But who is this Adolf Hitler? How great must the intellectual degeneration of a people be that in this foolish poltroon they see a leader, and therefore a personality to be emulated? -article in the German newspaper Die Weltbühne, 1931
Carl von Ossietzky
WORKS BURNED Various articles in Die Weltbühne
German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky (1889-1938) began his journalism career by writing anti-militarist articles. Military service during World War I confirmed his anti-war beliefs. He wrote a book advancing the pacifist cause and was jailed twice for exposing the clandestine rearmament policy of the post-World War I German army. As editor of a leading political journal of the Weimar period, he described Adolf Hitler as a "foolish poltroon." After the Nazis came to power in 1933, they not only burned Ossietzky's collected articles, but, following the Reichstag fire, arrested him and incarcerated him in various concentration camps. In 1936, while still imprisoned in the concentration camp system, Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nazi regime demanded that he decline the prize and refused to release him from internment. Ill with tuberculosis and weakened by torture, Ossietzky was eventually released but kept under constant surveillance until his death in 1938.