier years of publication of the newspaper (1951-1955) provided within the framework of this project particularly address the issue of integrating the refugees in Bavaria and the Federal Republic of Germany, thus resulting in a specific value as source.

 

 

Table of contents

"Heimatbriefe" – "Letters from Home" as predecessors of the press of the displaced

The "Heimatbriefe" ("letters from home") published in western Germany since 1948 predominantly had the character of circulars at the beginning. They ranged from simply hectographed address collections to publications claiming validity for complete regions of the homeland. Mostly they were written by displaced priests, teachers or journalists who wished to prevent the contact between their former parishioners or neighbours and relatives from breaking off. The "Heimatbriefe" were mostly published under the auspices of the church, for which reason they were not subject to the licensing regulations of the occupying forces. Most of these periodicals were published for a small number of years only, but some also expanded and assumed the function of local newspapers. Others in turn merged with larger newspapers later on.


The first mouthpieces of the Sudeten-German associations: "Sudetenland – Heimatland" and "Der Sudetendeutsche"

The first Sudeten-German displaced persons' newspaper was published on 1 October 1948 in Detmold, thus in the British occupation zone, and bore the title "Sudetenland – Heimatland" ("Sudetenland – home country"). A local group of displaced persons – who had no experience of the press, however – had managed to obtain a corresponding license. The biweekly periodical soon integrated several "Heimatbriefe" ("letters from home") as supplements, and was supported by the Bavarian regional group of the "Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft" (territorial association of Sudeten Germans) as regards staffing. At the beginning of the year 1949 the print run of the newspaper was 3,000 copies, so that the newspaper could start to appear on a weekly basis.

Since July 1949 a competing newspaper titled "Der Sudetendeutsche" ("The Sudeten German") and published in Lübeck (later in Hamburg) had developed. This newspaper took over the "Sudetenland-Heimatland" from Detmold in May 1950. On 29/ 30 July 1950 the "Der Sudetendeutsche" newspaper was acknowledged as the official organ of the Landsmannschaft association of Sudeten Germans on the occasion of their general meeting in Würzburg. The "Sudetendeutsche" was now also sold in southern Germany, so that in 1950 a print run of 30,000 copies was reached. The majority of Sudeten Germans had ended up in Bavaria after all.

However, the Landsmannschaft association, which was active in particular in Bavaria at the time, could not bring sufficient influence to bear on the newspaper produced in far-away Hamburg. The association therefore turned away again quickly from the "Sudetendeutsche" and appointed the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" ("Sudeten-German newspaper"), which had been founded in the spring of the same year, as its mouthpiece. "Der Sudetendeutsche", which lost many readers through this decision, led a miserable existence during the subsequent years. In 1958 Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil (born 1928) bought the newspaper, shut it down and incorporated it in the "Sudetendeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH" ("Sudeten-German publishing company plc."). In 1963 the rights to the "Der Sudetendeutsche" newspaper were bought by the "Deutsche National-Zeitung" ("German National Newspaper"), and were thus transferred to the mouthpiece of the far-right DVU party.


The foundation and development of the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung"

After the foundation of territorial associations ("Landsmannschaften") had been allowed on the level of small administrative districts in the American occupation zone in 1947, a Bavarian regional association was founded in 1949 and a Germany-wide association was founded in 1950. Both had their offices seated in Munich. Since it was intended to avoid an overly strong regionalisation and the goal was a federal-German territorial association instead, a central press organ was desired.

With the involvement of the Federal Minister and representative of the Landsmannschaft association Hans-Christoph Seebohm (1903-1967, in office 1949-1966) a publishing house (the "Sudetendeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft", as of September 1951 running as a private limited company) was founded in Bayreuth in 1951. A displace persons' newspaper with the title "Heimatruf" that already existed in Bayreuth was used as the basis for the venture. The shareholders of this new publishing house were Herbert Tusch (publisher), Arthur Zechel (journalist, 1911-1986), Erich Richter (businessman) and Harry Nerad (representative of the Landsmannschaft association). All were of Sudeten-German descent. In 1952 the publishing house was relocated from Bayreuth to the state capital; as of 3 May 1952 the newspaper was published by the "Münchner Zeitungsverlag" ("Munich newspaper publishing house") in Bayerstrasse. The first head editor was Arthur Zechel, for whom Harry Nerad acted as proxy as of 1953, who was in turn succeeded by Lothar Foltinek (1899-1969) from 1954 to 1966.

In 1953 Constantin Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1893-1973) and Rudolf Lodgman von Auen (1877-1962, federal chairman of the Sudeten-German association 1950-1959) replaced two of the original shareholders of the publishing house. In order to stabilise the newspaper, which suffered from a chronic lack of funds due to the scarce placement of advertisements, a new publishing house called "Fides" was founded in 1955. This publishing house took over 75 percent of the "Sudetendeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft". The shareholders were Johannes Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1919-2000), Prince Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil and Max Egon Prince of Fürstenberg (1896-1959). The remaining 25 percent belonged to Rudolf Lodgman von Auen and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. In the year 1956 the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung", which had so far been only the mouthpiece of the Sudeten-German territorial association, was appointed official organ of the organization.

In 1958 Rudolf Lodgman von Auen became the sole owner of the publishing house. In 1960 he incorporated the publishing house in the Rudolf-Lodgman foundation that had been founded in Stuttgart expressly for this purpose. Between 1972 and 1975 the foundation sold the "Fides Verlags-Gesellschaft mbH" ("Fides Publishing Company plc") to the "Bundesverband der Sudetendeutschen Landsmannschaft" ("Federal association of the Sudeten-German Landsmannschaft"), which has been the sole owner since then. In the course of this development the publishing house acquired its still current name "Sudetendeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH".


Frequency of publication and circulation numbers

Frequency of publication and circulation numbersSince the spring of 1951 the newspaper has been published on a weekly basis and generally comprises 12 pages. In 1953 the circulation still reached 46,000 copies, in 1960 it had shrunk to 25,000 copies. The current figures are unknown.


Contents and Value as Source

The concept of the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" had been to cater for a group of people from the start. Consequently it was a means to voice the request by the Landsmannschaft association to a right to their home country and self-government for all groups of displaced German ethnic groups, but in particular for the Germans from Bohemia, Moravia and Sudeten-Silesia.

In the early years it lay in the nature of the newspaper that reports focused primarily on the measurements taken by the state and the society to integrate the refugees and to deal with the issue of the Sudeten-Germans. Particular space was taken up by issues regarding the equalisation of burdens, old-age pensions and other benefit issues. Soon page 4 became the usual place where the socio-political requests by the Sudeten-Germans were printed. Further important topics were furthermore the development of the Landsmannschaft association and the party of displaced persons, BHE, the relationship between old and new citizens, and the situation of the job-seeking Sudeten-Germans (in particular of the landless farmers) and the uprooted young people.

Besides, the newspaper has informed about current political developments in Germany, the Czech Republic and Europe, and about all kinds of activities of the Sudeten-Germans (political, cultural, relating to regional studies, academic, etc.). The newspaper has furthermore served as a communication means within the association. The "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" deals intensively with the development of the German-Czech relationship and the political measures taken in Prague and Berlin, Munich and Vienna, Strasbourg and Brussels regarding this issue. The newspaper is also read with interest in the Czech Republic, in particular by the Prague foreign ministry.

Sarah Hadry

 

Literature:

  • Rudolf Hilf, Die Presse der Sudetendeutschen nach 1945 und ihre Stellungnahme zum Schicksal der vertriebenen Volksgruppen, Munich 1950.
  • Rudolf Lodgman von Auen, Die sudetendeutsche Volksgruppe und ihre Zeitung, in: Zehn Jahre Sudetendeutsche Zeitung. [anniversary edition], Munich, publication year 11 (1961), instalment 15 of 15 April, p. 1-2.
  • Hans-Christoph Seebohm, Zehn Jahre „Sudetendeutsche Zeitung“, in: Zehn Jahre Sudetendeutsche Zeitung. [anniversary edition], Munich, publication year 11 (1961), instalment 15 of 15 April, p. 5.
  • Zur Geschichte der „Sudetendeutschen Zeitung“, in: Zehn Jahre Sudetendeutsche Zeitung. [anniversary edition], Munich, publication year (1961), series 15 of 15 April, p. 2.

 

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User guide

The "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" is available in the form of a browsable file. The individual issues can be called up independently via a table of contents.


Information on the project

The online publication of the "Sudetendeutschen Zeitung" is a joint venture by the Heimatpflegerin der Sudetendeutschen (guardian of customs and traditions of the Sudeten Germans) and the Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online. Within the framework of the project the first five years of publication of the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung" (1951-1955) were digitised. The project has been available online since 2009.

 

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