Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Wishes

Seventy years ago today, December 28, 1942, the TASS News Agency unveiled another in their series of WWII window posters. It combined traditional Vanitas motifs like a metaphor of Time's passage, (the turning calendar page), a mirror, a skeletal reflection, and a candle, along with a cartomantic New Year's wish for der Führer.

Thus Shall It Be!
Wiping cold sweat from his brow,
At the New Year
Bloodthirsty Hitler's fortune-telling:
"What will I see?"
And drawing out a random card,
The accursed snake
Cries out in terror:
"Death, The Queen of Spades!"
He presses his snout to the glass,
And to the question,
"What will I see?" He sees the answer:
A skeleton face!
Midnight struck, and here,
The New Year,
Coming through the door,
Summed up
Hitler's fortune-telling:
Thus shall it be!

It is worth noting that the Queen of Spades (an ominous card according to the fortune-tellers) and the Ace of Spades (a traditional "Death card") are singled out in the text and illustration.

Hat-tip to Brad DeLong.


  1. Perhaps it would be worth mentioning that the "Queen of Spades" figures importantly in Russian culture, as in Piotr Tchaikovsky's opera of that name, based on a story by Pushkin.

    1. Very much so -- thanks for that!

      Wikipedia has an article describing the story, which involves both the Ace and Queen of Spades.

      Best regards,