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DAF - Deutsche ArbeitsFront
The German Labor Front

DAF - Deutsche ArbeitsFront - German Labor Front

Uniforms & Accessories, Flags, Awards, Medals, Badges, Insignia, etc.

DAF History

The German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF) under the leadership of Reichsleiter Dr. Robert Ley was set up immediately after the Nazi Party took power in 1933. The party declared all Trade Unions illegal and abolished them throughout Germany. Membership was forbidden and their property and money was confiscated. Workers were compelled to join the new DAF under a new set of rules and pay about 1.5% of their monthly wages as dues. Under National Socialism, employers could demand more of their workers. In exchange, the workers were given increased work security and various social security programs. The DAF strived to control capitalism, liberalism, labor unrest, and strikes that could damage the national socialist state.

Theoretically the DAF existed to act as a medium through which workers and owners could mutually represent their interests. However, in reality it was a means by which workers were controlled, ensuring wage demands were not made too often. Wages were set by twelve DAF trustees. The Arbeitsfront gave the workers social and leisure program such as the KdF, canteens, regular work breaks, and regular working times. Generally, German workers were quite satisfied by what the DAF gave them in exchange for their absolute loyalty.

DAF membership was theoretically voluntary, but any workers in any area of German commerce or industry would have found it hard to get a job without being a member. Membership required a fee within the range of 15 pfennig to 3 reichsmark, depending on the category a member fell into in a large scale of 20 membership groups. A substantially large amount of income was raised through dues. (In 1934, the total intake was 300,000,000 reichsmark.)

The DAF consisted of:

  • The National Socialist Factory Organization (Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellenorganisation, NSBO)
  • The National Socialist Trade and Industry Organization (NS-Handels und Gewerbeorganisation, NSHAGO)
  • The Food Estate (Reichsnahrstand) representing agriculture
  • The Reich Culture Chamber
  • The Association of NS German Jurists
  • The Trustees of Labour (Treuhänder der Arbeit) consisting of thirteen members
  • The Reich Industrial Authority (Reichstand der Industrie) consisting of twelve members
  • The Organisation of German Industrialists
  • The Gauleiters of the Nazi Party.

Several other sub-organisations were set up:

  • Kraft durch Freude (KdF; Strength through Joy) - Organisation giving the workers cheap/free holidays in addition to subsidised sporting and leisure facilities.
  • Schönheit der Arbeit (SdA; Beauty of Work) - Aimed to make workplaces more enticing to workers (e.g. renovations of outdated factories, new canteens for workers, smoking-free rooms, cleaner working spaces etc.).
  • Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD; Reich Labour Service) - solved the unemployment crisis the Nazis inherited by providing cheap labour for big state projects, such as the Autobahns, labor was compulsory for unemployed men 16-25 in 1935.

The structure of the DAF paralleled the structure of the NSDAP. Its organisation reached from the Zentralbüro controlled by the Leiter der Deutschen Arbeitsfront Dr Ley down through Gau, Kreis and Ortsgruppen levels to the smallest factory trade cell (Betriebszellen) led by a Betriebsfiihrer or Trade Unit Leader. The purpose of the DAF was to ensure political stability and the strike-free running of German industry and commerce. The Werksscharen had the outward appearance of a shop steward but they were really the watchdogs of the NSDAP who controlled the workers at the source.

In November 1933 the DAF issued dark blue uniforms which were paid for by the union members. Rank was indicated by a series of arm chevrons, silver for the low ranks and gold for the higher leaders. Four colours indicated the various State levels: yellow for OberstWerksscharführer; red for Gau-Werksscharführer; black for Kreis-Werksscharführer, and light blue for Haupt-Werksscharführer and Werksscharführer. These four colours were used as piping to the shoulder straps and for the coloured lanyards worn on the uniform.

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