Rainer Zitelmann

Rainer Zitelmann ( born June 14, 1957 in Frankfurt am Main ) is a German historian, journalist, business consultant and publisher.


Zitelmann was born in 1957 as son of the writer and theologian Arnulf Zitelmann in Frankfurt. He claims to be a student Maoist from 1978 to 1986 as a student of history and political science at the Technical University of Darmstadt ( first in 1983 and second state examinations in 1987 for teachers at secondary schools ) first Marxist. In the depression in his special field of research, the foundations of National Socialism, he went away, however, from the orthodox Marxist view of the " German fascism " and dealt intensively with the freudomarxistischen theory about the causes of the historical success of the Nazis, the Marxist psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich 1933 had presented of fascism in his book mass Psychology. Zitelmann took with the help of Reich's theory Hitler not only as a reactionary, but also as a revolutionary in the view. His 1986 book, published as thesis ( Dr. phil. "Summa cum laude" ) at Karl Otmar von Aretino about Hitler. Self-understanding of a revolutionary, which was sponsored by the Evangelical study Villigst, made ​​him known nationally. From 1987 to 1992 he worked as a research assistant at the Free University of Berlin.

He then began a career in various conservative publishers. First, he was from 1992 to 1993 chief editor of publishing Ullsteinhaus and Propylaea and member of management. Soon after, he went the world, where he became head of the department " spirit world " to the newspaper. Zitelmann later moved to the " History " and later in the department " real estate ". According to Götz Kubitschek from the environment of the boys freedom failed in 1995 finally his attempt to establish a "New democratic rights " in Germany

Finally he founded in 2000 as a management consultant for real estate companies, the company Dr. ZitelmannPB. GmbH. He commented on this issue regularly since then, among other things in the newsletter Real Estate News of the week and wrote several books. In March 2011, Rainer Zitelmann founded the ambition, with offices in Berlin, the books on economic issues, in particular management and motivation literature out there.

Confrontation with National Socialism

Hitler's self-conception as a revolutionary

In his dissertation Zitelmann continued to seek evidence that the social policy in the era of National Socialism ( best known cultural works well Strength through Joy ), pure propaganda for immobilization of the oppressed working class was not, as previously assumed. Rather, it was gone also to the improvement of the situation of the workers in order to overcome the class struggle for equality and social mobility Hitler. In this sense, he understood himself as a social revolutionary. The mainly implied in the concept of the revolutionary assertion that National Socialism had wanted to contribute not only by the initiated by him destruction, but actively and constructively to the modernization of German society, in-depth Zitelmann some years later in the anthology " National Socialism and modernization". His theses sparked different reactions. Some positive reviews of Zitelmanns work in historical journals as well as in the national daily press hailed in particular the extensive and thorough evaluation previously unconsidered remaining source material and unprejudiced examination of the subject, which had gone out, in all material aspects significantly higher than the previous state of the Hitler - research. Critics Zitelmann was pointed out that wages mostly remained at the extremely low level of world economic crisis that the social benefits that there was often only had a symbolic character and also only applied to people who went through as racially properly. The Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw, for example, pointed out that Hitler essentially about race, not class, and did not go to conquest to achieve economic modernization - so instead of social modernization in Hitler he can only reactionary motives such as imperialism and racism to recognize.

In contrast Zitelmanns 1991 paper published Adenauer was opponents mainly from politically left-wing and SPD -affiliated reviewers received positively, while the echo in conservative circles been rather restrained. For the Democrats, published under the title for Germany paperback edition of this book the famous SPD politician Erhard Eppler wrote the foreword.

Historicization of National Socialism

Also controversial reactions called Zitelmann out with the collaboration with Eckhard Jesse and Uwe Backes anthology edited by him shadows of the past. In it, the editors sought, the demand for historicization of National Socialism in 1985 brought by Martin Broszat to follow. They saw each other, according to the blurb, as members of a " younger generation " who was preparing the " taboos ", " legends " and " myths " of a " public education " and " coping rituals " occupied historiography with its " scientific historiography " to break. The company's aim was, as the editors emphasize in their introduction that " objectification of dealing with the Nazi era. [ ... ] It was only a decidedly sober, moralistic overtones of free history provides the basis to assess the historical and political and moral implications of the violence perpetrated by the Nazi mass crimes. "

Your program according to the time from 1933 to 1945 as well objectively treat and distant, like all other epochs of the past, gathered the editors in the band a wide range of authors, from the right-wing Ernst Nolte, who once commented on the historical dispute until to the liberal Imanuel Geiss, a student of Fritz Fischer. The essays treat problems of the dictatorship comparison and recent research on National Socialism (where especially the posts on the participation of the population of the Baltic states at the Shoah and Werner Wegner's refutation of the Leuchter Report stand out ), but are partially rather polemical observations on issues dealing with the past.

In parts of the liberal public the tape was reviewed quite positively. In the Berlin Tagesspiegel about it said: "Who ... is partout maliciously to read willing, will find abundant cause for controversy ." But of content, the contributions are politically inoffensive and scientifically fruitful.

Historian Alexander Ruoff considers the anthology as part of a Discourse Strategy of the New Right, the intended change of historical consciousness and political culture of the Federal Republic. Objective was doing a " change of direction by an open- revisionist and apologetic line to a historicization and classification of Nazism - Termini, no longer denied to those Auschwitz, but rather is an attempt to mitigate the responsibility for the German nation or totally dismissed her. "

Also the Neuhistoriker Wolfgang Wippermann and political scientist at the Duisburg Institute for Language and Social Research, Alfred Schobert assign the anthology of the New Right. Wippermann: "In fact, Backes, Jesse and Zitelmann talk of a politics of history the word. They strive for a cultural hegemony, which can only be achieved if the Nazism of its function dismissed as negative film and progressive and modern aspects to certify him. " Wippermann see how Ruoff, here the intention of the " pop out shadows of the past " to want. In this case, the two are not the method of historicizing how Broszat has formulated it, in the criticism, but the objective of to serve the results. The fact that these estimates are a matter of the political spectrum not only shows the criticism of Klaus -Dietmar Henke, a longtime employee Eckhard Jesse. In his essay knowledge and interest Henke noted, the anthology was " an attempt to use the demanded by Martin Broszat historicization of the Nazi period for normalization of National Socialism. " Zitelmann also was not afraid to direct public dialogue with historical revisionists.

Involvement in the FDP

Rainer Zitelmann, Heiner Kappel and Alexander von Stahl tried to gain influence with its national liberalism in the FDP. Zitelmann was invited by the FDP parliamentary group and the " House of History " in Bonn on 8 December 1997 as a speaker at a scientific symposium on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Thomas Dehler. His contribution was published in the conference proceedings " Thomas Dehler and his policies ," which appeared in the Nicolai -Verlag, 1998. Zitelmann lectured on " Thomas Dehler and Konrad Adenauer ". Other speakers were Hildegard Hamm- Brücher, Wolfgang Mischnick, Hans -Dietrich Genscher and Wolfgang Gerhardt Hermann Otto Solms, and whose contributions have also been published in the tape. For the FDP Zitelmann had since the late 90s, only with respect to real estate issues in a proactive. So he hosted in July 2006, the REIT Congress of the FDP to the Hermann Otto Solms had invited.


  • Hitler. Self-understanding of a revolutionary. Berg, Hamburg, 1987; 2nd revised. and supplemented edition: Klett - Cotta, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-608-91578-8.
  • National Socialism. In: Pipers Handbook of political ideas, ed. v. Iring Fetscherplatz and Herfried Münkler, Piper, Munich, 1987, Volume 5, ISBN 3-492-02955-8, pp. 327-332.
  • Adolf Hitler. A political biography. Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1989, ISBN 3-7881-0135-0.
  • (Ed., with Uwe Backes and Eckhard Jesse :) The shadows of the past. Impetus to the historicization of National Socialism. Ullsteinhaus, Frankfurt / M. 1990, ISBN 3-549-07407-7.
  • Adenauer's opponents. Champion of the unit. Straube, Erlangen, 1991, ISBN 3-927491-35-7.
  • (Ed., with Prince Michael :) Nazism and modernization. University Press, Darmstadt 1991, ISBN 3-534-10886-8.
  • ( Eds :) with Karlheinz Weissmann and Michael Großheim ties to the West. Opportunities and risks for Germany. Propylaea Verlag, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-549-05225-1.
  • Whither our Republic? Ullsteinhaus, Frankfurt / M. 1994, ISBN 3-548-36641-4.
  • (Ed., with Klemens von Klemperer and Enrico Syring :) " For Germany ". The men of the 20th July 1944. Ullsteinhaus, Frankfurt / M. 1996, ISBN 3-548-33207-2.
  • (Ed., with Ronald Smelser, Enrico Syring :) The brown elite. 22 biographical sketches (2 volumes; WB Forum, Volume 37 ) University Press, Darmstadt 1999, ISBN 3-534-14460-0.
  • Get rich with real estate. Direct investment, real estate funds, real estate stocks. Haufe Verlag, Planegg 2002, ISBN 3-448-05123-3.
  • Funds replicate with real estate. Certainly Create and save on taxes with; Condominiums, apartment buildings, real estate funds, Haufe Verlag, Planegg 2004, ISBN 3-448-06356-8.
  • The power of positioning. Communication for investments. Real Estate Information Verlag, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-89984-137-9.
  • Set yourself bigger goals! The success secrets of the winners, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-942821-00-1.
  • (Ed. :) Invest in property values ​​, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-942821-08-7.
  • Communication is a top priority, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-942821-12-4.
  • Words of success, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-942821-09-4.