Germany / Story

An Independent Newspaper in Germany




January 1945 saw ​​a milestone in media history, as Aachen became the only German city to receive a newspaper without Nazi propaganda. The Aachener Nachrichten was a test run for the re-education of the German people.​

​​After Aachen was liberated in October 1944, the US occupation authorities tried to get everyday life in the city going again. For them, this also included ensuring that the local population could once again keep themselves informed via a German-language newspaper.

So while in the rest of Germany the propaganda of the National Socialists still prevailed until May 1945, in Aachen a first newspaper controlled by the US occupying power appeared from 24 January 1945: the Aachener Nachrichten. Media history was thus written in Aachen. There was no comparable local newspaper permitted during this immediate post-war era in any other German city.

The licence to publish the newspaper was given by the US authorities to two people who were far removed from National Socialism. Alongside the journalist Otto Pesch, the Social Democrat and printer Heinrich Hollands acted as editor. A conscious decision had been made against Catholic or bourgeois people in order to counter the city administration. It was also clear that the new editors were to contribute to the development of a democratic culture with their newspaper. And indeed, there were frequent conflicts between the city government and the Aachener Nachrichten.

Nevertheless, the Aachener Nachrichten remained the only newspaper permitted in Germany in the immediate post-war period. However, remarkably Hollands' name was not allowed to appear in the paper because his son was still fighting in the Wehrmacht and acts of revenge against him had to be feared.

Theaterstraße 24-26, Aachen