Adolf Bartels (15 November 1862 – 7 March 1945) was a German
journalist and poet. Known for his völkisch worldview, he has been
seen as a harbinger of Nazi anti-Semitism.
Bartels was born at Wesselburen, in Holstein, and educated at Leipzig
and Berlin. An artisan's son, Bartels studied literature. After 1895 a
free-lance journalist in Weimar, he gained a reputation as a Hebbel
scholar. In 1897 he wrote a history of German literature that was
marked by racist evaluations and rabid antisemitism; it became a
pioneering work for National Socialist literary reviews. According to
Bartels, even authors whose names sounded Jewish, who wrote for the
"Jewish press", or who were friendly with Jews were "contaminated with
Jewishness". The noblest task of völkisch cultural policy would
therefore be a radical de-Jewing of the arts, and thus the "salvation
of National Socialist Germany" (German: National-sozialistisches
Deutschlands Rettung; 1924). Bartels led a successful campaign to
prevent the unveiling of a statue of
Heinrich Heine in 1906. After
World War One, Bartels' work experienced an upsurge in popularity,
with his followers forming the Bartelsbund (Bartels Society) to
promote his ideas; the Bartelsbund later merged with Erich
Tannenbergbund group. Bartels' work achieved
"quasi-official" status in Nazi Germany, and Hitler personally awarded
Bartels the Adlerschild medal, Nazi Germany's highest civilian honour,
Bartels died in
Weimar on 7 March 1945. Bartels's further literary
productions included Die Dithmarscher (1898), a historical novel based
on his native region advocating ruralism, which sold over 200,000
copies by the 1920s, and
Martin Luther (1903); these books are
largely forgotten today.
Poetic and dramatic works
Aus der meerumschlungenen Heimat (1895)
Der dumme Teufel, a mock epic (1896)
Martin Luther, a trilogy (1903)
Criticism and literary history
Friedrich Gessler (1892)
Die deutsche Dichtung der Gegenwart (1897)
Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur (two volumes, 1901-02)
Adolf Stern (1905)
Heinrich Heine (1906)
Gerhart Hauptmann (1906)
Deutsche Literatur. Einsichten und Aussichten (1907)
Deutsches Schrifttum (1911)
^ a b c Roderick Stackelberg, "Bartels, Adolf", in Antisemitism :
a historical encyclopedia of prejudice and persecution, edited by
Richard S. Levy. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, 2005,
ISBN 1-85109-439-3 (p. 59-60).
^ Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich. 2004, Penguin
Books, London. ISBN 0-14-100975-6 (p. 122).
Fuller, Steven Nyole. Nazis' Literary Grandfather:
Adolf Bartels and
Cultural Extremism, 1871-1945, Peter Lang Pub Inc, 1996
Rees, Philip. Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890,
1991, (ISBN 0-13-089301-3).
Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig (1991). The Encyclopedia of
the Third Reich. Macmillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-897502-2
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds.
(1905). "article name needed".
New International Encyclopedia
New International Encyclopedia (1st
ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
ISNI: 0000 0001 0859 8930
BNF: cb12985359b (data)
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