In late October 1939, two months into World War II, Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler issued a curious procreation order to officers and men of the Schutzstaffel (SS). With the war certain to take a toll of German life, Himmler’s ordered the men of the SS to impregnate “German women and girls of good blood” – even “out of wedlock” if necessary – before going into battle. Widowed women and orphaned children, Himmler promised, would be nurtured by the Nazi state. Himmler’s procreation order was both a war measure (to increase the population) and a eugenic precaution (to ensure the continuation of Aryan bloodlines):
“Every war causes the best blood to be shed. Many a victory of arms meant for a people at the same time a disastrous loss of living strength and blood. But the unfortunately inevitable death of its best men, deplorable as that may be, is not the worst. Of much more disastrous consequences is the lack of those who were not begotten by the living during, and by the dead after the war.
The old saying that only those who have children can die in peace [will] become an acknowledged truth in this war, especially for the SS. Only those who know that their kind, for all that they and their ancestors have striven, is continued in their children, can die in peace.
The possession most prized by the widow of a fallen soldier is always the child of the man whom she loved. Though it may be considered an infraction of social standards in other times, German women and girls of good blood can fulfil a high obligation, even out of wedlock, by becoming mothers of children of soldiers going to the front, whose eventual return or death for Germany lies entirely in the hands of fate – not because of promiscuity but because of the deepest sense of ethics. It is the sacred duty also of these men and women whose place has been determined by the state to be on the home front, to become parents of children again, especially now..
In past wars, many a soldier has decided, out of a deep sense of responsibility, to beget no more children during the time of war, so as not to leave his wife and an additional child in want and distress in case of his death. You SS men need not have such worries as the following regulations will prevent them:
1. Special commissioners, personally appointed by me, shall be entrusted… with the guardianship of all legitimate and illegitimate children of good blood whose fathers were killed in action. We shall support these mothers and humanely assume the responsibility for the education and upbringing of these children so that no mother and widow need to have any material worries.
2. During the war, the SS will care for all legitimate and illegitimate children begotten during the war, and for pregnant mothers in cases of need and distress. After the war, the SS will generously grant additional material aid, should these fathers who return request so. SS men and you mothers of these children, the hope of Germany show that in your belief in the Führer and your willingness to do your share in the perpetuation of our blood and people, you are just as willing to continue the life of Germany as you have had the courage to fight and die for it.”
October 28th 1939