Was nicht im “Baedeker” steht: exploring art, mass culture and anti-tourism in Weimar Germany

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This article focuses on visual culture and the development of the guidebook series, Was nicht im “Baedeker” steht published by Piper Verlag in Weimar Germany. Through an exploration of modes of walking and viewing, it shows how the series’ first guidebook to Berlin, written by Eugen Szatmari in 1927, was allied with attitudes towards tourism championed by the journal Der Querschnitt. It considers how Szatmari’s portrayal of Berlin - eschewing mass tourist sites - was informed by his role as a prominent journalist amongst intellectual circles in the Romanische Café. The guidebook contained no maps, advertisements or photographs, which was unusual. Instead, it deliberately promoted the caricature drawings of artists such as Rudolf Großmann and Benedikt Fred Dolbin and combined these with the literary reportage style of Egon Erwin Kisch to challenge ubiquitous guides. Its similarity to Der Querschnitt significantly reveals the dialectical engagement of Berlin’s artist and journalist circles with mass cultural forms, including tourism. Whilst the format of guidebooks diversified to address a modern ‘art-loving’ demographic that ridiculed both the elite traditions of Baedeker and the Republic’s political impasse, this article posits that it was fundamentally difficult to travel outside of established tourist infrastructures during this period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
Pages (from-to)207-245
Number of pages39
JournalNew German Critique
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • guidebook
  • Der Querschnitt
  • Romanisches Café
  • travel
  • graphic art


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