The text on the poster translates to: “5 fingers has a hand! With these 5 grab the enemy!“ The “enemy” was the Nazi Party.
This image appear on and inspired text contained on a System of a Down album: “The hand has five fingers, capable and powerful, with the ability to destroy as well as create.”
In 1928, the KPD (German Communist Party) was Germany’s best hope to halt the political rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. John Heartfield was not a typical party member. He was too independent minded for that. He often clashed with the “group think” of the communist system.
However, in 1928, the KPD was surely the lesser of two evils. An election that would determine the course of German history was approaching. The KPD was in desperate need of a symbol to inspire Germans voters. Heartfield was sure that there was nothing more powerful than the human hand when the fingers work together. He waited outside a factory and had his photographer take photos of hand after hand until he found the exact one he wanted.