Ego Documents

The society publishes documents from the estate of Carl Schmitt in loose succession, which allow insights into the thought and work processes of the scholar in direct and indirect form. What is special about them is that they are not calculated for staging and publicity. Self-perception and deeper personality structures are expressed in them, sometimes impulsively and undisguised.

Foremost among these are the diaries written in Gabelsberg shorthand, which have been transcribed for the period from 1912 to 1934 and published in five volumes (I. 1912-1915, II. 1915-1919, III. 1921-1924, IV. 1925-1929, V. 1930-1934). For the years of the Second World War the edition is in preparation. Examples with transcribed text can be found on a separate page.

The Glossarium, a largely clear-cut diary of thought for the years 1947 to 1958, was published as early as 1991, albeit incomplete; in 2015 this edition was replaced by a complete, cleaned-up and annotated one. On the history and status of the diary edition, see Jahrbuch für Internationale Germanistik (2020). 

Notiz vom 28. April 1922

Marginal Notes and Traces in Schmitt’s Library

Schmitt did not just own a large, thematically extensive library – he acquired and appropriated it. The traces of such appropriation and ownership can be found in entries, annotations and sometimes passionate comments.

From Christian Graf von Krockow’s Die Entscheidung. An Inquiry into Ernst Jünger, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger became “A Christian Crocodile Inquiry”. Illustration cover page 1
(Landesarchiv NRW, Abt. Rheinland, RW 0265-28050).

“One Remains”: That, title page. While Jünger and Heidegger soon regained their honour after 1945, Schmitt was denied this.

Schmittiana NF, Bd. 1.

Satire and private Commentary

In his private notes, where Schmitt had no need to consider a public, there are unprotected statements, as in the case of Theodor W. Adorno’s Versuch über Wagner.

On the cover of his copy of this book, Schmitt very decisively crossed out “Versuch über” and replaced it with “Mord an” (Fig. 2 u. 3).

Schmittiana NF, Bd. 1.

Carl or Karl Schmitt?

The Carl Schmitt birth certificate proves that the widespread view that his correct first name is Karl is wrong. Since the internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia begins its article on Carl Schmitt at the time with the sentence, “Carl Schmitt (actually Karl Schmitt…)”, this claim of misspelling has spread ubiquitously. The source cited is a review of Schmitt’s diaries by the Constance labour and civil law scholar Bernd Rüthers (Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Germanistische Abtlg., Vol. 124 (2007), p. 731), according to whom Schmitt had wanted to increase his personal importance to the outside world by rewriting his first name with C.

It has often been noted that Carl became “Karl Schmitt” in both official and private letters, citations or library catalogues. Even official documents have adopted this misspelling, as can be seen, for example, in the award certificate for the Bavarian King Ludwig Cross for Services to the Homeland from 1916, or the certificate of possession for the Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class from 1920 and the certificate for the Silver Badge of Honour for 25 years of loyal service from 1938. Schmitt himself, on the other hand, never signed anything other than his first name Carl in any known letters, printed works or other materials, or had the first name printed.


Beglaubigte Kopie der Geburtsurkunde aus dem Jahr 1913/14 mit der Schreibweise "Carl"
Deed of 14 July 1888

Wallenstein, adapted by the high school graduate Carl Schmitt

The examiner of the Abitur essay wrote under Schmitt’s work: “The task is correctly conceived, the order of thought clear and lucid. The work is commendable for its richness of thought as well as its stylistic fluency”.

The original of the essay has been preserved in the Attendorn municipal archives and can be read here as a transcript.


Abitur German essay by Carl Schmitt, 28.1.1907 Topic: "Will einer in der Welt was erjagen, Mag er sich rühren und mag sich plagen. (Schiller, Wallenstein) Source: Stadtarchiv Attendorn, Bestand: Gym 614, page 108-117.