Propaganda via Radio

The Nazis knew how to use the radio in a very effective way to relay their message of hate. It was the perfect tool for propaganda.

The Volksempfänger ( “people’s receiver”) was a range of radio receivers developed by engineer Otto Griessing at the request of Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda of the Nazi regime. In the 1930s, everyone wanted a radio. The still-new invention brought news, music, dramas, and comedy right into the home. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels saw its potential to transmit Nazi messages into the daily lives of Germans.

The original Volksempfänger VE301 model was presented on August 18, 1933, at the 10. Große Deutsche Funkausstellung in Berlin. The VE301 was available at a readily affordable price of 76 German Reichsmarks (equivalent to two weeks’ average salary), and a cheaper 35 Reichsmark model, which even could be paid off in instalments.

The radio didn’t only play an important part for the Nazis in Germany but also in the countries they occupied. In the Netherlands the Nazis used the radio to teach the Dutch German.

On Sunday 5 October 1941 Dutch listeners were getting ready, with the aide of a textbook for their first German lesson, broadcast on a Dutch radio station from the city of Hilversum. Alfred Rügner began by telling his audience a little something about German pronunciation.

However this wasn’t just an ordinary German lesson: this was about teaching National Socialist German. The following the course learned military terms, translated the Nazi slogan-of-the-week and words written by Hitler . The lessons in the book were full of anti-semitic illustrations and drawings of soldiers and members of the NSB (Dutch Nazi Party).

As the war progressed, the Germans interfered with Dutch radio programming more and more. By mid-1941, all of the Dutch stations were incorporated into one Rijksradio (State-controlled) broadcaster. From then on, the propaganda transmitted via the radio simply continued to increase.

Foreign broadcasts like the BBC and Radio Orange from the Dutch Government (in exile in London) were very popular with the Dutch people. The Germans were trying to stop the broadcasts any way they could, by forbidding to listen or by trying to jam. These measures were not effective enough, the final measure was the confiscation of all radios on 13 May 1943. Because the registration this measure was very effective. Of course, many tried to find ways to keep listening to Radio Orange. Many Dutch listened with their hidden radios to the Dutch broadcasts of “Radio Orange” from England. The BBC was also very popular.
With “wire-broadcasting” the Nazis could control the programs which were passed on. Wire-broadcasting (in Dutch “Draadomroep” or “Radio-distribute”) was the only radio which was allowed.

It was a system of sound broadcasting in which, unlike radio broadcasting, the sound (speech and music) is transmitted to a large number of listeners (subscribers) by means of electrical oscillations over a wired network—either an independent broadcasting network or a telephone network. There are both single-program and multiple-program types of wired broadcasting.

During the last months of the war the Dutch could listen to “Radio Herrijzend Netherlands” from the liberated parts of the country. After the liberation of south of the Netherlands, Philips secretly built radio channel “Herrijzen Nederland” to air Dutch programs.

The Nazis relied on Dutch collaborators to spread their propaganda via the radio.People like Max Blokzijl, who had a Jewish GrandmotHer.

He had settled in Berlin in 1918, working for the German press until 1940, while also serving as President of the Niederländischer Bund in Deutschland.

Although based outside the Netherlands, Blokzijl, who had become a convinced Nazi, joined the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB) in 1935.He returned to his homeland following the German invasion and became the propaganda chief for the new NSB puppet regime. In February 1941, the NSB forcibly replaced Hendrikus Colijn as editor of the Protestant newspaper De Standaard with Blokzijl, who held the title of General Secretary for Press Affairs for the party.In fact Blokzijl’s role was much greater than his title implied as he was actually effective head of the press in the Netherlands. He also broadcast pro-Nazi shows on Radio Hilversum.

On 16 March 1946 Blokzijl was the first Dutch collaborator to be executed.

sources

https://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/0910/bhw/bhw1.html

https://nltimes.nl/2015/03/24/illegal-underground-wwii-radios-go-display

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13688804.2019.1652581

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Helmuth Hübener teenager murdered for speaking the truth.

Helmuth Hübner, was a young member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), he lived in the St. Georg Branch in Hamburg.


His short life was shaped by the rise of fascism in Germany. The Nazis changed nearly every aspect of everyday life for Germans, and Helmut was no exception. He had been a devoted Boy Scout, but he was forced to become part of the Hitler Youth, when the Nazis banned the Boy scouts organization in 1935. Helmut did not feel comfortable with this and quit the Hitler youth in 1938,aged 13.

He was disturbed by participation of the Hitler Youth in Kristallnacht.After Hübener finished secondary school in 1941, he began an apprentice training course at the Hamburg Social Welfare Authority He met other apprentices there, one of whom, Gerhard Düwer, (whom he would later recruit into his resistance movement). In 1941 at a sauna in Altona , he met new friends, some were members of an illegal Young Communist Group.

At that time Helmut started listening to foreign radio stations and mainly the BBC. It was forbidden to listen to any non-government radio transmissions, like the BBC’s multi-language broadcasts, and being caught could result into severe punishments ,including he death penalty.

Helmut found a shortwave radio, which belonged to his older half-brother Gerhard’s in a hallway closet. It had been given to Gerhard early that year by a soldier returning from service in France.

Helmut decided to spread the information he had heard on the radio from the BBC. He also persuaded other like-minded young people to join him in opposition. He started to o compose various anti-national socialist texts and anti-war leaflets.

The leaflets were designed to draw the Germans attention to how distorted the official Nazi reports about World War II from Berlin were, as well as to point out Adolf Hitler’s, Joseph Goebbels’s, and other leading Nazis’ criminal behaviour. Other themes covered by Hübener’s writings were the war’s futility and Germany’s looming defeat. He also mentioned the mistreatment sometimes meted out in the Hitler Youth.

In one of his pamphlets, for example, he wrote:

“German boys! Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Yes you are right; it is Germany – Hitler Germany! Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding”.

For several months, Helmut spread the word about lost battles and Nazi lies. But on February 5 1942, a coworker and Nazi Party member Heinrich Mohn, denounced him. He had seen Helmut trying to translate the pamphlets into French and have them distributed among prisoners of war, he Helmut was arrested and tried before the Volksgerichtshof, or People’s Court, a Nazi-controlled tribunal that dealt with matters of treason.

On 11 August 1942, at age 17, Helmut was tried as an adult by the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin, Helmut was sentenced to death.

After the sentence was announced , Helmut turned to the judges and said, “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” He hoped this would focus the judge’s wrath solely on him and spare the life of his companions. It worked, his friends received long prison sentences, but survived the war. His two friends, Schnibbe and Wobbe, who had also been arrested, were given prison sentences of five and ten years respectively

On October 27, 1942, guards told Helmut that Adolf Hitler had personally refused to commute his death sentence. Hours later, he was beheaded—the youngest person in German resistance to Nazism ever executed by the Third Reich. It was highly unusual for the Nazis to try an underaged defendant, much less sentence him to death, but the court stated that Helmut had shown more than average intelligence for a boy his age.

Nowadays we also have very vocal youngsters, but mostly they are very privileged, especially in the wealthier western countries. I wonder though would they be willing to face harsh punishment and sacrifices for their causes. I doubt that very much, mainly because they are only paying lip service to often very trivial causes in comparison.

On the other hand there were very fanatical youngsters in Nazi Germany, actively and violently defending the Nazi regime. Children like Alfred Zech, a German child soldier who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class at the age of 12 years.

sources

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/helmuth-huebener/?no_cache=1

https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-youngest-person-executed-for-defying-the-nazis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Zech

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