German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

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Background: The Nazis developed an elaborate system of rituals and ceremonies. Their most powerful competitor in this regard was the Church, which the Nazi Party fought hard to displace. The party, for example, developed its own ceremonies of birth, marriage, and death. During the war, they were particularly distressed to find that the vast majority of Germans chose Church ceremonies rather than party ceremonies at such times. This is a sample speech to be given at ceremonies in memory of soldiers who fell in the war. The party wanted every fallen soldier to be remembered in such a ceremony, and provided much material to help local groups hold such events.

The source: “Die Gefallenenehrungsfeiern der NSDAP. Für jeden Gefallenen eine Gefallenenehrungsfeier der NSDAP. Ansprache des Hoheitsträgers,” in Die neue Gemeinschaft 10 (1944), 123-124.


Ceremonies for the War Dead of the NSDAP

For each who fell, a ceremony in his honor held by the NSDAP.


 

In issue 1, January 1944, the Neue Gemeinschaft carried an article on NSDAP ceremonies for the war dead. Each who dies should have such a ceremony. The article gave examples of the plainest ceremonies and sample addresses.

Here is another example of an address from a small village in the Bavarian Forest. It was held without music in a plain and dignified way. It may be a good example for other local groups.

Address by the Party Leader

German men and women! German youth!

We remember with honor our comrade, Corporal Alios B. from L. who gave his life on 5 September 1942 near Noworossisk. The house in which he was born, and in which he grew up, is one of the highest in our local group. It lies up in the hills, surrounded by meadows, fields, forest, and the sky above. But it is also one of the highest when we think of the sacrifice that it made for Germany. Three sons of this house gave their lives on the battlefield. Ulrich B. fell in Flanders on 15 June 1918. 22 years later, just before the Armistice, Anton B. fell in France. And now, two years later, Alois B, the third, fell in distant Russia. He lived his life like the rest of us who still live in our forested homeland, or who had the good fortune to return from the First or Second World Wars. He had been in the field for two years, and longed to return for a leave, since he missed his home, like any soldier does. He was not able to return home, for he made the greatest sacrifice that any man can make. We honor this sacrifice of our neighbor and comrade and assure his grieving father and brothers and sisters that we share their pain. Today there is probably no one in Germany who has not had to make some kind of sacrifice, be it through the destruction of property, through the death in war of a close relative or dear friend, or through long separation from his nearest kin. Our common sorrow brings us closer together. Alois B. gave his young life — but the life of the nation is greater than the life of the individual. All of us know what would happen to our nation if our soldiers did not do their duty to the man. We owe the fact that we can live and work to those who fight and die.

Our comrade Alois B is now with the geat army that follows our flags. He rests with his comrades along a blood-soaked road near the Black Sea. The water that flows from the spring of his fatherís house, then into our village stream, then the river and then to the Danube flows at last to that disant sea and waters his soldierís grave. Our thoughts go along to that far place that we cannot decorate with flowers, though this we know: Wherever a German soldier rests in foreign soil, that too is home, that too is Germany.

My dear Comrade Alois B.! I lay this wreath at our war memorial in the name of Local Group Th. of the NSDAP. Your name too will one day be engraved here. And all of us gathered here today promise you that your name will be remembered not only in stone, but in the hearts of your comrades. You fell for our Führer, our people, and our German Reich. We will work and fight for Führer, people, and Reich until we have gained the final victory. That will be our thanks to you and to all those who fell.

 

[Page copyright © 2000 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]


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