Die a Hero in Langemarck. Flanders in the Nazi Poetry of Heinrich Anacker
Keywords:Heinrich Anacker, propaganda poetry / propagandapoëzie, National Socialist literature / nationaal-socialistische literatuur, Flanders / Vlaanderen
This contribution focuses on the representation of Flanders in the propaganda poetry of the Nazi writer Heinrich Anacker (1901–1971) and its role in mythologising heroes in National Socialism. The analysis of a selection of poems from Anacker’s anthology Die Fanfare. Gedichte der deutschen Erhebung reveals Flanders as an important topos in his poetry. The symbolic value of this topos will be explained from a literary theoretical point of view: the idea of Flanders/Langemarck as a German memory space in a World War I past will be linked to the debate on whether National Socialism should be considered a political religion. Within this debate, Klaus Vondung identified the notion of ‘blood’ as one of the six ‘articles of faith’ of the Nazi creed, which appears in Anacker’s poetry in connection with the Flanders topos. This combination of blood and the Flanders topos serves to depict the death of the fallen soldiers as a so-called Nazi martyrdom.