Committed suicide

With all the policies and laws passed in Nazi Germany it would seem that the Nazis did put their views of women into practice, and did so very well. There is however a darker side to polices made, that did not fit in with their views.  Along side the ban on contraception and abortion there were many women and men who were sterilised because they were not seen as 'pure'. With Hitler taking steps towards the 'master race' anyone who was not a German of good health and with no background history of mental illness was not deemed worthy of reproduction. Some women were forced to abort their babies as they were racially 'unpure' and they were then also sterilised.

Liselotte Katscher, a nurse working for the Nazi party, recalled how a sixteen year old girl who deemed unfit for motherhood was sterilised "Henny was examined by a doctor who diagnosed a slight feeble-mindedness – in my opinion it was only a slight feeble-mindedness, and they decided that she should be sterilized. I thought about it a great deal at the time, and I felt sorry for the girl, but it was the law, and the doctors had decided. I personally took her to the maternity ward in the hospital where it took place. But I never got rid of the doubt in my mind that the decision was too harsh. I formed the impression when dealing with this young girl that she was perfectly capable of leading a normal life. The tragedy was that she was released very soon after this, then got a job and met a nice young man, and was now not allowed to marry him because of her sterilization."

There were women who opposed the Nazi party and their policies. A large number joined left-wing political groups. In October 1933 the Nazis opened the first concentration camp for women at Moringen. Two more camps were opened up in 1938 and 39 to accommodate the increasing number on women prisoners. The vast majority of women who opposed the Nazis remained unspoken and only showed their opposition by not doing anything to support the party. Those few who did make their opinion known suffered severe consequences, such as exile, death in the concentration camps or they committed suicide.

The efforts of the Nazis to increase the population rapidly were not as effected as hoped. The average family had fallen to 1.8 children in the late 1930s whereas it had been 2.3 in the 1920s. Other policies such as economic recovery and rapid rearmament made it increasingly difficult to keep women out of the workforce and concentrating on raising children. By the start of the war in 1939 there were more women working than in 1933. 

The nazi's very domesticated view of women was put into practice with all the policies and laws that were brought in during the time they were in power. However they did not view all women as equal. They were only interested in the women who could expand the 'Master Race', only those who were racially 'pure'. This left any women who were Jewish, suffered with ill health or had a family history of it. Even those women who were deemed 'unfit'. This would have been a significant portion of the population. So although their views were important in the creation of the laws these laws only extended to aid the minority of 'pure' women of Germany.


  • Culpin, C & Henig, R (1997) Modern Europe 1870 – 1945, Ch. 18, pp 302 – 303 Longman Advanced History