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Dr. Wilhelm Frick: Speech to the first session of the Expert Advisory Committee on Populational and Racial Policy on the 28th of June 1933.
German men and women! While I thank you for your willingness to collaborate, permit me to give you an overview of the tasks that we have set for ourselves, and to outline the goal that we want to reach.
The National Socialist movement can claim credit for having protected the German nation from total political collapse, and the Reich from dissolution. It would be a serious mistake to believe that the main mission has thereby been accomplished. Whoever is able to understand things more deeply knows that the most difficult feat is still to be accomplished, namely to arrest the decline of our culture and folk. Germany not only belongs to those countries that had to bear the chief burden of the World War and enormous losses of the best men and racial elements, but also is the country that both during and after the war had to record an ominous decline in births. While at the turn of the century we still had about 2 million births annually, the annual figure is still only about 975,000 now. From about 36 live births per thousand for the year 1900 the number has declined to about 15 in the year 1932. The number of children is thus declining to an ominous degree; the two-child system of the post-war period has been surpassed; the German folk has transitioned to the one-, indeed to the no-child system.
In spite of the great successes of general hygiene, of the fight against infectious diseases, of social hygiene, and of the medical sciences in general, which have been achieved with regard to combatting mortality and prolonging human life, the rollback of mortality in the total national-biological household of our folk no longer suffices to assure maintenance of our level of population. Today the raw numbers of births and deaths no longer suffice for the assessment; instead we must undertake a reassessment of the balance of life with consideration of the uneven distribution in age-groups, to recognize the true situation for population-policy. According to the calculations of the Reich Office for Statistics, the German folk with its current birth-figures is no longer in a position to maintain itself by its own power, but with 15 births per thousand of population we are short by about 30% of the births that must be accomplished by German women to secure the population for the future. Neither Berlin nor the other big German cities, nor even the medium-sized and small cities, are in a position, given the current birth-figures, to maintain their populations. Only the rural communities still have a slight birth-surplus, which however no longer suffices to offset the loss in the German cities. We thereby face a fundamental turn of the ages. Our people advances obliviously into a stark senescence and graying.
Yet, it is indeed not only the number that gives cause for concern, but to the same degree the quality and composition of our German population. Since we still have no hereditary-biological census, we have been given a mandate to make assessments. While one can assume that cases of serious physical or mental hereditary illesses number roughly 500,000, the figures for the less serious cases are considerably higher. There are authors who regard 20% of the German population as congenitally defective, from whom procreation therefore would no longer be desirable. It must be added that quite often feebleminded and inferior persons exhibit greater than average reproduction. While the healthy German family today supplies the folk with not more than 2 children on the average, one finds precisely among the feebleminded and inferior, however lamentable it may sound, double that on average, often even three times as many. That means however that the more gifted valuable stratum of generations virtually decreases, and in a few generations will have died out completely, but with that also efficiency and German culture.
The bleak picture that I have to reveal to you is however still not complete! While we permanently reduce our options [Behauptungsmöglichkeit] in the area of economy, of social policy, of military fitness through this regression in the number and character of our folk, our neighbors in the east have roughly twice the fertility and number of live births. The migration from the countryside into the cities, from the East to the West, has already led in some districts of the east to a noticeable decrease of population so that in spite of the current unemployment the danger of the immigration of ethnic non-Germans exists in the east. In Berlin alone in 1930 about 4000 immigrants from the east were naturalized, of which most were non-Germans, largely eastern Jews.
Next to the menacingly increasing congenital inferiority we must to the same degree track advancing miscegenation and racial degeneration of our folk, since the German man and the German woman have unlearned consciousness of their blood and race.
Seen in rough outline, the current government has encountered, apart from the thoroughly miserable domestic and foreign economic situation, also an especially dangerous circumstance of the German folk for population-policy. The earlier governments did not have the courage to bring about a fundamental change and to reverse the course of the entire domestic and economic policy.
Before I briefly explain the measures that we have to take on the offensive, we must briefly create clarity for ourselves about the causes of this national decline.
We see today the great number of unemployed, and our folk is found in the belief that everything will take a turn for the good if they receive work again. Precisely the educated are of the opinion that it is necessary only to get the economy back on track, then all else will automatically follow. Certainly the economy and the basis of the food-supply must be restored! But it is crazy to believe that our German folk in the heart of Europe is to be saved with that alone! If we cast our gaze into German history, we recognize that we have changed from an agrarian state to an industrial state. Hardenberg induced the development into an industrial state after 1807 in Prussia. By the fact that he gave land freely as private property, he cleared the way for the liberal economic system. The consequence of the development of the money-economy was the urbanization and the industrialization of Germany. With that, the natural development of our folk, the peasant’s sense of family, and the effectiveness of the evolutionary pressures of rural life came to an end! Our legal relationships, the money-economy, and insurance-legislation brought with it an inversion of concept about morality, sex, family, and children. Therewith began the development of individualism, of class-struggle, of Marxism and Communism. The mechanization of labor, the economic enslavement of the Marxist economy after the war completed the process of destruction which brought our folk to the brink of the abyss. Hand in hand with that goes the decay of our folk. The liberal mind has poisoned its soul, killed the sense for family-life and the will for children. With this psychic structural transformation the reorganization of domestic family-life became complete. Man and woman go to work and into their career, the both strive on the one hand for intellectual cultivation and on the other hand for work and participation in economic life – thus were man and woman alienated from family-life and believed that they had found an equality in unrestricted gender-freedom. Publicity glorifies the androgyne in sports and career, but has nothing left for the mother who today still calls a sufficient number of children her own. So sees man today only a life-companion in his wife, no longer the mother of his children. Consequently it is no wonder that abortion and contraception are causing our folk to die out. What can be done to bring about a change?
With the enormous burdening of our folk with taxes, social insurance payments, and interest-payments, we are not allowed to block out the awareness that the state will have to undertake a reconstruction of all legislation and a reduction of the burdens for inferior and anti-social types. How strongly the tasks for the inferior, anti-social, sick, feebleminded, mentally ill, cripples, and criminals today exceed the measure of what we could expect for our population struggling with difficulty for its survival, we observe from the expenses for their care that must be funded today by the Reich, by the lands, and by municipalities. Just a few examples: the mentally ill person costs about 4 RM per day, the criminal 3.50RM, the cripple and deaf-mute 5-6RM per day, while the unskilled laborer has at his disposal only about 2.50RM per day, the clerk 3.60RM, the low-level executive about 4RM per day. Those are consequences of an excessive assistance for the particular individual, which must kill the will of the healthy to work, and train the folk to become dole-recipients. On the other hand we burden the valuable families in a such a way that abortion and birth-control result. What we have developed so far is thus an excessive personal hygiene and assistance for the particular individual without regard for the findings of the doctrine of heredity, of life-selection, and of racial hygiene. This kind of modern “humanity” and social assistance for the sick, weak, and inferior individual must, in the big picture, have an effect as the greatest cruelty for the folk, and ultimately lead to its ruin.
To avert the threatening disaster, a reorientation of the entire public health structure, of the thinking of the medical profession, and a change of issues in accord with the perspective of racial hygiene, of populational and racial policy, is necessary. Only when the state and the health system pursue provision for the not yet born as the core of their issues can we speak of a new era and of a constructive populational and racial policy.
For the increase of the number of congenitally healthy progeny, we have the duty in the first place to reduce expenditures for the anti-social, inferior, and hopeless congenitally ill, and to prevent the procreation of seriously hereditarily defective persons.
The scientifically grounded doctrine of heredity, following evolutionin the last century, gives us the possibility of recognizing clearly the relationships of heredity and selection, and their significance for folk and state. It gives us therewith however also the right and the moral duty of excluding seriously congenitally ill persons from procreation. We cannot allow ourselves to be restrained from this duty also through a falsely understood love of one’s neighbor and churchly qualms, which are based on dogmas of bygone centuries; on the contrary, we must regard it as a violation of Christian and social love of one’s neighbor, if we allow it to continue in spite of the knowledge that we have gained, that congenitally ill people produce a progeny that means endless suffering for themselves and their kin in this generation and in those to come. Consequently I have resolved to submit a draft of a law for the prevention of congenitally ill progeny, which I am asking you to examine following your current session.
Yet let us be aware that with deselection and selection, which are introduced through our legislation on racial hygiene and racial policy, still nothing is accomplished if we do not accomplish the establishment of families and sufficient propagation of the valuable hereditarily healthy German people. Article 119 of the Reichsverfassung, according to which the family is recognized as the foundation of the state and compensatory justice is demanded for it, has still not become a reality. With the examination of the given circumstances we must concede that legislation and practice hitherto has led to a preferential treatment of those having few or no children. The legislation has undergone a development that, in the thoroughly miserable economic situation in which we find ourselves, is not going to be changed overnight. While, on the one hand, one permits to the father of a family a part, if insufficient, of the income-tax, families are already penalized several times that much in proportion to the number of children, through indirect consumption-taxes that are based on foodstuffs and daily necessities. Tax-measures so far, which for the today already small number of children of those in any way obliged for income-taxes, now constitute only a fraction, about one-tenth, of the total tax-reductions of any kind. The reduction is at the time only about a third of the sum that is granted to the unmarried through the so-called minimum living wage with a certain self-evidence. One thus treats the child, considered in terms of the tax-code, worse than those that have on themselves to support with their income. Because of this the unmarried people and the childless have several times more disposable income per person than the child-rich family, which raises Germany’s posterity. Only the extreme limitation in the nourishment, recreation, education, personal hygiene, clothing, and shelter can make it possible for the father of a child-rich family to maintain his household. That enormous harms thereby arise however for the still healthy posterity, no one can doubt. School-lunches, alms, and the excessive emphasis on sports cannot bring back the sense of family.
If today still millions of mothers, often precisely mothers with many children, in addition to their domestic duties are in the work-process only because they have to create additional leeway for nourishment, while unmarried unemployed men are supported from public means, it is the highest goal that we approach the solution of this problem with energy, and create change through compensation of family-burdens. There must be success in bringing the wife back to the life of marriage and family, and to domestic duties, and the man out of unemployment and to his vocation. Precisely the increased consumption that would be attained through this compensation would be suited to strengthen the internal economic market, and to stimulate production of values that are domestically produced. There is no doubt that precisely the low number of children under 15 years of age today determines a large part of the joblessness and prostration of the internal economic market.
If we want therefore seriously to approach population-political organization, we must undertake measures that foster the family in a way always tailored to economic circumstance and income-level. There are the most varied possibilities for that, which I ask you to prepare together with my ministry. Present regulations are to be scrutinized in regard for anti-family effect, and a pro-family legislation is to be undertaken. It must be made possible to create a palpable compensation for those owing income-tax through more strongly graduated tax-reduction in percentages of the tax. In the same way the salary of civil servants would have to be graduated even more effectively according to marital status and number of children, since of course the pay of the civil servant is not only a compensation but is supposed to grant him adequate support for the family. It would have to begin perhaps from the pay that a civil servant needs for the support of 3-4 children in order to graduate downwards and upwards according to the number of children. While the liberal professions and the commercial middle class like all circles of entrepreneurs were able to be captured through an effective tax-reduction, among employees and wage-earners there is only the possibility of creating compensation through compensation-funds, into which all would have to pay contributions according to the size of their income or receive a compensation according to how many children they had. This does not need to signify an additional burden for the state and business, but there must be an attempt to effect a shift of income for the securing of the life-support of healthy families. In order to guarantee the qualitative principle, it will certainly be necessary to grant an amelioration only in percentages of income so as not to give to anti-social people rights equal to those of the working population. With the difficult financial situation of the Reich, the lands, the communities, and the economy, the fulfillment of all these family-fostering measures of course appears possible only if an unburdening occurs in other areas, for example through standardization and appropriate austerity-measures in the social insurance system.
We know from history that our folk is rooted in the class of small farmers, and that the maintenance of the hereditarily healthy German farm-family is ultimately crucial for the perpetuation of the folk. The German farm has been in all times the place where the German folk has ever again reasserted itself despite war and epidemic and righted itself again after a collapse. The coupling of the best German blood with German ground and soil must therefore be sought with all means. The soil must be set up again as part of family-law and under protection of the state. In return however the National Socialist state must demand from the lords of this soil that they provide it with a sufficient number of healthy progeny. It is time therefore to organize housing in such a way that a sufficient number of children is ensured through stipulations in taxation and inheritance-law.
In the new Germany, Reich, lands, and communities must re-examine their entire governance from the perspective of population-policy and, to the extent necessary, reorganize. Apart from economic and financial reorientation, the public health system will have to be standardized and freed up for racial-hygienic and constructive measures. Next to the pre-existing sanitary and health-promoting arrangements it will be necessary in recognition of the doctrine of heredity and of racial hygiene to banish the dangers of birth-defects, and thereby again to authenticate the propagation of hereditarily healthy and competent people.
However much economic reasons and excessive efforts at social climbing may be an essential cause of the decline in births, of abortion and birth-control, we ought in no way fail to recognize that it is at the same time foremost an educational, psychological, and ethical problem. The attitude toward generating life is dependent on the worldview not only of the German wife and mother, but also of the man. The will for the child in a folk and before all else in the wife cannot be awakened through laws and economic measures alone; instead the soul of the woman must find its way back to the child. That is only possible through renovation of the woman’s thinking and through solution of the woman-question. We must liberate the woman from her economic distress and grant adequate schools to her as to the children, but in the same measure train the man for the duty of establishing a family.
Here a wide field of activity avails itself to the National Socialist Women’s Association, which must tackle it under the leadership of mothers and in close emulation of child-rich mothers.
Enlightenment about congenital health-measures and racial science must be expanded into education of the youth and of the entire folk about racial hygiene, in order to prepare it for marriage. In order to convey this knowledge to broad circles and to convey appropriate instructional material to the positions appropriate for enlightenment and to the educators of youth, I have ordered the reconstruction of the Reich Commission for National Hygienic Instruction [Reichsausschusses für hygienische Volksbelehrung] into such a commission for national health-service. An exaggerated, all-too-long scientific education is just as obstructive to the timely starting of a family as the excessive emphasis on sports. Precisely the educated class is most endangered, since late starting of families is the cause of marriagelessness, disease, and a failed marriage. It must again be regarded as the duty of educated youth to be conscious of the German hereditary constitution, to preserve racial purity, and through appropriate choice of a mate to strive toward a higher development of ones’ own type and family. Mixed marriages with alien races must be recognized as what they are, namely the reason for degeneration of the mind and soul, as well as alienation toward one’s own folk.
The studies of family and race must be cultivated in such a way that the flourishing of the family appears as a higher good than wealth and comfort. We must again have the courage to rank the body of the folk according to hereditary value, in order to make appropriate leaders available to the state.
If other peoples and foreign elements do not want to follow us on this path, that is their affair. I regard it as the greatest mission and duty of the government of the national revolution, to guarantee the upward development and preservation of our German folk in the heart of Europe. Therefore I ask you to support us in this mission. It is also the purpose of today’s conference.
Translated by Hadding Scott - National Socialist Worldview