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Fictitious Flags (Germany)

Last modified: 2024-06-29 by martin karner
Keywords: germany | fictitious flags | wirmer | resistance | federal state | bundesland |
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Introduction: What are Fictitious Flags?

"A fictitious flag is a flag – or the illustration of a flag – that purports to represent an actual entity or person, but for which no evidence of any such use by that entity or person exists – a pseudo, spurious or surrogate flag" (Dictionary of Vexillology).
These flags are not to be confused with "fictional flags" or "unidentified flags" (UFE). They aren't mere illustrations; they do exist in the real world, they give the appearance of being historical, and their creators are quite clear aobut their intentions.

"Fourth Reich" Flag

image by David Barnhill

I am a relatively new collector of militaria from the WWI/WWII periods, mostly in flags. I am attaching a photo of a flag that allegedly is from the Nazi era, maybe post era. The claim is that it is possibly a Nazi Army veteran/Iron Cross recipient flag. Or, It could just be a fantasy flag. Do you have any knowledge about this flag, or do you know of anyone who might?
David Barnhill, 19 January 2022

This is not a historic flag at all, but one of modern manufacture. It is based on a fictional Fourth Reich that is part of the Alternate History Wiki website for its Fandom. It appears to be a rip-off fantasy flag based on the real historical "German War Ensign of the Third Reich" used between 1935–1945 but this modern flag was never a real historical flag.
As a point of reference for those collecting Third Reich flags, the use of metal grommets was not a common practice used by German flag manufacturers during the NSDAP era. German World War II era flags in general usually had a rope sewn to the bunting with no heading, although some had a canvas heading with the rope sewn in, and if they did have hand-worked steel grommets they normally looked more like buttonholes. Those with hand-worked grommets could have metal or leather pieces under the stitching to reinforce the material. Many Military flags commonly had a sleeve through which a pole could be passed, or they might even have a series of hand-worked buttonholes that were then lashed individually to the pole. Almost all metal grommets used on flags after about 1890 were brass except in places where a shortage of brass developed during World War II (1942–44). The point of this is, it appears that the grommets on your flag appear to be of modern manufacture and not made of steel or brass at all.
Pete Loeser, 2 February 2022

See also:   Fictional Flags similar to the flag of Nazi Germany

Resistance War Flag

image by Martin Karner

A German flag seller created this fictitious German Resistance War Flag and offers it on his webshop. It has been derived from Josef Wirmer’s "Resistance Flag" from 1944. If the German resistance movement in World War II would have created an state of its own, its war ensign probably would have looked like this. On a red field a black cross offset to the hoist, fimbriated yellow and black with in its middle a yellow disc with the black eagle, and a black-red-gold flag with a black Iron cross in the canton. This version has the federal eagle with its heraldic clear and unfussy design. The flag is also available with three other versions of eagles (same colours): Prussia, the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic.
Martin Karner, 21 January 2023

See also:   Proposals 1944–1949 (Germany)

False War Ensign 1990

False German War Ensign 1990 image by Pete Loeser, 14 March 2010

In Germany in particular there exist a great number of "fictitious flags" that have been manufactured to look similar to real historical German flags but did not in fact exist historically. Their designs are fictional, but the flags exist in the real world. They are usually manufactured for profit in hopes they will fit a need or become widely used. They reside in tourist stores, are sold on the streets, in flag shops, flea markets or on the internet. They are also very popular with extremist groups in Germany because the German government has made it illegal to display actual historical National Socialist flags and ensigns, so look-a-like flags are used. A great example of this would be the False Imperial War Ensign that was originally displayed at the German reunification celebrations in 1990, but never existed before that. Find out more about this at False War Ensign 1990 where it was first reported on FOTW.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2023

See also:   Re-purposed Historical German Flags by Modern German neo-Nazi Extremist Groups

Federal War Flag (Bundeskriegsflagge) 1946–

    images located by Martin Karner

On ebay a fictitious German war flag ("Kriegsflagge") is offered (right picture above). Beside "Kriegsflagge" it is also labeled falsely as flag of the "Deutsche Legion". It is derived from the adopted but not used War Ensign of 1919, with a yellow instead of a white field.

The alternative history site Alternativgeschichte-Wiki (based on fantasy) describes this flag as a derivation of the flag of the likewise fictional Deutsche Legion (Neunorwegen) (German Legion (New Norway)), a German troop unit of German emigrants in "Neunorwegen" (New Norway) and "New Norwegians" of German origin during WW2 (picture Deutsche Legion flag). The Federal War Flag (Bundeskriegsflagge) is said to have been adopted on 23 May 1946.

Martin Karner, 24 April 2023

Actually, those German emigrants were not in Norway (Norwegen), but in New Norway (Neunorwegen), a fictional country which was founded in Patagonia by immigrants from Norway in 1835:
The unit in question is said to have been under command of a German government (Weimar Republic) in exile, residing in New York.
Tomislav Todorovic, 26 April 2023

See also:   Colour for Armed Forces Units (Germany)