Fritsch, Theodor°

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FRITSCH, THEODOR ° (1852–1933), German antisemitic publicist and politician. One of the leading early racists, in 1886 he joined the Deutsche Anti-semitische Vereinigung (see *Antisemitism) which strove to repeal the emancipation law. In 1887 he published the Antisemiten-Katechismus… (1887) as a catalog of "Jewish misdeeds." Later renamed Handbuchder Judenfrage, it went through 49 editions until 1944. In 1902 Fritsch established the periodical Hammer as a forum for antisemitic authors of the voelkisch movement in Germany. In the following years Fritsch played a leading role in the foundation of antisemitic and voelkisch organizations like the Reichshammerbund (founded in 1912), the Deutschvölkische Schutz- und Trutzbund (founded 1919), a mass organization with more than 200,000 members, and the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (founded 1922, in 1924 Fritsch become one of its Reichstag members). The Nazis honored Fritsch as their Altmeister, and Hitler characterized the Handbuch der Judenfrage as important contribution that "paved the way for the National Socialist antisemitic movement."

add. bibliography:

Michael Bönisch, "Die 'Hammer'-Bewegung," in: U. Puschner et al., Handbuch zur "Völkischen Bewegung" 1871–1918, (1996), 341–65; A. Volland, Theodor Fritsch (1852–1933) und die Zeitschrift Hammer (1994); S. Breuer, Ordnungen der Ungleichheit. Die deutsche Rechte im Widerstreit ihrer Ideen 1871–1945 (2001); S. Tabary, "Theodor Fritsch (1852–1933). Le 'Vieux Maitre' de l'antisemitisme allemand at la diffusion de l'idée 'völkisch'," (Diss., Strasbourg 1998).