German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: The GDR encouraged interest in the military at an early age. This children’s book tells a number of stories about the positive involvement of the military in the lives of the people. The “seven brothers” of the title are the seven nations of the Warsaw Alliance (The Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). Besides the stories, the book includes many pictures of military equipment, uniforms, rank insignia, and a section on map reading.

The source: Die sieben Brüder (Berlin: Verlag Junge Welt, 1985).

The Seven Brothers

Jan and the Military Traffic Policeman tells the story of a small boy who longs for greatness, adventure, and friendship. His dreams are realized one rainy November day as he helps a members of the East German, Czech and Soviet armies. By Walter Flegel

The Bread of Friends teaches that soldiers must always appreciate their bread, since it is just as important in war as good weapons. By Walter Flegel

Joachim Schulze’s Descent into Hell tells the story of a courageous tank driver as he travels again and again into a burning inferno. By Siegfried Dietrich

A Night in Rhodopen tells the story of Dinko Wassileff as he works to defend peace on the border of Bulgaria and Greece, as well as the exciting things and dangerous people he encounters. By Karl-Heinz Räppel

A Courageous Deed is the story of Romanian soldier Vasile Varju who saves two small children from a burning house. By Wilfried Schütze

The Combat Mission introduces us to the friendships that are made between members of the unified socialist armies as they endeavour to protect their countries from enemies. By Siegfried Dietrich

My Commanding Officer is a letter from Frank, a soldier in the NVA, to his younger brother Jürgen, detailing his experiences in the army with members of other socialist armies, as well as how his commanding officer received a commendation for his work. By Walter Flegel

The Adventure of Grigoleit the Interpreter is the story of Werner Grigoleit, a moody soldier who volunteers to be an interpreter so that he can participate in military events. But there is a problem in that Werner can not speak very good Russian. By Wilfried Göldner

As Peter Came to a Standstill is the story of the young soldier Peter Hoyer, an orphan from World War II and his acceptance as a comrade in the party, as well as his work with the other socialist soldiers to prevent another such war from occurring. By Dietrich Herfurth

The Maneuver Present is the story of two small girls from different countries. Katrin gives her East German doll to a passing Hungarian soldier, and in return she receives a doll from his daughter Marika. By Wilfried Schütze and Karl-Heinz Räppel

Britt and Bert and Bärenbach is about the trials a town encounters and how it overcomes them as it prepares for the most exciting day in its history: soldiers from armies from all over Eastern Europe are coming to Bärenbach! By Dietrich Herfurth

[Preliminary translation by Katherine Lynch. Final page copyright © 2000 by Randall L. Bytwerk. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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