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Parole der Woche, Nr. 23/1941 as used on an envelope
(Image courtesy of Jim Hatridge)
This wonderful cover has gone through the mails from Germany to occupied Denmark during WWII and bears both a hand stamp and "censored" tape that shows that it has been opened for inspection. The sender has placed Parole der Woche 23/1941 on the back of the envelope. It is entitled "The Cat's out of the bag!" It depicts an individual at the left and explains that Mr. Frank Knox, Roosevelt's Secretary of the Navy [1940-1944] recently said that America can be sure that when Germany is beaten in this war, a new Hitler will arise within 20 or 30 years. Knox feels that this can only be prevented if at the end of this war the Allies continue to police Germany over a longer period of time than they did after WWI. The parole concludes with a promise to Mr. Knox that the German armed forces will see that this war ends differently.
The Parole der Woche (Slogan of the Week) was a Reichpropagandaleitung (Nazi Party Central Propaganda Office) program that took many forms. They published a weekly poster designed for bulletin boards. A smaller gummed version, about the size of a playing card that could be collected or placed on envelopes and sent through the German mails was also very popular.
|Parole der Woche Poster 1941/23|
Franz-Josef Heyen mentions and illustrates many of the posters in his German-language booklet Parole der Woche - Eine Wandzeitung im Dritten Reich 1936-1943 (Slogan of the Week - A Wall Newspaper of the Third Reich 1936-1943), DTV Dokumente, Munich, 1983. For example, we illustrate parole 23 for the week of 4-10 June 1941. The title and general format is the same as the sticker depicted on the above envelope, but notice that there are some changes and added text because the poster was so much larger and allowed so much more data to be placed on the printed sheet. For the purposes of this article we will only discuss the small gummed labels copied by the British for propaganda purposes.
Young children in school repeated the slogans each morning. A German recounts his wartime youth:
Class began with the same regulation as it did in other schools. When the teacher entered the classroom the class president had to shout "Attention" in a loud and military voice. The students had to stand up straight. After the teacher greeted the class with "Heil Hitler" the students had to greet the teacher in the same way. The class president would then read the slogan of the week posted in the classroom.
In 1941 the Nazi Party published an article entitled "The Work of Party Propaganda in War." This article states that 32.5 million NSDAP weekly quotations were disseminated since the beginning of the war and that 8 million copies of the wall poster of the Slogan of the Week, along with several special editions and supplements have been distributed.
|Genuine Parole der Woche, 44/1941|
The small gummed labels always preached the Nazi gospel. They were sometimes anti-American or anti Churchill. Other times they were anti Communist or anti-Semitic. They often featured morale-lifting quotes from Adolf Hitler. An example of an anti-Semitic Slogan of the Week is number 44 of 1941. The text is virulently anti-Jewish. It is:
| Translation into German
That's what the President of the American Peace League, the Jew Th. Nathan Kaufman, wrote in his hate-filled pamphlet, in which among other things he wrote:
"After the complete sterilization of the German people, population growth through births in Germany will cease. Through the normal annual mortality rate of 20%, German life will decline by 1,500,000 souls each year. Thus within two generations, what otherwise would have cost millions of human lives and centuries of effort will be realized, namely the complete extermination of Germandom and its bearers."
Roosevelt too is part of the Jew Kaufman's murderous program. The German people will note that!
The genuine German Parole der Woche leaflets began in the first week of September 1939 and continued weekly with only a few gaps until the end of 1942. Most of the leaflets contain extensive text; many show photographs or drawings to accompany the text. The leaflets are numbered and the source identified in fine print at the bottom left. In 1939, the series began with “Parole der Woche Nr. 36 / Zentralverlag der NSDAP., München” and ends similarly with Nr. 52. For 1940, 1941, and 1942, the complete series, Nr. 1 through Nr. 52, appeared in each year. Beginning with 1941 Nr. 10, the year was added: “... Nr. 10/1941 / Zentralverlag...”. Beginning with 1942 leaflet Nr. 7, the numeral 0155 appears at the lower right. All the leaflets but one are in horizontal format and measure 100x73 mm. Leaflet Nr. 7 of 1941 is in vertical format (73x100 mm), with the identifying information “Parole der Woche Nr. 7 (Sonderdruck). Zentralverlag der NSDAP.” at bottom left.
The British black parole leaflets began in November 1942 and continued sporadically to the end of the war in Europe . It is possible that the success of the first British parody caused the Germans to prematurely cease their genuine series at the end of 1942. The last German sticker known is No. 52/1942. All 18 British parody parole except the first were printed and distributed at a time when the German program had ceased to exist. Therefore, 17 British sticker parodies have no German equivalent. Only the first can be called a propaganda parody that imitates a genuine item. The rest would seem to be “Propaganda labels.”
Because of the popularity of the Parole der Woche among the Germans, the British began parodying them. The parodies are very close to the original slogans and could easily be mistaken for a Genuine German parole. It is only when you read the text closely that you realize that the product is from the enemy. All of the fake stickers are on white paper, 10 x 7.5 cm., unless otherwise stated. We list them in the order of production with English translation courtesy of Bill Robinson. The "PWE" represents the "Political Warfare Executive," the British ministerial committee formed in August 1941 to control all psychological warfare. Although there is some question about the letter "H" code on the leaflets, I have always believed that it represented the last name of Ellic Howe, the British master-forger who wrote The Black Game and was responsible for much of the counterfeit documents prepared for use against the Third Reich. Curiously, Howe visited me years after the war to gather illustrations for his book. Under the Official Secrets Act he was forced to surrender all his notes and propaganda specimens to the government at the end of WWII. When he wished to publish a book on his wartime activities, he actually needed to borrow the illustrations from those who had not been required to turn them in by British law.
|H.257, Parole der Woche, 36/1942|
36/1942 - PWE No. H.257: Schlag auf Schlag (Blow upon blow). 10,000 copies delivered on 19 November 1942; 10,000 copies sent to the Free French on 27 February 1943. Reprinted as H.332: 5,000 copies delivered on 11 March 1943. Red and black. Ellic Howe says about this leaflet, "This was a greatly reduced version of a typical Propaganda Ministry 'saying of the week' poster and we must have used the Promi model for at least half a dozen suitable subversive gummed stickers. The latter had the advantage of being easy to carry and could be applied quickly in any convenient place during the black-out. H.332 provided greatly exaggerated details of German losses in Russia ...graphically demonstrating that the 'cemetery' conquered by the German troops in the Soviet territory was bigger than the British Isles ." The English-language text is:
Blow upon blow the German Armed Forces are pounding our enemies on land, on the sea and in the air! Since the beginning of the spring offensives, from the end of the fighting on the Kerch peninsula to the end of the battle for Stalingrad, 960,000 German soldiers have died. From the beginning of the Russian campaign on 22 June 1941, German troops have lost 4,600,000 dead, severely wounded or missing.
The graveyard newly conquered by our troops in 1942 in Soviet Russia, is bigger than the British Isles.
On the home front, over exhaustion, under nourishment and overwork have killed about 65,000 men and women in work-related accidents. Another 115,000 have lost their lives through air raids. Full of pride, the Führer looks at these historically unique successes and is ready to have us make any possible future sacrifices, until the German people lies bled to death on the ground.
Sefton Delmer, director of the British black radio operation said about this leaflet in private correspondence to the head of the German Section of the Special Operation Executive (SOE):
I think you might tell your distributors that this Schlag auf Schlag sticker is a very close imitation of a German poster called "Schlag auf Schlag bis der Feind am Boden liegt," ("Blow upon Blow until the Enemy lies on the ground"), and that it is the habit of the Propaganda Ministry to turn such posters into stickers of exactly this size with the serial name: Parole der Woche ("Saying of the Week").
I have included the Parole der Woche and the NSDAP as authors of the sticker, in order that anyone putting it on a letter can say: "Oh, but I felt sure that it was one of our stickers. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it".
This propaganda text Schlag auf Schlag was also produced in leaflet form and later an updated version was airdropped by the British 'M' Balloon Unit.
|H.300A, Parole der Woche, 4/1943|
4/1943 - PWE No. H.300A: Macht Hitler kalt. - dann wird die Stube wieder warm! (Make Hitler cold, then the room will become warm again!). 5,000 copies delivered 21 December 1942. 10,000 copies sent to the Free French on 27 February 1943. Red and black. Also known as PdW 4/1944. Howe states that the Polish underground also printed and used this slogan on their own propaganda. References: The Black Game, page 230; Auckland list. The English-language text is:
Make Hitler cold - then the room will become warm again!
|H.305, Parole der Woche, 7/1943|
7/1943 - PWE No. H.305: Wer iszt, hilft dem Feind! (Whoever eats helps the enemy!). 10,000 copies delivered on 21 December 1942. Reprinted as H.903: 5,000 copies delivered to the SOE on 27 April 1944. Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, The Black Game, page 230. The English-language text is:
Whoever eats helps the enemy!
9/1943 - PWE No. H.362B: Schlag auf Schlag (Blow upon blow!). (larger format:12.5 x 9 cm.). 10,000 copies delivered on 1 March 1943; 5,000 copies delivered on 11 March 1943. Red and black. A drawing of the British Isles superimposed over the USSR is depicted. The English-language text is:
Blow upon blow, the German Armed Forces are pounding our enemies on land, on the sea and in the air! Since the beginning of the spring '42 offensives, from the end of the fighting on the Kerch peninsula to the catastrophes of Stalingrad and Rostov, 1,568,000 German soldiers have died. From the beginning of the Russian campaign on 22 June 1941, German troops have lost 5,207,000 dead, severely wounded or missing.
The graveyard newly conquered by our troops in 1942 in Soviet Russia, is bigger than the British Isles.
On the home front, over exhaustion, under nourishment and overwork have killed about 71,000 men and women in work-related accidents. Another 240,000 have lost their lives through air raids. Full of pride, the Führer looks at these historically unique successes and is ready to have us make any possible future sacrifices, until the German people lies bled to death on the ground.
|H.339, Parole der Woche, 11/1943|
11/1943 - PWE No. H.339: Wenn der Arbeiter wusste... (If the workers knew): Goebbels. 10,000 copies delivered on 29 January 1943. Red and black. Reference: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Auckland list. The English-language text is:
If the workers knew how strong they are when they are united, then no one would be able to take away their livelihood. The working class are kept in check only because of their own weakness.
|H.354, Parole der Woche, 13/1943|
13/1943 - PWE No. H.354: Wir wollen einen Fuhrer von Gottes Gnaden und keinen Mörder von Berchtesgaden! (We want a leader by the grace of God and not a murderer from Berchtesgaden !). 10,000 copies delivered on 11 March 1943. Reprinted as H.930: 5,000 copies delivered to the SOE on 8 May 1944. Reprinted as H.947: 20,000 copies delivered to the SOE on 18 May 1944. Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Durham, page 39 (1,500 dropped); Auckland 77, page 4. The English-language text is:
We want a leader by the grace of God and not a murderer from Berchtesgaden!
There is reason to believe that this slogan of the week parody was quite effective. Intelligence reports received by SOE indicates that a captured German paratrooper revealed during his interrogation that he believed a lot of anti-Nazi propaganda was circulating amongst the working classes in Germany. He quoted the incident where several Munich students were allegedly shot for fixing the saying, "We want a Führer graced by God and not a murderer from Berchtesgaden" in public areas. A deserter to Sweden in April 1944 also claimed this was the favorite expression of many soldiers who felt the war was lost.
|H.465, Parole der Woche, 16/1943|
16/1943 - PWE No. H.465: Menschenrecht bricht Staatsrecht (The law of man defeats the law of nations): Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, S104, Abs 3. 10,000 copies delivered on 9 July 1943, and 11,000 copies delivered to Belgium on 29 February 1944. Reprinted as H.537: 10,000 copies delivered on 12 August 1943. Reprinted as H.959: 5,000 copies delivered on 31 May 1944. Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Durham, page 39 (2,500 dropped); Auckland 77, page 5. The English-language text is:
The law of man defeats the law of nations:
"If a people are led to their destruction by means of governmental power, then rebellion by each member of such a nation is not only a right, but a duty."
|H.480, Parole der Woche, 20/1943|
20/1943 - PWE No. H.480: Wenn wir nicht den größten Feldherrn aller Zeiten hätten, dann hätten wir jetzt den Frieden... (If we did not have the greatest military commander of all time...): Generaloberst Franz Halder, 22 Jun 1943. 10,000 copies delivered on 9 July 1943; 12,500 copies delivered to Belgium on 29 February 1944. Reprinted as H.538: 10,000 copies delivered on 12 August 1943. Yellow and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Auckland 77, page 5; The Black Game, pages 180f. The English-language text is:
"If we did not have the greatest military commander of all time, we would now have peace..."
Generaloberst Franz Halder
|H.577, Parole der Woche, 41/1943|
41/1943 - PWE No. H.577: Nicht eine Kanone, nicht eine Schift...(Not a cannon, not a ship...): Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, 28 March 1938 in Vienna. 20,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 1 October 1943. Yellow and black. Dropped in Norway. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Auckland list. The English-language text is:
"Not a cannon, not a ship, not an airplane, not a battalion would have been created, if the Brown Fighters had not been victorious. They are the ones who assured the creation of all this, and this must be explained again and again, so that the responsibility is not denied for that which was, and for that which has come"
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
|H.591, Parole der Woche, 44/1943|
44/1943 - PWE No. H.591: Das U-Boot ist Uberlebt...(The U-Boat is obsolete...): Grossadmiral Räder, 17 September 1943. 10,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 15 October 1943. Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, The English-language text is:
"U-boats are obsolete.
Grand Admiral Räder
|H.662, Parole der Woche, 46/1943|
46/1943 - PWE No. H.662: Wenn das deutsche Volk...(If the German people...): Adolf Hitler, 8 November 1943. 5,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 22 November 1943; 20,000 copies prepared for the SOE 1 on December 1943. Dropped in Norway and Denmark. Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Durham, page 75 (1,000 dropped); Sort Propaganda, page 9. The English-language text is:
"If the German people should collapse beneath its present burden, I would shed no tears for it - it would deserve its fate.."
|H.620, Parole der Woche, 47/1943|
47/1943 - PWE No. H.620: Das Einzige, was es gibt, ist ein Waffenstillstand mit Russland...(The only thing left is an armistice with Russia ...): Heinrich Himmler, 6 October 1943. 5,000 copies for the SOE on 29 October 1943. Yellow and black. The English-language text is:
"The only thing left is an armistice with Russia. We pull ourselves back, as far as I'm concerned back to the Polish border, and then we take care of the Allies in the west.
Then we'll see, in a year or so, if the Russians are strong enough to attack again. By themselves, we'll soon take care of them.
I would consider an understanding with Russia to be by far the best thing. But it would not work before the spring. But then, if we have our hands free, the English will be as good as out of Italy and the Balkans. Then we can start the air raids again, too."
|H.710, Parole der Woche, 1/1944|
1/1944 - PWE No. H.710: Schlag auf Schlag...am Boden leigt. (Blow upon blow...). 20,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 19 January 1944. Reprinted as H.936: 10,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 10 May 1944. Dropped in Norway . Red and black. References: The Black Game, page 231; Sort Propaganda (1980 edition), page 2; Auckland list. The English-language text is:
Blow upon Blow, is being struck by the German Forces on land, at sea and in the air. Since the fateful turn of the tide at Stalingrad 835 000 German soldiers have fallen in the East. Since the beginning of the Russian campaign on June 21st, 1941, the total losses of the German troops have been 5 800 000 dead, severely wounded and missing.
The graveyard won by our troops in the Soviet Union in 1941 and 1942 and lost again in 1943 is twice as large as the British Isles.
On the Home Front over-fatigue, under-fatigue and over-driving have killed some 152 000 men and women in industrial accidents. A further 630 000 lost their lives in air raids. The Führer surveys these historically unique successes and is still determined not to withdraw till the German people lies, bled to death, on the ground.
|H.912, Parole der Woche, 20/1944|
20/1944 - PWE No. H.912: Wenn sie erklären, sie werden unsere...Städte ausradieren. (If they say they will have large-scale attacks against our cities...): Adolf Hitler, 4 September 1940. Dropped in Norway . Red and black. References: Sort Propaganda, page 24, Durham, page 75 (9,500 dropped); Sort Propaganda, page 17. The English-language text is:
"If they say they will have large-scale attacks against our cities - We will wipe out their cities."
September 4, 1940
|H.1133, Parole der Woche, 21/1944|
21/1944 - PWE No. H.1133: Ich habe in diesem Krieg vorge...(I have prepared for this war...) Adolf Hitler, 8 November 1940. 20,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 26 August 1944. Dropped in Norway and Denmark . Red and black. References: Kirchner vol. 7, page xxiii; Auckland list. The English-language text is:
"I have prepared for this war, unlike any other war was ever prepared for, and it was very much worth the effort.
The material losses are completely and utterly meaningless."
|H.1372, Parole der Woche, 10/1945|
10/1945 - PWE No. H.1372: Gebt mir zehn Jahre Zeit - und Ihr werdet Deutschland nicht wiedererkennen! (Give me ten years' time - and you would not recognize Germany anymore!): Adolf Hitler, 29 January 1933. 10,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 16 March 1945. Red and black. The English-language text is:
"Give me ten years' time and you will not recognize Germany anymore!"
|H.1397, Parole der Woche, 12/1945|
12/1945 - PWE No. H.1397: Wie hoch auch der Wert des Mutes...: (No matter how highly courage and perseverance...) Clausewitz, Vom Krieg, S.319. 10,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 29 March 1945. Yellow and black. The English-language text is:
"No matter how highly courage and perseverance are valued inwartime, there is yet a point beyond which continuing on in a war can only be regarded as hopeless foolishness which thus should not be regarded positively."
|H.1434, Parole der Woche, 14/1945|
14/1945 - PWE No. H.1434. Zum Fahneneid...(Oath of Allegiance...). 50,000 copies prepared for the SOE on 20 April 1945. Yellow and black. The English-language text is:
Re: the Oath of Allegiance
"However high the value of courage and steadfastness in wartime is to be esteemed, there comes a point beyond which the continued prosecution of the war can only be called desperate folly and cannot be approved by any standard."
Clausewitz, "Vom Krieg", Page 319
"When a nation is visibly breaking down and is fighting desperately, only because its rulers have acted wrongly, then obedience and duty to these rulers becomes a mere formality, even madness, if, by refusing to obey or to carry out one's duty, the people may be saved from ruin".
Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Page 593