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Merry Christmas From Adolf Hitler
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Bad Tidings We Bring


In 1941 Adolf Hitler presides over aChristmas party in Munich. Stark, jarring swastika armbands offset the glint of ornaments and tinsel dangling from a giant Tannenbaum; festive candles illuminate the scene. Confronted with the image, the question naturally arises: How could Nazi leaders reconcile an ideology of hatred and conquest with the peaceful, joyous spirit of the Christian holiday — much less its celebration of the Jewish-born Christ? Here, LIFE.com presents astonishing photos from this unsettling affair, and the equally remarkable story behind them

Swastikas and TannenbaumNazi Beer Hall BashThe Reason for the Season?Bad Tidings We BringLoyal to the SSDiscomforthttp://www.life.com/image/first/in-gallery/51341/inside-a-nazi-christmas-party-1941#index/3