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National Socialist German Worker's Party (Germany)

Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP, 'Nazi' Party

Last modified: 2003-01-25 by santiago dotor
Keywords: nationalsocialist german worker's party | nationalsozialistische deutsche arbeiterpartei | nsdap | nazi | swastika | cross: swastika (black) | hakenkreuz | disc (white) | circle (red) | wreath (gold) | text: german | panel |
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[National Socialist German Worker's Party (Germany)] 3:5
by António Martins and Mark Sensen

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Almost all the details of this set of flags are from the 1943 Organisationsbuch der NSDAP ("NSDAP Organisation Book"), published by the Reichsorganisationsleiter der NSDAP, and "not to be sold in the book trade". I suspect not many copies are around (I picked mine up at the Nazi party headquarters in Munich early in May 1945). Pia 1971 reprinted the color illustrations and Imperial Publications reprinted all of the illustrations in black and white in The NSDAP in 1990. Also helpful is Brian Davis, Badges of the Third Reich 1933-1945, Blandford Press 1985.

Norman Martin, February 1998

Shade of Red in the Swastika Flag

Norman Martin mentioned an interesting colour classification [Gau: bright red (Hellrot) with dark red (Dunkelrot) border]. According to it, what was the colour of the main field of Nazi flags — bright red or dark red?

António Martins, 10 June 2000

Certainly not dark red. The text of the Organisationsbuch distinguishes red, bright red and dark red. Dark red is clearly darker. Bright red and red are not far apart, but bright red seems a bit yellower to me. In any event the Organisationsbuch calls the color of the main field simply red.

Norman Martin, 11 June 2000

Flag of the Old Guard of the NSDAP

Fahne der Alten Garde der NSDAP

[Old Guard of the NSDAP (Germany)] 6:7
by Jaume Ollé

A red flag, in the center the golden Party Membership Insignia (Goldenes Ehrenzeichen) which consists of a black swastika in a white circular disk surrounded by a dark red ring with the inscription "National-Sozialistische D.A.P." in white, surrounded by a gold wreath. Ratio 6:7. Surrounded by a gold fringe (except at hoist).

Norman Martin, February 1998

Flags of the Regions, Districts and Local Groups

Hoheitsfahnen der Gaue, Kreise und Ortsgruppen

[Altdorf Local Group (NSDAP, Germany)] 6:7
Altdorf Local Group / Ortsgruppe Altdorf
by Jaume Ollé

A Swastika flag with a small rectangle (bright red for a Gau, rust brown for a Kreis, light brown for an Ortsgruppe) in the canton. Ratio 6:7. Surrounded by a silver fringe (except at hoist).

Norman Martin, February 1998

However, both the Organisationsbuch illustrations in Pia 1971 and very similar illustrations in Lilliane and Fred Funcken's Arms and Uniforms of the Second World War, volume 1, show the flag canton rectangles being:

  • red bordered dark red for the Gaue,
  • black bordered white for the Kreise, and
  • pale brown bordered blue for the Ortsgruppen.
All these were also the colours of the collar patches following the 1938-1945 (fourth) pattern, according to Funcken and also to Davis 1985. Was there any change in the colour(s) of those rectangles at any precise date?

Santiago Dotor, 9 June 2000

According to the Organisationsbuch der NSDAP 1943 edition, p. 35, we have:

"(...) the rectangles are (on a 90 x 120 cm. flag) 16 x 21 with 1 cm borders, positioned 5 cm from edge, with colors:
  • Gau: bright red (Hellrot) with dark red (Dunkelrot) border
  • Kreis: rust brown (Rostbraun) with white (Weiss) border
  • Ortsgruppe: light brown (Hellbraun) with light blue (Hellblau) border (...)"
However the illustration (Tafel 2, following p. 38) shows the border on the Ortsgruppe as definitely light blue, rather than light brown. In addition, the main body of the rectangle on the Kreis looks to me to be a very dark gray (so to speak, black but not as black as the swastika — under magnification there are a substantial number of white dots). There is no explanation in the text as to the difference. Ordinarily, one would regard the text as more decisive. I have no information as to adoption date or earlier versions except that very early party flags appear to lack the rectangles (these are from photos and may not be intended to be Hoheitsfahnen.)

Norman Martin, 9 June 2000

Additional information. From the Organisationsbuch 1943 and a fine book, Lt. Col. John R. Angolia, Cloth Insignia of the NSDAP and SA, Bender Publishing, San Jose, California, 1985, 336 pp., I discover that from 1934 on, the NSDAP had a set of standard colors for a variety of purposes, as follows:

  • Reich: primary: crimson (Karmesinrot), secondary: golden yellow (Goldgelb)
  • Gau: primary: bright red (Hochrot), secondary: red (Rot), after 1939 dark red (Dunkelrot)
  • Kreis: primary: rust brown (Rostbraun), secondary: black (Schwarz), after 1939 white (Weiss)
  • Ortsgruppe: primary: light brown (Hellbraun), secondary: light blue (Hellblau)
These were used as the colors for the lapel patches (primary: background, secondary: piping), coloring for musicians insignia, motor vehicle pennants for leaders and probably a few other purposes that I have not yet found. It is reasonable to assume that this pattern was involved in the rectangles of the Hoheitsfahnen.

So, I think that this would imply that the dark rectangles on the Kreis flag would be rust brown with a white border and the border of the rectangles on the Ortsgruppe flags would be light blue, rather than light brown, despite the text of the Organisationsbuch (but in agreement of the illustrations of the Organisationsbuch). If these flags existed and had rectangles before 1939 (which I think likely, but I have no authority), the rectangle of the Gau flag would have a somewhat lighter medium red border and that of the Kreis a black border. Of course absent definitive authority, we have to keep the door open for conflicting evidence.

Norman Martin, 10 June 2000