Sieg Heil is a German phrase, which literally means "Victory Hail" or "hail victory".
During the National Socialist era, it was a common call at political rallies. When meeting someone, it was customary at the time 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 party 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 made a pin badge in 1933 displaying a victory wreath, the Swastika, and the words "Sieg Heil".
Federal Republic of Germany
Today in Germany, using the greeting or exclamation in written form, vocally (outcry), and even extending the right-arm without the phrase are forbidden. It is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. The same is true for expressions that might be mistaken for "Sieg Heil". Usage for art, teaching and science purposes is exempt from punishment. Other forms like "Heil und Sieg" (respectful greeting and the wish for victory), "Heil dem Sieg" (for ensured victory) etc. are allowed.
Modern (pop) culture
Not just the NS-salute, but also the term "Sieg Heil!" has found it's way into modern culture. It can, like "Heil Hitler!", be used as a political declaration, a philosopical stance or just a provocative, more or less apolitical statement in protest against a leftist or liberal subjectively unjust authority or in a comical fashion. Heil og sæl (earlier heill ok sæl) is a common greeting in Iceland.
Heil (German greeting)
Heil Dir! (hail to you) is considered a normal greeting of Germanic origin in Germany, wishing your opposite wholeness (Ganzheit) of character, wisdom and health, therefore Heil. The meaning of the classical Roman term "Salve" is very similiar and has a deeper meaning than just "be well" as often suggested.
- Waidmannsheil! (may the hunt be fruitfull)
- Petri Heil! (may the fishing be successful)
- Ski Heil! (may you stay healthy while skiing)
- Heil am Seil! (may you stay unharmed due to your mountain climbing rope)
- Berg Heil! (salutation to the others when victoriously reaching the mountain summit, the Gipfelsieg)
- Gut Heil! (greetings of the gymnastics associations, the Turner, and of firemen; stay unarmed)
- Schützen Heil! (good shooting)
- Herzliche Heilsgrüße (heartfelt greetings of Heil; mainly used as letter closing)
- Salute and Sieg Heil!, Volkshalle Scene, The Man in the High Castle
- Sieg Heil, Viktoria, German military march