Antelope Hill Publishing

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Die Fahne Hoch: Three Biographies of Horst Wessel


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228 pages, 5.5″x8.5″


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  • Horst Wessel: Life and Death, by Erwin Reitmann
  • SA Sturmführer Horst Wessel: A Portrait of a Life of Sacrifice, by Fritz Daum
  • Horst Wessel: Through Storm and Struggle to Immortality, by Max Kullak

Horst Ludwig Georg Erich Wessel, born in Bielefeld in 1907, was the most celebrated martyr of the National Socialist movement. As a Sturmführer in the brown-shirted Sturmabteilung (SA), Horst Wessel led his men in Berlin, where the Communist paramilitary Red Front Fighters’ League did their best to disrupt the activities of the new German Nationalists. In response to his capable leadership, which threatened the Communist stranglehold on much of the city, the Red Front put out a hit on the young SA-Man. His resulting death at the hands of a cowardly Communist assassin—a pimp and petty criminal named Albrecht Höhler—became a rallying cry for his comrades all across Germany (Höhler would later be executed by the SA following the seizure of power in 1933).


The namesake of this book—“Die Fahne Hoch,” or “Raise the Flag”—is a song written by Horst Wessel as a fighting song for the SA. After his martyrdom, it was adopted as the official anthem of the NSDAP and later as the national anthem of the Third Reich itself, as the Horst-Wessel-Lied. The three biographies in this collection are not so much dry factual recitations as they are passionate eulogies for a young man who laid down his life for his country, driven by idealism and a fanatical love for his people. Horst Wessel’s stature as an icon of the Third Reich achieved such heights that the legend of his life and death crosses into the territory of founding mythology for National Socialist Germany.


Horst Wessel served as an example to the youth of a defeated and desperate nation, a shining illustration of the value of courage and devotion, and proof that noble deeds often far outlive one’s own life and even the original circumstances in which they were made. Antelope Hill is proud to bring these short biographies together in one collection, Die Fahne Hoch, newly translated for the English reader.

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