Karl Schwesig’s Schlegelkeller: Anatomy of a Rejected Warning of Prewar Violence at LIFE Magazine



This essay examines the 1939 decision by Time, Inc., publisher of LIFE magazine, to reject Schlegelkeller, an eyewitness account of early pre-Holocaust violence by German artist Karl Schwesig. While scholars have suggested a number of reasons why the American press minimized or failed to report the Nazi decimation of Jews and other marginalized groups, we borrow from two influential works by sociologist C. Wright Mills to suggest that an intricate intersection of social statuses, along with ideological perspectives, institutional norms, and personal temperament, may explain why LIFE rejected Schlegelkeller. We discuss the implications of this decision in light of both the magazine’s internal metrics and the response of the American news media to prewar violence in Europe.


Holocaust Art Henry Luce Karl Schwesig C. Wright Mills LIFE magazine Communism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Anthropology and African-American Studies ProgramUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA

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