New Nietzsche book aims to save his reputation

New Nietzsche book aims to save his reputation
Photo: DPA
A new "Nietzsche Encyclopaedia" aims to prove that philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, often considered a forerunner of Nazi ideology, was the victim of a much deeper falsification scandal than had previously been thought.

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.

“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.

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