Schemm, Hans Heinrich Georg.

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Schemm, Hans Heinrich Georg, born 06-10-1891 in Bayreuth, as the second of three sons of Konrad Schemm and his wife Babette, born Meyer in Bayreuth’s Brautgasse, where his parents ran a shoemaker’s shop. Due to his parents’ work as suppliers for the local military, he grew up primarily with his grandmother. She awakened his interest in history and myths. He first attended elementary school and from 1905 to 1910 (three years of preparatory school and two years of seminar courses) the teachers’ seminar at the Royal Bavarian Teachers’ Training Institute in Bayreuth. In 1915 he married the builder’s daughter Babetta Lorenzia Zeitler, who was four years older and came from a wealthy family. Their son Rudolf was born in 1917.

From 1910, Schemm taught as a teacher, first in Wülfersreuth, from 1911 in Neufang and from 1920 at the Altstadtschule, later the Hans Schemm School in Bayreuth.   During his time as a teacher he experimented with chemicals and worked with his microscope. He was deferred from military service in 1911 and assigned to the replacement reserve. On the sixth day of mobilization (06-08-1914) he was deployed as a medical attendant at the reserve hospital in Bayreuth “in response to urgent requests from the responsible military doctors”. In the winter of 1915/16 he became infected with tuberculosis, which again led to his temporary exemption from military service. He later had the glass plate of a photo that showed him in a medical uniform destroyed in order to cover up the stain of not having “served.”

From April 18 to May 6, 1919 Schemm was a member of the Bayreuth Freikorps. He no longer took an active part in the violent suppression of the Munich Soviet Republic on 02-05-1919 because he only arrived in Munich afterwards.

Schemm had joined the Nazi Party in 1922. On 30-09-1923 he first met Adolf Hitler. When the Party was banned in the wake of the Beer Hall Putsch, Schemm, with Hitler’s blessing, became First Assessor in the Bayreuth Völkischer Bund in 1924 and, when it disbanded, joined the National Socialist Freedom Movement. When the Nazi Party was re-established in 1925, Schemm immediately rejoined it on 27 February (membership number 29,313) and organized the Bayreuth Ortsgruppe (Local Group) becoming its Ortsgruppenleiter, a post he would retain until his death.In May 1927 he advanced to Bezirksleiter (District Leader) in Upper Franconia. A gifter speaker, he became an effective propagandist and served as a Reichsredner (national orator)

On 20-05-1928, Schemm was elected a member of the Bavarian Landtag, serving until September 1930. On 01-10-1928 when Julius Streicher’s large Gau of Northern Bavaria (Nordbayern) was broken up, Schemm became the Gauleiter of the newly established Gau of Upper Franconia (Oberfranken). On 24-11-1928, Schemm co-founded the National Socialist Teachers League (NSLB) in Hof and was elected its leader (“Reichswalter”) on 21-04-1929.

Schemm also took on the role of Nazi Party publicist. Between 1928 and 1929 he was the editor of several Nazi newspapers (Der Streiter, Weckruf and Nationale Zeitung). In August 1929, Schemm founded his own newspaper, the Nationalsozialistische Lehrerzeitung (“National Socialist Teachers’ Newspaper”), that became the journalistic organ of the NSLB. On 01-10-1930 came the first edition of the weekly newspaper Kampf für deutsche Freiheit und Kultur (“Struggle for German Freedom and Culture”), which was published by Schemm, and whose circulation rose from 3,000 in the beginning to 20,000 by 1932. In July 1931, Schemm founded the Bayreuth National Socialist Cultural Publishing House (Nationalsozialistischer Kulturverlag Bayreuth), which beginning on 01-10-1932 published the daily newspaper Das Fränkische Volk (circulation: 10,000).

On 08-12-1929 Schemm became a member of the Bayreuth Stadrat (City Council) and chairman of its Nazi faction. In September 1930, he was elected a member of the German national parliament, the Reichstag, from electoral constituency 26, Franconia. On 19-01-1933, the Gau of Upper Franconia, led by Schemm, was merged with the Gau of Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate (Niederbayern-Oberpfalz) to form the Gau Bavarian Eastern March. Schemm became the Gauleiter of the enlarged Gau.

On 10-03-1933, when the Nazis seized control of the Bavarian state government, Schemm was made the Staatskommissar (State Commissioner) in charge of education and culture, and also was appointed one of the state’s representatives to the Reichsrat until its abolition on 14-02-1934. On 16-03-1933, the Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) of Bavaria, Franz Xavier Ritter von Epp, appointed Schemm as the Acting State Minister for Education and Culture. On 12 April Schemm was made permanent minister and “Leader of Cultural and Educational Affairs of Bavaria” in the cabinet of Minister-President Ludwig Siebert. At the same time, he officially left school service. In October 1933, Schemm became a member of the Academy for German Law. He was a holder of the Golden Party Badge and was also granted honorary citizenship of Bayreuth. On 17-11-1933, he became head of the Office for the NSLB within the leadership of the Nazi Party. On 01-04-1934 Schemm was named head (Hauptamtsleiter) of the Main Office for Education at the Brown House, the national headquarters of the NSDAP.

Schemm has been described as “perhaps the most skilled and dynamic of Franconia’s Nazi leaders.” However, his political positions were clearly antidemocratic, anti-Semitic and anti-Communist, as can be seen in some of his quotations: “We are not objective – we are German!” and  “that a Jew should dangle from every lamppost”.

In April 1933, when Schemm arrived in Passau to attend the laying of the corner stone for the Hall of the Nibelungs, he addressed the masses. Passau honored Schemm by dedicating a street and a school to him.

Death and burial ground of Schemm, Hans Heinrich Georg.

On 05-03-1935 Schemm was seriously injured in an aircraft crash. Although Hitler personally ordered noted surgeon Professor Ferdinand Sauerbruch  to fly to Bayreuth, Schemm succumbed to his injuries that same day before the professor’s arrival. Schemm was succeeded by his Deputy, Ludwig Ruckdeschel, as Acting Gauleiter until Fritz Wächtler was appointed the permanent replacement on 5 December.[13] He was given a lavish state funeral, attended by Hitler and most Party and State dignitaries. One observer noted: Ludwig Ruckdeschel survived the war and died 08-11-1986 (aged 79) in Wolfsburg,

[It] was the biggest Bayreuth had ever seen and far more ostentatious than Richard Wagner‘s . When all the guests had taken their places, for the funeral ceremony, Hitler arrived unexpectedly, and walked silently between the ranks of the raised arms. … Hess delivered the main funeral oration, followed by Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelm “Willi” Frick, Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg, Heinrich Himmler and many others. The ceremony concluded with the funeral march from the Twilight of the Gods. The Nazis posthumously honored Schemm as a publicist and educator by naming multiple schools, streets, and halls after him.

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