Fuhrbach on why he joined the Nazi movement (1934)

Hermann Führbach was a German labourer and a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Sturmabteilung (SA). Führbach was born in Muhlheim-Glatz in 1907. Though not old enough to serve in World War I, he was nevertheless swept up in the intense patriotism of the era. As a boy, Fuhrbach carried the bags and guns of German soldiers to railway stations as they marched off to war. In this account, published in 1934, Führbach lists some of the reasons why he joined the growing Nazi movement during the mid-1920s:

“The end of the war and the revolution are events which I can still remember vividly. What I felt to be a particular disgrace was an incident in which Red revolutionaries stopped some officers and, right in front of our eyes in the schoolyard, ripped off their epaulettes.

After finishing school, I was apprenticed to the Thyssen Company as a die worker. On my very first day there, I got to know the class struggle, as taught by Marxism. People tore off the black, white and red rosette off my windbreaker and tried to make me join a syndicalist union. Since I knew no other way out, I applied for membership in the German Metal Workers’ Union.

It was in 1923 that I first heard about the Hitler movement. I quit the union and joined the defence league called German Eagle. Now, everybody at the plant hated me. During every wildcat strike, as a German-minded boy, I got my lumps [beatings] from all sides. But I did not allow myself to be deterred from my path.

When the French marched in [to the Ruhr], I got a lot of work from the German Eagle. Whenever possible, we got the facts on French troop strength and precise information on their equipment, guns, trucks, etc…

At the end of 1925, Dr Goebbels founded the local group Mulheim-Ruhr of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which I joined immediately. From that point on, I fought untiringly against communists, Marxists. On July 4th 1926, I took the oath on the flag before the Fuhrer, the first man from Mulheim to do so… It was only now that I knew that Germany had a leader again.

Our work never ended, even if it was only providing protection for meetings, distributing leaflets or other such things. We were persecuted day and night. We were called daydreamers and the Centre Party people insulted us with names like “Nazi kids” and “pagans”…

So we had to fight on, without fighting. But people were beginning to be afraid of us. The party organisation was banned and we had to take off our brown shirts… As we turned up to protect a meeting, the police beat us out of the hall with rubber truncheons… The Communists bludgeoned us down, the police put us in prison, comrades were shot in the back.

None of this could stop us; it would only strengthen our resolve to bring about the breakthrough of Adolf Hitler’s idea among the German people. We were firm in the faith that one fine day, we would win our battle for the unity of the German people. We pushed even deeper into the ranks of the Communists and the Marxists and brought the best of them over to us. The Centre Party people fought us with particular bitterness. Catholic priests refused church funerals to dead comrades. We were not allowed to enter the church in uniform, even though as National Socialists, our basis was Christian.”

why i joined the nazis
An NSDAP group in Weimar in the 1920s.