Ossietzky worked for the organized German peace movement until 1921 (he resigned from his post as secretary of the German Peace Society because he disagreed with its policy). He became foreign editor of the "Berliner Volkszeitung", a democratic and anti-militaristic newspaper. Later he became editor of "Das Tagebuch" and "Die Weltbühne". Ossietzky criticized the Nazi Party and the disparities of the Weimar Republic, while he actively advocated justice and democratic rights. He warned against anti-Semitism, opposed the death penalty, supported reconciliation with France, and he advocated the acceptance of Germany as an equal member of the League of Nations.
When Hitler became chancellor in 1933 and the Nazi Party became the predominant political power in Germany, Ossietzky was arrested and confined to a concentration camp.
16 members of the Czechoslovakian Senate
Members of the Czechoslovakian Senate
CZECH REPUBLIC (CZ)
Hilde Walter and Hellmuth von Gerlach, friends of Ossietzky who were in exile in Paris, initiated a campaign to promote his candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize for 1935. They hoped that a peace prize would protect him from further atrocities from the Nazi government. He did not receive the prize in 1935, but the campaign continued, and the Nobel Committee were flooded in nominations and endorsement letters. In 1936 Berlin became concerned over the growing anti-German opinion resulting from the Ossietzky campaign. As a result, the Nazis allowed medical treatment for Ossietzky, whose health was deteriorating. Berlin feared international criticism if he were to die, and shortly before the announcement was made in November 1936, he was transferred to a private clinic under strict surveillance.
In 1936 Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1935.
The 16 nominators submitted 16 identical letters to the Nobel Committee.