The WINTERHILFSWERK DES DEUTSCHEN VOLKES (English: "Winter Relief of
the German People"), commonly known by its abbreviated form
WINTERHILFSWERK or WHW, was an annual drive by the
Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (National Socialist People’s
Welfare Organization) to help finance charitable work. Its slogan was
"None shall starve nor freeze". The drive was originally set up under
the government of
* 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
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
--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
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-
"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-
Stoddard described visits to a
The collection drives of 1933