Bernhard Förster

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Bernhard Förster
Bernhardfoerster.jpg
Bernhard Förster
Born (1843-03-31)31 March 1843
Delitzsch, Province of Saxony
Died 3 June 1889(1889-06-03) (aged 46)
San Bernardino, Paraguay
Cause of death Suicide
Known for Nueva Germania
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche

Bernhard Förster (31 March 1843 – 3 June 1889) was a German teacher. He was married to Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, the sister of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Bernhard Förster (2nd left) among other German antisemitic writers, ca. 1880

Biography[edit]

Förster became a leading figure in the anti-Semitic faction on the far right of German politics and wrote on the Jewish question, characterizing Jews as constituting a "parasite on the German body".[1] In order to support his beliefs he set up the Deutscher Volksverein (German People's League) in 1881 with Max Liebermann von Sonnenberg.[2]

He left Germany in 1883 to emigrate to Paraguay and, after searching the country for many months, found a suitable site to establish a colony. It was 600 square kilometres and almost 300 kilometres north of Asuncion. The colony was to become known as "Nueva Germania". Forster returned to Germany in March 1885 and married Elizabeth Nietzsche on 22 May. The couple assembled a group of 'pioneers' who shared their anti-Semitic views and wished to live in a new 'Fatherland' where an Aryan could prosper. They travelled to Paraguay from Hamburg in February 1886. The initiative was a failure for many reasons, not least the harsh environment. Forster, with unserviceable debts, drank heavily and became depressed. [3] He eventually committed suicide by poisoning himself with a combination of morphine and strychnine in his room at the Hotel del Lago in San Bernardino, Paraguay on 3 June 1889.

Bernhard Förster was buried in San Bernardino.[4] After his death, his widow, Elizabeth, wrote a book entitled 'Bernhard Forster's Colony New Germany in Paraguay.' It was published in 1891 and was intended to salvage Forster's reputation by portraying him as a hero.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hannu Salmi (1994). "Die Sucht nach dem germanischen Ideal" (in German).  Also published in Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 6/1994, pp. 485-496
  2. ^ Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship, 1970, pp. 59-60
  3. ^ Forgotten Fatherland by Ben MacIntyre ISBN 978-1-4088-3815-0
  4. ^ Kracht, C. & Woodard, D., Five Years, Vol. 1 (Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2011).