Distrust of Women

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Women were also under tremendous stress in the final years of the war. They had to fend for themselves, often under the most difficult of conditions. They had to provide for their families largely on their own and were thus confronted by new responsibility. Many of them were uncertain about their husbands’ fates.

Male “German citizens” and elements of the regime viewed women’s new self-reliance with suspicion. In particular, they worried about their – alleged – promiscuity.

SD reports in April of 1944 reported from all parts of the Reich that a large number of women and girls increasingly tend to live out their sexuality. This was primarily being noticed among the wives of soldiers. Cases of German women and girls’ forbidden fraternization with prisoners of war also quite obviously mounted in the final two years of the war.

A report to the NSDAP’s Reich treasury from April 13, 1944 complained that the war’s long duration has resulted in these circumstances having caused morals to decline among some of the women. Even though the manifestations of moral decay have not yet attained the scale of 1914-18, reports have been submitted from all parts of the Reich, which concur that these are no longer isolated occurrences. Rather, a majority of the women and girls increasingly tend to live out their sexuality.

This is primarily being noticed among the wives of soldiers. In many places there are bars, which are known all over town and frequented by soldiers’ wives and where they seek to meet men in order to allow them to escort them home. Children are frequently left to fend for themselves during their mothers’ activities and in danger of being neglected (Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich 16, p. 6482).

Since the partly draconian punishments hardly demonstrated any effect, the Nazi regime’s leadership relied on “political education” and the churches’ influence. The SD reports in February of 1944 record a steadily growing ministry to women by the church … in a form closely related to their life. This ministry was considered to both safeguard ethical cohesion and a strengthen the will to endure.

A report from February 28 further states: According to the reports submitted, attendance of both denominations’ church women’s study groups is extremely good. The organization of activities that appeal to women personally is accordingly the main draw. In keeping with what has become known from Catholic circles, members of the Women's League and wives of party members and officeholders frequently attend the events.

The lion’s share of the members of the National Socialist Women’s League still belong to the church and attended services and other church activities (mothers’ and women’s study). I am unable to say however that the National Socialist Women’s League’s activity would have suffered from this. Many leaders of local Women’s Leagues attend church regularly! (Braunschweig, from Protestant circles), (Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich 16, 6384).

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