Carl Albert Fritz (Michael) Gerlich ( 15 of February of 1883 – 30 of June of 1934 ) was a journalist and historian German member of the resistance against National Socialism .
Gerlich was born in Stettin ( Pomerania ) in 1883 and grew up as the eldest of four sons of fish merchant Paul Gerlich and his wife Theresa. In the fall of 1889 he enrolled in the Marienstiftungymnasium (“Our Lady’s Grammar School”), where he graduated in 1901. In 1902, he went to study at the University of Munich and became an active member of the Free Students movement . After completing his studies with a doctorate and to make the thesis The testament of Enrique VI , Gerlich became archivist and contributed articles of marked antisocialist, conservative and nationalistic character in the publications Süddeutsche Monatshefte and Die Wirklichkeit .
His vision problems, which forced him to wear glasses with a steel frame, prevented him from serving in the German army during the First World War . In 1917 , he became an active member of the German Homeland Party (Deutsche Vaterlandspartei) and the Anti-Bolshevik League .
In 1919 , he published the book Der Kommunismus als Lehre vom Tausendjährigen ( Communism as a theory of the Reich of the thousand years ), where he classified communism as a type of redemption to religion. An entire chapter was dedicated to denouncing anti- Semitism , which had gained ground because of the leadership positions of many Jews in the Revolution and in the Soviet Republic . During those years, Gerlich changed his political views and, after being conservative and nationalist, became more liberal. In 1920, he was nominated candidate for the Landtag of Bavaria and the German Reichstag for the liberal left: the Deutsche Demokratische Partei (German Democratic Party).
On October 9, 1920, he married Sophie Stempfle in Munich, and that same year, when he was 37, he was offered the position of chief editor of the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten ( New Munich News ). His task consisted of:
“To direct the newspaper to be a bastion for national renewal against socialism and republican politics.”
Under his leadership, the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten became the most important newspaper in Bavaria . Being himself a convinced opponent of communism and socialism , he published articles of a nationalist character with the “rightist pamphleteer” Paul Nikolaus Cossmann , and remained there until 1928.
In the spring or summer of 1923 , he met several times with Adolf Hitler , six years his junior and leader of National Socialism . One of the times was in Gerlich’s apartment, another in his newspaper office and another along with Eugen von Knilling , Prime Minister of Bavaria (1922-1924) and Eduard Scharrer , a member of the board of directors of the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten .
Hitler’s visit to Gerlich was celebrated in difficult times: problems like inflation lashed out at the newly born Weimar Republic . From that moment, Gerlich opposed that Hitler came to power.
In the early 1920s he had seen proof of Nazi tyranny in Munich. Once conservative and nationalist, after the Beer Hall Coup of November 9, 1923 , Gerlich decidedly turned against Hitler and became one of his most ferocious critics.
In 1931 , he made friends with Teresa Neumann , the mystic and visionary of Konnersreuth (Bavaria) who supported Gerlich’s resistance activities. Initially he wanted to expose the “deception” of his stigma, but Gerlich returned as a changed man and shortly thereafter converted to Catholicism .
From 1931 until his death, his resistance was inspired by the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. He left the post as chief editor of the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten , and returned to his work in the Bavarian National Archives .
Before 1933 , Gerlich had already opposed Nazism and had referred to Hitler’s Nazi Party as a “murderer.” , A circle of friends that had developed around Teresa Neumann gave rise to the idea of founding a political weekly, in order to reorient left and right away from political extremism. Supported by a rich patron, Prince Erich Walburg-Zeil , Gerlich was able to lead the weekly Der Illustrierte Sonntag , henceforth called Der gerade Weg ( The Straight Path ), in 1932 .
In his newspaper Gerlich fought against the main political doctrines of his time: communism , National Socialism and anti-Semitism . The conflict of the growing Nazi movement became the central axis of Gerlich and his writing. The emphatic and sometimes strident intonation of his journalistic battle gave the newspaper a growing readership.
By the end of 1932 , circulation of the newspaper surpassed the 100,000 readers. Gerlich then wrote: “National Socialism is understood as enmity with neighboring nations, internal tyranny, civil war, world war, lies, hatred, fratricide and boundless desires.”
One day after the Nazis seized power in Germany, they decided to eliminate Gerlich. He was arrested on March 9, 1933 and led the June 30, 1934 to the Dachau concentration camp , where he was killed on 1 of July of 1934 , during the night of the long knives .
His wife received the confirmation of death when her blood-splashed glasses were returned home.
It was portrayed in the film Hitler: The reign of evil by actor Matthew Modine .
- Johannes Steiner: “Gerlich-Naab, Prophetien wider das Dritte Reich”, “Gerlich-Naab, Prophecies against the Third Reich.” Schnell und Steiner, Munich , 1946
- Erwein Freiherr von Aretin: “Fritz Michael Gerlich, Prophet und Märtyrer, Sein Kraftquell,” “Fritz Michael Gerlich, Prophet and Martyr, His source of strength.” Verlag Schnell und Steiner, Munich 1983 (2. erg Aufl. Mit einem Vorwort von Karl Otmar von Aretin)
- Rudolf Morsey: “Fritz Gerlich – ein Publizist gegen Hitler, Briefe und Akten 1930-1934”, “Fritz Gerlich – A journalist against Hitler. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn ua 2010. ISBN 978-3-506-77012-7
- Rudolf Morsey: “Fritz Gerlich (1883-1934) – Publizist aus Stettin, Ein früher Gegner Hitlers und des Nationalsozialismus”, “Fritz Gerlich (1883-1934) – Journalist of Stettin, an early detractor of Hitler and National Socialism.” In: Baltische Studien. Band 97 NF, 2011, ISSN 0067-3099, S. 157-179.
- Michael Schäfer: “Fritz Gerlich 1883-1934.” Journalism as a response to the “Political Religions” of the 20th Century. “Fritz Gerlich, 1883-1934,” Publication on the Auseinandersetzung mit den “politischen Religionen” des 20. Jahrhunderts “. München 1998 (Dissertation).