1862 – 1945
Who was Adolf Bartels?
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". 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 to promote his ideas; the Bartelsbund later merged with Erich Ludendorff's Tannenbergbund group.
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