Nazi Germany quotations: women and motherhood

nazi women frauen warte
The cover of Frauen Warte, a Nazi magazine for women

Adolf Hitler had simplistic and traditional views on gender. He believed the role of men was to work and fight, while the role of women was to tend the household and, more importantly, to bear and raise children.

Hitler and other leading Nazis rejected any notion of equal rights for women, describing this as a Marxist invention. They also prevented women from entering politics, public life and traditionally male workplaces, arguing that these would defeminise and degrade women. Motherhood was hailed as the highest calling for Nazi women – particularly those who bore numerous children.

This collection of quotations, curated by Alpha History authors, reflects Nazi views on women, gender and motherhood.

“The goal of female training is, without deviation, to be the coming mother.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924

“Marriage cannot be an end in itself. It must serve a greater end, the increase and maintenance of the species and the race. That alone is its meaning and its task.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924

“The mission of women is to be beautiful, to bring children into the world. This is not as primitive as it sounds. The female bird pretties herself for a mate and hatches eggs for him. In exchange, the male gathers food, stands guard and wards off the enemy.”
Joseph Goebbels, 1929

“The Jew has stolen woman from us through the forms of sexual democracy. We, the youth, must march out to kill the dragon, so that we may again attain the most holy thing in the world: the woman as maid and servant.”
Gottfried Feder, April 1932

“German women have been transformed in recent years. They are beginning to see that they are not happier has a result of being given more rights but fewer duties. They now realise that the right to be elected to public office at the expense of the right to life, motherhood and her daily bread is not a good trade.”
Joseph Goebbels, March 1933

“Clear and often drastic examples will give thousands of German women reason to think and consider. It is particularly pleasing to us men in the new government that families with many children are given particular attention, since we want to rescue the nation from decline. The importance of family cannot be overstated.”
Joseph Goebbels, March 1933

“Looking back over the past years of Germany’s decline, we come to the frightening, terrifying, conclusion that the less German men were willing to act as men in public life, the more women succumbed to the temptation to fill the role of the man. The feminisation of men always leads to the masculinisation of women.”
Joseph Goebbels, March 1933

“An unmarried mother who rears a healthy and worthy child is immeasurably more valuable to the nation than a childless married woman.”
Walther Gmelin, July 1933

“Every Aryan here should marry only a blonde Aryan woman with blue wide-open eyes, a long, oval face, a pink and white skin, a narrow nose, a small mouth… but not one who goes out too much or likes theatres, entertainment or sport, or who cares to be seen outside her house.”
Das Wissen der Nation, August 1933

“We expect that our German women will view their work, their service to the German people, as a calling, as a command from God – just as our Führer, Adolf Hitler, time and again stresses how he views his office and his task as God’s calling.”
Gottfried Krummacher, Protestant clergyman, November 1933

“In our state, the only women who can be regarded as valuable are those ready to assume the duty for her nation and to give it sons and daughters of pure race. Thus it has been since primaeval days and thus it shall be again.”
Deutsche Zeitung, April 1934

“It is best if the child is in his own room, where he can be left alone… Whatever you do, do not pick the child up from his bed, carry him around, cradle him, stroke him, hold him on your lap, or even nurse him. The child will quickly understand that all he needs to do is cry in order to attract a sympathetic soul and become the object of caring. Within a short time, he will demand this service as a right, leave you no peace until he is carried again, cradled or stroked – and with that, a tiny but implacable house tyrant is formed.”
Johanna Haarer, author of a book on Nazi child-rearing, 1934

“In the Germanic culture, there has never been anything else than equality of rights for women. Both sexes have their rights, their tasks, and these tasks were in the case of each equal in dignity and value, and therefore man and woman were on an equality.”

“The granting of so-called equal rights to women, as demanded by Marxism, does not confer equal rights at all. It constitutes the deprivation of rights, since they draw women into a zone where they can only be inferior. It places women in situations where they cannot strengthen their position with regard to men and society.”
Adolf Hitler, September 1935

“The National Socialist movement sees the man and the woman as equal bearers of Germany’s future… Each should first completely accomplish the tasks that are appropriate to his or her nature. The woman, besides caring for her own children, should first care for those who need her help as mothers of the nation.”
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, Nazi Women’s League head, 1936

“You ask me what I have done for the women of Germany? My answer is this: in my new army, I have provided you with the finest fathers of children in the whole world.”
Adolf Hitler, September 1936

“In my view, we have too much masculinised our life… For me, it is a catastrophe that women’s organisations, women’s communities and women’s societies intervene in a domain that destroys all feminine charm, all the feminine majesty and grace… It is a catastrophe [that] we want to make women an instrument of logical thought, to educate them in everything possible… With time, the difference between the sexes will disappear.”
Heinrich Himmler, February 1937

“The Nazis saw women as stupid and only fit to be good housewives and mothers. So my neighbour… could not imagine me to be anything else than a stupid, insignificant little woman.”
Anna Kienast, German woman

“We do not want to produce girls who are romantic dreamers, able only to paint, sing, and dance, or who have only a narrow view of life. We want girls with a firm grasp of reality who are ready to make any sacrifice to serve their ideals.”
Jutta Rüdiger, BDM leader, November 1937

“We Germans can thank fate each day that we live in such a great age. Mass meetings like today’s are simply a collective expression of that thanks. We women especially have every reason to be thankful, since we have been able to follow from year to year the faith and the will that has grown over this period in our work. We had no textbook or example — only our warm hearts and a desire to build a women’s community worthy of the greatness of the National Socialist worldview.”
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink, Nazi Women’s League head, 1938

“As a visible sign of gratitude of the German nation to children-rich mothers, I establish this Cross of Honour of the German Mother.”
Adolf Hitler decrees the Mutterkreuz, November 1938

“I was proud. When I got the gold, also when I got the silver, there was a big celebration in the school, where the mothers were all invited for coffee and cake.”
Wilhelmine Haferkamp on receiving the ‘Mother’s Cross’

“What the man sacrifices for his people, the woman sacrifices in fighting to maintain this people. The man shows heroism on the battlefield; the woman shows it in eternal patient devotion, sorrow and endurance.”
Adolf Hitler, 1940

“The fate of her people is determined by her attitude toward life, in her will to happiness and her desire for children. Our soldiers protect Germany and all that we have accomplished. But it is our women who are the foundation of Germany’s future, who build it stone by stone through fine German children.”
Frauen Warte magazine, 1940

“Fate has willed it that this war is one of life and death, not only a war of men. The longer it lasts, the deeper it intervenes in the lives of the people, the more urgent is the call for the women… May your great motherly heart, you women, be an example to us all.”
Josef Magnus Wehner, Frauen Warte, 1942