German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: The Zeitschriften-Dienst was a weekly newsletter for magazine editors during the Third Reich, first published in 1939. It was supposed to be confidential. Editors were to keep it locked away, and use it to help guide them in their duties. Here, I translate individual items from a variety of issues between 1941 and 1944 that struck my interest, including items on the American Indians, Hitler’s birthday, encouraging more children, the Katyn Forest massacre, the fifth year of war, and the use of the word “gag.”

For general information about the ZD, see Robert Young, “‘Not this way please!’ Regulating the press in Nazi Germany,” Journalism Quarterly (1987), 787-792.

The source: Zeitschriften-Dienst, Various issues.

Strictly confidential — Not for publication

Items from the Zeitschriften-Dienst

5414 [26 September 1941: Politischer Zitatendienst

Nearly every day editors find it necessary to write on a contemporary political theme. It is not always easy to find appropriate material to persuasively present a position. Files are often only an emergency source and looking through them often takes a lot of time, especially when other sources are lacking.

Walter Koerber and Dr. Hans Zugschwert, experts in the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, are issuing the new Politischer Zitatendienst, an information service consisting of current citations from speeches, statements, interviews, the press and radio, diplomatic documents, proclamations, and literature and history for editors of newspapers and magazines, editors, politicians, training leaders, and speakers.

The Politischer Zitatendienst appears twice each month in the form of DIN A6 sized index cards. A new organizational system makes an index — which can never be kept current — unnecessary and brings relevant material immediately to hand. The Politischer Zitatendienst is, therefore, an essential tool for each editor.

The cost is RM 3 each month, postage included. It can be ordered from Dr. Ernst Dröscher-Verlag, Berlin NW 7, Dorotheenstr. 34, phone Berlin 11 16 53. [Copies of this are hard to find, although Stanford University’s Hoover Institution has a run.]

5482 [10 October 1941]: The Germans? — “Exterminate them like the Indians!”

Why this is important:

Roosevelt and USA propaganda are attempting to give the impression that by supporting England, the USA is defending human freedom, that it is the natural protector of smaller peoples against “rape” by the Germans, that it is the center of freedom, where there are no “inferior races.” It must be shown that, as the result of its democratic corruption, the USA has been incapable for centuries of governing foreign peoples, or even of treating them decently. The example of the Indians is especially suited for this purpose.

Why it is current:

The Jew Theodor N. Kaufmann [sic] has stated in his book Germany Must Perish that “the disappearance of the German people would leave no greater gap than the disappearance of the Indians in North America. The most important parts of that book come from Roosevelt himself. The theme thus comes from official sources in North America. Given the expansion of the USA into the British West Indies, its refusal to give up the Philippines, and its plans to expand in the Pacific, it is appropriate to point out the complete moral inability of the USA to rule native peoples or other races. This will also support and strengthen Japanese polemics against the USA. Each mention of the mistreatment of national groups or racial discrimination against groups within the USA, if cleverly and indirectly done, can help to weaken the ties that hold this state together, which is made up of the most varied elements, and to encourage tensions that will make the USA unsure of what to do.


Emphasize: The English policies toward the Indians in America were the worst of all — The Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Swedes, and even the Russians in Alaska treated the natives more humanely. The English committed terrible mass slaughters in Ireland in the seventeenth century. They saw themselves as the “children of Israel,” and wanted to exterminate, not just convert (like the Spanish). After independence, the USA made many treaties with the Indians — and broke all of them. The total dishonesty and untrustworthiness of USA policies, evidenced by 350 broken treaties, must be emphasized. Whenever White settlers wanted to settle in lands solemnly given to the Indians, the USA government forced the Indians to move, although it knew it was unjust, in order not to lose votes for the ruling party. The policy of justice, proclaimed by President Grant, went back to the German Karl Schurz. It was soon disregarded by corrupt politicians. A large part of the USA’s land was gained from the Indians not by conquest, but by betrayal, land swindle, and alcohol sales (particularly by Jewish firms). The overwhelming number of Indians today is impoverished because the land solemnly promised to them has been taken without compensation, or because the government has withheld that compensation. It is hypocrisy to speak of the Indians as the “wards of the nation,” given the bestial brutality of USA troops against the last small Indian rebellions of the past century (Wounded Knee massacre).

Avoid: Untrue leather-stocking tales. — The impression that the crimes against the Indians were shared by all the “Whites” — There were always Whites who protested against the shameful deeds of corrupt politicians, against land sharks and swindlers, but they did not accomplish anything. — Unfavorable comparisons with the Spanish (note instead: In areas colonized by the Spanish, the Indians survived, because the authority of the Spanish king hindered their destruction, while in the USA the almost defenseless tribes were left at the mercy of the settlers to gain votes.) — The impression that the Indians could again play some kind of a political role. — Portraying the Indians as “inferior” or “savages” (their leading traits [bravery, seriousness, trustworthiness], their honest efforts to become civilized, constantly interrupted by actions against the tribes, should be carefully mentioned, without exaggeration [There are today Indian doctors and lawyers in the USA. Influential men are proud to have Indian blood. This must not be presented as racially harmful, as just such people in the USA, when reminded of the oppression and injustice, might have their consciousness of blood awakened, and might become useful opponents of the Jewish democracy in the USA]).

[The rest of the article suggests dozens of article topics to exploit this theme.]

5649 [7 November 1941]: Coverage of Foreign Writers: The Deutscher Wochendienst provides the names of all foreign writers who are worthy of particular attention by the German press. The list will be continually updated.

5967 [2 January 1942]: What is happening with those in Germany who are suffering from mental and nervous illnesses? The wildest rumors have recently spread through enemy propaganda, and also domestically, about the way government offices treat those with severe mental and nervous illnesses, which have unsettled many people’s comrades. It is therefore an important task, above all for magazines for soldiers and families, to provide effective information on this topic. This must naturally be done inconspicuously and without any sensationalism. We want to avoid direct polemics against enemy claims. The best approach is to stress the exemplary research and medical care in Germany. The Deutsche Wochendienst provides suitable material, discussing the work of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Research Institute for Brain Research at Buch near Berlin and the Psychriatric Research Institute in Munich. The Deutsche Wochendienst further provides information on the treatment of schizophrenia and operations to remove brain tunors. The treatment of so-called brain seizures is also discussed.

6152 [6 February 1942]: Strengthening the Home Front: The Führer’s major speech of 30 January of this year has given the guidlines to the press about its future work. Without making a direct connection to the present, recall epochs or personalities who reached their great goal through iron determination, even when a world of enemies and obstacles rose up to divert them from their goal or to destroy them. The Deutsche Wochendienst provides examples for all magazines of personalities whose lives are exemplary. Those people who overcame serious reverses but overcame them through great determination are especially suitable. Consider Bismarck’s conduct during the siege of Paris in 1870, Lettow-Vorbeck’s [commander of German forces in Africa] endurance during the World War, Mussolini’s conduct during the sanctions, Alfred Krupp’s entire life, but also the lives of Clara Schumann and the physician Franziska Tiburtius [one of the first two women physicians in Imperial Germany]. These are people whose lives provide the foundation of the kind of work that is now desired. We stress again that direct references to the present are unnecessary, indeed undesirable. contacts from Dept. ZP, Hauptreferant Wissenschaft (Dr. Kurzel), Berlin W 8, Friedrichstrasse 68.

6153 [6 February 1942]: Pan-Slavism: As you know, the theme of Pan-Slavism is not wanted in the German press.

6204 [13 February 1942]: Jewish Question: Articles about the details of the treatment of the Jewish question in the eastern territories are not desired.

6272 [27 February 1942: Politics in Pictures: Some editors are not yet fully aware of the political impact of pictures. For example, some pictures of Churchill are not carefully chosen and diminish the political effect that editors wish their magazines to have. The Deutsche Wochendienst deals with this question, which has a critical part in political propaganda.

6312 [27 February 1942]: Nothing is to be said about the Jewish question in the occupied eastern territories. This includes official announcements in German newspapers in the eastern territories.

6488 [27 March 1942]: The Führer’s birthday: The best way for German magazines to cover the Führer’s birthday is to present the Führer as the first soldier of the Greater German Reich. The corresponding articles and pictures must fit the seriousness and greatness of the time, dignified and free from any bathos. The Führer’s speeches during the war provide enough material for the planned articles. The magazines’ own material can follow the motto expressed by the Führer in his speech on 1 September 1939: “I want now to be nothing other than the first soldier of the German Reich.” The best way to conclude an article — in a way appropriate for the particular readership — is to note that the German worker, the German farmer, the German woman, just like the soldier, is doing everything in his power to contribute to the victory of Greater Germany. That will be the best present the nation can give the Führer on his birthday.

6704 [1 May 1942]: Foreign Workers in German Magazines: Articles discussing this theme must accept the fact that the employment of a large number of foreign workers is an absolute necessity for the German war economy. Any other concerns are secondary. Therefore, avoid anything that might diminish the willingness to work of foreigners employed in Germany, or reduce the willingness of neighboring states to send further workers to Germany. For example, avoid any productivity comparisons between German and foreign workers, or any degrading comments. There is no reason to glorify their accomplishments in Germany, since Germans now as before carry the main burden in the homeland. Reports on free time activities of foreign workers are not appropriate in the German press, for example. Factual reports on factory supervisors, social workers, legal advisors, camp leaders, etc., regarding practical matters of foreign labor must obviously continue as before. That is very important, since the more responsible men are informed about these matters, the fewer difficulties there will be. The work of the DAF with foreign workers can also be considered. All articles must proceed from the fact that although the presence of millions of foreigners in the Reich is not ideal, it is a necessity of war that deserves factual and reasonable treatment.

6752 [8 May 1942]: Do not misuse the concept of “Propaganda ”

Various articles in the recent past make it necessary to remind people that the concept of “propaganda” may be used only in a positive sense, and only for propaganda from Germany.

It is unacceptable that one regularly sees concepts like “propaganda lies,” “propaganda mill,” etc., which diminish the value of our concept of “propaganda.”

We recommend that you use terms like “agitation” or “incitement” when referring to enemy attempts to influence public opinion.

It is important for editors to examine incoming manuscripts carefully, since, of course, freelancers do not receive confidential advice in this form.

8210 [15 January 1943]: More children! A propaganda duty for all German magazine

Given the long absence of a great number of men from the homeland, the limited number of leaves, and other difficulties, the birth rate last year declined. This decline was due not only to circumstances, but to a natural decline as the result of a smaller generation of child-bearing age due to the First World War.

It is therefore necessary to use every method to encourage an increase in the birth rate, and to foster the wish for children. This necessary propaganda may not, of course, ever be too insistent, but it must be compelling. German magazines must make a conscious effort to support this campaign this year. Families with many children must be the center of attention, both in word and pictures. Stories, anecdotes, novels, novellas, and notices must always cleverly make the joy in children, and indeed in many children, a theme. Feature articles, for example, can point out the joy a soldier home on leave has when he sees his child for the first time. Interesting biographical sketches can cover the lives of great Germans who were the 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th or 12th child of their families. Stories can tell of how children receive the name of fallen family members, thereby providing consolation. A short novella might show the consolation a mother receives in seeing the child of her fallen son, and how her love for this child helps her overcome her loss. The point must be made repeatedly that those who have children are immortal. There are no limits here to what editors may do. Skill and imagination must be used. For example, in pictures, do not portray “mother and child,” but rather a “mother and many children.” Occasionally, one can report on women who already have a number of children, or who did not have children, and who now choose to have a child, and have one, to provide a replacement to the Führer and the people for someone who has fallen.

Finally, particularly in trade publications, the point can be made that children who are born today will have a better life and more opportunities in a Reich that is growing so powerfully. In the future, they will not be a burden for their parents, but rather a great help.

8353 [13 February 1943]: The Defensive Battle in the East

The significance and nature of the defensive battle in the East are falsely understood by many readers. Magazine need to show that the defensive battles of the past two winters are to be seen as just as much a step to final victory as offensive battles. We must take the reader beyond the outward appearance of a defensive battle and focus his attention on inner connections, making the role of defensive battles in the whole military developments of our age clear. Things to emphasize include the active element in a defensive battle and the benefits that a superior governmental and military leadership can achieve in political and strategic planning of battles. One can also consider the morale factor, readiness, willingness to sacrifice, bravery, determination, and endurance not only at the front, but also in the homeland. Make reference here to the Führer’s proclamation and the speech of 30 January as well as the new measures to intensify the total war effort. Each article must make clear that the morale of German troops will overcome the enemy’s matériel. It must also be said that a defensive victory develops more slowly than an offensive victory, which is easier for the public to understand given large numbers of prisoners and territorial gains. Obviously avoid unsettling family members in the homeland by overemphasizing the difficulties, privations, and losses that a defensive battle brings for the individual solider and the troops. The Deutscher Wochendienst provides themes and suggestions for articles on the military, technology, transportation, history, and entertainment, and references the most important literature.

8712 [22 April 1943]: Judah wants to murder Europe’s people

The Jewish-Bolshevist mass murder of 12,000 Polish officers in the forest of Katyn and the disappearance of more than a million and a half other inhabitants of the former eastern Polish territories provides the occasion for a broad treatment of Jewish murders and plans for murder, as outlined in 8560. To this end, the “ZD” provides numerous statements by the Jews themselves about the Jewish will to destroy all other peoples.

The Jewish statements should be used to show that the Jewish mass murder in Katyn is not an isolated Jewish crime against Poland, but rather it is the intentional continuation of Jewish policies toward all Gentiles. The fate that befell the Polish officer corps will fall on all European peoples without exception, if we do not succeed in defeating Bolshevism and stopping Stalin from carrying out the orders he has from Jewry. The mass murder at Katyn clearly shows that the plans Jews have announced to destroy their enemies are not the product of the fantasies of Jewish opponents, but rather of an absolute desire for destruction. These plans actually exist, and the Jews work to realize them when they have the power. Magazines should emphasize that these Jewish statements do not come only from Jewish Bolshevists, but rather that Jewry in the entire world is responsible for the crime of Katyn. If the government, press and radio in England and the USA are silent about the mass murder at Katyn, or try to make ridiculous explanations, we will say that they are cooperating with the Jewish murderers. The truth of this is shown by the fact that the English and American publics have heard the plans for extermination developed by the Moscow Jew Ilja Ehrenburg, with no contradiction from their side. We want to avoid leading the German people to feel pity for the Polish people because of Katyn. Without saying it directly, we want to be clear that it is Poland’s fault that the Jews used it to begin this war. In Katyn, the Polish officer corps and a large part of the chauvinistic Polish intelligentsia received their reward for betraying Europe.

9092 [16 July 1943]: Yankee “culture”

The plans surfacing in the USA about “educating the German people” after the war, and the bombing attacks on German cultural monuments, which are the result of an inferiority complex, give us grounds to encourage magazines to write about the cultural abyss that the North American people are kept in by their plutocratic ruling class. It must be made clear that an “American century” would be a cultural and political catastrophe for Europe, not only an economic catastrophe.

In treating this topic, make clear that the cultural values that the USA does have are the result of immigration from Europe. It did not develop its own culture, but rather the level of culture is sinking as a result of the jewdification of the ruling class, particularly as a result of Jewish influences on the press, radio, theater and film. From a cultural standpoint, the American people is a victim of the plutocrats and the Jews.

In treating this theme, do not make the North American people responsible for the decline in culture. The reason is much more a leadership consciously hostile to culture.

The North American thinks in abstract categories. He holds to an irrational belief in democracy, moralism, idealism, freedom, etc. He is essentially dogmatic. Contradictions in the general worldview: The land of freedom has no room for freedom of thought, true freedom of the press, etc. — The average American puts less importance than most Europeans on whether what he reads or writes is true. That makes him very susceptible to any kind of agitation. He has a mass of prejudices that he clothes in slogans, and holds to firmly. He thinks in telegraphic style, has limited powers of judgment, and focuses his attention on his immediate area. The Middle West, for example, rejects any ties to Europe. The eastern states have close ties to England. The western states are interested in the Pacific.

These facts provide starting points for dealing with the theme. Further material and suggestions are available in the Deutsche Wochenpost.

9259 [27 August 1943]: Themes on the 5th year of war (3 September 1943)

In reviewing the past four years of war, and in looking to the fifth, the following points should be considered:

1. The German people is fighting in this war for its national ethnic existence, as so often in the past. The enemy this time wants actually to rob the German people of its existence and wipe it out as a people.

We have the responsibility in the struggle to all coming generations, as well at to the generations before us who fought for the future of out people.

2. What we face today has been faced by very many previous generations before us. Today, German cities and homesteads are in soot and ashes, but in the past, too, German cities and villages have been destroyed. We are not the only ones who have had to bear these things. Our fathers and forefathers had to fight the same battles. They were victorious, and built a new and richer life from the ruins. A people’s destroyed material possessions can be quickly replaced. If the national freedom of a people is lost, however, all the material possibilities for each individual are also lost.

3. We have had enormous victories, but also several setbacks, in this war that were forced on us by our opponents. From any perspective, our victories are far greater than the temporary setbacks. They are the foundation for the final victory, and are sufficient to ensure it. We need only hold on to what we have already gained with hardness and determination.

4. The tests we now endure are tests of character for the German people. If we survive these tests of character we will thereby have given the proof that we are up to the leadership tasks we have before us. No other people in the world will be able to say to our generation that they were braver, harder, or more determined. We are now entering the decisive phase of the war. We have delivered hard blows already, and the opponent is fighting desperately to avoid defeat. We will meet the most recent attacks with hard determination. Our steadfastness and our hardness, our bravery, our fanatic determination, guarantee victory.

5. Our lines are not in Flanders, but on the Atlantic. Our lines are not in Minsk, but at Leningrad, Orel, and Kharkov. We are not fighting in Serbia any longer, but rather we dominate the Aegean Sea. All of Europe is on our side, but the enemy has lost its sources of support in East Asia. He has major problems, and knows that time is working for Germany, not for him. He admits openly that the Soviets are being bled dry. We know that Soviet agricultural production is a catastrophe, and we know that England’s supply problems are enormous. In the war in East Asia, our enemies have hardly made any progress in the last year. The occupation of Sicily demanded great losses in shipping, material, and men.

6. Their last hope is the moral collapse of the German people, since they have seen that the German people cannot be defeated with weapons. They have again turned to terror and lies. They hope bombs and lies will wear down the German people, hoping to terrorize it as they once tried to terrorize the National Socialist movement during our domestic battles. Then the Jewish battle cry was “Clobber the Nazis wherever you meet them.” Today, the Jewish battle cry is “Clobber the German, wherever you meet him.” The National Socialist movement did not collapse under such terror, nor will the German people fall victim to Jewish terror.

7. As revenge came then, so it will come this time. Victory is at the end of the struggle.

8. With the firm determination to master whatever fate may bring, filled with the responsibility we bear to the past and future of our people, certain of the final victory that will come from the battles we have won in the past years of the war, we enter the fifth year of war.

These points should be made by German magazines on the anniversary of the beginning of the war on 3 September in compelling and effective ways.

9262 [13 August 1943]: The Negro Problem in the USA

Recently it has been clear that Roosevelt is attempting to gain the support of the Negro peoples of the USA‘s East and South. Jewry is also attempting to use the Negro question in the USA for its purposes. Furthermore, Negro riots in Detroit and Harlem as well as intensified Bolshevist propaganda among the Negroes give occasion for articles on the Negro problem in the USA. The Deutsche Wochendienst provides a variety of material on this theme. Articles must make clear that Negroes in the USA are the victims of the complete inability of democracy to organize the relationships between the various races. The Negro problem can be used as an example to show that the USA is not the much-praised land of freedom and equality. The preferred race there are the Jews, followed by the English-born population. After them come immigrants from Northern and Central Europe, then the Latin peoples, Indians, and Orientals, and last of all the Negroes. It is important also to note there is in the USA mass instinct, mass brutality, and the wish to use Negroes as cheap labor.

The word “colored” may not be used, above all not for the members of East Asian peoples. Nor may the Jews be called white. They are — incorrectly — seen as fully white in the USA, but they carry a significant element of Negro blood.

9766 [22 December 1943]: Copyright notice

We still cannot do without a copyright notice in certain cases. Readers sometimes ask why, in the fifth year of war, an English copyright notice is still found in German works. As a result of these protests, the Reich Chamber of Literature recently informed its members that they no longer need to state “Copyright by,” but rather can use the abbreviated notice “Copr.,” along with the year and the name of the publisher. Please use this also in the case of novels which are printed under copyright.

A3 [10 March 1944]: The Israelite conception of religion. On the unfruitfulness of the Jewish spirit

In many countries of the world, the Jews still enjoy the undeserved credit for being “God’s people” or the “promised people,” and are seen as the first proponents of monotheism. In reality, they borrowed important parts of their religion, and took over parts of the religions of the ancient Middle East. German magazines have an important propaganda task here in opposing the idea of the Jews as “God’s ancient people.” Many of the most appealing aspects of the Bible, it must be pointed out, were either borrowed, or were part of the general Middle Eastern belief system. The Deutscher Wochendienst provides magazines with important advice on this theme. It must be pointed out that the origin and development of Jewry’s “religion” can only be understood in the framework of ancient Middle Eastern spiritual life, and that the history of Israel cannot be separated from the spiritual history of the Middle East in general. The information in the Deutscher Wochendienst on how the Jews transformed ancient myths into criminal tales is of particular propaganda value, since in this regard ancient Israel was morally inferior to other Middle Eastern religions of the period. It would be wrong in the regard to discuss confessional differences and issues, as if the ancient people of Israel were significantly different from Jewry today, or as if Jewry first developed during the Babylonian Captivity or during Ezra’s period. We also do not want to call the Jewish idol IHWH (the old theological way of saying Jehovah, more recently Jahwe) the Lord God, nor compare it with the belief in God of more decent peoples.

A132 [6 April 1944]: Stalin

The person of Stalin may from now on not be the center of stories or commentaries about Bolshevism. The name Stalin in the future should be mentioned only when it has to do with matters with which he is personally involved.

A179 [21 April 1944]: “Gag”

Magazines are asked to eliminate the film expression “gag,” which was adopted from American and English.

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