Into the Hands of Hitler’s Hounds

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Abstract

Martyrs and those who helped alleviate the sufferings of Hitler’s victims, such as Ann Frank among the former, and Oskar Schindler and Ho Feng-Shan among the latter, are celebrated to a lesser or greater extent.  Others made a stand – how many, we do not know.  Even, if like Joseph Ratzinger, one goes AWOL from the Hitler Youth, the brandmark of “collaborator” may remain.  Here we show scanned evidence of unnamed individuals who may well have perished by the hands of the Gestapo for their token resistance to tyranny – deliberations or slips of the pen, where the pen was not mightier than the sword.

Introduction

This writer´s work has given him access, in one form or another, explained on other web-pages of his, philatalic items from or to all continents, in more languages than he is capable of reading.[1]  Below is a selection of material within his purview of understanding, at least for the obvious part.  It will be shown how some individuals betrayed, if not openly manifested, their hatred of Hitler’s tyranny.  We deduce, by the evidence examined, that these people must have been punished.

We do not know whether such research has been done before.  If it has, it must be mostly by collectors.  As an antiquarian book-seller once told us in Toronto, university libraries are the enemies of collectors, so we may fathom that this goes both ways.  The collector keeps material from the public eye, from the historian.  At times, this may even by convenient, such as when it covers up state crimes.  We have no such proof.  The Nuremburg Trials, and many others, have handled the question, and the search is still ongoing for perpetrators.  All we can do is illustrate some grave mistakes by certain letter writers.

Our Title

The reason for our title will become clear later on.  It might have been more expressive, had we said, “Into the Hands of that Dog Hitler”, but it was felt that alliteration was the best way to translate from our prime German source document.

How to Address an Envelope to the German President in 1933.

Below, we show part of an envelope addressed to the German president.  According to the postmark, it came from Beuthen in the province of Silesia.  The name of the sender is irrelevant, but he is wealthy enough to have a typewriter.

Partial view of Envelope Addressed to Hindenburg

Partial view of Envelope Addressed to Hindenburg

Because this writer lives in Latin America, for a minute, he thought that “Sr.” was an abbreviation for “Señor”.  No, it is “Seiner”, as in “His” or “Her” in British abbreviations, such as for its navy, in “H.M.S. Exeter”.  The complete text reads (with the street name and number last, which we will omit):

To his excellency the Imperial President, Field Marshall Sir von Hindenburg (Office) in Berlin W.8.[2]

We have a living president (of that moment) with postage stamps showing his image. There is nothing specifically wrong with this, in that the same holds may hold true for mail sent to the British Queen, but, considering that the German president is subservient to the chancellor, this is something like putting the British Prime Minister’s image in place of the Queen, or the American Vice-President in place of the President.[3]  Nevertheless, we would prefer that such apotheosis be limited to reigning sovereigns, and not to Junkers, no matter how heroic they were, at least until after their death.

The cancellation of the stamp comes with the slogan, “Fight unemployment – buy German products”.  This sounds nationalistic, but there was a “Buy Canadian” campaign in the 1960s. The concept of “Made in Great Britain” originated as an attempt to reduce purchases of continental products.[4]

How [not] to Address the German Chancellor, 1933-45

We will now examine some envelopes addressed to the German chancellor, or the chancellery.   Below, we show a composite of parts of two different envelopes. The stamps still portray Hindenburg, but that is of little interest.  The cancellations are not of the best, though readable.  The collector of these items, though, was interested in the intended recipient.

Two badly handwritten envelopes to the German Chancellor

Two badly handwritten envelopes to the German Chancellor

The light-coloured one, out of Munich, with a date of 6.6.37, was written by someone with a street address of two numbers. The cancellation includes the motto, “Kampf den Verderb!”, which is, “Fight Waste”.  The letters are of the style called Sütterlin, while the handwriting for the address is a hodge-podge of Sütterlin, and styles both prior (Kurrent) and afterwards. Any letter which is clearly recognizable is probably modern.

There is a diagonal black line through the scan (it did not go throught the entire envelope, and it may be necessary to click on the image for the full size version) which is parallel to the downstroke  to the “a” in “Kampf”, parallel to the “v” on the next line, the first letter of “Verderb”, continuing down through the “u.”, which is the abbreviation for the word “and” in German.  A bit to the left on the brown envelope, we notice another hairline, behind the word “die” [meaning “the”] and cutting throught the “R”.  An interpretation was asked for. [I now forget whether I asked myself, or if someone asked me.]

Sometimes this apparent defect was hard to notice.  If the envelope was pressed perfectly flat, it was not always apparent.  It was said that all the envelopes to this address had the same marking.  [On a later date, a different batch of envelopes did not have this mark, suggesting that there was something special about the provenance of this group.]

It is a cut, by scissor, or a very sharp blade, only affecting the front part of fifteen of the eighteen envelopes under examination.  Five of these in all are shown below, all with the same characteristic.

It was decided that there had to be something displeasing to the authorities in all of these cases.  Sometimes, it seemed that the envelope itself was the clue.  These first two are not as clear as the next four, but here is what we surmise.

The first one is to “Herrn Führer u. Reichskanzler”.  There may be up to 3 problems here. First, the writing is sloppy, second, based on the remitent’s address, it was from someone propertied, as suggested earlier.  Third, “Führer” has a very ambiguous aspect.  We are still trying to understand a double meaning in the style.  Readers not accustomed to this old script will agree to the following, (though the witness is being led), that the “H” of “Herrn” looks like the “F” of “Führer”, and that the “er” of that word do not at all look like the “er” in “Herrn”.  The idea of “feet” comes to mind, where a rather odd combination of “hs” represents a double “s”, “Füsse”, hence, “To Mr. Foot and Chancellor”..  Although such a conjecture may seem unjustified, other envelopes lend weight to interpreting the writing in some way other than the obvious.

The brown envelope is simply addressed “To the Imperial Chancellery of the Führer”.  The writing is rather modern, though not as neat as the sender’s address was on the flap, and which again suggested a wealthy property owner,  It has also been noted that the  surname is  suggestive.

Collectors might be interested in that the cancellation celebrated the first 250 transatlanctic flights to South America. The date was 16.6.37.

Our next speciment is in good traditional pre-Sütterlin German handwriting, called Kurrent.  None-the-less, we felt, because of the slash, that something wayward had to exist.

sarcsm2

Sarcasm Suspected – A Writer unhappy with the new Reich?

This was sent out, according to the postmark, 23.9.39, and was addressed:

Den Führer und Reichskanzler des „Deutschen Reiches”

The slash is seen going through the “F”, and then between the “u” and “h” of “Führer”, and through the „D” and “e” of “Deutschen“.  The mark above the “u” of both words is to distinguish that letter from the “n”, which is otherwise identical.

Our interpretation is that putting the words for “German Empire” in quotation marks is a form of ironic comment, that Hitler is not quite the “Führer and Imperial Canciller” of such an entity. The writer, sending the letter from an address in Hamburg, had a name more suggestive of Denmark than of Germany,  “Sorensen”.

Our last two examples intend to show, for those who can follow the handwriting, the clear insult that must have been felt at the German chancellery, whether intended, or not.  In the upper portion of the image, we have the cut going throught the year “37”, continuing throught the “d” of “DER”,  and between two words which should have been written as one.  We have only shown the upper part, which is sufficient.  The full text of the address was:

Reichts Kanzler, Reichts Kanzlei, Berlin

The word “Reichts” maintains the possesive form of a non-existent noun, “Reicht”.  The message then becomes understood as a maniplated and truncated, “Es reicht, Kanzler, Es reicht, Kanzlei”, meaning “Enough, Chancellor!, Enough chancellery.”.

Enough, you Dogs of Hitler!

Enough, you Dogs of Hitler!

It is the lower portion that gave rise to our title.  We have seen that to distinguish between a “u” and and “n”, a small curved line is placed above the former. We have one of these here in the first word, but are uncertain as to how it should be read.  The first word might be “Zu”, that is, “to”, whereas the normal format is “An”  In principal, the form is not incorrect.[5]  There does exist a grave problem, however – the umlaut or diëresis over two letters, one being “Führer”, which in its most proper form, would have the curved line and the umlaut, which is missing in all the examples given.  Now, a close examination of the second word, which we will momentarily transcribe without the marked vowel as “H_nden”.  The form of writing is basically modern, though without neatness.  The second letter of the word, in the singular, is the same in English as in German, “Hand”.  The German plural is in one of the many forms to be learnt, “Händen”.  This, though, is not what the critic sees.  There is no clear “a”.  Compare this “modern” “a” to the “a” of our first two samples, where it is clearly legible, in spite of deficient penmanship.  What we see is a “ü” written over, and not very well at that.  The word is “Hünden”. No such word exists in Standard German for the plural of dog, “Hund”, which in our title, we have transcribed as the etymologically-related “hound”[6] .  We merely compare the plural of “Hand” with what could have benn the plural of “Hund”.  Further, based on sounds, we do have the feminine form, “Hündin”. Using the pronunciation common in the English-speaking world, “Hündin” and “Hünden” would be pronounced similarly, if not the same.  Anyway, we get,

To the dogs of our Führer

rather than:

Into the hands of our Führer

 

The slit of this envelope is clearly seen on our screen as going through the “d” of “Hünden“.

This envelope was dated 18.5.37, and did not have the sender’s information.  The post-mark was Hohenstein, Austria, now known as Olsztynek, Poland,

Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, but it revealed too much.  No doubt, the hounds soon bayed at the door of this unfortunate person, whoever he or she may have been.  It might even have been an act of courageous resistance, but most likely to no avail.

Conclusions

From our worst to our best examples, we have made a case that certain envelopes that made their way into the chancellery of Hitler’s Germany were marked, and that the reason that this was so, was to distinguish their writers for a probable death sentence.[7]  The proof would be for an analysis by owners of such envelopes to compare their results with our own.  Even better, would be to have an specimen with its accompanying letter, but those must have been destroyed as the Red Army approached.

If our thesis is correct, it would seem that the senders of these missives deserve some sort of plaque or memorial in recognition of their activity.  This would seem appropriate either in Berlin, at the site of the Chancellery, or, as a minimal honour, in the home town of these supposed victims.

© September 26, 2015, Paul Karl Moeller

[1] See, for example, previous articles such as the following:: WWII POWs in Canadian Camps: A Vignette, Russo-Japanese War: History through Old Postcards, and Post in den Kriegszeiten.

[2] Ussally, “Herrn” would be translated as “Mister”, but considering that Hindenburg was part of the aristocracy, “Sir” was the selected translation.  “W.8” was the postal code in use at that time.

[3] The comparison is not 100 % correct, because it should be based on the difference between the largely ceremonial post, and the position of who works hand in glove with the legislative chamber(s), but we prefer to emphasize traditional perceptions.

[4] RENUKA RAYASAM, What Does the “Made In” Label Mean Anymore?, August 30, 2013, The New Yorker. <http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/what-does-the-made-in-label-mean-anymore&gt;

[5] Cassel’s German Dictionary, 1952.

[6] We have found the word “Hünden”, but at present, only in error.  In fact, there is a painting by an Austrian, Rudolf Gaupman, and several web-sites give a title of a work (now sold) as Junges Mädchen im Profil, einen Korb in Hünden haltend – and by coincidence, “Händen” was meant! We have found “Hünden”, with a squiggle for diëreisis, in a 1714  book on stories from the Bible by Emanuel Meyer.  It was published in Basel.

[7] That the Gestapo could easilty arrest anybody is rather common knowledge. That its decisions were not subject to any kind of review may be less well know. The following three sources mutually collaborate one another: (1) Chris Trueman, “The Nazi Police State”, <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/the-nazi-police-state/&gt;; (2) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington (website): (a) Translation: Arrests without Warrant or Judicial Review <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007891> and (b) Background: Arrest without Warrant or Judicial Review, <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007890>, the first of these (and probably the second) taken from Werner Best, Der Deutsche Polizei (Darmstadt: L.C. Wittich Verlag, 1940), pp. 31-33. (3) Kim Wünschmann, Cementing the Enemy Category: Arrest and Imprisonment of German Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933–8/9, p.582, from Journal of Contemporary History Copyright © 2010 The Author. Vol. 45(3), 576–600. ISSN 0022-0094. DOI: 10.1177/0022009410366556, <http://buberfellows.huji.ac.il/sites/default/files/kim1_PDF1.pdf&gt;.

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