You may have heard of Charm School, Secretarial School, but have you heard of Nazi Bride School? According to recently discovered documents unearthed from Germany’s Federal Archive, in 1937 the Nazis created the Reichsbräuteschule, or Reich Bride School, “to mould housewives out of office girls”.
In order for women to “do their part”, the highest-ranking female in the Third Reich, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, recommended women step up their game: “Women must be the spiritual caregivers and the secret queens of our people, called upon by fate for this special task!” In 1936, in collaboration with the one-and-only Heinrich Himmler, Scholtz-Klink issued a law requiring women who were engaged to soldiers in the Schutzstaffel (or S.S. a.k.a. Hitler’s body guards) to complete a 2-month course at a bride school before their wedding day.
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink and Heinrich Himmler
The first of these bride schools was a villa mocked up inside to look like a model household (um, creepy) built in 1937 on Schwanenwerder island. An official pamphlet found in the rulebook of the Reich Bride School explains: “In circles of 20 students, young girls should attend courses at the institute, preferably two months before their wedding day, to recuperate spiritually and physically, to forget the daily worries associated with their previous professions, to find the way and to feel the joy for their new lives as wives.” The course cost 135 reichsmarks or around $625.
By taking this course, the women promised their devotion to the Führer and his cause. Hitler summed up his view of women in a few sentences in a speech to the National Socialist Women’s League in 1934, “The woman’s is a smaller world. But what would become of the greater world if there were no one to tend and care for the smaller one? How could the greater world survive if there were no one to make the cares of the smaller world the content of their lives?”
The how-to-be-a-lady course covered everything: cooking, sewing, cleaning (most importantly boots and uniforms), ironing, decorating, and even how to instill the Aryan ideology into your children. The Reich Bride School taught women how to be politically correct at cocktail parties and exactly how to create the perfect home to nurture the Nazi elite (your husband has had a long day of evil Nazi-ness, help him relax!). Women were taught to raise their children to worship not Jesus, but Hitler.
One of the main motives of the school was to drill Nazi ideology into the “sustainers of the race”. Under the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage women would be effectively bribed to produce children a.k.a. sustain the race and allowing the Nazi reign to live on. The course insisted that women “acquire special knowledge of race and genetics” and once a woman acquired this knowledge she was given a certificate of accomplishment, similar to a report card.
Nazi leader Hermann Goering with his wife, Emmy, and child
Young women, most of whom were teenagers, came to these schools so they could be eligible for marriage. Without a certificate from a bride school, it was illegal for a woman to wed. Scholtz-Klink however, barred any woman with Jewish or gypsy heritage, mental illness, or physical disability from taking part.
By 1940, nine bride schools existed in Berlin and eventually more were established throughout the country. By 1941 the schools began accepting not only S.S. fiancées, but also females who were deemed racially suitable. As the war waged on shortages in the workforce increased and more women were allowed back to work out of necessity. Documents illustrate that bride schools continued to operate as late as May 1944.
Thanks to The New Yorker, The Telegraph, and Mail Online
Images via The New Yorker, The Telegraph, and Mail Online