WHW-Abzeichen, Angehörige und Waffengattungen der Wehrmacht, DRK-Sammlung vom August 1940 (Collecte badge WinterhilfsWerk)


€ 8,00

The Winterhilfswerk (WHW, English: Winter Relief—literally "winter help work") was an annual drive by theNationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (the 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 Heinrich Brüningin 1931, though Hitler would later claim sole credit. It ran from 1933-1945 during the months of October through March, and was designed to provide food, clothing, coal, and other items to less fortunate Germans during the inclement months. Similar initiatives were started in countries in German-occupied Europe. As part of the centralization of Nazi Germany, posters urged people to donate rather to give directly to beggars. The Hitlerjugend and Bund Deutscher Mädel (boys' and girls' associations, respectively) were extremely active in collecting for this charity. As part of the effort to place the community over the individual, totals were not reported for any individuals, only what the branch raised. Certain weekends were assigned to all of the different Nazi associations, each with their own special Abzeichen 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

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