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Their conspirative meetings were masked as skat players’ evenings: Dr. Joseph Drexel (*1896) and other activists of the so called ‘Niekisch-‘ movement regularly gather together from 1933 on at the Mautkeller. Among other topics they discuss a manuscript by Niekisch, that Drexel called „hate tunes to the Third Reich“. They also consider an assassination of Hitler. After the war Joseph Drexel becomes popular as the founder of the local newspaper ‚Nürnberger Nachrichten’.

Drexel

Historical image-source: StadtAN A41 LR-763-12

The Niekisch-group count as the biggest and most active group within the nationwide „nationalrevolutionäre Bewegung“. From 1931 on, Drexel was responsible for the finances and the media work of the „Widerstandsverlag“ (resistance-publishing). Under his command the opposition to the regime got more and more central to the group, whereas at first they aimed rather at “wintering” under the regime than at active underground resistance.

Dr. Joseph Drexel in 1969. Source: Nürnberger Nachrichten / Friedl Ulrich

Dr. Joseph Drexel in 1969.
Source: Nürnberger Nachrichten / Friedl Ulrich

In April 1934, Drexel acquired a big collection of prohibited communist written materials and hid it in the archive of the ‘Nürnberger Lebensversicherung’ (insurance company) where he was working back then. When in December 1934, the central journal of the movement was banned, the group continued their gatherings anyway. 1935 some of the active members of the group even discussed an assassination of Hitler during the Reichsparteitage (Nuremberg Rally).

Drexel was finally betrayed by a Gestapo-snitch in the group. The hiding-place of the ‚Nürnberger Versicherung‘ was blown and Drexel was convicted to three and a half years of jail. With his arrest a wave of repressions began that smashed the resistance movements in the whole Reich. After his time in jail Drexel was again arrested by the Gestapo and interned in the concentration camps of Mauthausen und Flossenbürg until the liberation from Fascism. After the liberation, he became popular as the founder of the local newspaper ‚Nürnberger Nachrichten’ and committed himself to a democratic and pluralistic society.