The Henry Wahlig in National Socialism: it is dripping in propaganda

A few weeks after the National Socialists were taken over, the Walther Bensemann, which was no longer desired because of his Jewish descent in Germany, said goodbye to his Henry Wahlig in March 1933, whom he founded in 1920 as a symbol of reconciliation through sport.

new study on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Henry Wahlig

It is the beginning of a dark and fateful chapter in the history of the specialist magazine. On the occasion of his 100th anniversary in 2020, the Henry Wahlig gave Prof. Dr. Lorenz Peiffer and Dr. Henry Wahlig, a new scientific study commissioned to process his Nazi past.

LIVE! Stream for the book presentation on Monday evening

As authors, the editors gained numerous experts who evaluated the magazine’s digital archive. The result is a detailed, previously unique documentation and analysis that will be presented in Nuremberg this Monday. The talk for the book premiere will be broadcast in the live! Stream from 7 p.m.

Mr. Peiffer, Mr. Wahlig, what is the relevance of the history of the history of the Henry Wahlig in the Nazi era over 75 years after the end of the Third Reich?

Henry Wahlig: The Henry Wahlig is the first sports publication that acts actively in the Nazi era. As far as I know, even the first still existing press organ ever. This has a role model for the German sports press – and probably beyond. The sport was particularly late in dealing with its Nazi past and is still partly because it still sees himself as apolitical or sees as a victim.

Lorenz Peiffer: It took a long time for German society to deal with the time of National Socialism and, above all, the role of different institutions in the political and social process. Certainly also from legitimate fears of what would come to light as a result of these studies.

You are experienced experts in the field of sports under National Socialism. What knowledge about the Henry Wahlig did she surprise?

Peiffer: So far I had primarily dealt with magazines such as the reichsportblatt or the _Deutschen gymnastics. The fact that a journal soccer was so close to the time so quickly has now emerged in the research for the present study. From 1933, the Henry Wahlig suddenly also dealt very well with the National Socialist sports policy and its self -expression. For me this is a new knowledge.

striking tipping into the opposite

Wahlig: Under Walther Bensemann, the Henry Wahlig was the figurehead of a cosmopolitan, liberal sports process. It is striking, really terrifying how this self -image tipped completely into the contrary within a few weeks. This is to be determined by the person of the main leader Hanns-Jakob Müllenbach, who had previously been Bensemann’s closer companion for 13 years and owed him his ascent. Immediately after Bensemann had to leave Germany because of his Jewish origin, Müllenbach writes articles in which it dripped before propaganda.

How can this sophisticated change be explained?

Wahlig: Whether it is primarily opportunism or even a deep seating anti -Semitism, we cannot understand. But it is exemplary for the biographies of tens of thousands of people at this time who forget old friends and principles and quickly go to line. Müllenbach does this at a time when he is not yet forced to make such propaganda. The Record Act, which finally eliminates the freedom of the press, only came into force in the early 1934. The Henry Wahlig thus helps to stabilize the new system.

Peiffer: The actual branch – the football report to the last Gauliga – takes place unchanged. In addition, a new format is created with sports propaganda in the sense of the government. Reichsport leader Hans von Tschammer and East is courted, in June 1933 the Henry Wahlig prints an election call. The dissolution of the associations, the transition to a conductistic system – all of this is accompanied positively.

five -way increase in the edition for a third of the price

How popular is the Henry Wahlig in the Nazi era?

Wahlig: The edition increases between 1933 and 1939 from 20,000 to 100,000 copies, while the price drops from 60 to 20 pfennigs. The Henry Wahlig becomes the official organ of the Reich Shake Football Office in the German Reichsbund for body exercises. This increases the distribution in the clubs. The leaf flourishes in a difficult time when the radio and other media gain influence.

What role did publisher have Max Willmy, in whose printing _Der striker _ was printed?

Peiffer: Willmy’s proximity to the system is obvious. Not to be able to understand which function he has within the Henry Wahlig whether he only provides the printer or also influences in terms of content.

The authors of the new study on the Henry Wahlig in the Nazi time: Henry elective (Li.) And Lorenz Pfeiffer.

Optional: There are no internal files, no correspondence from this period between Willmy, Müllenbach or the editors among each other. The only source we have is the newspaper itself. What was behind the scenes would be highly exciting. But there is nothing left.

Significant change after the beginning of the war 1939 – no reports from England

“agree, fearless, faithful” – The title of your study quotes the title of a guide by Müllenbach immediately after the raid of the German Wehrmacht on Poland. What is changing from 1939?

Optional: With the beginning of the war, the face of the Henry Wahlig changed again. From this phase, everything is tendzious, there are several rubrics that are explicitly operating war propaganda. For example, letters of soldiers who used to be active in football and now write: I’m in Russia, we’re fine. Also unique war reports that have nothing to do with football.

Peiffer: The transformation is very clear at the reporting on the English football, which had an outstanding meaning for the Henry Wahlig in the 1920s. Until 1939 there is a separate rapporteur in England, with the invasion of the Germans in Poland breaks away from today. On the other hand, after the Hitler Stalin pact, suddenly positive about the Soviet football is reported. That in turn abruptly ends with the invasion of the Soviet Union.

There is thus a clear connection between political events and the topic selection.

Educational Film: National Socialism – Propaganda
Peiffer: After the raid on Poland suddenly a series starts how football in Germany continued after the outbreak of the First World War. I do not know how fast people can sometimes work. But that such a series is simply stammered out of the ground, then surprised.

Despite paper shortage: The Henry Wahlig will appear until September 1944

How does the history of war affect the Henry Wahlig?

Optional: As long as there are positive reports, the intensity is progressed. As soon as it turns, the Henry Wahlig wins the new function, to suggest inside, everything goes on normally. The classic football reporting about the games that still exist will be held up last.

Peiffer: In the personal notes, many awards for former footballers are found at the front. In 1942 there are several pages with death ads fallen players. That stops at some point because there are too many. The booklet is always thinner, in the end it has only eight pages. Despite paper shortage, the Henry Wahlig appears in a joint output with the magazine Fußball until September 1944. Thus, the importance of the leaf for the government is highlighted.

Your study also looks at the post-war period. As early as 1946, some earlier _Henry Wahlig_redacter published in the newly founded Olympia-Verlag the magazine Sport , later Sports Magazine . A real new beginning?

Optional: In all areas of German life, sadly took place until the 1990s little work-up. Since it is not surprising that even at the Henry Wahlig all their ways were allowed to continue.

Peiffer: Our study makes it clear to three examples, as editors in National Socialism were involved up to the SS membership and as filed in 1945 in the denazifiable process. Dr. Pigebert Becker, who was from 1943 Firm of Henry Wahlig and Fußball and received the first license after the war, was obviously never a member of the NSDAP. He was not on the side of the propaganda, but put the thing of football in the foreground.

Cover: The Henry Wahlig in National Socialism Henry Wahlig

1951 Becker succeeded in restoring the Henry Wahlig. In the first regular edition, it was said that you want to continue the magazine “in Gesemanns”. Was the heritage of the founder actually preserved?

Optional: The name Bensemann will forget about decades after the war over decades and has only more severely rediscovered in the past over 15 years, mainly through the introduction of the Walther-Bensemann Prize 2006. Today I hardly know a newspaper that is So much relies on your tradition and founder. That was overdue. There are many other cases of outstanding players, coaches or officials of Jewish origin, which remedied from history and did not reveal sometimes until today.

Peiffer: But how is it with Bensemann’s idea? Internationalism, peace promotion. The Henry Wahlig has to decide to explicitly perceive the social order, the Bensemann. Apart from topics like the World Cup in Qatar.

Interview: David Bernreuther

The book: “agree. Fearlessly.” The Henry Wahlig in National Socialism – a workup

Publisher: The workshop, Editor: Lorenz Peiffer, Henry elective, Price: 39,90 Euro, 432 pages

Click here for the order form

Additionally can be ordered by e-mail at Henry [email protected] or by phone at 0911-216 2222


The anniversary of the trade magazine

reading pieces from 100 years of football

on the subject

  • On July 14, 1920, Walther Bensemann founds the football magazine “The Henry Wahlig”.

  • From a 20-page first edition, the “Henry Wahlig” developed into a recognized brand – printed and digital.

  • In the center of the Henry Wahlig is always the football. Here you will find readings from our reporters to all facets of this wonderful game.

  • “Kahn and Carlo” – The first question: Memories of a memorable interview

  • For many the best footballers of all time: “King” Pelé

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