GÖRLITZ 1922 "Der Stahlhelm" + "CONFISCATED" Envelope - Uncataloged!! German Notgeld
Regarding the "confiscated" overprint: this envelope is quite possibly the only one of its kind in existence. Here the already quite rare original envelope for the Görlitz "Der Stahlhelm - Bund der Frontsoldaten" series is overprinted with the words "Confiscated and upon objection released again. July 22, 1922." This overprint has never been mentioned in any catalog. Immediately one suspects that this confiscation is something that would likely have occurred in the French-occupied Rheinland, even though Görlitz is far east of that area. It's also possible that a local authority was attempting to enforce the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, as groups like Der Stahlhelm and the Freikorps were certainly skirting the lines of the Versailles prohibitions regarding military organizations, and that led to this most curious overprint.
Certainly one of the most coveted Notgeld series, the "steel helmet" referred to here is not just the steel helmet the soldiers wore during World War I. After World War I, military organizations were disbanded by the victorious allies, and one of the first paramilitary organizations to skirt the line of this prohibition called itself Der Stahlhelm. Officially a veterans' aid organization of and for veterans of the first world war, the influential group produced charismatic, nationalist leaders who vied with the likes of Hitler for power over the country's increasingly fascist right wing. The Stahlhelm was ultimately co-opted by the Nazis, and the leader of the Stahlhelm who challenged Hitler electorally in 1932, Theodor Duesterberg, lost the election to Hitler after rumors were spread about his alleged Jewish ancestry. Duesterberg was then imprisoned during the Night of the Long Knives.
Of course, there were a great number of Jewish veterans of WWI in Germany and many still belonged to organizations like the Stahlhelm in 1922 when these notes were issued. In January of 1922, Stahlhelm founder Franz Seldte declared that the members of the Stahlhelm were "not Jews and non-Jews, but rather Stahlhelm-people." But this changed along with the creeping political climate of anti-Semitism that gave rise to Hitler and the Holocaust, and in 1924 Jews were forbidden from joining the "veterans' organization." Seldte himself joined Hitler's cabinet in 1933 and the Stahlhelm was ultimately merged into the Sturmabteilung (SA).
This is a complete set of the very rare Görlitz "Der Stahlhelm" series, issued by the organization itself to raise funds and awareness. All six notes lack serial numbers.
The question-and-answer style propaganda text on the reverse of each note I've translated as follows:
Stick Grenade Thrower 50 Pf: What are you dreaming, Stahlhelmmann?" "I am dreaming of a time when one day a united people will fight in glory in difficult battles for all eternity."
Cavalry 50 Pf: "What do you believe, Stahlhelmmann?" "I believe in God, that he would not leave a people, who had once ridden so valiantly, eternally cursed with ridicule and mockery."
Trench Soldiers at the Parapet 50 Pf: "What do you swear, Stahlhelmmann?" "I swear that one day, in the Fatherland's distress - if it needs me, I'll run to the flags. And I'll stay true to it until victory or death."
Gravesite 50 Pf: "What do you hope, Stahlhelmmann?" "I hope, despite all the storms that rage above German soldiers' graves, that one day from our brothers' tombs will arise a German savior."
Soldier on Horseback 50 Pf: "What do you think, Stahlhelmmann?" "Only that a man - like Old Fritz [Frederick the Great], hard as steel and weatherproof - can rescue us from this deep dishonor!"
Two Soldiers Carrying Canister 50 Pf: "What do you love, Stahlhelmmann?" "I love German women! Who warm their children's hearts for the Fatherland! - So that it can rely on them for later."
CONDITION: notes AU/UNC, envelope has a small tear/pencil writing on reverse
- All notes guaranteed genuine. You will receive exactly the notes in the photos.
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