Shedding Light in the Darkness

Berlin 1927 – Echoes of the Past Today

Saalschlacht zwischen Angehörigen des Reichsbanners und Kommunisten

Here’s an extract of a Nazi gathering in 1927 which kind of reminds me of events unfolding today. The following account of the brawl in the Pharus Beer Hall illustrates the aggressive and confrontational political “style” of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) and SA (Storm Troopers). Located in the working-class neighborhood of Wedding in Berlin, Pharus Hall was a traditional venue for KPD (German Communist Party) events. The subject of Goebbels’ speech made it clear that he aimed to speak on behalf of a “socialist” workers’ party, which must have been an additional provocation for KPD members. By providing security at party events, the SA intentionally provoked political enemies and employed focused terrorist violence. The ultimate goal of all of this was to seize control of the public arena.

“On the 11th of this month the Party held a public mass meeting in the Pharus [Beer] Halls’ in Wedding, the real working class quarter, with the subject: ‘The Collapse of the Bourgeois Class State’. Comrade Dr Goebbels was the speaker. It was quite clear to us what that meant. It had to be visibly shown that National Socialism is determined to reach the workers. We succeeded once before in getting a foothold in Wedding. There were huge crowds at the meeting. More than 1,000 people filled the hall whose political composition was four-fifths SA to one-fifth KPD. But the latter had gathered their main forces in the

After the the talk by Comrade Dr Goebbels, the first scuffling broke out. Peace seemed to be restored until there was renewed heckling. When the chairman announced that the hecklers would be sent out if the interruptions continued, the KPD worked themselves into a frenzy.

Meanwhile, the SA had gradually surrounded the centre of the disturbance, and the Communists, sensing the danger, suddenly became aggressive. What followed all happened within three or four minutes. Within seconds both sides had picked up chairs, beer mugs, even tables, and a savage fight began.

The fight was quickly decided: the KPD left with 85 wounded, more or less: that is to say, they could not get down the stairs as fast as they had calmly and ‘innocently’ climbed them. On our side we counted 3 badly wounded and about 10–12 slightly. When the police appeared the fight was already over. Marxist terrorism had been bloodily suppressed.”

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes and Geoffrey Pridham, eds., Nazism 1919-1945, Vol. 1, The Rise to Power 1919-1934. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 53-54.

One response to “Berlin 1927 – Echoes of the Past Today

  1. Claude Robichaux March 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Interesting snippet.
    Too bad they can’t be declared domestic terrorists to be rounded up with a giant butterfly net at these events. They could then be quietly funneled into Guantanimo to relax the rest of their wall-bumping days in Drumpf-colored day-glo jumpsuits while being forced to listen to a 24 hr stream of Candy Carson singing national anthems from around the globe, justice served.


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