Joachimthaler, title image

Joachimsthaler on
Karl Mayr

from: Adolf Hitler, 1908-1920: Korrektur einer Biographie (Munich: Herbig, 1989)

part of the Hitler in History Project
by Prof. Harold Marcuse (homepage)
page created Aug. 20, 2007, updated 9/27/10

Background (back to top)

  • On my 1941 Current History "I was Hitler's Boss" page, I note that: Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: Norton, 1998), 122 (with note 62 on p. 642) writes:
    "The organization of a series of 'anti-Bolshevik courses', beginning in early June, was placed in the hands of Captain Karl Mayr, who, a short while earlier, on 30 May, had taken over the command of the Information Department. Mayr, one of the 'midwives' of Hitler's political 'career', could certainly have claimed prime responsibility for its initial launch.
    The first of Hitler's many patrons, Mayr had a maverick career which saw him swing from active engagement on the extreme counter-revolutionary right -- he was an important Bavarian link with the putschist Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 -- to become a strong critic of Hitler and an active figure in the Social Democrat paramilitary organization, the Reichsbanner. He fled to France in 1933, but was later captured by the Nazis, and died in Buchenwald concentration camp in February 1945."
  • In August 2007 a reader of that webpage noted that in the editor's introductory paragraph to the article in the 1941 Current History, it says that Mayr was, at the time, a refugee in the US. The reader asks: How did Mayr go from being a refugee in the US in 1941, to being dead in Buchenwald in 1945? Or perhaps the question is: Where did Kershaw come by his information?
  • Well, Kershaw cites three sources: a 1959 VfZ article by Deuerlein, "Hitler's Eintritt;" a 1977 VfZ article by Helmuth Auerbach, and especially:
  • A. Joachimsthaler, Adolf Hitler, 1908-1920: Korrektur einer Biographie (Munich: Herbig, 1989): text and notes about Mayr: pp. 228-232 with notes pp. 304f.
  • Here is what I wrote in response to that e-mail (in case anyone wants to follow up by examining the Munich Post [which Ron Rosenbaum, in his 1998 Explaining Hitler, examined on microfilm in the Bavarian State Library in Munich]:
  • Joachimsthaler has very detailed information, including a long biographical footnote on Mayr: note [744]. I've scanned several pages of text and references from J., out of which I've made a web page (this page with the scans below). Here is my analysis:
    • I think J. might not read English. He cites the Current History piece (n. [746]) and then recapitulates it at length on the next page in the main text--however, at that point he cites Auerbach 1977 as his source (n. [754]). Right after that note he concludes by stating that Mayr's life 'ended in Buchenwald.' Now since Auerbach was a researcher at the Munich Institut für Zeitgeschichte, I'd guess he is the source of J's long biographical footnote on Mayr. And I would look to Auerbach's article for a solution to the puzzle you pose--if Mayr was in the US, how did he get back to France to be captured by the Nazis?
    • If you wanted to obtain and scan that article (sorry I don't have time), I could give it a look: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 25(1977), 1-45; J. cites pp. 17ff about Mayr's article -- so you could focus on those pages.
      Note 9/27/10: This article is available on JStor (if you have a library proxy server). Here is the text on Mayr from p. 17, note 66:
      "Karl Mayr selbst ging spaiter zur SPD, wurde ein fiihrender Mann im Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold (vgl. Karl Rohe, Das Reichsbanner Schwarz Rot Gold, Diisseldorf 1966, S. 149 ff.) und als solcher auch ein heftiger Kritiker Hitlers. 1955 emigrierte er nach Paris. Im November 1941 erschien in der amerikanischen Zeitschrift Current History ein anonymer Artikel, der laut Vorspann offensichtlich von Mayr stammt: I Was Hitler's Boss, By a former officer of the Reichswehr (Vol. I, No. 5, S. 195-199), und in dem Hitler jegliche intellektuellen und organisatorischen Fihigkeiten abgesprochen werden. Mayr beginnt seine Schilderung: ,,For fifteen months I was in daily contact with Hitler, and I believe I know this strange man as well as, if not better than, anyone else. I knew him before he had to pretend and put on a leader's mask, sometimes even to the so-called men around him. After the First World War he was just one of the many thousands of ex-soldiers who walked the streets looking for work ... At this time Hitler was ready to throw in his lot with anyone who would show him kindness. He never had that ,,Death or Germany" martyr spirit which later so much used as a propaganda slogan to boost him. He would have worked for a Jewish or a French employer just as readily as for an Aryan. When I first met him he was like a tired stray dog / looking for a master. However fancifully writers describe him now, at that time he was totally unconcerned about the German people and their destinies."
    • Beyond that, I see that J. cites two articles from the Munich Post:
      2 July 1923 (n. [749], [752]), in which Mayr distances himself from Hitler
      2 March 1931 (n. [753], in which he defends himself against accusations by Esser that he was Hitler's lapdog, and references his own 1923 article.
    • I do NOT see that Joachimsthaler cites the
      13 Nov. 1928 Post article that you found cited by Machtan (p. 341n100=p.95), where Machtan also says that Mayr's 1941 Current History article might have been based on an interview he gave Otto Strasser (who himself published several memoirs--listed in Machtan's bibliography, p. 417).
    • Machtan, p.371n119 also cites a
      15/16 Oct. 1932 Post article reprinting a letter from Roehm to Mayr
      as well as (p. 371n119, n123 and 372n125=p.209) a
      6 Oct. 1932 Vorwaerts article about Roehm, which reports on a conversation between Roehm & Mayr in 1932.

Joachimsthaler p. 228 Joachimsthaler p. 304
Joachimsthaler p. 229 Joachimsthaler p. 304
Joachimsthaler p. 230 Joachimsthaler p. 305
Joachimsthaler p. 231 Joachimsthaler p. 232

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page created by Harold Marcuse on Aug. 20, 2007; last update: see page header
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