Hitler’s Christmas party: Rare photographs capture leading Nazis celebrating in 1941

These rare pictures have only just come to light, show Hitler and his generals at a party for SS officer cadets in Munich.

But the Nazi Christmas was far from traditional.

High command: Adolf Hitler and other Nazi officials celebrate Christmas at the Lowenbraukeller restaurant in Munich on December 18, 1941

Hitler believed religion had no place in his 1,000-year Reich, so he replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas with the Norse god Odin and urged Germans to celebrate the season as a holiday of the ‘winter solstice’, rather than Christmas.

Out of sight at the top of the tree behind Hitler was a swastika instead of an angel, and many of the baubles carried runic symbols and iron cross motifs. The remarkable pictures were captured by Hugo Jaeger, one of the Fuhrer’s personal photographers.

The Lowenbraukeller restaurant today – where Hitler made many of his rabble rousing Munich speeches

(Left: Sons of the swastika: Cadets at the feast)

He buried the images in glass jars on the outskirts of Munich towards the end of the war, fearing that they would be taken away from him.

Later he sold them to Life Magazine in America which published many of them this week.

Other photographs show brownshirt thugs drinking beer.

In 1944-1945, the Nazis tried to reinvent Christmas once again as a day to commemorate the dead, in particular fallen soldiers – by that time Germany had lost almost four million men in the war.

Spoils of war: Officers and cadets begin their dinner

But while many Germans baked biscuits and cakes in the shape of swastikas and adorned their trees with the symbols of the Nazi regime, most still called the festival Christmas.


About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…

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