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database: Tarnschriften 1933 bis 1945
database: Tarnschriften 1933 bis 1945

Tarnschriften 1933 bis 1945

Camouflaged Leaflets and Brochures 1933–1945
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication


About this database

Since censorship and political persecution of the parties and authors prevented the legal publication of opposition ideas, camouflaged texts became a significant part of the resistance after 1933. Anti-regime writings were published and distributed illegally in Germany and Austria from 1933 to the end of the war behind innocuous covers with fictitious details of author, title, publisher, and year and place of publication. Most camouflaged writings originated from the KPD and the SPD, but also emigrated intellectuals and Jews chose to use camouflaged contributions to enlighten the German public about the Nazi dictatorship. Heinz Gittig found about 1,000 camouflaged writings from the years 1933–1945 in European archives and libraries, and created a bibliography of them. The database contains these writings as facsimiles with bibliographical details.

After seizing power, the National Socialists systematically suppressed the publication and distribution of pacifist and political opposition writings by communists, social democrats and other resistance groups. Among the goals of these illegal writings were the political, tactical and organizational instruction of members of the resistance; the creation of a united peoples front of all the regime’s opponents; and educating people about the criminal character of the Nazi regime, the persecution of the Jews, and about the reasons for the war and its real progress. Because the distribution and possession of camouflaged writings was punishable and carried serious penalties, many camouflaged writings were destroyed immediately after being read.

Reproduction of the documents in the database

The camouflaged writings can be found as digital facsimiles with a bibliographical description with the help of the “Browse” button under “Quellen“ [Sources] or with the help of the search criterion “Type” in the dropdown menu under “Tarnschrift”. An introduction to the work and a list of institution codes are also available under “Erläuternde Materialien” [Explanatory Materials].

The database is based on the following print and microfiche edition:
Tarnschriften 1933 bis 1945. Editor: K. G. Saur Verlag in collaboration with the Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv. Mikrofiche-Edition unter Verwendung der Bibliographie der Tarnschriften 1933 bis 1945 von Heinz Gittig. München: K. G. Saur 1997

The sources were first published online in these databases:
Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jh.: Nationalsozialismus, Holocaust, Widerstand und Exil 1933–1945 Online, De Gruyter/K. G. Saur (2006–2022)

Your Benefits

  • An unique source to study the resistance in NS Germany and so-called Grey Literature
  • The database contains about 1,000 camouflaged writings
  • Supplements the databases Stimmungs- und Lageberichte and Widerstand als “Hochverrat”
  • The camouflaged texts are digitalized as facsimiles with bibliographical information
  • Non-restrictive DRM – allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous users campus- / institution-wide



Editors of the first edition in Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jh.

Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Bundesarchiv, and Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung


Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek • Stiftung „Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum“ • Gedenkstätte „Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz“ • Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V. • Riga-Komitee der deutschen Städte • Research Foundation for Jewish Immigration • Herbert und Elsbeth Weichmann-Stiftung • Heinz Boberach • Wolfgang Form • Wolfgang Neugebauer • Theo Schiller • Sabine Gillmann • Hans Mommsen • Harald Hagemann • Claus-Dieter Krohn • Michael Hepp • Ulrike Wendland

Editorial Board

Wolfgang Benz, Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung • Brita Eckert, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek • Josef Henke, Bundesarchiv • Peter Longerich, Research Centre for the Holocaust and Twentieth-Century History, London • Elisabeth Niggemann, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek • Hermann Rumschöttel, Staatliche Archive Bayerns • Udo Wengst, Institut für Zeitgeschichte

First edition

Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jh.: Nationalsozialismus, Holocaust, Widerstand und Exil 1933–1945 Online, De Gruyter/K. G. Saur (2006–2022)

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