Adolf Hitler - opening speech at the new Winterhilfswerk




Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, October 5, 1937


German Volksgenossen!


You have just been given an idea of last year’s accomplishments of the greatest social aid society of all time. It is gigantic in its scope and enormous in the depth of its effects. I believe that the reward for all who are working in this society lies in the success of the work itself.


Sometimes when I see shabbily dressed girls, shivering with cold themselves, collecting with infinite patience for others who are cold, then I have the feeling that they are all apostles of a certain Christianity! This is a Christianity which can claim for itself as no other can: this is the Christianity of a sincere profession of faith, because behind it stands not the word, but the deed! With the aid of this tremendous society, countless people are being relieved of the feeling of social abandonment and isolation. Many are thus regaining the firm belief that they are not completely lost and alone in this world, but sheltered in their Volksgemeinschaft; that they, too, are being cared for, that they, too, are being thought of and remembered. And beyond that: there is a difference between the theoretical knowledge of socialism and the practical life of socialism. People are not born socialists, but must first be taught how to become them.


People in the bourgeois era before us insured themselves against everything: against fire, against theft, against hailstorms, against burglary, etc.-but they forgot one kind of insurance, insurance against lack of political madness, insurance against lack of political common sense, that first tears a Volk asunder and then allows it to become powerless to fulfill its lifetasks. And this one omission made all the other types of insurance pointless.


We, however, place at the fore of all types of insurance the insurance of the German Volksgemeinschaft! It is for this we are paying our donation, and we know that it will be reimbursed a thousand times over! For as long as this Volksgemeinschaft remains inviolate, nothing can threaten us! Therein lies the guarantee for the future not only of the life of the nation, but hence of the existence of every individual as well.


Therefore, it is just to demand from each individual a premium corresponding to his income. Wanting to establish a general lump sum for this premium is a sign of an indecent cast of mind. The little old woman who sacrifices five or ten pfennigs in Moabit or somewhere out in the country casts in more than someone who puts in one hundred or one thousand or perhaps ten thousand marks. Had our so-called intellectual classes initiated these premium payments prior to the war, a certain amount of misfortune could later have been avoided.


May God forbid that Fate puts us to the utmost test once again. Yet even then-that is something we know-millions of Germans would be willing to immediately and unconditionally make this last sacrifice to the nation, the eternal Volk. What is this sacrifice we are making today in comparison? Above all, do your duty in being mindful of those millions who once did their duty for all.