If Goebbels only knew

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Of all the stories emerging out of WWII this must be one of my favourites. A tale of giving the proverbial 2 fingers and an up yours gesture. Undoubtedly the Service held did not lose any of its religious sense or relevance but I am sure there must have been a few smiling faces afterwards.

The picture above is of a Jewish Service held in Schloss Rheydt the home of Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister. I would have loved so much to have seen his face after finding out about the event in his dining room.

Pfc. Abraham Mirmelstein of Newport News, Virginia, holds the Holy Scroll as Capt. Manuel M. Poliakoff, and Cpl. Martin Willen, of Baltimore, Maryland, conduct services in Schloss Rheydt, former residence of Dr. Joseph Paul Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, in Münchengladbach, Germany on March 18, 1945. They were the first Jewish services held east of the Rur River and were offered in memory of soldiers of the faith who were lost by the 29th Division, U.S. 9th Army.

I came across this newsletter, I am not sure if this is about the same service. I am not sure since the celebrants mentioned in it had different names and the date is 10 days later. So it appears there had been at least a second service, making revenge twice as sweet.

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WWII Newspaper coverage

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Good news coverage is always very important to keep yourself informed, but in times of war this importance is amplified manyfold.

I still clearly remember when the  Gulf war-Operation Desert storm  broke out, it was probably one of the first times there was instant live news coverage of a war, and it was mesmerizing, The media used then was television, of course during WWII the television wasn’t as advanced as it is now so people relied on Newspapers to stay informed.

Some of the news coverage was heavily propagandized though. Below are some examples of Newspaper headlined from WWII, in no particular order.

1943 Volkischer Beobachter (Germany) front page reporting the German Army defeat at Stalingrad saying “They died, so that Germany can live”

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so it begins

 

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This is a strange one, it is a German propaganda news paper in English , called Swastika Times.

The Axis powers, especially Germany, also produced leaflets and newspapers targeted on enemy soldiers. Consider again the situation in North West Europe after D-Day. The Germans executed an extensive and inventive leaflet campaign against the Allied forces as they fought their way across France and Belgium into Germany. Other than during the Ardennes Offensive they had relatively little news to exploit in their favour but certain themes had the potential to weaken the enemy soldier’s morale, make him over-self-protective, and question his post-war prospects. Relative to the Allies’ well-oiled newspaper publishing machine, the German’s newspaper publishing efforts appeared to be sporadic and inconsistent.

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Hugo Jaeger-Documenting ghetto life

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Hugo Jaeger was one of Hitler’s personal photographers who has been granted special access to Third Reich and Hitler’s personal space. He is famous for being one of few photographers from that time period who used color photograph, which makes people assume that these photos have been “colorized” from black and white originals, when in reality these are the originals.

 

Hugo Jaeger’s photographs normally celebrated the ‘glory and triumphalism’ of the Third Reich. But in this set he depicts the tragic circumstances of Jews.What his reasons were is not clear, was it compassion or just another bit of propaganda.

The pictures do tell a powerful  tale.

Despite the awfulness of her predicament, this Jewish woman manages to smile brightly for the camera as she poses for Jaeger.article-0-158DC232000005DC-165_964x1432

An elderly man with a yellow Star of David fixed to his chest, speaks with German officers as he and other Jews are rounded up in Kutno, German-occupied Poland in 1939. The German officers appear to be sneering him
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With their clean clothes and hair neatly coiffured, these three young women do not, at first glance, appear anything like Jaeger’s other subjects. But look closer and you find a star of David on the coat of the girl on the left

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Ghetto boys: In their tattered rags the two boys smile for the camera, but the man in the centre, most probably their father, has a look of distrust etched across his face.article-0-15880210000005DC-376_964x643

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“Give me 4 year time”- The Power of the Nazi propaganda machine

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The buzzwords nowadays are ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ this is rubbish of course because news is news and facts are facts, however the interpretation and manipulation of the news and facts can be fake,

Basically another word for that is propaganda,defined as “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”

The Nazis were masters in propaganda. The above picture is basically an election poster it is promoting a convention of the 1st ‘comprehensive’ performance overview of the National Socialism, in 1937. The heading of the poster says “Give me 4 years time”

As if the Germans had a choice.During the 1936 election and referendum the Germans had already voted for the single rule of the Nazi party and Hitler as supreme leader.

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When you look at the data of the election 99% of the population voted and 98.8% voted for the Nazis.clearly these figures were manipulated.

Ever since Hitler came to power the population was blinded by him. This wasn’t difficult to do for him because he delivered on his promises of employment and building a great Germany again. In 1933 unemployment was 6 million by January 1937 it had decreased to 1.8 million, we know now that was accomplished for all the wrong reasons.The 1933 election poster says “Hitler builds”

 

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This new found prosperity instilled a sense of loyalty towards the Führer, so very few questions were asked in relation what happened inside newly built concentration camps like Dachau or what happened in Euthanasia centers like Hartheim, things were going well and people didn’t want to rock the boat.

Combine all this with an extremely powerful and extremely well oiled propaganda machine it is no wonder the Nazis got away with what they did.

The propaganda was aimed at all age groups. In this Nazi fundraising poster, a member of the Hitler youth asks for money to build youth hostels and homes.

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A German family salutes the German Imperial Railroad.

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Even when the war broke out very few questions were asked,because people believed all the lies spun to them. The fake attack by Polish soldiers like in The Gleiwitz incident.

On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Alfred NaujocksAlfred_Naujocks seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish. The whole operation was named “Grossmutter gestorben” (“Grandmother died”).The Germans’ goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.

The Gleiwitz incident was a part of a larger operation carried out by Abwehr and SS forces.There were other incidents orchestrated by Germany along the Polish-German border at the same time as the Gleiwitz attack, such as a house torching in the Polish Corridor and spurious propaganda output. The entire project was dubbed Operation Himmler and comprised a number of incidents intended to give the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany.

German newspapers and politicians, including Adolf Hitler, accused Polish authorities for months before the 1939 invasion of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.

The Nazis always blamed the Jews for the misfortune of the German people and they directed their propaganda in such a way to ensure the majority of the population would take the bait.

Nazi Party anti-Semitic poster for the German parliament, the Reichstag, 1928, saying “Make the punch count”

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1943 poster claiming that the Jews were to blame for the war

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Jews were seen as very prosperous and wealthy and that they had profited from the economic woes, and yes there were some who had but so had many other Germans. If any one would have just stood back an analyse the situation they would have seen that the Jews were just as badly affected as any one else.

The German propaganda aided in the extermination of millions without too many questions being asked.

Next time some tells you “this is fake news” stand back and analyse it before you make up your mind.

Family in Front of Eagle, Nazi Party (NSDAP) Political Poster, Germany, 1936

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Matthias Sindelar-Protest through football.

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It is often believed that the Austrians accepted the annexation lying down. For a big part that was true however not every one was so enthusiastic about the ‘Anschluss’

Of Czech descent, Sindelar was born Matěj Šindelář in Kozlov, Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Jan Šindelář, a blacksmith, and his wife Marie (née Švengrová). Sindelar-autDespite occasional claims that Sindelar was of Jewish origin, the family was Catholic.They moved to Vienna in 1905 and settled in the district of Favoriten, which had a large Czech-speaking community. Young Matěj/Matthias began playing football in the streets of Vienna.

Sindelar was spotted playing in the street with a ball made from rags and joined the local Hertha club at the age of 15, a year after his father was killed on the Italian front during World War I. Before long he moved to the Vienna Amateurs, later to be renamed FK Austria Vienna, and soon broke into the first team despite a persistent knee injury. Many put his elusive style of play down to the fear of receiving a career-ending knock to his permanently bandaged knee

He played as a centre-forward for the celebrated Austria national team of the early 1930s known as the Wunderteam, which he captained at the 1934 World Cup.

Known as “The Mozart of football” or Der Papierene – ‘The Paper Man” for his slight build, he was renowned as one of the finest pre-war footballers, known for his fantastic dribbling ability and creativity.

Matthias Sindelar

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Sindelar, an awkward, edgy character, had made clear that he was fundamentally opposed to the Anschluss, but, despite the fact that, at 35, he had begun to wind down his international career, he insisted on playing.

Sport was of course a key element in the Nazi propaganda machine, The 1936 Summer Olympic games gad all been about the Nazi image.

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April 3, 1938, the Prater Stadium in Vienna. For 69 minutes Matthias Sindelar, playing for his national side, does as he’s told. He passes up chance after chance during a ‘friendly’ match against Germany ,who just a few weeks earlier annexed his beloved Austria. This game – designed as a celebration of this ‘connection’ – was an official welcoming back of Austria into the Reich. Having been advised not to score, Sindelar keeps missing the easiest of chances.

Then, in the 70th minute, he tucks home a rebound and scores , much to the surprise of the 60,000 crowd, who are fully expecting the game to fizzle out into a diplomatic 0-0 draw.

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Then his team-mate and friend Schasti Sesta blasts home a free-kick to make it 2-0, and the pair dance a jig of delight in front of a box full of Nazi dignitaries.

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In the months that followed, Sindelar, who never made any secret of his Social Democratic leanings, repeatedly refused to play for Germany. In August 1938, he bought a café from Leopold Drill, a Jew forced to give it up under new legislation. paying DM 20,000  and was censured by the authorities for his reluctance to put up Nazi posters.

On the morning of January 23, 1939, Matthias Sindelar was found dead in his apartment, above the coffee house he had acquired the previous year, lying next to Camilla Castagnola, his new girlfriend. The official verdict was accidental death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the break-up of the team and city he loved had gradually forced Sindelar into depression and many felt he took his own life in a suicide pact with his girlfriend. There is a third theory, though: foul play. The police investigation was forcibly cancelled by the Nazis after a few months, and the files pertaining to the case disappeared soon afterwards.

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The Nazi Plan-Film and evidence

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The lead U.S. prosecutor, and the driving force behind the organization of the Trial, was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.  During preparation for the trial, Jackson made the bold and historic decision to use film and photo evidence to convict the Nazis. But these films had to be found..

Jackson knew that it was important to use Nazi shot footage as no one could claim that the footage had been prejudiced against the Nazis by what was shown since it was shot by the Nazis themselves.

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A special OSS film team — OSS Field Photographic Branch/War Crimes — was formed for this purpose. Brothers Budd and Stuart Schulberg, sons of the former Paramount studio chief B.P. Schulberg, were assigned to this special OSS search team that was dispatched to Europe. Budd was a Navy Lieutenant, and his younger brother Stuart, a Marine Corps Sergeant.

Stuart Schulberg and another office from the film unit, Daniel Fuchs (later a well-known author), were sent first, in June 1945.  Budd Schulberg, along with OSS film editors Robert Parrish and Joseph Zigman, followed in September 1945.

The search for incriminating film was conducted under enormous time pressure, and they encountered sabotage along the way.  They found two caches of film still burning, as though their guardians had been tipped off, and began to suspect leaks from their German informants, two SS film editors.

Just in time for the start of the trial, they found significant evidence, which, in close collaboration with Jackson’s staff of lawyers, they edited into a 4-hour film for the courtroom called The Nazi Plan.

In the course of this work, Budd Schulberg apprehended Leni Riefenstahl at her country home in Kitzbühl, Austria, as a material witness, and took her to the Nuremberg editing room, so she could help Budd identify Nazi figures in her films and in other German film material his unit had captured.

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Stuart Schulberg took possession of the photo archive of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, and became the film unit’s expert on still photo evidence. Most of the stills presented at the trial carry his affidavit of authenticity.

George Stevens was brought in to put it all together, with the help of Schulberg and principal editor Robert Parrish. The footage was extensive and the version finally edited together for Nuremberg was almost two hours longer than the version released to the public later. The complete documentary, with narration written by Schulberg, was presented as evidence on December 13, 1945, and helped in the effort to convict Nazi war criminals.

The Nazi Plan isn’t an easy watch, as it deals with the unblinking truth about the Nazis, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Few directors and writers in Hollywood, much less any film industry, can claim they played a vital role in the conviction of Nazi war criminals from World War II. Writer Budd Schulberg and director George Stevens could but, to their credit, never made much of a big deal about it. They did their part and weren’t looking for any reward or any long lasting fame as war heroes. But they were, and their work helped bring some of the worst figures in world history to justice.

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The Dark side of Carnaval

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The date 11 November  has a great number of special meanings, for example the armistice of WWI was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour.Add 11 after the 11th hour and you get a different meaning.

I don’t know exactly what the origin is but the date 11 11 at 11:11 am  is also known as the fool’s date, throughout a great number of countries but mainly in western Europe it triggers the start of the preparations for the Carnaval(aka Carnival) season.

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Carnaval is traditionally a Catholic  festival that takes place the 3 days before lent,the actual word translates into fall of meat. It signifies 3 days of indulgence of food and drink before people fast for 40 days until Easter. It starts on a Sunday and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.This is traced back to biblical times where Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and then was tempted by the Devil .”Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

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In modern days it really has become a feast of indulgence and not only a Catholic festival anymore, the most famous Carnaval is the Rio de Janeiro one.

A pivotal part of the festival is the parades or the floats on the Monday of the festival. The floats are mostly portray current affairs and have a satirical and political nature.

During the Nazi regime the festival became more sinister and darker. The floats ,which are really meant to be funny and make people think and laugh, were turned into a propaganda tool

The floats were used to manifeats expressions of anti-Semitism marking the German Carnival season during the years leading up to World War II.

Anti-Semitic floats, like this one from Cologne Carnival in 1934, were common. The banner reads: “The Last Ones Are Leaving.”

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This float from Cologne’s Rose Monday parade in 1936 depicts the Jews losing their rights under the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935.

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The carnival was used as a propaganda tool to highlight the values of the German nation. Here Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (right) can be seen enjoying the Munich carnival, known as Fasching, in 1935.

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A 1935 design for a float with depictions of people who have fled Germany, with the motto: “Refugees, Under the Roofs of Paris.”

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Kraft durch Freude-Strength through Joy, the Nazi organization responsible for leisure activities, hosted an event in Cologne in 1935. However, Cologne Carnival organizers managed to keep control of the festivities.

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The Nazis saw that the tradition of Carnival could be used to portray their notions of the German Volk or nation. Yet its anarchic fun and potential to mock those in power was something they sought to strictly control. Right from the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, there were orders not to mention Hitler during the festivities.

Yet there were some rare instances of defiance. For example, one Carnival group in Frankfurt dared to print posters in a newspaper depicting the Führer as a Carnival jester. A team of Nazis was immediately sent out to destroy the club’s float and arrest the editors, who spent three weeks in prison.

This image from the magazine Kladderadatsch shows the Führer accompanying Germania to a Fastnacht ball.

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The famous Cologne Carnival speaker Karl Küppnerkk also fell foul of the authorities after making one too many jokes about the Nazis. During one speech, he stuck out his hand to do the Hitler salute and quipped: “Looks like rain.” Küppner ended up in jail and was barred from making any more speeches.

And the president of Düsseldorf’s Carnival committee, Leo Statz, paid the ultimate price for his irreverence. He had repeatedly annoyed the Nazis with his satirical Carnival songs and in 1943, after drunkenly questioning whether Germany could win the war, he was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually executed.

Nevertheless, these were the exceptions. On the whole there was a large degree of compliance with the regime. There were jokes in almost every Carnival speech about Jews as well as other enemies, such as the French or Russians. Many of the floats mocked the League of Nations, and favourite hate figures were American politicians, such as New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish.

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For the regime, Carnival was a useful propaganda tool to the outside world. There were repeated references to the jobs created and the boost to the economy. The Nazis launched an advertising campaign to attract foreign tourists and to show the country in a favorable light and to show the “peaceful Germans, who didn’t want war, but just wanted to have fun,”

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Advertising and Propaganda WWII Style

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One of the most powerful weapons during WWII and indeed any other war was propaganda. It was however not only the governments that used propaganda, private also used propaganda, albeit in a more subliminal manner, in their advertising campaigns.

Some of these ads would put 21st century advertisers to shame. following are some examples of the ads allied style.

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Santa Claus Has Gone to War!” World War II propaganda (1942)

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Have a coke and a smile even at war

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“This is no time to be FRAIL! Bread is basic” – Fleishmann’s Yeast ad in ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, December 1942

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World War II Comics and Cartoons

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I am not a great fan of comics although I did read them when I was younger, but they don’t really interest me that much anymore.

However I can see the value of them and why they were popular even during war. Or maybe I should say especially during war, Because it was the perfect tool for escapism. It was cheap and more important easy to carry with you. Of course a lot of the comics would be oozing with propaganda.

Cartoons have often been use in a satirical way and have caused many controversies, as a matter of fact they still do. But the propaganda value of this was priceless

Below are just a few examples of WWII Comic books and cartoons.

Uncle Sam is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Based on the national personification of the United States, Uncle Sam, the character first appeared in National Comics #1 (July, 1940) and was created by Will Eisner

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Classics Illustrated Special Issue Comic #166a – World War II.

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Daredevil

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Batman & Robin

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Willie and Joe Cartoons drawn by Bill Maudlin

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William Henry “Bill” Mauldin (October 29, 1921 – January 22, 2003) was an American editorial cartoonist who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He was most famous for his World War II cartoons depicting American soldiers, as represented by the archetypal characters Willie and Joe, two weary and bedraggled infantry troopers who stoically endure the difficulties and dangers of duty in the field. His cartoons were popular with soldiers throughout Europe, and with civilians in the United States as well.

One of the most iconic “Willy and Joe” cartoons of WWII, drawn by Bill Maudlin

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David Low

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Sir David Alexander Cecil Low (7 April 1891 – 19 September 1963) was a New Zealand political cartoonist and caricaturist who lived and worked in the United Kingdom for many years. Low was a self-taught cartoonist. Born in New Zealand, he worked in his native country before migrating to Sydney in 1911, and ultimately to London (1919), where he made his career and earned fame for his Colonel Blimp depictions and his merciless satirising of the personalities and policies of German dictator Adolf Hitler, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, and other leaders of his times.

Rendezvous, 20 September 1939.

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Nazi Propaganda-Part 2

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One of the ways how the Nazis were able to include regular citizens in their web of evil and deceit was by propaganda. Regardless what you think of them, they were masters of propaganda, it enabled them to brainwash the ordinary citizenry. That combined with promising and delivering employment and some level of prosperity is a powerful weapon.

In fact it probably was their most powerful weapon because it allowed them to get away with awful crimes and atrocities.

Here are just some of the propaganda slogans and posters used during the Nazi era.To be honest some of them look very similar to motivational posters which are used nowadays.

The text: “National Socialism is the guarantee of victory.” This poster was released in fall 1939.

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A quotation from Clausewitz: “The time is yours. What happens with it depends on you.” ( September 1940)

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A common Nazi slogan : “The Führer is always right .” (February 1941)

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A quotation from Hermann Göring: “To help to defend and finish the Führer’s enormous work is the happiest task and highest duty of all Germans” (May 1941)

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This quotation from Hitler’s 30 January 1939 speech promises the destruction of the Jews. It appeared in September 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, and during the opening stages of the Holocaust. The translation: “If International Finance Jewry should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, the result will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.

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This one encourages motherhood. The translation is: “Work is an honor for the woman as is it for the man, but a child ennobles the mother.” ( December 1942)

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A quotation from Joseph Goebbels: “Only composure and a heart of bronze bring victory.” (January 1943)

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This July 1932 election poster shows the German worker, enlightened through National Socialism, towering over his opponents. It reads “We Workers Have Awakened. We’re Voting National Socialist”

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