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German PK Kompanie

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

GERMAN WEHRMACHT Propaganda Kompanie - an article written by German PK men about PK men in 1940, published in English in The Signal


P.K.  How is the German war bulletin made?

All German war reports, war pictures and war articles bear the initials “P.K.”  These letters stand for Propaganda Kompanie or Propaganda Company.  Since the outbreak of war, every report from the front, in words and in pictures, bears these initials and thus establishes their authenticity. Such reports do not emanate from editorial offices or club chairs, nor are any of the illustrations taken from archives. No.  All of them are a living and vivid part of the war itself from day to day. Their authors are not war correspondents or press photographers in the accepted sense of the words. They are like comrades, soldiers of fighting units and at the same time, soldier war correspondents. In other words, they are units of a P.K. company.


The development in technical science and the consequent change in the methods of waging war has removed the distinction between front and home. This distinction no longer exists; for the whole nation is taking part in the struggle, everyone in his or her particular place.  Thus, the people of Germany are not only geographically, but also mentally, and morally united in their defense of their country.  In the present decisive struggle therefore the war correspondent is not there to satisfy the morbid curiosity of a certain class of citizens, but he has a far higher task to fulfill.  His task is to bring the battle before the eyes of the workers and farmers, housewives and scientists, employers and officials, in fact all who are doing their duty at home.  Only in this way can they feel a true comradeship with the soldiers who are fighting the great fight.

By thus sharing the struggle with the soldiers the whole nation becomes united by the closer bond and inspired with an inexorable and consistent determination to offer every physical and mental resistance.  It is obvious that the soldier himself is better suited than any other to relate to those at home his experience at the front and in fighting.  It is not possible to describe what our soldiers have gone through without oneself having marched for miles and miles across the pathless plains of Poland, without having passed hours fraught with danger in tanks whilst breaches were being boldly hammered in the enemy lines, without having accompanied patrols in the …… and the western front, without having passed in submarines in between the depth charges of enemy destroyers around the British Isles, or having flown in bombers over Warsaw, or in reconnaissance machines, reckless of pursuit planes and anti-aircraft guns over the Shetlands. The job is no longer done, as formerly by a war correspondent visiting the ‘the front’ when all is quiet and then at a desk at home or beside a warm stove behind the lines writing up highly imaginative reports in extravagant language about his ‘experiences’.  It is essential for a German war correspondent nowadays to be a soldier.

This war correspondent, of course, has with him his professional equipment. Nevertheless experience has shown that the cleverest journalist and the most experienced broadcaster are not equal to their task, unless they possess a soldierly spirit and knowledge of military matters.  It is also necessary for a war correspondent to have a good knowledge of those small details, which in their entirety go to determine the spiritual life and conduct of a people.

Thus it is necessary that a German war correspondent today be a man of a  soldierly character and have a thorough grasp of his profession; this is therefore the method of selecting our war correspondents who are accordingly taken from among the best newspaper men, the most fluent broadcasters and most reliable photographers, and news reel men.  Only those are selected who have at least qualified for this soldierly task. Military drill and instruction schools complete their training, and furnish a guarantee that the ‘P.K Companies’, into which these war correspondents are detailed, will be well up to doing their work.

A further difference between German War correspondents of today and those of former times is that they receive their orders from very different quarters. Formerly the war correspondent was the employee of a publisher who paid him a salary for the fulfillment of his duties.  Nowadays the war correspondent is a servant of the state, and has such to fulfill duties towards a single publisher but towards the whole German people.  He does not work for money, but is a soldier like the rest of his comrades and receives the same rate of pay.  The reports, photographs etc, which he produces at the risk of his own life, are not the monopoly of a single publisher.  Instead of that a central distribution department sees that they are published according to their suitability, old professional connections between correspondent and publisher being taken into consideration.

A number of reports are even just at the disposal of the newspaper and the press of neutral countries. When we review the work of long months by the P.K companies in this war we see that these war correspondents of the German armed forces know how to perform their task, and hot to fulfill their duty. The high proportion of casualties in the P.K. companies proves that our soldier war correspondents have not hesitated to sacrifice their lives. Furthermore many members of the P.K. companies have received decorations.


Scarcely had our troops crossed the Polish frontier last September when, as was to be anticipated, the Western Powers began their campaign of atrocity propaganda.  Simultaneously with the occupation of Tschemstochau these Powers circulated in the whole world the lying report that German barbarians and heathens had desecrated and destroyed the Black Madonna of Hellen Berge, which was sacred in the eyes of every Pole.  Seldom has it been possible to disprove such a dangerous piece of atrocity propaganda so quickly as in this case.  Detachments of a P.K. company had entered Tschemstochau with the troops who stormed the place. Thus while fighting was still going on in the streets, not only was this picture photographed and thus shown to be undamaged, but also gramophone records were made of a conversation with the Prior of the monastery of Hellen Berge, in which this Polish priest thanked the German military authorities for the protection afforded by the troops to the monastery and the holy relic in his charge.  It was therefore possible to bring the Berlin newspaper correspondents of neutral countries the incontrovertible proof that this picture was undamaged, and thus once and for all to show up the incredibility and intrigues of this questionable propaganda.  It was also possible to do this on the very day, on which the lying reports of the ‘destruction of the Black Madonna of Tschemstochau’ had been spread by the broadcasting stations and press of our enemies.

During the first days of the last September a war correspondent detachment of a P.K. Company was attached to the tank units operating at the head of the von Kluge army, which was preparing by means of an advance across the Tuchler Heide and the Brahe to cut off the divisions of the Polish army in the north of the Corridor from the main body of the army which was operating to the south of the Vistula. Regardless of the danger, this P.K. detachment advanced with an élan which did them every credit, into the territory occupied by the Poles, in spite of all the obstacles in the advanced positions. This P.K. detachment was the first German unit to cross the Corridor and entered Danzig at the head of the German forces amidst the ovation of the people.  Different members of this P.K. company and the leader of the detachment received the Iron Cross as a reward for this daring exploit, which must distinguish them both as soldiers and journalists.  When the Narey was to be crossed on both of the Pultusk it was decided to include a war correspondent detachment from a P.K. company.  While the leader of this detachment was actually making reconnaissance necessary for the undertaking, those left in charge of the transport vehicles at the northern exits of Pultusk could see, that several soldiers of an infantry regiment, waiting in readiness nearby, had got into a Polish mined area and had been severely wounded by the explosion of mines.  Without further ado six war correspondents made their way into the mined area in order to liberate their wounded comrades from their dangerous positions.  The P.K. men had to go backwards and forwards, several times, and five of them were killed by exploding mines, whilst rescuing the last of their comrades who had been severely wounded.

On September 14 a war correspondent, who was driving a car from Kontua to Gredke, fell in with a Polish patrol.  In the surprise moment the patrol surrendered without resistance, and they were all made prisoners.  One of the patrol, who spoke German, disclosed the fact that there were more Poles ambushed in a wood near-by.  The war correspondent then cocked his pistol and proceeded to the edge of the wood, there was a shot, which however missed him. The return shot of the German hit the Pole in the forehead, and thereupon twenty-eight Poles surrendered, being terrified at their opponent’s accuracy of aim.  The war correspondent and his driver who had taken thirty–one Poles prisoner, received the Iron Cross of the second class.

We should be going too far beyond the scope of this article, if we tried to enumerate in detail all the deeds of self-sacrifice and soldierly devotion to duty by which the German war correspondents have distinguished themselves, and we shall reserve this for a latter occasion.  In this article the examples already cited will suffice to prove what is quite evident, namely, that the German war correspondents are not merely editors, photographers, broadcasters and newsreel men, but soldiers.  For this reason alone these men have won the entire confidence of the combatant units.  For their comrades in the units to which they are attached know by experience that the war correspondents do not merely show themselves now and again to disappear when things are getting dangerous, but that they remain at their side, whether they are doing unit-post duty in the fore field, are lying in the bunkers, or are in rest billets.

The war correspondents of the air force and the navy belong to the combatant units just as is the case in the army. The fact, that these service units are smaller in number, makes it a military necessity for the men to stick more closely together. Mine sweepers, U-Boats, or even fighter planes cannot be hampered by unqualified people. In this case it is quite indispensable for the war correspondent not only to be qualified fro his reporting work, but when the military tasks: he must in every way prove himself to be fully reliable comrade in his small fighting unit for better or for worse.






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