German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: The Nazis developed an elaborate, quasi-religious cult of the dead that shows itself in many ways. I like the term Ersatz-Religion, suggesting that Nazism in truth was as close to religion as substitute products are to the real thing. This is a collection of dying words of various Nazis, testifying to their faith in Adolf Hitler and his movement. Particularly interesting are two attacks on those who for religious reasons opposed Nazism. The source is Der Schulungsbrief, a widely-circulated Nazi magazine aimed at inculcating Nazi views on a broad audience. By the beginning of the war it claimed a circulation of 6,000,000 monthly.

The source: “Ihr Vermächtnis. Letzte Worte unserer Toten,” Der Schulungsbrief, 3 (1936), pp. 414-416.

Their Memorial: The Last Words of our Dead

The article begins with a citation from Hitler’s speech on 9 November 1935, the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch:

“This is what we thank these dead for: In one of the worst periods of German history, they set the example.”

“I find some satisfaction in dying. Perhaps I can help through my example.” — “From 1914 until this day, I have sacrificed all my strength and labor, out of love and loyalty, to my German homeland. Where it was in need, I sought to help.” — “Greet my parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, my friends, and my Germany!”

Albert Leo Schlageter. Died 26 May 1923

“The people do not yet want to believe in Adolf Hitler, but the time will come when they will have to believe!”

Kurt Neubauer. Died 9 November 1923

“Is Hitler alive? Is Ludendorff? Then I gladly die for my fatherland!”

Klaus von Pape. Died 9 November 1923

“I will always fight for Adolf Hitler!”

Otto Senft, Bochum. Died 13 February 1927

“Germany, Germany above all!”

Bernhard Gerwert, Haltern. Died 19 April 1928

“Play the Ave Maria for me!”

Heinrich Wölfel, Nuremberg. Died 1 May 1928

“I want to die like Schlageter!”

Heinrich Limback, Leipzig. Died 8 February 1929

“I know that I have to die, and I also know what I am dying for. Greet Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Be loyal and do your duty!”

Friedrich Meier, Kyritz. Died 8 December 1929

“Heil Adolf Hitler!”

Kurt Günther, Chemnitz. Died 15 March 1930

“Mother, mother, I am dying. Hitler, for you I die gladly!”

Ernst Weinstein, Bremen. 1 January 1931

“I remain true to my Führer to my last breath.”

Paul Thewillis. Died 23 January 1931 (As a priest attempted to convert him from National Socialism after giving him the last rites)

“Heil Hitler!”

Heinrich Gutsche, Chemnitz. Died 7 June 1931

“Some may wonder if I have done right or not. I know that I have acted rightly, and if I die I want to be buried in my brown shirt!”

Johann Gossel, Bremen. Died 21 June 1931

“Germany awake!”

August Sievert, Bad Grund. Died 2 July 1931

“Heil Hitler!”

Max Gehla, Paulsdorf. Died 24 October 1931

“Heil Hitler! Keep fighting for the Third Reich!”

Arnold Guse, Essen. Died 19 January 1932

“I die for you all!”

Bruno Schramm, Oberschlesien. Died 23 January 1932

“It is worth dying for all this.” “Bury me in my brown shirt.”

Ludwig Fritsch, Chemnitz. Died 8 April 1932

“I die gladly for my fatherland and for my Führer Adolf Hitler!”

Hans Hilbert, Wupperthal-Barmen. Died 19 June 1932

“Mama, do not cry. I know that I must die for Hitler!”

Hitler Youth Werner Gerhard, Zeitz. Died 30 June 1932

“I fought with joy for the movement, and I die gladly for Adolf Hitler.”

Heinrich Grasmeher, Streden. Died 11 July 1932

“I wish to die since I can no longer be an S.A. man. . . My mother is important to me, but my Germany is even more to me!”

Gregor Schmidt, Stuttgart. Died 10 October 1932

“I think that the day of revenge will come. I bleed gladly for my Führer and the freedom of the German people. I will stay true to my Führer even if I must bleed or die. I am fighting Marxism. I will fight even harder than before. I will fight with all my might for a free Germany!”

Karl Heinzelmann of Leutkirch. Died in Hamburg on 20 October 1932

“I want to see my mother again! I want to go to the S.A. headquarters!”

Helmut Barm, Langendreer. Died 23 October 1932

“My struggle!...”

Eduard Elbrächter, Brackwede. Died 28 November 1932

“Adolf Hitler will still win! We will still win!”

Franz Kopp, Kärnten. Died 8 March 1933 in Berlin

“Greet my mother and my Führer!”

Emil Trommer, Altona-Eidelstedt. Died 17 March 1933

“Nothing could keep him from doing his duty. How often did I beg him to stay home, telling him that something might happen. He would only say: ‘Pray for me!’ I even appealed to his love for us. Once as he was called out at night I asked him if he loved us, and he answered: ‘Because I love you I must go, and if I die for our cause, I die for you. My children should have it better than we did.’ On the day before he died, he visited me in the hospital, where I had been for several weeks. He said: “I want to see the kids again.” Alas, he did not have the opportunity. He was on duty that evening, and at night he was on alert. At 7 a.m. he was ordered to Homberg to support threatened comrades. He died at 10:45. No one came to break the news to me. A visitor who had heard the news on the radio asked if it was my husband. I stood up and called to the nurse, who confirmed it. Several nurses brought me to the kitchen. One of the nurses consoled me, saying that I should know that our Lord God wanted it this way, and I should raise my children to something better.” I immediately understood what she was trying to say with this ‘consolation...’”

The widow of S.S. man Leo Pfaffrath of Duisburg, who was murdered on 1 February 1933

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