Thursday, 19 May 2011

Men in uniform

Disclaimer: I'm not a nazi and this photo isn't intended to glorify them. I've said that just in case you're stupid enough to believe I might be a closet fascist for posting a historical document.

[Thanks to Andrew for obscuring the offensive bits.]

The image comes from Life, April 1939. A feature on 3 families, French, German and English.

Look beyond who's holding the glasses. Dead informative photo, which is why I'm posting it. Points of interest:

  1. beermats. Branded beermats. And, if I'm not mistaken, branded Schultheiss. 
  2. colour: the beer is very pale. Looks like a Pils/Helles/Export
  3. glass size: that's not very big - 30 cl?
  4. scary: men, haircuts, uniforms.

The caption says: ". . . The beer has grown steadily worse in Berlin."

It wasn't going to get any better soon.


Anonymous said...

Is It me? or do quite a few of them seem to be uneasy/uncomfortable,holding the glasses. surely it cant be because they are not used to drinking beer.
is it the unusual size of the glasses? or perhaps a beer they are not used to.

tankard said...

Plus that fact that they have just been handed those glasses of beer, the large head has calmed down, and they haven't so much as taken a swig yet - let alone the censored guy in the bottom right corner who has just been served/handed his beer. As you say loads of information here. No other drinks nor bottles on the table; caps placed on the table which for a table of drinkers would have been wet,...and so on.

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

Looking at the hats on the table this looks like a meeting of SA members when they still had some influence before June 1934 when the “night of the long knives’ occurred (hence being pictured). Some of them have greatcoats on as well, which is hardly standrad wear for inside the keller — for a retrospectively chilling account of Nazi beer life, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s fantastic A Time of Gifts accounts when he came across a Bavarian beerhouse full of boozing Nazis — the picture of black SS hats piled up in a corner while the owners went on a spree is enough to chill anyone’s blood.

Craig said...

They look like the Brownshirts, but I thought the SS had superseded them in 1934.

Tandleman said...

Seems posed. Another striking thing for that era is nobody is smoking. That's odd.

rod said...

Tandleman -
If this picture was posed, as seems likely, they wouldn't have been smoking because Hitler (teetotal vegetarian) was fanatically anti-smoking. It would have been instant transfer to the Russian Front if you had lit up in the Fuhrer's presence.

marquis said...

They seem to me to be perhaps raising a toast;two of them for some reason have no glasses.
This might explain the absence of smokers, more surprising is the lack of ashtrays or any sign of smoking.

Ron Pattinson said...

The bloke at the front left is smoking.

It's the SA, yet it's 1939. I don't understand it.

Barm said...

The SA still existed in 1939, it was just much less important than it had been in the past (although much of the Kristallnacht pogrom was down to the SA). Those guys look a bit old for street fighting though, like a sinister Aryan Dad's Army.

The glasses look more like 0.4 to me.

Graeme said...

Interesting historical document relating to the history of beer. But as a historical document, is censoring really necessary?

Ron Pattinson said...

Graeme, probably not. Just don't want anyone getting the wrong idea.

Ron Pattinson said...

Looking closer, I notice a couple of other things:

There are 11 heads and 11 beer glasses. But at the bottom right there's a glass belonging to someone out of shot.

The first bloke (you can see) on the right has no glass. But there's what looks like the ring from a glass on the table in front of him.

Second in on the left. He's had a mouthful from his glass. And he's fiddling with the beermat like a real pub-goer. The chap to his left looks like he's had a slug, too.

The third in on the right looks like he's got some smokeware in his left had and a gulp out of his glass.

What a weird game: which Nazis have drunk?