*Die neue Rundschau
Die neue Rundschau
German periodical, 1890–1945, 1950–
The monthly literary journal Die neue Rundschau (The new review) has a remarkable place in German literary and cultural history, particularly during the period between 1933 and 1945. The Berlin journal was first published by Samuel Fischer in 1890 and thereafter by Fischer and his son-in-law, Gottfried Bermann Fischer, until 1936 when Bermann Fischer, who was Jewish, was forced into exile by the National Socialists; Peter Suhrkamp became responsible for the general operation of the NR and the Fischer publishing company at this time. Although Bermann Fischer established another publishing company in exile, Suhrkamp kept the Fischer name for the publishing company and the NR until the National Socialists forced him in 1942. to replace Fischer’s name with his own.
The legacy of the NR was left to Suhrkamp, who had been made Editor-in-Chief in 1933 by Samuel Fischer. Suhrkamp remained remarkably true to the initial format of its founders, directing the NR to the same readership of intellectuals and artists with a similar mix of literature and criticism. Essays and critical commentary were crucial to the NR, and many issues included journal entries, letters, travelogues, and memoirs in addition to essays on politics and culture. In the earliest years of Fischer’s journal, the Neue deutsche Rundschau, as the periodical was then called, was associated with naturalism and with the establishment of the Freie Bühne, analogous to the Theatre Libre in France. Fischer’s journal included works by Richard Dehmel, Hermann Hesse, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Thomas Mann, and Jakob Wassermann, as well as foreign writers such as Yeats and Hemingway. Suhrkamp continued to feature many of these writers even as the National Socialists blacklisted them and, in 1944, imprisoned Suhrkamp on charges of high treason. During the period of National Socialist control Suhrkamp published works by 122, blacklisted authors, a number that exceeded all other publishers in Germany from 1933 to 1945 (Dietrich Strothmann, 1960). The NR also published other “unerwünschte” (unwanted) writers, in National Socialist terminology, such as Alfred Döblin, Alfred Kerr, Harry Graf Kessler, Annette Kolb, and Siegfried Kracauer.
The NR provided one of the few forums (albeit limited) for Modernist literature in Nazi Germany. The NR was also one of only a few journals which dared comment critically upon the social and political conditions of the period. The journal featured discussions ranging from considerations of film and literary genres to Suhrkamp’s musings on social conditions under the National Socialists. Thomas Mann’s seminal essay on Richard Wagner and the implications of the composer’s music for modern art appeared in the NR in 1933.
Although Suhrkamp continued to contribute works to the NR and to exert control over its operations through 1944, he was editor of the journal only until 1937. Subsequent editors included Wolfgang von Einsiedel, Karl Korn, Hans Paeschke, and Gerhard Aichinger. Suhrkamp’s own contributions to the NR were among the most critical of life in Germany under the National Socialists. In 1942–43 his episodic works “Der Zuschauer” (The spectator) and “Tagebuch eines Zuschauers” (Journal of a spectator) detailed the dissolution of Germany. There were no editorials per se in the NR, though a section entitled “Anmerkungen” (Notes) at the end of the journal did sometimes include discussion of political conditions, in addition to remarks concerning new books and upand- coming authors. Suhrkamp’s and his editors’ stance toward fascism, however, is best seen in works such as “Der Zuschauer,” and the resolve to publish essays and works of fiction by “unacceptable” writers despite boycotts, censorship, and increasing surveillance by the authorities. Suhrkamp’s clear-sighted assessment of conditions as well as his publication of Jewish writers under assumed names ultimately led to trumpedup charges of high treason. He was arrested in 1944 and imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He was released by the authorities in 1945 but health problems contracted during his imprisonment, including a lung infection and a spinal injury, led to his death in 1959.
The high quality of the NR was also a result of efforts by Oskar Loerke and Hermann Kasack. Loerke had been a reader for Samuel Fischer since 1917; when Loerke died in 1941, Kasack became chief reader of the NR. Both men contributed essays and fiction to the journal and many of their works have figured greatly in the reestablishment of German literary studies after the war. After Suhrkamp’s imprisonment, Kasack was placed in charge of the NR. Despite Suhrkamp’s attempts to maintain the standards of the journal, and the expertise of his editorial staff, the economic situation and the National Socialists’ programmatic policies of censorship and intimidation constrained the NR. The cost of paper led in 1939 to a reduced typeface, and by 1944 the periodical was forced to appear in quarterly rather than monthly issues. By 1940 issues of the NR contained works almost solely by German authors. There was also a dramatic change in the kind of material printed. Instead of works by Mann and Hesse, essays on Caesar, German military history, and the barbarism of the British became common. At this time, too, jingoistic advertisements, and even quotations from Hitler, appeared regularly in the journal. In an attempt to erase all signs of Jewish culture, National Socialist authorities demanded in 1942 that Fischer’s name be removed as publisher.
By the end of the war the NR had been discontinued. Five years later, Bermann Fischer, who had returned to Germany, regained ownership of the NR and began publishing the journal in monthly issues. The journal continues to be published today, providing influential literary and cultural commentary. Although Suhrkamp was not associated with the NR after the war, he was the first to receive a license to publish in the British sector of Berlin under the Allies’ elaborate licensing procedure, and his publishing house has become one of the most successful in the postwar period, even after his death.
Der goldene Schnitt: Grosse Essayisten der Neuen Rundschau, 1890–1960, edited by Christoph Schwerin, Frankfurt: Fischer, 1960
Kasack, Hermann, “Bild eines Verlegers,” in his Mosaiksteine: Beiträge zu Literatur und Kunst, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1956: 309–16
Schwarz, Falk, “Literarisches Zeitgespräch im Dritten Reich: Dargestellt an der Zeitschrift Neue Rundschau” Borsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel 51 (1971): 1409–1508
Strothmann, Dietrich, Nationalsozialistische Literaturpolitik: Ein Beitrag zur Publizistik im Dritten Reich, Bonn: Bouvier, 1960
Voit, Friedrich, Der Verleger Peter Suhrkamp und seine Autoren, Kronberg/Ts.: Scriptor, 1975
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