Herr Semperer und Frau Keppelmeier! A 1942 Nazi Austrian Poster Campaign

Tad found a great collection of Nazi Propaganda that has been collected by a college professor in Michigan, Randall Bytwerk. I’ve shown plenty of WW2 propaganda posters but the majority have been from the Allied side of the war and I’m using this opportunity to showcase the types of propaganda used by the Germans and will be highlighting some of these posters over the next few months.

I liked this collection of posters because they tell a story. Here’s the background that Randall provides (the image comments are also his):

I came across this set of six posters produced by the NSDAP Gauleitung Steiermark, part of Austria then incorporated into Hitler’s Reich. The posters went out with a late 1941 issue of a newsletter for propagandists, giving them detailed guidance on how to prepare for the campaign, which was aimed at complainers and those who failed to realize the greatness of life in Nazi Germany. Each poster would hang for two weeks, so the whole campaign ran three months. Newspapers promoted it, and those attending movie theaters saw slides of the posters before the film began. The three area breweries even produced beer coasters with the caricatures on them. The goal was to make everyone aware of the two unpleasant central figures in the campaign, and encourage them to behave differently: “Wherever such a character surfaces, the goal is that party members or other citizens present will refer to Herr Semperer or Frau Keppelmeier and bring ridicule down on them.” There was another poster that ran at the very end of the campaign, but I have not found that one.

This poster introduced the two characters: Frau Keppelmeier and Herr Lemperer. The poem runs:

Frau Keppelmeier, as one can see,
Is deeply troubled as can be.
Herr Lemperer, on the other hand,
Eagerly hears the rumor she tells.

Herr Lemperer is not eager to donate to the Nazi Party’s charity, the Winterhilfswerk, or WHW.:

Herr Lemperer, it’s very clear,
Makes his “sacrifice” so dear.
“Hey,” he mutters, “I gives ma share!”
Two cents is all that he can spare.

Frau Keppelmeier commits the crime (and it was a crime) of listening to British radio:

At night Frau Keppelmeier turns her dial,
And listens in on London.
She sits there listening to lies,
Happily being led astray.

Herr Lemperer, meanwhile, has advice for Hitler’s generals:

Herr Lemperer is a strategist.
The most important thing in any battle
Is to make the right attack, he says.
Any general could learn from him.
One need only listen to him at the pub.

Frau Keppelmeier, meanwhile, is having trouble finding the things she needs:

Frau Keppelmeier is most distressed.
She can’t get the right perfume these days.
And our youth, why they’re so immature,
They’ve never heard of perfumed soap!

Herr Lemperer is off in the countryside looking for black market foodstuffs:

Herr Lemperer, meanwhile, complains so loudly.
The trains, you see, are sometimes late.
In such hard times, how can he then,
Himself punctually fill his sack?

[Images courtesy of Randall Bytwerk at Calvin College.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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