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When Gruppe 47 called for a Springer boycott

In the 20 years of its existence, Gruppe 47 included pretty much everyone who was of any standing in the post-war writer and critic scene in West Germany, from Günter Grass to Martin Walser and from Walter Jens to Marcel Reich-Ranicki.

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When Gruppe 47 called for a Springer boycott

In the 20 years of its existence, Gruppe 47 included pretty much everyone who was of any standing in the post-war writer and critic scene in West Germany, from Günter Grass to Martin Walser and from Walter Jens to Marcel Reich-Ranicki. The history of the association, which wrote literary history as a powerful cartel, can be read in Helmut Böttiger and Peter Magenau, this is only about one episode.

From October 5th to 8th, 1967, Gruppe 47 met in the “Pulvermühle” boarding house in Waischenfeld in Upper Franconia. It is - what nobody knew at the time - the last meeting of the group, overshadowed by the student revolt. In the summer of 1967, the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) circulated the slogan "Expropriated Springer". As early as April, the writer Reinhard Lettau had defamed the newspapers of the Axel Springer Verlag in the Audimax of the Freie Universität Berlin - they were accused of a "monopoly of opinion", but above all, not entirely wrongly, the rejection of the student movement.

Now, at the Group 47 meeting, Lettau discusses the Springer press with fellow writers. A resolution was created overnight, which was signed by 80 of the approximately 120 authors present, including Grass and Walser. In the resolution, the writers declare that they will no longer publish in the Springer press, and they call on their publishers to stop advertising there as well. Hanser, Piper, Luchterhand, Rowohlt, Suhrkamp, ​​Wagenbach and Kiepenheuer

A poster designed by Klaus Staeck and texted by Peter Rühmkorf invites trade fair visitors from 1967 to find out more about the resolution in Hall BE, Stand K 137:

The news magazine "Spiegel" reported maliciously at the time that this "will be remembered as a turbulent Springer happening": Because SDS students protested in the exhibition halls and besieged stands in the manner of the then fashionable teach-ins. They distribute leaflets accusing Springer newspapers of "manipulation". They also yell "Springer-Press shut up" and tear up "Die Welt der Literatur" (the literary supplement of WELT at the time). At Ullstein Verlag, which at the time belonged to Springer, they tore up brochures and chanted: "Steal these creatures' books".

Meanwhile, a chronicle published in 2010 by the Suhrkamp publisher Siegfried Unseld shows that despite all the solidarity for his authors, he felt displeasure when around 100 SDS students protested at the "World of Literature" stand. Then he, Unseld, stood in front of the "World of Literature" stand with his fellow publishers: "Our arguments that this demonstration was illegal, that it violated the rules of the trade fair and that it violated the peace of the trade fair were of course only met with scornful laughter." , notes Unseld. Then he "explained very clearly to the students that I could not tolerate this procedure and that I personally and with what I represent from the Suhrkamp publishing house, am against this procedure and that I would advocate that the status of the ' World of Literature' could display his newspaper here for as long as the fair lasted." According to "Spiegel", Unseld's request for moderation was accepted with a grunt and acknowledged with the words: "Yes, Onkel Unseld".

In 1968 another mass followed with tumult. Now the SDS is protesting against a trade fair visit by the politician Franz Josef Strauss. Under the motto “Besiege the Book Fair – Occupy the Paulskirche”, the students are trying to prevent the Peace Prize from being awarded to the Senegalese President and writer Léopold Sédar Senghor.

It is said that all writer's life is paper. In this series, we provide evidence to the contrary.

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