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Die Zeitung

  • From 1941 to 1945, the émigré German-language newspaper [i]Die Zeitung[/i] was published in London, reporting on the war on the continent and on the situation in Germany.
  • Newspaper
  • Die Zeitung

    Word Count: 2

  • 1941
  • 1945
  • Maxwell Publishing, 107 Fleet Street, Holborn, London EC4.

  • German
  • London (GB)
  • From 1941 to 1945, the émigré German-language newspaper Die Zeitung was published in London, reporting on the war on the continent and on the situation in Germany.

    Word Count: 25

  • From 1941 to 1945, with the approval and financial support of the British Ministry of Information, the émigré German-language newspaper Die Zeitung was published in London, reporting on the war on the continent and on the situation in Germany. The newspaper’s offices were located in Fleet Street, at the heart of British journalism. Here, also the European branch of the Black Star photo agency was in the same street.
    The editorial of the first edition stated: “This newspaper is made in London by Germans for Germans. It has the approval and goodwill of the relevant British government departments, but it is not an organ of the British government. It is not subject to any regulations or restrictions except the general censorship regulations which are natural in wartime. The opinions expressed in its articles are those of the article writers, not of any unnamed authority, party or interest group. This paper is something that one can hardly imagine anymore: a free, independent German daily newspaper; the only one that exists in Europe today.” (Die Zeitung, 12 March 1941, p. 1)
    The journalist Sebastian Haffner was involved as editor from the beginning, and Dietrich E. Mende, Julius Oskar Reichenheim and Wolfgang von Einsiedel were also members of the newspaper team. The organ was initially distributed six days a week both in England and as a thin-print edition that was dropped over Germany and sent to Central and South America (Hofmann 1986, 68). From 1942, the paper appeared once a week. The creation of the newspaper was a specific response to the war context: it existed to provide reports from the various war fronts and ceased publication soon after Germany's capitulation.

    Die Zeitung received its news via the Reuters and Associated Press news agencies (Greiser 1979, 233). It also reported on everyday life in England during the war, on the lives and hardships of emigrants, and on cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions in which emigrants participated. The newspaper reported on internment and aid organisations and carried job profiles for emigrants. Gender perspectives were also represented: for example, common occupations for emigrant women, such as maid, waitress or seamstress, were presented. The writer Gabriele Tergit (actually Elise Reifenberg) published an article entitled “Die Emigrantin” (Die Zeitung, 16 January 1941, p. 6; see Hartig 2019, 101). Die Zeitung offered artists such as Richard Ziegler (1891–1992) and Walter Trier (1890–1951) an important platform for their art, and both men were regular contributors.

    Richard Ziegler had made a name for himself as a political cartoonist and opponent of the Nazi regime through his book We Make History (1940). His cartoons first appeared in issue 8 of Die Zeitung, on 20 March 1941, and his debut drawing shows Joseph Goebbels giving a radio address with frogs and toads jumping out of his mouth, a response to Nazi propaganda claims that the English people were reduced to eating frogs and toads because of the war. To protect his family back in Germany, Ziegler published under the pseudonym Robert Ziller, thereby disguising his name while still keeping the initials “RZ”. The 1934 “Law against Insidious Attacks on the State and the Party and for the Protection of Party Uniforms” prohibited any form of (artistic) criticism against the Nazi state and its government and carried a prison sentence (Krejsa 1991, 375). The “Sippenhaft” or collective punishment rule meant that relatives could be taken into custody in the event of a violation. Ziegler drew for the paper regularly, initially for page 3, the non-political section; later, his work appeared alternately with that of Walter Trier.
    Richard Ziegler left Berlin in 1933, emigrating first to the Dalmatian island Korčula, then moving to England in 1937. His emigration[s] were accompanied by his politicisation as an artist. Ziegler’s Die Zeitung drawings are mocking and biting commentaries on events in Nazi Germany and its leaders, and also, on occasion, sensitive character studies of evil. Over time, however, his portrayals of his subjects hardened as he captured the ruthlessness revealed in the facial expressions and body language of the National Socialists. In one of his cartoons, Hitler is reduced to a furiously distorted face, with at its centre the black hole of a torn-open mouth (Die Zeitung, 2 July 1941, p. 3). Another cartoon, of three BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel) members (Die Zeitung, 8 July 1941, p. 3), emphasises the physical and and moral ugliness of those portrayed, a clear allusion to the rapture expressed by Baldur von Schirach (the Reich Youth Leader) regarding the National Socialist beauty doctrine. Ziegler’s Quislings series creates an image of the common traitor and collaborator to be found in many countries. The term “Quisling”, originally coined by The Times in 1940, was synonymous with treason and collaboration, referring as it did to the Norwegian Prime Minister Vidkun Quisling, who collaborated with the Nazi regime. The term was used regularly in Die Zeitung.

    Whereas Ziegler’s drawings are seismographs of the abysmal and evil, the work of Walter Trier primarily employs mockery, laced with humour and a delight in ridicule. During the Weimar Republic, Trier had drawn very successfully for the satirical magazine Lustige Blätter and had illustrated books by the children’s author Erich Kästner. It was only after fleeing Germany that he became a political draughtsman and an active opponent of the Nazi regime. He illustrated the propaganda pamphlets of the British Ministry of Information, Nazi-German in 22 Lessons (1944) and The German Military Dictionary (1944), which were primarily intended to educate about terminologies and word meanings.
    Trier created more than 170 drawings for Die Zeitung (Humorist Walter Trier 1980/81, 16; Neuner-Warthorst 2014, 234–236). Trier’s Hitler in Des Führers Ahnengalerie is not a martial human abuser in uniform, but a third-rate painter unsuccessfully searching for patronage (Die Zeitung, 3 September 1941, p. 3). This was Trier’s first drawing for Die Zeitung, and it embodies one of the two sides of the satirical treatment of Hitler during the Second World War. The British political cartoonist David Low, a contemporary of Trier, wrote about it in 1944: “Generally speaking there are two ways to draw Hitler: as a fiend or a fool.” (Low 1944, n.p.)
    In his Over the bones of the dead cartoon, Hitler is depicted as a mountain guide supposedly leading his soldiers to victory, though in reality to their downfall (Die Zeitung, 22 September 1941, p. 3). Other representations show Hitler forming a ridiculous swastika pyramid with his staff; as Faust’s Gretchen (Die Zeitung, 26 March 1943, p. 3); and as a cook concocting his speeches from a mix of ingredients such as misanthropy, self-congratulation and undigested world history (Die Zeitung, 2 January 1942, p. 3). In Trier’s work, Hitler is a parvenu without conscience or sense of justice, a pathetic murderous stick figure whom readers can quietly mock.

    It is not only in their conceptions of caricature that Ziegler and Trier differ fundamentally; they also have very different styles. Whereas Trier employs simple lines reduced to the essential, Ziegler’s psychological insights require a different approach.  In their common fight against the Hitler regime the newspaper's two permanent illustrators were in many ways the artistic polar opposites of one another: at one end, we have Ziegler’s excoriating caricatures; at the other, Trier’s mischievous wit.
    To ensure that readers fully understood the psychological thrust of Ziegler’s caricatures, Die Zeitung actually published instructions on how to read them correctly. A drawing of National Socialist Field Marshal von Brauchitsch carried this advice: “At first glance, this picture, a fine work by our draughtsman, does not appear repulsive. But if you cover the half of the face facing the viewer, the other side reveals the Prussian militarist’s fixed murderous gaze. The cheek with the strange ear is also anything but ‘attractive’.” (Die Zeitung, 14 October 1941, p. 3)

    Word Count: 1257

  • Front page of Die Zeitung, 7 April 1941 (Photo: Private Archive).
  • Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Quislings (I.): “Qui mange du Papen, en meurt", in Die Zeitung, 29 March 1941, p. 3 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Quislings (IV.) Tiso: Das Vorbild des Balkan-Quislings [Model of the Balkan Quisling], in Die Zeitung, 17 April 1941, p. 3 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], “Seit vielen Monaten war ich zum Schweigen verurteilt” [For many months I had been condemned to silence], in Die Zeitung, 2 July 1941, p. 3 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], B.D.M., in Die Zeitung, 8 July 1941, p. 3 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Mussolini, in Die Zeitung, 6 August 1941, p. 3 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Robert Ziller [Richard Ziegler], Heinrich Himmler, in Die Zeitung, 27 October 1944, p. 4 (© Richard Ziegler).
    Walter Trier, Des Führers Ahnengalerie [The Führer’s Ancestral Gallery] in Die Zeitung, 3 September 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Walter Trier, Der Führer: “Komm nur weiter, wir sind sicher bald oben!” [Keep coming, I’m sure we’ll be up there soon!] in Die Zeitung, 22 September 1941, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Walter Trier, Die Ingredientien einer Hitlerrede [The Ingredients of a Hitler Speech], in Die Zeitung, 3 January 1942, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Walter Trier, Himmler, Dr. Petiot: “Was? Lumpige 54 Morde? Anfänger!” [What? A measly 54 murders? Rookie!] in Die Zeitung, 3 January 1942, p. 3 (Photo: Private Archive). Walter Trier’s final illustration for Die Zeitung, dedicated to a fictional conversation between a serial killer (Petiot) and a mass murderer (Himmler).
  • Dogramaci, Burcu. “Der Stift als Seziermesser im englischen Exil. Politische Zeichnungen von Richard Ziegler und Walter Trier für Die Zeitung.” Exil im Krieg (1939–1945), edited by Hiltrud Häntzschel et al., V&R, 2016, pp. 99–110.

    Greiser, Gerd. “Exilpublizistik in Großbritannien.” Presse im Exil. Beiträge zur Kommunikationsgeschichte des deutschen Exils 1933–1945 (Dortmunder Beiträge zur Zeitungsforschung, 30), edited by Hanno Hardt et al., KG Saur, 1979, pp. 223–253.

    Haffner, Sebastian. Geschichte eines Deutschen. Die Erinnerungen 1914–1933. Als Engländer maskiert. Ein Gespräch mit Jutta Krug über das Exil. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2006.

    Hartig, Christine. “Einwanderungsrecht und die Konstruktion von Geschlechterrollen. Die Situation von jüdischen Flüchtlingen in Großbritannien und den USA im Vergleich.” Doing Gender in Exile. Geschlechterverhältnisse, Konstruktionen und Netzwerke in Bewegung, edited by Irene Messinger and Katharina Prager, Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2019, pp. 95–109.

    Hiepe, Richard. “Deutschland ist erwacht. Die antifaschistischen Zeichnungen von Richard Ziegler.” Sammlung. Jahrbuch für antifaschistische Literatur und Kunst, vol. 2, edited by Uwe Naumann, Röderberg, 1979, pp. 80–87.

    Hofmann, Karl-Ludwig. “Zur Geschichte der deutschen antifaschistischen Pressesatire.” Kunst im Exil in Großbritannien 1933–1945, exh. cat. Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin, 1986, pp. 65–72.

    Humorist Walter Trier. Selections from the Trier-Fodor Foundation Gift, exh. cat. Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, 1980.

    Krejsa, Michael. “NS-Reaktionen auf Heartfields Arbeit 1933–1939.” John Heartfield, exh. cat. Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1991, pp. 368–377.

    Low, David. “Preface.” Jesters in Earnest. Cartoons by the czechoslovak Artists Z.K. – A. Hoffmeister – A. Pelc – Stephen – W. Trier, John Murray, 1944, n.p.

    Neuner-Warthorst, Antje. Walter Trier. Eine Bilderbuch-Karriere. Nicolai, 2014.

    Tergit, Gabriele. “Die Exilsituation in England.” Die deutsche Exilliteratur 1933–1945, edited by Manfred Durzak, Reclam, 1973, pp. 135–144.

    Word Count: 261

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • London
  • No
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Die Zeitung." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 21-06-2021.
  • John Heartfield
    ArtistGraphic DesignerFotomonteur (mounter of photographs)

    After escaping from his first exile in Prague in December 1938, the political artist John Heartfield lived in London since 1950, working for Picture Post and the publisher Lindsay Drummond.

    Word Count: 28

    Wolf Suschitzky

    The Viennese Wolf Suschitzky made a career as a photographer and cinematographer after emigrating to London in 1935.

    Word Count: 17

    We make History

    In 1940, émigré artist Richard Ziegler, using the pseudonym Robert Ziller, published the book We Make History with the Allen & Unwin publishing house in London.

    Word Count: 25


    The magazine Lilliput, founded by the émigré journalist Stefan Lorant in 1937, gave work to emigrated artists and photographers such as Kurt Hutton, Walter Suschitzky, Walter Trier and Edith Tudor-Hart.

    Word Count: 29

    Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things

    Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things is a booklet written in 1946 by the emigrated architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner with the aim of aesthetic education and teacher training.

    Word Count: 26

    Black Star Publishing Company London
    Photo Agency

    The 1936 New York-founded Black Star Publishing Company photo agency opened a European branch in London the same year in response to the high demand for foreign images in the U.S.

    Word Count: 31

    Lindsay Drummond
    Publishing House

    The artist John Heartfield designed covers for the publishing house Lindsay Drummond, which had an anti-fascist programme and published books by emigrated authors such as Wilhelm Necker and Felix Langer.

    Word Count: 30

    The Warburg Institute
    Research Institute

    The Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg in Hamburg achieved a new presence in London after 1933 under the name The Warburg Institute as a research institution with a library and photo archive.

    Word Count: 29