Sieg Heil is a German phrase, which literally means "Victory Hail" or "Hail Victory". During the Nazi era, it was a common call at political rallies. When meeting someone, it was customary in Nazi Germany to give the Hitler salute and say the words "Heil Hitler". "Sieg Heil" was reserved for mass meetings such as the ones at Nuremberg where "Sieg Heil" was shouted in unison by thousands. Often a Nazi official would shout into a microphone "Sieg" and the crowd would answer with "Heil," and there might be several repetitions of this at times in ever-increasing volume. At such rallies there was often a display of banners carrying the slogan "Sieg Heil" along with the swastika. The NSDAP (Nazi Party) made a pin badge in 1933 displaying a victory wreath, the Swastika, and the words "Sieg Heil".
The expression itself is older than Nazism as it is a salute to Lady Victory, or Victoria, atop the Siegessäule, or Victory Column. It has been said Joseph Goebbels used "Sieg Heil" in a meeting and all supported the phrase (however an early associate of Hitler, Ernst Hanfstängl, claimed to have devised its use for the Nazi Party). Since Nazism argued that war was a way to determine the superior race and that Germans were that superior race, hailing war was to hail the struggle that would eliminate all others and establish, in a social Darwinist manner, the "New Order."
Today in Germany, using the greeting in written form, vocally, and even extending the right-arm without the phrase are forbidden. It is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years of prison (StGB, section 86a). The same is true for expressions that might be mistaken for "Sieg Heil". Usage for art, teaching and science purposes is exempt from punishment.
Usage in movies and music
- In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs does a mock Nazi salute in the South African Consulate while saying "Big Smile".
- In Swing Kids, they say "Swing Heil" as a mocking of the phrase "Sieg Heil".
- In the movie Six: The Mark Unleashed one of the charakters, Tom Newman, mocks the idea of a superior form of mankind (genetically modified mutants) with the words "Sieg Heil".
- Der Fuehrer's Face, a Disney propaganda film, mocks this Nazi slogan.
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the eye-patched "Monkey Man" who has been spying on Indiana Jones raises his hand and shouts the slogan to reassure German agents who suddenly appear in his Cairo premises. His pet monkey does likewise.
- In the anime Mobile Suit Gundam, the Principality of Zeon, the style of which reflects Nazi inspiration, uses the phrase "Sieg Zeon," though in some English translations this has been changed to "Hail Zeon."
- In the anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes upon Reinhard von Lohengramm rise to power citizens of the empire shout "Sieg Kaiser Reinhard! and Sieg Heil!" upon seeing their leader"
- In the manga Hellsing, the Nazi organization Millennium shouts "Sieg Heil" when saluting their dying comrade Rip Van Winkle.
- In the Sealab 2021 episode "Frozen Dinner" the German submarine commander shouts "Sieg Heil" and fires his Luger. The subtitles translate this into "Victory Welfare".
- In Transamerica, featuring Felicity Huffman and Kevin Zegers, Huffman's character, Bree Osbourne's sister, who is apparently Jewish, says Sieg Heil as a reference to the overpowering, hypocritical nature of Bree's mother.
- In an episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, the character of Janet claims, "Sieg Heil! That's German for..'ave it!"
- In a season 8 episode of Seinfeld, it is revealed that Jerry opposes the high-five and compares it to the Sieg Heil.
- Halloween, Malcolm McDowell mocks a German cast member in a German accent and then covers the bottom of his nose with two fingers as a Hitler-styled mustache and extends one hand into the air, then yells out, still in a German accent, "Sieg Heil, you fucking Nazi!"
- In the 1962 version of the film Lolita, Sue Lyon's character Lolita sarcastically salutes her mother and exclaims "Sieg Heil!" as a result of being scolded.
- In the German Dub of the Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Plankton's mind controlled zombies say "Sieg Heil Plankton" as they walk.
- Carry on England, one of the lines is "Sieg Heil Smelly!" insulting Cpt. S. Melly
- In the first track (Overture) of the Über Alles album by Hanzel und gretyl a sample of "Sieg Heil" is heard against a highly distorted speech. The whole album is a satire of totalitarian regimes with a strong use of Nazi symbols.
- On Green Day's album American Idiot, the song "Holiday" contains the line, "Zieg heil to the President Gasman / Bombs away is your punishment."
- The Demoniac song "Myths of Metal" contains the line "Hitler Metal, Sieg Heil!". The interpretation of the lyrics is questionable.
- At some midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "Sieg Heil" is yelled by members of the audience upon hearing Frank's say "or should I say, Dr. Von Scott?"
- Reagan Youth's self-titled song's chorus is "We are Reagan Youth, Heil! Heil! Heil! Reagan Youth, Heil! Heil! Heil! Reagan Youth, Sieg Heil!". Their intention was to draw the audience's attention to the perceived parallels between the policies of Ronald Reagan and those of the extreme right-wing.
- Sieg Howdy is a collaborative album between Jello Biafra and The Melvins.
- In 2004, The Sun newspaper reported that fans of Millwall F.C. had sung "Sieg Heil" during a match against Brighton at The New Den. In fact, the reporter at the game had misheard the Brighton fans who were chanting "Seagulls".
- The Ministry song "Land of Rape and Honey" ironically features the use of "Sieg Heil."
- In a blooper featurette on the Special Features disc of Rob Zombie's
- Other regimes modelled on Nazi-Germany had similar salutes, such as the Hlinka Guard's "Na stráž!" ("On guard!"), or the Arrow Cross Party's "Kitartás! Éljen Szálasi!" ("Don't give up! Hail to Szálasi!). In Yugoslavia during World War II, the Ustaša used a salute "Za dom! Spremni!" ("For Homeland; ready!" in Croatian).