Background: The Frauen Warte was the Nazi Party’s bi-weekly illustrated magazine for women. This is an article from the Mothers’ Day issue of May 1940, which outlines what Nazism claimed to have done for women. The author’s title is: Hauptabteilungsleiterin des Deutschen Frauenwerkes, Mütterdienst
The source: Erna Linhardt-Köpker, “Am Müttertag 1940,” NS Frauen Warte,(8), #22 (2nd May issue, 1940).
We women have a variety of thoughts each Mothers’ Day. But on Mother’s Day 1940, our thoughts will go in a particular direction. How many husbands and fathers this year are away from us, away from the family circle. In the past, Mothers’ Day was often celebrated as Fathers’ Day as well, indeed as a family holiday. Today, mothers are mostly alone with their children. Only in their thoughts can families celebrate the day together. As any holiday, Mothers’ Day gives occasion for reflection. One looks back on the past year, and looks toward the future with the firm determination to do one’s duty until Germany has won and the world knows peace — hopefully for a long time to come.
As is true every Mothers’ Day, we think of all mothers, particularly those who are alone, and of those mothers whose husbands and fathers are at the front, but also each working German woman who serves her family, or does some other work for her people. Just as individual mothers receive small gifts from their husbands and children, all of Germany’s mothers receive, as a thanks for their never-tiring work, the Mothers’ Service (Mütterdienst), a labor of German womanhood.
In six years, within the framework of the German Women’s Work (Deutsches Frauenwerk), women and mothers have built a program that in turn serves women and mothers. A great camaraderie has grown from it, a common work of women who today, alongside their tasks as mothers, have usually taken on volunteer work with the NS Women’s Organization and the German Women’s Service. Over 400 schools for mothers, brides, and housewives have been established, and are available to help each German woman develop abilities and skills in the areas of home economics, health, and education. Over 4000 well-trained staff and volunteers are available to educate and care for course participants. They have not been stopped by bad weather, bad roads, or long travels to take their traveling courses to the most distant areas and villages. So far, they have trained more than 2 1/2 million German women in courses of 25-50 hours. Each participant always says how much joy, how much inner satisfaction, it has brought her and her family. Of course, the mother training program also involves the about 5 million working mothers. The mother courses are also taught in factories. The women can participate at the end of the workday, and do not need to travel long distances to another school. They are thankful for this, and are eager to learn how to keep job and household in balance, despite all the difficulties.
The urgency of training mothers is particularly great during war, a fact confirmed everywhere by both party and state. Since beginning its work, the Mothers’ Service has seen education, in the broadest sense, as the foundation of its efforts. Today, it is an essential way of strengthening the “domestic front.” This thought has led the NS Women’s Society (NS-Frauenschaft) to expand the educational work of the Mothers’ Service, even without resources and under difficult conditions. Because of the war, the motherhood training work has not been expanded in the old Reich. No new institutions have been established. Where the program absolutely must be expanded, one uses public schools, teacher training institutes, etc. Since the beginning of the war, the goal has been to deepen the work and reach each individual woman. Therefore, alongside the courses, large numbers of office hours, and afternoon and evening events for children and mothers have been carried out. New work was rapidly begun in the Gaue of Wartheland, Danzig-West Prussia, and in the newly won areas of upper Silesia. The work in the Sudetenland and Austria was expanded. To build a stable foundation for motherhood training in the new areas, a special action brought in teaching staff from the old Reich. Their job was to properly train the staff that would take over the work, supporting them during the difficult pioneer work. The staff from the old Reich now working in the East are particularly experienced in motherhood education.
On Mothers’ Day, the Mothers’ Service wants to show all women and mothers that the National Socialist state recognizes, values, and supports mothers. In the past, the attention was on mothers who already had children. More and more, the task is also to provide short-term but intensive courses in marriage and the family that will build a good foundation for the future life of those girls who are engaged, but have neither the time nor the money to participate in a longer training course in home economics. This is above all the task of the Mother’s Service of the German Women’s Work.
Every woman would be pleased if she could experience life at one of these schools for young brides, or else a course for mothers who need training and relaxation.
The largest brides’ school, which is also connected to a school for housewives, is at Husbäke in the Oldenburg Moor. This Mothers’ Day issue has an article that reports on it in detail. No one who has seen the wide horizons there, or the sky that seems reach down to the moor, can ever forget it. He will love the land, and feel that he belongs there, for its profound simplicity will have moved him deeply. The Reich for Housewives and the Reich School for Brides at Husbäke are set in the middle of this lovely piece of earth, fitting smoothly into the landscape. The scent of the sea wafts across the moor, the same sea German flyers cross on their way to England. That does not distract the women and girls. Just as men do their duty, they are preparing for their duties as wives and mothers, when they will give birth, and care for and protect their children. Man and woman are both fulfilling their duty to do everything for their people.
The same tasks and the same spirit are evident on other bridal schools in Schwannenwerder on the Wannsee near Berlin, in Tübingen, in Schnede on the Lüneberg Heath, and in many other places. Sometimes, it concerns household questions, or questions of health, education, or interior decoration — both during war and in peace time. Other times, the questions have to do with marriage and the family. There is, of course, also time for rest and relaxation. The girls are always eager to join in. Many of the mothers who bring their daughters to the six week course at the brides’ school regret that they did not have the opportunity to experience the womanly camaraderie that is everywhere to be seen at the brides’ school. The girls learn practical skills, but they also develop relationships with the staff and with the other participants that last long after the course is over.
The cost for a six week course at a brides’ school, including room, board, and tuition, is 135 marks. Those receiving marriage loans can receive a 100 mark loan. Furthermore, brides of members of the SS and the SA who cannot afford the full cost are eligible for scholarships or reductions up to the full cost. Applications to attend a bridal or housewives’ course may be sent to the Reichsfrauenführung, Berlin W 35, Verfflingerstr. 21.
Mothers attending the housewives’ course, if they are unable to afford the 90 mark cost for the four-weeks, can receive aid from the NS People’s Welfare Organization, or from the companies they work for. Those who take such a course, which also provides rest and relaxation, in Oberbach on the Rhön, at Jonsdorf near Zittau, or in one of the other housewives’ schools, will never forget it. It speaks for the value of the work that people visiting the Reichsfrauenführung’s offices and who learn about the varied tasks of the Mother’s Service often make a contribution to enable a mother to attend a housewives’ school of the German Women’s Work, Mother’s Service. Not every mother can take such a course.
Unfortunately, it is also not possible for every bride to attend a brides’ school before her marriage. However, the knowledge that the opportunity exists, that the program has broad support, encouragement, and recognition from party and state, proves that in the midst of all its other exertions, our people thinks of its mothers. They are the eternal source of blood, they give birth to new life, they are ready to risk everything for their children, and thus for their people. The National Socialist state realizes that it has everything to gain when it has the hearts of its mothers.
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