This is the Reichserntedankfest of 1934 in Buckeberg. That year, 700,000 people participated. Even those who did not support Nazis were totally blown away and emotionally shaken. They had never experienced anything even remotely like this, there were no rock concerts back then. It created a spiritual feeling of the sublime and unity among people who were participating. When they were marching back to their tents in the night, they could still see the huge spotlights piercing the sky in the Buckeberg. They were totally pumped up and fell that things are really going to change for the better.
(Below) Nazis singing to encourage a boycott of Jewish shops; four Nazi troops sing in front of the Berlin branch of the Woolworth Co. store during the movement to boycott Jewish presence in Germany, March 1, 1933.
Within days of taking power, the Nazis called for Germany to boycott all Jewish businesses. This surprised many people as they had not expected the Nazis to act on their anti-Jewish ideas. This is the start of years of anti-Jewish propaganda. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels arranged for a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. He would later explain in an April 1 speech at the Berlin Lustgarten that the boycott was in retaliation for anti-German “atrocity propaganda” spread by the “international Jewry” in foreign newspapers.
The shop in the photo was owned by Woolworth. The company later fired all Jewish employees and got the “Adefa Zeichen”, a seal for companies who where “pure Aryan”.
(Below) German SS troops relaxing at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. German SS men resting on the south lawn of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany, August 1936.
Members of Leibstandarte SS “Adolf Hitler”: at this time the regiment unit acted as Hitler’s personal bodyguard and guard of honor in public ceremonies. Later it would grow to form the Elite 1st SS Division LAH. They were assigned with the task of being Hitler’s personal bodyguards. A massive legion of SS soldiers would follow the Fuhrer wherever he went. They were also deployed in combat and were one of the most competent units in history.
(Below) Nazi rally in the Cathedral of Light, 1937.
The cathedral of light consisted of 130 anti-aircraft searchlights, at intervals of 12 metres, aimed skyward to create a series of vertical bars surrounding the audience. The effect was a brilliant one, both from within the design and on the outside. It was the brainchild of Albert Speer, who was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to design and organise the Nuremberg Parade Grounds for the annual celebrations. It is still considered amongst Speer’s most important works.
(Below) Hitler’s personal bodyguards undergoing a drill inspection in Berlin. 1938 Men of Leibstandarte ‘Adolf Hitler’ at the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin, Germany.
Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler barracks in Berlin, the rifles are Mauser Kar98k. The 1st SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) was Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard. The LSSAH went on to become one of the most elite and hardened units in the German armed forces. The lightning bolts on their collars indicate clearly that they are SS.
(Below) Loyalty oath of Nazi SS troops, Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938.
Annual midnight swearing-in of Nazi SS troops, Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938
The SS loyalty oath was as follow: “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich, loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God.”
The SS motto was “Our honour is loyalty”.
(Below) Ovation for Hitler in the Reichstag after announcing the successful Anschluss, 1938.
The Anschluss (German for “union”) was the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938. One of the Nazi’s ideologies was to re-unite all Germans either born or living outside of the Reich in order to create an “all-German Reich”. From the early beginning of his leadership in the Nazi Party, Hitler had publicly stated in his 1924 autobiography (Mein Kampf) that he would create a union between his birth country and Germany, by any means possible.
Another photo from a different event but with the same style.
Joseph Stalin mugshot held by Okhrana, the Tsarist Secret Police, 1911.
He was 33 years old. The information card attached to the mugshot says “looks around 32-34 years old″, it also says his ear form is “6″. Also it has a separate paragraph for “race (if colored)”, for Stalin it’s vacant. The mugshot was taken in 1911, when he was arrested for the second time. In 1908 he was arrested for the first time by the Okhranka for revolutionary activities. After seven months in prison, he was sentenced to two years’ exile and was sent to the village of Solvychegodsk. After seven months in exile, he disguised himself as a woman and escaped on a train to St. Petersburg.
(Below) Stalin in an off-record photo captured by his bodyguard Vlasik. The year is unknown.
Vlasik’s off-the-record photos of Stalin caused a sensation in the early 1960s when an enterprising Soviet journalist spirited some out, selling them to newspapers and magazines worldwide.
In his memoirs Vlasik wrote: “I was severely offended by Stalin. For 25 years of doing an excellent job, receiving nothing but encouragement and awards, I was excluded from the Party and flung into prison. For my boundless fidelity he gave me into the charge of my enemies. But never, for any minute of the condition I was in, to whatever mockeries I was exposed while in prison, had I in my soul any malice against Stalin”
(Below) Stalin’s body double, 1940s
Felix Dadaev (left) in the 1940s and the real Joseph Stalin (right).
Rumors circulated in Russia for decades that Joseph Stalin had a “twin” who replaced him during certain situations. After decades of rumors, finally Stalin’s decoy decided to talk. Felix Dadaev, a former dancer and juggler was ordered to the Kremlin to work as Stalin’s body double. For more than half a century, Dadaev remained silent, fearing a death sentence should he dare to open his mouth. But in 2008, at the age of 88, and with the apparent approval of the Putin regime, he finally came forward to write his autobiography. Dadaev’s autobiography explains that he was one of four men employed to impersonate the supreme leader, taking his place in motorcades, at rallies, on newsreel footage etc.
Even Stalin’s closest comrades couldn’t spot the imposter.
Felix Dadaev in his military uniform.
(Below) Stalin’s son Yakov Dzhugashvili captured by the Germans, 1941
Yakov Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s elder son, served in the Red Army during the Second World War, and was captured, or surrendered, in the initial stages of the German invasion of the USSR. There are still many contradictory legends in circulation about the death of Yakov Dzhugashvili, as there are about all the important events in his life.
Stalin found out about his son’ capture when he received a package from the Germans that included a picture of his son. “The fool – he couldn’t even shoot himself!” an angry Stalin complained to his younger son, Vasily. The rumor was that Stalin blamed Yakov for “surrendering like a coward” to the enemy.
“Dear Father! I have been taken prisoner. I am in good health. I will soon be sent to a camp for officers in Germany. I am being treated well. I wish you god health. Greeting to everyone. Yasha.”
Later in the war the Germans offered to trade him for a German officer held prisoner, some say Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus, who had recently surrendered at Stalingrad, but Stalin adamantly refused such a deal, denying that he had a son who had been taken prisoner. (A story later circulated that Stalin had alleged that he would not trade a field marshal for an ordinary soldier.)
(Below) A German soldier shares his rations with a Russian mother, 1941.
This is a good man who has no idea that his role will ultimately make his gesture futile and starve them to death anyway. This photo was taken in 1941 by the photographer of the 291st Division of the Wehrmacht George Gundlach. One of the many, out of the photo album “Volkhov’s battle. Documents of horror 1941-1942″.
(Below) Searchlights on the Rock of Gibraltar, 1942
The searchlights in the photo aren’t intended for the use of the crews running the lights, it’s helping the AA gunners spot incoming bombers. And the anti-aircraft gunners aren’t located at the lights. The glare from light reflecting off the fog doesn’t impact them as much, the benefit of the light in spotting bombers is greater than the harm of reduced visibility from glare.
(Below) 6th Army soldiers marching to Stalingrad, 1942
These kids had no idea what kind of hell was about to be unleashed on them. Literally marching into hell. It’s kind of eerie looking at the men in this picture and realizing that statistically speaking, they most likely never saw 1944. Those sunglasses are privately owned, probably pretty expensive. Sunglasses were only issued for Afrika Korps troops and for motorcycles, but not for infantry.