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AN UNPUBLISHED GEP~iAN "May" is{ Day Qf" Labor".B’ADGE .........
Thomas R. Johnson #1166
I believe that I have made a rather minor, but noteworthy discovery in the field of the Third Eelch era.
The most common of all the Nazi type donation badges, rally badges, day badges, propaganda badges (referred to by some collectors as tinnies), has to be the "May ist Day of Labor" badges. But I believe few collectors, if any, have a complete set of these badges, because few collectors know what the 1933 badge looks like.
In all the reference books covering the field of Third Reich awards that I have been able to secure, I have yet to find an example of the 1933 "May ist, Day of Labor" badge.
One of the more comprehensive works in this area is INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, AND BADGES OF THE THIRD REICH AND OCCUPIED COUNTRIES by R. Kehl. On page 82 of this book~is shown sketches of the May Day badges from 1934 to 1939. The year 1939 ended this type of festivity because of the war. On page 83 in the explanation of the May Day badges, the 1933 issue is mentioned, but he was apparently unable to locate this badge for illustration.
"The festivity-centre for this occasion was the flag decorated Berlin, where in 1933, 1.3 million people attended on the Tempelhoferfeld - Hitler’s speech took place in the evening by flood-light".
The scarcity of the badge is probably due mainly to the shortness of time between the time Hitler became Chancellor (January 30, 1933) and the Labor Day celebrations. This time amounts to three full months, but you must realize that the badge had to be designed and manufactured in this time period, so it would be ready to distribute by May ist.
In 1933 and 1934 Hitler was moving towards an absolute dictatorship. It is interesting to note that the 1933 May Day celebration was the only one under Hitler, in which the German Labor Unions were still intact. The next day, May 2~ 1933, Hitler abolished the labor unions.
The 1933 badge has nothing in its appearance in common with the May Day Badges that followed in subsequent years. Using an early party type eagle at the top of the badge it has all the quality of early day badges that were lost over the following years.
The badge is silver in appearance, probably a nickel chrome type alloy, and measures 24½ mrs. by 40 mm. The badge is stamped and is not solid. The pin running horizontal is held in place by an oval piece of metal, not like the later badges which had a spot of solder holding it in place.
The badge is composed in three levels with the eagle and the swastika being the uppermost. The outer top and bottom edge are the lowest and the rest of the badge at medium level.
It is possible that this badge will raise some questions and theories and the Editor will be interested in publishing some of the comments on this unpublished badge.