[THE REICHSKOMMISSARIAT OSTLAND] Bal’shavizm raz’bivae Tvae shchast’e [i.e. Bolshevism Destroys Your Happiness].
Berlin: Glavnym Uradam SS, [1941-1944]. 20 pp.: ill. 31x22,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Spine, inner margins, and few outer corners restored. Otherwise near fine.
An extremely rare survival of the time as a large-scale and thin wartime brochure. Text in Belarusian.
This photomontage propaganda edition was distributed by the Nazis in the occupied territories of Belarus. The Wehrmacht invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941, and managed to capture the entire territory of Belarus in a few months. The country offered little resistance and remained under Nazi control until 1944.
Atrocities committed by the Soviet Union against the population of Belarus before WWII were the main reason why the Belarusians offered little or no resistance to the new enemy: ‘More than 100,000 people of different ethnic backgrounds, mostly Poles and Jews in West Belarus, were imprisoned, executed, or transported to the eastern USSR by Soviet authorities before the German invasion. The NKVD killed more than 1,000 prisoners in June and July 1941 in Chervyen, Hlybokaye, Vileyka, etc’.
These crimes fueled anti-Communist sentiments in the Belarusians and were used by the Nazis, who, according to fascist Generalplan Ost, were planning to entirely exterminate the country‘s population (both Slavs and Jews). German actions led to about 1.6 million civilian deaths during the occupation, including 500,000 to 550,000 Jews in the Holocaust in Belarus.
This brochure condemns Soviet authorities for the suffering inflicted on the Belarusian people. A striking photomontage design of the front wrapper shows a day from the life of a happy peasantry (women and children) interposed with the misery of different people at the top. Internally, the brochure highlights the contrast between life before and after the Bolsheviks. Photographs and simple photomontages depict homeless and sick children, festivities at cemeteries, plunder and destruction of churches, prisoners forced to build the White Sea-Baltic Canal, poverty, and fear under the Soviet regime. Pictures were provided by various photographers (Willy Knabe, Erich Meerwald, Charlotte Rohrbach, Scherl, Schramm, Pfeil-Verlag, etc.) and organizations, including Antikomintern, a special agency of Nazi Germany charged with administering anti-Soviet propaganda in the 1930s.
The Nazis promised the Belarusian population a happy peasant life and promoted the advantages of European living conditions. After the occupation, Belarus witnessed a religious revival, often described as ‘the second baptism of Russia’ and used as a primary tool of anti-Communist propaganda. At the same time, more than a million Belarusians died at the hands of the Germans, who were intent on slaughtering large numbers of Slavs and deporting tens of thousands more for forced labor in western factories.
According to the back cover, this edition is likely to be the fourth issue of the Nazi propaganda series printed under this title. In all, a rare and remarkable example of wartime propaganda.
No copies found in Worldcat.
Price: $1,950.00Status: On Hold