National Socialist Efforts to Alleviate the Burden of Stress on Mothers

Mothers often needed more than a temporary escape from their maternal responsibilities, especially those who worked in conjunction with their maternal duties. Therfore, the government had decided three ways of recuperating mothers for relaxation:

  1. Send the mother to stay with another family or with relatives. This choice was naturally inexpensive.

  2. Send the mother to newly created health centers and spas, which were administered by the Public Welfare Department (Nationalsozialistiche Volkswohlfahrt).

  3. Send the mother on vacation. This often included resorts, especially those which were being built during the time, such as the Prora in Rügen.

In all of these choices, the children of these mothers were placed either with relatives, friends, or neighbours, when the mother was away. If none of these were available to the mother, then the National Socialist Women’s Leauge (Nationalsozialistiche Frauenschaft) or the Mother and Child Relief Agency (Mutter-Kind-Hilfswerk) would look after them and place them in play schools temporarily. Most women were sent during the summer months but winter trips were also available.

In April of 1934, the recuperative programs were separated into two categories: women with health problems and women exhausted and stressed. Others who also supported the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) prior to 1933 were given great consideration.

The purpose of the programs also had to ensure that women were being trained in National Socialist ideology. Each home and resort had a woman who was designated as a “comradeship leader” (Kameradschaftswalterin), whose job was to ensure that the home was following in accordance with the principles of National Socialism and its philosophy of life.

Source of Information: pages 189 to 191.