German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

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Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers issued in November 1941.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 23, End of November, 1941.


Guidelines on Christmas


1. Christmas Candles

According to this year’s guidelines, each household will receive only a quarter pound of candles (about six).

To respond to the expected complaints, the public must be told clearly that the Eastern Front needs every kind of candle for its winter quarters and shelters. The Soviet Union lacks civilized supples of gas and electricity to a degree we cannot imagine. As is known, supplies of petroleum or other burnable fuels are extremely limited. That makes careful rationing of German candle production necessary.

Chatter that candle rationing is a manifestation of the rejection of Christmas must be energetically opposed. Christmas is an ancient German festival, a part of the most ancient German culture. No one has had greater interest in the Christmas festival as an expression of the Nordic longing for light than the new National Socialist Germany.

On the other hand, the Nordic longing for light is an expression of the racial need for a clear German way of life, for the freedom of our ethnic and governmental existence, which we are now defending against the dark powers of the Jewish-Bolshevist conspiracy. The German longing for light and freedom will lead us to make any sacrifice in this battle with fate. Our fighting Nordic spirit and our whole German-ethnic nature will compel us to follow the law of soldierly sacrifice. We therefore proudly and joyfully accept the privations of our day. Therefore, too, supplying our soldiers in the East is our greatest duty. This spirit must lead the entire German people to cheerfully accept the limitations in the candle supply during the coming Christmas season.

2. The Collection of Church Bells

The current scrap metal drive of the German people will include church bells. This is necessary since all available metal is necessary for the war effort.

It may be expected that certain circles will construe this as a sign of National Socialist enmity toward the churches. In reply, note that the German nation used church bells to increase our armaments production since the Wars of Freedom in 1813. That was true not only in 1813, but also in 1870/71 and the World War.

Remember particularly that in dealing with doubts that this measure may arouse about hostility to the churches, the church question itself may never be raised. The Führer’s order here is to be followed strictly. Slanderous doubts of such a nature are to be strongly rejected on factual grounds, without responding to accusations about our hostility to the churches in ways that might give our opponents material for their subversive attempts to influence our people.

3. Leather and Shoes

When growing complaints about the strict distribution of shoes surface, our speakers and propagandists should make it clear to our people, without concealing anything, that we are in an extraordinarily difficult situation with regards to leather. Complaints about cancelled orders are useless, since the cancellations are simply the result of insufficient supply.

Our Wehrmacht has an enormous need for leather. Our soldiers may under no circumstances suffer because of this shortage. The existing supply, therefore, is reserved exclusively for the Wehrmacht.

Each German people’s comrade has to understand the situation. The greatest possible limitations and the help of everyone, even if it means inadequate substitute shoes in the homeland, support our battle for victory.

4. Contact with Prisoners of War

Despite repeated education and information there are growing numbers of cases of forbidden contact with prisoners of war. That requires legal prosecution that broad circles of our people, especially in rural areas, do not understand.

Therefore, all speakers and propagandists have a duty to deal with this question, especially in rural areas and rural local groups. The necessary guidelines have already been provided in earlier issues.

In particular, point out that our ethnic consciousness, our national pride, our loyalty to those who have fallen and to our fighting brothers and fathers at the front demands of each German man, each German woman, and each girl that they behave in a strictly reserved manner with all prisoners of war. That also is the case in relations with foreign civilian workers. Most foreign prisoners and civilian workers in Germany, because of their own national pride, have no understanding for close relations with Germans, and the accompanying lack of dignity. In view of our future leadership role, we have a special duty now to exhibit behavior and attitudes over against prisoners and foreign workers that will assure our national position in the future European world.

 

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