Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, ca. 1894
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche|
July 10, 1846
November 8, 1935 (aged 89)|
|Known for||sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, founder of Nueva Germania and Nazi sympathiser.|
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche (July 10, 1846 – November 8, 1935), who went by her second name, was the sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the creator of the Nietzsche Archive in 1894.
Förster-Nietzsche was two years younger than her brother. Both were children of a Lutheran pastor in the German village of Röcken bei Lützen. The two children were close during their childhood and early adult years. However, the siblings grew apart in 1885 when Elisabeth married Bernhard Förster, a former high school teacher who had become a fanatic anti-Semitic agitator—Friedrich Nietzsche abhorred anti-Semitism.
Förster planned to create a "pure" Aryan settlement in the New World, and had found a site in Paraguay which he thought would be suitable. The couple persuaded 14 German families to join them in the colony, to be called Nueva Germania, and the group left Germany for South America on February 15, 1887.
The colony did not thrive. The land was not suitable for German methods of farming, illness ran rampant, and transportation to the colony was slow and difficult. Faced with mounting debts, Förster committed suicide by poisoning himself on June 3, 1889. Four years later his widow left the colony forever and returned to Germany. The colony still exists as part of San Pedro.
Friedrich Nietzsche's mental collapse occurred in 1889 (he died in 1900), and upon Elisabeth's return in 1893 she found him an invalid whose published writings were beginning to be read and discussed throughout Europe. Förster-Nietzsche took a leading role in promoting her brother, especially through the publication of a collection of Nietzsche's fragments under the name of The Will to Power.
Affiliation with the Nazi party
In 1930, Förster-Nietzsche, a German nationalist and anti-semite, became a supporter of the Nazi Party. After Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nietzsche Archive received financial support and publicity from the government, in return for which Förster-Nietzsche bestowed her brother's considerable prestige on the régime. Förster-Nietzsche's funeral in 1935 was attended by Hitler and several high-ranking Nazi officials.
- My Sister and I (a probably counterfeit autobiographical text by Friedrich Nietzsche, allegedly published by Oscar Levy)
- Diethe, Carol, Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003. (A biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche)
- Macintyre, Ben, Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche, New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992.
- Entretien autour de Friedrich Nietzsche et son temps