Holidays in Nazi Germany

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Holidays in Nazi Germany were primarily centred on important political events, serving as a form of political education and reinforcing propaganda themes.[1] Major national holidays were therefore controlled by Joseph Goebbels at the Reich Propaganda Ministry, and were often accompanied by mass meetings, parades, speeches and radio broadcasts.[1]

Many of the official national holidays in the Third Reich were anniversaries of political events, namely the seizure of power (January 30), the announcement of the Party program in 1920 (24 February), Hitler's birthday (20 April) and the Beer Hall Putsch (9 November). Others were traditional German holidays. Heroes' Memorial Day was celebrated on 16 March, National Labour Day on 1 May, Mothering Sunday in May, Summer Solstice in June, Harvest Thanksgiving in Autumn and Winter Solstice in December.[2]

From 1937, Jews were banned from the streets during German public holidays.[3]

Holiday Local Name Date
New Year's Day Neujahr 1 January
Heroes' Memorial Day Heldengedenktag 16 March if it is a Sunday, otherwise Sunday before 16 March since 1939, before at the 5th Sunday before Easter (Reminiscere)
Good Friday Karfreitag Easter Sunday - 2 days
Easter Monday Ostermontag Easter Sunday + 1 day
Birthday of the Führer Führergeburtstag 20 April celebrated from 1933 to 1944, declared national holiday for Hitler's 50th birthday in 1939[4]
Labor Day Nationaler Feiertag des deutschen Volkes 1 May since 1934. 1933 introduced as "Feiertag der nationalen Arbeit"[5]
Ascension Day Christi Himmelfahrt Easter Sunday + 39 days
Whit Monday Pfingstmontag Easter Sunday + 50 days
Corpus Christi Fronleichnam Easter Sunday + 60 days only in municipalities with predominantly Catholic population
Harvest Festival Erntedanktag 1st Sunday after Michaelistag (29 September)
Reformation Day Reformationstag 31 October only in municipalities with predominantly Protestant population
Memorial Day for the martyrs of the (nazi) movement Gedenktag für die Gefallenen der Bewegung 9 November since 1939
Day of Repentance and Prayer Buß- und Bettag Wednesday before 23 November
Christmas Day 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag 25 December
St Stephen's Day / Boxing Day 2. Weihnachtsfeiertag 26 December

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bytwerk, Randall L. (1979). "Rhetorical aspects of Nazi holidays". The Journal of Popular Culture. 13 (2): 239–247. 
  2. ^ Snyder, Louis L. (1998). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Robert Hale. 
  3. ^ Paldiel, Mordecai (2000). Saving the Jews: Amazing Stories of Men and Women who Defied the "Final Solution". Schreiber. 
  4. ^ Kershaw, Ian. The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. pp.57-59, 64, 72, 79, 141, 151, 159, 197-98, 213-14. ISBN 0-19-282234-9
  5. ^ Gesetz über die Einführung eines Feiertags der nationalen Arbeit (10. April 1933), in: (Hrsg.)