Enemy transmitter

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Schedule for a US radio station in Europe during World War II

The term Feindsender was coined in the Nazi state during the Second World War and referred to radio stations whose listening was forbidden by the Nazis . Mostly these were foreign, sometimes also in Germany.


When the war began in 1939 , the Nazi regime introduced numerous new laws and bans, including the “ Ordinance on Extraordinary Broadcasting Measures ” of September 1, 1939. It threatened listening to foreign radio stations with heavy fines. Listeners to satirical contributions or music programs like Jazz and Swing often got away with a warning from the Gestapo , but also had to expect the radio to be confiscated or even a prison sentence. Disseminating tapped messages from enemy broadcasters could be punished with imprisonment or even death . The military force decomposition paragraph was interpreted more and more in the course of the war.

The London BBC quickly developed into the strongest foreign enemy broadcaster , and Vatican Radio was also considered an enemy broadcaster . Other foreign stations owned in Germany were Radio Moscow , Radio Oranje , a broadcast of the Dutch government-in-exile in Dutch on the BBC's wave, Radio Beromünster from Switzerland and the British propaganda station in German Gustav Siegfried 1 and Soldatensender Calais (see Clandestine- Radio ). Various, rather small, black channels emerged within the country .

A warning against eavesdropping on
enemy transmitters was placed on people's receivers .
Two death sentences for the conversion of radio receivers; January 28, 1944

Not only listening to unwanted stations was punished. In September 1939 own sending was also banned: All authorizations of the German Reichspost were declared invalid. All existing radio equipment of German radio amateurs was expropriated and confiscated without compensation or had to be delivered to the delivery post office.

Some Germans, for example the groups of four , distributed the content of foreign stations within the country despite the ban. The exiled writer Thomas Mann called out over the radio “ German listeners! “To give the world a sign of resistance and thus the existence of a better Germany.

List of enemy transmitters

  • British Broadcasting Corporation / BBC
    German broadcasts begin in September 1938 with Prime Minister Chamberlain's speech.
  • Gustav Siegfried 1 The most
    successful British secret broadcaster because it was the most listened to, headed by Sefton Delmer , broadcast from May 1941 to November 1943, according to some sources until May 1944.
  • German shortwave transmitter Atlantik
    British secret transmitter, directed by Sefton Delmer, broadcast from February 1943 to May 1945 and addressed German submarine crews.
  • Soldierensender Calais
    Founding of the secret station on October 24, 1943, because a new, powerful medium wave transmitter in Sussex was underutilized. The free capacities were made available to Sefton Delmer. Otto John and Karl Theodor von und zu Guttenberg were among the staff . The content and structure were largely identical to the "Atlantic shortwave station" (see above). The soldier broadcaster broadcast a continuous live program every day from 8.30pm to midnight. The program gave the impression that it was a German Wehrmacht broadcaster. The perfect camouflage was achieved for a long time by broadcasting popular music, sports results and reports of events in Germany. Occasionally, however, morally degrading information was interspersed. Hitler was never attacked personally, only people from his environment.
  • Christ King
    British secret transmitter, which broadcast from September 15, 1942 to April 19, 1945 on alternating shortwave frequencies. It disguised itself as a church broadcaster, as the name suggests.
  • Voice of America
    Official voice of America since February 1942. Official carrier of the " Office of War Information ". The VOA newscasts produced, radio plays, music and entertainment programs and broadcasting series such as "We fight back." The up to 65 programs per day were taken over by programs in the USA, but mainly by ABSiE and Radio Luxemburg .
  • American Broadcasting Station in Europe / ABSiE
    Since 1944 the official mouthpiece of the US government for Europe. Editorial office in London.
  • Radio Luxembourg
    broadcast after the liberation of Luxembourg from September 1944 as the official mouthpiece of the Allied headquarters . The head of the German service was Hans Habe .
  • Sender 1212
    American secret broadcaster in Luxembourg, which was aimed at the German population in the Rhineland between December 1944 and the end of April 1945 and disguised itself as the mouthpiece of a Rhenish separatist group. It had a similar concept to the Calais soldier channel (see above).
  • Radio Moscow
    Official mouthpiece of the USSR since 1929 in German. Airtime 76 hours a week (November 1944). In contrast to the BBC, German employees essentially wrote the German programs.
  • Ghost
    voice Irregular broadcasts by German emigrants from Moscow, between 1941 and 1944, whenever Radio Moscow had free
    broadcasting capacity.
  • Station “Free Germany”
    Station of the “ National Committee Free Germany ” from July 1943 to September 1945 from Moscow. Branch offices in the Lumjowo and Krasnogorsk POW camps. Programs made up of comments, messages, appeals, but also cultural contributions, music programs, church services and greetings from prisoners-of-war soldiers home. Generals like Walther von Seydlitz and Friedrich Paulus made appeals to the homeland.
  • Deutscher Freiheitsender 29.8
    One of the first anti-fascist black channels of the exile KPD . Start of broadcasting in January 1937 from a location near Madrid.
  • German freedom
    transmitter Camouflage transmitter from French government agencies from September 1939 to June 1940.
  • Radio Strasbourg / Radiodiffusion Française
    Since 1930 German-language program for the German minority in Alsace-Lorraine. Broadcasting ended in June 1940.
  • Radio Oranje
    Radio program of the Dutch government in exile from BBC channels between May 1940 and May 1945.
  • Deutscher Volkssender
    Successor of the German freedom broadcaster 29.8.


  • Michael P. Hensle: Forced laborers as "enemy listeners" . In: Yearbook for Research on the History of the Labor Movement , Issue I / 2004.
  • Michael P. Hensle: Broadcasting Crimes . Listening to "enemy broadcasts" during National Socialism. Metropol, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-936411-05-0 ( series of documents, texts, materials 49).
  • Michael Hensle: "Broadcasting crimes " before National Socialist special courts. A comparative study of judgment practice in the Reich capital Berlin and the southern Baden province. Dissertation. Berlin 2001 ( tu-berlin.de [PDF; 2.4 MB ; accessed on March 2, 2019]).
  • Karin Falkenberg: "Inhale English" - Listening to foreign stations during the Second World War. In: The archive , ed. from DGPT , Issue 1/2011 , ISSN  1611-0838 , pp. 34-38.
  • Werner Röhr, Brigitte Berlekamp, ​​Berlin Society for Research on Fascism and World War II: Topic “Broadcasting Crimes” before special courts. Organon, 1999.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. http://www.badische-zeitung.de/template/_nwas_vorlagen/load_ole_pdf.php?ref=DOLE/q*82r36gjqjoh801oq35v  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.badische-zeitung.de  
  2. List after: The struggle for the ether waves: enemy propaganda in World War II . Edited by Hans Sarkowicz and Michael Crone with the collaboration of the German broadcast archive. Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt a. Main 1990, pp. 62-71. - Comprehensive: Conrad Pütter: Radio against the "Third Reich": German-language radio activities in exile, 1933–1945, a manual . Saur, Munich 1986, 388 pages ( limited preview in the Google book search)