Background: This is material from a newsletter issued to Nazi women's leaders in the Reichsfrauenschaft. It gives them instructions on getting the Nazi message to women in their charge. Issued shortly after the attack on Russia, it suggests the kinds of issues the Nazis were concerned about. There was a lot of this material — four or five hundred pages a year.
The source: Nachrichtendienst der Reichsfrauenführung Sonderdienst, v. 10, # 16 (September 1941).
Each war over the long term brings signs of weariness. We all know that, and can accept it after two years of war. That is no sign of weakness, but rather a recognition of clear facts that we do not need to deceive ourselves about. It was never easy — and certainly that is true today — to do everything that has to be done during the day. There are new difficulties every day in shopping, one’s job, housework, yard and farm work, getting to one’s job, traveling. New tasks at work, labor shortages (especially household and agricultural workers) require adjustments. There are countless other tasks that often require extra work: duty at railroad stations, mass dinners, camp work, quartering our troops. Air attacks and bomb damage bring other challenges. And last but not least, most women worry about their loved ones serving in the field.
In this second year of war, an army of women has appeared alongside the army of soldiers to do what has to be done in the homeland and replace the men and workers who are in the field where that is needed. Most of these women have taken on a double burden, taking on a new job alongside their household duties and their children. It is easy to understand why under this daily pile of tasks and duties, personal wishes must sometimes be set aside.
There are burdens and difficulties everywhere. Naturally, they are not everywhere as difficult or great. In war, some areas suffer more than others, for example the western and northern German Gaue that face continual air raid warnings and bomb damage. Only those who have themselves experienced what it means to display the greatest personal bravery and discipline night after night because of air raid warnings, then face the resulting damage and destruction, can understand it.
It is easy to understand why women from these areas, particularly those with children, have a need to “recover” for longer or shorter periods of time in less bombing-threatened areas such as Southern Germany or the Ostmark. The southern German population may complain about the increased workload, but it is only a certain sharing of the burden. There can naturally be problems. For example, young women with children may exploit hospitality during a long stay, declining to do anything at all to help with housework or even care for their children. Their hosts already have their hands full. That shows a lack of good behavior and human understanding on the part of the young woman, just as when one refuses to allow an older woman to sleep in late during her four weeks of vacation, which she has certainly deserved. This is a matter of good behavior, understanding, and consideration that is necessary if we are not to make life difficult for each other.
All members of staff of the NSF-DFW have the duty to ensure that the behavior of German women is worthy of the difficulty and greatness of this war. That cannot be done by playing down the needs and difficulties or by preaching heroic behavior with fine words. It happens only by putting things in the right context so that they do not seem greater than they in fact are. One can also find intelligent ways to balance out difficulties and problems. That requires much personal discipline and unshakable, decent political and human conduct. Leading women requires both care and responsibility, and the best personal example. All of us who are politically active in the organization have to understand that the war is just beginning to become really challenging. Tensions are increasing, nerves fail more easily, people can no longer withstand every challenge. Exhaustion leads to a lack of courage and to sorrow during which one’s whole life seems difficult. Even one’s own courageous behavior is not always enough as burdens grown greater and heavier. The hour of trial has come. Now we will see if we are able to hold up under the strain and do everything that has to be done.
That is no reason to hang one’s head. No one should ignore the difficulties. Every office will work to help out and make things better. We women are at work helping to solve difficult economic problems. It is important that all women, whether they are members of the organization or not, work bravely together. By the way, every member of our staff has the opportunity to turn to her superiors in difficult cases to ask for advice and assistance.
It is often a big help just to talk about the difficulties. The problems in people complain about with regards to the supply of goods are easily understandable when one considers the great distances our transportation system has to deal with at the moment, the general challenges in the economy and the number of people who have to be supplied, clothed, and fed. However, the problems that sometimes occur under the pressure of particular circumstances or needs — sometimes caused by poor behavior — can always be overcome if people have patience and good will.
Recognizing difficulties should not lure us into discouragement and self-pity. That undermines our determination. It is much more important to keep in mind the significance and purpose of this war. That is the standard. Despite its difficulties, the age in which we live is so great and powerful that we sometimes have to hold our breath. We know that only a great and strong Germany can guarantee the security and prosperity of the individual. We all have, therefore, personal responsibility. This is not a game, but rather something that requires unending effort, patience, and strength — even in the necessary details of everyday life.
Our soldiers are always the model. We read, hear, or see about the achievements of our military. We realize the courage and bravery our soldiers have, their absolute, unthinking, confidence in victory despite all the difficulties. They do their duty sacrificially, to the utmost, as a matter of course.
As we strive in these months to beat down Bolshevism, enormous strength is necessary. This battle depends on each one of us, on we women at home just as on the soldiers at the front. We are on the way to the biggest victory we have ever had. Do we want to weaken or lose courage because the difficulties of everyday life sometimes seem to gain the upper hand? Do we not all feel carried along and borne up by a river of common effort that will overcome the shortages of the war and the resulting challenges? We have unshakable faith in a future that we ourselves are shaping. Each of us knows exactly what is at stake in this war. We know that we must be victors, and remain victors. —Dr. E. H.
In a recent issue (#10, end of May 1941) we reported how forbidden contact with prisoners of war is punished strictly. Many foreign workers are in Germany today. Contacts with racially undesirable foreigners are not easily prevented by laws and the police. This requires constant education from person to person, and particularly from woman to woman. Each German must know in his bones that relations with racially undesirable foreigners should be avoided from the very beginning, even if they are not legally punishable.
We have provided material for our staff to use in this educational work that we urge you to refer to. In #14/1939, p. 484, Party Comrade Marta Heß, the head of the Racial Policy Office’s section on women and girls, gave brief guidelines for educational work. The justification and necessity is very clear from recent events. Prof. Dr. Walter Groß gave a speech at the First Conference for County Women Leaders at Weimar in 1940 that outlined the basic principles of relations with foreigners. We printed that in a special edition. Finally, remember the 12 principles for oral propaganda by Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels in #21/1940, p. 316.
Relations with foreigners generally do not involve thoughts of marriage. Still, there is need for education in this regard. Under an implementation regulation to the Blood Protection Law, marriage between German-blooded men with racially-unrelated foreign women is impossible. Nor should a marriage be made if it is to be expected that the offspring will endanger the purity of German blood. This prevents the marriage of German men to mulattos, Negresses, etc.
However, under current laws a racially distant foreigner with foreign citizenship may marry a German girl. Since the girl receives foreign citizenship, the current legislation sees no danger to maintaining the purity of German blood. Since a further stream of racially distant foreigners into Reich territory is to be expected, it is urgently necessary to establish appropriate regulations that will preserve German racial blood and German racial honor in this regard as well. At the moment, however, party or state offices must keep German girls from marrying racially-unrelated foreigners.
Relations between German men and racially-related foreign women from Germanic countries, on the other hand, are generally treated differently. In general, that means that after thorough racial and ethno-biologic review, there is no objection to marriages between Germans and racially-related women from Scandinavia, Holland, or Flanders.
Marriage between a German girl and a racially-related foreigner, on the other hand, means that the woman usually is lost to Germany, especially when she moves to her husband’s country. In Germany today, however, we need every German. We must fight for each individual to maintain our ethnicity.
We must always attempt to persuade each German-blooded woman who is considering a relationship with a foreigner that her behavior is improper, inconsistent with the racial expectations of society. It must be clear that such behavior is a crime against the future of our people. Appropriate education will often prevent an undesirable marriage.
As we have seen, current law does not prohibit the marriage of a German girl to a racially-unrelated foreigner.
A marriage with a racially-related foreigner means the girl is lost to German ethnicity. In both cases, the marriage is more dangerous and less desirable that the marriage of a German man to a foreigner. Educating German women about this is urgently necessary.
As a last resort, of course, there is the possibility of legal measures to combat racial threats to the German people. It is much better, however, to avoid letting it come to that, but rather lead each German girl to be aware of and proud of her German ethnicity.
In the past, Germans inclined all too easily to the danger of admiring and imitating everything that came from abroad. Things have gotten much better. Still, educational and instructional work is necessary until even the last German knows that he is a member of a people that today has the task of leadership, and feels responsible to use all his strengths to serve the great German tasks. When this happens, no matter how many foreign workers come to Germany in the future, there will be fewer and fewer German girls who have relations with foreigners, or who marry them.
The remaining pages cover such topics recruiting women for various tasks, women’s work in occupied Poland, a new school for brides, caring for film projectors, clothing, and proper care of shoes.
[Page copyright © 2011 by Randall L. Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.