Courageous publicist in the Weimar period

- Stuttgarter Zeitung of the 12. Sept. 1995 -

Originally, the teacher's son wanted to become a pastor. Then he did his doctorate on the poet Schubart, turned his back on the church and became a journalist. In the war he was a wine representative and stationmaster, after the war editor of the "Stuttgarter Zeitung". 

Erich Schairer was one of the most courageous journalists of the Weimar Republic and in the first Hitler years. Some put him next Kurt Tucholsky and - more importantly, because it is related to others - next to Siegfried Jacobsohn, With which "World stage" the Sunday newspaper published by Schairer agreed on many points. Erich Schairer, a friend of Josef Eberle, came to the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” in September 1946, he became co-editor and was responsible for the political part. Unfortunately, he was only granted eight years of service. In 1954 he resigned his office and died two years later in Schorndorf. Nonetheless, it left a lasting mark and shaped the character of the young “Stuttgarter Zeitung”. 

That could not be otherwise with such an impressive man. The 1887 in Württemberg Hemmingen born teacher's son had an indomitable taste for truthfulness and straightforwardness. Political citizenship and self-confidence were self-evident. It is no coincidence that the theologian Schairer, who had previously divorced from the service of the Evangelical Church of Württemberg for reasons of conscience, wrote his doctoral thesis on the poet-rebels and "political journalists" Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, That was important for his future life. Schairer became editor in Hamburg, towards the end of the First World War then editor-in-chief of the "Neckarzeitung" in Heilbronn. After political arguments with the publisher Schairer, which met his urge for independence, founded a weekly, the "Sunday newspaper". The tide was a curiosity in that it renounced ads to keep clear of any influence. The small but rapidly gaining leaf turned to thoughtful readers of all social strata. It took care of the small form and was linguistically durchgefeilt. The following sentence was significant: "Some people, like their educators, have it with their education; They always present their entire warehouse to prove their performance. "

Politically, the newspaper turned against the after-effects of Wilhelmine tendencies and new German national dreams. Schairer quickly came into conflict with the emerging Nazi ideology. Hardly any journalist at that time predicted so clearly what the Germans could expect from Hitler. Schairer recognized the extent to which radio contributed to spreading Hitler's theses to the smallest of villages. And in February 1933 he wrote clairvoyantly: "The German people obviously want leaders like Wilhelm and Hitler ... Will the glory of the 'Third Reich' end differently than that of the second?" One month later the "Sunday newspaper" banned, then allowed again under strict conditions. In 1937 the paper came completely under Nazi influence. Schairer eked out his existence as a sales representative and towards the end of the war as an assistant to the Reichsbahn in Lindau, repeatedly bothered by the Gestapo. After a new start as editor of the "Schwäbischer Tagblatt" in Tübingen, Schairer was co-editor of the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" in 1946. 

He shaped this newspaper mainly stylistically. For Schairer, clear language meant clear thinking. He set up the “Five Minutes of German” rubric and maintained it for years. The rubric was well received by the readers. The editors of the "Zeitung" also benefited from the Schairer school. Older journalists gratefully remember the "linguistic warning for the employees of the Stuttgarter Zeitung (and other newspaper writers)".

Schairer understood the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" politically as a party-independent opposition paper. And so wrote an editorial member of the early years, namely Reinhard Appel, on Schairer's work: "He knew how to develop a democratic institution out of the paper, which enjoyed respect and influence from rulers and governed alike." Great and small can only be preserved where they are perceived and fearlessly defended ”. Schairer anticipated the division of Germany against which he was fighting. In an editorial in 1947 he wrote prophetically: "As long as the East-West contrast exists, all words about German unity are empty chatter ..." And so it was. 

Werner Birkenmaier 

"50 Years Stuttgarter Zeitung", Anniversary Edition of the 12. Sept. 1995, page 4