Anonymous artist; [WIECHERT, Ernst 1887-1950]
[ANTI-NAZISM; CALLIGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT] Eine Mauer um uns baue.
[Germany, circa 1937]. Calligraphic manuscript. Small folio (320 x 230 mm), original quarter cloth over papered boards with onlaid manuscript title to front 'Ernst Wiechert. Eine Mauer um uns Baue'; stitch bound; pp 44, calligraphic manuscript in red and black inks; scattered mild foxing, confined to the margins of the leaves; else fine.
Ernst Wiechert (1887-1950) was a German teacher, poet and writer whose humanist ideals and outspoken criticism of the National Socialist Party throughout the 1930s would result in his incarceration in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938. He secretly kept a memoir of his imprisonment and buried the manuscript, which was published in 1945 as Der Totenwald (Forest of the dead). Wiechert's reflective essay addressed to youth, Eine Mauer um uns baue (Build a wall around us), was a Dankaufsatz written to mark his fiftieth birthday, and was published in the sympathetic Frankfurter Zeitung on 19 May 1937. It appears certain that the present calligraphic manuscript by an anonymous admirer of Wiechert's philosophy was copied from this edition of the Frankfurter Zeitung soon after its publication, as the first separately published edition that appeared the following year included an additional phrase at the beginning of the title (Vom Trost der Welt. Eine Mauer um uns baue. Mainz : Werkstatt für Buchdruck / Adalbert Eggebrecht Presse, 1938).
The complete text of Eine Mauer um uns baue is available online at ernst-wiechert.de.
Wiechert's significance as a moral philosopher and figure of resistance under the Nazi regime is widely recognised, and his actions and writings continue to be an important subject of scholarship and debate. The calligraphic manuscript we offer here, created in homage to an inspirational work, is documentary proof that – in 1937 at least – Wiechert's Germany was not without like-minded citizens.