Winterhilfswerk (Winter Help Work--WHW)

NAZI WHW charity
Figure 1.--This little boy donates a coin to the WHW drive. The soldier holding the collection can is in the Luftwaffe. The photograph is not dated, but was probably taken early in the War.

The "Winterhilfswerk of the German People" (Winter Help Work--WHW) was founded by the NAZIs after Hitler was appointed Chsancellor. It was the official NAZI-Pary winter relief charity. Hitler proclaimed the WHW (September 13, 1933). In a speech he explained, "This great campaign against hunger and cold is governed by this principle: We have broken the international solidarity of the proletariat. We want to build the living national solidarity of the German people!" The Party published small booklets fiven to conrtibutors explaining what the Party was accomplishing. The NAZOs issued a booklet for each of the pre-War years (1933-39), There were also specialized editons for different War campaigns, for soldiers awarded the Iron Cross, and various other pyrposes. The text in manty of the books was taken from Hitler's speeches. There were a variety of funding approaches. There were monthly street collections. The Party also sold badges which were advertized on the radio, on posters, or in newspapers. The badges (donation pins) were made in an amazing varietiy, commonly devised in local areas. We note a hand sewn Danzig badge in 1934 to promote the hand work of Germans. Badges were issued for Bread Day to promote WHW donations. There were hand crafted celluloid flowers to promoting German native flowers. There were also regional badges as well as those for the whole Reich. Large numbers of Gemans received assistance of varous forms through WHW. There was never any public accounting of te funds collected and dispersed.

Foundation

The "Winterhilfswerk of the German People" (Winter Help Work--WHW) was founded by the NAZIs after Hitler was appointed Chsancellor. It was the official NAZI-Pary winter relief charity. Hitler proclaimed the WHW (September 13, 1933). In a speech he explained, "This great campaign against hunger and cold is governed by this principle: We have broken the international solidarity of the proletariat. We want to build the living national solidarity of the German people!" Winterhilfswerk was afministered by Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (People's Welfare Organization--NSV). This was the NAZI umbrella charity organization.

Purpose

The WHW was created to support the poor during the cold German winters. The WHW helpedthe poor during cold and hungry during the winter months.

Collections

Winterhilfswerk collected money in a varirty of ways. One of the most obvious ways was using the Hitler Youth children to collect coins. At first this was on street corners, but as the number of HJ members increased, the children began going door to door.

NAZI Welfare Efforts

Welfare programs were and continue to be an important element of a totalitarian movement's program along with propgaganda, organixation, persuassion, and coersion. This was all part of mass mobilization whivch the NAZIs referred to as Menschenfuehrung--basically translating as "leadership of men". Welfare programs were important, not only did they create apositive image for the Party, but also because it created good will and made recipients more receptive to Party propaganda. It also generated potential recruits from those who received assistance. As one author explains another impact, "... the mechanics of welfare administration projected party influence into the home and family and thus prvided an important channel of party control." [Unger, p. 125.] The German word for welfare or care is "Betreuung", but with the NAZIs as explained in a Party publication there was an element of "continued education and lasting supervision of our people". [Unser ...] Notice the trm supervission in association with welfare.

WHW Booklets

The Party published small booklets fiven to conrtibutors explaining what the Party was accomplishing. The NAZOs issued a booklet for each of the pre-War years (1933-39), There were also specialized editons for different War campaigns, for soldiers awarded the Iron Cross, and various other pyrposes. The text in manty of the books was taken from Hitler's speeches.

Funding

There were a variety of funding approaches. There were monthly street collections. The Party also sold various items to raise money. Perhaps the most popular items were badge. They were advertized on the radio, on posters, or in newspapers. WHW fundraisers in appreciation for donations would normally provide the donor with a token memento. The badges (donation pins) were made in an amazing varietiy, commonly devised in local areas. We note a hand sewn Danzig badge in 1934 to promote the hand work of Germans. Badges were issued for Bread Day to promote WHW donations. There were hand crafted celluloid flowers to promoting German native flowers. There were also regional badges as well as those for the whole Reich.

Beneficiaries

Large numbers of Gemans received assistance of varous forms through WHW. The NAZIs in 1933-34 claimed that WHW beneficiaries exceeded 16.6 million persons. This would mean that one out of every four Germans received WHW assistance. [Unger]

Accounting

There was never any public accounting of the funds collected and dispersed.

Sources

Unger, Aryeh L. "Propaganda and Welfare in Nazi Germany," Journal of Social History Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter, 1970-1971), pp. 125-140.

"Unser Willie und Weg," Monthly Journal of the Reich Propgada Office of the NSDAP (Munch 1938), No. 2, p. 58.






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Created: 5:18 AM 8/14/2007
Last updated: 12:01 AM 3/11/2010