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Why 240,000 women joined the SS

1998 10 30

The book by Gudrun Schwarz "A Wife at his Side: Wives in the 'SS Clan-Community'" that I had ordered from the Hamburg Institute for Social Research arrived in the mail, and I started reading it last night.  It brings back many memories of the female teachers I had during the last years of the Nazi-regime (I started school in the fall of 1942).  Unfortunately, the book is available only in the German language.

I had only female teachers during the war-years, and many of them were party members.  I remember well the role that Fraulein Krappot played in the persecution of the part-Jewish friend I had in my class that led to the murder-suicide initiated by his mother after my friend was publicly ridiculed in school.
    What I didn't know at the time and only found out about after the war, when the war-crimes trials by the allied forces were held and news of the role of the women in the SS reached the public, was the far greater participation of the SS-women in the extermination of undesirable elements in Germany and German-occupied parts of Europe.  However, I do remember the glorification and adoration that was extended to women in the SS during the war-years, although to my knowledge I never came into contact with any of them.

The opening paragraph of the introduction to "A Wife at his Side" goes like this:

    "On April 28, 1945 a helper of the Swiss Red Cross observed the evacuation of the Women's Concentration Camp Ravensbrueck.  He saw columns, of about 5,000 male or female inmates each, being driven along the road in a westerly direction by SS-men and female SS camp-guards.  At the head of one of these columns he noticed a small wagon, which was being pulled by six female inmates that had been starved into a skeletal condition.  On top of this parcel-loaded wagon sat a well-nourished and well-dressed woman.  According to information provided by one of the commandants of this column, this was the wife of an SS-guard, who during the "flight" contracted an upset stomach, as she had eaten too many raisins.[1]  This woman, who let herself be pulled by semi-starved female slaves through the landscape as if she were a despot, belonged to the SS Clan-Community, to the Order of the SS."

Gudrun Schwarz continues:

    "Only hesitatingly is it being perceived what is actually self-evident: the National-socialistic society was an ensemble of women and men.  The research into the history of Nazi-crimes centered itself up to now around the "quite normal men."  Although "the Germans" are put into view, it is only man whose deeds and motives are being researched, exactly as if German men had acted exclusively without women.[2]  They all had mothers, many sisters, aunts, grandmothers, girlfriends, brides, wives, female colleagues at work.  Even though the responsible initiators, decision-makers and executors of the Nazi politics of extermination were men, the women are part of the German perpetrator-society.  In their own way, they supported and promulgated the regime. Only when one looks at the actions of these women, at their ubiquitousness within and outside of their relationships to men, does another view open itself on that what happened and how it could happen."
     

      1. "Work of the ICRC" (1975, p. 104).  The raisins came from parcels that the Red Cross had sent to Ravensbrueck.
      2. The "quite normal men" are a creation of a term by Christopher Browning.  In contrast it is "quite normal Germans" with Daniel Goldhagen, who formulates in his introduction the claim to examine the active participation of German men and women.  Indeed, he doesn't live up to that promise, as he takes until page 317 before he comes to the conclusion: "Consequently, we are not dealing here with a society devoid of women."  Browning as well as Goldhagen mentioned the presence of an SS-wife at the evacuation of the ghetto at Miedziyrzec.  Neither one of them questions the significance of this visit by a wife at the location of the operation.  They solely use her presence to analyze the reaction by the men of the police regiment.  However, even this short description of Mrs. Wohlauf's presence evoked irritation with the public.  What became a scandal wasn't her presence at the location of the crime, but rather the fact that her visit was reported. [Schwarz 4/1996, p. 52]

Gudrun Schwarz describes in the introduction to her book the circumstances and post-war history of the actions that led to the general white-washing of the actual guilt, and the creation of the myth of inculpability of German women, a myth that was actively supported by all sectors of society, ranging from post-war support organizations for SS-veterans to the Roman-Catholic women's publication "Der Regenbogen" [The Rainbow]. [p. 8]
    The lengthy and liberal footnotes that are evident in the excerpt above are representative of the format of the book and make for slow and somewhat difficult reading (a translation of an abstract of the book is available).  So far I only made it through the first two chapters, "The Betrothal and Marriage Order" and "The Consecration of Marriage."  Here are a few excerpts from, and a summary of, what Gudrun Schwarz wrote up to that point.  I'm sorry, but these examples don't do justice to the book.  Let's hope that someone will be able to produce a full translation of the book into English.
    240,000 women joined the SS through marriage to SS-men.  What is important to mention is that these marriages by SS-men were not to women who unknowingly became participants in the SS atrocities.  Any such marriages required that the two partners provided documentation of racial purity, evidence of their Aryan qualification.  The requirements for such documentation were of such a thorough and exceedingly detailed nature that they compelled both partners who applied for permission to become married and thereby to qualify for entry in the SS-Clan Registry to go to extraordinary length to prove themselves worthy.  Failure to meet qualifications resulted in the refusal of the permission to be allowed to marry.  Anyone who didn't comply was discharged from the SS.
    What the requirements consisted of where physical qualifications (blond, blue-eyed, stature, height) and ideological qualifications (conformity with Nazi ideology, certified by two witnesses) plus residency for five contiguous years in a single location.  However that wasn't the least of it.  Although these requirements were prerequisites, there was in addition the requirement to prove racial purity.  That involved providing proof of pure Aryan genealogy that extended back to the birth certificates for all generations back to the great-great-great-grandparents of both partners in marriage to be.  That is a task so massive and so exhaustive of financial resources and of time that it is almost beyond belief.

    "An SS-Leader and his future bride, alone for the entries into the SS-Genealogical Table, had to provide at least 186 documents: each, 62 birth- or christening certificates; 31 marriage certificates of the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents and great-great-great-grandparents as well as their own birth certificates, "as evidence of the accuracy" of the claims.[48] In addition there were still the death certificates of the forebears, which, although not strictly proscribed, were nevertheless desired." [p. 45]
     

      48 Vgl. Anleitung fuer die "SS-Ahnentafel" [Guidelines for the "SS-Genealogical Table"]; Bundesarchiv Berlin, Document Center, RuSHA-Akten [Translation: RuSHA = Racial and Settlement Main Office, Akten = Files]

It appears to me, and that point is stressed over and over-again in the book, that there was no possible way that any woman would go unknowingly to her inclusion in the SS-Clan Community, a community that quite openly had only one purpose, to literally breed a new superrace, a race that would form the ruling stratum, the new nobility in a Nazi-dominated Europe.  What would entice any woman to take such a conscious step, considering that any SS-member knew quite well that the purpose of the SS wasn't only to breed the new superrace, but to make room for itself through the purification of Europe by the extermination of all racially undesired elements in the population?  Not only that, but consider as well that women were to subordinate themselves to their husbands.  Here is what Grudrun Schwarz says about that:

    "The concept of what the SS-wives were to accomplish in the Clan-Order and what place they were to occupy was established tradition.  They were to be subordinated to "the patriarchy of the man as protector of clan honour and the blood [that is, racial purity]."[8]  The relationship was marked by the polarity of the sexes: "Father and mother are the purveyors of the family concept... Thereby the man is assigned naturally the spiritual direction of the family; he founds it, he leads it, he fight for it, he defends it.  In contrast, the woman gives the family the inner attitude, she gives it soul; in quiet, rarely-noticed fulfillment of her duties she upholds what the man created and builds the quiet motive in the family relationship."[9]  The women were to have children, as many as possible.  As "hero-mothers" they were to raise the rising generation for the heroic battle, empower their husbands and sons in their enthusiasm for battle and war, to send them proudly and mission-conscious into the battle/war, nurse wounded fighter/warriors and to consider the heroes' deaths of their husbands and sons as a gift to the Fatherland.  Motherhood and readiness to sacrifice were the attributes imposed on women as the "highest duty," but, out of which women derived their own value. They permitted them to feel part of the "racial renewal movement," because the image of the SS-woman "demands from the first and explicitly the active racial identification of the associated women and thereby their readiness to condone the doctrine of the superior value of their own 'race' and to consider themselves part of it... Women should submit themselves passively to the natural hierarchy of the sexes, they should actively promote the racial battle."[10]  A woman stylized herself emphatically as a saviour of the German people: "And this instinct, which in us women is stronger than any other capability, was awakened because the Leader touched as a whole man upon those strings of our womanhood whose sound is determined to be dedicated to the holy concepts of sacrifice and of selflessness, because he, in short, awakens in us that which is eternal and unalterable in the German concept of woman: the heroic love that is a vocation to save eternal life for the German people, beyond need and death."[11]

    It is true that the SS-wives were to subordinate themselves to their husbands, however, they were compensated for this acceptance, in that as part of the SS-Order they ranked above all other German men who weren't affiliated with the SS, but ranked "racially" especially above all German and non-German men that were assessed as being of "lesser value" - which implied the racist reevaluating of the hierarchy of the sexes. According to Himmler's will, the SS-wives were to be the "[female] rulers of the future" and were, after the war had been won, to receive landed estates in the East, to rule there with their families over the men and women that had been defined as being of "lesser value.""[pp. 60, 61]
     

      8 "Das Schwarze Korps" [The Black Corps], 8. Jg (1942), Folge 33, S. 4. [8th Year (1942), Issue 33, p. 4]

      9 "Das Schwarze Korps" [The Black Corps], 5. Jg (1939), Folge 13, S. 10. [5th Year (1939), Issue 13, p. 10]

      10 Thuermer-Rohr (1996, S. 30).

      11 "Das Schwarze Korps" [The Black Corps], 5. Jg (1939), Folge 16, S. 12. [5th Year (1939), Issue 16, p. 12]
       

Additional comments

The interesting aspect of this is that Gudrun Schwarz provides citations that show that the roots of modern racism came into existence in the 18th century, that they were further developed by all kinds of scientists into racist stereotypes during the 19th century, with William Henschel being one of the first in the 20th century (1907) to express the ideas that were eventually refined by Himmler during his membership in the Artamanen in 1923 into what then became government policy for a program of breeding humans and for the active implementation of Darwinism.  [pp. 12, 13]  Naturally, for such a program to succeed it was required to develop a scheme whereby a sufficient number of women could literally be bribed into volunteering for a government-sponsored breeding program.

It is curious is that in a society in which women were ostensibly oppressed, as modern feminists would have us believe, it should have been necessary to bribe women into subordinating themselves to men.  Surely, in a society and time when women had no freedom of choice that would have been superfluous.  However, the promised rewards, as described on page 61 of the book, proved to be a powerful lure.

In a country that has a population density approximately 100 times greater than that encountered in North America, the promised rewards were something that many people, including women, were quite literally willing to kill for.  However, what was not addressed by Gudrun Schwarz in her book up to this point is the extent to which the SS-women's ideology permeated most of the female half of German society.  After all, to be part of the new nobility and ruling class was not only the dream of just the selected 240,000 women.  All German women benefited to varying extents from the realization of that ideology.

A friend mentioned to me the other day: "Did you ever notice how all or at least the majority of our female judges seem to look alike?  The majority are blond, slim, tall, wear very little make-up, if any, and have their hair tied back.  You know, they remind me very much not only of the standard by which Nazi-women are being depicted in modern movies but also of the Nazi women that we see in war-time news-reels."  I must agree with him.  There is certainly an uncanny resemblance, not only in their physical appearance but also in their ideology that aims at the persecution of an identifiable minority.

The question is: is it the ideology that forms such women, or is it such women who form such ideologies?  In any case, it should be obvious to all that, no more than the Nazis had humanitarian motives that drove their agenda do today's look-alikes appear to have any compunctions about ethnic cleansing.  The rewards are similar, although not identical.  However, it is the quest for power and domination by a few elitist women to become rulers of all who are defined as being of lesser value that appears to be driving today's political agenda.

The hierarchy that the Nazis attempted to establish in their order of things is now being redefined.  In the new world-order we find at the top the elitist women to whom all must subordinate themselves.  Next in the order of the ranks are male feminists striving to become part of the new ruling nobility, to become active participants and collaborators just like the SS-women were.  In descending order of rank, the parts of society that are of lesser value are the women who have been redefined as being "traitors to the race [of women]" that is, women who dare to have children, or worse yet, women who dare to marry and wish to stay married to raise children within the confines of traditional nuclear families; and then there are the remaining masses of men, with fathers ranking almost at the bottom of the scale, but still considerably ahead of the unborn, who virtually have no rights at all and are being killed off in a holocaust that by far exceeds anything that ever took place in human history__at a rate of currently about 55,000,000 each year.

I'll leave it up to your imagination to determine whether racial overtones play a role in all of this, but, if you should have any doubts, look at our ghettos and jails, or look even harder at the abortion policies that are being implemented.  Without any question, there is a direct correlation between the extent of the implementation of abortions and the darkness of the shade of the colour of the skin of the population in any given country.  That would make Margaret Sanger very happy if she were still alive today, because she believed in __ being a contemporary of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler__and promoted a very similar ideology at the time, that abortions should be applied primarily to cull inferior races and sectors of society __ a form of Darwinistic ethnic cleansing of her own that is very popular these days with Planned Parenthood International.
    It seems that even ethnic cleansing is acceptable when it is promoted by women, provided it is not done in centralized concentration camps but rather in the decentralized abortion clinics of the world.  Who should be surprised at that?  Women who manage to kill with impunity the born at home or in concentration camps shouldn't be expected to have any hesitation in killing the unborn, especially if the latter have been downgraded to be somewhat less than human.  However, it is also quite obvious that black or coloured people in North America are far more likely than white people to find themselves incarcerated or at the end of a shortened lifespan.  That is far more true of men — coloured or not — than it is of women.

Now that men have been devalued and downgraded to the status of inferior humans, who protects our families?

--Walter H. Schneider


See also:

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Updates:
2001 02 10 (format changes)