John Heartfield was my grandfather. I was told this story by my father, John Heartfield’s only son, Tom. The KPD (German Communist Party) was searching for a symbol to advertise and link its five candidates. My grandfather jumped up in a meeting and waved his hand, saying, “What is more powerful than the fingers of the human hand working together.” Everyone immediately agreed.
After his photographer taking hundreds of photos, they sorted through them to choose the exact one that was the most powerful image.
The text on the original poster is: “5 fingers has the hand! With these 5 grab the enemy!“ The “enemy” was the Nazi Party. This slogan inspired part of the text contained on the back of the System of a Down album: “The hand has five fingers, capable and powerful, with the ability to destroy as well as create.”
LEARN MORE about one of Heartfield’s most famous images.