Authors

Object ID

2021.1.3

Object Name

Book

Date

1941

Files

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Description

[Cover]: black and white photograph of woman with blue border and title text below

[Interior]: full and half pages of black and white photographs of women working; pages are not numbered.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:

Gertrud E. Scholz-Klink (photograph and signature in blue ink title page) was head of the National Socialist Women’s League (NSF) and the German Women’s Enterprise (DSF) orDeutsches Frauenwerk.The DSF had a membership of 2.3 million women. During the Third Reich, Scholz-Klink held the title ofReichsfrauenführerin,or Reich Women Leader. Scholtz-Klink was a passionate orator, and her panegyrics to the new Aryan woman and the Nazi state were well received. She was especially emphatic about highlighting the differences between the sexes in Nazi Germany. The role of the new “Aryan” woman was to acknowledge the essential superiority of the male whose duty was to protect the nation; to marry and bear her husband children; and to focus her energies on the home. This ethos was coextensive with supporting the Reich. Women and girls were to be programmed to focus their energy on home management: the proper healthcare of both mother and child, child-care strategies, cooking, and general nutrition. Supporting the Reich could also mean women working as nurses, caring for and uplifting the very men who protect the nation during times of war. Similarly, working in industries that support the war effort, or helping during the nation’s time of need- especially when men are not available- would not be at variance from the Aryan woman’s role as Scholz-Klink understands it. Caring for one’s family and serving the Reich were both seen as coequal obligations for women.

Of course, Scholz-Klink was unapologetically against any notion of gender role equality; she was adamantly opposed to women being “emancipated” to the extent that they competed in the same arena as men. Scholz-Klink considered sexual equality “shameful”, and against the values of the Nazi party, essentially a democratic “liberal Jew-Bolshevik” fantasy which would ultimately bring dishonor to the Reich. She did feel strongly that the German woman should be able to face and endure “struggle”, sacrificing her own comforts for the good of the nation. Scholz-Klink herself would marry three times, bear four children in her first marriage and one child with her third husband, SS General August Heissmeyer, who himself brought to their marriage six children of his own.

Whether Scholz-Klink thought her romantic, gender-focused ideology applied at all to her- a woman of comfortable means serving in the man’s world of Nazi Germany- is unclear. Was it even self-consistent? The last photo in her book is that of Hanna Reitsch, who-at 4’11” was a record setting test pilot likewise devoted to Hitler and the Reich. What is obvious is that there were costs to dedicating herself to a twelve-year criminal enterprise- and the determined men at its epicenter- committed to the root and branch extirpation of entire families not considered part of the “Aryan” gemeinschaft.

Essentially ignored by Hitler’s inner circle, Scholtz-Klink would spend time in prison after the war, but to the end of her long life she was unrepentant about her service to Hitler and the Reich.

Dimensions

10 1/2 x 7 1/2"

Keywords

Gertrud Scholz-Klink, DSF, German Women's Enterprise

Subcollection

Early

<i>Women Contribute to Victory: Photographs of Women and Mothers in the War Effort </i> by Gertrud E. Scholz-Klink

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