Hitler and the Nazis Attempted to Steal Christmas

The Nazi Party tried to steal Christmas by creating baubles for the tree that featured glittering swastikas, iron crosses, and toy grenades, as discovered by an exhibition at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne.

They even altered Christmas carols by removing religious references.

What Was the Reason for These Changes?

Hitler made these changes to alter people’s perception of Christmas and did not want it to be seen as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, as he was born Jewish. Several of these changes are still in practice today.

Although you are unlikely to see Christmas decorations with Nazi symbols, some carols still contain traces of Hitler and the Nazi’s attempt to steal Christmas.

“I always thought ‘Unto Us a Time Has Come’ was a song about winter snow,” said Heidi Bertelson, a lawyer who visited the exhibit. “I didn’t realize that Christ had been removed.” The Nazi version, which replaced religious references with images of snowy fields, is still included in some songbooks and sung in many households.

Rewriting the Carols

The same goes for carols with references to the Virgin Birth and lullabies that mention the Baby Jesus. These were rewritten under the supervision of the chief Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, and Heinrich Himmler was at the forefront of de-Christianizing Christmas.

Their intention was to remove the emotional connection to the Church and merge Christmas with Julfest, a celebration of winter and light that drew upon pagan traditions.

“The most significant celebration in the calendar did not align with their racist beliefs, so they had to eliminate the Christian elements,” said Judith Breuer, who assisted her mother, Rita, in creating the exhibition.

Rita searched markets in the 1970s for her childhood Christmas decorations and found boxes of Nazi-era ornaments with grenades and swastikas.


1. Is it true that Hitler and the Nazis tried to steal Christmas?

Yes, it is true. The Nazis attempted to replace Christmas with their own holiday called “Winter Solstice.” They wanted to remove all Christian references and replace them with pagan symbols and Nazi ideology.

2. Why did the Nazis want to replace Christmas?

The Nazis believed that Christianity was a weak religion that did not fit with their vision of a strong, Aryan Germany. They also saw Christmas as a holiday that promoted love and forgiveness, which they considered to be un-German values.

3. Did the Nazis succeed in replacing Christmas?

No, they did not. Despite their efforts, Christmas remained a popular holiday in Germany throughout the Nazi regime. Many Germans continued to celebrate Christmas in secret and refused to participate in the Nazi holiday celebrations.

4. What were some of the symbols used in the Nazi holiday celebrations?

The Nazi holiday celebrations featured symbols such as the sun wheel, which represented the winter solstice, and the swastika, which symbolized the Nazi party. They also used pagan symbols such as the oak tree and the Nordic rune.

5. How did the Nazis try to influence Christmas traditions?

The Nazis attempted to change Christmas traditions by removing Christian references and replacing them with pagan symbols and Nazi ideology. They also tried to discourage gift-giving and charity, which they saw as weak and un-German values.

6. Did the Nazis have any success in changing Christmas traditions?

Some Nazi officials were successful in persuading schools and youth organizations to celebrate the Nazi holiday instead of Christmas. However, most Germans continued to celebrate Christmas in their own way, and the Nazi holiday never gained widespread popularity.

7. How did the Allies respond to the Nazi holiday celebrations?

The Allies were aware of the Nazi attempts to replace Christmas and saw it as evidence of the totalitarian nature of the regime. They used it as a propaganda tool to highlight the dangers of Nazi ideology and to rally support for the war effort.

8. What is the legacy of the Nazi attempts to steal Christmas?

The legacy of the Nazi attempts to steal Christmas is a reminder of the dangers of totalitarianism and the importance of preserving cultural traditions. It also serves as a warning against attempts to replace or eradicate religious holidays and traditions.

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