Up to the present day, over 60 years after the defeat of Germany and the Axis powers by the Allied powers in World War II, there is still a fascination with Nazi Germany. A large portion of this fascination stems from the atrocities committed by Hitler-led Germany, prior to and during the war, and a lack of understanding as to how a civilized country such as Germany could allow such events to occur. My purpose here is not to delve into how Hitler was able to lead Germany down such a path, but to look at a set of postal emissions from that government. In particular, I am going to examine the set of stamps issued during the period of 1941 through 1944, popularly called the “Hitler Heads”.

As a youth, this set of stamps attracted many of those in my generation of Baby Boomers that grew up following World War II. Many of us knew little about Hitler or, in fact, exactly what had occurred during World War II. Our parents wanted to put those times behind and, in many families, there was limited discussion of what happened. Despite that, the Hitler Heads attracted many of us budding stamp collectors. The set is large enough to be a challenge and has two basic designs, one for the lower denominations (up through the 80 pfennig) and one for the upper denominations (1 through 5 marks). Although all values in the set have the same profile of Hitler, the lower values (through the 80 pfennig) have a solid background, while the upper values (1 mark and above) have a line background. The set also has stamps in three different sizes: the one pfennig through 24 pfennig stamps (Scott numbers 506 through 517) are 18 millimeters by 22 millimeters; the 25 pfennig through 80 pfennig values (Scott numbers 518 through 523) are 21 millimeters by 26 milimeters; and the 1 through 5 mark stamps (Scott numbers 524 through 527) are 24 by 30 millimeters. In addition, there is a 42 pfennig value (Scott number 529) issued in 1944 that some include with the set. It is identical in size and design to the 25 through 80 pfennig values, except that it is inscribed “Grossdeutsches Reich” at the bottom instead of “Deutsches Reich”.

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