Weihnachtsfeier im RAD Lager 6/274 - Rheinsheim 1937

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The photograph here shows young Arbeitsmann of the 6/274 Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) celebrating a Weihnachtsfeier (Christmas Party) at their Lager in 1937. The location of their Lager (Camp) is as written on the reverse of the photo Rheinsheim, which is located in Baden, South Germany. Rheinsheim is located near to the Rhine

The photograph shows the young Arbeitsmann seen standing in a barracks room posing alongside a Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree) for a special Christmas photograph . The Weihnachtsbaum can be seen in shot to the left, decorated with thin streaky tinsel and hanging decorations of decorated bells and stars.

The Arbeitsmann are all seen wearing the smart open parade dress tunics. These in combination with a shirt and tie make the uniform not only sharp and smart but iconic to the style of the Reichsarbeitsdienst. There is tow different variants of this type of parade tunic, both of which are seen in this photograph. Seen just in front of the Weihnachtsbaum to the left is an Arbeitsmann seen wearing the 1933 pattern parade tunic, this is seen by four spaced out buttons and the straight bottom pockets of the tunic. This is seen in comparison the the 1936 Parade tunic that has slanted pockets and three buttons close together as seen worn by the Feldmeister who is seen with his collar patch insignia to the right.

Seen in the centre is a Arbeitsmann seen holding a toy baby doll. It is uncertain as to why he is holding one but it is suggested as a part of some joke amongst the Arbeitsmann seen at the Weihnachtsfeier. To the right of this Arbeitsmann can be seen another 1933 Pattern tunic, here is also seen wearing a armband as do all Arbeitsmann despite not being aan NSDAP organisation. In addition in wear above this is a clear view of the Abteilung patch which is sewn onto the tunic as seen above the armband. This reads the numbers "274/6", this as the reverse states is the Arbeitsgruppe and Abteilung number. These Arbeitsmann belonging to the 6th Abteilung of the 274th Arbeitsgruppe of Rheinsheim.

The photograph here is accompanied by music sheet, cap badge and collar patch insignia. The Music sheet is owned by the Reichsarbeitsdienst, this is seen by the stamping top right that reads clearly as "Reichsarbeitsdienst" , below this states the area and number, however the number isn't 274/6 as seen in this photo it is a music sheet owned by the RAD that would have seen use at a similar event. The music sheet is "An der schönen blauen Donau", more commonly known as "The Blue Donau" is a famous piece of Austrian waltz music. This is the soprano cornet II IN B version of The Blue Donau, this being a brass music sheet.

The metal cap badge to the top right is the symbol of the Reichsarbeitsdienst. The shovel in the symbolises the labour that the RAD carried out, this seen with a Swastika in the centre showing their support the the Third Reich and finally wheat seen either side to symbolise the representation of labour in agriculture. The wheat and shovel being the evolutionary symbol from the RAD predecessor, the Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst (FAD). The FAD was a voluntary labour service, much like the origins of the RAD, this was until RAD membership became mandatory during the second world war.

The collar patch seen alongside the photograph is a collar patch that denotes a rank in the Reichsarbeitsdienst. The entry level of the RAD, known as Arbeitsmann (Working man) didnt require any form of collar insignia. This collar patch would be used for ranks of; Obertruppführer, Truppführer, Untertruppführer, Obervormann,Vormann. The reason for so many ranks being eligible for this collar patch is due to the identification between these ranks by other forms of insignia such as sleeve patches and shoulder boards to distinguish the different ranks among the RAD. Whilst the rank that would wear this collar patch is not present in the photograph, it does give a context to the photograph. The collar patch that would have been worn by the Feldmeister would be very similar but have a thicker silver treße in the centre as appose to a white line.

This is a crisp photograph showing a Christmas party celebrated by young Arbeitsmann of the Reichsarbietsdienst in their barracks. The decorations of the Christmas tree to the right showing the effort the RAD has gone through to hold a celebratory party for the festive season. Likely to encourage support for the RAD and make a memory for these young Arbeitsmann that will stay with them through later years. At this time they are yet to see the start of the second world war, they can peacefully work and enjoy the festive season.

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