GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Joseph Goebbels Gives a Present to a Child during a Winter Relief Organization Event (December 1, 1936)
One of the best-known Nazi welfare organizations was the Winter Relief Organization [Winterhilfswerk or WHW] founded in September 1933. It was financed chiefly by donations and house-to-house collections and ostensibly combated the consequences of poverty and unemployment. In reality, however, the WHW was supposed to underscore the regime’s putative concern for social welfare and promote the ideal of equality in the national community [Volksgemeinschaft]. For example, at WHW-organized community meals for the needy, Nazi representatives praised the people's newly awakened solidarity and social consciousness. “Stew Sundays” pursued the same goal of generating solidarity. One Sunday a month between October and March, German families were asked to eat a simple stew and to give any money they saved in doing so to the Winter Relief Organization. This and similar operations helped the WHW achieve yearly revenues in the millions of Reichsmarks. But the very fact that this organization operated under the supervision of the propaganda ministry (whose head, Joseph Goebbels, is featured in this photograph) makes clear that the WHW was about more than just welfare work.