Schemm, whose parents ran a shoemaker's shop, first went to a Volksschule for five years and then as of 1905 to a teachers' college. In 1915 he got married; in 1917 a son was born. He taught school beginning in 1910, first in Wülfersreuth, then as of 1911 in Neufang and from 1920 at the Altstadtschule ("Old Town School"), which was later named the Hans-Schemm-Schule, in Bayreuth. During the First World War he worked at a military epidemic hospital in Bayreuth where he became infected with tuberculosis.
In 1919 he belonged to the Freikorps Bayreuth, which took part in the street fighting that was common at the time among opposing political groups in Munich.
On the basis of his background in bio-chemistry, Schemm became head of a bacteriological-chemical laboratory in Thale (Hubertusbad). After it closed in 1921 for financial reasons, Schemm returned to the classroom until 1928.
Schemm's interactions with Nazi groups had begun by 1923. On September 30 of that year he first met Adolf Hitler. With Hitler's quick confidence, Shemm became an assessor in the Bayreuth Völkischer Bund in 1924; and in the following year he organized the Bayreuth Nazi Ortsgruppe ("Local Group") and the Nazi Gau of Upper Franconia (Oberfranken).
Schemm built the organization up with determination. His political positions were clearly antidemocratic, anti-Semitic and anti-Communist, as can be seen in some of his quotations:
- "We are not objective – we are German!" 
- " ... that a Jew should dangle from every lamppost." 
In 1927, Schemm founded the National Socialist Teachers' Federation. In 1928, he became a member of the Bavarian Landtag.
Schemm also took on the role of publicist in the late 20s: for a brief period he took over the leadership of several Nazi newspapers (Streiter, Weckruf and Nationale Zeitung). In April 1929, Schemm founded his own newspaper; and in August of the same year appeared in the Nationalsozialistische Lehrerzeitung ("National Socialist Teachers' Newspaper"), the National Socialist Teachers League's (NSLB) journalistic organ. On 1 October 1930 came the first edition of the weekly newspaper Kampf für deutsche Freiheit und Kultur ("Struggle for German Freedom and Culture"), which was published by Schemm, and whose circulation rose from 3,000 in the beginning to 20,000 by 1932.
In 1931, Schemm founded the Bayreuth National Socialist Cultural Publishing House (Nationalsozialistischer Kulturverlag Bayreuth), which beginning on 1 October 1932 published the daily newspaper Das Fränkische Volk (circulation: 10,000)
In 1930, Schemm became a member of the German national parliament, the Reichstag.
In 1933, the Gau of Upper Franconia, led by Schlemm, was united with the Gau of Upper Palatinate-Lower Bavaria (Oberpfalz-Niederbayern) to form the Gau Bayerische Ostmark. Schemm kept his job as Gauleiter. Furthermore, he became an SA Gruppenführer. On 16 March 1933, the Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) Franz Ritter von Epp appointed Schemm to be the provisional Culture Minister. Hitler then appointed him on 13 April 1933 the "Leader of Cultural and Educational Affairs of Bavaria".
In 1933, Schemm became an honorary citizen of Bayreuth.
In April 1933, when Schemm arrived in Passau to attend the laying of the corner stone for the Hall of the Nibelungs, he also addressed the masses. Passau honored Schemm by dedicating a street and a school to him.
In March 1935 Schemm was seriously injured in an aircraft crash. Although Hitler personally ordered Berlin Professor Ferdinand Sauerbruch to fly to Bayreuth, Schemm, however, succumbed to his injuries on March 5 before the professor's arrival. His successor as Gauleiter was Fritz Wächtler.
The Nazis posthumously honored Schemm as a publicist and educator by naming multiple schools, streets, and halls after him.
- Der rote Krieg. Mutter oder Genossin, 1931
- Mosse, George Lachmann (1966). Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich. University of Wisconsin Press. p. xxxi.
- Allen, Arthur (2015). The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brace Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. Norton.
- "Holocaust and Human Behavior". Hard Times Return. https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-4/hard-times-return. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
- Zofka, Zdenek (1988). "Between Bauernbund and National Socialism. The Political Reorientation of the Peasants in the Final Phase of the Weimar Republic". In Childers, Thomas. The Formation of the Nazi Constituency 1919-1933. Croom Helm.
- Anna Rosmus Hitlers Nibelungen, Samples Grafenau 2015, p. 99
- Anna Rosmus Hitlers Nibelungen, Samples Grafenau 2015, pp. 212ff
- "Schemm, Hans" (in German). Bayerische Landesbibliothek. http://verwaltungshandbuch.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de/schemm-hans.
- Newspaper clippings about H in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
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