Background: The Frauen Warte was the Nazi Party’s biweekly illustrated magazine for women. This 1934 article explains what the role of women in the Nazi state was to be. Rather than being active in politics and public life, they were to form their homes and raise their children in ways consistent with the Nazi worldview.
The source: Erna Günter, “Wir Frauen im Kampf um Deutschlands Erneuerung,” NS Frauen Warte, (2), #17 (25 February 1934), p. 507.
We Women in the Struggle
for Germany’s Renewal
by Erna Günther
The political struggle of recent years was fought with passionate bitterness because in the end it would determine the survival of our people as a free nation.
Women could not remain uninvolved in this struggle for it involved their future, too, and the future of their children. — We stood between the parties of the old system, but were unsatisfied. We wanted to find the way to our people. In the midst of crisis we had to take a stand, but where was there a place for us? We wandered disappointed from democratic-Marxist materialism on the one side to bourgeois class darkness on the other. We women sought a way to our people as a whole. We felt that only an ethnically-based strong state could guarantee the life of the individual, but that such a state could only be strong if it was supported by the whole power of our people.
Then we heard the first National Socialist speaker. We listened. We went to more meetings. We heard the Führer and the scales fell from our eyes. Here was what we were looking for. Here we heard an idea of the state presented with passionate devotion, one that did not play the proletariat against the bourgeois. Here promises were not made to a single part of the people. Here the appeal was to people of the same blood, the same race. The motto was: “The common good comes before the private good.”
Only gradually did National Socialist positions on the specific questions of our national life become clear. From the beginning, however, we all felt that something new was happening. It was not a matter of the victory of a party, but rather a new worldview was battling for the soul of Germany.
Cold reason may hold party dogmas to be correct, but a worldview demands the whole person, reason and heart, faith and will. A woman does not first investigate the details, but rather is always ready to give her whole personality. Thus the women who encountered the National Socialist idea soon became its passionate supporters. They sensed that they would find in this idea of the state, built as it was on the most ancient possession of a people, on blood and soil, their natural role as the preservers of the race, as teachers of the youth. Once they were captured by this thought, they became active fighters in the battle of the past years.
Men stood in the front ranks. The women quietly did their duty. Mothers listened anxiously in many a night hour for returning footsteps. Many a woman peered through Berlin’s dark streets, looking for her man or her son who was risking his blood and his life in the struggle against subhumanity. Many a leaflet was folded so that S.A. men could leave it in a mailbox. Many a valuable hour was spent in S.A. kitchens and rooms. Money was always being collected. The new faith was passed from mouth to mouth. No path was too long, no service for the party too small. Sometimes it seemed to us wearisome or unnecessary, but did we not learn a great deal in these hours? Did we not learn to feel a part of the whole? Did we not learn how the German next to us speaks, thinks and feels? In daily life and in our jobs we also meet people from different circles. But we only learn their external needs and their inner longings when we work with them side by side, when our thoughts are bound together by a great common goal. In those years that goal was: “Give Hitler power!” We all knew that the guarantee of Germany’s renewal lay in the personality of our Führer.
This goal was reached. A new German state grew before our very eyes.
We naturally asked this question: “Does this state, built by strong male hands, have any place at all for us women?” Can we not say: “Victory is won. Peaceful times have arrived. Our help is no longer needed. We can stop worrying about our people and be concerned only with ourselves.” If we had only served a party, that is just what we could say. But did we not become National Socialists because Germany was at stake?
It is true we have no seats in parliament, and men have now regained the positions that women took by false ambition. Still, the National Socialist state needs the help of women more now than during the years of struggle.
Men may be the ones to see the necessities of life for our people. The state can give us laws that once again give women their natural duties. But it will depend on us women as to whether these laws are understood by the broadest circles of the people. Our task is to translate them into daily life. Do not underestimate this task! I know that it is easier to make a quick trip to the department store. It requires thought to purchase domestic products, remembering with each purchase that German goods provide German people with wages and food.
Do you realize that the face of a people is formed by the family? The family receives both its outward and inward characteristics through the woman. The mother gives her husband and children their home. The motherly spirit is the source of all that is eternal. Just as the farmer is deeply bound through the land to the primal forces of nature, a mother receives the rhythm of her life from god’s hand. We want to lead our children, our whole people, back to this primal source of strength. The task of the woman is to replace the spirit of money and of self-interest with the spirit of the mother and the farmer. With this spirit, we women will be able to spread warmth and depth anywhere that our jobs may place us.
A revolution is justified when it not only changes outward forms, but also produces a new style of life. This new style of life must be formed largely by us women. Through our clothing, the food we prepare, our homes and our spiritual needs, we will transmit our attitude toward life to our family, and therefore to the state.
The education of the youth is in our hands. Though our spirit, they become part of the nation.
Are there greater tasks that these? Will it not take our full strength
to achieve them? I speak not to those women who still have not moved from
a general sense of human brotherhood to the values of their own kind.
Nor do I speak to those women who are joining us because they believe
it will be to their advantage. Rather, I speak to all those women who
go through life seeking something, who are ready to serve a great goal.
To these women I say: “Join in! Everything is in turmoil, something
new is being born. Display the virtues of simplicity, of truth, of loyalty.
Form the image of the German woman!”
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