Background: This is the account of the women’s rally at the
1936 Nuremberg Rally, taken from the official party proceedings. The
speakers were Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, the head of the Nazi women’s league,
and Hitler himself, who outlines the Nazi view of the role of women.
The source: “Die Tagung der deutschen Frauenschaft,”
Der Parteitag der Ehre vom 8. bis 14. September 1936. Offizieller
Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen
Kongreßreden (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1936),
The Rally of the German Women’s
The NS Women’s League met on Friday morning in the Congress
Hall. The enormous hall was filled two hours before the meeting
began. Many thousands of women were unable to enter, and gathered
outside to hear the proceedings over loudspeakers.
The Gau and district leaders, the leaders of the women’s labor
service and those of the League of German Girls took their places
on the platform, and the officials of the NS Women’s League and
the German Women’s Work filled the seats. To the side one could
see numerous representatives of German women’s groups from abroad
in colorful and elaborate costumes. The farmers among the participants
also wore their beautiful traditional costumes.
Just before the meeting began, 600 leaders of the women’s
labor service and a delegation of the BDM [League of German Girls]
entered and took their positions on the steps of the podium.
The meeting then greeted with shouts of “Heil” the
Reich Women’s Leader, Frau Scholtz-Klink and her aide Hilgenfeldt.
After a piece by the Reich Symphony Orchestra, Hilgenfeldt
opened the meeting and greeted the participants and foreign guests
in the name of the National Women’s Leader. The 20,000 women
rose to sing “Our Fate was to be a Free People.”
As the song faded, Reich Women’s Leader Scholtz-Klink
It is characteristic of both people and nations that at times
things happen that overthrow former ideas and values and replace
them with new ones. History calls such events revolutions; they
have occurred over the millennia and relatively few of them prove
of lasting benefit. A revolution, whether in an individual or
a nation, deserves the name only when it allows the true, appropriate
and deepest strengths of a people to come to expression once
Our German people has two revolutions in our recent past. 1918 with all
its blood and barricades, noise and brutality, met the outward requirements
of a revolution. In reality, however, it represented only the culmination
of a decades-long process during which the German people were driven away
from their true nature. We know today that this “revolution”
was necessary in order to bring the real revolutionaries to the attention
of our people, to rouse them against the false ways our people had followed,
against the false thinking that had taken over all important areas of
our public life. 9 November 1918 was not led by people who were guided
by the idea that Germans should once again find themselves and return
to their true nature. Rather, it was the work of people who declared the
idea of the “people” or the “German people”
outdated and replaced a passionate affirmation of ourselves with
the thesis of a universal “humanity.”
However, peoplesby which we mean the generations of ancient
families and tribeshave always been a part in the most varied
past events. We are therefore justified in thinking there is
a larger meaning to them, that a unified people will always be
necessary under the laws established by a higher power. The empty
talk about universal humanity is a dishonest and senseless attempt
to replace eternally valid laws with the limited strength of
mere human thinking!
Thus 9 November 1918 stirred those people in Germany for whom the concept
of “people” still had meaning. They formed the core of the National
Socialist movement. 9 November 1918 represented the dreadful revelation
of a kind of universal thinking, 30 January 1933 represented the triumphant
affirmation of people bound to their race under eternally valid laws of
life. This revolution lacked the usual characteristics no bloodshed
or uproar but it brought the German nation back to its true self!
It recalled much eternal that had for a time been forgotten.
What was new was the will to bring the knowledge of our nature
not only to the individual, but to persuade him of the following:
It is not enough to hold foreign thinking impossible for us.
Rather, the knowledge of the inadequacy of foreign thinking must
lead to a passionate affirmation of your own nature.
This is the thinking we are bringing to the German people and
that is the work of the women of this people. That is the worldview that
guides our actions. In contract to abstract and inorganic Bolshevist theories
of humanity, we are the bearers of an organic moral life order.
Let me give several practical examples from the Soviet Union
that prove that lovely theories are not able to deal with the
reality of life, but rather that life’s powerful hand takes revenge
on disobedient and arbitrary human behavior.
The Soviet Union declared the legal equality of men and women in all
areas in a law of 18 November 1918. That meant the same right to work,
the same duty to support oneself, the right of control over one’s own
body, which for the woman meant the right to abortion. The view was that
men and women had full freedom only when the state stayed as far as possible
from personal relationships. The state provided no legal rights in marriage,
which meant that there were only two forms of marriage. One could register
a marriage before a government office, or one could be married without
virtue of state ceremony.
The result was that, even when one had been married officially,
the individual partners had the right when they were unhappy
to go to the same office and, for a very small fee, dissolve
the marriage. Should there be children, they would be housed
in collective homes, since both father and mother worked and
housing was in short supply, given the migration from the countryside
to the cities. The absence of resources in such homes led of
necessity to demanding money from the economically stronger partner.
The result was constant legal battles and enormous misery for
Simultaneously, women were increasingly absorbed in industry
and the military. In 1918, 24 of every 1000 miners were women.
By 1932, 153 of 1000 were women, a number that had grown to 321
by 1935! In automobile and tractor manufacturing, women are 30.4%
of the work force, 63.5% of the drilling industry.
The full equality of the sexes had the further result that girls are
given the same military training as boys in the communist youth organization
and schools. The Red Army is the only army in the world in which both
men and women are trained as soldiers and officers to wage aggressive
At the opening of the International Communist Women’s Congress in Moscow
on 8 March 1936, Frau Kogan called on communist women throughout the world
to fight the enemies of the Soviet Union. Among other things, she said
the following: “At the call of the Communist Internationale and of
comrade Stalin, we are ready to join the front ranks against the enemies
of the socialist fatherland and to fight to the last drop of blood for
communism throughout the world!”
The effect of Bolshevist “freedom” was:
Helpless women and wretched children, worn out sick women
as the result of heavy labor and abortions, a rapid fall in the
birthrate, and growing complaints from the women themselves that
finally led the Soviet government to make proposals on 25 May
1936 for improvements in these areas.
A law was proclaimed four weeks later that required both partners
getting a divorce to appear in person, and that a note be made
in the personal papers of the partner who wanted the divorce.
The fee for the first divorce was 50 rubles, for the second 150,
and for third and following ones, 300 rubles.
Abortion was permitted only in those cases where a continuation
of the pregnancy represented danger to the life or health of
the woman, or in cases of inherited diseases. Abortions could
be performed only in hospitals or clinics.
Forcing a woman to have an abortion received a sentence of
up to two years in prison.
Pregnant women who violated the law would receive a public
reprimand for the first offense of the law, and a fine of 300
rubles for subsequent offenses.
The law further provides an increase in financial assistance
for new mothers and state grants to those with numerous children.
This law, the Reich Women’s Leader continued, is the beginning
of life’s powerful answer to the theories of freedom of the individual
and “humanity.” We Germans had 14 years under an attempt
to impose Bolshevist principles on us. The German woman took
her place alongside the German man when she realized that a struggle
was going on between God’s order for earthly affairs and universal
apostles of humanity who wanted to replace these eternal laws.
It was a battle between good and evil.
Good and evil are equally strong forces in life. They find
visible form in National Socialism and Bolshevism. National Socialism
is good become visible for we Germans. It respects the earth
from which our people have grown. Bolshevism is absolute evil
because it is a universal approach that rejects the eternal laws
of nature. “Good” and “evil” have never stood
in such stark contrast before all the world as they do today
in these two forces.
The Reich Women’s Leader concluded that our courage to do
good must always be greater than our fear of evil. We must never
make weak compromises. Our work is to spread this idea. It is
nothing other than a daily struggle between these two forces.
It is not ultimately a battle of means or of money, that is of
perishable things, but rather it is ennobled by the spirit in whose
service we stand: In the battle between good and evil, we are
the obedient servants of the good.
At the International Women’s Congress in Moscow on 8 March
1936, Frau Kogan called for the women of the world to fight for
the victory of Bolshevism. At our congress we National Socialist
women call on all women loyal to their people throughout the
world, as the physical and spiritual mothers of their people,
to join in an unwritten but strong community as servants of the
good in the battle against evil in the world. Then we with our
Führer along with the women of other nations and their leaders
will guarantee the peace of the world.
The Führer before the German women
The Führer began by speaking of the educational mission
of National Socialism, the results of which were increasingly
visible. The Führer again found words that went to the heart
about the duties and lives of German women. Here is a part of
what the Führer said:
“Our entire people today is filled with optimism. What
a splendid youth we have once more in Germany! Everything has
become so cheerful, so confident! Believe me, that is the most
important thing a person needs.
A person who is not joyful cannot sense joy. One needs optimism
in order to live. It begins with children. It takes optimism
to bring a child into the world! What can it become? What will
it become? Every mother believes her child is the best. This
is a healthy optimism. When a child is born, the mother receives
it with joy. She worships this small creature! (Stormy applause)
The child itself begins life with enormous optimism. It wants
to live, and it charges into life with the great optimism of
such a little creature. The optimism that accompanies us through
life even survives death. When the end of life comes, human optimism
falls back on the Almighty. He overcomes the terrifying knowledge
of the end of life with a triumphant optimism in eternal life.
Woe to the people or to the nation that loses this capacity!”
“Each year we see that the inner confidence of the German
people has grown yet more, as has his confidence in his own worth,
in his position in the world, and in his confidence in himself
and in our community. Winning the faith and confidence of the
people is the prerequisite for the success of any political leader.
Must I not be the greatest optimist of all?” the Führer
said to long-lasting and enthusiastic shouts of “Heil!”
“Those abroad may say ‘That is fine for the men! But
your women cannot be optimistic. They are oppressed and dominated
and enslaved. You give them no freedom of equality.” We
answer: What you see as a yoke others see as a blessing. What
is heaven to one is hell for another.”
The Führer sarcastically proved the illogic of such criticism. “As
long as we have sound men and we National Socialists will see to
that there will be no women throwing hand grenades in Germany,
no women sharp-shooters. That is not equality for women, but rather their
“Women have boundless opportunities to work. For us the
woman has always been the loyal companion of the man in work
and life. People often tell me: You want to drive women out of
the professions. No, I only want to make it possible for her
to found her own family and to have children, for that is how
she can best serve our people!”
“If a woman jurist does the best possible work, but next
to her lives a woman who has given birth to five, six or seven
healthy children who are well educated, I would say the following:
From the standpoint of the eternal values of our people, the
woman who has borne and raised children has done more, given
more, accomplished more for the future of our people!”
“Real leadership has the duty to enable every man and
woman to fulfill their dreams, or at least to make it easier
for them to do so. We seek this goal through laws that encourage
the healthy education of children. But we have done more than
simply pass laws. We are educating for German women and girls
a manly youth, the men of tomorrow!”
“I believe we have found the right way to educate a healthy
youth. Let me say this to all the literary know-it-alls and philosophers
of equality (laughter): Do not deceive yourselves! There are
two separate arenas in the life of a nation”: that of men
and that of women. Nature has rightly ordained that men head
the family and are burdened with the task of protecting their
people, the community. The world of the woman, when she is fortunate,
is her family, her husband, her children, her home. From there
she can see the whole. The two arenas together join to form a
community that enables a people to survive. We want to build
a common world of both sexes in which each sees its own tasks,
tasks that it alone can do and therefore can and must do alone.”
“In my 18 years of struggle, I have gone a way that knowledge
and consciousness of duty demanded. I have never left this way.
But my life will have meaning only if our people lives, if a
healthy posterity matures.
As I travel through Germany, I see in the millions of children
nothing less than what gives meaning to all of our work. I see
children who in obeying their mothers also obey me. (Stormy applause)
When I see this wonderful growing youth, my work becomes easy. I overcome
every weakness. Then I know why I do everything. It is not to build some
miserable business that will perish, but rather this work is for something
lasting and eternal. A vital part of this future is the German girl, the
German woman, the German woman, and thus we meet the girl, the woman,
“I do not measure the success of our work by our roads. I do not
measure it by our new factories, or our new bridges, or the new divisions.
Rather, I measure our success by the effect we have on the German child,
the German youth. If they succeed, I know our people will not perish and
our work will not have been in vain.”
“I am convinced that no one understands our work better
than the German woman. (long-lasting, jubilant applause) Our
opponents think that Germany has tyrannized women. I can only
reply that without the support and true devotion of the women
of the party, I could never have led the movement to victory.
(renewed enthusiastic applause) And I know that also in hard
times when the know-it-alls and those who think themselves wise
lose confidence, women’s hearts will remain true to the movement
and be bound forever to me.”
The Reich Women’s Leader thanked the Führer after the
jubilation at the end of his speech had calmed down. In the name
of all German women, she promised to work hard to ease his concerns.
Not only the Reich Women’s Leader’s words, but also the jubilation
of the crowd followed the Führer as he left the hall.
While singing continued in the hall and the women’s leader
lead a final “Sieg Heil” as an oath and affirmation
to the Führer, the tens of thousands of women waiting outside
the hall greeted and thanked the Führer.
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