Even Christmas Could Not Escape the Third Reich


The Daily Mail reports an exhibition in Ulm called “Decorated” was opened on December1st this year. It shows Christmas tree decorations through out the years. Sadly, many of these decorations were created to bolster the egos of men who were less than holy–World War 1 architect, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler and Stalin to name a few.

The pieces that sparked the most disbelief and outrage was the decorations that were in Hitler’s likeness or they propagated the Third Reich.


Some key items that were in circulation in Nazi Germain include silver balls that had “Sieg Heil!” engraved on them, swastikas on various baubles such as bomb and grande shaped decorations, Swastika wrapping paper, and cookie cutters in the shape of a swastika. Not only was Hitler anointed as the tree topper, he had removed many Christian symbols from the holiday. Baby Jesus was not allowed to be apart of the holiday and they were removed. The North Star had six points which in Nazi Germany represented Jews and a five star would represent Russia, so it was removed entirely.


Christmas cards weren’t safe from the Third Reich either. Instead of religious cards, people were urged to send patriotic cards to the German soldiers.


Kaiser Wilhelm relished in photos of himself under Reich eagles soaring and model Zeppelin airships with an Iron Cross motif painted on their sides.

Between 1914 and 1918, it was fashionable to have a decoration shaped like “Big Bertha”, a enormous 150 ton howitzer that was used by the German army during WW1. It was used to decimate fortresses and trench lines quickly and effortlessly.

The Brotkultur Museum in Ulm has put together an interesting exhibition which goes back even further in history.

There are over 400 tree ornaments in the show and the collection is owned by a family (whose identity is remained confidential) in Ulm. The family has lent the museum the collection for display until February 2014.

The tradition to decorate a Christmas tree has gone back even as far as the middle ages. At that time, it was customary to decorate houses and churches until Candlemas. These buildings were decorated with green branches which represented the “tree of paradise” which Eve plucked her apple from in the Old Testament.

During the 16th century, the first Christmas trees were adorned by apples, nuts, biscuits and paper flowers.

In the 17th century, the first angel, star, and Christmas figurines were made from pressed cotton, papier-mâché, and even wax.

The 18th and 19th century, Germany became the main creators of glass ornaments. These were especially loved by Queen Victoria.


Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE