The German Freedom Radio Station 

6 November 2020

Giving the Lie to Hitler.



Motherwell Times masthead

From the Motherwell Times for 5 January 1940

“The Nazis may cow millions of Germans into acquiescence by every kind of cruelty, but even in an enslaved land they cannot prevent the free spirit of man from finding a voice or that voice from reaching its audience. To-day the announcers of the secret ‘German Freedom’ radio station are broadcasting daily in spite of all that the Gestapo can do to put them down.”

So reads the preface to “Freedom Calling,” a booklet published by Frederick Muller, Ltd., London (price sixpence) and written by representatives in Great Britain of the secret Gorman radio station in order to bring to the notice of the British people some of its activities.

For long before the present war was started the German Freedom Station was calling upon the German people to overthrow the government of Hitler and all it stands for. Occasionally the station had to discontinue.

A month after the outbreak of the war a spurious “Freedom” station sought to supplant it: but the German people could easily distinguish the croaking of the raven from the battle-cry of the eagle.


Nazi leaders in court

The surviving Nazi leadership in court in Nuremberg on charges of crimes against humanity in 1945


Beer-Keller Bomb Incident.

When, for instance, on the day after the Bürgerbräu-Keller in Munich the fake Freedom Station declared, “The bombing was one of the greatest deeds in German history,” and when it continued with an appeal to the people of Germany to protect the bomb-throwers, every responsible member of the opposition inside Germany knew that it was the fake station which was transmitting. Only criminals, only Hitler’s fifth column outside Germany could broadcast such an appeal.

Inside Germany as well as outside Germany it was quickly realised that Hitler hnd tried to stage another “Reichstag Fire” in order to start a new terror campaign against the German opposition and in order to arouse chauvinist feelings in Germany against the British people. Claiming to be behind these bombings means nothing but claiming to be one of the agents of Hitler, and appealing to the German people to protect the instigators of this crime means nothing but appealing to the German people to rally around Hitler.

Though this fake station occasionally makes it impossible for the real Freedom Station to be heard — just as Goebbels succeeds occasionally in jamming it — the real Freedom Station remains an effective guide of the German people.

There is many a German home in the parlour of which the standard “People’s Set” — which is designed to receive only German stations — is conspicuously installed, says the booklet, while on the top shelf of tho cupboard or under the bed is the other set through which the Freedom Station may be heard.

Many a German radio mechanic or electrician spends his evening hours converting sets to short-wave reception, or constructing new sets which will receive short-wave broadcasts. This is risky work, of course, but millions of Germans are taking risks, in one way or the other — organising secret trade unions, organising prohibited political movements, and so on.


Map of Germany, spring 1940

Soviet map of ‘Greater Germany’ as it stood before May 1940


Germany Tunes in to 29.8 Metres.

On a certain day in January, 1937, millions of Germans were at their radio sets trying to tune in to foreign stations. Some of them, when using the short-wave happened to tune in to the 29.8 wave-length and suddenly heard a voice in German. They had never before heard German on this wavelength. They listened intently, were astonished and thrilled.

“Hallo! Hallo! The Anti-Fascist station is speaking! From to-day on we shall broadcast every night on tho short-wave, 29.8 metres. From to-night on, in spite of Hitler, we shall speak to you on a wavelength of 29.8 metres. The programme this evening begins with a true account of Hitler’s war preparations. This will be followed by a description of the resistance offered by the miners in the Saar territory to the wage cuts imposed by tho Brownshirt gangsters…”

News of the new transmitter spread fast throughout Germany. Within a few weeks most people had heard about the German Freedom Station.

So also, of course, did the Gestapo hear of it and immediately the whole machinery of the National-Socialist dictatorship began its suppressive work.

Where was the transmitter? If they could not find it, at least they would try to jam it. People tuning in to 29.8 metres heard only a frightful din. Discouraged, they songht another wave-length. On 31 metres came the voice of the Freedom Station. Then again the din. The voice was drowned. Then, yet again, it appeared this time on 29.3 metres. “In spite of Hitler, in spite of the Gestapo, we continue our broadcasts.”

And so began a duel in the ether.

Hundreds of thousands of Nazis have been engaged in the search for the station. But no one has succeeded in locating it. With few interruptions it has been transmitting news and Anti-Fascist programmes to the German people for almost three years.


A radio dial

The dial of a Volksempfänger (People’s radio) from Nazi Germany. Picture source: sébastien amiet;l on FlickrCC-BY-2.0 licence


Freedom Station’s “Ten Commandments For Germans.”

One important feature of the Freedom Station programme is the daily repetition of the “Ten Commandments for Germans” in their fight against Hitlerism, as follows:–

  1. You must work slow. Organise strikes and, if necessary, sabotage. If you are a soldier you must not shoot.
  2. You must fight against Hitler and his helpers, Goering, Hess, Krupp, and Thyssen, jointly with all enemies of Hitler. Only the unity of workers and peasants can lead to victory.
  3. You must spread the truth about Hitler’s abominable deeds whenever and wherever you con. Spread it, write it on little slips of paper which you can leave lying about, or speak it. The truth is a big weapon in the fight against National-Socialism.
  4. You must not believe Hitler’s lies. Do not trust Nazi papers. Do not believe one word of what the Nazi radio nays.
  5. You must not let yourself be robbed. Your taxes go into the pockets of the Nazi bosses and war profiteers. Suspend their savings and other banks. Do not deposit payment. Withdraw your money from your money in savings banks.
  6. You must make no distinction in race or religion. In Hitler Germany there ore only two categories of men: those who fill their pockets without working and those who aro hunted and oppressed by the regime. The hunted and oppressed are your friends.
  7. You must help the victims of National-Socialism wherever you can. The women whose husbands are in concentration camps, tha children whose parents have been assassinated by Hitler, need your help and sympathy.
  8. You must conduct the fight against Hitler methodically and systematically. Do not associate with anyone before you have tested him carefully. But join with him when you are sure he fights against Hitler.
  9. You must help to unmask spies, provocateurs, Hitler’s agents; be watchful and distrustful; beware false friends, they always come in new guise. When you have discovered a spy, make his name known to all friends.
  10. You shall and must fight against Hitler with all means and forces in your power. He has exiled the flower of German culture. He has imprisoned the flower of the German working class. He has enslaved the flower of the German peasants; and now leads all to death. Peace to the German people, death to the Hitler regime.


"Ein Volk - ein Reich - ein Fürher" painted on a wall

US troops stand in front of a Nazi propaganda slogan in Germany towards the end of the war


Message Broadcast from Glasgow Trades Council.

A Commonwealth War Graves Commission gravestone

A soldier, name and nationality unknown, buried in Dickebusch Old Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Belgium

The German Freedom Station has often been able to transmit messages to the german people from friends in other countries, messages to the German opposition, expressing encouragement and solidarity.

In November, 1939, the following message from Glasgow Trades Council was broadcast:–

“Glasgow Trades Council, representing 100,000 trade unionists, sends its warm fraternal greetings to the working people of Germany, and desires to convey to them expression of firmest solidarity in our common struggle to end the menace of Fascism which destroys our organisations and negates our elementary liberties.

“The present war, with its horror and frightfulness, is the outcome of the imperialist policy of robbery, plunder, and oppression of the peoples of all countries, and its continuance can bring no benefit to the working people, but on the contrary, must increase the burden for many generations to come

“We, like you, seriously and fervently desire peace, to permit us to strengthen our movement and build a system of society in Europe where war and its causes will be abolished for all time.

“We ask you to accept our greetings, and pledge ourselves to work unceasingly with you towards our common goal.”

And so the German Freedom Station carries on the work of giving the lie to Hitler and all his satellites.



❛❛Russ J Graham writes: This is quite a strange article on a number of fronts.

The main one I can think of is that the German Freedom Radio station wasn’t even on air at this point. It had been broadcasting since 1937 from Madrid, but the fall of the city to Franco’s fascist forces in March 1939 had taken it off air. It would return, this time from Moscow, in 1941 after Nazi Germany turned on its then-ally, the USSR.

Another is that, while it’s very firmly hinted, the article doesn’t come out and say who was behind the radio station, leaving the reader to think that it’s a general, broad-based opposition station. In fact, it was operated by the German Communist Party (KPD) – the clue is in the frequent mentions of “workers” and “peasants” – and thus firmly toed the KPD’s – and their Soviet bosses’ – line: one reason for the silence between 1939 and 1941 being that the Soviet line of the time was ‘peace with our German brothers’.

The text implies that the station was located in Germany itself, which is a fine boost to those at home in the UK who liked to think there was an active and powerful opposition movement in Nazi Germany. But the presence of the station on shortwave rather than mediumwave should have told them that it was not local.

A final point is the propagandist idea that a cowed population of Nazi Germany were hurriedly altering their Volksempfänger sets in great numbers in order to listen to what is clearly yet more angry shouting about what to do and not do. They were already getting enough of that from the Reichssender stations readily available at home in clearer quality. Unless you were already a communist, are you really going to tune into an alternative hectoring voice, only this time with less popular music between the propaganda?

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