In 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor, is at war with a lot of countries in Europe. He is a powerful ruler an changes a lot: the legal system, languages, the calendar, whole kingdoms.
Johann Philipp Palm is born in Dr. Palm´s Pharmacy in Schorndorf, a small town in Southern Germany, in 1766. At the age of 14, he moves to his uncle to Erlangen. He learns how to be a book dealer and publisher there.
After having completed his apprenticeship, Palm moves to Nuremberg to work as an assistant for the bookshop and publishing house of Johann Adam Stein. Palm marries his boss´ daughter, Anna Katharina Barbara Stein. They have three children and are a happy family.
In 1796, Palm becomes an official citizen of Nuremberg (Bavaria today). That means, he can run an own business. He takes over the bookshop and publishing house of his father-in-law. But it´s difficult to sell books in these times, because the French wind conspiracies everywhere and control everything. Besides, people would spend their little money rather on food than on books in wartimes.
In the course of spring of 1806, Palm sells the book "Germany in its deep humiliation". More and more people dare to criticise Napoleon, because his soldiers cause a lot of hardship to the public. The rebellious book calls for resistance against the occupying power.
When Napoleon hears that, he becomes very angry. He gives orders from Paris to arrest and execute Palm and everybody else, who has got something to do with that pamphlete.
Palm is braught to Braunau in Austria. Some of the French Soldiers even make an effort, to hold a kind of hearing for him. But it´s just a mock trial, as the result has been set by Napoleon long before.
Palm is shot down near the city gate on the afternoon of 26 August 1806.
Until his very end, Palm believes in justice and applicable law: Only the author, not the salesman, can be charged for a book´s content. But due to Napoleon´s order, Palm hasn´t got a chance.
After all, Palm does not reveal the author´s name. He is unknown until today.