Weirdly enough, amidst all the reporting about the conspiracy theories of Trumpites and their ferocity against the “fake news”, nobody is making the obvious connection with Nietzsche’s sister.
So I guess it falls to yours truly – again! – to take up the task.
It all goes back to a visit paid by Harry Graf Kessler to Nietzsche’s sister in 1921. Cut. Here we need to paste in a description of Harry Graf Kessler. This guy was the Zelig of his time. He knew everyone, from Hindenberg to Georg Grosz, and he was everywhere. He was rich. He financed avant garde art, hobnobbed with communists, and got himself the fuck away from Germany once Hitler took over. He put it all down in his diaries, which are fascinating even if you don’t know all the characters. If you want to know what the Cabaret era was like – the giant Kit Kat club of European artists, scroungers, heirs and heiresses, communist journalists, pacifists, sex reformists, nudists, psychoanalysts, surrealists, etc. – read In the Twenties, the translation of his diaries. End of paste, back to:
Nietzsche’s sister! As every fan of Nietzsche knows, his sister, Elizabeth, was despicable on every level. A Wagner groupy – wife of an anti-semitic conman – object of Nietzsche’s own contempt – and keeper of the poor goof once he went supposedly crazy just because he mistook a beaten cab driver’s horse for Richard Wagner – and I’m with him on this one. His last decade was spent in a gloomy catatonia, while his sister enjoyed, unexpectedly, the celebrity that came with his books. Nietzsche caught on, but he never got to enjoy being the fin de siècle’s favorite kind of dynamite.
End of story, horrible woman, who like many horrible people, lived forever. She even lived up to the 1930s and got to welcome Hitler to her Nietzsche museum.
Now, back to the early twenties. At this time, radical right soldiers and cops roamed the streets, attacking leftwingers, and killing quite a few. The courts, which the Weimar government did not reform, were filled with sympathetic judges, who let them off. As so often, look to the judicial system for nourishing reaction.
But the rightwingers didn’t like being identified as murderers. One of the rightwingers killed Germany’s minister, Walter Rathenau, because he was a social democrat and a Jews. Hence this vignette:
Afternoon with Frau Förster-Nietzsche. A very unrefreshing political conversation, that she introduced when she told me she feared for my life from the side of the Bolsheviks “who also let Rathenau be murdered”. This absurd nonsense, which Ludendorff in an interview with the ›Daily Express‹ loosed upon the world a few days ago, is, for her, an undoubted fact, because “assassination is not a German kind of thing”.
Thus tasteless lies are now disseminated by old German nationalist ladies, in order to shield themselves from the taint of murder! I told her my opinion, which led to a rather excited argument, without diminishing in the least her belief on the purity of the German nationalist soul or shaking the idea of the communist masterminding of Rathenau’s murder.
I introduced into the conversation the fact, among others, that firstly, the righ radicals have up to now murdered around five hundred Leftist activists since the Revolution [which kicked out the Imperial government] came to a close. Were all these inspired by the communists or the Bolsheviks? Secondly, that we have never seen a Bolshevik provocateur tried for the murder of a rightwinger, or even be named in any case. Thirdly, that even the countless weapon reserves of the “German Security and Resistance Union”, the “E Organization”, etc. must then be derived from Bolshevik plotting, since they were also involved in the intention to attack and murder.
One is ashamed to have to contradict such absurdities. The good old woman spoke about the rightwing radicals only as “we”! “
I imagine similar conversations have been held in many a household, as sane family members confront the good old fox watchin’ parents.
I think Trump needs to shout out Elizabeth Forster Nietzsche. She was his kind of woman.