The Nazis managed to take control of press and radio within a very short space of time. Even before the Schriftleitergesetz (Editor’s Law) was passed, journalists had become public servants who were dependent on the goodwill of the Nazi regime if they wanted to stay out of danger. Only those who refrained from criticizing the politics of the regime and who had an “Aryan certificate” proving they fulfilled racial requirements were able to continue working. Everyone else was banned from the profession.

However, some media professionals still got involved in the resistance – both in Germany and in occupied countries. In this special series, we want to introduce you to a few of them – and also look at places where journalists are still being persecuted today.

Nazi Germany’s Editor’s Law: The End of Freedom of the Press

“I have the natural intention to be and to remain the warm-hearted protector of the German press.” These are the words Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels used when he introduced the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (Editor’s Law) on October 4, 1933 – a law that fundamentally changed the work of journalists in Germany.

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Journalists at risk of persecution in Afghanistan

The Arolsen Archives stand up for diversity, respect, and democracy. In this interview, Director Floriane Azoulay talks to Christian Mihr, the Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders, about the current situation in Afghanistan and about the human rights abuses of the Taliban regime.

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Carl Von Ossietzky: Unwavering in the Fight for Peace & Democracy

Carl von Ossietzky served on the Western Front in World War I from 1916 to 1918 and was involved in various military campaigns, including the Battle of Verdun. He returned from the war an ardent pacifist to work as a journalist, authoring articles in which he spoke out against the romanticizing of war and its continuation. He worked tirelessly for peace and democracy from that point on.

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Milena Jesenská: Journalist, Feminist, & Resistance Fighter

Many people only think of her in terms of her relationship with Franz Kafka, with whom she exchanged countless letters and remained in close contact even after their separation. Yet Czech national Milena Jesenská was one thing above all else: a successful journalist and resistance fighter.

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Titus Brandsma: Resistance Fighter and Patron Saint

A Dutch journalist and advisor to more than 30 Catholic newspapers, he used his influence to oppose the Nazi regime – and ultimately paid for it with his life: Titus Brandsma, a Roman Catholic theologian and friar, is venerated as a martyr in the Catholic Church today.

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Štefan Lux: A beacon against the Nazis

Geneva, 1936: As the general public gradually begin to realize what Hitler is capable of, a Czechoslovak journalist and Jew named Štefan Lux resorts to drastic means in a bid to warn against the Nazi regime: He shoots himself during a session of the League of Nations.

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