1 Background and foundation 2 Operation
2.1 Gifts and tokens
3 References 4 External links
Background and foundation
As part of the centralization of Nazi Germany, posters urged people to
donate rather than give directly to beggars.
A semi-postal stamp in aid of the 1943 Winterhilfswerk
Certain weekends were assigned to all of the different Nazi associations, each with their own special Abzeichen, or badges, to pass out in exchange for a pfennig or two. These highly collectible items were made of many different materials, such as wood, glass, paper, terra cotta, metal, and plastic. Over 8000 different pieces were produced by war's end, and some of the rarer ones sell for quite a lot of money today.
A collection tin from the Winterhilfswerk
--The "Can Rattlers", as they became known, were relentless in their pursuit of making sure every good German citizen gave their share to the WHW. In fact those who "forgot" to give had their names put in the paper to remind them of their neglect. Neighbors, and even family members were encouraged to whisper the names of shirkers to their block leaders so that they could persuade them to do their duty.-- On one occasion, a civil servant was prosecuted for failure to donate, and his argument that it was voluntary was dismissed on the grounds it was an extreme view of liberty, to neglect all duties not actually prescribed by law, and therefore an abuse of liberty. It was not unheard of for workers to lose their jobs for not donating to Winterhilfe or not giving enough. For instance, a worker was fired for not donating to Winterhilfe, and the firing was upheld by a labor court on the grounds that it was "conduct hostile to the community of the people... to be most strongly condemned." Large donations were also a means to establish oneself as a loyal supporter of the Nazi Party without the commitment of joining it. A greatly encouraged practice was to, once a month, have a one-pot meal ("eintopf"), reducing all the food to one course; the money thus saved was to be donated. During autumn and winter months, from 1933 on, the Eintopfsonntag ("One-Pot Sunday" or "Stew Sunday") was officially scheduled by the WHW. Restaurants were required to offer an eintopf meal at one of several price points. Households were reminded of the occasion, although it has been noted that the authorities did not investigate whether the one-pot meal was actually served. Collection drives were a mainstay of the Winter Relief, and those who did not give, or gave little (such as one pair of boots to a clothing drive), were sometimes the victims of mob violence and needed to be protected by the police. Similar initiatives were started in countries in German-occupied Europe, known in French as the Secours d'Hiver in Belgium  and in Dutch as the Winterhulp Nederland and Winterhulp België. Gifts and tokens A paper Monatstürplakette (monthly placard) was issued to place on your door or in your window to show others that you had given, and also to keep the roaming bands of charity workers at bay. Donors were often given small souvenir gratitude gifts of negligible value, somewhat similar to the way modern charities mail out address labels and holiday cards. A typical such gift was a very small propaganda booklet, reminiscent of Victorian-era miniature books; about 0.8" wide x 1.5" tall. Booklets included The Führer Makes History, a collection of Hitler photographs, The Führer’s Battle in the East 2, and Gerhard Koeppen and other decorated heroes of the war.
Ceramic medallion issued in the WHW collection drive (Gausammlung) of winter 1942/43. Medallions were themed with individual Reichsgauen, in this case Wartheland
More generous donors would receive concomitantly better gifts, such as lapel pins on a wide variety of themes. Some depicting occupational types or geographic areas of the Reich, others animals, birds and insects, nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters, or notable persons from German history (including of course Adolf Hitler himself). They were made from a variety of materials. Each individual miniature book, badge, badge set or toy set was only available for two or three days of a particular collection drive. So the populace would be encouraged to donate the following week and thereby collect the latest in the series. There could also be very annoying consequences; nagging by the appropriate official if your local Blockleiter saw that you were not wearing the current, appropriate pin by about Tuesday of the week.
When he visited Germany in 1939 as a reporter for the North American
Newspaper Alliance, Dr.
"...Once a fortnight, every city, town, and village in the Reich seethes with brown-shirted Storm Troopers carrying red-painted canisters. These are the Winter- Help collection-boxes. The Brown-Shirts go everywhere. You cannot sit in a restaurant or beer-hall but what, sooner or later, a pair of them will work through the place, rattling their canisters ostentatiously in the faces of customers. And I never saw a German formally refuse to drop in his mite, even though the contribution might have been less than the equivalent of one American cent.
"During these periodic money-raising campaigns, all sorts of dodges are employed. On busy street-corners comedians, singers, musicians, sailors, gather a crowd by some amusing skit, at the close of which the Brown-Shirts collect. People buy tiny badges to show they have contributed—badges good only for that particular campaign. One time they may be an artificial flower; next time a miniature dagger, and so forth. The Winter- Help campaign series reaches its climax shortly before Christmas in the so-called Day of National Solidarity. On that notable occasion the Big Guns of the Nazi Party sally forth with their collection-boxes to do their bit."
Stoddard described visits to a
^ Burleigh, M. (2000) The Third Reich: A New History. New York: Hill
and Wang, p. 223.
^ Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience, p 71 ISBN 0-674-01172-4
^ a b Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p 79,
^ Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's 20th Century p36
^ William Shirer,
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Rainer Baumann, WHW Abzeichen der Reichsstrassen-Sammlung 1933-1944, 1973. Harry Rosenberg, Spenden-Abzeichen des WHW, 1974. Gerhard Janaczek, WHW Abzeichen Strassensammlungen, 1982. Holger Rosenberg, Spendenbelege des WHW und KWHW 1933-1945: Überregionale, 1983. Holger Rosenberg, Spendenbelege des WHW und KWHW 1933-1945: Gausammlungen Gau 1-Gau 10, 1987. Reinhard Tieste, Spendenbelege des WHW und KWHW 1933-1945: Gausammlungen Gau 11-Gau 20, 1990. Reinhard Tieste, Spendenbelege des WHW, Band IV: Gausammlungen 1933-1945 Gaue 21-30, 1993. Reinhard Tieste, Spendenbelege des WHW, Band V: Gausammlungen 1933-1945 Gaue 31-40, 1993.
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Newspaper clippings about