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Regions of the NSDAP 1935-1945 (Germany)

gaue der nsdap

Last modified: 2022-07-30 by pete loeser
Keywords: nsdap | gau | gauleitung | gauleiter | disc (white) | swastika | cross: swastika (black) | panel (red) | panel (fimbriated) | bayern | eagle (grey) | gl | letters: 2 (white) | bordure (red) | wreath (grey) | quartered: saltire (wh |
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[Bavaria Region (NSDAP, Germany)] 6:7 Image by Jaume Ollé
Bavaria Region/Gau Bayern (typical design)

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Introduction: Discussion about the Gaue flags or banners

The Gaue were the territorial divisions of the NSDAP and were technically not branches of the Wehrmacht or government, although in a few border areas (in particular in Luxembourg and the Polish corridor, the Gauleiters appear to have exercised some governmental authority (it is however not clear that they did so as Gauleiters).
Norman Martin, 7 March 2001

We have an example of a regional NSDAP flag for Bayern/Bavaria (1935-45) below.
Were there other regional flags like this (Saxony, Thuringia, etc.) and, if so, where to find pictures of them?
Jean-Marc Merklin, 22 June 2022

Wikipedia has this page on the Administrative Divisions of Nazi Germany. Does this answer your original question?
Wikimedia also does show this drawing for Sachsen, but I don't know whether the source they give show a true example.
A different type of example of this type of flag would be this one from Sydney, but that's not a Gau.
I don't know whether we're not seeing any because people try to avoid showing actual flags, or whether there really weren't any. Basically, there aren't that many Gau flags around. Of course, every subdivision had its own flag that also would specify its origin, so there would rarely be any need for an actual region flag. Plus, those flags that did exist, may not have been too popular in 1945.
Should we give examples of the patches? This would also serve to avoid having to display entire flags.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 16 July 2022

I tried googling "Gaufahne (name of the gau)" and it doesn't show many results. By-the-way, "fahne" is translated "banner" and not flag.
I agree that it would be interesting to show at least several patches, possibly from the mentioned books here or from some photos. There are flags in this catalog website, I have not seen the hundred pages but no other gaufahne seems visible. The scarcity, while understandable for the reasons you mentioned, is surprising for a period spanning a decade.
Ignoring the banner of Sydney, which was not part of Eurovision at that time, I can only cite a few seen examples of this gau banner template. Sachsen was indeed a single gau, roughly corresponding to the de jure "Land Sachsen", but Bayern (de jure Land) corresponded to several Gaue. So there may have existed flags for ortsgruppe, kreis, gau, but also regions(/land?) (the latter having the gau model?). In the FOTW's talk page on this subject, it is said that the (Reichs)gau Niederdonau wore the colors of the former Lower Austria.
The Gaue began to supplant the old administrative system in 1933 but definitively by law in April 1937. There was a parallel juxtaposition of the de facto Nazi administrative system and the Lands which still existed de jure (in some cases virtually). Anyway I can't really explain to myself the need of a Gaufahne for Bayern when the goal was the suppression of the old administrative system.
I also found the "Hoheitsfahne" for Munich (part of Gau München-Oberbayern) and that page shows in details all the Gau arms. That subject reminds me of a similar situation for the State Governors' Flags of India circa 1950/70 where FOTW only shows the case of Bihar - but it's often when we see in the details that we find cases different from the general model.
Jean-Marc Merklin, 16 July 2022

The flags you are talking about are not particularly interesting, as they all display basically the same flag. The only difference is a rectangle in the canton with the name of the subdivision, usually in white script. The colour of the rectangle might have differed, but that I don't know for sure.
Instead I cite Brian Leigh Davis: "Flags of the 3rd Reich", ISBN 1-84176-171-0, published by Dsprey History, Brian writes on page 102: "The structure (of the NSDAP) was based on 42 Gaue (...) Gaue were (...) divided into Kreise or 'Circles' [we would call it 'county' in FOTW]). By 1943 each Gau had on average 22 such circles. There were 920 Kreise (in total). A kreis contained on average 750 Ortsgruppen (Local Groups, i.e. cities and municipalities)."
"On the four main levels of political responsibility - the Reich, the Gau, the Kreis and the Ort - only the last two were granted distinctive swastika flags to be carried by units from within each Circle or Locality. The flags used by formations for each political level were similar in size, shape and colouring. Only the identification panel in the upper left corner differed, the colour of the panels and their piping, the name of the Kreis or Ortsgruppen displayed being varied."
I conclude that it at least had not been planned to grant a flag to any low level entity.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 July 2022

In fact, we only have one banner illustration for a Gau, that of Saxony. And it must be assumed that it is indeed for the Gau and not for the Land, as for Bavaria.
Jean-Marc Merklin, 18 July 2022

I think we should add some context and whatever new findings discovered here.
Esteban Rivera, 18 July 2022

Sachsen   München (Munich)
Images located by Pete Loeser in books written by Brian Davis, 22 July 2020

If we do this, I add that we should make illustrations of any "legitimate" Gau flags we discover. An illustration of a flag doesn't take up anymore space than patches would and they would be easy to draw from a template once they are discovered - basically all we'd have to do is change the name in the upper left corner (canton?).
The problem we face is illustrate here with these two attachments with silver fringe. The same flag design is used, but one is for a Gau district, and the other is for a city, perhaps a district? Basically a common standardized design used by the NSDAP.
Pete Loeser, 22 July 2022

Flags of the Regions
Hoheitsfahnen der Gaue

[Bavaria Region (NSDAP, Germany)] 6:7 Image by Jaume Ollé
Bavaria Region/Gau Bayern (typical design)

A Swastika flag with a small, bright red rectangle in the canton. Ratio 6:7. Surrounded by a silver fringe (except at hoist).
Norman Martin, February 1998

After the Anschluss, Austria was divided into several Gaue - like the rest of the Reich I guess. It seems that those Gaue did have some flags (and Landesfarben). At least it is my impression (as I did not study that part of Diem 1995 carefully yet) that the Gau Niederdonau that covered mostly the territory of Niederoesterreich, continued to use Niederoesterreich's blue-yellow Landesfarben. Is there any knowledge of possible Gaufarben in the Third Reich?
Željko Heimer, 6 March 2001

I have no knowledge of Landesfarben being used by the Gaue. However there were some sort of Waffenfarben, in the sense of a single colour used in the facings, rank patches etc. of Sturmabteilung (SA) uniforms, as well as on the panel shown above SA standards and in the canton of SA company colours.
Santiago Dotor, 7 March 2001

The Gaue did not have any flags other than the Hoheitsfahne with the bright red Spiegel ['mirror' - panel in the canton]. In particular, they had no Landesfarben [territorial livery colours] or the like. Since many of them corresponded to historic territories, it would not be too surprising if there were some unofficial use of older Landesfarben. The only organization that had colored territorial insignia were the Gruppen of the SA.
Norman Martin, 7 March 2001

[Editor's note: See also a discussion on the colour of the canton panel under Flags of the Regions, Districts and Local Groups (Hoheitsfahnen der Gaue, Kreise und Ortsgruppen).]

Regional Coats-of-Arms
Wappen der Reichsgaue

Some days ago I was asked by a German heraldist, Mr. Dieter Beutel from St. Augustin, to trace the routs ["roots"?] of two coats-of-arms. Both should have been used in the Nazi times as Gau arms, respectively for Bayrische Ostmark (capital Bayreuth) and Mainfranken (capital Würzburg). Mr. Beutel could only provide the illustrations and the (moreover incomplete) descriptions:

Bayrische Ostmark: "In Silber vor einem Dreieck ein Herold, die Fahne der Fanfare zeigt Adler und Hakenkreuz."

Mainfranken: "... zeigt im gevierteten Wappen oben rechts in Rot drei silberne Spitzen, oben links und unten rechts ein goldenes Feld, links unten, schräg gestellt, ein Fähnchen in Rot und Silber mit goldener Stange."

The source is the article Die Wappen der deutschen Reichsgaue, written by a certain Richard Kannenberg, and published in Deutsche Graveur-Zeitung und Stempel-Zeitung, no. 10, annual volume 1940, p. 99-100. In this article 30 other Gau arms are shown.
Mr. Beutel's intention is to get more information about these two arms: When had they been granted, by whom, who long had they been shown etc.?
Dieter Linder, quoted by Norman Martin, 5 August 2000

Car Flag of a Regional Leader
Kraftwagenstander eines Gauleiters

[Regional Leader Car Flag (NSDAP, Germany)] 1:1 Image by Jaume Ollé

Car Flag of a Deputy Regional Leader
Kraftwagenstander eines Stellvertretenden Gauleiters

[Deputy Regional Leader Car Flag (NSDAP, Germany)] 1:1 Image by Jaume Ollé

Car Flag of the Leader of a Department
Kraftwagenstander eines Leiters eines Hauptamtes

[Leader of a Department Car Flag (NSDAP, Germany)] 1:1 Image by Jaume Ollé

Car Flag of the Leader of a Section
Kraftwagenstander eines Leiters eines Amtes

[Leader of a Section Car Flag (NSDAP, Germany)]
3:5 Image by Jaume Ollé

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