Image The German Club in Adelaide decorated for Hitler's birthday, 1939

TLF ID R2798

This is a black-and-white photograph that shows the German Club in Adelaide decorated for a celebration of the 50th birthday of the German Fuhrer (leader) Adolf Hitler. The photograph, which was taken on 20 April 1939 just five months before the start of the Second World War, shows a flight of flower-adorned steps leading up to a stage. On the stage, there is a large and heroic photograph of Hitler. On the left of the stage, the flag of Nazi Germany, with its prominent swastika, hangs almost from the ceiling to the floor. Another swastika is draped around a speaker's podium and a smaller Australian flag is on the right of the stage.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows that the German Club in Adelaide celebrated Hitler's birthday in this period - while it was not unusual for migrant clubs to observe national commemorative days, there is some evidence to suggest that these occasions were used by members of the Nazi party (National Socialist Workers Party or NSDAP) in Australia to promote a sense of identification with Germany and the Nazi regime among German Australians; from 1933 most of the German clubs in Australian capital cities were effectively coordinated by members of the local Nazi party, who infiltrated these clubs through election to their governing bodies; as office holders in these clubs, Nazi party members exercised an influence that was disproportionate to their actual numbers or following.
  • It includes an oversized Nazi flag (larger than the corresponding Australian flag), a large picture of Hitler and a podium draped in a German flag, suggesting that this was more than simply an observance of a leader's birthday - this type of dramatic symbolism was characteristic of the Nazi regime.
  • It suggests through the inclusion of the Australian flag that members of the Adelaide German Club identified with Australia - the majority of members joined the club for social reasons and were not interested in Nazi ideology; attempts by the Nazi party and German diplomats in Australia to revive a sense of German identity among the German Australian population, and to recruit German Australians to the party, met with little success as most German Australians were well assimilated into Australian society; membership of the Nazi party never rose above 200 during the 1930s.
  • It shows that a German Club operated in Adelaide in this period - after the outbreak of the First World War, all German clubs in Australia were closed down, but during the 1920s the clubs were slowly re-established; the Second World War also led to the closure of the clubs.
  • It implies that the Australian Government, in not censoring this celebration, did not regard Nazi Germany as an overwhelming threat at this time - while members of the Australian Nazi party were kept under surveillance during the 1930s, the Australian Government was more concerned by communism, with some politicians and media outlets even regarding Hitler as a bulwark against the spread of this ideology.
  • It includes an image of German leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) - after becoming Chancellor in 1933, Hitler transformed Germany into a fascist state; he suspended the constitution, brutally suppressed any opposition and introduced racial policies that resulted in the deaths of at least 11 million people, including 6 million Jews; Hitler's extreme nationalism and aggressive foreign policy led to the Second World War; Hitler committed suicide following Germany's defeat by the Allied Forces in 1945.
  • It shows the flag adopted by the Nazi party in 1920 and later by Nazi Germany - the flag features a black swastika within a white circle set against a red background; in the West the swastika is associated with fascism and Hitler's Nazi regime and is still used by neoNazis; in other cultures the swastika is an ancient and often holy symbol.
  • It suggests that a significant number of Germans and Australians of German descent lived in Adelaide in this period - from the 1840s, German settlement in Australia was concentrated in South Australia; by 1900, German settlers and their descendents made up about 10 per cent of the population.
Year level

9; 10

Learning area
  • History

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
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  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements