WW2 German Radios

Old German Tube Radio: Volks-Empfenger

World War 2 posterThe People’s Radio (German Volksempfänger, Volks-Empfenger) is a unique, unparalleled program launched in Germany in 1933. We are talking about the manufacture of completely identical radios by different firms on the basis of a single design documentation and using the same parts and assemblies. Volksempfänger should have allowed every family to listen to the radio. The device cost 76 Reichsmarks - despite the fact that the regular price of the then radio receiver was about 400 Reichsmarks.

Adolf Hitler (called "Führer") ordered shortly after his rise to power in 1933, German radio manufacturers to produce the Volksempfaenger "People's Receiver" named VE301 as an inexpensive, means to give every German family access to the Nazi Party's Radio broadcasts, to ensure that the Nazi propaganda machine was able to transmit to all homes. The name VE301 was taken to remind at the 30.1.1933 day of Adolf Hitler's rise to power ("Volksempfänger der Nationalsozialistischen Revolution am 30.1.1933").

The first model, was the Volksempfanger model VE301. The cabinet was designed by Walter Maria Kersting, a well known German architect, which has a hybridised art deco styling, merged with German gothic.The "gothic" being the arch-like styling of the tuning dial.
The actual chassis was designed by Otto Griessing, the Chief Engineer, (Oberingenieur), for the electronics company of Seibt.

The first VE set was certainly innovative, but lacking in quality. This prompted further developments, before finally being abandoned in 1938 for the smaller VE301 DYN. This set was available in AC/AC-DC formats, and was technically much better over the earlier VE301. Also at this time, the even smaller Deutscher Kleinempfanger - DKE was released to the public, and this set actually continued into production to as late as 1950 (without political logo).

DAF 1101 Another set worthy of mention was the "Deutscher Arbeitsfrontempfanger", known simply as the DAF1011. This set was produced mainly for factories, and was intended for workers to whistle while they worked to nazi propaganda songs, political speeches, and classical music. Unlike the other political receivers, this set had no inbuilt speaker, and was intended to be connected through the workplace speaker set-up. Stylishly deco, in a metallic or bakelite cabinet, but very much monolithic in style.

These sets were built by various manufacturers. All manufacturers organized in the WDRI could or had to produce Volksempfangers. The following list shows the German and Austrian (then Ostmark) members of the WDRI. The particular manufacturer usually is indicated on the back cover or on the chassis:
AEG, Braun, Blaupunkt, Brandt, DeTeWe, Dietz & Ritter (Koerting), Emud (Maestling), Eumig, Graetz, Hagenuck (Nordmark) (Neufeld & Kuhnke), Horney, Ingelen, Kapsch, Koch & Sterzel, Lange , Loewe (Radio A.G.), Lorenz , Lumophon (Bruckner u. Stark), Mende, Minerva, Nora, Owin, Philips, Radio-Funk-Werkstaetten (Grassmann), Radione, Reico, Rundfunktechnische Erzeugergemeinschaft (Gemeinschaftserzeugnis), Rundfunktechnische Fabrik (Eltz), Saba, Sachsenwerk, Schaleco, Schaub, Seibt, Siemens, Stassfurt, Tefag, TeKaDe, Telefunken, Telefunken Warschau, Valvo Radioroehren GMBH, Wega, Zerdik.

Until 1937, approx. 2.6 million Volksempfangers were sold. Here some production data 1939-1943:

Year Brand name receivers Volksempfanger DKE Total
1939 1785000 64800 553000 2986000
1940 700000 188000 496000 1384000
1941 415000 18000 421000 854000
1942 580000 4000 193000 777000
1943 538000 0 186000 723000

When you want to buy a Volksempfanger: Pay attention to agreement of the manufacturers label on the chassis and the back panel. There are many "people receivers" where there is disagreement on this count.

Receiver performance. It is maintained again and again the people receivers could only receive the local broadcast station were very insensitive. That´s not right. Reception of European stations (receiver location Germany) was often possible during night. Even today the receiver performes quite well. Here a test certificate of the German periodical "Funktechnik", 1938.

1,0 mV
Power consumption
15 watts
21 watts
21 watts

Main characteristics of receivers:

Types:Manufactured:Price:Tube assembly:Output power:
VE301 Wzw. 1933-193776,- RMREN904, RES164, RGN3540,8 Watt
VE301 Gzw. 1933-193576,- / 65,- RMRE1821, RENS1823d1,7 Watt
VE301 GWzw. 1935-193987,- RMVC1, VL1, VY11,5 Watt
VE301 Wnnur 1937 / ab 194065,- RMAF7, RES164, RGN3540,8 Watt
VE301 Dyn Wab 193865,- RMAF7, RES164, RGN10641,2 Watt
VE301 Dyn GWab 193974,50 RMVF7, VL1, VY11,6 Watt
VE301 Bzw. 1933-193465,- RMRE034, RE034, RES174d1,3 Watt
VE301 B2ab 193465,- RMKC1, KC1, KL10,4 Watt
DKE 1938ab 193835,- RMVCL11, VY20,8 Watt
DKE 1938 Bab 193932,50 RMKC1, KC1, KL10,4 Watt

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