Johann Philipp Palm

Johann Philipp Palm or Johannes Philipp Palm (17 December 1768 26 August 1806) was a German bookseller and a strong anti-French agitator and freedom fighter executed during the Napoleonic Wars at Napoleon‘s orders.

Statue by Konrad Knoll, Braunau, 1866

He was born at Schorndorf in Württemberg. Having been apprenticed to his uncle, the publisher Johann Jakob Palm (17501826), in Erlangen, he married the daughter of the bookseller Stein in Nuremberg, and in the course of time became proprietor of his father-in-law’s business.

In the spring of 1806, the Stein publishing house sent to the bookselling establishment of Stage in Augsburg a pamphlet (presumably written by Philipp Christian Yelin in Ansbach) entitled Deutschland in seiner tiefen Erniedrigung (“Germany in her deep humiliation”), which strongly attacked Napoleon and the behaviour of the French troops in Bavaria. On learning of the violent rhetorical attack made upon his régime and failing to discover the actual author, Napoleon had Palm arrested in and handed over to a military commission at Braunau am Inn on the Bavarian-Austrian frontier, with peremptory instructions to try the prisoner and execute him within twenty-four hours. Palm was denied the right of defence, and after a show trial on 25 August 1806, he was shot the following day without having betrayed the pamphlet’s author.

A life-size bronze statue was erected to his memory in Braunau in 1866, and on the centenary of his death, numerous patriotic meetings were held throughout Bavaria. Since 2002 a private foundation at Schorndorf awards a Johann Philipp Palm Prize for freedom of speech and the press.

It was to Palm that the poet Thomas Campbell was referring when he gave his famous (and possibly apocryphal) toast to Napoleon at a literary dinner. When this caused uproar, he admitted that Napoleon was a tyrant and an enemy of their country, “But gentlemen! He once shot a publisher.”

Palm is briefly mentioned in Adolf Hitler‘s autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle), in the first page of the book. Hitler wrote, “To-day I consider it a good omen that Destiny appointed Braunau-am-Inn to be my birthplace.” Later on the same page, Palm is mentioned by name as an “uncompromising nationalist and enemy of the French, put to death here because he had loved Germany even in her misfortune.” Hitler compares his death to that of Leo Schlageter, who had also been executed by the French after being betrayed to them.[1]

. . . Johann Philipp Palm . . .

  1. Mein Kampf (“My fight”), Volume 1: “A Reckoning”, first real page. Stalag edition. ISBN 9781684185979
  2. “2014”. Palm-Stiftung (in German). 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  3. “2016”. Palm-Stiftung (in German). 2018-06-26. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  4. “2018”. Palm-Stiftung (in German). 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2018-10-13.

. . . Johann Philipp Palm . . .

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. . . Johann Philipp Palm . . .