Johann Philipp Palm

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Statue by Konrad Knoll, Braunau, 1866

Johann Philipp Palm or Johannes Philipp Palm (17 December 1768–26 August 1806) was a German bookseller executed during the Napoleonic Wars.

He was born at Schorndorf in Württemberg. Having been apprenticed to his uncle, the publisher Johann Jakob Palm (1750–1826), in Erlangen, he married the daughter of the bookseller Stein in Nuremberg, and in the course of time became proprietor of his father-in-law's business.

In the spring of 1806, the Stein publishing house sent to the bookselling establishment of Stage in Augsburg a pamphlet (presumably written by Philipp Christian Yelin in Ansbach) entitled Deutschland in seiner tiefen Erniedrigung ("Germany in her deep humiliation"), which strongly attacked Napoleon and the behaviour of the French troops in Bavaria. On learning of the violent rhetorical attack made upon his régime and failing to discover the actual author, Napoleon had Palm arrested in and handed over to a military commission at Braunau on the Bavarian-Austrian frontier, with peremptory instructions to try the prisoner and execute him within twenty-four hours. Palm was denied the right of defence, and after a mock trial on 25 August 1806, he was shot the following day without having betrayed the pamphlet's author.

A life-size bronze statue was erected to his memory in Braunau am Inn of Austria in 1866, and on the centenary of his death, numerous patriotic meetings were held throughout Bavaria. Since 2002 a private foundation at Schorndorf awards a Johann Philipp Palm Prize for freedom of speech and the press.

It was to Palm that the poet Thomas Campbell was referring when he gave his famous (and possibly apocryphal) toast to Napoleon at a literary dinner. When this caused uproar, he admitted that Napoleon was a tyrant and an enemy of their country, "But gentlemen! He once shot a publisher."

Palm is briefly mentioned in Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle), indirectly in the first sentence of the book. Hitler writes, it's "It has turned out fortunate for me to-day that destiny appointed Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace" Later, (but still on the first page) Johann Philipp Palm is mentioned by name as a link to the first sentence.[1][2]

Johann Philipp Palm Prize laureates[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mein Kampf, Chp I
  2. ^ Mein Kampf ("My fight"), book1 "A struggle", first real page. 5:th Swedish edition ISBN 91-7123-100-2, Hägglunds , 2002

References[edit]