Harden, Maximilian

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HARDEN, MAXIMILIAN (originally Felix Ernst Witkowski ; 1861–1927), German journalist and polemist. He edited his periodical Die Zukunft, founded in 1892, with vigor, erudition, and an eye for intrigue that often exposed society and government circles. Born Witkowski in Berlin, he reacted violently against his Jewish origin, was baptized at 16, and changed his name. But he could not escape his ancestry, and among his German contemporaries he was the symbol of Jewish arrogance which they said was undermining Prussian militarism. His political articles written under the pen name "Keut" revealed a talent for satire. Two collections were published, Apostata (1892) and Literatur und Theater (1896). With irony and courage, Harden attacked William ii and the neo-Byzantinism which surrounded him, championing the cause of the aging ex-chancellor Bismarck. Die Zukunft became the most influential German weekly of its time and the mouthpiece of liberal opposition to the Kaiser. For subjecting the monarch to ridicule, Harden was twice imprisoned. In 1906–07 he brought about the downfall of Prince zu Eulenburg, the Kaiser's most influential adviser, with revelations about his private life that scandalized the monarchy. During World War i he criticized the German high command and, after the abdication of the Kaiser, the revolutionary regime. In his later years he showed an interest in Jewish affairs. In 1900 he published Walter Rathenau's article "Hoere Israel" in Die Zukunft, and later expressed appreciation of the Zionist movement. Die Zukunft ceased publication in 1922; and an attempt was made on Harden's life that same year. Harden collected his articles in four volumes, Koepfe (1910–24). He also published in two volumes Krieg und Friede (1918). In 1983 an edition of Harden's correspondence with Walter *Rathenau came out as Briefwechsel 1897–1920, ed. by. H.D. Heilige. In 1984 another edition of his correspondence with Björnsterne Björnson Briefwechsel, ed. by A. Keel, appeared, and in 1996 an edition of Briefwechsel mit Maximilian Harden with Frank Wedekind and Thomas and Heinrich Mann, ed. by A. Martin.

georg witkowski

(1863–1939), his younger brother, was a leading German literary historian. He also embraced Lutheranism, but his abandonment of Judaism did not protect him from Nazi persecution. Witkowski lectured at the University of Leipzig, specializing in literature of the era of Goethe. His works include the Geschichte des literarischen Lebens in Leipzig (1909), and Das deutsche Drama des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (1923). Between 1909 and 1933 Witkowski edited the Zeitschrift fuer Buecherfreunde.


H.F. Young, Maximilian Harden, Censor Germaniae (1959); Gottgetreu, in: ylbi, 7 (1962), 215–46. add. bibliography: J. Le Rider, "Die Dreyfus-Affaere in den Augen der assimilierten Juden Wiens und Berlins: Karl Kraus' 'Die Fackel' und Maximilian Hardens 'Die Zukunft,'" in: J.H. Schoeps (ed.), Dreyfus und die Folgen, (1995), 139–55; K. Hecht, Die Harden-Prozesse. Strafverfahren, Oeffentlichkeit und Politik im Kaiserreich (1997); S. Armbrecht, Verkannte Liebe. Maximilian Hardens Haltung zu Deutschtum und Judentum (1999); M. Sabrow, Walther Rathenau und Maximilian Harden. Facetten einer intellektuellen Freund-Feindschaft (2000); H. and M. Neumann, Maximilian Harden (1861–1927). Ein unerschrockener deutsch-juedischer Kritiker und Publizist (2003).

[Sol Liptzin /

Konrad Feilchenfeldt (2nd ed.)]