The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


Tarnschriften are anti-Nazi booklets and periodicals that were published outside Germany between 1933 and 1945, often by Communist groups. The front and back pages are disguised with non-political content, hiding the anti-Nazi messages inside and effectively camouflaging the publication. For example, some of the covers in our collection include instructions on how to play chess, a health and safety calendar and even a sample of Lyon's tea. The publications were smuggled into Germany to gain support for the resistance.

The Wiener Library has the largest collection of Tarnschriften outside Germany, approximately 200 titles in total.

You can find the Tarnschriften through our Online Catalogue by searching for ‘Tarnschriften' as a subject term. If you are generally interested in resistance material, use the terms ‘Illegal pamphlets' or ‘Illegal Press' to find both disguised and undisguised material.

Excentric shampoo (Tarnschrift P88) WL3865

Excentric shampoo - sleeve containing anti-facist writings (Tarnschrift P88)

Image WL3865

Lyons' Red Label tea (Tarnschrift P256) WL3867

Tea sample also containing anti-war and anti-fascist propaganda (Tarnschrift P256)

Image WL3867

Health & safety cover for anti-Nazi pamphlet 'Freiheit' (Tarnschrift P180a) WL5311

Health & safety cover for anti-Nazi pamphlet 'Freiheit' (Tarnschrift P180a), January 1938

Image WL5311

Anti-Nazi pamphlet consealed in 'BG Kalender' (Tarnschrift P180a) WL5311

Anti-Nazi pamphlet consealed in 'BG Kalender', viz left (Tarnschrift P180a), January 1938

Image WL5312