(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Tim Heath is the author of eight books. Sex Under the Swastika: Erotica, Scandal and the Occult in Hitler’s Third Reich will be released on 16 February. This is the 1st book I completed in 2023.
I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to mature language and mature situations, I categorize this book as R.
The book begins by looking at the decadence during the days of the Weimar Republic. There were many nightclubs, particularly in Berlin. Around them swirled an atmosphere of drugs, alcohol, and sex. With the age of consent for women at just 16, many girls indulged in all three.
When the Nazis ascended to power in 1934, they tried to curtail the excesses. Many clubs were closed. Those who did not follow the Nazi family ideal were arrested as deviants, many being sent to the camps. The Nazis envisioned their youth to follow a healthy, athletic, family-oriented, and moral lifestyle.
Careers for women were frowned upon. Girls should marry early, often at 16 or 17. It was a moral duty for them to bear as many children as possible for the Third Reich. The government created the Cross of Honour of the German Mother to encourage this. A woman birthing four children earned the bronze medal, 6+ the silver, and the gold for eight or more.
The outdoors and exercise were integral parts of the Nazi-imposed BDM. Beginning with its creation in 1938 all girls aged 14 to 18 were required to be members. Nakedness was embraced as a form of naturism, nothing to be ashamed of, and perfectly natural. It was not uncommon for them to walk around the countryside or swim in the rivers and lakes naked.
Although a moral standard was held up as an example, many youngsters of both genders suffered sexual abuse. The threat of being called out as a Jew and sent to a camp enabled many predators to take advantage of young women. The list of abuses is long. In conquered areas military brothels known as ‘Joy Divisions’ were often established.
The Lebensborn program began in 1935. Aryan girls as young as 15 were encouraged to have sex with selected Aryan males. The plan was to increase the birth rate of Aryan children for the Reich. German girls were coached on the best sexual position to use to increase their chances of pregnancy.
I enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 276-page WWII-era history. Much of the source material comes from interviews, letters, and journals. This is the third book by Tim Heath that I have read. The other two were Hitler’s Housewives: German Women on the Home Front and Resistance Heroines in Nazi- and Russian-Occupied Austria. They have all been enjoyable books on the history of WWII. While I knew some of the material discussed in the book, there was much that was new to me. The book includes several photos relevant to the story from the war period. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.
My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).
If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest.
- The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 600 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
- The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
- The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.