By Bruce Kipp
The propaganda apparatus of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and its subordinate and affiliated organizations was directed by the Reich Propaganda Ministry. Within this bureaucracy was the Main Office for Spokesmen (Hauptstelle für Rednerwesen) with a “Speakers Corps” (Rednerorganisation) that was in charge of all Nazi Party spokesmen as well as spokesmen in organizations subordinate to or affiliated with the Nazi Party.
The Speakers Corps consisted of political spokesmen at Reich, Gau and Kreis level (Reichsredner, Gauredner, Kreisredner) and professional speakers (Fachredner). Political spokesmen were the public face of the Nazi Party. Their task was to disseminate Nazi ideology and communicate government information.
Spokesmen were chosen from those who joined the Nazi Party prior to January 1933; those who were already spokesmen; or from leaders in the Party, SA, SS, or HJ. The main difference between political spokesmen and professional speakers was the later did not hold Nazi Party rank or a leadership position. Political spokesmen and professional speakers were issued a special identification card by the propaganda office at the appropriate level of political organization.
The District Spokesman’s identification card illustrated here is of light gray, medium card stock about 10cm x 13.5cm. It was issued by the Nazi Party District Administration of Gelsenkirchen on 27 February 1936 to Hugo Bruss. It identifies him as a spokesman for the National-Socialist Peoples’ Welfare League in the Gelsenkirchen District.
The National-Socialist Peoples’ Welfare League (National-Sozialistische Volkswohlfahrt, NSV) was created on 3 May 1933 as the social services organization of the Nazi Party. Initially formed to provide welfare support to the needy, around 1938 the NSV shifted to providing social services. It also administered the massive annual Winter Relief Campaign (Winterhilfswerk). At the beginning of WWII the NSV had some eleven million members and a cadre of over a million members providing welfare and social services throughout the Reich.
Hugo Bruss became a member of the Nazi Party on 1 October 1931. When this document was issued Bruss held the post of deputy office chief, presumably in the Propaganda Office of the staff of NSDAP Kreis Gelsenkirchen. Bruss joined the NSV in September 1933. In August 1940, his authority as a speaker for the NSV was revoked and his District Spokesman’s ID Card was turned in and stapled to the office file card.