‘Nazi storm troopers in their smart brown uniforms’ supervise the burning of books in Berlin in May 1933 – the German Federal Archives via Wikimedia.

[ 25 August 1933 ]

On 25 August 1933, Selkirk Panton, the Berlin correspondent of the Daily Express,  commended Adolf Hitler for cleansing Berlin of its gay community and other decadent elements. He had ended the ‘dull despair of a spineless city,’ adding that ‘Hitler has swept the pornographic literature from the bookshelves… He has closed the haunts and underground dens of the homosexuals. He has put the padlock on certain night clubs were moral decency only was considered the unforgivable sin.’

Exuberant compliments flowed effortlessly from Panton’s pen. The Nazis had constructed a new utopia. ‘Berlin,’ he observed, ‘is the same as the pre-Hitler city plus the employment, the hope, faith and belief in the future which Hitler’s victory has brought to Germany.  Beneath everything there is an undercurrent of the new spirit of Hitlerism; the will to fight against circumstances, the will to refuse to become a doormat of fate…..They (Berliners) walk along the streets with more spirit. There is more work. More streets are being repaired at the present moment in Berlin than ever before. There are more motor cars on the streets. There are more happy faces.’ Uniformed Nazi thugs were depicted as virtual guardian angels of the new paradise.  Panton described how ‘the Nazi storm troopers in their smart brown uniforms, strangely enough, do not swagger along, puffed out with the arrogance born of victory. They merge into the crowd and seem one with the people. They seem busy young men, most of them hurrying along the streets with a portfolio clasped under their arms.’1


  1. Selkirk Panton, ‘The Truth About Berlin’, the Daily Express, 25 August 1933, p. 8.

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