• Germany's news in English

New Nietzsche book aims to save his reputation

DDP/The Local · 26 Dec 2009, 11:37

Published: 26 Dec 2009 11:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The latest edition of the "Nietzsche Encyclopaedia," written and researched by around 150 academics from various disciplines, claims to show how Nietzsche's sister, Nazi supporter Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, had a much more extensive influence on the published texts than has previously been assumed.

The book's publisher, Dresden-based social pedagogue Christian Niemeyer, told news agency DDP that the nineteenth century German philosopher, often considered the grandfather of Nazi ideology, was the victim of "the most insidious falsification scandal in editing history."

The new research proves in detail, Niemeyer says, "that the biggest falsifications were not limited to Nietzsche's posthumously published work The Will to Power; one can prove that even the works that Nietzsche released to the printers himself were substantially distorted by his sister."

Niemeyer believes that the new research calls for a reassessment of the political views of the philosopher. "His sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche's falsifications are certainly largely responsible for the fact that Nietzsche was considered a forerunner to Nazi ideology in the whole of communist Europe," he said.

Niemeyer also claimed that Nietzsche's sister had fabricated letters and anecdotes in which Nietzsche apparently commented on racial hygiene and the work of race theorist Arthur de Gobineau.

It is well-known that Förster-Nietzsche, a National Socialist supporter whose Nietzsche Archive received financial support from Hitler's regime, took liberties with the texts she published after her brother's death.

Story continues below…

"The encyclopaedia now documents the extent of her alterations, some of which were made while the philosopher was still alive, though already mentally deranged, and they mostly had catastrophic consequences," Niemeyer said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:44 December 26, 2009 by Henckel
Nietzsche himself anticipated he would be misinterpreted. Unfortunately, his sister and brother-in-law proved active antisemites, and the sister, who lived until 1935, was an admirer of Hitler. Moreover, much of Nietzsche's rhetoric and imagery, such as his doctrine of the Uebermensch or Overman, was susceptible to misrepresentation.
14:04 December 27, 2009 by DavidtheNorseman
Hmmm.....Nietzsche preached the tired old occult doctrine of "I Will become like the Most High!" but couldn't even by taking thought change the colour of his hair or his stature....and he died without resurrecting on the third day :-)

Nietzsche is still a dead fool and God is still not threatened in the least..........

Israel is back in their place as a sign to us Gentiles and the world is clamouring for a Humanist Messiah. Where have I heard all this before? Wait. There's a book (Heilige Schrift - Bible for Anglos).
13:30 December 28, 2009 by Davey-jo
He still had a big, big moustache! You can't take that away from him.

@ DavidtheNorseman

"Nietzsche is still a dead fool ..." Is this better or worse than a living one?
13:20 December 29, 2009 by wenddiver
MENTALLY ILL-That's all the value and relavance this man had. We really need to move away from enshrining Nut cases as leaders of Western thought. That's how we end up with Psychos like Hitler, Marx Nietzsche being given entirely more respect in the world than they deserve.

In the end, somebody who would have done less harm if commited earlier and taught to finger paint.
20:44 January 1, 2010 by ohpeequeue
Nietzsche is fascinating. So is Christianity. However, neither of these positions have a shred of evidence to back up their propositions, so all you're going to end up with is the sort of back-and-forth going on on these posts. Both (nietzche's thought, Christian thought) have a thread of circularity (i.e, if you disagree with Christianity, you're unChristian/ evil by definition; with Nietzsche, disagreement leaves you open to the claim that you're, not being a superman, only subscribing to the 'weak' view to protect yourself. No winners here.

HDB, I'm amazed you would include rock stars in Nietzsche's 'ubermensch'.... ha ha was that a joke?

This brings us to the question of the subjectivity of 'greatness'....let's say your next door neighbor is a fine husband and father. Picasso is a great artist but a deeply flawed husband and a womanizer. Is Picasso greater than your neighbor? Sure he's a better artist, but your neighbor is a better husband...or carpenter...or debt collector...ad infinitum......
20:35 January 4, 2010 by Talonx
I prefer most of all Trent Reznor's expansion upon one of Nietzsche's most developed of claims

'Your god is dead and noone cares, if there is a hell, I'll see you there'

Of course I quote from Reznor's 'Heresy' a work that emphasises the ultimate and innescapable amoralism of religion refering to god's 'perfect kingdom of killing and suffering' as well as god's blindness to reason, 'he sewed his eyes shut, because he is afraid to see'. God, of course, is merely a sort of superpersonification of man in Reznor's philosophy.
19:32 January 5, 2010 by pmac
Excellent thread -- reminds me of theology classes. Never got anyplace there either :-)

Budget argument in a university:

Head of physics was arguing for more money for a cyclotron. Dean is annoyed at the cost and asks why can't the physicists be more like mathematicians, who only need pencils, paper and a wastebasket.

And his deputy asks "Philosophy is even less expensive; they don't need the wastebasket"

As for religion: they had five thousand years of chanting to the sky fairies and were still dying of smallpox, tb, etc etc.

'nuff said
23:24 January 7, 2010 by AnasFromDamascus

that worshippers were dying of smallpox means, to you, that they were praying in vain?! I bet you consider yourself a rational person with sound analytical skills.

Did anyone ever promise "no smallpox for those who worship God"? No. Life is a test, and God thrusts whatever He wants upon whomever He wants. But it is all a test and it all comes to an end. What remains for man is his/her record and deeds. And God will judge all.
11:18 January 8, 2010 by Talonx

So not only do you know that god exists, but you know his will, what he wants? Those are two very large claims, neither with supporting evidence and the latter with a nice big ego-injection.

Just for fun, obviously if there is a god he doesn't seem to answer everybodies prayers, but why is it that in the history of mankind their are no reports of people being cured ot lost limbs or parapelegias? God only seems to cure the stuff that medecine takes care of or the stuff that goes away on its own.

According to your statements you also either A: think god is not all-knowing, or B: thing god is all-knowing but somehow still needs to test us (even though he would know the results at the begining of creation). Religion allows people to think like this (irrationally) and is thus a dangerous waste of time.

But don't listen to me, as most religious texts state (I doubt you've read your own text and I guarentee I have) reason is the enemy of god.
17:54 January 8, 2010 by markoer
From many of those poor comments (some of them merely citing weak and very, very outdated compendium like Bertrand Russell... LOL!) I understand why one of the greatest philosopher of all of the times is so misunderstood.

Marco (PhD in Phylosophy)
18:54 January 8, 2010 by TigerEye
When reading Nietzsche, years ago, I decided that the problem I had with him was that he didn't or couldn't love or be loved. A tragic romantic. I felt his self imposed isolation from the very thing he feared and needed. He may have been a repressed homosexual unable to face his dilemma.
20:04 January 9, 2010 by Talonx
markoer (a.k.a potential committer of fallacy of argument from authority),

Then again why bring out the 'big guns' when all your opponent brings to the table is a 'switchblade', they might not even understand the 'big guns'


(all around good guy)
01:11 January 13, 2010 by Talonx
Plus having rejected all religion he was likely better in bed :)

Check out Kinsey's work on religious attitudes and sexuality.

Provocation is fun both in the bed and in commentary!
Today's headlines
Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Eurowings union threatens cabin crew strike for Thursday
Photo: DPA.

A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will start as of Thursday if ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd