German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

Background: Das deutsche Mädel was the Nazi Party’s illustrated magazine for girls. At ten, girls joined the Deutsche Mädel, the German Girls, part of the Hitler Youth organization. This article from November 1943 is an example of how girls should behave. It is interesting to compare with material from Der Pimpf, the magazine for boys. Axmann, cited at the beginning of the article, was the head of the Hitler Youth,

The source: Das deutsche Mädel, November-December 1943.

Because Father Had Promised

We all know that the bridges have been burned behind us, that we can no longer go back. There is but one slogan for the youth: Forward!

—Artur Axmann

Little Fritz sat in the corner and played with his wooden animals. Father had carved them for him in his spare moments at the front and brought them home on his last leave. And the boy would have a rocking horse, too, a proper big one with a red saddle and a mane of real horse hair. He would bring it when he came back, the father had promised. Then he was gone forever —

He remembered the promise when his mother told him the news. “I won’t get my rocking horse,” he had said sorrowfully. What did he know of death and dying, of his mother’s pain. What did he know of the people who came to her dressed in black, who held her hand, who stroked her hair. All he could think of was a rocking horse with a red saddle.

The letters he left for Santa Claus on the window ledge did no good. Since father was gone, Santa Claus didn’t seen to hear him any more either. Last Christmas had passed with no rocking horse. And now Christmas was only a few weeks away...

Fritz sat quietly in the corner and wondered what to do. Should he write Santa Claus again? Perhaps he had not found the last letter. Then he thought of Liesel, who would come in the afternoon. She stayed with him and played while mother was working at the factory. Liesel was a member of the Young Girls, and a good Young Girl always knows what to do.

So Liesel got the full story about the rocking horse. “Do you think Santa Claus will bring me one this year? He must have forgotten last year!” Fritz kept talking: “And that is what I wanted to ask you. Do you think that I should write Santa Claus again? Maybe he didn’t get my last letter.”

At first Liesel didn’t know what to say. Fritz’s question had completely surprised her. She thought for a moment, then had an idea. “You know, Fritz, write Santa Claus again. But don’t put the letter on the window sill. Give it to me. I will put the letter where Santa Claus will certainly find it.”

Fritz did a somersault and then hugged Liesel around the neck and danced around the room with her. “I knew you would know what to do, you’re the best and smartest person in the whole world!”


“I have a job for Santa Claus,” Liesel said at the next Young Girls meeting, and held up the letter. “It is quite personal.” Everyone was curious and asked “From whom?” and “What does it say?”

Heide, the group leader, took the letter and read it. At first, no one was sure what to do. The Young Girls at the work benches stopped hammering, sawing and filing. They stood around Heide, who was talking about a rocking horse with a red saddle and a mane of real horse hair. And Liesel, standing next to her, talked about “her Fritz”, whose father had promised him that rocking horse, but who died in Russia. “The boy is always thinking about the rocking horse, and believes in the power of Santa Claus,” Liesel said.

“We have to make a rocking horse for the boy,” Heide said. But how? “We’ve made enough little horses, but a big horse like that is something else.”

“Hanna said: “I know a carpenter who could give us a nice piece of rounded wood. All we need is the horse hair and the saddle.” “I can give up the binding of my poetry album,” cried Uschi. “It is made of pretty red leather.”

“...And I’ll pull out some hairs from our old milk cow,” said Eva. Everyone laughed.

Everyone got her job. One had to work on the hind quarters, others had to make the glass eyes, the leather saddle and the hair.


The weeks passed by. The Young Girls worked hard. The toys for the Christmas market were done, but they had not forgotten their duties as “Santa Claus.”

The rocking horse was finished at the last meeting before Christmas. It had long strong legs and rocked on two old coat hangers. They all stood about the splendid horse, admiring its flowing tail, its flaring nostrils, its shiny glass eyes and its red saddle.

On Christmas Eve, the little boy stood in speechless joy before the presents on the table. The Christmas tree stood with all its glittering decorations, and under it was a wonderful rocking horse with a red leather saddle and a long tail of real horse hair.


[Page copyright © 2002 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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