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Landschaftskunde und Wirtschaftsgeographie: Akademischer Antisemitismus im Werk Siegfried Passarges in den 1920er und 1930er Jahren

Historians have by and large neglected the work of the Hamburg-based academic Siegfried Passarge (1867–1958) on regional geography, a clear example of a volkish-national world-centered view on culturally homogenous Bodenständigkeit—“attachment to the soil”—and collective rootedness. Passarge’s “territorial” argument was not just articulated in the Nazi years but reflected a German geopolitical tradition of the 1920s dating back to the nineteenth century and whose well known representatives were Karl Haushofer, Otto Maull, Hugo Hassinger, and Friedrich Ratzel. The ideology of character-stamping “landscape” not only involved the glorification of ur-agrarian life and country people, but the corresponding demonization of the big cities. At the same time, as a scrutiny of Passarge’s texts reveals, this ideology was radically antisemitic. My discussion addresses this mentality that became hegemonic in Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s; a mentality—ideological tenets, traditions, and consequences—against which Vilém Flusser engaged in a life-long struggle.