Background: I came across this set of six posters produced by
the NSDAP Gauleitung Steiermark, part of Austria then incorporated
into Hitlerís Reich. The posters went out with a late 1941 issue of a
newsletter for propagandists, giving them detailed guidance on how to
prepare for the campaign, which was aimed at complainers and those who
failed to realize the greatness of life in Nazi Germany. Each poster would
hang for two weeks, so the whole campaign ran three months. Newspapers
promoted it, and those attending movie theaters saw slides of the posters
before the film began. The three area breweries even produced beer coasters
with the caricatures on them. The goal was to make everyone aware of the
two unpleasant central figures in the campaign, and encourage them to
behave differently: “Wherever such a character surfaces, the goal
is that party members or other citizens present will refer to Herr Semperer
or Frau Keppelmeier and bring ridicule down on them.” There was
another poster that ran at the very end of the campaign, but I have not
found that one.
The source: “Herr Semperer und Frau Keppelmeier!
Propagandaaktion gegen Gerüchtemacher und Meckerer im Gau Steiermark,”
Der Propagandist. Mitteilungen des Gaupropagandaamtes Steiermark,
November-December 1941, pp. 6-8.
A Nazi Poster Campaign in
This poster introduced the two characters: Frau
Keppelmeier and Herr Semperer. “Sempern” is slang
for ‘complain.” The
Frau Keppelmeier, as one can see,
Is deeply troubled as can be.
Herr Semperer, on the other hand,
Eagerly hears the rumor she tells.
Herr Semperer is not eager to donate to the Nazi
Partyís charity, the Winterhilfswerk, or WHW:
Herr Semperer, itís very clear,
Makes his “sacrifice” so dear.
“Hey,” he mutters, “I gives ma share!”
Two cents is all that he can spare.
||Frau Keppelmeier commits the crime (and it was a crime)
of listening to British radio:
At night Frau Keppelmeier turns her dial,
And listens in on London.
She sits there listening to lies,
Happily being led astray.
||Herr Semperer, meanwhile, has advice for Hitlerís generals:
Herr Semperer is a strategist.
The most important thing in any battle
Is to make the right attack, he says.
Any general could learn from him.
One need only listen to him at the pub.
||Frau Keppelmeier, meanwhile, is having trouble finding
the things she needs:
Frau Keppelmeier is most distressed.
She can’t get the right perfume these days.
And our youth, why they’re so immature,
They’ve never heard of perfumed soap!
||Herr Semperer is off in the countryside
looking for black market foodstuffs:
Herr Semperer, meanwhile, complains so loudly.
The trains, you see, are sometimes late.
In such hard times how can he then,
Himself punctually fill his sack?
[Page copyright © 2006 by Randall Bytwerk.
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