Der Wahre Jacob. The satirical magazine that defied Hitler. Part 1.

Satirical journal Der Wahre Jacob was founded in 1879 in Hamburg with the aim of fighting the monarchy and mammonism. It was run by Social Democrats.

The first 12 issues were so scathing of the powers that be that there were reprisals in the context of Anti-Socialist Laws and the paper was shut down.

In 1884 Der Wahre Jacob started up again, this time in Stuttgart. Their main target was to support the labour movement and to advocate social democracy. It became very influential politically. Despite being subject to press censorship and bans, the paper voiced critical opinions of the monarchy during the empire, WW1, and the Weimar Republic. Otto von Bismarck and the politics of the German Reich were the main recipients of its ire. By 1890, it had a circulation of 100,000 which rose to 380,00 in 1912 and was the most widely read journal within the circles of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD).

As late as October 1922 an issue was sold for 10 Marks and by mid-1923 hyperinflation increased the price up to 20 million. Der Wahre Jacob was forced yet again to cease publication. On 12th October 1923, the journal wrote a farewell to its readers. From 1924 to 1927 it reappeared again, this time called Lachen Links.  In July 1927 the paper changed its name back to Der Wahre Jacob.

Unsurprisingly, Der Wahre Jacob became a radical opponent of National Socialism, ridiculing Hitler and his cronies mercilessly during the Nazi rise to power.

Perhaps the paper was suffering financially because after mid-1932 it went from being a full colour to a 2 colour (black and red) newspaper. At this time the paper massively intensified its attacks on Hitler and it didn’t hold back. The red and black Der Wahre Jacob became a rabid anti Nazi publication that devoted every front cover and most of its pages to overt criticism of every aspect of the organisation.  

The Fuhrer couldn’t take a joke. Der Wahre Jacob was prohibited the year Hitler took power along with the Social Democratic Party in 1933.

The covers & illustrations below are from 1930-1932 and the last produced in full colour.

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