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Felix Steiner, 1896-1966

Felix Steiner, 1896-1966

Felix Steiner, 1896-1966

Felix Steiner (1896-1966) was an SS General best known for his role in the battle for Berlin in 1945, when he commanded a army that Hitler hoped would be able to lift the Russian siege of the city.

Steiner was born in Ebenrode on 23 May 1896. He served as an officer during the First World War, reaching the rank of Oberleutnant, and winning the Iron Cross First and Second Class. He left the army after the war, but rejoined in 1921. He served with Infanterie-Regiment 1 before being appointed to the General Staff from 1921-1927. In 1927 he was promoted to Hauptmann, and appointed Regimental Adjutant of Infanterie-Regiment 1, and in 1932 he was promoted to command a company in the same regiment.

In the mid 1930s Steiner's career developed unusually for an established officer. In 1933 he took part in the creation of the Kasernierte Polizei (Barracked Police), a paramilitary police force manned by members of the existing Landespolizei, and intended to act as a reserve for the regular army. In 1935 he went one step further, and volunteered to join the SS-Verfüngungstruppe (precursor to the Waffen SS). He was appointed command of III.Bataillon, SS-Standarte Deutschalnd, and in 1936 was promoted to command the entire regiment.

The regiment took part in the Anschluss with Austria, while during the invasion of Poland in 1939 it was attached to Panzer Division 'Kempf', as the Waffen-SS was still a tiny organisation. Steiner's men took part in the attack on Deplin on the Vistula, before helping to capture the fortress of Modlin on 28 September 1939. Steiner was awarded the Clasps to both of his Iron Crosses for his success at Modlin.

In the aftermath of the Polish campaign the Deutschland, Der Führer and Germania regiments of the Waffen-SS were brought together with a number of smaller units to form the SS's first divison - SS-Verfügungs-Division. In the first phase of the campaign in the west in 1940 this division advanced on the German right, and Steiner's men captured the islands of Seeland, Vlissingen and Beveland. In the second part of the campaign they were able to break through the Weygand Line, and advanced deep into France. Steiner was awarded the Knight's Cross on 15 August 1940 for his part in this success.

The Waffen-SS continued to expand, and on 1 December 1940 SS-Brigadeführer Steiner was appointed to command the new Wiking Division. This unit was mainly manned by non-German volunteers, mainly from Holland, Denmark and Sweden, motivated by a desire to fight the Bolsheviks. Steiner proved to be a skilful divisional commander, and was vey popular with his men. Steiner commanded this division during the first two years of the fighting in the Soviet Union, and was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross on 23 December 1942.

At the start of 1944 Steiner was promoted to command the 3rd SS Panzer Corps, which was facing the Soviet 2nd Shock Army (Fedyuinsky) around Oranienbaum (on the Leningrad front). Steiner led his men in a desperate defensive battle that saw his corps reduced to only 200 effectives. On 10 August 1944 he was awarded the Swords to the Knight's Cross for his role in this battle.

At the start of 1945 Steiner was promoted again, this time to command the 11th Army, which was responsible for the defence of Pomerania. It was this role that temporarily brought Steiner into the limelight. On 21 April Hitler ordered him to launch a counterattack towards his south-east to join up with another army (Wenck) that was meant to be advancing north-east towards Potsdam. These two largely imaginary armies would then lift the Soviet siege of Berlin. Steiner only had 15,000 men under his command by this point, and lacked any heavy weapons. He refused to waste lives attacking the flanks of Zhukov's powerful armies, and instead retreated to the west. While Steiner was moving west, Hitler continued to move imaginary armies around before reality finally hit home and he committed suicide in the bunker.

Steiner surrendered to the British at Lueneburg on 3 May. He wrote memoirs, which were published as Armee der Geaechteten (Army of Outlaws), and died in retirement in Munich in 1966.


Felix Steiner

Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002, 12:53

JWV
Unregistered User
(3/9/00 2:48:14 am)
Reply SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner (1896-1966)
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He was born 23 May 1896 in Ebenrode and was an officer in WW1. In 1935 Steiner was among the few who left the Reichswehr for what became the Waffen-SS, making him a rare SS officer professionally qualified for high command. After fighting in Poland and France SS-Gruppeführer Steiner commanded the SS Division "Wiking" in the east and was awarded the Oakleaves (159/890) on 23 Dec 42. Early in 1944, having been promoted, SS-Obergruppenführer Steiner took command of the 3rd SS Pz Corps facing Fedyuinsky's 2nd Shock Army in the Oranienbaum bridgehead near Leningrad. Again promoted, General of the Waffen-SS Steiner was awarded the Swords (86/159) on 10 Aug 44 after a defensive action that reduced his army corps to 200 men. Early in 1945 Steiner assumed command of the 11th Army for the defense of Pomerania, now opposing Rokossovsky. In the final defense of Berlin, Hitler ordered Steiner on 21 Apr to pick elements of several shattered divisions and attack SE to seal the gap through which Zhukov's right wing was pouring. Hitler hoped Steiner would link up with a force under Wenck that was driving NE toward Potsdam. But with no more than 15,000 men and lacking heavy weapons, Steiner could accomplish little. Withdrawing to avoid capture by the Russians, he surrendered to the British on 3 May 45 at Lüneburg. The remarkable field commander wrote of his Waffen-SS campaigns in the book Armee der Geächteten. He died 17 May 66 in Munich.


Steiner first joined the NS Party (NSDAP) (membership number: 4,264,295) and the Sturmabteilung (SA). In 1935 he enlisted in the SS. He took command of a battalion of SS-Verfügungstruppen (SS-VT) troops, and within a year had been promoted to SS-Standartenführer and later was put in command of the SS-Deutschland Regiment.

At the outbreak of World War II, he was SS-Oberführer (general) in charge of the Waffen-SS regiment SS-Deutschland. He led this regiment through the invasion of Poland and the Battle of France, for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 15 August 1940. Steiner was introduced to Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, to oversee the creation of, and then command the new SS Division Wiking. At the time of its creation, it consisted mostly of non-German volunteers (Dutch, Flemish, Finns and Scandinavians), including the Danish regiment Frikorps Danmark.

In April 1943, he was placed in command of a newly formed III SS Panzer Corps. The unit participated in anti-partisan actions in Yugoslavia. In November/December 1943 his corps was transferred to the Eastern Front and positioned in the northern sector at Leningrad under Army Group North. Steiner’s Panzer Corps played a leading role during the Battle of Narva and the Battle of Tannenberg Line. His unit then withdrew with the rest of Army Group North to the Courland Peninsula.


Waffen SS

After the early war campaigns, Steiner was chosen by SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler to oversee the creation of, and then command the new volunteer SS Division, SS-Division Wiking. The Wiking was made up of Non-German volunteers, and at the time of its creation consisted mostly of Dutch, Walloons, Finns and Scandinavians including the Danish regiment Frikorps Danmark.

In the Wiking Division, Steiner created a capable formation from disparate elements, and he commanded them competently through the many battles in the east from 1941 until his promotion to command of the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps.

There are several incidents documented by historians in which the division engaged in massacres.

In April 1943, Steiner was placed in command of the newly formed III SS Panzer Corps. The unit participated in anti-partisan actions in Yugoslavia. In November/December 1943 his corps was transferred to the Eastern Front and positioned in the northern sector at Leningrad under Army Group North. Steiner's Panzer Corps played a leading role during the successful defensive battles at Narva. During the battle of the Tannenberg line his forces were able to withstand a superior Soviet force with only 7 tanks left. His unit then withdrew with the rest of Army Group North to the Courland Peninsula.


Due to the circumstances in which Steiner is mentioned by Hitler (he was pointing at a map) in the planning scene, Steiner was naturally depicted in the parodies as someone essential to Hitler's plans. This includes being Hitler's driver in parodies where Hitler is planning to go places, courier, or otherwise executioner of all sorts of plans devised by the Führer.

Despite his absence from the movie, Steiner has appeared in one or two parodies thanks to Sony Vegas, most notably Benad361's parody special "The Battle of Fegelosis" where he, along with Wenck (who also makes an appearance, albeit a very brief one, much more so than Steiner's) commands the invasion force. He is also heard speaking for the first time, as well as being seen when Hitler climbs off a Wehrmacht gunship, and remarks to Hitler, when Hitler approaches him, (in a curiously high-class British accent) "Sir, I have five special commando units awaiting your orders, sir", to which Hitler replies "At least your attack was on time for once, Steiner." He also briefly appeared in HitchcockJohn's parody "Duck, You Führer", where Steiner (played by Duck, You Sucker’s antagonist Colonel Günther Reza) had an ill-fated encounter with John Mallory. These two videos are the only known accounts of Steiner's speech, although both oddly show him speaking English rather than German.

Echoes1224's parody "The Downfall-Steiner Paradox" had the titular paradox caused by Hitler's generals attempting to bring the real-life Felix Steiner into the Parody Universe. Other parodies exist in which Hitler has made his own efforts to meet Steiner, with varying degrees of success.

Steiner also appears in sparx476's parody Hitler finally meets Steiner. where he comes into the bunker. Hitler greets him and Steiner pokes his tongue. This greatly angers Hitler who fires his laser, frying Steiner.

Steiner appears in one of Hitler's dreams in a parody by Gokyr586. He is depicted as a somewhat dark entity who wants Hitler to find an actor to play him in the film Downfall, and attempts to destroy his mind when Hitler refuses to do so.

Meanwhile, in a review of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Hitler complained that Steiner died in the game, probably confusing him with the in-game Friedrich Steiner.

PiretBCN also made many videos about Steiner, mainly from the fact that she is a fan of him, for nationalistic and historical reasons.


Felix Steiner

Post by Lawrence » 29 Jan 2003, 02:47

Post by Requin Marteau » 29 Jan 2003, 18:00

SS OGRUF
Felix Martin Julius STEINER

- RITTERKREUZ, 15 août 1940,
Kommandeur SS IR «Deutschland»/SS Verfügungs-Division,
- EICHENLAUB, 23 décembre 1942, 159e soldat,
Division-Kommandeur 5. SS Panzer Grenadier Division «Wiking»,
- SCHWERTERN, 10 août 1944, 86e soldat,
Kommandierender General III. SS Germanische Panzer Korps.

Born on 23 May 1896 at Stallupönen in Prusse,
Arbitur : 9 March 1914,
Joint army on 5./Ostpreussische IR «von Boyen» Nr 41,
Leutnant (27 January 1915),
wounded on 14 November 1914,
Kriegsakademie/II. Armee Korps at Königsberg,
Ersatz Btn/IR 41 «von Boyen» (January-May 1916),
IR 376 (June-19 August 1916),
Kdr MG/Scharfschützetruppen Nr 97,
Kdr MG/Scharfschützetruppen Nr 46 in October 1916,
Oberleutnant (18 Octobrer 1918),
Kdr 3. Ersatz MG Kie/17. Armee Korps (November 1918-8 January 1919).

- EK-II (9 October 1914),
- Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz (3 September 1917),
- EK-I (3 November 1917).

Freiw Ost Preussische Trupp at Melmelland and Königsberg (January 1919-May 1920),
Reichswehr Service on 8 May 1920,
Kdr 2. (MG)/Schützen Rgt 2,
Kdr 8. (MG)/IR 1 (October 1920-20 September 1923),
Stab MG Offizier/IR 1 until March 1924,
Hauptmann (1 Decembrer 1927),
Adjutant IR 1 (October 1929-1 October 1933),
Offizier z.b.V. until December 1933,
Landespolizei,
NSDAP (4264295) and SA on 1 January 1934,
SA Sturmfhr (March 1934),
Kdr SA Ausbildungsamt until March 1935,
SS (253351) as SS OSTUBAF on 24 April 1935,
Kdr III./SS Standarte 1,
SS STAF (1 July 1936),
Kdr Deutschland,
SS OFHR (24 January 1940),
SS BRIG FHR (9 November 1940),
Kdr SS Div (mot) Germania (Wiking) on 1 December 1940,
SS GRUF (1 January 1942),
Kdr III. SS Pz Korps (November 1942-January 1943),
Kdr III. (germ) SS Pz Korps until 25 February 1944,
SS OGRUF (1 July 1943),
Kdr Armeegruppe STEINER (26 November 1944-26 January 1945),
Oberbefehlshaber Pz AOK 11 (5 February-5 March 1945),
Befehlshaber Auffang- und Erfassungsstab (Heeresgruppe Weichsel)(23 February-24 March 1945),
captured on 3 May 1945, release on 27 April 1948,
Died at Munich on 17 May 1966.

- Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges 1914-1918 mit Schwertern,
- Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13 März 1938,
- Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1 Oktober 1938,
- 1939 Spange zum 1914 EK-II (17 September 1939),
- 1939 Spange zum 1914 EK-I (26 September 1939),
- Ritterkreuz (15 August 1940),
- Deutsche Kreuz in Gold (22 April 1942),
- Ostmedaille,
- Finnische Orden des Freiheitskreuz 1. kl mit Eichenlaub u. mit - Schwertern (October 1942),
- Eichenlaub (23 December 1942),
- Schwertern (10 August 1944).


In the Uniform of the Enemy: The Dutch Waffen-SS

Believing his homeland to be a European backwater, Dutchman Hendrik Verton chose to don “the uniform of the enemy” because he was “willing to make a sacrifice for this fatherland, in the Europe of the future.” (Image: Bild Archiv Weltkreig)

L ost and near-freezing on his first night at the front, without shelter in a Russian December in 1941, Hendrik C. Verton saw what he thought would be his salvation: a German military bus slanted to one side of the road ahead. He and a fellow soldier approached and, unable to force the door open, scratched at the frost on the bus windows. What they saw inside left Verton “shaken to the core”: dozens of motionless German soldiers, frozen solid as they sat upright in their seats. For the 18-year-old Dutch SS recruit, it was a chilling welcome to the icy horrors of the Eastern Front.

The thought of a Dutch Nazi collaborator might leave present-day students of the war unnerved. The Netherlands’ role in World War II generally evokes images of Anne Frank and family of Operation Market Garden, celebrated in the book and movie A Bridge Too Far of the liberation battles of 1945 and of the Dutch Resistance, of which much has been written. In the wartime Netherlands, however, collaboration was far from uncommon: far more Hollanders fought on behalf of the Nazis than in the armed resistance to the German occupation of their country.

Verton and his compatriots were among the 22,000 to 25,000 Dutch who served in the Waffen-SS, the elite armed wing of the SS—the Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel or “Protective Echelon”—infused with the doctrines of National Socialism and loyalty to Adolf Hitler. The armed resistance, in contrast, numbered only between 5,000 to 12,000, most joining in the last year of the war.

THE NETHERLANDS HAD SUFFERED greatly from the global economic collapse in the prewar years, and its residents viewed Germany’s financial recovery under National Socialism with envy and suspicion. The Netherlands’ own National Socialist party, the NSB, had strengthened throughout the 1930s. “National Socialism promised a better life,” explained Gerardus Mooyman, son of a dairy farmer from the Netherlands’ heartland, who joined the Waffen-SS at just 17. In Holland’s underfunded military, the rifles and artillery pieces dated to the nineteenth century, the ranks were thin, and morale at rock-bottom. With military spending at a minimum, Holland hoped to fend off German expansionism with a policy of strict neutrality. But in May 1940, German airborne troops easily leapfrogged Holland’s defenses, triggering the country’s surrender just six days later. The disciplined enthusiasm of the well-equipped German troops left impressionable Dutchmen like Hendrik Verton in awe.

Young Hendrik had the fresh face and healthy physique of one who grew up outdoors. His father, a small-scale industrialist, admired what he saw as Germany’s superior technology and work ethic, and passed those views on to his children. With little exposure to the world beyond his conservative Christian family and his island home of Schouwen-Duiveland, near the Belgian border, Verton absorbed these values. For young men like him, the SS motto, “My honor is my loyalty,” were words to be taken seriously. Despite constant anti-German propaganda in the Netherlands, Verton and his comrades were envious when they saw photos of Hitler Youth riding motorcycles or flying gliders. Verton and friends shared a growing view that the Netherlands was a European backwater, while Nazi Germany represented the future.

The SS took advantage of such sentiment. With the Wehrmacht dominating military recruitment in Germany, the SS looked beyond German borders for suitable recruits, initially focusing on the Germanic nations of Europe—those with “Aryan” credentials, including the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Belgium. As the war progressed and the male Aryan population bled out on Europe’s battlefields, the SS and the German regular army began recruiting from France, Croatia, Bosnia, Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Finland, India, Central Asia, and the millions of Volksdeutsche—ethnic Germans living in Eastern Europe for centuries, many of whom spoke little or no German.

Glider clubs for Hitler Youth helped create future Luftwaffe pilots. Images like this sparked envy in young Dutchmen like Hendrik Verton. (Image: Bild Archiv Weltkreig)

IN THE EARLY DAYS of the war, the Waffen-SS had a reputation as an elite unit of intelligent, athletic, and fearless young men. Hendrik’s older brother Evert was the first in his family to join. When a uniformed Evert returned home for Christmas 1940 with the Death’s Head badge on his cap and radiating enthusiasm for the “New Europe,” Hendrik was full of resolve: “I decided to follow him and nothing would deter me.”

Hendrik explained that his brother had chosen to don “the uniform of the enemy” because he was “willing to make a sacrifice for this fatherland, in the Europe of the future.” Dutch recruits had various motivations for joining the Waffen-SS beyond its stated goal of destroying Russian Bolshevism to create a “New Europe.” Some wanted to avoid forced labor or legal problems others sought adventure or—as their homeland starved in 1944—the prospect of eating three meals a day. In later stages of the war, recruitment even offered release from prison. Some with no NSB background joined simply to rebel against their non-Fascist parents. Anti-Semitism may have played a part for some, but there was ample opportunity to engage in anti-Semitic activities in the local Dutch police services with little risk to life and limb. Few recruits hailed from the defeated Dutch army, though at least one would-be professional soldier volunteered because he was unhappy with the training he had received there.

All senior officers, most of their subordinates, and nearly all the NCOs in the Dutch Waffen-SS units were German. Training was a grueling physical process that, one recruit said, “left my tongue hanging like a red tie.” The motto of the training camps was “Praise be to all that toughens.” Verton observed that “our typical Dutch liberal mentality” was not always in sync with SS expectations. Dutch recruits quickly learned that religious rituals such as saying grace before dinner were unwelcome in the SS training camps. On graduation, the volunteers took a loyalty oath to Hitler and each had his blood type tattooed under his left arm. The tattoo, given only to members of the SS, was intended to speed medical treatment on the battlefield. The confident Nazis never considered the tattoos’ implications in the case of defeat.

HENDRIK VERTON WAS ASSIGNED to the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which, by May 1941, had more than 600 Dutch troops under the command of General Felix Steiner. Steiner, 45, was a veteran Prussian officer and early Nazi Party member. With fellow Prussian general Paul Hausser, Steiner shaped the foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS into an aggressive fighting force.

Verton served in the division’s Westland regiment alongside Danes, Norwegians, Flemings, and Germans, assisting in the invasion of Russia in the summer 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa. They quickly discovered that reality in Russia bore no similarity to the boldly colored SS recruiting posters showing Dutchmen in pressed German uniforms trampling the Bolshevik “barbarians” with ease. “We had not found ‘adventure,’ nor the ‘laurel-leaves of victory,’” Verton later wrote, “but mud, lice, polar conditions and death.” The Dutch soon began to encounter the remains of comrades whom the Russians had taken prisoner and tortured or mutilated. “We kept a finger on the trigger and had the smell of burning villages in our nostrils,” Verton recalled.

At the front, death lurked behind every shadow and spread across the landscape in the howling winds of the night. Sentries disappeared in the darkness patrols came to a bloody end from well-hidden mines and, as winter cold advanced, peaceful blankets of snow concealed Siberians tunneling up to German positions. Moments of astounding carnage at times shattered the daily routine of fear and attrition.

In the early hours of November 19, 1941, Verton’s unit watched as 1,000 Russian cavalrymen, sabers shining in the rising sun, galloped toward the regiment’s modern German machine guns. Many years later Verton described how the “snow-covered low land was turned into a bloodstained battlefield between volleys from the machine-guns and mortars, splintering, catapulting everything in its path eight meters into the air. It was suicide by slaughter.”

WHILE GERMAN ARMIES STORMED their way through the Russian steppes, the SS began recruiting European “Legions” based on national origin, unlike the mixed unit to which Verton belonged. Wearing the orange, white, and blue crest of Holland’s historic “Prince’s Flag,” a Dutch SS Legion arrived in the swamps and forests of the Eastern Front in the midst of the 1941-42 winter—the coldest in 140 years, with -52 degrees Fahrenheit recorded.

Hobnailed leather boots conducted the cold, leading to frostbite and amputations Finnish allies, accustomed to the Arctic chill, said the Dutch might as well run around in the snow in their socks. Steel helmets did the same, causing soldiers to suddenly drop dead when their cerebral fluids froze. Men wore every piece of clothing they possessed. Yet in the firestorm of combat, the volunteers sweated so much they had to fight the urge to tear off their coats, an impulse that would lead to certain death. The men were forced to use hand grenades to excavate the frozen soil for graves for fallen comrades.

Mail from home was infrequent—Dutch postal officials choosing to dump rather than deliver letters to the Eastern Front as an act of resistance. Later in the war, the Dutch Resistance took to killing close relatives of Waffen-SS volunteers. In early 1943 the father of Verton’s best friend in the SS was murdered in northern Holland while riding home on a bicycle. The friend himself had died from a mortar shell attack a year earlier.

The first non-German to receive the Knight’s Cross, Dutchman Gerardus Mooyman, 19, speaks to members of the press. (Image: Bild Archiv Weltkreig)

The most famous Dutch Waffen-SS soldier emerged in the bitter fighting outside Leningrad, as Russian troops and armor struggled to break the German stranglehold on the city. Gerardus Mooyman, the dairy farmer’s son, had already been at the front for over a year, earning the Iron Cross First and Second Class. At just 19—looking more like a member of the Hitler Youth than an SS combat veteran—he performed a spectacular feat at Lake Ladoga, 25 miles east of Leningrad. In February 1943 Mooyman destroyed 13 Russian tanks in a single day with a Pak-40 antitank gun—part of his wartime total of 23 tanks put out of action. His commanders and comrades believed him fearless, but in truth he was scared of dying and even more frightened of becoming a prisoner of the Russians.

The young volunteer went on to become the first non-German to be awarded Germany’s highest decoration, the Knight’s Cross. The Waffen-SS removed Mooyman from the frontlines to send him on a seemingly endless round of propaganda events intended to inspire other young Dutchmen to feats of courage. Photos show Mooyman looking bewildered and a bit overwhelmed. “It irritated me when the Nazis used me as some sort of publicity object,” he told a Dutch magazine 26 years later. “When [they] wished to name a square after me, I refused because other warriors, who had died in battle, were just as brave as me. Battle fascinated me many times more than all the trimming that came with it.”

AS THE WAR GROUND ON, new Dutch Waffen-SS units arose to replace those lost in combat. After suffering more than 80 percent casualties in Russia, the Dutch Legion was disbanded in April 1943 survivors merged with Norwegian and Latvian units to form a new battle group. In October, other veteran Legionnaires, fresh Dutch recruits, and Romanian Volksdeutsche formed an SS Nederland Panzergrenadier Brigade. Following the German practice of manipulating nationalist sentiment when it was in their favor, the brigade’s two regiments bore the names of prominent Dutch figures.

The Nederland Brigade carried out operations against partisans in Croatia, routinely hanging its prisoners. The unit then moved north to Leningrad as part of Felix Steiner’s III SS (Germanic) Panzer Corps to face overwhelming numbers of Russians. Steiner praised the brigade’s performance against a January 1944 Soviet offensive launched from the Oranienbaum pocket, a Soviet stronghold west of Leningrad that German forces had failed to take in 1941. In a week-long struggle the Dutch helped prevent the Soviets from collapsing the German flank. Steiner declared he was “proud to have such troops in the Germanic Corps.”

The brigade again proved its worth in the defense of the German line along Estonia’s Narva River beginning in February 1944, where the large number of foreign SS fighters there led to survivors calling it “the Battle of the European SS.” The Dutch once more won praise from Steiner—but by the end of March, the horrific fighting there had cost the brigade one- to two-thirds of its strength. In July 1944, Soviet air force attacks obliterated the remnants of one of the brigade’s regiments.

With Allied troops entering the Netherlands in early September, and the Dutch Resistance promising an imminent day of retribution for collaborators they termed “Hatchet Day,” the NSB collapsed in a frenzied panic. On September 5, 1944, 65,000 NSB members took to the trains and roads in a flight to Germany. Though some later drifted back after the Allied liberation of the Netherlands was delayed, their authority had vanished in the spectacle that became known as “Mad Tuesday.”

An SS regiment’s dead lie strewn in Russian snow. Survivors returning to the Netherlands faced another battle after the war. (Photoquest/Getty Images)

As 1945 began, Soviet forces trapped the Nederland Brigade’s remaining regiment on Latvia’s Courland Peninsula, reducing it to 80 men. The survivors withdrew by sea, and the unit was reconstituted with Dutch, German, and Romanian Volksdeutsche reinforcements in West Prussia, only to be shattered again by the Russian offensive in Pomerania beginning in February 1945. In Hungary, other Dutch SS troops in the Wiking Division engaged in a vain attempt to hold off advancing Russian armies before the Soviet forces drove them into Austria and American internment.

In the Netherlands the SS raised a new, understrength Waffen-SS division in February 1945. Much of that unit died at the start of the Battle of Berlin. The Red Army shot members that it took prisoner others surrendered to advancing Americans. That March a new SS Home Guard division, organized under a veteran Nazi, fought Canadian and British troops on the lower Rhine, even clashing with members of a unit attached to the British Second Army of Dutch troops who had escaped the German invasion.

As Canadian forces closed in, a former Dutch Legion soldier wounded on the Eastern Front, Andries Jan Pieters, organized an anti-Resistance group that indulged in rape and torture to such a disturbing degree that an SS commander ordered their arrest. (The Dutch government would execute Pieters in 1952.)

Hendrik Verton finished the war in the German city of Breslau (today Wrocław, Poland) as part of the ad-hoc Waffen-SS Regiment Besslein. By April 1, 1945, artillery, bombers, and rockets had turned Breslau into a black, mushroom cloud-capped inferno. Damaged sewers and decomposing bodies made the air unbreathable. Conditions were so intolerable that 100 to 120 citizens and soldiers killed themselves each day. In the midst of this cauldron, Verton and each of his comrades received a bottle of wine from a Nazi Party propaganda officer to celebrate the Führer’s April 20 birthday. The Russians intensified their bombardment to mark the occasion. Eight days later, a sniper’s bullet tore into Verton’s arm. On May 6, 1945—two days before the German surrender—the 82-day siege came to an end.

Of the 25,000-some Dutch who served in the Waffen-SS, one quarter to one-third were killed. Four Dutch volunteers received the Knight’s Cross.

Many of their countrymen who had suffered under Nazi rule back home called for executing returning Dutch Waffen-SS men after the war. The government stripped them of their citizenship, but most of the volunteers received relatively light sentences of four to five years. Those who fought against the Western Allies received longer sentences.

Reintegrating these young men back into Dutch society was a challenge—most had been thoroughly indoctrinated in Nazi precepts. It was doubted whether some could ever be cured of the anti-Semitism they had absorbed in the SS. Some Dutch Waffen-SS veterans apparently regained their citizenship by fighting in Indonesia in 1945-49 against independence fighters seeking to overthrow the Dutch colonial regime.

SS General Paul Hausser led a postwar movement to sanitize the Waffen-SS’s record by shifting the blame for atrocities. As a professional Prussian soldier with no desire to go down in posterity as the leader of a gang of war criminals, Hausser emphasized the broad European makeup of the SS and identified anti-Communism as its motivation, claiming “The SS was really the NATO army in prototype.” That assertion forms the core of most revisionist accounts of the Waffen-SS, although few historians take it seriously.

After his homefront tour, Gerardus Mooyman returned to combat at the Narva Front in 1944 as an SS-Untersturmführer, or second lieutenant. In May 1945 American troops captured him in Germany he escaped twice before a Dutch court in 1946 sentenced him to six years in prison. He served three of those years and moved to northern Holland where, unlike many of his comrades, his countrymen forgave his SS service as a youthful indiscretion. Mooyman claimed to have been “devastated” when he learned of the extent of Nazi crimes and read books about these events, which made him “wake up at night screaming.” He died in a car crash in 1987.

The Soviets took Hendrik Verton prisoner at Breslau on May 9, 1945. He tried to remove his blood-type tattoo, but his captors, who separated the SS from other prisoners for “special treatment,” regarded the resulting scar as proof of his SS membership. Much to his surprise, though, the sniper’s bullet wound to his arm got him released, even as his sick and injured comrades were bundled off to Siberian Gulags. Verton thought a young female Russian doctor may have had sympathy for him, but admitted he didn’t know why he had been spared harsher treatment.

To avoid reprisals at home Verton remained in Germany, not returning to the Netherlands until 1954, when the Dutch government offered amnesty to remaining Waffen-SS members. He died there in March 2006, three years after composing his memoir, In the Fire of the Eastern Front. Like so many of its type, his account diminished the influence of National Socialism on Waffen-SS volunteers while emphasizing the importance of the anti-Communist crusade.

Verton, unlike Mooyman, was largely unapologetic. “Sacrifice was the fate of the ‘volunteers.’” Verton said. “The harvest of sowing their anti-Communist seeds was defamation, and persecution was the tragedy of their honor.” For Hendrik Verton, enduring the horrors that began his first night at the front when he peered through a bus window at his frozen comrades was simply the price demanded of “idealists” such as himself. ✯


Felix Steiner -->

Felix Martin Julius Steiner (23 Mei 1896 - 12 Mei 1966) was &aposn Duitse SS-bevelvoerder gedurende die Nazi-era. Gedurende die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het hy in die Waffen-SS, die strydvertakking van die SS, gedien en op verskeie SS-afdelings en korps bevel gegee. Hy is bekroon met die Knight&aposs Cross of the Iron Cross met eikeblare en swaarde. Saam met Paul Hausser het hy &aposn belangrike bydrae gelewer tot die ontwikkeling en transformasie van die Waffen-SS tot &aposn gevegsmag wat bestaan uit vrywilligers en dienspligtiges uit beide besette en onbesette lande.

Steiner is deur Heinrich Himmler gekies om toesig te hou oor die skepping van die SS-afdeling Wiking en daarna die bevel van die SS-afdeling. In 1943 word hy bevorder tot bevel van die III SS Panzer Corps. Op 28 Januarie 1945 word Steiner onder bevel van die 11de SS Panzer-weermag geplaas, wat deel vorm van &aposn nuwe weermaggroep Vistula, &aposn ad-hoc-formasie om Berlyn te verdedig teen die Sowjet-leërs wat van die Vistula-rivier af weggevoer het.

Op 21 April, tydens die Slag van Berlyn, is Steiner onder leiding van Army Detachment Steiner geplaas, terwyl Adolf Hitler opdrag gegee het dat Steiner die 1ste Belo-Russiese Front moes omvou deur &aposn snuifbeweging wat vanuit die noorde van die stad gevorder het. Aangesien sy eenheid egter tien teen een oortref is, het Steiner dit duidelik gemaak dat hy nie die kapasiteit vir &aposn teenaanval op 22 April tydens die daaglikse situasie-konferensie in die Führerbunker gehad het nie.

Na die kapitulasie van Duitsland is Steiner gevange geneem en vir oorlogsmisdade ondersoek. Steiner was in die Neurenberg-verhore tereggestel, maar is van die hand gewys en is in 1948 vrygelaat. Steiner was saam met ander voormalige hooggeplaaste Waffen-SS-personeellede &aposn stigterslid van HIAG, &aposn lobbygroep van negatiwistiese apologete wat in 1951 tot stand gekom het vir die wettige, ekonomiese en historiese rehabilitasie van die Waffen-SS. Hy is in 1966 oorlede.


Also in German poster collection

The collection consists of anti-Semitic, advertising, and political posters, and a pair of shoes worn in Buchenwald concentration camp.

St. Louis und Milwaukee

German advertisement poster for the Hamburg-America Line’s transatlantic liners, St. Louis and Milwaukee. On May 13, 1939, the St. Louis set sail from Hamburg, Germany with 937 passengers, almost all of whom were Jews fleeing the Third Reich. The majority of the passengers had applied for US visas, and planned to stay in Cuba until they could enter the United States. However, shortly before the ship set sail, Cuba invalidated the landing permits and transit visas of the Jewish refugee passengers. When the St. Louis arrived in Cuba on May 27, the Cuban government only allowed 28 passengers into the country. On June 2, the ship was ordered to leave Cuba. With 908 passengers still aboard, the St. Louis sailed to Miami, Florida where the Jewish refugees were again refused entry due to strict quota limits and isolationist sentiment. The St. Louis sailed back to Europe on June 6, 1939. Jewish organizations were able to secure entry visas for the passengers in Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands rather than return to Germany. Of the 620 passengers who returned to continental Europe, 254 died in the Holocaust. Gustav Schroeder, the captain of the St Louis was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations on March 11, 1993 in acknowledgement of his efforts to find safe passage for his Jewish passengers.

Der Feind steht rechts wählt Sozialdemokraten

German, anti-Nazi political propaganda poster promoting the Social Democratic Party for the elections of 1932. The figure on the poster wears the brown garb of a Sturmabteilung (SA or Storm Trooper), a paramilitary organization that had a reputation for violence and intimidation against Jews and Nazi opponents. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. The Social Democrats ran on a platform of maintaining freedom, democracy and the Republic, honoring Germany’s political and financial obligations, job creation, governmental expenditure cuts to lower taxes, and free speech. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag to become the largest party in German parliament. However, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the backing of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Wählt Sozialdemokraten

German anti-Nazi political propaganda poster promoting the Social Democratic Party for the elections of 1932. The poster features a man smashing a swastika, the most recognizable icon of Nazi Party. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. The Social Democrats ran on a platform of maintaining freedom, democracy and the Republic, honoring Germany’s political and financial obligations, job creation, governmental expenditure cuts to lower taxes, and free speech. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag to become the largest party in German parliament. However Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the backing of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Das Dritte Reich!

Anti-Nazi political poster from the 1932 German federal elections. The poster depicts Germany bleeding and covered in crosses, implying if the Nazis gained power, their systems of violence and intimidation would cause Germany and its people to suffer. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. The Social Democrats ran on a platform of maintaining freedom, democracy and the Republic, honoring Germany’s political and financial obligations, job creation, governmental expenditure cuts to lower taxes, and free speech. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag to become the largest party in German parliament. However Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the backing of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Zerschmettert den Weltfeind!

Political poster promoting the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler for the German elections of 1932. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. The Nazis supported economic nationalism and distrusted international capital, preferring domestic production with the elimination of foreign competition. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag, becoming the largest party in German parliament. However Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the backing of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Einheitliche Stellungnahme der Bischöfe Österreichs zur Wahl

Poster displaying three typed letters written by Austrian Bishops and other Catholic clergy members expressing support for Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria in 1938. The letters are marked with the signature and seal of Theodore Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna. Austria had experienced a prolonged period of economic stagnation, political dictatorship, and intense Nazi propaganda. When German troops entered the country on March 12, 1938 they received the enthusiastic support of most of the population, including the clergy, and Austria was incorporated into Germany the next day. The poster is an attempt to curry support for a referendum that would legitimize the annexation. In April, the German annexation was retroactively approved in a referendum that was manipulated by the Germans to indicate that about 99 percent of the Austrian people wanted the union.

Mit Adolf Hitler Ja für Gleichberechtigung und Frieden

Nazi political poster from the 1930s with a quote from Adolf Hitler calling for equality and peace. The same phrase was used in Nazi election propaganda leading up to Germany’s November 12, 1933 parliamentary elections. The demand for equality refers to the vote on whether Germany would withdrawal from the League of Nations, which it would do in October of that year. The quote may have been reused after Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss, when the Nazis held a referendum to legitimize their annexation.

Das neue Europa ist unschlagbar

Propaganda map of Europe showing German territorial gains and offensive movements of its army, navy and air force against its enemies in 1942. By 1942 Germany had made alliances with Finland, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary and had conquered France, Norway, and every European nation in Eastern Europe. The German invasion of the Soviet Union had pushed nearly into Moscow, Britain was fighting to maintain its presence in Africa and the Middle East, and the United States, who just entered the war in December 1941, had made no real impact as of yet. The map depicts Nazi Germany at the height of its domination over Europe.

Wir Bauern misten aus

Political campaign poster for the Reichstag elections of July 31, 1932, showing a muscular Aryan farmer with a swastika belt buckle, using a pitchfork to remove dwarfish caricatures of Nazi Party enemies. These parties are represented by former Chancellor of Germany Herman Müller, a caricature of a stereotypical Jewish businessman with a newspaper (the press) in his pocket, a businessman, and a communist. The Nazis blamed these groups for Germany’s loss in World War I, the failure of the Weimar Republic, and the economic depression that Germany was going through. The poster depicts the Nazis’ target demographic, a young, working class, Aryan man, disposing of the Nazis’ enemies, in essence, empowering the people to take Germany from the rich and powerful and return it to the hands of the farmers and working men.

Grossausstellung 1918

Poster showing a figure shaded in red with stereotypical Jewish features setting fire to the numbers 1918. It is a propaganda advertisement for the 1944 Grossausstellung 1918 Exhibition, which was designed to show Germans why they were fighting World War II. The Exhibition was title 1918 in order to emphasize that Germany surrendered that year and showed how horrible the conditions in Germany were at the conclusion of World War I. The imagery of a man with Jewish features, with both the year and him presented in red, strongly implies the Nazi belief that Jewish Communists sabotaged the German war effort and brought forth the inevitable consequences for Germany.

An’s Gewehr! Hinein in die Wehrmannschaften der SA

German recruitment poster for the Sturmabteilung (SA), a Nazi paramilitary organization responsible for protecting party meetings, voter intimidation, and physically assaulting opponents. The wreath and sword symbol at the lower right are also featured on the SA sport badge and armband which were given out for physical accomplishment. As a result of the Great Depression and the growing popularity of the Nazi Party, SA membership swelled to 400,000 by 1932, and by 1933 membership was at approximately two million. On The Night of Long Knives, June 30, 1934, Hitler and the Schutzstaffel (SS) carried out a purge, murdering dozens of SA leaders including its cofounder and commander Ernst Röhm. Afterwards, the SA ceased to play a major role in Nazi affairs.

Text only poster declaring the Anschluss as a German Austria homecoming

German text only poster declaring the German annexation of Austria, the Anschluss, as a long overdue homecoming for Austria. The poster highlights several important years and events in Austrian and German history. In 1806, France and Napoleon dissolved the Germanic Holy Roman Empire which had stood for nearly a thousand years, and created a French puppet state from the German kingdoms. The Revolutions of 1848 were a series of revolts against European monarchies that spread from France into Austria and the other German states. The revolts all ended in failure with the monarchies retaining their power. World War I ended in 1918 and the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain were signed. The Allies placed the blame for the war on Germany and the Kingdom of Austria-Hungary and levied massive reparations against the two nations, forced them to cede territory, and broke up Austria Hungary into several smaller independent nations. Finally, in 1938, Germany annexed Austria, uniting the two German speaking peoples for the first time since the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

Waffen SS Eintritt nach vollendetem 17. Lebensjahr

Recruitment poster for the Waffen SS featuring a profile image of a uniformed soldier. The Waffen SS was the armed military division of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Nazi paramilitary organization that was responsible for security, intelligence gathering and analysis, and enforcing Nazi racial policies. They controlled the concentration camp system and planned and coordinated the Final Solution. The SS was originally formed in 1925 to protect Hitler along with other Nazi leaders and provide security at political meetings. In 1929, Heinrich Himmler was appointed Reichsführer-SS (Reich Leader of the SS) and turned the organization into an elite corps based on visions of racial purity and absolute loyalty to Hitler. The Waffen SS was established in 1939, eventually fielding more than twenty divisions and half a million men at its peak. The figure in the poster may have been based on Klemens Behler, who was an SS recruit at the time of the poster’s creation. He would go on to reach the rank of Obersturmbannführer (Senior assault unit leader) in the 23rd SS division, and was awarded the Knights Cross for his actions during the war.

Nimmer wird das Reich zerstöret wenn ihr einig seid und treu

National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) campaign poster featuring a black and white image of the heads of Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg. The quote below them is from poet Max von Schenkendorf and is inscribed on an 1897 monument to Kaiser Wilhelm I. The monument commemorates the founding of the German Empire and affirms German unity. The reuse of this quote, with its allusions to the monument and the German Empire, reaffirms the Nazi party platform of a union of all Germans. Forming a greater Germany through the abolition of the Treaty of Versailles and the return of lands lost in World War I was part of the Nazi Party platform. The image of Hitler’s face in front of Hindenburg’s and the text on the poster communicates that a reunion of German peoples and restoration of German national pride can only be accomplished through voting for Hitler and other Nazi Party candidates.

Wir Arbeiter sind erwacht

German poster for the 1932 Reichstag election showing a giant, muscular Aryan man looking down on dwarfish caricatures of the opposition candidates and German enemies. The poster features caricatures of former German chancellors Hermann Müller and Heinrich Brüning, as well as a figure wielding a bloody knife representing the threat of communism. A figure with stereotypical Jewish features and a newspaper in his pocket, denoting that the press is in the pocket of the Jews, is whispering in Müller’s ear, influencing his actions. Heinrich Brüning is holding a sign that references his use of emergency decrees and reliance on Section 48 of the Weimar Constitution during his term as chancellor from 1930-1932. The sign that the communist is holding shows their party’s interests are decidedly non-German, aligning with Russia and China. Müller’s sign implies that he and his Social Democratic Party work for the interest of the rich while the common man suffers.

Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer!

Color poster of an iconic painting of Adolf Hitler printed in Germany during the Third Reich, 1933-1945. The original painting was created by Heinrich Knirr in 1935-1936, and was based on a photograph taken by Heinrich Hoffman in 1935. Hitler approved the image and it became popular as it was widely used on Nazi propaganda pieces. The slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer (One People, One Country, One Leader) was one of the central slogans used by Hitler and the Nazi Party. Nazi propaganda portrayed their leader (Fuhrer) as the living embodiment of the German nation and people. This slogan reinforced the cult of Hitler and the sense of destiny that the Party claimed made him the savior of Germany and father of the German people.

Unsere letzte Hoffnung: Hitler

Poster for Adolf Hitler’s 1932 presidential campaign as the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) Presidential candidate against incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. This poster was designed by Hans Schweitzer, who went by the pseudonym Mjölnir (the hammer of Thor) and initially preserved by the FJM Rehse Archive and Museum of Contemporary History in Munich, a museum operated by the Nazi Party that preserved much of their early propaganda. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who, along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. This poster was designed to appeal to the unemployed and destitute and claimed that Hitler was their only hope. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag, becoming the largest party in German parliament. However, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the support of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg on January 30, 1933.

Das Volk Wählt Liste 1 Nationalsozialisten

Political poster promoting the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler for the German elections of 1932. The image shows how, with the people’s support, the Nazi Party became the most popular political party in Germany. This poster was initially preserved by the FJM Rehse Archive and Museum of Contemporary History in Munich, a museum operated by the Nazi Party that preserved much of their early propaganda. By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag, becoming the largest party in German parliament. However Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the support of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg on January 30, 1933.

Mit Unseren Fahnen is der Sieg

German World War II propaganda poster featuring a golden eagle soaring in front of a series of Nazi flags created by artist Hans Schweitzer, who went by the pseudonym Mjölnir (Thor’s Hammer). The flag in the image is an interpretation of the Reichskriegflagge (German War Flag). It was designed personally by Hitler and was flown by all military forces of Nazi Germany. In 1943, the tide of the war had begun to turn against the Germans. The early progress of the invasion of the Soviet Union had stalled and the American and British armies had virtually pushed the German armies out of Africa. The Nazis used Nationalistic symbols such as the ones depicted on this poster to inspire the public and army to fight on.

Konrad henlein einte uns! Der Führer befreite uns!

Poster depicting Adolf Hitler and Konrad Henlein shaking hands and promoting the German annexation of the Sudetenland. This image is a reproduction of a photograph of Hitler and Henlein’s meeting. In the original, Herman Goering is in the background but he has been edited out of this image. Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918 after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian state at the end of World War I. Within its borders was the Sudetenland, an area with a predominantly German ethnic population. Konrad Henlein founded the Sudeten German Party, whose goal was to achieve autonomy for the Sudeten community so that they could unite their region with Germany. As the Nazi party gained power in Germany, Henlein and the Sudetenland reunification movement aligned with the party and transitioned from the fringes to a mainstream, and sometimes violent, political force. The Sudeten Nazis’ activities included hostile outbreaks and provocative incidents, and in September 1938 extreme violence erupted requiring international intervention. On September 30, representatives of France, Britain, Italy, and Germany met in Munich and issued an ultimatum to Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland to Germany in exchange for a pledge of peace from Hitler. This poster was initially preserved by the FJM Rehse Archive and Museum of Contemporary History in Munich, a museum operated by the Nazi Party that preserved much of their early propaganda.

Schluss jetzt wählt Hitler

Political poster promoting Adolf Hitler for the German presidential elections of 1932. The poster features a man breaking chians on his wrists, implying that a vote for Hitler will stop the oppression that shackles the common man. Hitler ran as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party candidate against incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. This poster was designed by Hans Schweitzer, who went by the pseudonym Mjölnir (the hammer of Thor). By June 1932, Germany was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, with six million unemployed. This economic distress contributed to a rise in the popularity of the Nazi Party, who along with the Communist Party and the Social Democrats, were the most popular political parties in Germany. The Nazis supported economic nationalism and distrusted international capital, preferring domestic production with the elimination of foreign competition. When Germany held parliamentary elections in July of that year, the Nazi party won almost 40 percent of the electorate in the Reichstag, becoming the largest party in German parliament. However, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party failed to defeat incumbent Social Democratic President Paul von Hindenburg in the presidential election. With the support of his majority party, Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933.

Großdeutschland Ja! Am 10. April

Anschluss poster displaying several arms raised for the Nazi salute in support of the Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria in 1938. Austria had experienced a prolonged period of economic stagnation, political dictatorship, and intense Nazi propaganda. When German troops entered the country on March 12, 1938 they received the enthusiastic support of most of the population, and Austria was incorporated into Germany the next day. The poster is an attempt to curry support for a referendum that would legitimize the annexation. On April 10, the German annexation was retroactively approved in a referendum that was manipulated by the Germans to indicate that about 99 percent of the Austrian people wanted the union. This poster was initially preserved by the FJM Rehse Archive and Museum of Contemporary History Munich, a museum operated by the Nazi Party that preserved much of their early propaganda.

Waffen- SS Eintritt mit vollendetem 17. Lebensjahr

Recruitment poster for the Waffen SS featuring an image of a uniformed soldier and a Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler flag. The Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was Hitler’s personal bodyguard regiment. The Waffen SS was the armed military division of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Nazi paramilitary organization that was responsible for security, intelligence gathering and analysis, and enforcing Nazi racial policies. They controlled the concentration camp system and planned and coordinated the Final Solution. The SS was originally formed in 1925 to protect Hitler along with other Nazi leaders and provide security at political meetings. In 1929, Heinrich Himmler was appointed Reichsführer-SS (Reich Leader of the SS) and turned the organization into an elite corps based on visions of racial purity and absolute loyalty to Hitler. The Waffen SS was established in 1939 to strengthen the position of the SS relative to the army and German elites, eventually fielding more than twenty divisions and half a million men at its peak. Members of the Waffen SS were selected based on “racial” ancestry. Selected individuals were expected to have an Aryan Nordic lineage and volunteers were accepted from Germany, and later Norway, Denmark and Holland.

SS recruitment poster with photos depicting SS soldiers’ activities

Recruitment poster for the Waffen SS featuring photographs of soldiers participating in their wartime duties. The Waffen SS was the armed military division of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Nazi paramilitary organization that was responsible for security, intelligence gathering and analysis, and enforcing Nazi racial policies. They controlled the concentration camp system and planned and coordinated the Final Solution. The SS was originally formed in 1925 to protect Hitler along with other Nazi leaders and provide security at political meetings. In 1929, Heinrich Himmler was appointed Reichsführer-SS (Reich Leader of the SS) and turned the organization into an elite corps based on visions of racial purity with absolute loyalty to Hitler. The Waffen SS was established in 1939 to strengthen the position of the SS relative to the army and German elites, eventually fielding more than twenty divisions and half a million men at its peak. Members of the Waffen SS were selected based on “racial” ancestry. Selected individuals were expected to have an Aryan Nordic lineage and volunteers were accepted from Germany, and later Norway, Denmark and Holland.

Ja! Fuehrer wir folgen Dir!

German political poster encouraging public support for Adolf Hitler’s usurpation of power after the death of German President, Paul von Hindenburg, in 1934. The poster features a photographic image that shows the public saluting and cheering Hitler, and text exclaiming their adoration, implying Germans’ united support for his assumption of power as sole leader of Germany. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, he began laying the foundations for the Nazi state, worked to secure his power, and eliminate his opposition. In February 1933, after an attack on the Reichstag, the government passed the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended individual rights and due process of law. In March, 1933, the German Parliament passed the enabling act, which allowed Hitler to create and sign legislation into law without parliamentary consent. To eliminate their opposition, Hitler and the Nazis abolished trade unions, replaced elected officials with Nazi appointees, and outlawed other political parties. On June 30, 1934, the Schutzstaffel (SS), acting on orders from Hitler, executed the party’s political enemies and rival members who threatened Hitler’s rule. On August 2, the last barrier to Hitler’s total control of Germany, President Paul Von Hindenburg, died. Hitler ordered the government to merge his position of Chancellor with the office of the President. To legitimize his position, the Nazis declared a referendum take place on August 19. The Nazis campaigned heavily for public support of the referendum and 89 percent of voters supported the merger, approving Hitler’s absolute control of Germany.

Am.19.August wird deutschen Volke folgende Frage vorgelegt

German political broadside encouraging public support for Adolf Hitler’s usurpation of power after the death of German President, Paul von Hindenburg, in 1934. The broadside features an image of the ballot used in the referendum with the affirmative box brightly marked with a large X. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, he began laying the foundations for the Nazi state, worked to secure his power, and eliminate his opposition. In February 1933, after an attack on the Reichstag, the government passed the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended individual rights and due process of law. In March of 1933, the German Parliament passed the enabling act, which allowed Hitler to create and sign legislation into law without parliamentary consent. To eliminate their opposition, Hitler and the Nazis abolished trade unions, replaced elected officials with Nazi appointees, and outlawed other political parties. On June 30, 1934, the Schutzstaffel (SS), acting on orders from Hitler, executed the party’s political enemies and rival members who threatened Hitler’s rule, in what would later be called, the Night of the Long Knives. On August 2, the last barrier to Hitler’s total control of Germany, President Paul Von Hindenburg, died. Hitler ordered the government to merge his position of Chancellor with the office of the President. To legitimize his position, the Nazis declared a referendum take place on August 19. The Nazis campaigned heavily for public support of the referendum, and 89 percent of voters supported the merger, approving Hitler’s absolute control of Germany.

Destroy Free Business And You Destroy Free Labor

Anti-dictatorship, pro-free business poster featuring a man chained to a post, designed by Chester Raymond Miller in 1944, for the Think American Institute as part of the Think American Poster Series. The Think American Institute was formed by a group of industrialists from Rochester, New York, to combat subversive propaganda they felt was infiltrating American business. The group aimed to preserve the social order, boost American morale, extend the institutions of American freedom, and aid the war effort after the U.S. entry into World War II. The group was led by William G. Bromley, president of Kelly-Read & Company, and the lead designer Miller, who also served as the Art Director for Kelly-Read & Company. The Think American Series ran from 1939 to the early 1960s, and produced weekly posters with illustrated messages that were placed in financial, business, and educational organizations across America. The series produced over 300 poster designs during the war and more than 1,000 overall, with the majority conceived by Miller. A main theme of the series was the association of individual freedom with freedom of industry. During the war, this subtext was used to link Axis dictatorships to the subjugation of their citizens through the nationalization of business. The success of American private industry not only provided the tools to fight the war, but it also was an antithesis to Axis ideology. The Think American Institute repackaged and reused these themes after the war, in response to the Cold War and the threat of communism.

Le Socialisme contre le Bolchevisme

French propaganda poster, published and distributed by the Centre d'études antibolcheviques (CEA, Center for anti-Bolshevik Studies) and the Office de répartition de l’affichage (ORAFF, Display Distribution Office) in German-occupied France between 1942 and 1944. The poster shows an image of two men fighting each other. One man, a physical manifestation of communist Bolsheviks, is bathed in red, a color traditionally associated with communism. The man also has stereotypically antisemitic Jewish features a large, hooked nose, full lips, and pointed ears, which associate Jews with communists, both considered enemies by the Nazis. He wields a chain, a symbol of oppression, and attempts to wrap his opponent in it. The opponent is a shirtless man symbolizing Germany, struggling against communist Bolshevik subjugation. He (Germany) fights, according to the French caption, “for a free Europe.” In September 1939, following the German invasion of Poland, France and Britain declared war on Germany. In May 1940, Germany invaded and quickly overwhelmed French forces. In June, Marshal Henri Phillippe Petain signed an armistice agreement, granting Germany control of northern and western France, including Paris. After the armistice and occupation, German authorities and French collaborators began releasing propaganda to fuel resentment among the French public toward the Nazi’s enemies. The CEA was a French collaborationist organization created in 1942 to distribute propaganda vilifying the French Resistance, Communists, the British, and Jews. ORAFF was created by German authorities in 1941 to control and censor posters that did not comply with Nazi policy, and publicly display propaganda posters that conformed to Nazi ideals.

Schluss damit! Arbeiten! Nicht Schwaetzen!

German propaganda poster designed by Künstlerbund, Karlsruhe A.G. and published by Gaupropagandaleitung Baden der NSDAP (District Baden Propaganda Line of the NSDAP) in 1934. The poster was designed O. Rinne, possibly a pseudonym for German Art Deco artist, Felix Rinne. The poster shows an oversized man wearing the shirt, jodhpurs, and armband from a Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) uniform preparing to confront a group of affluent men at a table decorated with a Nazi banner. He is rolling up his sleeves and getting ready to work, while the men are leisurely talking at the table instead of working. In addition to printing posters during World War II, Künstlerbund, Karlsruhe A.G. printed maps for the German military.

German poster featuring a photorealistic, black and white image of Adolf Hitler wearing a Sturmabteilung (SA) uniform. The Sturmabteilung (SA) was a Nazi paramilitary organization responsible for protecting party meetings, voter intimidation, and physically assaulting opponents. As a result of the Great Depression and the growing popularity of the Nazi Party, SA membership swelled to 400,000 by 1932, and by 1933, membership was at approximately two million. On The Night of Long Knives, June 30, 1934, Hitler and the Schutzstaffel (SS) carried out a purge, murdering dozens of SA leaders including its cofounder and commander Ernst Röhm. Afterwards, the SA ceased to play a major role in Nazi affairs. The image is from a portrait of Hitler taken by his personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann. Images of Hitler from this photo session appeared in multiple forms of print media. Hoffmann joined the Nazi Party in 1920, and convinced an initially camera-shy Hitler of photography's political value. Hoffmann orchestrated and took photos of Hitler in public and private, and used the images to craft Hitler’s public image as a benevolent leader. Hoffmann’s photographs were published throughout Germany on postcards, stamps, posters, and books. Both Hitler and Hoffman profited financially from the royalties of the photos, and made millions of Reich marks. Hoffman’s assistant, Eva Braun, became Hitler’s mistress in 1930.

United States anti-Nazi poster of Joseph Goebbels reciting a speech

Anti-Nazi poster using a supposed quotation from Joseph Goebbels to justify American involvement in World War II, designed by Chester Raymond Miller in 1944, for the Think American Institute (TAI) as part of the Think American Poster Series. The Think American Institute was formed by a group of industrialists from Rochester, New York, to combat subversive propaganda they felt was infiltrating American business. The group aimed to preserve the social order, boost American morale, extend the institutions of American freedom, and aid the war effort after the U.S. entry into World War II. The group was led by William G. Bromley, president of Kelly-Read & Company, and the lead designer, Miller, who also served as the Art Director for Kelly-Read & Company. The Think American Series ran from 1939 to the early 1960s, and produced weekly posters with illustrated messages that were placed in financial, business, and educational organizations across America. The series produced over 300 poster designs during the war and over 1,000 overall, with the majority conceived by Miller. Joseph Goebbels was a National Socialist politician and propagandist. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924 and rose swiftly through the ranks. When Hitler and the Nazis ascended to power in 1933, Goebbels took over the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The ministry exerted control over film, radio, theater, and the press, and was responsible for promoting Nazi ideology and antisemitism.

Don't fall for Enemy Propaganda

American propaganda poster urging the public to be alert for enemy propaganda, designed by Jack Betts and distributed in 1943 by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW). The poster uses the caricatured faces of Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, and Japanese emperor, Hirohito, whispering into a man’s ear as symbols of enemy propaganda reaching the American public. The poster warns the reader that enemy propaganda attempts to divide Americans and turn them against their government and each other. During the war, the government was concerned about the effects of German and Japanese propaganda on the American public. Radio was an important tool, and Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany used native English speakers to broadcast radio messages to the soldiers and the public, spreading disinformation and creating fear. Like the Avoid Careless Talk poster series created by the Office of War Information, it reminds the public of the vital part they play in the war effort. The VFW supported the war effort at home by creating posters, encouraging enlistments, raising money, and establishing an Aviation Cadet program to train and educate young pilots. Jack Betts was an American illustrator and artist who created advertising comics, and illustrations for magazines.

Wanted For Murder

Anti-Nazi propaganda poster distributed in the United States during World War II. The poster falsely claims that Adolf Hitler’s real name is Adolf Schicklgruber. An assertion which was originated by Hans Habe, a Viennese Jewish writer. The claim was based on the last name of Hitler’s father, who was born Alois Shicklgruber. Before Hitler was born, Alois changed his name and it became Alois Hitler. The motif of Hitler’s “real” name was likely an attempt to ridicule the leader and belittle him to the public. The Adolf Schicklgruber and Hitler "wanted for murder" motifs were also used on other ephemera, such as buttons. The poster was distributed by Fight for Freedom (FFF), an interventionist organization founded in April 1941. The FFF called for the United States to enter the war against Germany, and frequently coordinated with President Roosevelt’s aides, British propagandists, and other interventionist organizations to rally public support. The FFF told Americans the Axis powers were murdering civilians in the countries they occupied, and sponsored rallies to protest mass murders. After the United States entered the war, a wave of American patriotism and anti-Axis sentiment swept through the country. Much of this was manifested through pieces of ephemera such as posters, buttons, pins, cards, toys, and decals. This sentiment continued in America until the end of the war.

Wenn Juden lachen

Antisemitic, advertising flier for the Der Stürmer newspaper showing photographic images of the “devilish grins” of Jews. The text claims that Jews are born criminals, who are incapable of laughter, and can only smile nefariously, which implies their untrustworthy nature. Two versions of the flier were published: this one with red lettering and an advertisment on the bottom, and one with black-and-white text without a bottom advertisement. The antisemitic newspaper was founded by Julius Streicher and published from 1923 to 1945. Striecher used the paper as a platform to foment public hatred of the Jewish race. The paper blamed Jews for the depression, unemployment, and inflation in Germany as well as rape and other crimes against the German people. Der Stürmer also accused Jews of "blood libel" or "Jewish ritual murder" antisemitic fabrications that were common in the Middle Ages. They claimed that Jews used Christian blood, usually from children, obtained from a torturous ritual sacrifice to perform religious ceremonies. The paper often featured crude and distasteful cartoons that showed Jewish people as ugly, with exaggerated features and misshapen bodies. The paper became very popular, eventually reaching a circulation of 800,000. After the war ended, Streicher was arrested by the US Army in May 1945. He was tried by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, convicted, and executed per the ruling that his repeated publication of articles calling for the annihilation of the Jewish race were a direct indictment to murder and a crime against humanity.

Das wahre Porträt des ewigen Juden

Nineteenth century antisemitic poster printed by C. Burckardt in Weissenburg, Germany (now Wissembourg, France) featuring an image and a poem by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart about the Wandering Jew. Christian Schubart was an 18th century German poet and musician. The poster references the story of the Wandering Jew, a Jewish man (in some versions named Ahasuerus) who taunted Jesus on his way to be crucified. In response, Jesus said “I stand and rest, but you will go on,” dooming him to live until the end of the world or the second coming of Christ. The origin of the story is uncertain, although parts may have been inspired by biblical passages. Some versions name the wanderer Cartaphilus, and claim he was Pontius Pilate’s doorkeeper, who struck Jesus, urging him to go faster on the path to his crucifixion. The Ahasuerus version can be traced back to a German pamphlet published in 1602 which was translated into several languages and widely distributed. The story of the Wandering Jew has been portrayed and depicted in works of art, poetry, literature, plays, and films. In Schubart’s poem, the Jew is named Ahasver and he denies Jesus’ request for rest on the way to his crucifixion. As a result Ahasver is cursed to never die by an angel. Ahasver lives to see his loved ones die, cities and nations rise and fall, and bears mortal wounds that only cause him pain and suffering. In the end, the angel returns, and allows Ahasver to die, showing God’s mercy.

Zerhaut den schwarzroten Block!

Political poster published by Hermann Esser and printed in Munich, Germany, promoting the Nazi Party candidates for a national election held between 1924 and 1933. The poster features an image of a tradesman smashing a black and red block with a hammer, while a swastika within a sun-like circle hovers over the horizon. The image implies that the people will smash the previous government, represented by the block depicted in two traditional colors of the German flag, while the Nazi party rises. Herman Esser, was a co-founder of the German Worker’s Party, and a prominent early Nazi Party member. He was the first chief of Nazi Party propaganda, however, his role in the party diminished, in part due to his unscrupulous personal life and antagonistic relationships with other prominent party members. The Nazis first entered candidates in German elections in 1924. However, they, did not have much success until 1930, when the party won 107 seats in Germany’s parliament, the Reichstag. In July 1932, the Nazi Party won 230 seats, and became the largest political party in the Reichstag. With the support of his majority party, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933. In March, the final free election was held in the Weimar republic, and the Nazi Party won 288 seats in the Reichstag. Later that month, the cornerstone of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Enabling Act was passed. It allowed Hitler to enact laws, including ones that violated the Weimar Constitution, without approval of parliament or President von Hindenburg.

An Gottes Segen ist alles gelegen

German poster with an image of barley stalks overlaid on a swastika, and a religious-themed message, “Everything is due to God's blessing”. By 1934, when this poster was distributed, Germany was struggling to cope with the consequences of the Great Depression. Six million Germans were unemployed and struggled to obtain food. Organized religion, specifically the Protestant Church, was one of the main pillars of German society. The country had approximately 45 million Protestant Christians, 22 million Catholic Christians, 500,000 Jews, and 25,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. The quotation on the poster exemplifies Germany’s religious and cultural values, while the imagery of the growing barley overlaid on the swastika implies the coming abundance the Nazi government would provide. The religious quote combined with the large swastika may also be an attempt to imply that Nazi rule and power is derived from God, which would absolve the party leadership from adhering to any man-made authority. The relationship between the Nazi party and religion was complex. Initially, the Party was not openly hostile to the Protestant and Catholic Churches however, the Party believed that Christianity and Nazism were ideologically incompatible. In 1933, the Reich Church was established to advocate a form of Nazi Christianity that excluded the Old Testament, which was considered a Jewish document. The Nazi government also signed a Concordat with the Vatican, stating it would recognize the Nazi regime, which would in turn would not interfere in the Catholic Church. However, the Concordat was broken by the Nazis in 1935, with the passage of anti-religious policies, to undermine the church’s influence.

Die Götter des Stadions

Poster for the German propaganda sports film, “Olympia” (The Gods of the Stadium), about the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, released in April, 1938. The poster features a photographic image of German Olympic athlete Erwin Huber in a discus throwing stance. Huber participated in the 1928 and the 1936 games. The poster image is reproduced from a scene in the opening of the film. The stance is reminiscent of the Discobolus, an ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, which symbolizes the Olympics and the athletic ideal. Nazi authorities used the games to promote an image of a new, strong, and united Germany to foreign spectators and journalists while masking the regime’s targeting of Jews and Roma (Gypsies), as well as Germany’s growing militarism. Germany fielded the largest team, 348 athletes, and won the most medals. The games were used to promote the myth of “Aryan” racial superiority, physical prowess, and symbolize that "Aryan" culture was the rightful heir of classical antiquity. Leni Riefenstahl, who directed “Triumph des Willens” (“Triumph of the Will”), shot at the 1934 Nuremberg Rally, was commissioned by the Nazis to produce a film about the Berlin games, which would also promote all these ideals. Riefenstahl made two films, “Olympia Part I: Festival of the Nations” and “Part II: Festival of Beauty" and combined them to create “Olympia.” Riefenstahl’s work pioneered numerous cinematographic techniques and won Best Foreign Film honors at the Venice Film Festival and a special award from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for depicting the joy of sport.

Befehl Nr. 201

Poster announcing Military Order Number 201, issued by the Sowjetisch Militärverwaltung in Deutschland (Soviet Military Administration in Germany, SMAD) in August 1947. Order 201 announced the implementation of new guidelines for denazification policy in the Soviet occupied zone (SBZ). After the German surrender on May 8, 1945, Germany was divided into zones of occupation by the Allies. The Soviet zone encompassed the eastern part of Germany. On June 6, SMAD was established to administer and carry out military, political, and economic tasks in the SBZ. One of the principal tasks undertaken in every occupation zone was denazification. After the conclusion of the war, the Allies worked to cleanse Germany of all traces of Nazi ideology, institutions, and laws. Additionally, they removed Nazi party members from office or positions of responsibility in an effort to wipe out the Nazi party and its influence. In the SBZ, this process was carried out by several commissions and committees, and was also used as a means to consolidate Communist rule, nationalize industry and confiscate property for land reforms. Denazification was used to purge public officials and fill the positions with members of Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which later became the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the ruling party of East Germany. However, many former Nazis were allowed to keep their positions so long as they conformed to Communism. By the 1950s, denazification efforts ended and many former Nazis were able to return to their former roles in industries and government in both East and West Germany.

Ja Volksentscheid gegen Kriegs- und Naziverbrecher zur Sicherung des Friedens

Poster encouraging the German public of the Soviet-occupied region of Saxony to vote "yes" on a referendum to expropriate factories and companies owned by Nazis. The poster was designed by Wilhelm Schubert, who worked with the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and distributed in May 1946. The poster implies that voting "yes" to the referendum will help to ensure peace in occupied East Germany. On June 30, the referendum passed, with 82.9 percent voting in favor. After the German surrender on May 8, 1945, Germany was divided into zones of occupation by the Allies. The Soviet zone encompassed the eastern part of Germany. On June 6, SMAD was established to administer and carry out military, political, and economic tasks in the Soviet occupied zone (SBZ). One of the principal tasks undertaken in every occupation zone was denazification. After the conclusion of the war, the Allies worked to cleanse Germany of all traces of Nazi ideology, institutions, and laws. Additionally, they removed Nazi party members from office or positions of responsibility in an effort to wipe out the Nazi party and its influence. In the SBZ, this process was carried out by several commissions and committees, and was also used as a means to consolidate Communist rule, nationalize industry and confiscate property for land reforms. Denazification was used to purge public officials and fill the positions with members of Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which later became the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the ruling party of East Germany. However, many former Nazis were allowed to keep their positions so long as they conformed to Communism. By the 1950s, denazification efforts ended and many former Nazis were able to return to their former roles in industries and government in both East and West Germany.

Nur das Nur das Hakenkreuz ablegen das ist noch kein Beweis! Beweise Dich am 30. Juni mit Deinem

Poster encouraging Germans to vote on June 30, designed by Barlog in 1946. The vote on June 30 is likely referring to the Bavarian state election in June 1946, to choose members of the Bavarian Constituent Assembly. After the German surrender on May 8, 1945, Germany was divided into zones of occupation by the Allies. The American-occupied zone encompassed the southeastern part of Germany, including Bavaria. The American goals during the occupation included denazification and the reintroduction of democratic values into German society. Denazification was a postwar Allied initiative to cleanse Germany of all traces of Nazi ideology, institutions, and laws. They also sought to remove Nazi party members from office or positions of responsibility in an effort to wipe out the Nazi party and its influence. In the American zone, anyone who had been an active Nazi, and individuals who held key positions in the regime were fired. In the summer if 1945, German political parties were reformed, and the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party, SPD) and the Kommunistiche Partei Deutschlands (German Communist Party, KPD), left-leaning parties that existed during the Weimar Republic reemerged. They were joined by the new Christlich-Demokratische Union (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) a more moderate party. These three parties became the largest in Germany. The Bavarian Constituent Assembly election on June 30, 1946, was the first free election held in Bavaria since 1932. Although denazification was labeled as a success, by the 1950s, many former Nazis were able to return to their roles in industries and government in both East and West Germany.

Jüd Abraham schreibt aus Amerika

German propaganda poster likely issued the week of December 8, 1938, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster depicts letters allegedly written by a German-Jewish émigré in America, Abraham Reis, to his father, Simon Reis in Germany. The poster asserts that the letters reveal that Jews are lying about German persecution. The poster also claims that American Jews proposed plots to kill Adolf Hitler. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), the first of which was distributed on March 16, 1936. Each week, approximately 125,000 posters were strategically placed in public places and businesses such as: market squares, metro stations, bus stops, payroll offices, hospital waiting rooms, factory cafeterias, schools, hotels, restaurants, post offices, train stations, and street kiosks so that they would be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondence. The posters used colorful, often derogatory caricatures, and photorealistic images with vibrant language to target the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Ein merkwürdiger katholischer Bischof.

German propaganda poster, likely issued the week of January 19 to January 25, 1939, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. This poster depicts a picture of Bishop Stephan Donahue, an auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Donahue was one of several American religious leaders to openly rebuke the Nazis for their persecution of Jews and other groups. The German text criticizes the United States for its discrimination against African and Asian Americans, and implies that Donahue is a hypocrite for not rebuking these policies as well. The text also reminds the reader of the antisemitic myth of Jewish deicide, the belief that Jews are collectively responsible for Christ’s death, and implies that the views of Donahue and the American Catholic leaders may be influenced by Jews. The relationship between the Nazi party and religion was complex. Initially, the Party was not openly hostile to the Protestant and Catholic Churches however, the Party believed that Christianity and Nazism were ideologically incompatible. The Nazi government signed a Concordat with the Vatican, stating it would recognize the Nazi regime, which would in turn would not interfere in the Catholic Church. However, the Concordat was broken by the Nazis with the passage of anti-religious policies to undermine the church’s influence in 1935. The first Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), were distributed on March 16, 1936. The series used colorful, often derogatory caricatures, and photorealistic images with vibrant language to target political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Vor 150 Jahren: “Ich warne Sie meine Herren . ” Hat der große Franklin Amerika vergeblich gewarnt?

German propaganda poster issued in 1939 from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. This poster shows excerpts from the Franklin Prophecy, an antisemitic speech falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States. Franklin is one of the most respected historical figures in the US, who helped write the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. The first publication of the speech was on February 3, 1934, in “Liberation,” a paper published by William Dudley Pelley, a Nazi sympathizer and founder of The Silver Shirts. The group was aligned with the German-American Bund. According to the speech, Franklin believed that Jews were morally and commercially corrupt, and if allowed, would stream into the country and do nothing but leach off society. The speech was quickly debunked as a fraud by the Franklin Institute, the International Benjamin Franklin Society, and distinguished American historian, Charles Beard. However, the speech paralleled Nazi beliefs and was widely distributed over the radio, in writing, and was cited in speeches by Nazi leaders. The first Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), were distributed on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets which could be plastered on the back of correspondence, were also produced. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Jawohl, in Roosevelt-Amerika herrscht Meinungsfreiheit.

German propaganda poster issued in 1939, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster references America’s Freedom of Speech and accuses the United States of censuring voices critical of Jews. As proof, the poster claims that Father Charles Coughlin, an extremist, antisemitic radio personality during the 1930s was unfairly censured for his broadcasts attacking Jews. The text then compares father Coughlin to George Mundelein, the Archbishop of Chicago, and a critic of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, saying that he is allowed to speak because he is subservient to the Jews. The poster also falsely implies that US President Franklin Roosevelt is being influenced by Jews. In reality, Coughlin was ordered off the air by his superiors within the church, and was being investigated for denouncing America’s entry into World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets which could be plastered on the back of correspondence, were also produced. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Juda-ganz gross !!

German propaganda poster issued in 1940, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster references Jews fighting for the British army and frames it as an act of desperation by the British. The yellow background color is a similar shade as the Star of David badges Jews were forced to wear in Germany. The poster shows an image of a captured Polish-Jewish soldier, attempting to make Jews appear inept as soldiers. Approximately 100,000 Jews fought in the Polish army against the invading German Army. At the outbreak of the war, Jewish leaders in Britain and Palestine campaigned for an official Jewish unit in the British Army. Meanwhile, approximately 30,000 Jews volunteered for service in the army. The Jewish Brigade formed in September 1944, and fought German forces in Italy. Overall, approximately 1.5 million Jews fought in Allied armies, and hundreds of thousands received citations for combat and bravery. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Das werden wir uns merken!!

German propaganda poster issued in 1940, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster references British politician Duff Cooper, who was Secretary of State for War in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s administration. Cooper believed that Hitler and Nazi Germany were a threat to European peace, and used his position to fight for increased military budgets and rearmament. His views went against those of Chamberlain’s administration and public sentiment at the time. He was viewed by many as increasingly hawkish, and along with Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, Cooper was called a warmonger by Hitler. Cooper disagreed with Chamberlain’s appeasement policy toward Hitler. After Chamberlain conceded Czechoslovakia to Germany in the Munich Agreement, Cooper resigned from office in protest. When Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Cooper served as Minister of Information and as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The poster also references British defeats during the battles of France and Norway in 1940. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Nazi propaganda poster criticizing Franklin Roosevelt and American interventionist efforts

German propaganda poster issued in 1941 from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster references United States Secretary of the Navy, William Franklin "Frank" Knox, calling him a warmonger, likely because he advocated for support of the Allies before the U.S. entry into World War II (1939-1945). Knox, a former political rival of Roosevelt, was appointed as Secretary of the Navy in 1940, to encourage bipartisan support. The poster attempts to frame U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, as a power hungry leader by using a supposed quote about the President by Knox. The text claims that President Roosevelt is a servant of the Jews, and American intervention in the war would lead to disaster for the U.S. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

German propaganda poster claiming Hitler and the Nazis are not against religion

German propaganda poster, likely issued the week of December 3 to December 9, 1941, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster shows an unflattering picture of United States President Franklin Roosevelt. The German text claims that Roosevelt is a Jewish puppet that said that the Nazis wish to destroy all religion. To refute this, the poster quotes a speech Adolf Hitler gave on November 8, 1941, at Löwenbräukeller in Munich, Germany, to commemorate the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. In the speech, Hitler claims that he does not care what religion a person is. He goes on to falsely claim that religious leaders in the U.S. are barred from speaking out against the state, and that soldiers cannot attend religious ceremonies. The relationship between the Nazi party and religion was complex. Initially, the Party was not openly hostile to the Protestant and Catholic Churches however, the Party believed that Christianity and Nazism were ideologically incompatible. The Nazi government signed a Concordat with the Vatican, stating it would recognize the Nazi regime, which would in turn would not interfere in the Catholic Church. However, the Concordat was broken by the Nazis with the passage of anti-religious policies to undermine the church’s influence in 1935. The first Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), were distributed on March 16, 1936. The series used colorful, often derogatory caricatures, and photorealistic images with vibrant language to target political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Nazi propaganda poster exposing the Jewish conspiracy links to the Allied Nations

German propaganda poster issued during the week of December 10 to December 16, 1941, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster contains a diagram that maps out the alleged power structure and key Jewish figures that controlled the Nazi’s enemies. The accompanying text elaborates on the diagram. It gives brief backgrounds of the key figures, and shows their interconnectedness as well as their familial relationships with world leaders. The antisemitic myth that Jews use their power and influence to manipulate and control world governments is one of the most prevalent and long-lasting antisemitic conspiracy theories. Popularized with the widespread publication of the fabricated, antisemitic text, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the canard was a key component in Nazi ideology. Propaganda propagating the hoax was widely distributed throughout German territories. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Verbrecher

German propaganda poster issued during the week of June 17 to June 23, 1942, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster depicts pictures of American criminals from the recent past, including: Al Capone, Thomas Pendergast, Robert Emmet O'Malley, Robert J. Boltz, and William P. Buckner. The text purports that United States President Franklin Roosevelt recruited criminals to serve in the American armed forces against Germany. It also accuses Roosevelt of being a money launderer, and claims he has a rapport with the criminal elements. The Nazis use this unfounded appraoch as evidence that America’s war on Germany is unjust and ignoring that Germany declared war on the U.S. The poster also attempts to justify the Nazi’s treatment of Jews by showing a captioned picture of a man called, “Louis the rabbi” along with the criminals, and claims that Jews are in league with organized crime. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Die Katze lässt das Mausen nicht!

German propaganda poster issued during the week of July 1 to July 7, 1942, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The yellow background color is a similar shade as the Star of David badges Jews were forced to wear in Germany and German-occupied nations. This poster calls Jews enemies of the people and claims that Joseph Hertz, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, declared that Jews were committing crimes against England’s war economy. The poster then accuses Jews of pushing nations into wars, and profiting from them at their nation’s expense. These new antisemitic stereotypes were proliferated in a defeated Germany after World War I (1914-1918). At the end of the war, the German public was unaware of the country’s faltering position and many believed Germany was winning. After surrender, it was said that the war was started and sabotaged by Jews with the goals of enriching themselves and creating a political climate more susceptible to Jewish control. These myths were seized- upon and distributed widely in Nazi ideology and propaganda, and used as a justification for Jewish persecution. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Der Jude Kaufman übertrumpft!

German propaganda poster issued during the week of August 19 to August 25, 1942, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. This poster uses a quote from Theodore Kaufman’s book, “Germany Must Die,” and claims that the Jews and their allies are fighting to exterminate the German people. Theodore Kaufman was a fringe, Jewish-American extremist writer who advocated for the sterilization of German men and women as a means to eliminate the German people, and the partition of German territory among neighboring nations. Although his writings were not popular in America, the Nazis used them heavily in their propaganda to advocate for public support for the war. They falsely claimed that Kaufman’s ideas were popular opinion in America, and that Kaufman was an associate of President Roosevelt. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), the first of which was distributed on March 16, 1936. Each week, approximately 125,000 posters were strategically placed in public places and businesses so that they would be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters used colorful, often derogatory caricatures, and photorealistic images with vibrant language to target the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Die Maske fällt!

German propaganda poster issued during the week of September 30 to October 6, 1942, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster claims that United States President Franklin Roosevelt set up a committee of advisors dubbed “the Brain Trust,” comprised of Jews and Jewish sympathizers. The poster then shows photos of Roosevelt’s supposed advisory committee: Bernard M. Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, Felix Frankfurt, Sol Bloom, Fiorello La Guardia, Cordell Hull, and claims that they are the real rulers in the U.S. In reality, Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust” was established in 1932, during his presidential campaign. The group’s key members were Raymond Moley, Rexford Tugwell, and Adolph Berle. Other advisors worked with the group as needed. The men on the poster were all high-ranking state or federal officials, but were not necessarily a part of the “Brain Trust,” and had varying degrees of influence over U.S. policy. Their presence on this poster is a reflection of their ties to Judaism being misused to fit the Nazi narrative of the “Jewish Enemy.” The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.

Das Lachen wird ihnen vergehen.

German propaganda poster issued during the week of October 28 to November 3, 1942, from the Parole der Woche (Word of the Week) series. The poster includes a photo depicting a farcical image of United States President Franklin Roosevelt’s face, among several Jewish men, implying that he is under their influence. The text is a quote taken from Adolf Hitler’s address at the Opening of the 1942 Nazi Winter Relief Campaign in the Berlin Sportpalast on September 30, 1942. The Winter Relief Campaign was an annual drive held by the Nazi Party to raise donations for charitable work. In the quote, Hitler claims that war was forced upon Germany in September 1939 (ignoring the fact that the German invasion of Poland started World War II). He also prophesied that a wave of antisemitism would sweep through every nation that enters the war, and that if Jews instigate a world war against the Aryan people, the Jews would be exterminated. The Nazis used propaganda to buttress public support for the war effort, shape public opinion, and reinforce antisemitic ideas. As part of their propaganda campaign, the Nazis created the Word of the Week Series of posters (also referred to as Wandzeitung, or wall newspapers), which began distribution on March 16, 1936. Each week, new posters were placed in public places and businesses to be viewed by as many people as possible. Posters were the primary medium for the series, but smaller pamphlets were also produced, which could be plastered on the back of correspondences. The posters targeted the Nazis’ early political adversaries, Jews, Communists, and Germany’s enemies during the war. The series was discontinued in 1943.


Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by PiretBCN » 07 Feb 2013, 13:16

I think in the old days fragrances contained a lot more alcohol. They used to "burn" on the skin. Nowadays a lot of people use fragrances without alcohol (body mist). I can't imagine Steiner using body mist.

I also think that in the old days people who used perfume, used it more. Nowadays it's bad taste to reek of it. But I think it was more acceptable or even considered positive back then. Hence Degrelle's remark of a "well perfumed Steiner".

I also think Steiner was a vain man, maybe a bit "metrosexual" (definitely ahead of his time with that. ). I recently bought his book and there's a very nice photo of him with his hands in the pocket, maybe trying to look like a casual supermodel.

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by PiretBCN » 07 Feb 2013, 17:34

I copy+paste from wikipedia: "Imprisoned until 1948, Steiner was cleared of all charges of War Crimes and after writing several books, died on 12 May 1966."

I understand he was the "guest" of the Brits after the war. Where exactly did you keep him? In a prisoner of war camp? In that luxurious castle you had in the countryside for senior German officers?

I am sure that place had lists of personal belongings of the prisoners.

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by PiretBCN » 07 Feb 2013, 17:38

The wikipedia in Spanish confirms this: "En mayo de 1945, con la rendición de Alemania, fue hecho prisionero por los Aliados, siendo liberado posteriormente por los británicos."

The question is: WHERE exactly did he live until his release?

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by Vikki » 08 Feb 2013, 09:04

It's a classic unisex perfume and your reaction suggests what age of person now might go for it. Men certainly use it, especially those old enough to have served in the war were using it in their older years.

Today, it is maybe seen in Germany (EDIT and Austria) a little like "Old Spice" might be seen in the UK by the grandchildren of those who were young men in the 1950s and 1960s.

No disrespect to grannies or veterans, but if Steiner wore 4711, he smelled like cat piss. When I reenact, I carry a bottle of it in my purse. From what I've experienced, neither german men nor frenchmen can stand the acerbic smell of it (as I can't). Works for the Resistance every time.

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by Vikki » 08 Feb 2013, 09:10

PiretBCN, you started this thread about Steiner's aftershave. Please stick to that subject, and post any thoughts/questions about his wartime imprisonment and post-war activities in a suitable related thread.

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by Florin1974 » 27 Feb 2014, 23:00

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by Tamino » 01 Mar 2014, 16:27

PiretBCN wrote: Léon Degrelle writes in his book that every time he met Felix Steiner, Steiner was in a good mood and well perfumed. Does anyone know which fragrance/aftershave Steiner used? Is it still being made?

Which fragrances were popular back then among senior officers? Are some of these fragrances still available and popular?

Frankly, Degrelle was probably alluding about either Steiner’s hidden drinking habits or hidden homosexuality.

At that time "Pitralon" was the most popular after-shave- Pitralon is produced also nowadays and sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland..

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by PiretBCN » 27 Apr 2014, 18:43

Re: Felix Steiner's aftershave

Post by Webdragon2013 » 29 Apr 2014, 20:04

I think it's going to be hard to narrow down the exact brand as most of the companies who manufactured beauty products up until 1945 collapsed after the war.

But come on.
It's well known the Germans always had famous "Eau de Cologne". Kölnisch Wasser, this for 100 of years.
So German officers, often with noble pedigree, always used the best products to care for their appearance.
Whether its tailored boots, or expensive hair pomade, or any other products!

In fact this tradition among Prussian officers goes for a very long time!
You can see back to 1870 in the Franco-Prussian war, the officers were exactly the same.

As I understand. Most of the products were unique and not mass produced.
For example boots made of the finest leather in Italy or Germany or even France, some pomade brands from England, and of course the best Eau de Cologne from Germany (from Köln even? )

Eau de cologne / Kölnisch Wasser used by officer I imagine was so high level it was not "branded" but again made uniquely by craftsmen specialized in this from Köln [Cologne] in small family stores.


ביוגרפיה [ עריכת קוד מקור | עריכה ]

קריירה מוקדמת [ עריכת קוד מקור | עריכה ]

שטיינר נולד ב-23 במאי 1896 בשטלופנן, שהשתייכה לאימפריה הגרמנית. בשנת 1914 התגייס שטיינר לצבא הקיסרות הגרמנית, והצטרף לרגימנט הרגלים ה-41 (פרוסיה המזרחית ה-5), עמו לחם במלחמת העולם הראשונה. במהלך המלחמה נפצע קשה, עוטר בצלב הברזל דרגה ראשונה ושנייה, וסיים אותה בדרגת אובר לויטננט.

ב-1919 הצטרף לפרייקורפס וב-1921 עבר לרייכסווהר. הוא שימש בתפקידי מטה והגיע לדרגת האופטמן (סרן).

עם עליית הנאצים לשלטון הצטרף כחבר למפלגה הנאצית. ב-1935 החל לשמש בתפקידי פיקוד על יחידות אס אס צבאיות שהיו הגרעין לוואפן אס אס. הוא מונה למפקד רגימנט אס אס-דויטשלנד והשתתף באנשלוס של אוסטריה.

מלחמת העולם השנייה [ עריכת קוד מקור | עריכה ]

שטיינר השתתף כמפקד רגימנט אס אס-דויטשלנד בכיבוש פולין ובמערכה על צרפת. ב-15 באוגוסט 1940 עוטר בצלב האבירים של צלב הברזל והועלה לדרגת בריגדפיהרר.

לאחר זאת הטיל עליו היינריך הימלר להקים ולפקד על דיוויזיית פאנצר אס אס החמישית - ויקינג. דיוויזיה זו הייתה מורכבת ממתנדבים מבלגיה, הולנד ושוודיה שהתגייסו כדי ללחום בבולשביקים. שטיינר נלחם עם דיוויזיה זו בחזית המזרחית עד אפריל 1943. ב-23 בדצמבר 1942 עוטר בצלב האבירים של צלב הברזל עם עלי אלון.

ב-אפריל 1943 מונה כמפקד של קורפוס הפאנצר אס אס ה-3 ועמד בהצלחה בהתקפות הצבא הסובייטי בחזית לנינגרד. לבסוף נאלץ לסגת לחצי האי קורלנד. על חלקו בקרבות אלה עוטר באוגוסט 1944 בצלב האבירים של צלב הברזל עם עלי אלון וחרבות והועלה לדרגת אובר-גרופנפיהרר. בינואר 1945 פונו שטיינר ויחידתו מ"כיס קורלנד" דרך הים, כדי לעזור בהגנת ברלין.

הקרב על ברלין [ עריכת קוד מקור | עריכה ]

המתקפה הרוסית החלה ב-16 באפריל 1945. לאחר כישלון ראשון ברמת זלוב הצליח ז'וקוב לפרוץ את קווי ההגנה הגרמנים באותה גזרה. היינריצי העביר מהקורפוס של שטיינר את דיוויזיות האס אס נורדלנד ונדרלנד לטובת הארמייה התשיעית. שטיינר נשאר עם שלושה בטליונים ומספר טנקים. תוך זמן קצר יצר ז'וקוב מבלט גדול שבסיסו נהר אודר וקדקדו מכוון לברלין.

היטלר התבונן בפיהררבונקר במפה וראה שמצפון למבלט יש דגלון ועליו כתוב "שטיינר". הוא וגבלס העריכו מאוד את שטיינר כלוחם ובעיקר כאיש אס אס שיודע לבצע פקודות ללא ערעור. היטלר התקשר לשטיינר והורה לו לצאת להתקפה הוא התעלם ממחאותיו של שטיינר שחייליו אינם מנוסים ואין לו נשק כבד. היטלר הורה להעמיד את כל אנשי הלופטוואפה באזור הצפוני ולהעמידם לפקודת שטיינר. הוא קרא לכוח של שטיינר בשם "פְּלַגָת Ώ] ארמית שטיינר" (Armeeabteilung Steiner). למקורביו אמר היטלר: "הרוסים ינחלו את המפלה עקובת הדמים ביותר בהיסטוריה שלהם, בשערי העיר ברלין" [ דרוש מקור] .

הוא שלח לשטיינר פקודת התקפה שהסתיימה במילים: "גורל בירת הרייך תלוי בהצלחת שליחותך - אדולף היטלר" [ דרוש מקור] .

שטיינר ידע שאין לו אפשרות לצאת להתקפה וכי זאת משימת התאבדות. הוא סירב גם לבקשותיהם של היינריצי, הנס קרבס, וילהלם קייטל ואלפרד יודל.

לאחר המלחמה [ עריכת קוד מקור | עריכה ]

שטיינר הסגיר את עצמו לכוחות הבריטיים בלינבורג ב-3 במאי 1945. הוא הועמד לדין בנירנברג, אך ההאשמות נגדו בוטלו. הוא היה בכלא עד 1948. שטיינר היה פעיל בארגון לשמירת הזכויות של יוצאי הוואפן אס אס, וכתב מספר ספרים על המלחמה.