Attention, without stilts


Life and work of Erich Schairer

- StZ from 29. May 1982 · From Richard Schmid

There is a considerable number of Germans whose curriculum vitae and life's work have exemplary significance for the first half of this century. But for a few, the fabric of that time becomes so prominent and sharply visible as in Erich Schairer, the co-editor of this newspaper from 1946 to 1955, who died in 1956 at the age of sixty-nine. This man is under the title last year "The Gravel Walker - World and Work of Erich Schairer" a well-written biography by Will Schaber published (Verlag KG Saur, Munich). The following is partly derived from it, partly it comes from own memory and personal friendship. I have to accept the suspicion that I am not quite objective.

It will turn out that Schairer's fate not only has that exemplary significance for his time, but that, moreover, he had a great deal of special and original features about him. In spite of all his experience of the world and a good education, he remained a wild Swabian in his day-to-day life and expression, almost rough, of a kind that occasionally contrasts and contrasts him with his smooth-cut fellow human beings, who better fit the circumstances and purposes brought. Not that his Swabian creature, dyed in wool, had made it provincial-just as Ludwig did not Thoma has become provincial through his Bayerntum. The compatriot gave him focus and self-confidence.

First, a few arid dates: Schairer is 1887 as the son of a school teacher in Hemmingen, Oberamt Leonberg, born. He will be Primus im "State examination", that institution, especially the gifted civil servants for free Protestant-theological seminars Württembergs opens, humanistic schools, outgrowed from the Protestant monastic schools, which are to secure the local Protestant parishioners. From the school in Monastery BlaubeurenWhere a lot of Latin, Greek and Hebrew is used, he comes to Tübingen pin, There he studies to 1909 theology, is ordained a pastor, parish assistant (vicar) in various parishes and a teacher's seminar. In the year 1911 he asks for dismissal from the church service, because he can not fulfill the faith obligations. The church authority finally approves the dismissal.

Schairer becomes a journalist; besides, he writes a thesis about "Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart as a political journalist", Some contemporaries become important to him: among others the philosopher Christoph Schrempfwho already left 1892 for a similar conflict and lives and writes in Stuttgart; Hans Erich Blaich, who Owlglass's "Simplicissimus"with whom he makes a lifelong friendship. He becomes a supporter and finally secretary of the democratic politician and social reformer Friedrich Naumann and - next to and after Theodor Heuss - Editor of Naumann's magazine "Die Hilfe". In the war, he is first a soldier, then he is requested by the Foreign Office as Secretary of German-Turkish Association in Constantinople. In the year 1918 Schairer becomes political editor at the "Heilbronner Neckarzeitung", as successor of Theodor Heuss, whereby it soon to tensions with the publisher and the dismissal because of the radical democratic direction Schairer comes.

Schairer started his own business with the weekly newspaper “Sonntagszeitung” first in Heilbronn, then in Stuttgart. In 1933 he was banned from politics and finally banned from journalistic activity at all. He tries to get himself and his large family through as a wine representative. During the war he was finally drafted as a dispatcher at Lindau train station. After the war he became a license holder and co-editor of the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” in 1946.

It will now be presented and documented some stations of this life, mainly with the help of Schairerscher texts, which not only his thoughts, but also, which is no less important, his simple, any fashion and education jewelry spurning, denser language should be clear.

As 1911 his use as "Professoratsverweser" at Esslinger teacher's seminar ends and he should return to the parish, he asks for his dismissal: "Since I can no longer unite with my personal conviction, which I at that time recklessly acquired and during my earlier I am asking the Consistory to release me from this ministry once I have been repeatedly injured in my duties as a minister for the service to the Lutheran Church of Württemberg. "

As a justification, he gives the wording of the summoned by him "Augsburg Confession" again and says, "When I, fresh from the college away, in the summer 1909 as 'Pfarrgehilfe' committed and in the Eßlinger town church I was hardly concerned about the content of this obligation, even though I knew the Augsburg Creed. I had not memorized it for much of the exam, albeit without even taking it for a moment for myself. Trinity, original sin, incarnation of the Son of God, sacrificial death, hellish journey, resurrection, second coming, eternal damnation, conversion at the Lord's Supper - all this was superstition for me, in the best case a symbol, but not 'true'. I did not believe that faith in these 'facts of salvation' was essential in the practice of the pastoral ministry. But when I began to exercise my office, I soon found myself in a bad dilemma. On the one hand, I was obliged, in the official acts, to constantly put into my mouth those sentences which for me were formulas, and I did not dare to refrain from doing so; On the other hand, in preaching and teaching I carefully guarded myself to say something that I could not represent before myself. Thus, in pronouncing the liturgical formulas of the creed and the like, I found myself more and more as a very pitiful, characterless priest, as an actor who was ridiculed for what was sacred to others. "

The high clergyman of the consistory tries to talk Schairer out of the request and to settle for the time being with a vacation. But Schairer insists on the dismissal.

His opinion on the pastorate he puts down some time later in an exchange of letters with a pastor, who does not want to give up the human relationships and obligations of the pastorate, but the dogmatic and authority compulsion can not stand and now asks Schairer what he should do. He advises: You must leave the church, but remain a pastor. He gives him advice on how to communicate with the parish council on the continuation of the office after leaving the church. "A village church stops where it stands; that will probably not carry away the consistory. "The correspondence is probably unreal, but understandable and understandable. I would not take him into this presentation, if not in the time of National Socialism, when the church leadership was still quite intent on adapting to the regime, a corresponding case would have actually occurred in Württemberg: the parish council of a village near Vaihingen an der Enz a pastor who had been disobedient and dismissed for political reasons of the ecclesiastical authority, leaving his church and rectory to exercise the pastoral ministry. That was the case of the pastor Paul Schempp, after the war professor at the University of Bonn; More about this in the book by Professor Ernst Bizer "The case Schempp", 1965 appeared.

Incidentally, the conflict of the convent scholar, Stiftler and Vikars Schairer also has an interesting historical parallel. It is the case of the Balinger vicar Karl Friedrich Reinhard, born 1761 in Schorndorf. He, too, has a zeal for journalism and publishes a satirical article on the convent school and the monastery, has to flee when his authorship becomes known, becomes tutor in France, enters the diplomatic service there, first the republic, then Napoleon, then the kings and finally will Pair of France and, an even higher honor, Goethe's highly respected friend, guest and correspondent.

The subject of Schairer's doctoral thesis is Schubarts "German Chronicle"who sentenced her author to ten years in prison Hohenasperg has registered. Schairer examines the reasons why the political ideas and movements in France and North America during the second half of the eighteenth century in Germany were taken literally by individuals but did not spread:

"Now would have been the appropriate moment for the emergence of a political press. The material for a large-scale political demonstration was delivered. But it turned out that the teachers failed. To carry ideas and spread ideas, thinking and writing is not one and the same; and people who had learned the obeying so well, and who had become subject to such submission, where would they have taken the boldness of suddenly writing away from the liver and taking no account of it? And if the case had been set, the will to do so would have really existed - so lacked the power. For all the rulers in Germany, down to the smallest abbot and imperial baron, counted under their natural privileges the unlimited supervision over the written word (meaning also the printed word). "

In August 1914 the war breaks out. The democratic delay of Germany is still so strong that parliament and public opinion are virtually as powerless and easily misguided about the real causes of war and the situation of Germany. Schairer volunteers as a soldier. His revered boss and friend Friedrich Naumann is evolving from a democratic social reformer to an imperialist. It is the time of Baghdad railway plans, Schairer is reclaimed from military service and becomes secretary of the German-Turkish Association in Constantinople, the capital of the great and weak Ottoman Empire, At times Schairer does editorial work on German newspapers, first in Hamburg and finally at the "Neckarzeitung" in Heilbronn. He moves on the official patriotic line as far as the war is concerned: it is a "defensive war imposed on us". In early September 1918 he believes in the victory, as almost all ignominiously lied Germans. The collapse 1918 he experiences in Odessa. At Christmas 1918, he is at home and acts as a political editor in the "Neckar Zeitung" .

Now again social reforming ideas, planned economy, the protection of the little man and the consumer come to the fore. He broke away from Naumann. Already during the war he is on the reform ideas Wichard von Moellendorffs encountered, chief engineer at the AEG and employees Walther Rathenaus, This relationship leads to lively literary cooperation and also to personal contacts with Rathenau. These are drafts of an unmarxist German public sector with the participation of the workers and employees - strivings that dominate public discussion in the years following the overthrow of 1918 and which are also reflected in some articles of the Weimar Constitution and in the creation of the Reich Economic Council have struck down. In practice, it does not matter, because the reactionary bourgeoisie soon regains the upper hand in parliament and above all in the press. Walther rathenau, President of AEG, one of the very big entrepreneurs, has even in one fontwhich he hands over to Schairer for publication, calling for the abolition of the entrepreneur for the benefit of those working in the enterprise.

After the collapse and the revolution have created new insights and conditions, Schairer does not spare the old monarchical regime. This soon leads to tensions with the publisher, who at the same time publishes a German national newspaper. In the bourgeoisie soon sympathies with the old forces and figures are stirring again. The cause of an acute conflict is a correspondence report on the hearing of one of the worst of the wartime agitators, the former Secretary of State of the Reichsschatzamt, Karl Helfferich, In his interrogation before the Reichstag Committee, which has to examine the policy of the imperial government, he has a perfidious variant of the Stab-in-the-Back Myth The blame for the defeat was that the submarine weapon was not used without restriction. Schairer prefaces the following editorial remark with the report on this interrogation:

“In the parliamentary committee of inquiry yesterday there were lively arguments during the interrogation of Helfferich. Helfferich is very spirited as a speaker (one still remembers the situation in the Reichstag, where his insolent demeanor robbed the then State Secretary of all credit); he is a skilful and ready-to-mouth debater who is not burdened by overly serious problems of conscience or character. According to the principle 'The best parade is the blow', Helfferich yesterday turned the handle around and tried to take action against his current accusers ... Interesting in the matter may be the participation of the audience, who demonstratively sided with the ... pillars of the old regime and marched in front of the Reichstag building with black-white-red flags to cheer Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who of course did not appear. "

These two then appear in the next session and repeat the lie of the stab.

Schairer's preliminary remark is scratching his publisher without Schairer's knowledge and consent from the printing plate; the sheet appears with a white gap on the first page.

This process has now gained historical perspective. Three months later he breaks Kapp Putsch out. The dagger throne is, in addition to the Jew-baiting, the main hit of Hitler's propaganda from the beginning. The path to the Third Reich was taken at that time.

For Schairer, the break with the newspaper is complete. He decides to publish his own organ, a political weekly. The first number appears already in January 1920; it is the "Heilbronn Sundayszeitung". Advertisements should initially help to cover expenses, but gradually, in the interest of independence, be dismantled and eventually abolished. The latter has already reached 1924. In the year 1925 pull Schairer and the sheet to Stuttgart. Sales are steadily rising from two thousand copies (1920) to eight thousand (1932). "The Sunday paper," as it is now called, is widespread throughout the Reich, but hardly in Bavaria. What that Programme, the scope, the topics and tendencies, the employees, the relationship with the readers, so reference is made to the fact-rich representation in the work of Schaber. The direction goes clearly to the left, but without attachment to a party or a dogma and with a pronounced social touch. The topic of planned and public sector is gradually back in favor of the simple consumer and wage-worker interest. It should be mentioned that the special talent of the young Josef Eberle (Pseudonym "Tyll") is discovered and maintained for the political dissent by Schairer for the "Sonntagszeitung". To the profile of the Sunday newspaper also carry the dramatic woodcut cartoons of Hans Gerner at.

Two colors of Schairer's political palette stand out: first, the lessons learned from the shock of the end of the war, which showed him the importance of free public information, the independence of the press from state and other power, and the democratic control of the government in the case of Germany specifically follow a sharp antimilitarism and pacifism; secondly, the fight against anti-Semitism, which is increasingly affecting even church groups. This fight runs through all vintages of the "Sonntagszeitung". This is just one sentence of the long-standing employee Hermann Mauthe quotes: "Christianity was founded by a Jew and the neo-German anti-Semitism of one Hofprediger. "(Meant is the Berlin court and cathedral preacher Adolf Stoecker.)

The relationship to the NSDAP results from all this on its own. That the "Sunday newspaper" after the "seizure of power" not prohibited at all, but that in April 1933 only one number is confiscated, is attributed to the fact that one of the Stuttgart rulers felt a personal emotion in favor of Schairer. However, he is immediately banned from dealing with the politics of the day. Soon complaints from outside Württembergs are piling up. Schairer procures a journalist-friendly editor to drop out nominally. He understands it to 1937, as he has to give up the sheet altogether, to teach the readers hidden in some sections critically. For many, the "Sonntagszeitung" remains a highly sought after weekly reading. Particularly productive are the weekly economic articles of the employee "Fritz Werkmann", behind which hides an illegally living in Germany, sought by the Gestapo socialist H. von Rauschenplat, who finally emigrates and after the war under the new name Fritz Eberhard He then became the director of the Süddeutscher Rundfunk, then a professor at the Free University in Berlin. He informs readers, for example, in a statistics-laden treatise, that one of the first governmental measures, apart from the establishment of the concentration camp and the dismissal of non-Aryans, was the abolition of the wine tax and how the consumption of sparkling wine (which?) Increased so dramatically or (in the 20 number of September 1936) how the new government favored industry and trade price cartels and that these price cartels naturally increased prices. Incidentally, this anti-consumer pricing policy continued for a long time in the Federal Republic; It has been tedious to reduce the price commitments that have been established.

In the same year 1936 (number of 26 January) appears a short article of the philosophical employee Kuno Fiedler (By the way, also a theologian, retired from the Lutheran Church of Saxony for dogmatic disobedience 1922), a close friend of Thomas Mann. This article contains some daring phrases in favor of Thomas Mann, whose bitter conflict with the Nazis has long since broken out, whose Munich house is already occupied by the SS and whose expatriation is still in the same year. However, Kuno Fiedler is arrested by the Gestapo as early as September of this year because, as he is told, he works with the "espionage center" of Thomas Mann. Fiedler manages an adventurous escape from prison; which brings us back to Erich Schairer. Because when fleeing to Switzerland, Fiedler first finds refuge in the Schairer house in Sulzgries near Esslingen and money for the further journey. He is piloted by Ms. Schairer to Allensbach on Lake Constance, where the friendly Painter Marquard a modest guesthouse on the lake shore operates. With Schairer, a keyword has been agreed with which fugitives should report in order to come to the Swiss shore. This happens. On the 27. September is already Fiedler, as Thomas Mann writes to his brother Heinrich, in Zurich with him. The same "wackere Tell" (so Thomas Mann) incidentally, shortly afterwards, sent by me to Allensbach, the Szczecin Fritz lamb rowing into Switzerland, which will be remembered by many Stuttgarters and especially members of the "Stuttgarter Zeitung".

After the war, Erich Schairer was co-editor and shareholder of this newspaper for eight and a half years. His energy may have suffered through the evil experiences of the Hitler era. In addition, he was only one of several. It was clear that the larger and diverse enterprise could not operate on the pattern of his old creation, the "Sunday paper," tailored to him. It was necessary to make compromises. But he has helped create a tradition of newspaper independence that does not go unnoticed by outsiders. Above all, he has, I believe, worked with his own gift and with great difficulty for a clean and clear language, which, it seems to me, is still unforgotten and effective. Although there are "all sinners", and his twelve language bidshe left to the staff is not always followed but respected. His section "Five minutes of German", also appeared as a book, has worked well into the readership.

Erich Schairer, no matter how harsh and rough he might have been, as a journalist, had that true and higher politeness that dawdles the reader, his conceptual vocabulary and comprehension, instead of impressing, as others do, with fashionable nouns and distinctive foreign words to go on spelled stilts. He abhorred what another great master of simplicity, Ernest Hemingway, has called the "ten-dollar words"; and he had the courage to be banal, to be clear at any rate. In an old issue of the "Sonntagszeitung" I found Schairer's saying: "Some people have it with their education like certain shopkeepers: they always present their entire warehouse to prove their efficiency." And from "Five minutes of German" is the following beautiful example quoted from an economic section: "A foreign verbiage. The reason for the low construction volume is the discrepancy between construction costs and rent. "Schairer translates this as follows:" That so little is built, comes from the fact that the construction costs are high and the rents are low. "

Back then, thirty years ago, “discrepancy” was trendy. Today it's different stilts. Schairer taught us to take care of others and of ourselves.

Life and work of Erich Schairer - an article by Richard Schmid in the Sunday Supplement Stuttgarter Zeitung "The Bridge to the World" from Saturday 29. May 1982