“Hold Up Your Hand!”
In 1928, Heartfield created one of his most famous images, “5 Finger Hat Die Hand” (The Hand Has Five Fingers). It remains one of the most iconic political images of all time.
Heartfield’s son, Tom George Heartfield, told Heartfield’s grandson this story. The KPD Party, the political party that opposed the Nazis, searched for a symbol to link its five candidates. John Heartfield jumped up in a meeting. He waved his hand, saying, “What is more powerful than the fingers of the human hand working together.” Everyone immediately agreed. Heartfield went to a factory. He shouted, “Hold Up Your Hand!” as each worker passed him. Later, he sorted through hundreds of photographs to choose the most memorable image.
The text on the original poster is: “5 fingers has a hand! With these 5 grab the enemy! “The enemy was Hitler and the Nazi Party. This simple image of a human hand with the power to create and destroy resonates through the decades. This slogan inspired part of the text on the back of the System of a Down album: “The hand has five fingers, capable and powerful, with the ability to destroy and create.” A man in Guatemala tattooed the hand on his back in 2011. One hand can cast a vote that makes the difference between freedom and dictatorship.
In 1928, Heartfield continued to create stage designs for the German Theatre. He created graphic designs for Malik-Verlag publishing that had Berlin advertising agencies scrambling to hire him. But he turned them all down.
During this period, Heartfield also created pages and layouts for the sports paper Die Arena (The Arena).
John Heartfield married his second wife, Barbara Friedman in 1928.