So let us begin with what seems like a curiosity: here's a pdf excerpt of a mathematical article from the Thirties. Mathematics alone can be a pain, but the addition of Fraktur for the font? That seems excessive punishment.

(An excerpt from Teichmüller's "Multiplikation zyklischer Normalringe")

But this post is not to highlight the difficulty of reading mathematics; but rather about writing it.

The article is authored by a Mr. Oswald Teichmüller; a fairly famous and influential German mathematician who died young. The mathematics and the Fraktur are not the only problem in absorbing the article; it, like much of Teichmüller's original work, is a bit difficult to get hold of. The reason for that is the journal Mr. Teichmüller chose to publish in.

Here's the cover of that journal's that particular issue.

(The cover of "Deutsche Mathematik", April 1936)

The paper's name is "Deutsche Mathematik"; German Mathematics. Pray note it is from the year 1936. The reason Oswald Teichmüller is publishing in this particular journal is that he shares a political leaning (well, tripping) with its editor, Ludwig Bieberbach --- another accomplished and important mathematician of that time.

Here's the table of contents.

(The contents page of "Deutsche Mathematik", April 1936)

It is that political leaning which explains why Deutsche Mathematik contains rabidly patriotic articles in addition to mathematical ones; why there are no Jews or foreigners publishing in it; why, generally speaking, it is of such poor quality, and why those publishing in it get ever fewer, year by year; it is the reason why such a silly and terrible thing as "German Mathematics" has even been postulated.

Mr. Teichmüller and Mr. Bieberbach are both card-carrying, uniform-wearing, hate-slinging members of the Nazi Party.

Teichmüller is a young fanatic; eventually he graduates from strutting around in a SA uniform and harassing professors to volunteering for the Eastern Front, and presumably dies there in 1943. His body is never found.

Bieberbach, an opportunistic co-founder of this German Mathematics foolishness, will survive the war, but his reputation won't. He will continue to be a teacher of mathematics; but his academic positions and inventions are done. He dies in 1982.

The journal "Deutsche Mathematik" fails in 1943; there are no reprints.

I think what I want to say here is this: mathematicians are human beings. That we deal with proof and logic doesn't need to make us any nicer or smarter. This is just one example of how we, too, can be just as vicious, misguided and small-minded as any other group. But if you want to salvage something from this gloom, consider this: the mathematical results of those two live on, and by being an indistinguishable part of the international and universal structure of mathematical creation, they deftly refute their authors' un-mathematical assertions.

(The MacTutor archive has fuller biographies of Teichmüller and Bieberbach.)