Hermann L. Gremliza and his time at SPIEGEL

Hermann L. Gremliza, who now died at the age of 79, was quoted in SPIEGEL as early as 1964 – with the self-confident sentence that he had “made what used to be an amusement leaflet into a means of power for student self-government”. The 24-year-old, who was studying history and politics in Tübingen, praised the local student magazine “Notes”, whose editor-in-chief he was. The sheet had just exposed the university's brown past.

SPIEGEL publisher Rudolf Augstein brought Gremliza two years later into a team that was to set up a weekly in West Berlin (working title: “Today”) against the local dominance of Springer Verlag. When the attempt failed, Augstein promoted the left-wing journalist to the deputy head of department for German politics at SPIEGEL. There Gremliza became one of the most keen supporters of an editorial statute, which should tie the appointment of editors-in-chief, department heads and columnists to the agreement with an editorial board to be elected and thus grant the editors a veto right over all important personnel decisions.

The then editor-in-chief Günter Gaus complained that the '68 arrived “earlier than anywhere else in SPIEGEL on their march from the teach-ins through the institutions” and admitted: “We had hired the bright seminarians.” Leo Brawand, who was an old companion of Augstein, once said that the SPIEGEL boss was so happy to discuss with young left-wing editors like Gremliza because he recognized “a part of himself as an angry young man” in them, whom he recognized at the end of the war once was.

But now Augstein and Gaus also learned that the spokesmen of these leftists wanted to conquer SPIEGEL and use them for their own political ideas. In September 1971, Augstein terminated Gremliza's contract, and in late 1971 Gremliza quit the SPIEGEL service. “We are and remain a liberal, in doubt, left-wing editorial staff,” said Augstein at the end of a speech to the SPIEGEL workforce and campaigned for understanding for the decision, “that SPIEGEL is separating itself from people who shoot a fanal on its rubble want”.

Gremliza later said in an interview that “Augstein's fear” was “not without reason”: “If we were successful, we might have scared enough advertisers to ruin SPIEGEL.” Augstein had rejected the demand for participation; instead, however, he then, who was the sole owner of SPIEGEL, transferred half of the company to his employees. The structure of the SPIEGEL employee KG, which has shaped the publisher to this day, is at least implicitly based on the impulses of Gremliza.

Gremliza then went on to work as an editor for the monthly magazine “concrete”, which had become the leading journal of the left-wing scene and the student movement in the 1960s. In order to stop the decline in circulation, “concrete” publisher Klaus Rainer Röhl had prescribed a mixture of politics and sex. When the sheet, in Gremliza's words “a kind of yellow press of the Apo”, nevertheless went bankrupt, he bought the magazine title from the bankruptcy estate.

He banished the nude pictures and wanted to make “concrete” a political battle sheet, wrote furious editorials and caustic polemics – his model was the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus, under whose name Gremliza announced a bizarre award: The prize money of 10,000 marks should be given to authors who committed to never writing a line again. Gremliza presented the diabolical honor to the “Zeit” columnist Fritz J. Raddatz and the bestselling author Günter Wallraff, who accused him of his experiences in “Bild” in the book “Der Aufmacher” from the first line of the preface to the last line of the afterword “at his, Gremlizas,” desk “, which Wallraff” in essence “did not deny.

Until 1989, Gremliza was a member of the SPD, which he left because the Socialist MPs in the Bundestag spontaneously stood up with all other parliamentarians after the wall opened on November 9 and sang the national anthem.

To the end, the spirits of Gremliza divorced as a publicist. For some he was a brilliant stylist, for others he tended to simplify ideologically. Hermann L. Gremliza died on December 20 in Hamburg. He was 79 years old.

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