An editorial law enabling Nazi censorship (1933)


In October 1933, Hitler’s government passed an ‘editorial law’, enabling Nazi censorship of press and publications:


Section One

Involvement in the shaping of the intellectual contents of the newspapers or political periodicals published in the Reich, whether through writing, news reporting, or illustration, or through appointment as chief editor, is a public function, regulated by the state through this law…

Section Three

The Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda will determine which periodicals are to considered political within the meaning of the law…

Section Four

Involvement in the shaping of the intellectual contents of German newspapers is also given when it does not take place in the management of a newspaper, but in an establishment which supplies newspapers with intellectual contents (written word, news, or illustrations).

Section Five

Persons who can be editors are only those who:
a. possess German citizenship
b. have not lost their civic rights or the qualification to hold public office;
c. are of Aryan descent and are not married to a person of non-Aryan descent;
d. have completed their 21st year of age;

Section Eight

Admission to the editorial profession will be effected by entry upon application in the professional editors’ list. The professional rosters are kept by the offices of the state associations (Landesverbände) of the German press. The registration will be authorized by the head of the state association… He has to reject it if the Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda raises objections…

Section Thirteen

Editors are charged to treat the subjects they write about truthfully and to judge them according to the best of their knowledge.

Section Fourteen

Editors are especially obligated to keep out of the newspapers anything which:
a. is misleading to the public by mixing selfish interests with community interests;
b. tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich, in foreign relations or domestically; the sense of community of the German people; German defense capability, culture, or the economy; or offends the religious sentiments of others;
c. offends the honour and dignity of Germany;
d. illegally offends the honour or the well-being of another, hurts his reputation, or ridicules or disparages him;
e. is immoral for other reasons.

Section Twenty-Seven

Professional Courts (Berufsgerichte) will be established for the protection of the editorial profession…

Section Thirty-Five

The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda may decree the removal of an editor from the professional list independent of the proceedings of the Professional Court, if he deems it necessary for pressing reasons of public welfare…

Berlin, 4 October 1933
Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler
Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels