MOTHERS IN THE FATHERLAND: Women, the Family and Politics in Nazi Germany by Claudia Koonz

MOTHERS IN THE FATHERLAND: Women, the Family and Politics in Nazi Germany

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An original and intriguing account of women in Germany from the collapse of the Weimar Republic through the rise of the Nazi movement. Koonz wants to dispel the idea that women played only small supportive roles in Nazi life and thus were only an ephemeral if not nonexistent element of Nazi ideology. Instead, Koonz portrays German women as great joiners, entering organizations of all kinds and participating fully in Nazi life. Also portrayed, quite movingly, are the women who confronted Nazism and the Jewish women who were among its victims. The book proceeds anecdotally, with stories told, witnesses heard from, organizational records considered, and remembrances plumbed, all to create a picture of a Germany rarely seen. The most provocative claim here is that the Nazi ideological goals extended beyond the elimination of the Jews to include a radical transformation of the family and the relationships between men and women. This sexual ideology, Koonz claims, was one of the internal weaknesses of Nazism, creating resistance among family-oriented Germans. This book, simple and directly written, works best for what it attempts to provide: a comprehensive record of women in Germany during much of the first half of this century. It works considerably less well when Koonz analyzes the material and tries to weave it into the overall Nazi fabric, but even here it merits attention for its originality.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's