By FOIA Research
on November 1, 2023 - Last updated: November 7, 2023

Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing

Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing (June 23, 1927 - January 5, 2009) was an independently wealthy far-right publicist, financier and networker, best known as founder and editor of Germany’s formerly most eminent New Right magazine Criticón (1970–2007). Alongside his close affiliate, the Swiss far-right ideologue Armin Mohler (1920–2003), a disciple of Carl Schmitt and self-confessed fascist, Schrenck-Notzing tried to broadly reintroduce the interwar concept of a Conservative Revolution—a current that already his grandfather, the parapsychologist fraudster Albert von Schrenck-Notzing (1862–1929), had embraced.

Schrenck-Notzing was the offspring of a rich and powerful Patrician family from Bavaria that can be traced back to the 13th century. His paternal great-grandfather, Gustav von Siegle (1840–1905), was a co-founder of the chemical giant BASF and a majority shareholder in the tableware manufacturer WMF. The family’s wealth survived two world wars, with Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing becoming a major shareholder in both companies—this, despite his family being among the worst profiteers of WWII. For instance, during the entire Nazi period Schrenck-Notzing’s only uncle, Leopold von Schrenck-Notzing (1894–1970), was a member of the supervisory board of the IG Farben conglomerate (that included BASF), providing the Reich with gas used in extermination camps.

For most of his life, Schrenck-Notzing supported the extreme Right fringes of the Christian Democrats (CSU/CDU), and until the mid-1980s operated in the orbit of longtime Bavarian CSU leader Franz Josef Strauss (1915–1988). Already in his early 20s, Schrenck-Notzing was involved in projects at the interface of political agitation and intelligence work which started to proliferate with the Gehlen Organization in the immediate postwar period. Together with Mohler, Schrenck-Notzing was active in the so-called Munich Round Table (Münchner Tafelrunde) in the early 1950s, an exclusive discussion circle made up of former Wehrmacht and SS functionaries, aristocrats an businessmen, which officially operated under the name of Society for Military Science (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde), funded by the CIA, the Gehlen Org and the German government.

From the 1950s onward, Schrenck-Notzing aspired a career as a political propagandist, contributing to a number of extreme Right newspapers and journals, including: the CSU-affiliated Bayernkurier (1950–2019) of Franz Josef Strauss; Gerhard Frey’s National-Zeitung, founded in 1950/1951 by high-ranking Nazis, including several members of the Waffen-SS; and Nation Europa, whose founders and contributors were likewise former Nazi big wigs, with the founder of the Waffen-SS, Gottlob Berger (1896–1975) being a notable contributor. At times, Schrenck-Notzing also contributed to Axel Springer’s Die Welt. In 1970, he founded his own journal, the New Right Criticón, with the preeminent help of Mohler.

From 1970 onward, Schrenck-Notzing frequently attended annual meetings of Otto von Habsburg’s European Documentation and Information Center (CEDI), and he joined the German CEDI section (CEDI Deutschland) following its foundation in 1972.

From the early 1980s onwards, Schrenck-Notzing backed several efforts to establish a party to the Right of the Christian Democrats, successively supporting The Republicans, the German Social Union and the Union of Free Citizens.

In the early 1980s, he started to focus on foundational work, establishing the Institute for Conservative Education and Research (Institut für konservative Bildung und Forschung) in Munich, the precursor to the Foundation for Conservative Education and Research (Förderstiftung Konservative Bildung und Forschung, FKBF), established in 2000. The FKBF, now dominated by far-right publicist Dieter Stein, paved the way to the establishment of the Library of Conservatism (Bibliothek des Konservatismus) that opened in 2011, two years after Schrenck-Notzing’s death, which includes the latter’s vast private library as well as the Criticón archive.

Schrenck-Notzing was a co-founder of the Center for European Renewal in 2007, which was the first publisher of the far-right journal The European Conservative, today a partner of the Library of Conservatism.

In 2006, less than three years before his death, Schrenck-Notzing converted to Catholicism.

Family Background

Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing (1927–2009) is the offspring of an old Munich patrician family called von Schrenck-Notzing (also Schrenck von Notzing), first mentioned in a document in 1269. The branch to which Schrenck-Notzing belongs was among the most influential families in the Munich City Council (1810-1919), an important political position in the Kingdom of Bavaria (1805–1918).

Schrenck-Notzing’s immediate ancestors include several industrialists, most notably his great-grandfather Gustav von Siegle (1840–1905), founder of the paint factory G. Siegle & Co., co-founder of the chemical giant BASF (f. 1863), and majority shareholder of the tableware manufacturer WMF (f. 1853)—which consolidated the wealth of the family. BASF later became part of the chemical and pharmaceutical conglomerate IG Farben.

Albert Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing (1862–1929)

Part of the Siegle fortune was passed on to Gabriele von Siegle (1872–1953), the wife of Schrenck-Notzing’s grandfather, Albert Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing (1862-1929, ASN), a parapsychological fraudster with connections to the early völkisch movement. Starting out as a doctor specialized in hypnotism, in 1886, he was a co-founder and longtime secretary of the Munich-based Psychological Society, which notably included Ludwig Klages and Max Scheler, proponents of the pre-Nazi “Conservative Revolution” current.1

Enabled by his wife’s wealth, ASN abandoned all academic pretenses to follow his passions for parapsychology and the study of the occult. He was known for dabbling with mediums, telepathy, telekinesis and other quackery, and was nicknamed the “Spirit Baron” (Geisterbaron) because of the occultist seances at his wife’s villa at the Starnberg Lake near Munich. In 1926, he was founder and editor of the Journal for Parapsychology (Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie).2 According to an article by Peter Kratz, ASN had connections to the later wife of Hitler putschist Erich Ludendorff, Mathilde Ludendorff (1877-1966),1 who ultimately deemed him a fraud. Also C. G. Jung and Thomas Mann attended some of Schrenck-Notzing’s sittings.3

Albert’s wife Gabriele, one of the heirs of the enormous Siegle fortune, is primarily known as an early female aviator, however, also took part in the séances of her husband.

On his mother’s side, Schrenck-Notzing was a grandson of the well-known German writer Ludwig Ganghofer (1855–1920). Already during his lifetime criticized for his bestselling kitsch novels, Ganghofer became a war propagandist during WWI. A personal friend of Wilhelm II and the latter’s favorite poet, Ganghofer’s war reports were full of praise for the emperor and field marshal Paul von Hindenburg.4

Timeline

Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing was born in 1927 in Munich as the second son of Gustav von Schrenck-Notzing (1896–1943) and Marta Wedekind (b. 1902). The couple had married in 1923, but divorced in 1937. His father was the owner of a racing stable and commander of the Heeresrennstall, the Army Racing Stable during the Nazi era. As of 1943, he also served as deputy chairman of WMF’s supervisory board in Potsdam, alongside his brother Leopold von Schrenck-Notzing (1894–1970).5 The latter was a member of the supervisory board of IG Farben from 1929 to 1945, which provided gas for the extermination camps.6 Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing himself became a major shareholder in WMF and BASF, thus becoming a direct profiteer of the war in the worst of ways.1

In 1943, when Caspar was 16-years old, his father died. About his school period Schrenck-Notzing noted in his autobiography that “He was educated during the war, but contrary to the then ruling ideas, he was instructed in the liberal-pacifist and anti-centrist ideology of the famous Munich professor of philosophy, Frederick Foerster.”7 [This seems odd, given that from 1926 to 1940 Foerster lived in France and then emigrated to the United States.]

1950s

After the war, Schrenck-Notzing studied history and sociology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg and the University of Cologne.  But he was always drawn back to his hometown Munich, where he returned to after his studies—the place where the Nazi movement was launched, and which became the favorite gathering place of former Nazi functionaries following WWII. Under American occupation, Munich was home to the Gehlen Organization, which offered them ample employment opportunities in the multiverse of anti-communist intelligence projects that emerged in collaboration with the bourgeoning CIA. Overall, a welcoming environment for the young Schrenck-Notzing, who already as a student aspired to make a mark in far-right politics.

Munich Round Table / Society for Military Science

Already in his early 20s, Schrenck-Notzing operated in the highest and most opaque echelons of Bavarian politics, on the nexus of intelligence work and political propaganda. His name appeared in the context of a CIA-funded psychological warfare project of the early 1950s, the still existing Society for Military Science (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde, GfW) in Bonn, initially chaired by none other than Reinhard Gehlen (1902-1979).8

In the age of 22, Schrenck-Notzing was responsible for the coordination of lectures for the Munich Round Table (Münchner Tafelrunde, MTR), the GfW’s unofficial Munich discussion circle. Founded in 1951, the MTR was an exclusive group of around 80 people largely “made up of former Wehrmacht soldiers, members of the SS and aristocrats.”9 The MTR is scarcely documented, with the historians Wilfried Loth and Bernd Rusinek stating that the GfW “emerged from this circle.”10 Armin Mohler, in a letter to Carl Schmitt, stated that the Round Table was officially organized as the GfW.11

The GfW itself was founded by the CIA’s covert action branch Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) which financed the organization in the framework of project QKSNITCH until the beginning of 1953 with around 240,000 DM.12 The GfW also received federal funds.13 According to Lars Westerlund, “The enterprise was supported by the U.S. Military Academy West Point,” stating that “The society became crucial in preparing the eventual establishment of the Bundeswehr in 1955.”14 Badis Ben Redjeb, who had researched QKSNITCH, remarked that the GfW also appeared as a publisher of anti-communist and military propaganda.15

GfW's principal agent, Wilhelm Classen, “was a professor of philosophy and a former member of the Abwehr and of the propaganda staff of the OKW who was placed at the head of the association by the OPC.”15 The GfW included notably Prince Burchard von Preussen16 , the former Wehrmacht Colonel and Gehlen Org employee, Count Eberhard Von Nostitz (1906-1983), and the former SS General Felix Steiner (1896–1966).17

A US National Archives research aid mentions that the GfW was part of the larger CIA project KMMANLY (1951–53), “originally designed to counter the actions of pacifist and neutralist groups in West Germany” that were opposing Germany’s re-armament.17 To that end, KMMANLY supported several military publications, such as The German Soldiers’ Newspaper, (Deutsche Soldatenzeitung), the European Defense Newsletter (Europäische Wehrkorrespondenz) and the Military Science Journal, (Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau). Under the pseudonym Ignaz Seetaler18 , Schrenck-Notzing notably contributed to the far-right National-Zeitung (National Newspaper) of Gerhard Frey, the successor of the German Soldiers’ Newspaper, founded in 1950/1951 by high-ranking Nazis, including several members of the Waffen-SS.

Franz Riedweg

A prominent Round Table member was the Swiss  SS-Obersturmbannführer Franz Riedweg (1907–2005), a doctor in the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, who after the war opened a medical office in Munich and allegedly became Otto von Habsburg’s personal doctor.19 According to Riedweg, as a student he was active in Otto von Habsburg’s Paneuropa movement.20 A close affiliate of Heinrich Himmler during the Nazi era, Riedweg headed the Germanische Leitstelle (Germanic Control Center) under Waffen-SS founder Gottlob Berger, which recruited foreign volunteers into the Waffen-SS. Riedweg is deemed as mastermind of the “European fraction” of the Waffen-SS.21 He worked i.a. for the Antikomintern publishing house Nibelungenverlag22 , whose director, Eberhard Taubert, became Franz Josef Strauss’s psychological warfare adviser in the postwar period.

According to Darius Harwardt, Riedweg “recommended that Schrenck-Notzing get in touch with  the Swiss fascist Armin Mohler, which he did in 1952, asking Mohler for a meeting to discuss the creation of a political monthly.”23 Although those plans were not realized at first, Mohler became actively involved in the Munich Round Table, traveling regularly from Paris to attend its events—marking the beginning of a lifelong collaboration and friendship between the two.

Armin Mohler

Armin Mohler (1920–2003), a Swiss Nazi sympathizer and self-confessed fascist, was pre-eminent in regurgitating the pre-WWII concept of the Conservative Revolution.24 Mohler had tried to join the Waffen-SS but was refused. After the war he wrote his doctoral thesis, The Conservative Revolution in Germany, 1918–1932 (Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918–1932) under the supervision of German-Swiss psychiatrist, Nietzschean and mysticist Karl Jaspers. From 1949 to 1953, he was the secretary of Ernst Jünger (1895–1998),  however, Mohler split from Jünger after censored versions of the latter’s works were published that took the edge off some of the most captious passages, blaming Jünger of cowardice and currying favor with the Federal Republic. Above all, Mohler was a disciple and friend of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt (1888–1985), whose legacy Mohler heavily propagated.25

In a letter to Schmitt, Mohler described the following of the Round Table:26

A lot of nobility, old officers, gentlemen from all possible professions, rudiments of a “gentlemen’s club.” The outstanding members: General Engelmann, SS General Steiner, Prince Burchard of Prussia, Ewald von Kleist (son of Kleist-Schmenzin, executed in April 45, closest friend of Claus Stauffenberg), my compatriot Dr. Franz Riedweg (Chief of Staff of the Germanic SS). As you can see from the composition: a circle that seeks to bridge insignificant civil war fronts. Knoll was brought along by the Prince of Prussia (who is a clever Hohenzollern, not an idiot). The managing director of the company is Prof. W. Classen, a lawyer known to you.

While Mohler and Schrenck-Notzing are frequently counted amongst the most prominent younger members of the Round Table, other names mentioned are the German journalist and CSU lawyer Winfried Martini (1905–1991); the German sociologist Mohammed Rassem (1922–2000), who notably translated Mircea Eliade’s work into German;27 and the Swiss fascist publicist James Schwarzenbach (1911–1994).28

Franz Josef Strauss

Schrenck-Notzing’s dedication to the cause brought him in the immediate orbit of the notorious CSU politician Franz Josef Strauss (1915–1988), with whom he must have been personally acquainted. Already as a student, Schrenck-Notzing contributed to the right-wing Bayernkurier (1950–2019), founded and initially edited by Strauss, who made a steep career in the 1950s: first as Federal Minister for Special Affairs in the second cabinet of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1953); then as Federal Minister of Nuclear Energy (1955); and finally as Defense Minister (1956–1962). Although exact dates regarding Schrenck-Notzing’s education are missing, his stint at the Bayernkurier may well have coincided with Strauss’s tenure as Defense Minister, charged with building up the new West German Army, the Bundeswehr, as well as the “Psychological Warfare” department (Psychologische Kampfführung) within the German Defense Ministry (with the help of Taubert).

The contact of Schrenck-Notzing’s associate Mohler to Strauss are a bit clearer, who became a confidant of Strauss following the Spiegel affair in 1962, when Mohler took sides with the latter.29 Mohler eventually became Strauss’s speechwriter, “whom he tried to persuade to set up the CSU nationwide as a right-wing alternative to the CDU.”30

Mohler relocated to Munich, where in 1961 he took on a job at the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation, becoming its managing director in 1964. In this position, he organized events propagating the Conservative Revolution and its trailblazers, such as Oswald Spengler and Carl Schmitt. According to Volker Weiß, the foundation invited speakers such as “Paul Carell, Hellmut Diwald, Hans Eysenck, Ernst Forsthoff, Arnold Gehlen, Robert Hepp, Helmut Schelsky, and Hubert Schrade.”30 Just as Schrenck-Notzing, Mohler contributed to Gerhard Frey’s extreme Right National-Zeitung and Springer’s daily newspaper Die Welt.

Marcel Hepp

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Marcel Hepp (1936-1970)

Mohler was also able to exert influence on Strauss via his protégé Marcel Hepp (1936–1970), with whom Mohler collaborated closely30 — the “right-hand man” of Strauss, who did dirty work for the CSU chief, including opposition research and the allocation of Gladio funds.31 Mohler had met the young Hepp already back in the early 1950s when he was working for Ernst Jünger.32 At the beginning of 1965, Hepp became a full-time CSU functionary and in the fall of 1965, through Mohler's mediation, became Strauss’s personal assistant.33 Hepp formed his own “Office of the State Chairman” to coordinate Strauss’s Bonn and Munich commitments.

In 1965, Strauss put Hepp in charge of the Democratic-Conservative Correspondence (Demokratisch-Konservative Korrespondenz), engaged in opposition research under the cover of a press information service, which existed from 1964 to 1970 and was subsidized by the CSU. Initially, it was directed against an alleged left-wing preponderance in the media, but soon, with Mohler’s help, it attempted to bind right-wing intellectual groups, students, and youth organizations to the CSU by taking a decisively nationalist course. From 1967 onwards, Hepp also became managing publisher and chief editor of the Bayernkurier, to which Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing had contributed. Hepp’s murky activities, however, were cut short, since he died of cancer in 1970.

Meanwhile, Schrenck-Notzing tried to make a name for himself as an author. After having finished his studies in the late 1950s, he spent three winters in India, the subject of his first book. Published upon his return to Germany in 1961, 100 Years of India, deals with the country under colonial rule.7 34 Subsequently, he authored several books that were critical of the liberal aspects of US educational policy in Germany. He became more widely known for the 1965 publication Character Washing (Charakterwäsche), in which the educational effort of the four Allies geared to establish a democratic commonsense (“reeducation”), was defamed as part of American occupation policy.35 “For example, in connection with U.S. postwar policy plans, the author spoke seriously of a ‘final solution to the German question’ or the ‘anti-Germanic liberal ideology,’” states Armin Pfahl-Traughber.36

In 1968, “during the high point of the student rebellion … he published another book titled Future Makers (Zukunftsmacher), in which he detailed the various manifestations of the left—and lamented its widespread influence in Germany and abroad.”7

In the late 1960s, Schrenck-Notzing was a permanent contributor to the university magazine Student. He also wrote for the far-right magazine Nation Europa, whose founders and contributors were former Nazi big wigs, one of the co-founders being the SS commander Arthur Ehrhardt, with the founder of the Waffen-SS, Gottlob Berger (1896-1975) being a notable contributor. Like Mohler, Schrenck-Notzing also wrote for Axel Springer’s Die Welt.37

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Regina von Schrenck-Notzing (1936-2012)

Regina von Schrenck-Notzing (1936-2012)

Presumably sometimes in the 1960s, Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing married Regina von Metzsch-Reichenbach (1936-2012), who was herself very active in arch-reactionary circles. A staunch Catholic, she ran the so-called Munich Winter Academy (Münchner Winterakademie), which cooperated with the Frankfurt Round Table (Frankfurter Tafelrunde), an influential association of right-wing academics and businessmen based in Frankfurt am Main. She was a board member in the far-right party Union of Free Citizens (Bund Freier Bürger) and, and until her death, was a board member of the Foundation for Conservative Education and Research (see below), founded in 2000 by her husband.38

The couple had two children, Albert and Alexander von Schrenck-Notzing (b. 1965), the latter also being an influential far-right figure.

1970s

CEDI

Since at least 1970, Schrenck-Notzing frequented annual meetings of Otto von Habsburg’s European Documentation and Information Centre (CEDI), founded 1952 in Spain, which he deemed as a promising attempt for the foundation of a “conservative international” because of its “political pragmatism.”39 Habsburg had moved to Bavaria in 1954, where he became a close affiliate of Franz Josef Strauss, eventually becoming an MEP for the CSU party (1979-1999). In the 1970s, CEDI was dominated by the former Austrian Wehrmacht Major Georg von Gaupp-Berghausen (1918–1985), a recipient of the Honor Leaf Clasp of the Army and Waffen-SS. In the 1950s, Gaupp-Berghausen became General Secretary of the Occidental Academy (Abendländische Akademie), a precursor of the German CEDI (CEDI Deutschland), which Schrenck-Notzing joined in the years following the organization’s foundation in 1972.40 Much alike the Society of Military Science, the German CEDI (including its precursor organizations, such as the Occidental Academy and the European Institute for Political, Economic and Social Issues), was dominated by Nazi big wigs and Gehlen Org/BND members, including Hermann Abs, Hans-Joachim von Merkatz, Gerhard Kroll and Helmut Ibach. Initial president of CEDI Deutschland was the former SA-member and CSU politician Richard Jaeger (1913–1998), with Georg von Waldburg-Zeil (1928–2015) as Vice President, a pundit of the Occidental Movement who was married to Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria (b. 1931). Georg and his brother Alois appear on the 1974 International CEDI meeting alongside Schrenck-Notzing.41

Criticón

In 1970, the year Schrenck-Notzing became affiliated with CEDI, he founded the quarterly Criticón that ran until 2007, for a long time considered the most important theoretical organ of the New Right in Germany.42 The magazine was heavily influenced by his close friend an Conservative Revolution compatriot, Armin Mohler. With the collaboration of Mohler and Karlheinz Weißmann (b. 1959), the magazine  was set out as a counter-weight to the “New Left,” which had been dominant after 1968.43 Schrenck-Notzing stayed at the helm of the journal until 1998 when he gave up the editorship, and the paper ceased publication in 2007.

Criticón was conceived as a theoretical organ, not for a broader readership, that formed “a connecting tissue between conservatism and right-wing extremism” (Pfahl-Traughber), to which “conservative CDU/CSU right-wingers and neofascist representatives of the New Right contributed” (Kratz), “with the aim of reuniting fragmented conservative currents” (Finkbeiner).44 According to Pfahl-Traughber:45

To that end, the journal publishes articles on daily political issues with a strong theoretical background, essays on the conservative self-image and “building blocks” for a corresponding theory, cultural-historical texts with an indirect political message, and articles on political classics intended to fertilize the theoretical work. Regarding its strategy, Criticón proves to be a disciple of GRECE and its Gramscism from the Right …

Schrenck-Notzing noted in a 1980 article in Criticón titled “From Cultural Revolution to Political Revolution,” that the journal “was always of the opinion, with Gramsci, that the ideological majority is more important than the parliamentary majority,” another indicator for his deeply anchored antidemocratic attitude.46

According to Pfahl-Traughber:47

Relevant for the political classification of the journal is also the reception of ‘classics,’ with … Carl Schmitt playing a particularly important role. The positive reception of this declared opponent of the democratic constitutional state, which takes on a homage-like character, is significant in itself. In addition, even intellectual sympathizers of Italian fascism such as Julius Evola are discussed approvingly. Schrenck-Notzing himself praised the first German translation of People in the Midst of Ruins as an “important work of metapolitics” that is now easily accessible and expressed the hope that the complete work would gradually “cross the Alps.”

Among the contributors of Criticón’ were notably: the French New Right ideologue Alain de Benoist; the Austrian New Right propagandist turned Evolian mysticist, Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner (1939–2011); the co-founder of the extreme Right party Die Republikaner, Franz Schönhuber (1923–2005); Alexander Gauland (then CDU; now honorary chairman of the AfD); the far-right publicist involved in the Army’s Psychological Defense Troop, Klaus Hornung (1927–2017); CSU politician and foreign affairs adviser of Franz Josef Strauss, Hans Graf Huyn (1930–2011); the extreme Right Austrian Catholic writer Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909–1999); the Hegel specialist and CDU propagandist, Günther Rohrmoser (1927-2008), and his arch-Catholic “Ritter school” compatriot, Robert Spaemann (1927–2018); former NATO military commander in Rome and military historian Franz Uhle-Wettler (1927–2018); and Karlheinz Weißmann (b. 1959), a prominent New Right proponent and publisher of the German version of the extreme Right magazine Cato.

Through Mohler, there existed close contacts to the French New Right. Mohler had met the Nouvelle Droite ideologue Alain de Benoist for the first time in 1964,48 who subsequently contributed to Criticón,49 and the two stayed close friends until Mohler’s death in 2003. Mohler in turn joined the Comité des Patronage of de Benoist’s far-right journal Nouvelle École (1968-present), and one of GRECE’s mouthpieces.

As editor of Criticón, Schrenck-Notzing was invited as speaker to various extreme Right organizations. For example, when the right-wing extremist fraternity, Ring of Libertarian Students (Ring Freiheitlicher Studenten) was expanded to a federal level in 1979, Schrenck-Notzing held the general political keynote speech.50 In 1980, Criticón merged with Klaus Motschmann’s Protestant right-wing journal Konservativ Heute (Conservative Today),51 initially published by the Society for Conservative Journalism (Gesellschaft für konservative Publizistik), and later by the Frankfurt Round Table (Frankfurter Tafelrunde), with which Schrenck-Notzing’s wife Regina collaborated.

As is true for the New Right in general, Criticón resorted to linguistic trickery in order to obfuscate its fascist roots by calling itself merely conservative, in order gain a broader base and achieving “cultural hegemony.” Racist discourses were framed in terms of “national identity,” such as rallying for a “self-confident” Germany.52 To that end, in 1982, Mohler and Schrenck-Notzing edited a seminal book called Deutsche Identität (German Identity). According to Peter Kratz:1

In 1982, the right-wing extremist Sinus-Verlag published a reader on “German identity” … with authors, such as Hans-Joachim Arndt, Helmut Diwald and Robert Hepp. Here, Mohler meets old acquaintances (and notably speakers) from the Siemens Foundation; with Uwe Sauermann even a former federal chairman of the national-revolutionary NPD student association NHB; and with Robert Hepp one of the leading representatives of the racist “foreigners out!” campaign in the Federal Republic. Diwald co-wrote the new party program of the REPs in 1989 …

1980s

Conservative Action

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Luděk Pachman (1924-2003)

As of the early 1980s, Schrenck-Notzing still actively supported the CSU under Franz Josef Strauss, who at that point aspired to be German chancellor. To facilitate his bid, the Citizen Action Democrats for Strauss, was created, which supported him in the 1980 federal election campaign. After Strauss’s defeat in October 1980, the Munich association Conservative Action (Konservative Aktion, ca. 1981–1986) emerged from the remnants, a right-wing association that became known for its anti-Left agitation and media stunts. Founded by the Czechoslovak-German anti-Communist Luděk Pachman (1924–2003), Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing and the right-wing journalist Gerhard Löwenthal supported the organization.

One of CA’s goals was to set up “civil militias” in major German cities to be deployed against the Left, stating that it had “around 40000 members, supporters and activists.”53 CA members besieged squats and appeared as counter-demonstrators at left-wing demonstrations. In 1983, CA members blasted a hole in the Berlin Wall. On the anniversary of the popular uprising in the GDR (June 17) and the day the Wall was built (August 13), demonstrations were held regularly in Berlin and on the border with the GDR. CA also ran racist campaigns, such as the so-called “Homecoming Campaign,” encouraging Turks living in Germany to leave the Federal Republic.53

CA’s anti-Communist and racist activities went hand in hand with a strongly pro-American bent. Klaus Schönekäs mentions that CA made use of new “propagandistic and organizational methods (e.g. “direct mailing”), which were based on the model of American neoconservatism.”54

In mid-1986 there erupted internal arguments among CA’s board members. The background was a controversial campaign for the release of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, who was imprisoned in Berlin-Spandau. In addition, CA’s managing director, Joachim Siegerist, was accused of financial irregularities by club chairman Pachman, which Siegerist denied. In June 1986 he and Michael Stange, the head of CA’s youth section Conservative Youth (Konservative Jugend), were expelled from the association, however in September of that year, Pachman had to file for bankruptcy.55 Siegerist and others founded the association The German Conservatives (Die Deutschen Konservativen), which still exists today.

Institute for Conservative Education and Research

In the 1980s, Schrenck-Notzing founded the Institute for Conservative Education and Research (Institut für konservative Bildung und Forschung, IKBF) in Munich, which transformed into the Foundation for Conservative Education and Research established in 2000 (see below). The founding date could not be established, but references to the Institute appear from the early  1980s onwards.

Editorial note in Robert Steucker’s Vouloir, Nr. 10, November 1984.

In the mid-1980s, Schrenck-Notzing published articles in several extreme Right, and even neo-Nazi, mouthpieces. In 1984, he contributed a book review to the far-right magazine Vouloir by the Belgian neo-Nazi Robert Steuckers (b. 1956). In 1987, he contributed an article to the Spanish-language New Right magazine Fundamentos, as advertised in Pierre Krebs’s German Elemente.56

The Republicans

Although for decades Schrenck-Notzing had been a staunch supporter of the CDU/CSU, and saw the primary goal in pushing the Union parties to the Right, from the late 1980s onward, he campaigned for the formation of a new electoral party to the Right of the Christian Democrats. Over the years, he supported The Republicans, the German Social Union and the Federation of Free Citizens,57 with Criticón making open electoral propaganda for those parties.

As of 1989, Criticón published articles in favor of the extreme Right party The Republicans (Die Republikaner, REP), of which Schrenck-Notzing’s son Alexander (b. 1965) had been a co-founder in the tender age of 18.58 The support came at a time when Alexander helped establish a far-right student organization for the party in May 1989, the Republican University Association (Republikanischer Hochschulverband, RHV), of which he became the national chairman.58 The first public meeting of the RHV took place in July 1989 in the Löwenbräukeller in Munich with the participation of REP chairman Franz Schönhuber (1923–2005), a former Waffen-SS member, whose party recognized the RHV as the official student association of the Republicans.59 The RHV aimed at “intellectualizing” the REP—to prove, according to Alexander von Schrenck-Notzing, “that the Republicans are not a party of beer drinkers and lederhosen”—and was primarily concerned with “training future elected officials and functionaries.”59 Ten months later, however, Alexander and some of his compatriots fell out with Schönhuber over the direction of the party, with Alexander ultimately resigning from the RHV and joining the CSU. As of the mid-1990s, Alexander, a trained jurist, also worked for Dieter Stein’s Junge Freiheit.60

When the REP flopped in the 1990s due to internal feuds, scandals, and an inability to draw voters from the former GDR, Criticón’s support for the REP faded. A 1990 article by Schrenck-Notzing stated that a new Right party must be build on even more “solid ground” than the REP.61

1990s

German Social Union

When in January 1990, the right-wing German Social Union (Deutsche Soziale Union, DSU) was founded, Criticón published articles in support of the new party. Schrenck-Notzing reportedly also attended DSU meetings.61 The party emerged at the very end of the GDR, when it was part of the electoral alliance Allianz für Deutschland in the last GDR government. The founding groups included twelve Christian, liberal and right-wing opposition groups under the guidance of the Bavarian CSU. The choice of name already showed the desired political proximity to the party.62 Due to its heterogenous composition, the party was inherently unstable and riddled by financial misconduct and internal squabbles. And quickly, the DSU drifted further towards a nationalist course, with ample contacts to far-right groups. The cooperation of the DSU and the CSU was finally terminated after a party conference in spring 1993, when Roberto Rink (b. 1959) was elected as DSU’s chairman.63 The party’s lack of success also caused Schrenck-Notzing to look for new options.

Support Association for Conservative Culture and Education

In the early 1990s, Schrenck-Notzing was involved in the creation of yet another extreme Right association, the Support Association for Conservative Culture and Education (Förderverein Konservative Kultur und Bildung e. V.), founded 1991/1992 in Bielefeld. According to an article by the Antifa-Infoblatt:64

“No political power without cultural hegemony…” is one of the goals of the Support Association for Conservative Culture and Education … The association runs the “Conservative Office” in Bielefeld. Hans Graf Huyn, together with the Jesuit priest Lothar Groppe, Gerhard Löwenthal and Prof. Dr. Karl Steinbuch, determine the course of the association. They all come from the circle of authors of Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing's magazine Criticón. Furthermore, the permanent Deutschland Magazin contributor, co-editor of Rheinischer Merkur and Junge Freiheit author Christa Meves is also involved.

The persons mentioned, including Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing, form the board of trustees of the association. In the spirit of Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing as well as the forces around Criticón and his Institute for Conservative Education and Research in Munich, the “social capability of intellectual and cultural conservatism” must be restored, and the forces to the Right of the Union parties must be strengthened and united.

Union of Free Citizens

When in 1994 the short-lived extreme Right minority party Union of Free Citizens (Bund Freier Bürger, BfB, 1994–2000) kicked off, Schrenck-Notzing and his wife Regina supported the effort, the latter being a member of BFB’s board. The party was launched by Manfred Brunner after being ousted as head of cabinet at the European Commission in Brussel. The BfB “financed its election campaigns primarily with loans from businessmen, apparently with the promise that the donors would get the money back through federal party funding.”65 Increasingly radicalizing, from 1999 the BFB was listed in reports by German domestic intelligence, which classified the party as right-wing extremist, whereupon it folded the following year.

In 1996, Schrenck-Notzing edited the 600-page Encyclopedia of Conservatism (Lexikon des Konservatismus), an important reference work of the German Right.66 The following year, Schrenck-Notzing handed over control of Criticón to a former contributor and BFB compatriot, the business journalist Gunnar Sohn (b. 1961), who changed the focus of the magazine to economical and financial issues.7 Frustrated by the developments, Schrenck-Notzing decided to support the New Right networkers and ideologues Götz Kubitschek and Karlheinz Weißmann in the creation of a new magazine, Sezession (Secession), published since 2003 by the far-right think tank Institute for State Policy (Institut für Staatspolitik). According to Schrenck-Notzing’s protégé Harald Bergbauer:7

In response, a new bi-monthly magazine, Sezession, was set up in 2000 by the Institute of State Policy in Saxony-Anhalt, an organization run by a younger generation of conservatives. Sezession intends to perpetuate the legacy of Criticón—though its focus, as well as its writers, readers, and editorial positions differ slightly. Sezession recently published its 66th issue, and it has access to a wide range of intelligent authors. Thus Schrenck-Notzing’s idea of having a “medium of communication” among German conservatives has been kept alive.

2000s

Support Foundation for Conservative Education and Research

In 2000, Schrenck-Notzin transformed the Institute for Conservative Education and Research into the Support Foundation for Conservative Education and Research (Förderstiftung Konservative Bildung und Forschung, FKBF), a New Right non-profit organization, which he managed until 2007. The FKBF initially had the task of managing his private library of around 15,000 volumes as well as the Criticón archive with the aim of establishing a “Library of Conservatism,” which was realized only after his death. The startup funds of over one million marks came from Schrenck-Notzing, but the foundation also received donations.67 The FKBF employee Harald Bergbauer noted:7

In order to promote a ‘true conservatism’, Schrenck-Notzing chose to dedicate himself to the establishment of a ‘Library of Conservatism.’ He collected thousands of books about the history of German conservatism since the late 18th century, and also gathered the most important works of American, French, Italian, Russian, and Spanish conservatism. In addition, he amassed a huge collection of periodicals from different countries.

Bergbauer, who worked for the FKBF from 2004 to 2008, recounted how the foundation sought support and inspiration from similar US institutions:7

The first trip I undertook in the name of the FKBF was in 2004 to the annual meeting of the conservative association known as the Philadelphia Society, that year meeting in Miami, Florida. There I met, among others, the chief academic officer of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). Despite Schrenck-Notzing’s critique of the influence of the Allied Powers in post-war Germany and their attempt to re-educate Germans, Schrenck-Notzing admired the American talent for organization. …

This deeply held conviction was also the reason why for decades he paid close attention to the American conservative movement, and stayed in close contact with some of its best representatives— people such as Russell Kirk, Henry Regnery, and Claes Ryn. For many years Schrenck-Notzing was also a regular attendee of the Philadelphia Society’s annual meetings. Sometimes when he and I talked about American conservatism, he would indicate proudly that he was not only one of that Society’s longest- serving members but  probably its only European— and especially the only German—one.

Although these encounters did not “provide any solutions to the foundation’s problems,” according to Bergbauer, “it did yield new European contacts,” among them the Dutch Edmund Burke Stichting, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Center for European Renewal.7 (see below)

In the last years of his life, Schrenck-Notzing was concerned about his legacy, and in 2007 eventually picked the publicist and longtime editor of the New Right weekly Junge Freiheit, Dieter Stein (b. 1967) as chairman of the FKBF. Stein had ingratiated himself to Schrenck-Notzing, when Junge Freiheit awarded him the Honorary Gerhard Löwenthal Price “for special journalistic merits” in December 2005. The award was established in 2004 by Ingeborg Löwenthal (1925–2019), daughter of the CDU politician and former Federal Minister for All-German Affairs, Ernst Lemmer (1898-1970), and widow of the extreme right-wing journalist and Criticón contributor Gerhard Löwenthal (1922–2002). Since 2007, the Gerhard Löwenthal Price is awarded by Junge Freiheit in cooperation with the FKBF.

Schrenck-Notzing’s wife Regina remained on the FKBF board until her death in 2012, and his son Alexander became chairman of the foundation council 2012.

Center for European Renewal

On the mediation of Schrenck-Notzing’s US contacts, he got in touch with the Edmund Burke Stichting in 2005, eyeing a potential collaboration. Subsequently, he took part in the 1st Vanenburg Meeting from July 3-5, 2006,68 and according to his protégé Harald Bergbauer, that year “he was a decisive voice supporting the establishment of the conservative European association, the Vanenburg Society.”7 Although the latter’s legal status could not be established, it kicked off the creation of the Center for European Renewal (2007-present, CER), of which he was a co-founder, the first publisher of The European Conservative (2008-present, TEC).

Although Schrenck-Notzing died shortly after, his legacy reverberates in the CER and TEC. One of his protégés, Harald Bergbauer,69 kept on writing for TEC, including a short biography of Schrenck-Notzing. In the same issue, the journal printed an article by the ultra-Catholic Austrian Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909–1999), a frequent Criticón contributor who had also written for William Buckley’s National Review and Russell Kirk’s quarterly Modern Age, and was associated with Hillsdale College as well as the ultra-Catholic Christendom College.

Less than three years before his death, on August 5, 2006, Schrenck-Notzing converted to Catholicism in the Sankt Peter church in Munich. He died on January 25, 2009, at the age of 81 after a short, serious illness. Obituaries were written i.a. by former Welt editor-in-chief, Herbert Kremp, and his protégé Karlheinz Weißmann in Junge Freiheit.70

Library of Conservatism

Schrenck-Notzing passed away before his dream for the Library of Conservatism (Bibliothek des Konservatismus, BdK) became true, with his personal library and the Criticón archive becoming the basis of the BdK collection.71 In November 2011, his wife Regina attended the inauguration of the Berlin library, symbolically cutting the red ribbon together with the chairman of the BdK board of trustees, Dieter Stein.72 Also Schrenck-Notzing’s protégé Karlheinz Weißmann found employment in the vicinity. As co-founder and publisher of the German Cato magazine, his office is in the same building as the Library of Conservatism. Weißmann, an avid Criticón and Junge Freiheit contributor from early on, has shifted from the Right of the CDU to the AfD, today sitting on the supervisory board of the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation.

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