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Kraft durch Freude (German for Strength through Joy, abbreviated KdF) was a large state-operated leisure organization in Nazi Germany. It was a part of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), the national German labor organization at that time. Set up as a tool to promote the advantages of National Socialism to the people, it soon became the world’s largest tourism operator of the 1930s.
KdF was supposed to bridge the class divide by making middle-class leisure activities available to the masses. This was underscored by having cruises with passengers of mixed classes and having them, regardless of social status, draw lots for allocation of cabins. Large ships, such as Wilhelm Gustloff, were built specifically for KdF cruises. Another, less ideological goal was to boost the German economy by stimulating the tourist industry out of its slump from the 1920s. It was quite successful up until the outbreak of World War II. By 1934, over two million Germans had participated on a KdF trip; by 1939 the reported numbers lay around 25 million people. The organization essentially collapsed in 1939, and several projects, such as the massive Prora holiday resort at the Baltic Sea, were never completed. (source: Wikipedia)
This lot here is a very complete set of official brochures plus the original KdF voucher book of a train/cruise ship vacation an unmarried woman (‘Fräulein’) took on the KdF ship ‘Der Deutsche’ in 1938. Her trip started by train from Essen to Genua (the voucher book still contains some coupons for refreshments on the train) and from there a cruise back through the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar and through the Atlantic and North Sea to Bremerhaven, Germany. The four page brochures (one for each day) contain the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner on one side and interesting facts about the ship, the travel destinations and the sights that will be visited. The lady who went on that cruise must have treasured these brochures and the voucher book as souvenirs of what was back then a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the average German. Everything is in excellent condition and an interesting glimpse on an ingenious invention the Nazis had: offering affordable vacations to distant destinations, build an affordable car (which was prevented only because of the outbreak of the war), affordable housing and good working conditions – all because a healthy and happy person can contribute much more to society than someone who is overworked, is unhealthy and probably therefore unhappy.


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