To illustrate Hannovers largely reactionary political climate during this time, Saldern points to the rise in the prominence of a Hindenburg cult and Burschenschaften
To us these tend to sound like German barbershop quartets, but then they had very different associations--with the Burschenschaften
, the politically liberal and nationalist university fraternities.
Robert Wesselhoft, for example, wrote that "gymnastic grounds and Burschenschaften
were immediately closely bound [and] the idea that [both] mental and corporeal education are the goals of universities spread rapidly.
By 1818 there was a union of Burschenschaften that brought together student organizations from universities across the German states.
The Decrees were enforced throughout the German territories: freedom of the press was overturned (it had been affirmed in the Federal Act of the Confederation), censors positioned in the universities, spies sent to hear lectures and sermons (for most of the 1820s Schleiermacher could count on his sermons and lectures being reported to the political authorities), and the Burschenschaften banned.
Wherever one looks, interesting facts come to light: there was a fashion for operatic parodies in private circles such as Burschenschaften
, amateur dramatic societies, and even family gatherings, quite apart from burlesques performed in theatres, printed in newspapers and journals, or published in book form.
The camera focuses briefly on the face of Josef Kramer, the former commandant of Belsen, whose unusually brutal appearance - small eyes cast to the side; thick neck; beefy cheeks ribboned with Schmiesse, the dueling scars that were points of pride for members of the fraternal Burschenschaften
- makes him a helpful exemplar of the kind of person responsible for such crimes.
There is much that speaks for precisely this conflation in the case of Franzos, including an actual political identification as "Deutscher" inculcated early on in life by his father, his public pronouncements in favor of a grossdeutsch solution to the question of German unity, his involvement in German national Burschenschaften
as a student, and--most influential in secondary assessments of his national affiliations--the clear and continuous divide in his writing between German culture and light and Eastern (Jewish) backwardness and ignorance.