Background: The Nazis had something of a problem as World War II progressed. They desperately needed foreign labor, yet their racial outlook told them such people were mostly inferior. How should they be treated? This fascinating article comes from the magazine for party leaders. It suggests that the party is serious about discouraging fraternization, and provides an illuminating insight into Nazi racial thinking. Party leaders were expected to pass on the content of articles like this to their subordinates.
The source: “Ein Briefwechsel, der zu denken gibt,” Der Hoheitsträger 6 (3/1943), pp. 23-24.
A Thought-Provoking Exchange of Letters
NCO Hans D.
To the County Women’s Leader St. or her Representative,
Dear Party Comrade St.!
For the last six months my wife has been searching for household assistance to care for my four children and help out with the garden. We have tried and tried, but when the girls hear “four children” they are generally unfortunately no longer interested. Sad but true! At my post here in Russia we hired a girl who I decided was the right person for my household. She is hard-working, clean and has a friendly, open nature. I hired her, and found support from the relevant agencies here, including the Economic Command, the Labor Office, and the SS-Security Service. I was asked to permit her to report back on her experiences in Germany, since that could be of propaganda value here. After a long and tiring journey she arrived at my home. She feels at home there, and my wife is enthused about her. But now comes the flip side of the matter. My wife writes me today, that someone from the NS Women’s Organization came by to tell her how she should treat a Russian: As a person of second class, who should go from bed to workplace and from workplace to bed, etc. I must say that I am unhappy with this approach. As I would have expected, my wife rejected this advice firmly. If I choose to sit at my table with someone, I must be absolutely convinced of their character. On the one side, we recruit them. We put our uniforms on Ukrainians, the Tartars fight side-by-side with us, the Cossacks join our ranks, and people volunteer for work in Germany. These are people I should view as second-class human beings? The restrictions they have with regards to food and clothing should be sufficient to remind them of their situation. That they are treated worse in the Reich than they are here by our offices here shows at the last an improper understanding of the situation. I also oppose making them stand out by wearing a symbol. She is a White Russian, not a Pole. As an old party member, one should leave the matter to me.I make a friendly request, dear Frau St., that you look into the matter.
I wish you the best and greet you with a firm
To NCO Hans D.
Dear Party Comrade D.!
I have received your letter and am first happy to hear that you have come safely through the Russian winter. Now to your letter.
I am astonished by your attitudes on the fundamental matter of our policy towards foreigners. Especially from an old National Socialist like you, I expected a different viewpoint. Please stay seated. I don’t want to pour oil on the fires of your anger, nor do I want to increase your scorn of the “women’s economy,” but you aren’t exactly treading carefully, and neither shall I. As good comrades, we can take different views without taking it personally! I don’t know, Party Comrade D., when you were last home on leave, but if you could experience the ethnic mixture here, you would understand why we have to protect ourselves. When the German is too dumb and kind, we must have rules and regulations.
We are in the middle of the most serious conflict with the governments of these peoples and nations. Some of our nation mourn the loss of their dearest, sacrificed in this struggle, yet others treat people belonging to our enemies and opponents as if German blood has never flowed, and still must flow. They lack proper pride and attitudes. Circumstances force us to bring foreign workers to the Reich, but that by no means forces me to sit at the same table with them. I can treat them decently, but I don’t need to associate with them. Think of how long it took us to plant the idea of a people’s community in our nation, and now we want to carry this over thoughtlessly to our opponents, to other peoples and races? No! Where did our basic principles and ideas come from? In 1933 we had to work hard to persuade the German housewife to include her German maid in the community of the household, and now we are to thoughtlessly include foreigners as well. Where does that leave German honor, German pride? It is not done without thought, but rather from pure selfishness. Just because there is a labor shortage, one forgets national honor and pride, wanting only through such wheelings and dealings (there is no other way to describe them) to get the help one wants. I can earn and maintain authority in other ways; I do not need to be a friend to these foreigners. The opposite, indeed. Even if we are fighting shoulder to shoulder with a part of these peoples today on the battleground, we must keep our distance back in the Reich. This is not for aesthetic reasons, but rather because in the end we know it is an all or nothing battle. The German soldier is the master in Europe, protecting the homeland at the risk of his life and conquering new territory.
We back home would be bad stewards of the goods entrusted to us if we let the foreigners settle in here.
According to our regulations, all foreigners in the Reich today are governed by the state and the party. The German Reich guarantees that they receive decent and correct treatment. Those individuals who come to the Reich also fall under these regulations, regardless of how nice and friendly they are. Our soldiers are also nice and friendly and decent and hard-working, but if they have the misfortune to fall into the enemy’s hands they are under the laws of war. All their decency and friendliness are of no help whatsoever, as the First World War showed (and we should not forget that so quickly). Nor do we want to forget the men who fell into the hands of the Poles of the Soviets.
don’t be angry at me, but it seems clear to me that you and your wife want to sit at the same table with a White Russian.... Haven’t we Germans learned anything from the years we suffered? The position we hold today has been won by the bravery of our soldiers. Do you think that if our positions were reversed and we stood in a dependent position before a Frenchman, a Serb, an Englishman, a Norwegian (as they do before us today), that they would sit at the same table with us? No matter how decent a person you were, you would first and foremost be a German, and they would not sit at the same table with you! And don’t tell me that you are a National Socialist, and therefore... Because you are a Nazi, you should know what you owe the Fatherland with respect to foreigners. As a German I don’t need a whip, only my pride.
The war is raging on every front and countless men risk their lives for us every day, yet we are becoming soft toward those who robbed us of peace! We are confusing our youth in the midst of challenging times, a youth that will inherit what their fathers have fought for. We do not want to plant hatred in the souls of our children certainly not but they do need the knowledge and the toughness that are necessary to build a thousand-year Reich. Otherwise, why shed so much German blood, why should mothers sacrifice their sons, wives their husbands, children their fathers for this struggle would then lose its meaning.
Do you understand me? Believe me, I do not wish to hurt you or your wife, please know that, but I have to write what I believe.
One last thing you should know. Your letter caused me great sorrow. If you were not an old party member I would have still more to say, but I will wait.
Stay well. with the warmest greetings,
Frau St., County Women’s Leader
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