Inside a Nazi Christmas party hosted by Adolf Hitler, 1941

These images are chilling, bordering on surrealism: As World War II broke out on December 18, 1941, Adolf Hitler presided over a Christmas party in Munich. The color-enhanced images were captured by Hugo Jger, one of Adolf Hitler's personal photographers.

Mr Jagger buried the photographs in a glass jar at the end of the war, and they remained there for 10 years until 1955 when he moved them and about 2,000 other images to a bank vault.

Nazi Christmas was far from traditional. After taking power in 1933, Nazi thinkers initially renamed the Christmas festival Zulfest, and promoted its Germanic origins as a celebration of the winter solstice.

These thinkers also claimed that the Christian elements of the holiday were superimposed on ancient Germanic traditions. He argued that Christmas Eve originally had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, but instead celebrated the winter solstice and 'rebirth of the sun', that the swastika was an ancient symbol of the sun, and that Santa Claus was a Christian reincarnation of the Germanic god Odin.

Accordingly, holiday posters were created to depict Odin as a "Christmas or solstice man", riding a white charger, sporting a thick gray beard, and wearing a slanted hat, offering gifts. carrying a bag full of

Other changes were made to the manger, which was replaced by a Christmas garden with wooden toy deer and rabbits; Mary and Jesus were also depicted as a white mother and child.

The Christmas tree was also changed. The tree's traditional name, Christbaum or Wehnachtsbaum, was renamed again in the press as tree, light tree, or joule tree. The star at the top of the tree was sometimes replaced with a swastika, a Germanic "sun wheel", or a sig rune.

Christmas carols also updated. The wording of "Silent Night" was amended so that it made no reference to God, Christ and religion. The words were also changed in the psalm "A time has come for us" to remove references to Jesus. The revised version of the hymn was in use for many more years in post-war Germany.

As a sign of appreciation, Heinrich Himmler often gave SS members a Zülechter ("Yule Lantern"), a type of ornate Germanic candlestick, some of which were erected at the Dachau concentration camp. Housewives were inspired to make biscuits in the shape of birds, wheels and swastikas for their children.

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