View Full Version : What Did Average Citizens Call the Nazis?

04-28-2010, 06:46 AM
I've researched and researched, and then researched some more. I know the length of time it took to get between the two cities by train, I know the street names on her route home from school, I know the colors of the buildings she passes, but in all of my research, I never thought to stop and notice:

What did the average Austrian citizen call the Nazis?

My character and her family are not pro-Nazi. And the Nazis I am referring to are the ones who would patrol on the streets or in the train stations. This is probably a silly question, but the more I think about it, the more I question myself. In all of the eye witness accounts I've read during that time, the witnesses all refer to them as Nazis, but I don't know if that is because they are using the word that history has given them in hindsight or if that is what they were really referred as.

Thanks in advance.

04-28-2010, 07:15 AM
Just the Polizei? The Staatspolizei? I'm guessing. But it's short for National Staatspolitzei if that helps your Google-Fu or jogs anyone's memory :)

I do know a very rude Occupied French term for them if you need that.

ETA: Correction. Nazi is short for Nationalsozialismus. It's Gestapo I was thinking of (Geheime Staatspolizei). Sorry! Perhaps the jogging still worked :)

04-28-2010, 07:24 AM
I didn't read it all, but this looks really helpful:


04-29-2010, 12:36 AM
Native German here, but not Austrian and born about 4 decades too late.

"Nazi" is (and was) most commonly used, but another (a bit more colloquial) term is "Braunhemd", "brownshirt". It refers to the party uniform, see here. (http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=4647)

Even today the colour brown is strongly associated with Nazism in Germany, to such a degree that it can be used as a synonym.

I was pretty shocked when I first met a Joss Whedon/Serenity/Firefly fan who referred to himself as a "Browncoat". :D

Chris P
04-29-2010, 12:38 AM

Silver King
04-29-2010, 05:01 AM
Nazi is an acronym for Nationalsozialist, and those who belonged to the party were known as Nazis. The term was most definitely used by "average Austrians," as well as by just about everyone else the world over during that time.

04-29-2010, 05:27 AM
Okay. My character is a ten-year old girl, so I also want it to be realistic coming from her. So if I have her referring to them as Nazis (which she currently does), or "braunhemd"/"brownshirt" (which I sort of like even better), either would technically be correct?

04-29-2010, 05:39 AM
"Herr Shirt"?

Silver King
04-29-2010, 05:53 AM
A ten-year-old would likely refer to a group by what she hears most, in particular taking on terms she hears spoken by her parents.

Not sure why this is such a sticking point for your narrative. It's a period piece, and during that time, members of the Nationalsozialist were referred to as simply Nazis. The word, early on and for some years after, had little of the negative connotations that have since been associated with the movement.

04-30-2010, 04:06 AM
Didn't Hitler turn his SS on the SA in a purge during the Night of the Long Knives? The Brownshirts were mostly thugs while Hitler wanted to create a more professional army plus, the Brownshirts were becoming powerful and were a threat to Hitler. The Brownshirts really wanted the Socialist in National Socialist while Hitler was anti-Socialist and anti-Communist. That was June 30, 1934.

Germany entered Austria in the spring of 1938, so there wouldn't have been Brownshirts there.