Exile press

Exile press: Orient magazine
Title page of an issue of the magazine Orient. Unabhängige Wochenschrift, 28 August 1942
German Exile Archive 1933–1945 of the German National Library, EB 53/297

Exile press

Nowadays, our writing disappears into thin air. Those who read us share our opinions anyway, and those who vacillate are beyond our reach.

The character of Parisian exile publicist Friedrich Benjamin in Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel Exil [Exile], 1939

German-speaking émigrés published some 400 newspapers and magazines in their countries of refuge during the Nazi era. Some of these publications had already been in existence before 1933, e.g. the magazines Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) and Die Weltbühne, and the party organs Vorwärts and Die Rote Fahne. However, most of them came into being in exile. Due to the language barrier, which meant that they were mostly distributed among the German-speaking exile community, their economic success and impact on the public in the host country was often limited. Only a few of these magazines and newspapers were able to stay afloat for any length of time. By the time World War II began, most European exile publications had to stop work.
The newspapers and magazines published by the exile press covered a wide political spectrum and range of topics. What they all had in common was their expression of cultural and linguistic identity in exile and the motivation to proclaim their resistance to the Nazi regime. Press organs such as the weekly newspaper Aufbau, published in the USA, and the daily newspaper Pariser Tageblatt/Pariser Tageszeitung also focused on current news and provided information about legal and bureaucratic affairs in the host country. In contrast, magazines such as Maß und Wert, Das Wort or Orient were established with the intention of fostering literary and cultural dialogue.

Writing for the exile press helped many exiled writers make a living. Above all, however, it offered them an opportunity to express themselves politically or through literature. The authors who made important contributions to the exile press included Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Lion Feuchtwanger, Oskar Maria Graf, Iwan Heilbut, Egon Erwin Kisch, Klaus Mann, Erika Mann, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Hans Natonek, Joseph Roth, Anna Seghers and Bodo Uhse.

Further reading:
Behmer, Markus (Ed.): Deutsche Publizistik im Exil 1933-1945. Personen, Positionen, Perspektiven. Festschrift für Ursula E. Koch [German Journalism in Exile 1933-1945. People, Positions, Perspectives. Commemorative Publication for Ursula E. Koch]. Münster: LIT 2000