Background: This material comes from a booklet of material for Hitler Youth leaders. I translate the sections dealing specifically with race, though to the Nazi mind race and soil (Blut und Boden) were inextricably related. This material provided leaders with the background they needed to convey Nazi racial thinking to young boys.
The source: Fritz Bennecke (ed.), Vom deutschen Volk und seinem Lebensraum, Handbuch für die Schulung in der HJ (Munich: Franz Eher, 1937). Paul Gierlichs is listed is listed as Bearbeiter.
On the German People and Its Territory
Introduction: The Worldview of Facts
The worldview of National Socialism is today the common property of the whole German people. All unprejudiced citizens of good will have made National Socialist thinking so deeply their own that it provides answers for every question of life and direction for every action.
This shared National Socialist worldview makes it possible for German citizens to participate actively in the formation of our national life. Regardless of his position, each German can through thought and deed participate in political, cultural, and economic renewal. This common worldview is the unbreakable bond that holds together the leadership and the followers of our people in their common labor.
In the past there was no such general involvement of all citizens in forming our political life. There was a deep chasm between the “rulers” and the “subjects.” Even when we were under so-called democratic rule, the average citizen had no role in determining the fate of our people. Deep involvement and real participation by all Germans was impossible since in most cases only a small circle of the elite determined the direction the government should go. This was not only because the past lacked a unified and common worldview. The many so-called worldviews were sufficiently unclear and confused as to be unable to lead to a building of political will.
Former worldviews were not built on a recognition of reality and a knowledge of the facts. Rather, they were abstract theories unrelated to reality that had developed over the course of history. They had nothing to do with the real facts, and indeed often stood in sharp conflict with them. The conflict between theory and reality soon so confused all matters of national life that even the “leaders” of such worldview groups could make no order out of the confusion. The average citizen could do no more than wait more or less patiently to see what resulted in the political realm. He was driven from the political stage into the audience. The exact opposite is the case today. All the questions of our political life are so clear, simple, and unified that each citizen can both understand them and work to solve them.
The National Socialist worldview is not the result of abstract and convoluted thinking. It is not a theory, but rather is clearly bound to reality. National Socialist thinking comes from experience. It is a worldview based on the facts and on reality.
The most important and influential facts in the life of nations are “blood and soil.” He who understands their laws and effects in history can determine the future. The goal of this manual for the Hitler Youth is to build their political will according to the National Socialist worldview.
Chapter I: Human Inequality
The foundation of the National Socialist worldview is the knowledge of human inequality. No one will likely disagree with this as long as we stick to physical appearance. It is obvious that the “red skins,” the “yellow people,” the Negroes, and the whites are very different. And all whites are not the same. The careful observer can find differences in physical size and shape. The color of the eyes, hair, and skin also varies greatly.
But there are also spiritual differences between people. That is particularly clear when various people speak about a particular subject. For one person, work is a “curse,” “God’s punishment,” a burden that one should remove as rapidly as possible. For the other, it is a necessary part of existence that gives human life its meaning. For one, bravery and loyalty are nothing but great stupidity. He would rather be “a coward for a few minutes” than to “be dead for the rest of one’s life.” For another, bravery and loyalty are the characteristics used to value and esteem people. He holds to his word, in good times or ill. He cannot live without honor, and would rather die than be a coward.
People differ therefore in more than their physical characteristics. Just as deep, and with no way of bridging the gap, is the differences in spirit and soul. Body, spirit, and soul together make up the whole person, since they form a unified whole. Their inner relationships must therefore be studied. Then we will clearly recognize the vast difference between those of German blood and the Jews, although their physical characteristics might otherwise suggest that they were both members of the same human grouping. We then understand human inequality. We act according to this understanding.
The past era either entirely ignored human inequality, or else acted contrary to its better knowledge. During the colonization of Paraguay in the nineteen century, for example, the Jesuits permitted white settlers to marry native Indian women. Perhaps they thought that the native population would thus be raised to the level of the whites. But these mixed marriages produced unhappy bastards who were neither white nor native. In most cases, they inherited the bad characteristics of both groups, lacking spiritual stability. In our time, too, certain people occasionally lacked a feeling for racial honor or racial defilement. The numerous bastards resulting from relations with the black occupation forces in the Rhine region, or those that came from relations between Jews and Germans, are tragic examples. Even the highest government offices of the System era [the Nazi term for the Weimar Republic] intentionally ignored racial knowledge. For example, they prohibited the well-known racial scholar Ludwig Schemann from studying the nature of the races and withdrew support for his research.
Even today, National Socialism’s racial thinking has implacable opponents. Freemasonry, Marxism, and the Christian churches make common cause in this matter. World Freemasonry conceals its Jewish plans of world domination behind slogans of “humanity.” The Jew and the Turk can achieve its degrees just as well as the Christian. Marxism has the same goals as Freemasonry. To conceal its true aims, it used the slogan of “Equality, Freedom, and Brotherhood.” Under Jewish leadership, Marxism wants to unite everything “that has a human face.”
The Christian church, above all the Roman Catholic Church, rejects racial thinking by claiming that “All men are equal before God.” All who are of the Christian faith, be they Jew, a Negro from the jungle, or white, are better and more valuable to it than a German who is not a Christian. Saving faith is the only bond.
Proof that the Roman Catholic Church is acting against its better knowledge in rejecting racial thinking is clear from the following facts. There was once a danger that Jesuit goals would be subverted or redirected by Jewish members.The result was a ban on Jews becoming Jesuits. Today the danger is long past and the church wants to forget about it.
Why do we find the nonsense about human equality in Freemasonry, Marxism, and the Christian church? All three are more or less striving for world power. They therefore have to be “international.” They can never accept racial, ethnic, or national ties between people without giving up their goals.
Despite these major opponents, however, racial thinking is constantly winning ground. Truth is gradually winning. We need only think of the growing front of countries that are resisting the destructive influence of Jewry. And we recall the immigration laws of many countries that ban Jews or other unwanted groups.
But we do not want to remain with superficial matters. We need still greater clarity in this matter. Only then can we understand the fourth point of the program of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which says:
Chapter II: The German Races
[This chapter discusses the various Germanic races.]
Chapter III: Racial Make-up: Inheritance and the Environment
[A discussion of genetics from the Nazi perspective.]
Chapter IV: Genetic and Racial Hygiene
From the study of genetics we have learned that the individual human being is inextricably bound to his ancestors through his birth and inheritance. He is bound in the same way to his descendents. The individual human being is but one link in the long chain of generations. If we wanted to use an image, we could say: The individual is a wave in the great river that flows from the most distant past to the most distant future. The further back we trace this stream of generations, the more they join into one large river, until we find ourselves at the common source. This picture reminds us that all the families and tribes of a people have a common origin. They have a common inheritance that they will pass on to the future.
But the great genetic river of a people can suffer many impurities and injuries along the way. These can occur in two ways. First, diseased genes can develop within the bloodstream of a people. If a people is to remain strong and healthy, these cannot be allowed to be passed on. The purpose of our current genetic policy is to prevent the passing on of such diseased genes and to promote healthy blood. A people’s bloodstream, however, can also be injured by mixing it with alien blood from foreign races. Our racial policy is designed to prevent this from happening.
Our genetic policy therefore combats those injuries that develop in our people’s genetic stream from within. We have already learned that countless genetic characteristics of physical, mental and spiritual nature are passed on from person to person. Besides natural, healthy genes, there are unfortunately many that are unhealthy. Although genetic diseases could only be thoroughly studied and understood after the laws of genetics were discovered, we already know of many genetic diseases. 400 of every 1,000 cases of mental illness have genetic origins. But there are also physical and spiritual inheritable diseases.
The worst inherited diseases are: feeblemindedness, schizophrenia (mental disorder), insanity (mental illness), inherited epilepsy, inherited St. Vitus’ Dance, inherited blindness and deafness, and inherited physical impairments, including among others bone disorders, club foot, hare lip with cleft palate, and blood diseases.
Then there are inherited diseases that of a less serious nature, or which cause internal illnesses. Here are a few of the many that could be mentioned: extra fingers or short fingers, flat and knock feet, birthmarks and moles, short- and farsightedness, squinting, cataracts (blurring of the cornea), as well as a susceptibility to jaundice, obesity, cancer, and tuberculosis.
Some of the diseases we have listed are prefaced with “inherited.” That means that the disease can also result from nonhereditary causes. This is the case when they result from infection or accident. They depend on the environment, and thus we know that they are not hereditary.
On the other hand, there are inherited diseases whose external effects can be treated by the art of medicine, but do not lose their genetic nature. If, for example, someone with a bone disease or a hare lip with a cleft palate undergoes surgery, the problems will still reappear in his descendants.
Although normal diseases need not be a barrier to marriage, those with genetic diseases, even if they can be alleviated through surgery, should be strongly advised not to have children.
Here we should mention incest and marriage to close relatives. From the science of genetics we know that some characteristics are “hidden.” They are subordinate to the dominant characteristic (recessive), The recessive gene is passed on to posterity, but it does not come to expression. Only when both parents have such a recessive gene does the trait show up in their offspring. Most genetic diseases are recessive. The people who have one such gene are themselves healthy, but they carry the disease nonetheless. Only when they marry a partner who also carries the gene does it come to expression in their offspring. Because of their common descent, the members of a family or a tribe have the same genes. Since a recessive gene can be common in such a group, it is likely that both partners share the recessive gene. That is why incest and marriage to close relatives are inadvisable.
Since diseases resulting from recessive genes cannot easily be determined in an individual case, there is only one solution: genealogical research.
Chromosomal damage can have the same effects as genetic diseases. It can result from the misuse of alcohol and nicotine, through poisons, radium and x-rays, and venereal diseases. The greater number of cases of idiocy and epilepsy, for example, are caused by alcohol or venereal diseases. The tendency to criminality also can be traced back to genetic diseases and chromosomal damage.
Serious genetic disease, particularly mental illnesses, make their victims incapable of living a normal life. They rob their victims of their reasoning powers and sense of responsibility, reducing their value to the people’s community. The unfit proliferate wildly and spread their genetic diseases. This is clear from the average number of children per family in the German Reich:
Thus the number of unfit inhabitants rose from 10 per 1,000 in 1880 to 40 in 1930. The population as a whole rose by about 50%, but the number of the unfit rose by about 300%, six times greater than the average. It is no wonder that in Germany today we have:
Most of those with genetic diseases and deficiencies are entirely unable to survive on their own. They cannot care for themselves, but have to be cared for in institutions. This costs the state huge sums each year. The costs of caring for a genetically ill person are eight times as high as those for a normal person. A child who is an idiot costs as much as four or five healthy children. The cost of eight years of normal schooling is about 1000 marks. The schooling for a deaf child costs about 20,000 marks. In all, the German Reich spends around 1.2 billion marks each year for the care and treatment of citizens with genetic diseases.
These enormous sums cannot be used to benefit the healthy part of our people. How many sport fields, swimming pools, housing developments and kindergartens could be built with this money, had the danger to our people by the unfit been recognized in past decades. He who has visited an institution for the genetically ill cannot but feel a sense of guilt for these unhappy creatures, who despite the principles of genuine humanity, were brought to life. From a genuine sense of humanity toward the sick and from a strong sense of responsibility to the people, the National Socialist government has therefore passed laws that will hinder the further spread of serious genetic diseases
The most important laws to protect our genetic inheritance are:
The “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Ill Offspring” encourages the voluntary or compulsory sterilization of those persons who, as the result of serious genetic illness, “are likely according to medical science to have children who will suffer severe physical and mental genetic illnesses.” The strong sense of responsibility of the lawgivers is shown by the limitation of this law to the worst genetic illnesses and by the establishment of security measures to prevent misuse of the law.
The “Law against Dangerous Criminals” provides for the castration of serious moral criminals. It is to be seen as a way of saving the criminal by freeing him of his sick drives. It will also surely prevent serious crimes in the future.
The “Healthy Marriage Law” outlaws marriage in cases where one of the partners has a dangerous infectious disease (venereal diseases, tuberculosis, etc.), or suffers from mental illness, or carries a genetic disease, which may also call for sterilization.
The genetic health laws of the Third Reich have been vigorously attacked from various sides. Some wanted to deny the state the right to interfere in people’s personal freedoms. The answer is that the laws apply only to the very worst cases, and furthermore, the medical treatment is safe and causes no harm to those affected. More than that, a deep humanity underlies these efforts to relieve suffering and further damage. It is better and more humane to prevent great misery than to pity the unfortunates later and burden the people’s community with their care. It is also the natural right of a community to protect itself against threats from individuals. Everywhere in nature, safety measures are aimed at the good of the whole. The existence of the individual plays no role whatever. Have people been given reason and understanding only to ignore such natural laws? Is it not in fact the task of the human spirit to recognize these natural laws and bring them to expression in humane ways? That is what we believe.
The previously mentioned genetic measures have the goal of preventing the further spread of existing genetic diseases and to gradually eliminate them. But that is not enough for a successful genetic policy. To eliminate genetic damage, healthy genes must be encouraged and promoted. The greatest efforts of the National Socialist state are in this direction. The vast expansion of the health care system, the generous promotion of physical exercise, the systematic housing program, show us how much effort is needed to promote healthy blood. The sociopolitical and economic measures of recent years are aimed at keeping productive people healthy and cheerful. The Winter Relief Charity, with its “Mother and Child” program, the Labor Front with its “Beauty in Labor” and “Strength through Joy” programs, work in the same direction. We could mention countless similar activities that promote a healthy population.
More important than these measures is the selection that occurs today, as in the past, through the National Socialist movement. The appeal to the racial values of our people drew the best Germans to fight for the movement, and is today as well central to our posterity. We do not value money and possessions, name and ancestry, but rather only accomplishment and the readiness to serve. These can be found in every part of the population. A true socialist selection brings the most capable and valuable individuals to the highest offices of the party and state.
The toughest selection process naturally occurred during the period of struggle [1918-1933], which required the daily expenditure of blood and wealth. The selection process today must occur in other ways. The numerous leadership training schools, especially the Ordensburgen [schools for training the future Nazi elite] and the Adolf Hitler Schools have assumed this task. Here students must prove their character, their sense of community, their determination and their abilities, just as during the struggle for power. Here too the fundamental principle of socialist selection prevails. As the announcement of the Adolf Hitler Schools noted: “Education is free” and “After successful graduation, any career in the party and state is open to graduates of the Adolf Hitler Schools.” This selection process will forever guarantee the German people a qualified leadership. A new nobility, the nobility of achievement and of labor, will ensure the future of the people and the Reich.
Just as dangerous for the existence of a people as genetic damage is mixing with foreign blood. The German people has direct contact with only one foreign people: Jewry. Thus, for us racial hygiene means a defense against the corruption of our blood and spirit by the Jews. The differences between the German and the Jewish nature need hardly be discussed. The Jewish dominance in culture and intellectual life over the last decades has shown all Germans the destructive and corrupting nature of this people.
National Socialism’s first defensive measures therefore were aimed at driving the Jews out of our people’s cultural and economic life. Numerous laws have created the foundation for this. They cannot all be listed. Only the most important need to be mentioned. The “Law for the Reestablishment of a Professional Civil Service” of 7 April 1933 began with the Aryan Clause and removed Jews from the German government. The cleansing spread rapidly to all other areas of life, to economic and cultural organizations, the professions, film, theatre, and the press.
The “Law on the Withdrawal of Naturalization and the Cancellation of German Citizenship of 14 July 1933” also should be mentioned. It grants the Reich the power to revoke “undesired” grants of citizenship made to eastern Jews during the large migrations that occurred between 9 November 1918 and 30 January 1933.
The “Reich Law on Hereditary Farmsteads” of 29 September 1933 keeps the Jews away from German farms. It states: “Only those of German blood may be farmers.” The “Military Law” of 21 May 1935 and the “Reich Labor Service Law” of 15 October 1935 exclude the Jews from active service for the nation.
The “Reich Citizenship Law” of 15 October 1935 makes clear the status of Jews. They are subjects of the German Reich, but not citizens. The Jews are defined by this law as an independent group strictly separated from the German people.
The number of Jews in the German Reich is generally said to be around 500,000. That is however only the number who are of the Mosaic faith. The Jew has always tried to conceal himself by changing his name or religion, so the Jewish population is in fact much higher. An official report estimates the number of full Jews who are not members of the Mosaic faith at 300,000, and further estimates that there are about 775,000 partial Jews (Mischlinge).The number of those not of German blood in the German Reich is therefore about 1,555,000. This number reveals the strong infiltration of Jewish blood into our people. The high number of partial Jews is tragic proof of the lack of racial instinct in the past. Pride in race and opposition to racial defilement were awakened again by National Socialism. Race mixing is also prohibited by law. The “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor” of 15 October 1935 establishes severe penalties for relations between those of German blood and those of foreign races, and determines precisely what percentage of foreign blood causes someone of mixed blood to lose his membership in the German people.
The law understands those of foreign blood to be members of all non-German or related races, as does normal language usage. This has resulted in frequent misunderstandings of the National Socialist racial worldview. Some see racial arrogance and intolerance. That is absolutely false. We reject racial mixing first because the resulting Mischling will be the victim of natural contempt. He is “racially divided his whole life. Homeless, he stands between two peoples, but he does not know to which he belongs.” He is an unhappy, restless creature. We also believe that the races received their various characteristics to develop, not to mix. We thus do not see value distinctions in racial differences, but rather differences in kind. We therefore want to preserve the German people in its true nature and preserve it from racial mixing.
The goal of racial hygiene is to secure recognition for the racial nature of our people in all areas of life. Our art and culture can only be the true possession of the nation when they are an expression of our racial nature. And the economic capacity of the German people is strongest when our economic structure corresponds to our racial nature.
Here, too, the National Socialist movement won a quick victory because its inner and outer nature corresponds to the heroic approach to life and the racial nature of the German people.
Chapter V: Population Policy
Chapter VI: People and the Earth
Chapter VII: German Territory
Chapter VIII: German Soil
Chapter IX: The German Cultural Sphere
Chapter X: The State Territory of the German People
Chapter XI: Territory and Population
Chapter XII: The Soil as the Source of a People’s Food
Chapter XIII: The Soil and Industry
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Home Page.