German Celebrations: Hitler's Birthday (April 20)

Figure 1.--Hitler's birthday was celebrated each year after the NAZI takeover. This followed a precedent common during imperial Germany when the Kaiser's birthday was celebrated. Here is a special stamp issued for the 1940 celebration. Note the cancelation. The Home Front is represented by the wheat and hammer (agriculture and labor) while the war front is representedf by the sword and oakleaf (used in military decoration).

German holiday celebrations have varied considerably as to the regime in power.During the NAZI era, Hitler's birthday was a major event during which 10 years old were inducted into the Hitler Youth. While Hitler is now reviled in Germany, for the 12 yeas of NAZI rule, his birthday was one of the most important national events. I assume that the Kaiser's birthday was celebrated during Imperial Germany. The NAZIs made Hitler's birthday one of the most important holidays between 1933 and 1945, although celebrations were understandably linmited in 1945. Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels gave a major speech each year on the eve of the event. NAZI Party branches throughout Germany were expected to organize local celevrations. A party monthly publication Die neue Gemeinschaft published material to provide guidance to local officials on how to orgabize this and other celebrations. Thousands of meetings held throughout the Reich to celebrate the event. Hitler's 1945 birthday was especially infamous. He emerged from his bunker, greeted some very young Hitler Youth boys, patting some on the cheek with his trembling hand, and then disappeared for the last time into his bunker. The boys returned to fighting the Russians for their Führer and most were killed in the next few days before Hitler committed suicide and the military surrendered to the Russians.


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Created: 10:07 PM 12/26/2005
Last updated: 10:07 PM 12/26/2005