With the ardent conviction of a missionary, Josef Ganz in Motor-Kritik attacked the old and well-established auto companies with biting irony.

Volkswagen-director Heinrich Nordhoff (1958)

In 1928, at age 29, Josef Ganz was appointed as editor-in-chief of Klein-Motor-Sport, a magazine about motorcycles and small cars. He used this magazine, which he renamed into the more appropriate Motor-Kritik in 1929, as a platform to give supportive but fierce criticism to the automotive industry, fight against corruption in the industry and press, and promote innovative technical concepts and ideas, including streamlining, independent wheel suspension with swinging half-axles, rear-mounted engines – and the idea for the Deutschen Volkswagen (German Volkswagen).

The automotive companies fought against Motor-Kritik with law-suits, slander campaigns and an advertising boycott. However, every new attempt for destruction only increased the publicity for the magazine, and Josef Ganz firmly established himself as the leading independent automotive innovator in Germany. By 1931, Ganz had transformed Klein-Motor-Sport with just three hundred subscribers into the highly influential but controversial trade journal Motor-Kritik, boasting a print run of thirteen thousand copies and a readership in thirty-five countries.

However, with the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, some of Ganz’s enemies in the automotive industry abused their power and influence to have Josef Ganz arrested by the Gestapo in May 1933 on falsified charges of having blackmailed the German car industry. The last issue before his arrest was dedicated ‘to roads and the people’s car’. Although Ganz was released after one month, and was able to prove his innocence, he was forced to give up his position as editor-in-chief of Motor-Kritik. With his colleague and very good friend Georg Ising established as the new editor-in-chief, Ganz continued writing for Motor-Kritik until March 1934, when the Nazi government issued a full publication ban for Josef Ganz.

Below is a gallery of some of the covers of Klein-Motor-Sport and Motor-Kritik magazine, published between 1928 and 1933.