You Had to Pay in Full for Your VW Before You Could Get It

Volkswagen sales poster for car never manufactured in Third Reich


Happy Nazi Family

A happy Nazi family would be unhappy if they had to go into debt to purchase a car. Therefore you had to pay for your Volkswagen in its entirety before you received the car. Over a period of years, you purchased coupons and glued them into a book. Once you had bought all your coupons and glued them all into your book, you would take this to the VW Corporation and they would present with a Volkswagen. At least, this was the idea.

Nazis Stole All the Money in the VW Savings Plans

The Nazis stole all the money when the war began. Only in the early 1960s did VW finish settling the lawsuits from outraged Germans who had paid up and never received their VWs.


Erholung am Flussufer

Propaganda Photo of happy Nazi family with their VW and radio.

At the direction of the Nazis, German manufacturers made different versions of the Volksempfänger or peoples receiver.  The least expensive was priced at 35 marks which was a week’s pay for a worker. This allowed very family to afford one so they could hear Der Fuhrer and his monomaniacal rantings.

Volksempfänger or Peoples Radio

Note the radio in the forefront of the photograph. Given this is a posed propaganda photograph, the placement of the radio in such a prominent place wasn’t an accident. The Nazis realized the revolutionary impact radio had on people. They used it skillfully to help seize power and stay in power. You could only get one station.

industry exhorted to manufacture inexpensive radios

The Third Reich pushed industry to manufacture inexpensive radios so each family could afford one. The cheapest was 35 Reichsmarks which was about a week’s pay for a working man so it wasn’t that cheap. This radio was known as the  Volksempfänger  or “people’s receiver.” Several other models were made which were more expensive.

I haven’t been able to identify this particular model. It isn’t made to the specifications of the different “people’s receivers,” so it must be an expensive model of radio made before the war for those with money. It’s also portable which seems a rare feature.


Military Version of the VW


One of the 500 heavy duty VWs built for the Wehrmacht.


You’ll say mach schnell 

This is my suggested advertisement for Volkswagen to use now: “Proven in the snows and bitter cold of the Russian front and the blazing hot sands of North Africa, you’ll say mach schnell to your Volkswagen dealer.” Maybe not. VW hardly wants to play up or even acknowledge their close association with the Nazi Party.


Designed by Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche


Except for a handful made for reasons of propaganda, the famous VW Beetle, designed by Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche, was never actually produced for civilian use in the Third Reich.  Five-hundred heavy duty Beetles were manufactured for the Wehrmacht. (I’ve seen other figures which say 650 were made so I’m not certain).


Bullet-ridden military Volkswagen in front of Reich’s Chancellory after the Berlin garrison commander surrendered the city.


VW for military use only

This is a military VW because the license plate number begins with a “W “meaning “Wehrmacht.”  Although Wehrmacht translates as “defense forces” or “armed forces” the word is used interchangeably with “army” because the army comprised the far largest part of the German armed forces.

License plates or number plates indicated to which branch of the armed forces the vehicle belonged

I think the second letter is “H” meaning Heer or Army. “L” meant Luftwaffe, while “K” meant Kriegsmarine. So vehicles belonging to the airforce had license plates or number plates beginning with WL and so forth. Vehicles belonging to the SS had the preface SS on their license plates.


Volkswagen used slave labour to assist in manufacturing vehicles manufactured vehicles for the German Wehrmacht: 

“using more than 15,000 slave labourers from nearby concentration camps. It was a practice that is widespread among German firms during the war. In 1998, survivors file a lawsuit against VW, which set up a restitution fund.”   BBC