How to be a Perfect Nazi Wife: Documents Reveal ‘Bridal Schools’ for Women who Wanted to Marry SS Officers
Documents found in Germany’s Federal Archive reveal a program designed to turn young women into perfect Nazi wives, with rules on how to cook, sew, iron, breed children and also worship Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. According to report in Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid, these “bride schools” in Nazi Germany were run by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, the leader of the NS-Frauenschaft (National Socialist Women's League) and a close friend of SS chief Heinrich Himmler.
Scholtz-Klink’s schools were attended by girlfriends and fiancées of SS officers and other Nazi functionaries, who were instructed in the basics of “washing, cooking, child care and home design.” They also received training in how to entertain at cocktail parties and proper topics of conversation. They were also taught “special knowledge of race and genetics.” Himmler wanted the schools to produce ideal German wives in order to guarantee a “strong family life to create a strong, pure nation.” He viewed women principally as breeders to bear and raise Aryan children for the future of the Reich. Himmler signed a decree in 1936, three years after Hitler came to power, ordering women who wished to marry SS members to sign up for the course.
During a speech to Nazi Party members in 1935, Scholtz-Klink, who was in fact the highest ranking female in the parry, cited the crucial role of women in Germany. “You need us, you depend on us,” she said. “We participate in the resurrection way of our people. Women must be the spiritual caregivers and the secret queens of our people, called upon by fate for this special task.”
The first of these “wife training centers” was established on the island of Schwanenwerder in the Wannsee Lake near Berlin. Women with any Jewish or Romany (Gypsy) blood, or those who had some kind of mental illness or physical deformity, were excluded from the schools.
The candidates also had to follow an oath that included the following items:
* Declare loyalty to Hitler, Himmler and Nazi Party superiors “unto death.”
*“Pledge to remain “Sustainers of the Germanic Race.”
* Vow to “become proficient in cooking and housekeeping, sewing, washing and ironing; child care, nursing and home design.”
* Raise all children “in accordance with the ideals of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.”
Young women who passed the six-week course received a certificated decorated with the Germanic “Tree of Life” enabling them to marry their loved ones who were already in the SS. Those who failed were denied the right to wed their sweethearts. However, as the war against the Allies progressed, creating a huge labor shortage in the home front, the bridal schools adjusted to teach women such skills as operating steel furnaces and lathe-turning.
Scholtz-Klink, who had six children of her own, spoke out against women participating in the politics of the Reich, despite her own high position in the party. “Anyone who has seen the Communist and Social Democratic women scream on the street and the parliament, realize that such an activity is not something which is done by a true woman,” she once declared.
After the end of the war, Scholtz-Klink found herself in repeated trouble with the authorities, often living in hiding or under assumed names. She eventually went to prison for forgery and was released in 1953. But she never renounced Nazism. Moving to the tiny village of Bebenhausen in western Germany, she eventually published a book in 1978 called "Die Frau im Dritten Reich" ("The Woman in the Third Reich"), in which she praised Nazi ideology and the role women played in the regime. She died in March 1999 at the age of 97.