Julius Streicher: The Pied Piper of Ritual Murder in Nazi Germany

by Natalie Armacost


My paper will be about the use of Blood Libel and Ritual Murder in the Nazi Party in Germany.  The most prolific propagandist that used blood libel was Julius Streicher, so the research focuses on his work.  Because of the language translation, whenever ritual murder and ritualmord are used interchangeably.


While the topic of blood libel and ritual murder was used in specific places and times throughout history, it was always a one-off event  and the people involved in large trials like Norwich, Trent, and Damascus were not involved in multiple trials in multiple places in a short span of time.  While this is the trend for most of the history of the blood libel accusation, the tide turns extremely during the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.  One man, Julius Streicher, propagandized the idea of ritual murder, or ritualmord, and brings it to national consciousness.  

Julius Streicher wrote often about ritualmord in the context of the Third Reich and the danger the Jewish population to the Aryan race.  This allows for many primary sources through the archive at Calvin College.  Books like The Pinnacle of Hatred by Darren O’Brien are helpful in giving context to the works.

Julius Streicher’s rise and fall in the Nazi party and his use of ritualmord brought the idea everywhere in the minds of people in Europe, from newspapers to movies and children’s books.


History of Julius Streicher, the Nazi Party, and Ritualmord

Julius Streicher was one of the earliest members of the Nazi party.  He was involved in Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch and started gaining titles and responsibilities after Hitler’s release from prison.  Streicher also served in the Bavarian Parliament.  While a member of the party, he independently published his newspaper, Der Stuermer, and also published children’s books that were in line with the newspaper’s anti-semitic nature.

After attempting to humiliate Hermann Goering at a Nazi gathering in 1938, Streicher was stripped of all of his titles and responsibilities.  Because Der Stuermer was not a Nazi publication, he continued publishing until the end of the war where he was found a war criminal and was executed in Nuremberg.

Newspapers and Pamphlets

Der Stuermer began publishing in 1926 and continued to publish until the end of World War II.  The most infamous special edition which is most useful to this paper is the special Ritual Murder issue which had a artwork cover of Jews collecting Christian blood.  It also alleged a full conspiracy of Jews to kill Christians and collect their blood for religious services.  This issue was published in 1936 and was eventually banned by the Nazi government because of the parallels Streicher drew between this ritual murder practice and the practice of Christians receiving communion.

Der Stuermer’s Battle was a pamphlet that was distributed by Karl Holz to bring people to understand the goals and message of Der Stuermer, hopefully bringing in new readers.  

Warum Arierparagraph? Ein Beitrag Zur Judenfrage” was another pamphlet that was released to explain to the German people the laws that were being put into place that limited Jewish people in Germany.


Children’s Books

Der Giftpilz, or the Poisonous Mushroom, was a children’s book published by Julius Streicher.  The aim of the book was to show children how dangerous Jews are to them.  The most relevant chapter in the book is about how Jews torture animals and that sometimes they can kill Christian men, women, and children as well.  

Der Ewige Jude

Der Ewige Jude was a Nazi propaganda movie chronicling the migration of the Jews (compared to diseased rats) from Palestine to other countries.  The film shows the spread of the Jewish infection that the Nazis believed was happening all over the world.  Along with the movie, the Nazis released a book of photographs that illustrated similar points.  There was also an exhibition of the same title organized by Julius Streicher that drew very large crowds in Germany.

der ewige jude photo

Annotated Bibliography

Cover of Der Stürmer. Nuremberg: Stürmerverlag, May 1934. Calvin College Nazi Propaganda Archive. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/images/sturmer/dsrm34.jpg.
  • The cover of a special edition of Der Stuermer that dealt specifically with the idea of ritual murder by Jews of Christians.  The edition is one of the most famous of the many that were published in Germany between 1926 and 1945.
“Die Geheimpläne gegen Deutschland enthüllt.” Der Stürmer. Issue 27. Nuremberg: Stürmerverlag, July 1933. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/ds6.htm.
  • An article from the Der Stuermer special edition about ritual murder that covers the threats that Jews pose to non-Jews and that the main action that should be taken against them is extermination. 

Der Ewige Jude. Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP. 1937. http://www.bytwerk.com/gpa/diebow.htm

  • A photo from the Book incarnation of Der Ewige Jude.
Hippler, Fritz. Der Ewige Jude. Documentary, 1940. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DOI3FqCZJE
  • Film made about the “eternal” Jew cursed by God and that has been mistreated justifiably by other races.  The most famous scene compares Jews to infected rats who left Palestine to infect the rest of the world with their “sickness”.

Hiemer, Ernst.  Der Giftpilz.  “So quälen die Juden die Tiere.” Nuremberg: Stürmerverlag, 1938. https://archive.org/details/ThePoisonousMushroom.

  • A chapter from a children’s book  called The Poison Mushroom or Toadstool, talking about the dangers of Jews.  This chapter specifically discusses the nature of Jews as having “blood-lust” and how they torture animals and on occasion will murder christians in ritual murder.
Holz, Karl. “Des Stürmers Kampf.” Nuremberg: Stürmerverlag, 1937. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/stuermerskampf.htm.
  • A promotional pamphlet written by Karl Holz about the mission of Der Stuermer against the Jews.  
“Julius Streicher: Biography.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007316.
  • An overview of Julius Streicher’s life and work.
Ley, Robert. Pesthauch Der Welt. Dresden: Franz Müller Verlag, 1944. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/pesthauch.htm.
  • A book written by Robert Ley, focusing on the “Pestilent Miasma of the World”, or the Jews.  The second chapter is an overview of the public perception of the myth of the Eternal Jew and the role it plays in the world.
O’Brien, Darren. The Pinnacle of Hatred: The Blood Libel and the Jews. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2011.
  • The book covers not only the histories of blood libel and ritual murder, but it also covers the history of Nazi propaganda and it’s use of these tropes.  This book has been invaluable in my research and writing.

“Robert Ley.” Encyclopædia Britannica Onlinehttp://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Ley.

  • Background information on Robert Ley who wrote Der Giftpilz.

Rose, E.M. The Murder of William of Norwich: The Origins of the Blood Libel in Medieval Europe.  New York: Oxford University Press. 2015.

  • Used for background information on ritual murder

Schultz, Dr. E. H., and Dr. R. Frercks. “Warum Arierparagraph? Ein Beitrag Zur Judenfrage.” Verlag Neues Welt, 1934. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/arier.htm.

  • A pamphlet explaining the laws, reffered to as the Aryan Laws, that were put into place that restricted Jews.

“The Eternal Jew: The Film of a 2000-Year Rat Migration.” Unsere Wille Und Weg. Issue 10.  pg 54-55. 1940. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/ewig.htm.
  • An article that came out in a magazine for Nazi propagandists after the release of Der Ewige Jude.