Background: This is the text of a speech delivered by Dr. Walter Groß, the head of the Nazi Party’s Office of Racial Policy. He was speaking to a women’s meeting at the Gau party rally in Cologne on 13 October 1934. The text was widely distributed. This is an interesting example of Nazi racial propaganda early on in Hitler’s regime. It does not mention the Jews directly, but lays the foundation for anti-Semitism. Groß (1904-1945) in a later speech said: “As far as the historical appearance of the Jew in Europe is concerned, we believe that the hour of his death has irrevocably arrived.”
The picture of Groß is from a 1934 issue of Neues Volk, the Nazi Party’s monthly magazine on racial policy, aimed at a mass audience.
The source: Dr. Groß, Nationalsozialistische Rassenpolitik. Eine Rede an die deutschen Frauen (Dessau, C. Dünnhaupt, 1934).
When Germans come together today to discuss the things that concern us both as individuals and as a nation, it is a solemn occasion, whether we wish it to be or not. During the political struggles of the past, we could speak of party programs or of civilization without any involvement of our soul.
Now we have forgotten how to approach an issue merely with our understanding, merely with our mouth, merely with our heart. We have become whole people once again. When we speak with others, we do so with our full being.
That is what made the movement strong, and great, and powerful from its first days. It is also that which the enemy, on this side of the border and the other, cannot understand, and which it hates with deadly strength. As this great and beautiful people’s movement began, so also began a hard and bitter struggle between enemy and German forces, between an old world that is really long dead and buried, and the new world that is struggling to reach the light through us. This struggle has been going on in people’s hearts and souls for years, and is nowhere near its end. The world finds it difficult to understand that which is at the center of our endeavors:
the value of blood and race.
Our enemies first laughed in pity, then in hatred as we spoke of it.
Let us speak of what we National Socialists mean by that so that it will become clear why the German woman may be even more concerned about these matters than the man, his state, and his fighting organization can be.
There was a time in the past when we were untrue, untrue in the deepest sense. We were untrue not to other people, or parties, or states, or kings, but untrue to something far greater, untrue to the laws of life. As long as the world exists, as long as life grows, flourishes and perishes, so long will this life have the urge to live on into the future and win new territory. Whether plant or animal or man — as we, or I, or you:
wherever there is life, it has the longing to bring forth new life.
It should be unnecessary to speak of such things. We speak of them only because for a few decades a crazy era ignored, blasphemed, and mocked these greatest, most beautiful and purest dreams of life. This was an age that made the idol of money supreme and said: “The world should be governed not by what serves life, but rather by what some fool of an accountant decides is best.” We know the results. The great laws of life were evaluated according to money sacks and checkbooks. When we think back on our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, there were many children in the house. It may have been crowded and hard financially, but we were happy, perhaps because there were so many of us in so large a family. But the time came when people said: “As man or woman, as parents or teachers of leaders, you have the duty to show the people the way to a better future.” That better future, people thought, could only be a richer future, a future in which the individual had more money. And when they were asked where this money would come from, a false teaching arose in the last century: “The fewer people there are, the more an individual child can inherit from his parents.” He who loves his children and wishes a prosperous future for his nation should therefore see to it that Germany’s population is small, and that only a few children continue the family after he is gone. That was the terrible teaching of birth control, which Marxism preached and the bourgeois followed. No one dared stand against it. That was the doctrine that made us what we are today:
a dying people,
in which fewer children are born each year, in which today more people die each year than are born. This all was supposed to lead to a happy future. It understood happiness only in terms of possessions. It was therefore inherently false. But even in its own terms it was false, for it forgot something:
When a people begins to die, when a people no longer obeys the laws of life, when a people values money more than its existence and posterity, this people is on the path to disaster, both historically and politically. Within a few decades it will be dead, oppressed by other peoples who are stronger, closer to life, and who follow life’s laws better than we.
If present trends continue, by the end of the century Germany will be a nation with only 40-50 million inhabitants,
and we know that on our borders other peoples are growing quickly and strongly. Sooner or later, these other peoples will come in conflict with a shrinking and dying German people, and the result of the supposed doctrine of happiness will be a hard and bitter
national death for our children.
Those who believed that they can give their children a happy and peaceful future by reducing the number of children err deeply. They give the children only the promise of a hard and bitter struggle for Germany’s existence as a state and as an idea.
Today when we work to show people that the ideas of yesterday are false, that the state and nation cannot do without the family, that the family cannot exist without children, and when we not only provide economic support to make it easier to begin families and have children, but also tell people again and again of the sanctity of life and the necessity of continuing our people into the future, our enemies on both sides of the border suddenly have insults and hateful things to say about us. They wish to disturb our work. Suddenly there are voices saying: “National Socialism’s doctrines are inhumane and barbaric. National Socialism’s views on children turn people into breeding animals. When it says
that it is the duty of men and women to continue the eternal chain of life, a chain that begins in the distant past and continues into the future, a chain of which we are only a link leading into the distant future,
our enemies on both sides of the border claim: “You reject the dignity and value of humanity. National Socialism holds that men and women have no value other than that of breeding cattle.” It is a shame that we have to respond to such words, but it is necessary because our enemies have always tried to persuade women to oppose us, even though what we say is rooted in the souls of the men and women we speak to. This is our response: “You are mistaken in accusing us of thinking that the only purpose of humanity is to continue the species by passing on our blood to future generations. We know the other values. We support them and find wherever we can those values that the individual shows in his work and selfless service. We know well enough that
each person lives a double life. The first is the one he lives between birth and death. We are to do as much as we can to make this life rich, to accomplish that which is good and beautiful, to use our strengths and gifts for others. That is the duty of the individual. But as a person you are something more:
You are a member of the chain of life, a drop in the great bloodstream of your people.
There, too, you have duties and obligations before the eternity of the nation. You have the duty to pass on what you received from your parents and ancestors. I do not believe that such behavior, which obeys both the laws of reason and of life, is barbaric, hateful, or inhumane. I believe instead that the barbarism is to be found in the years we have left behind us, when any dirty lout could besmirch the most valuable, holy life of a man or women in their families, or drag children through the filth, without anyone defending their culture against such an attack.
I believe that when we tell people once more of the great value of blood, and remind them that they have duties not only for the 60-year span in which they work and serve, but also to the millennia of the past from which we come and to the millennia of the future to which we are heading, then we are giving them higher values than those of yesterday. Let me say also, however, that it is wrong if someone thinks that only those who found families and bear children are valuable to our state. We know that is not so. We know there are reasons why some people leave their people’s flow of blood. We know that some are denied what the nation places great value on. We do not ignore them or think ourselves their betters. We only say this: “My friend, you and I must do our duty to our people, and when we cannot fulfill it in one way, then we must do what we can with even greater energy and devotion.
When you do your duty, you are one of us,
we extend our hand to you, we honor your humanity and your service for Germany. Let us work together so that in the future, as many people as possible will be able to serve the nation in both ways.
That is a piece of the thinking of blood and race that National Socialism has taught us. And there is another aspect. When we see people today, we can recognize that we are not all alike. There are differences in value;
each person does not have the same value as anyone else.
In the past, people believed that these differences were superficial, the result of the environment in which one grew up. People believed that what became of a person depended primarily on the house he grew up in or in his social environment, or the class he came from. They believed that a person born in a slum, surrounded by shadows, troubles and poverty, a child lacking in love and affection, could only become a second-class human being, a physically and psychologically ill member of the society, someone failed by the society and the state. One thought that a child growing up in such slum inevitably became sick, or even criminal. It was because he grew up in such a poor environment. The Marxists claimed that if every child in Germany grew up in an environment that gave him all he needed, he would inevitably become a useful, decent, upright, proud and honest adult. After a few years or decades, the entire German people would consist of such decent and useful people. In the past people believed the environment was responsible even when a person failed miserably.
We recall the days of delirium, when millions of unemployed had been thrown on the street by a sick political and economic system, made superfluous. A single person pried the tracks apart and derailed a train in the middle of the night. Within a minute he murdered 30 innocent people who had never done anything to him, and stole their money. And what did the world of yesterday say? “He can’t help himself. He is a victim of circumstances. He has Beethoven’s hands and an artistic temperament. We need not put him on the gallows or in prison to protect us and our children. No, this poor Schlesinger is only sick because of his environment. Put him in a modern sanitarium, give him what he needs: radio, a library, a smoking salon, a language teacher, a pastor, a newspaper room, give him everything he needs to put him in touch with better things. In a few years, this mass murderer of 30 people will leave as an ideal human being, so pure and innocent that one can put him in charge of a kindergarten.” That’s what people thought in the past.
Today that seems a bad joke to us, a crazy fantasy, but a few years ago it was government policy in Germany. Those who did well under such policies and have joined to fight us think that they can accuse our doctrines of blood and race as barbaric.
Why do we see things differently? Because we have learned something:
In the end you are not as important and significant as you thought yesterday;
your strength and abilities are not as great as you believed during the liberal era. Oh yes, it was a lovely dream to say: “I will do with my life what I want, and if I happen to be a teacher, I will teach what I want, and do what I enjoy, and what I think right.” Well, that was your idea.
We are a bit more modest, a bit more humble before the laws of fate.
We have learned that what I can do for myself or what you can do for yourself, or what we can all do to each other, is not as important, or as deep, as that which a greater power has already done to us. It is that power that even before our birth gave us a part of our nature, and laid out our path for us in the world. Here are joined two things: the knowledge of modern science and the sensitivity and understanding of a humble person. Suddenly we see that:
What you are, what I am and what I can be in my life is in part predetermined by that which I have inherited.
If my inheritance is good and strong, and if I am true to it and develop what is within me, my life will be successful, and perhaps of benefit and joy to others. If such an inheritance is denied me, or if for some inexplicable reason fate has given me other, perhaps weak, perhaps even bad traits, I can struggle against them for my entire life, and will still not be able to rid myself of that which slumbers in me because of the actions of a higher power.
We see then that a good part of a people’s history is determined by what it has inherited. If we ask what sorts of physical or intellectual traits these may be, or what groups there are, we will see that each people has three groups. The first is a large group of people with average gifts, the most of us who are able to deal with the normal problems life presents us with. Next there is a very small group. This group has received a better inheritance than most of us, not because of any particular virtue on its part, but simply because of fate. The leaders of humanity, those who build states, lead people, or touch the soul, come from this group. And there is a third small group with particular traits, also not their fault: those who are sick or genetically defective. They are not up to the challenges of life and need outside help to survive.
As humanity or a nation go through the centuries, the decisive fact is which of these three groups is the strongest. One might say: “That is not a question at all. The strongest will win, the group from which the leaders come. This superior group has to be the strongest in the end, it must gradually have its way.” Well, that is how things would be without people, if people with their little brains did not believe that they could change the laws of life given to the world by heaven.
Man has interfered in these matters. He has tried to change the laws of struggle and existence and selection. Those were ancient laws of life, to which men too were subject:
That which cannot meet the challenges dies.
That is hard, perhaps, but it is also the way that nature makes life stronger and better. Man has tried more and more to abolish these laws. He has kept life going by using artificial means in cases where, left to itself, it would have ended. He used all his understanding, love and sympathy to keep a person alive, even when it is no joy, but only a burden and misery. We now keep thousands, even tens of thousands of unhappy creatures alive through artificial means, those to whom life itself has denied the right to life. But keeping them alive was not itself the problem. What is worse is that they were given the opportunity to pass on their unfortunate physical and mental characteristics. That was the worst that happened: we took the physically weak, the mentally ill, the genetically defective criminals and not only kept them alive and cared for them — that is our duty as human beings, which we certainly do not want to ignore in the future either — and gave them the ability to have children with the same deficiencies, thus doubling or multiplying their misery. The German people do not know the extent of this misery, it does not know the depressing spirit of the homes where thousands of cripples live their lives only by being fed and cared for, poor creatures who are worse than any animal. The animal, at least, is as it should be. These poor creatures are distortions of life, no joy either to themselves or others. They are a burden throughout their miserable existences, but thanks to the selfless care and devotion of those who care for them may live 60, 70, or 80 years. The German people do not realize the enormous sums that have been spent for decades, money that is taken from those who are healthy, who could do something useful, but cannot because the money is lacking.
There was a winter in which children in Bavaria did not even have wooden shoes to wear as they walked through the snow on their way to school. They had to walk for hours bare-footed. At the same time, the government made sure that those unfortunate souls in a large institution had fresh bananas twice a week so that they got the necessary vitamins. But these vitamins could not give them joy or strength or health. But they were thus denied to those somewhere in the Bavarian forest, or in the Ruhr, or in a poor fishing village on the Frisian coast, where they could have reduced the poverty and need in some worker’s house. At the same time there was a case where
a single mentally ill Negro of English citizenship lived for 16 years in an institution in Berlin, costing 26,000 Marks.
26,000 Marks were thrown away on a life that had no meaning. 26,000 Marks that could have been used to prepare a dozen strong, healthy, and gifted children for life and a job.
But I am not speaking of this as a kind of theft. Money is not an end in itself. Rather, we have here committed a theft of spirit and soul, because we tried to persuade the nation and humanity that our own greatness could come from sacrificing for the worst and most helpless. In the end, we went so far as
to put the sick and the dying before the young, strong, healthy, and promising.
That is against nature and life. A nation going this way is heading for the abyss. We went so far as to preach year after year to healthy families that they should have no children, or at most one, else they sinned against the nation and the spirit of this enlightened age. But if some imbecile of a whore and a genetically ill criminal had children, they were not only a financial burden for their entire lives, but also took the labor of people whom our society gave nothing better to do than to change these poor creatures three times a day and feed them. That is a perversion of everything great and healthy, and is a sin against life and the spirit of creation.
With full knowledge of our duties as human beings and the requirements of pity, we made the decision not to allow such miserable creatures to pass on their misery to the next generation, multiplied perhaps two or three or more times. That is a major accomplishment, for which our children and their children will one day thank us.
I know that there are those who will say: “You are meddling in matters that are not your concern. You are interfering in an area outside human control. Life and death are not in the hands of man, but in those of a higher power. If God wants sick and genetically ill people to be born, you may not interfere through laws, operations, or any other measures with God’s will. And if you do so — and you have with your Law to Prevent Inherited Illness — then you are acting against the will of God, and you are heretics.”
This is our answer: “My friend, you are wrong. It is true that we are subject to a higher power. We humans may never interfere with the great laws of the Creator. But you are wrong. See the laws the Creator has established for his world and your life. The great law is that life must be able to preserve itself, and that if it cannot, it will collapse. It is the hard, brutal law of the struggle for existence and of selection and extinction. It was the law we saw day by day, hour by hour, under all the clouds of heaven and all the stars of the sky, in which life seemed to find a senseless death, whether plant or animal or person, whether in distant Africa or near us.
That which cannot meet the challenges of life dies, no matter how much pain it causes,
and even if your small understanding or mind cannot comprehend it, these are the great laws of life and of the world that God himself gave us. These are laws, my German friend, that in our crazy fantasies we broke in the past.”
With overweening human pride and false pity, we broke the great law and kept those alive who under the laws of God would long since have perished.
Today we are once more following these old laws, using humane methods, for they follow a more hard and brutal course in nature according to God’s will. We are doing nothing more than reestablishing the laws of creation, and bowing to the heavenly order. We are thus showing piety and true humility — you are the heretics.
This applies as well to the third and last principle of our racial thinking. This third and last principle is that the people on this world, in America, Africa or China, are different both in body and soul. They are not equal, as yesterday’s lie had it.
People are different.
They not only speak different languages and look different: no, they are different in the depths of their hearts and natures, and in their abilities for good and evil. In the past people believed that these differences were accidental, the result of climate or civilization, and that one could overcome these differences and create a unified man in a unified state in which all would be equally happy. We have learned that such ideas are false. We have learned that the differences between the major blood groups of the world, between the major races, are not the result of human action, but of the laws of Creation. We have learned that the lines between blood and blood, race and race, are also the lines between soul and soul and spirit and spirit. We have learned that the opposite of the old phrase “What God has brought together, let no man put asunder” is also true. We have learned:
What God has separated, man should not bring together.
Heaven thought it good not to have only one type of people on the earth, but different kinds, various racially-bound peoples. That is a part of Creation. We bow before this truth and respect the borders. That means that the foundation of our separation of the races is not a matter of politics or economics, but rather it rests on a higher level, to which we in the end are responsible.
In our Reich, we are separating that which belongs to us, because it is blood of our blood, from that which does not belong to us, because it is foreign. We are doing that which is right not only for the moment, but for eternity.
Believe me, my dear German fellow citizens, it is not true, as some say, that this doctrine is a sign of arrogance or superiority or boasting. We do not think ourselves better than the other races on the earth. No, we do not think ourselves better, nor do we believe that others are worse than we are. We insist only on one thing — a law established by the Creator himself:
Man differs from man and race from race in this world.
The others may not be better or worse, but they are different than we are, and because they are different than we are, there is a kind of wall between us that is part of the laws of life. That is the core of National Socialism’s racial thinking. Our goal is not to insult others, to say: “What a great guy I am!” Rather, we hold to the humble recognition that each healthy piece of life has its corner of the world, and its special tasks. This is just as true of humans as it is of plants and animals in all their multiplicity. We know that one type is no more valuable than another. But we also know that each variety of life has a right to existence only as long as it keeps itself pure and strong. Only when a tree bears the proper fruit does it have a right to live. Otherwise it will be cut down and destroyed. We do not know why things are the way they are, and it would be foolish to ask the reason. That is how things are. Our task is to humbly accept the laws that govern our human existence, and to accept the fact that we are born Germans in Germany, not as Chinese or Eskimos. That is not because of our virtues, nor it is our fault, nor was it our will. It was fate that came from above. We have no choice but to accept this fate and to develop the abilities that fate has given us according to necessity and law.
Others may develop in their own way, in their own land. We must listen to the depths of our own people, to draw from blood and inheritance the strength we need to build our homeland. A higher power will take care of the life beyond.
I believe, my dear German fellow citizens, that everyone who is of our spirit will grant the correctness of our thinking about blood and race, and will say: “I see now that you are not only on the right path, but are honest and in the deepest sense true to demands that are greater than the laws of man.”
Let us then together follow the path to a new worldview. Let us go the path of blood and race, which does not ignore faith and knowledge and a sense of higher powers. Let us go this path, not a path of matter, superstition, and heresy, but rather a path of deep humility and piety before the laws of God. Let us go along this path together and listen to the deepest depths where blood and soul rule. Let us draw from there the strength to build the state, and even more important the Reich. It will be a Reich not only of politics, a Reich of organization, or the economy, but a Reich of a people. Germany today has the fortune to find a new way, led by a great Führer. German women today have the good fortune to see a strong and loyal woman at their head. Let us together go forward, hand in hand, as befits comrades building the future, and let us join the strength of men and women, rooted deep in their blood, to build what the world has never before seen:
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