Hitler, Adolf and Drexler, Anton, “Warum sind wir Antisemiten?” A small broadside, 29.5 cm x 21 cm, printed by J. Schreiber in Munich, dated August 13, 1920.
Printed on red paper and in black gothic type of varying sizes, Hitler and Drexler advertised the first speech Adolf Hitler gave in public immediately after the formation of the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiter – Partei) in Salzburg, August 7 – 8, 1920, a speech given in the Hofbrauhausfestsaal, in Munich, August 13, 1920. (Drexler had founded the Deutsche Arbeiter Partei on January 5, 1919 with the help of Karl Harrer. On September 16, 1919, Hitler joined the Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, and on October 16, 1919, he had undertaken propaganda for the Deutsche Arbeiter Partei.)
This first speech, “Warum sind wir Antisemiten?” (“Why are we Antisemites?”) predates Mein Kampf by five years and marks the genesis of the Holocaust. According to Prof. Ian Kershaw, this long speech of two hours duration was Hitler’s “… only speech that year solely relating to the Jews and probably intended as a basic statement on the topic – was interrupted fifty-eight times during its two hours’ duration by ever wilder cheering from the 2,000 strong audience.” Reginald Phelps notes that the full text of this speech survives – extraordinary among early Hitler speeches — precisely because of its significance as a program or a policy statement. From Eberhard Jaeckel and Axel Kuhn, we learn that the title was not on the surviving copy of the speech – they learned the title of this speech given on August 13, 1920 from one other recorded copy of this broadside poster: “Titel der Rede nach einem Plakatentwurf.” Found on this surviving copy of the text of the speech were notated the duration of applause interruptions: Someone sat with a stopwatch and a pencil, notating what the audience reacted to and for how long. The choice of red paper was undoubtedly made with the probable intent to attract communists to the event. The varying sizes of text were also chosen to draw in a passer-by.
The condition of this extraordinary piece of early Nazi propaganda is fine. By holding it up to the light, one can see evidence of a small tack hole where it was pinned up, now expertly conserved without any text loss. In the upper right-hand corner, a tiny chip of this wood-pulp paper was lost, again with no text loss and now expertly restored.
Please note: an unauthorized and incomplete copy of this broadside is currently being used on the internet in Germany without our permission. The only other copy of this broadside we were able to locate is currently in the German State Archive. (Warum sind wir Antisemiten, all rights reserved G. Gosen Rare Books & Old Paper.)
For further reading, see:
Kershaw, Prof. Ian, HITLER 1889 – 1936: HUBRIS, pp. 152; 650.
Phelps, Reginald, HITLER’S GRUNDLEGENDE REDE ÜBER DEN ANTISEMITISMUS Vierteljahtshefte für Zeitgeschichte XVI (1968), pp. 390 – 420.
Jaeckel, Eberhard and Kuhn, Axel, editors, HITLER SAEMTLICHE AUFZEICHNINGEN 1905 – 1924, No. 136, pp. 184 – 204.