Nazi Artifacts
(Mementoes, Badges, Paintings, etc.)

compiled by Jim Walker
created: 13 Nov. 2005
additions: 28 June 2008

Not only do we see religion's influence in the words and deeds of Nazis but they also expressed their religion through their artwork, mementoes, and symbols. Unmistakably, Christianity served as their religion of their expression. The following artifacts provide further evidence of Hitler's (and Nazi Germany's) Christianity. In, no way, does this exhibition intend to support Nazism or anti-Semitism, but instead, intends to warn against the dangers of mixing religion with government.

 

 

Gott Mit Uns (God With Us) Nazi Buckle

Enlisted Man's German Army belt buckle (Stamped steel, 1937 pattern, made by "R S & S" for Richard Sieper & Sohne Ludenscheid). Photo from the German Militaria Catalog (their web site no longer exists).

Also see "Guarding the Führer: Sepp Dietrich, Johann Rattenhuber and the Protection of Adolf Hitler," Blaine Tayler, 1993, p. 165

 

 Benedictine swastika

Benedictine monastery Swastika

Although Hitler's inspiration for the Nazi swastika is uncertain, it may have been influenced by the swastika displayed at the Benedictine monastery where Hitler served as an altar boy. Whenever Hitler attened mass, he had to pass beneath the Benedictine swastika graven in the stone escutcheon of the abbey portal. Considering that Hitler once wanted to become a Benedictine monk, it is possible that this swastika stuck in his mind and later influenced his design for the Nazi swastika.

Source: "The Enigma of Hitler"

 

 

 Prussia Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms of Prussia after 1933

Gott mit uns! (God with us!)

Prussia represents a historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries this state had substantial influence on German and European history. The last capital of the state of Prussia was Berlin.

After the Machtergreifung (seizure of power) in 1933, Prussia became a Nazi state. Hitler himself became formally the governor of Prussia. His functions were exercised, however, by Hermann Göring, as Prussian prime minister.

(Coat of arms source: Wikipedia)

 

Deutsche Christen Flag

Deutsche Christen Flag
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a German Protestantism movement aligned towards antisemetic principles of Nazism. The DC were sympathetic to Hitler's goal of uniting the individual Protestant churches into a single Reich church.

The DC was first formed in 1931 and the flag was flown during marches and demonstrations.

 

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Deutsche Christen Badge
(German Christian Pin)
(Source: Gentleman's Military Interest Club)

Deutsche Chrisen Pin
Deutsche Christen Pin
(German Christian Pin)
(Source: Gentleman's Military Interest Club)

 

Mother's Cross (Mutterkreuz)

A Christian cross given to German mothers

Hitler encouraged several programs for the growth of a strong German Nazi Volk. These programs involved the encouragement of the virtues of German motherhood for the purpose of increasing the size of their families and the abolition of abortions (except for the mentally ill). In 1938, Hitler instituted a new award to honor German Nazi motherhood, especially for large families. He awarded such mothers the cross of Honor of the German Mother (Ehrenkreuz der deutschen Mutter).

Although the German Iron cross usually appears symmetrical this particular cross, by lengthening the vertical member, it becomes a Christian cross.

 

 Hitler and mother with the Mutterkreuz
(Source: Germania International)

 

 

German Christian Movement Badge (Deutsch-Christliche Mitgliedsabzeichen)

Enamel, 22x24mm, pin-backed, gold coloured badge

Hitler backed The German Christians movement (DC) with the party's organizational support.

(Source: Dan Kelley's Treasures of the Third Reich)

 

 

Frauenschaft Badge

The National Socialist Women's Organization (Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft, or NSF), affirmed all the recognized fundaments of Nazi ideology, including the preservation of Christian belief.

Lili Otto, one of the leaders of the NSF wrote in 1933:

"Our Frauenschaft flag carries the same colors as the Swastika flag, with our flag black stands out, solemn and worthy. On top shine forth the Christian cross in the color of purity, constantly warning us: 'You women and mothers, be real Christians; protect Christianity in your family, rear your children to love the savior.'"
(from Richard Steigmann-Gall's The Holy Reich)
(Photo source: George Johns Militaria)
 
Schlageter pin badge
Brass die struck badge with a soldered spring pin.
(Source: Snyder's Treasures, militaria collectables)
 
Schlageter pin badge
Steel die struck badge with a soldered spring pin.
(Source: Snyder's Treasures, militaria collectables)
Schlageter refers to Albert Leo Schlageter, whom the Nazis considered a martyr for the German cause. (See the Schlageter memorial below.) Note the "Cross of Christ" standing atop the Swastika, indicating its higher supremacy.

 

 
Heimetfest event badge 1934
with swastika, cathedral and Alfeld city arms
A die struck gilded brass pin with a soldered spring pin
(An exmaple of mixing Church and State)
(Source: Snyder's Treasures, militaria collectables)
 
Hitler Youth Day Badge 1933
25x50mm, brass
(Source: (Source: Dan Kelley's Treasures of the Third Reich)

 
German Volksbund* War Memorial Pin Badge
(Source: Snyder's Treasures, militaria collectables)

 
German Volksbund* War Memorial Pin Badge and Patch(Source: Snyder's Treasures, militaria collectables)

* The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge does not represent a Nazi organization, but it did have Nazi influence. The VDK represents an organization that cares for the memorials and graves of fallen soldiers of all Christian denominations from World War 1 to today. Its founder, Siegfried Emmo Eulen had Nazi connections (and thus so did the VDK). Eulen formed the VDK in 1919 and fought from 1939 until 1945, when he died from his wounds. Through the direct intervention of Goebbels, Eulen managed to change the National Day of Mourning (Reichstrauertages) into the Heroes' Day of Remembrance (Heldengedenktag). For this day, as he wrote, "should not in the long run be a day of mourning, but must be a day of exhaltation, a day of hope for the fruition of what was sown with blood". (Source: Die Zeit (13.11.1987 Nr. 47, page 82), "Helden von gestern: Vergessen über den Gräbern" by Sabine Stamer, translated by Muriel Fraser.)

 

Heroes Remembrance Day 1940 (Heldengedenktag)

The image at the right comes from a frame from a Nazi film of the Heldengedenktag 1940 celebration. This celebration derived from Siegfriend Emmo Eulen of VDK fame (see above).

Watch the film here. (unfortunately,YouTube has since removed it due to content violations.)

 

Heldengedenktag 1941

Heroes Remembrance Day in Berlin 1941

Similar to above, this frame comes from the film of the Heroes Remembrance Day of 1941.

Watch the film here (the Christian cross appears briefly at around the 3:11 minute mark).

 

 

 

Luthertag [Luther Day] Commemorative Badge

Commemorative badge for Germany's Martin Luther Day - 10th November 1933

Strictly speaking not a Nazi award but, nevertheless, the Nazis took an active hand in preparing the celebrations. Broad segments of the Nazi Party participated in Luther Day across Germany. Wilhelm Frick proposed that 10 November - the actual date of Luther's birth - should represent an official holiday, to celebrate "the work of the German Reformation" and serve as a lively echo in all German Protestantism, indeed directed far across Germany's borders. (Source: Steigmann-Gall, "The Holy Reich")

(Photo source: shop.doue.de)

 
 
 
 
  Nazi Church Coin
(Mixing Church & State)

5 Mark, Potsdam Garrison Church

(Source: WW2 Online Catalog)


 
 
DeutschChristianBreadPlate

Deutschen Christian Bread Plate 1942

The church integrated the teaching and doctrine of the traditional Protestant church, but like Martin Luther, this church stood against the corruption of the inner church’s conceptions. Luther had nailed 99 theses on the cathedral door at Wittenberg and his life afterwards focused on the grace of God and unending disputes with the Vatican. He also saw the Jews as a corrupting influence in true religious piety and the following of Jesus Christ. He felt the Jews failed to heed his warning of eternal damnation and even encouraged congregations to drive them out and burn their synagogues. He called them by the term “synagogues of Satan.” The Deutsche Christian Church integrated and redefined traditional Christianity to include and align with the ideology of the Third Reich, which they saw as a God-sent gift to the German people. The doctrines of the Deutsche Christian Church were meant to replace centuries-old doctrine. Christ was reinterpreted as an Aryan of the highest order; a warrior come to earth to lead his people out of the way of sin that had become their wont. St. Paul was seen as an introverted Jew whose writings Judized Christian thought in an unhealthy way. They believed that that which is weak is inferior and not allowed because Paul teaches in the epistles the putting away of “self.” Concept of the cross and sacrifice are integrated with the concept of “struggle.” They believed that Germans were born to struggle; the battles, earthly and divine, were reinterpreted in terms of “Kulturkampf”. The German Christian Church was formed in 1932. They had 600,000 members. This degree of influence enabled them to call in April 1933 for a National Socialist-controlled “Reich Church” to replace the federal statutes of the Evangelical Church; the organization was led by Pastor Ludwig Müller. They supported the movement of the NS Party platform for a positive Christianity. They rallied for the removal of the Jewish Old Testament from the Bible. Their symbol was a traditional Christian cross with a hooked cross (swastika) in the middle and the group’s initials were ‘DC.’

The bread plate is in oak and the center contains the cross with a sun-wheel swastika.

(Sourcet: Germania International)


 


Nazi Army (Heer) chaplain's hat with silver Christian cross

(Source: Warelics Militaria Collectibles)

 

Navy (Kriegsmarine) chaplain's cap
(Source: Uniforms & Militaria)
 

 Another Nazi chaplain hat (Source: Auction web site)


  To see a photo of a chaplain with a Nazi machine gun unit, click here.

 



Source: Die Jugend Des Führers Adolf Hitler: Bildbuch uber die grossdeutsche Jugend, 1942
(Translation: The youth of the Führer Adolf Hilter: Picture book for German youth, 1942)

 

Mementoes of German solders before the Christian cross

(photo source: www.auction-service.com)

 




(Photo source above: Germania International,
photo at right: auction-service.com )

 

Leo Schlageter memorial No this does not depict a burning cross. Rather it glorifies the Christian cross in memory of the Nazi Leo Schlageter, a martyr for the German cause. Born in 1894 and raised a Catholic, he prepared for a religious occupation. Schlageter joined the free corps and fought in World War I and received the Iron Cross. He became a member of the National Socialist German labour party (NSDAP) in 1922. During the French Ruhr occupation, Schlageter lead a combat patrol against the French. He got caught and they arrested and executed him in Duesseldorf on 25 May 1923. In World War II, the Luftwaffe honored him by naming an air wing after him. The Nazi navy also named a ship after him. Hitler mentions Schlageter in Mein Kampf. (Also see the Schlageter pin badges above)

 


 

Christian Cross with Nazi Flag

From a Heinrich Hoffmann photo book titled: HITLER BAUT GROßDEUTSCHLAND (Hitler Constructs Greater Germany) which follows Hitler in Austria in the spring of 1938.

(Photo source: USM Rare Books)

 


 

 

Hitler's Church

Catholic Church (St. Michael's), in Leonding, Austria where Adolf Hitler attended as a boy.

The funeral for Hitler's mother took place in this church on Christmas Eve in 1907.

(Source: St. Michael's Church)

 

  Grave of Alois and Klara Hitler in Leonding
(Source: scrapbookpages)

 

 

Both his parents Alois, and Klara were buried at the gravesite.

Hitler's mother, Klara was a pious Catholic. Hitler was devoted to his mother and loved her deeply. She died of breast cancer at the age of 47 on December 21, 1907.

Hitler visited the grave of his parents on March 12, 1938, the day he followed his troops as they invaded Austria.



These photos show the grave location in relation to the church
The photo at left shows Hilter in 1938.

(Source: Adolf Hitler Visits Austria)


Nazi Protestant Church

In 1932 the Protestant church came under the influence of the Nazi movement called "German Christians" (Bewegung Deutscher Christen, also called "Stormtroopers of Jesus") and lead by the founder, Rev. Joachim Hossenfelder. This movement represented Hitler's "Positive Christianity" views and lawfully encoded into the Nazi "constitution." Hitler tried to force regional Protestant churches to merge into the Protestant Reich Church. Protestant churches throughout Germany participated in the movement but Hitler's union of the churches failed because of in-church bickering. Only one visibly apparent church remains in Germany that shows distinctive markings of Positive Christianity, a reminder of how Christianity and Nazism mixed together during the Nazi regime.

 


Martin Luther Memorial Church in Berlin

Consecrated in 1935, the Martin Luther Memorial Church in Berlin still stands in Berlin. Originally the Church bells and altar contained the swastika, but later removed because of post-war law that outlaws swastikas in Germany. Nevertheless, the church still retains many of the Nazi symbols and icons, including a muscular Aryan Jesus, Iron cross, statues of Nazi stormtroopers, and a bust of Adolf Hitler.

During the 30s, Nazi party members made up two thirds of the church attendance, where they also baptized their children.

Note, Hitler greatly admired Martin Luther (mentioned in Mein Kampf), and considered him one of the greatest reformers.

Religious services in the church took place until 2005 when loose tiles began to fall off making the church unsafe. Today, priests and parishioners work to raise money to save the church.

The photos below show a few of the Nazi icons.

(Photo source: Spiegel Online)



Inside the entrance hall of the church hangs a chandelier in the shape of an iron cross, complete with oak leaves (the symbol of courage in battle).  

Wooden frieze carved into the side of the pulpit depicting Jesus standing next to a Nazi soldier and Aryan women and children.



Closeup of Jesus with a Nazi soldier.

 


Baptismal front with carving of Hitler holding an stormtrooper hat.

 


Stone carving on arch surrounding chancel of Martin Luther Memorial Church.

 

Close-up showing Christ thorns, and a helmeted soldier.



German Soldier Death Cards
The following shows examples of German military "Death Cards" that served as mementoes for family and friends of deceased soldiers. (This tradition also occurred in civilian life.) Usually these mementoes came printed on small cards with a photo and information of the deceased on one side and, typically, a grave site or religious theme printed on the other side. It should not surprise anyone that many German soldiers and their families practiced the Christian faith. The following shows just three death cards of German soldiers that reveal the religious nature of Germans during WWII:
 
 
Joseph Littinger- A picture of him in his SS uniform with both black collar tabs plain. He died in a Russian prisoner of war camp on 19 January 1946. This fold out card has two religious pictures on the backside. (Source: georgejohnsmilitaria.com)

 

 
Lt. Toni Benkel A two sided fold out card. The backside has two religious pictures. The Front has a full picture of Toni in his parade dress uniform with an Army dagger. He died on 6 July 1940 in a field hospital in Brai, he served as a Lieutenant and a company leader in a Infantry Regiment. (Source: georgejohnsmilitaria.com)

 

 
Josef Buhler A corporal in the Luftwaffe before his death on 19 March 1943 in Russia. He was born October 5 1921.
(Source: georgejohnsmilitaria.com)
For a look at a few more German Death cards, click here.

 


 

 

So spoke Jesus Christ

A front page of the Nazi publication, Der Stuermer.

The headline reads, "Declaration of the Higher Clergy/So spoke Jesus Christ: You hypocrites who do not see the beam in your own eyes. (See Matthew 7:3-5)

The cartoon depicts a group of Hitler Youth marching forth to drive the forces of evil from the land. The caption under the cartoon reads, "We youth step happily forward facing the sun... With our faith we drive the devil from the land."

(Source: USHMM)

 

 

German Lutheran Church Gazette honoring Hitler

Translated below:

 German Deacons' Gazette

MAGAZINE FOR MALE DEACONS
Organ of the German Deacons
One is your Master, Christ, but ye are all brethren

 26th Year

 April 1939

 Nr. 4


 

 (Hitler Portrait)
 
Heil to the Führer of all Germans!

Note the cross symbol on the upper-right corner. The Diakonisches Werk (run by the Lutheran Church) still uses the symbol.

(Source: Christian Horror Picture Show)

Propaganda slide pertaining to the issue of converting to Catholicism.

One image from a slide lecture produced by "Der Reichsfuehrer SS, der Chef des Rasse-und Siedlungshauptamtes" [the Leader of the SS, the Chief of the Race and Settlement Main Office]. The slide lecture, entitled "Das Judentum, seine blutsgebundene Wesensart in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart" [Jewry, Its Blood-based Essence in Past and Future], is Part I of the thematic series, "Judentum, Freimaurerei, Bolschewismus" [Jewry, Freemasonry, Bolshevism]. The text of the slide lecture is available at the Bundesarchiv Koblenz, record group number NS31/163.

(Source: USHMM)

 

 

 

When you see a cross

Page from the anti-Semitic German children's book, "Der Giftpilz" (The Poisonous Mushroom)

The text reads, "When you see a cross, then think of the horrible murder by the Jews on Golgotha..."

(see 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, "...the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men")

(Source: USHMM)

 
In the Beginning was the Word (Am Anfang war das Wort)
A painting titled by Hermann Otto Hoyer depicts the glorification of Hitler in messiah-like fashion. The light over him falls on the listener. Hitler represents the bringer of light.

"In the Beginning was the Word" of course appears as the first words in the Gospel of John.

(Source: The Visualisation Of National Socialist Ideology)

 


 

Reichstag Election

Nazi Election Poster

From the July 1932 Reichstag election. The text translates as: "Over 300 National Socialists died for you — murdered by Marxist subhumanity!!! For work and food vote Adolf Hitler List 2." The reference is to Nazis killed during the political battles on the streets and in political meetings. The Christian imagery is clear. Courtesy of Dr. Robert D. Brooks.

(Graphic and text source: German Propaganda Archive)


SMOKING GUN!

Hitler's paintings

In his youth Hitler lived as an artist (albeit, a mediocre one). Nevertheless he took it seriously and he produced between 2,000 to 3,000 drawings, sketches, watercolors and oil paintings. He considered himself an artist until 1920. As from any artist, his works reflect his philosophy and life. Raised a Catholic (but with a Protestant mind), Hitler also painted his ingrained religious ideas onto many of his canvases. Below shows just three:

Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ, Oil/canvas, 1913

by Adolf Hitler

(Source: Two Austrians, An "artist" and a "house painter")

Observe that Jesus looks like a blond haired Aryan. Hitler did not believe that Jesus was a Jew [1].

 

 
 Karls-Church, Vienna, Aquarell, 1912, by Adolf Hitler
(Source: Two Austrians, An "artist" and a "house painter")
 Mountain scene with wayside cross, 1923 - 1925, by Adolf Hitler
(Source: Two Austrians, An "artist" and a "house painter")


For photos of Hitler, Nazis, and German clergy, click here.


Notes:

[1] How does Christian Nazi exegesis explain the absence of Jesus' Jewishness? Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a Christian anti-Semitic Englishman wrote an influential book called The Foundations of the 19th Century, in which he advanced the thesis of an Aryan Jesus rather than from Semitic blood. Chamberlain argued that Assyrians, Greeks, and Aryans colonized Galilee and the neighboring districts centuries before Christ. Hitler read Chamberlain during his Vienna period, and had a brief audience with the aging anti-Semite at the Wagner estate shortly before being sent to Landsberg Prison.

The Nazis also used the term ''Mischling'' to describe a person with partial Jewish ancestry. It literally means "mixed." As defined by the Nazi Nuremberg laws, a person having either one Jewish parent or two Jewish grandparents represented a Mischling of the first degree. Those with one Jewish grandparent represented a Mischling of the second degree. The Mischling definition excused some religious people including Protestants and Catholics from the "accursed" Jewish nature. Because many Christian Nazis believed that Jesus came from God, Jesus could also fall into a Mischling category if you believed that only one of his parents had Jewish blood. His Dad, no doubt looking very Aryan-like, produced a Son in His image who, according to Hitler's painting, looked like a blond haired Aryan baby.

 


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