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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Further Information

Dr. Maria Effinger

Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
Plöck 107-109
69117 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 (0) 6221-54-3561


Bettina Müller, M.A.

Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
Plöck 107-109
69117 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 (0) 6221-54-3528


Der Wahre Jacob – digital


Zweifelhafte Wertobjekte: Europäische Monarchen drängeln sich vor einem Versicherungsschalter, um ihre Kronen zu versichern.Founded in 1879 in Hamburg the social democratic satire journal Der Wahre Jacob was published intermittently until 1933. For a long time it was the most widely read journal within the circle of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). After reprisals in the context of the Anti-Socialist Laws the magazine was continued in Stuttgart. From 1891 onwards the cover page was decorated with a four-colour printed caricature. Coloured satire pictures, caricatures, agitation pictures and illustrations gained an important role.

In 1923 hyperinflation forced Der Wahre Jacob to cease its publication. As late as October 1922 an issue was sold for 10 Mark, by mid-1923 the price had increased up to 20 million. On 12th October the very same year the journal wrote its farewell to the readers: "Dies ist des 'Jacobs' letzte Nummer! - Er starb an keinem Staatsanwalt, - Es macht kein Paragraph ihn kalt, - Er legte sich zum Winterschlummer, - edrängt vom Wucherergebot, - Erdrosselt von der Zeiten Not! […]." From 1924 to 1927 the humoristic journal was published under the title Lachen links, from July 1927 the name Der Wahre Jacob was again re-established.

Otto von Bismarck and the politics of the German Reich were the main target of ridicule. Characteristic for Der Wahre Jacob are its articles dealing with tendencies and current events of politics, in particular with the development of social democracy. Already in the year of Hitler's takeover the journal was prohibited because of its critical articles.

Chief editors were Wilhelm Blos (1879-1880; 1884-1887), Georg Bassler (1890-1900), Berthold Heymann (1901-1919) and Friedrich Wendel (1927-1933). Eminent authors of "Der Wahre Jacob" were Victor Adler, Wilhelm Blos, Arno Holz, Erich Mühsam, Clara Müller-Jahnke, Alexander Roda Roda, Emil Rosenow or Dr. Owlglass.

Prominent draughtsmen were Otto Emil Lau, who was responsible for the head-piece, Edmund Edel, Emil Erk, Fritz Grätz, Hans Gabriel Jentzsch, Otto Marcus, Rata Langa (Gabriele Galantara) or Erich Schilling.

From 1879 to 1917 the constant price per issue was 10 Pfennig. We do not know how many copies of Der Wahre Jacob were published in these first years. In 1887 the circulation was up to 40.000 copies and in 1890 up to 100.000. In 1912 the number had increased to 380.500, but during World War I it nearly decreased by half. In 1919 the journal was published again with 200.000 copies. Thus, its circulation was higher than any other social democratic journal in Germany.

Further Reading

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