For my Halloween podcast and blog series, I've chronicled Lavinia Fisher-legendary highway-robber, Amelia Dyer-Victorian child murderess, and three pairs of sinister siblings. Accordingly, I had just sat down to write a post on Elizabeth Báthory, “The Blood Countess,” who supposedly bathed in her victims’ blood, when I stumbled over something even more disturbing. I've got three words for you, bitches: Nazi Bride School!
Earlier this month, researchers combing through Germany’s Federal Archive unearthed documents concerning the Reichsbräuteschule, or Reich Bride Schools. Though scholars knew of their existence, these matrimonial preparatory schools were (and remain largely still) shrouded in mystery. The recent discovery of a rulebook and certificate of completion, give historians further understanding of this shadowy facet of Hitler’s Third Reich. And y’all, it’s just as creepy as it sounds…
The original Nazi Bride School was established sometime during the early 1930s. Located on Schwanenwerder, an island (there’s no escape!) in Wannsee Lake near Berlin, it was conveniently situated just across the road from where party management plotted their “Final Solution.” Charming! These schools were the brainchild of the party’s highest-ranking female member, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, head of the National Socialist Women's League, and Heinrich Himmler. As director of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a brutal paramilitary force that perpetrated innumerable crimes against humanity, Himmler needed to ensure the future brides of his bloodthirsty hit-men were similarly indoctrinated. Consequently, the fiancées of SS servicemen, many of them teenagers, paid 135 reichsmarks (roughly $625 today) for a six-week course designed “to mould housewives out of office girls.” Oh, and here’s a delightful tidbit: Himmler was regularly seen creeping around the grounds trying to catch a glimpse of students dancing in the garden…
So, what are some proficiencies you might learn at Nazi Bride School (is it just me, or does it sound more terrifying every time you read it…)? Of course there were timeless classics like housekeeping, cooking, and child rearing, but a few new barnburners, too! How about learning to clean your murdering Nazi husband’s goose-steppers and dagger? Don't forget about “race and genetics.” Or my personal favorite, teaching your children to worship the Führer, instead of God or Jesus Christ!
Before you could graduate from your brainwashing training course, you were required to swear an oath; it wasn't anything serious, just:
• Loyalty to Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Nazi Party superiors ‘unto death’.
• To marry in neo-pagan ceremonies before a party functionary instead of in church before a cleric.
• To remain at all times ‘Sustainers of the Germanic Race’.
• To ‘become proficient in cooking and housekeeping, sewing, washing and ironing; childcare, nursing and home design’.
• That any children ‘will be raised in accordance with the ideals of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party’.
It’s basic stuff, you guys! Wait, why are you trembling like that? I guess it’s because if you didn't finish the program successfully, you weren't awarded your certificate of completion; or, probably because without the diploma, you couldn't get married. Shucks; that would be too bad…
So, why did the Nazis concern themselves over women’s domestic sphere? Because ladies have wombs, and therefore have the blessed responsibility of giving birth to future generations of Aryan super-children. Duh! Besides, as Scholtz-Klink so eloquently declared, "You need us, you depend on us. We are into something good, 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!"
Actually, the Third Reich valued women’s baby-making capabilities so greatly, leaderships bestowed “Crosses of Honor” to Germen hausfraus who churned out multiple kinder- bronze for those with 4-5 youngsters, silver for 6-7, and gold for 8+. Subsequently, more programs were established and entrance was broadened to include any German woman that could make a proper spouse, corresponding to Hitler’s standards. Therefore, girls of Jewish or Roma descent, and those with physical disabilities or mental illnesses were out. Sorry, ladies!
Ultimately, the escalation of World War II (a.k.a the War of Allied Aggression) brought about the demise of Nazi Bride Schools. “Unfortunately,” even with slave labor there wasn't enough manpower to sustain Germany’s workforce. Thus, former Nazi Bride School hopefuls were expected to fulfill a “higher calling” by taking-up employment in factories or supporting the military on the home-front. It’s thought some programs continued until 1944.
The Third Reich’s creed emphasized the necessity for a “strong family life to create a strong, pure nation”. Consequently, the extinction of Nazi Bride Schools, where the aptitudes for nurturing a loyalist household were taught, might be interpreted as a harbinger of the regime’s collapse. Joking aside, many women’s allegiance to Nazi dogma can’t be trivialized. On May 1, 1945-the day after Hitler and Evan Braun committed suicide- Magda Goebbels, wife of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and paradigm of Aryan motherhood, poisoned her six children. Afterwards, she and her husband shot themselves.
For more information about Nazi Bride Schools check-out:
An Illustrated Report from the Reich Brides’ and Housewives’ School at Husbäke in Oldenburg
Documents found detailing how to become the perfect Nazi bride
Nazi Bride Schools: 'These girls were the nucleus of the Reich’
The Perfect Nazi Bride
The History Bitch
Podcaster, tea aficionado, Anglophile, 'Game of Thrones' enthusiast.