Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas from the Daily Hitler!!!
How Hitler's Nazi propaganda machine tried to take Christ out of Christmas
From the Daily Mail
Nazi Germany celebrated Christmas without Christ with the help of swastika tree baubles, 'Germanic' cookies and a host of manufactured traditions, a new exhibition has shown. The way the celebration was gradually taken over and exploited for propaganda purposes by Hitler's Nazis is detailed in a new exhibition. Rita Breuer has spent years scouring flea markets for old German Christmas ornaments. She and her daughter Judith developed a fascination with the way Christmas was used by the atheist Nazis, who tried to turn it into a pagan winter solstice celebration. Selected objects from the family's enormous collection have gone on show at the National Socialism Documentation Centre in Cologne. 'Christmas was a provocation for the Nazis - after all, the baby Jesus was a Jewish child,' Judith Breuer told the German newspaper Spiegel. 'The most important celebration in the year didn't fit with their racist beliefs so they had to react, by trying to make it less Christian.' The exhibition includes swastika-shaped cookie-cutters and Christmas tree baubles shaped like Iron Cross medals. The Nazis attempted to persuade housewives to bake cookies in the shape of swastikas, and they replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, who traditionally brings German children treats on December 6, with the Norse god Odin. The symbol that posed a particular problem for the Nazis was the star, which traditionally decorates Christmas trees. Civilians were encouraged to send patriotic Christmas cards to soldiers at the front. The Iron Cross shaped Christmas tree decorations commemorate the start of World War One. 'Either it was a six-pointed star, which was a symbol of the Jews, or it was a five-pointed star, which represented the Soviets,' Breuer said. It had to go. In the 1930s, the Nazis tried to change the ideology of Christmas. But when World War II started, the focus became more practical. There were also tips on how to make Christmas cookies in the face of food shortages.
In 1944-1945, the Nazis tried to reinvent the festival once again as a day to commemorate the dead, in particular fallen soldiers. 'By then nobody felt like celebrating,' Breuer explained. Happily, the German people mostly ignored the clumsy propaganda efforts and continued with the same traditions as before. The is a legacy of the Nazi Christmas. The wartime version of the traditional Christmas carol 'Unto us a time has come' is still sung. 'The Nazis took out the references to Jesus and made it into a song about walking through the snow,' Breuer said. Surprisingly, German churches put up little opposition to the Nazification of Christmas. 'You would have expected them to protest loudly and insist that it was a Christian festival,' said Breuer. 'But instead they largely kept quiet, out of fear.'