The SS-Kalender and the Dilemmas of Propagandizing the Volksgemeinschaft, 1938-1944
This paper explores how the Nazi SS crafted and manipulated photographs and accompanying captions to create an image of the SS and its operations that was perceived by propagandists to be acceptable to the German public.
The SS-Kalender were published between 1938-1944, and were meant as ‘company calendars’ that showcased the various arms of the SS in action in the field. It was available to members of the SS, their families, and could be purchased by ordinary Germans in bookstores and at newsstands throughout the Third Reich. SS propagandists were under strict orders from Himmler himself to include instruments of the Holocaust, such as the concentration camps, but were not allowed, for example, to intimate the camps’ association with human suffering.
The paper attempts to flesh out the process by which SS propaganda was made, revealing the thin line propagandists navigated between material which they felt would be readily consumed by the German public and that which they imagined would be too transparent and potentially harmful to the regime if it entered the public sphere so brazenly.