CHAMELEON, MASTER OF CAMOUFLAGE
Nazis dedicated the second Sunday in May as the official
Mothers Day. That sounds the same as in the rest of
the world. But oh no! It was to be observed as a special
national holiday. The mother was idolized as a heroine
of the home front. With every childbirth, the more the
better, she won a battle for her fatherland. Hitler made
childbirth a popular duty in our male-dominated society.
(Below Photo of Author and her children.)
Hitler even created a reward, an honor pin, the Mutterkreuz,
a special cross awarded on three levels to all mothers
"of favorable standing," which meant from healthy
stock with preference for blond and blue-eyed females,
(No black hair please!) who fulfilled the baby quota.
The competition was to show who had the most babies. A
bronze medal was bestowed on mothers with four or five
children, a silver one for six or seven children, and
finally a gold one for outstanding achievement of eight
or more children. These crosses were supposed to be worn
openly around the neck on a bright blue ribbon (What?
Not a brown one?) with the inscription: Das Kind adelt
die Mutter, the child ennobles the mother. People
sarcastically called this prestigious award Kaninchenorden,
or rabbit award. For Hitler we were guinea pigs for his
colossal genetic experiment to produce a master race.
After each BDM
(League of German Maidens) meeting we were lined up
to march through the town accompanied by loud singing,
preferably Nazi songs. This took place after 10 p.m. when
other people wanted to sleep. I am, and always have been,
a good walker but those man-like strides, stomping through
the streets in a pseudo-military fashion, made it hard
even for me to keep up. It all struck me as being the
beginning of the end of people's individuality.
life was dictated by politics and we had no say in
it. Since the Nazis were in power, the daily diet was
"coordination," with the official title of Genosse,
which is comparable to the Soviet comrade. We were all
at the mercy of the government's arbitrary actions, and
it was not long before a new "brilliant idea"
came from Berlin with a most incisive new regulation.
From now on, all athletic associations, like local gymnastics
and sports clubs, were placed under the authority of the
government's athletic leader in Berlin. This meant we
were deprived of our last freedom ~ sport. This extended
Nazi domination to all non-political areas. Suddenly everybody
who belonged to a sports club was transformed into a member
of the Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen,
the German government organization for all physical exercise,
a strongly centralized system.
periphery was the airport Loddenheide for balloon and
flying sports, including glider flying. It was traditional
on Easter morning for Papa to take Günter and me to watch
their many performances. We Münsteraner liked outdoor
activities. For as long as I can remember, not only Münster
but all of Germany had well-organized athletic activities
long before Hitler. To force us into a new form of sports
club was like carrying coals to Newcastle. This was to
make us comply blindly with their "follow the leader"
ideology. A joke was again an escape from out of the Nazi
sport strait jacket:
|Hitler sits on the banks of the Spree River in Berlin
and tries to fish, but with no success. No fish will
bite, not even with the biggest worms as bait. He
loudly complains about it to a Berliner passing by.
"What do you expect?" the man says to Hitler.
"Here even the fish don't dare to open their
mouths any more!"