Signal. Sonderausgabe der
Berliner Illustrirten Zeitung.
Deutscher Verlag Berlin,
1940 – 1945.





Documents & Research




[ News ] → News Archives

Sunday, July 6, 2008   List update

Click to access listThe list of issues and editions has been updated for the first time since 2005. Among the numerous changes is a new category for copies that were no longer widely distributed but have nevertheless been found in a few instances.

Click to access list

Monday, May 20, 2008   Late-war Finnish copies

Fi 17/1944A correspondent has submitted photos of four late-war Finnish copies that were no longer widely distributed.

Regular distribution of the Finnish edition came to an abrupt halt following the Finnish-Russian armistice agreement. At this point in time, in September 1944, Signal was suffering from massive delays in distribution. In consequence the last issue to be widely circulated in Finland was No. 12/1944. No. 13/1944 was still shipped to Finland but not disseminated anymore; the handful of copies that have been found seem to originate from uncirculated warehouse stock.

Despite the armistice, "phantom" distribution of the Finnish edition appears to have continued — on a vastly reduced level: of Fi 18/1944, only 2,000 copies were still printed; by 1945, the edition's print run had dwindled to a mere 500 copies.

Fi 14/1944 Fi 17/1944

Fi 18/1944 Fi 19/1944

Contents pages of Fi 14/1944, 17/1944, 18/1944, and 19/1944

It is believed that the magazine trickled into Finland via diplomatic and private channels from Sweden. An unproven assertion has been made that some of the copies were marked on the cover with a list of recipients. The extent and nature of this clandestine distribution is as yet unclear; presumably, the Finnish readership was largely comprised of high-ranking sympathisers in the military. The last Finnish issue explicitly mentioned in period documents is No. 3/1945, but even later copies may have been printed.

Fi 19/1944

Cover of Fi 19/1944

I would be grateful for readers' submissions that shed further light on this matter.

Sunday, May 4, 2008   Paris exhibit of Zucca's color slides making waves

An exhibition of 270 color slides of wartime Paris by Signal correspondent André Zucca has come under fierce criticism for providing little historical information to put them in context. The consternation is largely due to Zucca having selectively--and not entirely unexpectedly--photographed the bright side of daily life under the German occupation, thus providing a glimpse which doesn't quite square with the prevalent perception in France of wartime Paris as hell. The debate has led to visitors being handed a leaflet advising them that the exhibit "doesn't show the reality of occuption".

Copies of Signal are visible in some of the slides.

Press articles: Photo exhibit shows Paris under Nazi occupation, minus the misery (International Herald Tribune, illustrated); Paris Under the Nazis: Happy Days? (TIME, illustrated); France still can't confront its wartime self (The Independent).

The exhibit "The Parisians Under the Occupation" is opened until July 1 at the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris:

11/21/05   A Rare Find

What better way to finally update this webpage again than with a truly elusive item that has recently been discovered? Enrique Xesta has kindly provided photos of his latest acquisition:

Front cover of P 2/45 P 2/45 spine

P 2/45, Collection Enrique Xesta.

While documentary evidence had previously suggested the Polish edition ran at least to number 3/45, and possibly to the very end (as reflected in the list of issues and editions), the latest confirmed issue so far had been number 1/45.

Despite its considerable print run of approximately 100,000 copies the Polish edition nowadays is exceedingly difficult to find. The fact that its circulation was even increased in 1945 despite the Polish territories gradually falling into Soviet hands may indicate that it was also disseminated to the various Ostarbeiter (East Worker) camps inside the Reich.

There is now confirmation for Polish numbers 15/44 through 2/45, with the exception of number 16/44. Readers who can help confirm any other issues are encouraged to contact the webmaster.

08/24/05   Russian Edition: Covers of Ost 1/45 Confirmed

Following a year-long hunt Richard Funke finally managed to obtain a specimen of Ost 1/45 and has kindly provided us with scans of the front and back cover.

Ost 1/45 front cover Ost 1/45 back cover

Ost 1/45, Collection Richard Funke.

Of note is that both covers are dedicated to peaceful motives as opposed to the more common pairing of military and civilian themes.

The Russian edition changed its code from Rus to Ost with number 6/44. To this date the printing of issues up to Ost 3/45 has been confirmed.

07/01/05   List of Issues and Editions: Full Revision

Click to access listI'm pleased to announce a full revision of the list of issues and editions. Please see the revised introduction page for further details.

03/19/05   Yet Another Advertising Poster

Click to access updateAnother promotional poster has been added to the Paraphernalia Gallery.

01/28/05   Swedish Advertising Poster Found!

Click to access updateEnrique Xesta has submitted a remarkable piece of paraphernalia from his collection: a poster announcing the newly-launched Swedish edition of Signal.

You can view it by clicking on the image, or by following this link.

I am finally taking this webpage out of hiatus again. My apologies to all who have been patiently waiting for new material. I'd also like to thank all fellow researchers who have encouraged me to go ahead with this project, and who have continued to send me updates on their findings. Many new discoveries have been made during the past months, and I will gradually update the website so that it will reflect the present state of our collective knowledge. Due to time constraints this is inevitably going to be a slow process, so I must ask for your continued patience.

For now I will set this off with a modest addition to the "Bits and Pieces" gallery: a new photo showing the famous 'Daumier' poster advertising Signal in Paris.

06/13/04   Hungarian Edition Follow-Up: Code 'U' Confirmed (updated)

U 12/44As reported earlier on this website (18 January 2004), first evidence had surfaced of a change in the code of the Hungarian edition: Raimo Kotiranta submitted scans of a Hungarian number 11/44 which appeared to have the code U instead of D/U. This was established through a comparison with an earlier D/U copy, though there was no definite confirmation as the issue in question was damaged.

The ironclad proof we have been looking for has since been submitted by Sébastien Saur, who together with Olivier Rondel visited a local show in April this year and picked up a few copies of the Hungarian edition: D/U 3/44 (with variation cover), U 12/44 (regular cover, scan of code pictured right), and U 14/44 (variation cover). Scans of these variation cover numbers can be found on Olivier Rondel's website in the cover variations section. Olivier recently acquired another Hungarian cover variation: D/U 9/44 features Admiral Horthy on its cover, in a very unusual layout.

I was contacted by a person in Budapest who was able to confirm that the Hungarian edition continued at least until number 17/44, which significantly goes beyond our previous assumptions. This person also submitted photos of U 11/44 through 17/44. Two of these numbers have variation color covers: 12/44 (as mentioned above), and 16/44:

U 14/44U 16/44

U 14/44 features Hungarian General Lakatos. The red circle text says "General Géza Lakatos, recipient of the Knight's Cross."

U 16/44 depicts Hungarian soldiers on their horses as they cross a wooden bridge. The red circle's text reads "Always on horse: the traditional Hungarian cavalry spirit is alive in the new army, which can be proud of its well-trained cavalry units. Photo taken by KB Koch."

In summary, we can thus conclude that the bilingual edition (D/U) went Hungarian-only, just like D/I and D/Sp lost their German contents in favor of customized articles tailored to the respective countries and volunteers. For the Hungarian version, this change occured with number 11/44; the edition then continued to be published under the new code U at least until number 17/44:

    D/U: 7/41 (8/41?) — 10/44
    U    : 11/44 — 17/44 (and possibly onwards into 1945)

Known variation covers:
  • 3/44 (compare with extra color plate A from issue 7/44)
  • 9/44 (color)
  • 14/44 (color)
  • 16/44 (color)

As always, further information and any questions on these findings are very welcome.

Just a brief note that Ost 9/44 has been confirmed:

Ost 9/44 front coverOst 9/44 back cover
Ost 9/44 front and back cover. Pictures courtesy of Jeff Hanson.

This number is largely composed of an article and photos about the Georgian volunteers, as well as items on the Ostarbeiter (eastern laborers) and the usual mix of cultural and scientific features. Notice that unlike issues from other editions of this time, the front cover features an idyllic scenery, whereas it is the back cover that is military-themed. An unusual composition only seen on a handful of issues.

Higher-resolution images of the covers (800x1024x256 GIF, about 650 KByte each) can be requested by email. Further pages (complete with translations) may be provided at a later time.

Villers-BocageVillers-Bocage Jeff Hanson informs me that Editions Heimdal recently published a book by Henri Marie titled "Villers-Bocage: Normandy 1944" (1) (2) (3).

The book includes a cover shot of issue 16/44, plus some more shots of the two men with I. SS-Panzer-Korps who appeared on the Signal cover. There is a large black&white photo of these SS soldiers taken at about the same time and place in the Rue Pasteur, close to the wreck of Michael Wittmann's Tiger I (1) (2) (3).

04/23/04   Propaganda Backlash

''Sinyal''As it turns out, that false 'Belgian' Signal may not be the only counter-propaganda product designed to resemble the original magazine: pictured on the right is an item in the possession of US researcher Jeff Hanson, who has kindly granted permission to feature it here.

We are looking at what appears to be an Allied propaganda magazine modeled on the original Signal. It may be of British origin, and seems to be of high quality. Notice how the cover's painting forms a death's head!

The language is Turkish. Rather than the "Signal/ISIK" title found on the actual Turkish edition (code ) of Signal, this oddity features a "Sinyal" logo instead, which is also a correct translation of the German word "Signal". There is no edition code present on the 1941-dated cover.

The source from which it was acquired from indicates it may have been distributed in Turkey, though we have no information if it was properly sold at newsstands, or possibly dropped from Allied airplanes.

I'm hoping to post a follow-up on this remarkable oddity in a little while.

Just a brief note that Olivier Rondel has updated his excellent French website about Signal with a number of highly interesting wartime photographs and paper items of Signal being sold and advertized. It's well worth checking out!

Website has been updated with a new entry to the Galleries section.

03/02/04   "The List" goes 1.0
Click on thumbnail to access listThe list of published issues and editions has been updated, bringing the version number to 1.0. There's quite a lot of modifications, you will find a brief overview on the most important changes and additions when clicking on either the link above, or the thumbnail to the right.

Of particular importance is that I will now accept the existence of 'gaps' in at least two editions I previously held to be complete: both the Dutch and Danish edition appear to be missing certain issues, meaning these numbers are unaccounted for – no collector has them in their collection.

The issues concerned are H 21/43 as well as Da 3/44, 13/44, 14/44. Further research may result in them being removed entirely, for now they have been tagged with a question mark indicating lack of confirmation of their production and/or publication. I would like to express my thanks to Enrique Fernandez Xesta for pointing this out to me as well as everyone else for contributing to the resulting investigation.

The adding of U as an effectively confirmed variation of edition D/U is the result of evidence submitted by Raimo Kotiranta.

As an upcoming project the list will serve as a template for a separate list of confirmed issues, i.e. those numbers to which there is palpable evidence such as cover scans, photos, or the assertion of a fellow collector confirming that they have the issue in question in their collection. At present I have come to about 650 confirmed issues myself, though it is likely we can get to 1,000 or more when sharing our knowledge.

In order to keep up with new research and theories that have cropped up over the last months, I have given my analysis of the Deutscher Verlag file note from February 1945 a full revision with what I hope are some interesting enhancements. Thanks to all contributors, let's continue to share those speculations!

02/25/04   (updated)
This news item concerning the sustained misrepresentation of regular issues of Signal on eBay as containing "extra color pages" has been removed; the seller in question appears to be using accurate descriptions now. Two thumbs up for this honorable decision.

In continuation of his recent discovery mentioned in the last news update below, Carlos Diez has now updated his website with an entry on the extra color plate variation in issue 9/44 of the Spanish edition (fourth item from the top). There also are a number of other recent additions to the 'Curiosities' section which are well worth browsing.

Carlos Diez reports on Monday, February 2, that in the Spanish edition there is a difference in the extra color plate 'D' of issue 9/44. Apparently this is another incident of replacing morally objectionable material (in this case, a young girl playing naked in a fountain) in the Spanish edition, which unlike all the other versions of Signal is known for having had nudity and/or salacious material removed in at least one other occasion (see the curiosities section of Carlos Diez's Signal website, third item from the top). More information to follow soon.

There's a very interesting thread with color photographs from Signal over at the Axis History Forum.

01/18/04   Confirmation of A New Edition Code?

All-Hungarian number 11/44 of SignalFrom Finnish collector Raimo Kotiranta come these interesting scans which may very well be a small sensation in the research of Signal. Pictured on the right is what could be an issue with the code U instead of the familiar bilingual version D/U (German/Hungarian) of Signal.

It is very unfortunate that the silverfish have feasted on this magazine, yet even so the remaining indices are intriguing:

The issue in question is number 11/44 (Copernicus cover). It is entirely in Hungarian with the sole exception of the publisher's masthead on page 38. Previous German/Hungarian issues were already chiefly in Hungarian, often containing just a single German article, however they were still coded D/U. This is the first time that an all-Hungarian number has surfaced.

Comparison with a D/U issue from 1943Evidence for the (as of yet unconfirmed) edition code U comes by way of comparing this issue to an earlier D/U number from 1943 (pictured left): there is a significant difference in the spacing between "U" and "Nr." — the gap on the 1944 cover stripe is almost three times as wide.

This seems to indicate that we are indeed looking at U 11/44 (i.e. that the missing part "D/" of the code is not located on the back cover as it sometimes happened when the covers were improperly folded).

Further validation comes from an internal memo of the Deutscher Verlag posted elsewhere on this website, which in February of 1945 mentioned an all-Hungarian edition. Quite likely the formerly bilingual German/Hungarian version was turned into an all-Hungarian edition sometime during 1944, thus being assigned the new edition code U.

Readers are invited to comment.

The extra color pages list has been updated with the plates from issues 14/44 and 4/45. Many thanks to Carlos Diez for submitting the relevant information.

As a first result of my increased webspace, pictures have been added to the LIFE article. More visual content coming soon.

01/01/04   Major Site Update
A Happy New Year to all visitors of the site! I'd like to wish you the very best for 2004 and hope that the upcoming year will yield many interesting new acquisitions for the Signal collectors among you, as well as new insights to those of you researching the magazine.

As you may already have noticed, the site has undergone a major revision. The site menu has changed, and I have added a wealth of new information. You will now find a first entry to a new section labeled Propaganda, which includes selected articles and other features from Signal, along with commentaries to expand on their propagandistic purpose and intent.

There is also a new section labeled Documents & Research, which features a number of all-new entries, including a Deutscher Verlag file note on Signal dated February, 1945, along with an in-depth analysis of its possible implications. Furthermore, there are two contemporary magazine features on Signal from Kustaa Vaasa and LIFE. I have added detailed footnotes to the Kustaa Vaasa article.

The List of Published Issues and Editions has been updated with all the information I have received throughout the past months. This includes a larger number of newly confirmed issues that included the extra color pages.

Also in the Documents & Research section, you will find a growing collection of excerpts from the diaries of Dr. Joseph Goebbels on Signal and other aspects of German foreign war propaganda, and a list of the extra color plates from Signal.

More updates to the site will occur in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone out there for making 2003 a most interesting year for both Signal collectors and researchers!

11/30/03   French Study on Signal and the Soviet Union Now In Print
An in-depth study by Sébastien Saur on Signal and its treatment of the Soviet Union, of which a summarized article has been featured on this website, will be published in December: Signal et l'Union Soviétique - Édition française de Signal, 1940-1944.

The thesis explores a remarkable challenge to the propagandists of Signal: the necessity to vilify the Soviets while at the same time having to justify the service of volunteers recruited from that very enemy. Particular emphasis is laid on the anti-Slavic and anti-Semitic concepts employed for this separation of the Soviet peoples into the faceless masses fighting against as well as single ethnic groups fighting for Germany.

The 160-page book will be available for the very affordable price of 22 EUR from Éditions Anovi. You can find further details on their homepage.

Sébastien will be offering personally signed copies of his study and has a small number of books for sale. He is also looking for a publisher that might issue an English translation of his study. You can contact the author by email.

New entry to the Research section, presenting another item related to Signal.

08/12/03   Say hi to Hi
Hi MagazineAs reported previously (April 20 news update, scroll down to read) the US government is publishing a periodical named "Hi" in the Arab world which bears some striking resemblances to Signal, yet also exhibits the sharpest of difference in the ideology it promotes. Funded by the State Department, the magazine is published in Arabic and targets Arabs ages 18 to 35. It is sold on newsstands in more than a dozen countries and seeks to create a more positive image of America. As the Washington Post reports, "It doesn't contain a word about the American invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan or al Qaeda. Nor will future issues. The magazine's editors and its State Department funders plan a resolutely apolitical magazine."

This is a remarkable difference from Signal. Nowadays the self-appointed benefactor cannot pretend to fight for the same cause as the denizens of the Arab world. There is no 'common' enemy, and thus the "war on terror" logically must be eclipsed. As far as visual resemblances are concerned, they do rely on another universal title for their publication, and some of the covers feature a red circle. The most significant similarity of course is the fact that it is published exclusively in those countries the US seeks to influence -- another periodical tailored to the minds of the local population. Apparently there might still be a lesson in propaganda to be learnt from Signal.

Here are some links to articles that provide further information:

There also is an official site at (in Arabic).

Added Disclaimer and some introductory comments to the list of published issues and editions.

First entry to the Research section, which I shall be using for a variety of topics in the near future. There finally are some pictures, although I have to watch out as my webspace is very limited. For a more substantial update the site likely will have to undergo some major revisions first - and also be moved to a new location. Stay tuned for a highly interesting article that a fellow researcher and historian is going to submit later this summer!

07/09/03   Previously Unknown Edition Code Confirmed
Fellow collector Raimo Kotiranta has informed me that the Serbian edition of Signal was coded S. He also sent me a picture of S 6/44 to confirm this information. The list has been updated based on this recent discovery, which leaves us with just two more edition codes (Estonian and Latvian) to determine.

Other recent changes to the list include changes to notes, added notes, typo corrections, as well as a revised explanation of the 'sporadic' publication of editions Ost and Rus.

06/21/03   Greek Publishing House Issues Συνθημα Reprint
A Greek publishing house has recently started issuing facsimile reprints of the Greek edition of Signal, Συνθημα (actually the upsilon should have a hook, most browsers do not seem to support this character though, so this rendition will have to do).

was the title of edition G, published from issue 13/41 until 9/44. According to a helpful collector from Greece, to whom I am much obliged for his assistance, the reprints are exact and faithful reproductions of the original magazines. There are no added notes (as would be mandatory in other countries!) about the propagandistic orientation and relevance of Signal. The only 'add-on' included is a loose slip of paper on which the publishers briefly describe the production process, as well as the unavoidable loss in quality due to the age of the original magazines used in the process.

The publisher's announcement, which mentions the issues they are going to reprint, has also helped confirm the existence of the first issue of the Greek edition (13/41), and the list has been updated accordingly.

04/25/03   New Der Adler Collector's Guide
I would like to announce that Davai Goosey, a UK collector of Der Adler and other German propaganda magazines and the webmaster of Das Reich Historical Archives, has released a collector's guide to Der Adler. As far as I know this is the first time such a project has been realised! Davai has already finished three volumes for the years of 1941, 1942, and 1943, which are available in limited quantities as professionally printed booklets. They each include color photos of the magazine covers plus their date of publication and an abstract of the contents of each issue. Further volumes are going to be added in the near future. The booklets will eventually be bound together and released as a book to form a complete guide to Der Adler. Davai is presently selling the available booklets on eBay under the user ID of tiger_tank_42.

04/20/03   Implementing the Signal Concept, Today
In what appears to be a case of propaganda strikingly similar to the conception of Signal, the United States will be publishing an illustrated magazine called "Hi" (its current working title) in the Arabic world, to "win the hearts and minds" of the local populace. The magazine will "showcase America - minus its politics and religion", and thus exert a pro-American influence on the people in up to 22 Arab nations. The 72-page debut issue of 50,000 circulation is believed to be published in June, with circulation scheduled to be rising to 300,000 and more in the coming months. The cover price will be about $2 in order to make the magazine affordable to a wide readership. While the orientation of "Hi" is obviously going to be sharply different from that of Signal (and even diametrically opposed as far as the promotion of democracy is concerned), there are some interesting resemblances between the propagandistic and journalistic conception of both magazines.

I am presently occupied with a translation project (which is, after much delay, finally nearing completion). I will be adding more items to this website in April.

Completely revised the list of published editions and issues (1024x2400, 135 KB GIF). You can alternatively download a zipped PCX version (50 KB) instead. The list has been updated with all the information I have received during the past weeks. Many thanks to all the contributors! If you should spot any mistakes or have further data to add I'd be much obliged.

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