The nurse had just made her last round, and now the three “starving artists” were again alone in their room.
The doctor had put them together for the duration of a fruit treatment; but the three of them called that - less fancy sounding, but more in agreement with the growling in their intestines - a hunger treatment. For as carefully as the four stretched out the four little glasses of fruit glasses that were the day’s only nourishment, the hunger would not go away and sleep was impossible. So one pulled up the window curtains so that the bright moon shined into the room and planned to “gab” for a while.
In front of the window lied the youngest, Aigner Friedel, who wanted to become an illustrator, who came from the Salzburg area. He spoke with the “professor” - they called him that, since it recently came out during a visit that he was indeed one - about the mountains of his homeland, which they both loved so, even though the “professor” came from Pomerania. “Papa Knuth” the third in the group, by his account swimming master in a big Berlin swimming hall, tried to take a nap despite rheumatism pains and the feeling of hunger; but he failed to do that, and through his interjections the conversation took a different direction. “Man, professor,” he said, “I still cannot get over how much your boy looks like you. When he sat at your bed today during visiting time, I thought again and again: the lad looks just like his father. You have four such fine ones?” “Yes”, the professor replied, “but the second is a girl.”
“Well, you can afford that. I have enough to handle with my one boy.”
“Well, well”, Friedel commented, “now don’t pretend, papa Knuth. Who always complains most over the food? Based on that, you don’t seem to be so bad off. Besides, I believe it does not depend on that at all. At home we were four siblings, and my father was certainly no Croesus.”
“Friedel is quite right there”, the professor added, “my grandfather even had ten children; he was admittedly director at a gymnasium, but the salaries were much lower back then. There was no additional pay for children and no tax deductions and so, in order to keep his children fed, he always took in renters. Nonetheless, that still didn’t suffice to eat bread with butter and honey at breakfast or get a large portion of meat each noon. But the children turned out alright. Even today an official cannot make any great leaps. You know yourself that the state’s starting wages forces one to be very damned thrifty. But when one is married and has four children, one gets a very nice children’s supplement, and the rent allowance is higher and the taxes are very minimal. That is a big help, and all this aid is always being expanded, for, thank God, we live under a leadership that knows exactly what children mean for our folk’s future.”
“Man, you talk like you’re paid for it. Well, you are, after all, also a ‘race sheik’ in the General SS, and for all I care you can be right; but now, in the fifth war year, where bombs fall everywhere, one simply cannot responsibly put children into the children. Just think what our wives already have to deal with. Mine is at least now out of the big city; but if she now in her emergency quarters in the village, where everything is already much too crowded, had to take care of another little one, no, I wouldn’t want to expect that from her.”
Aigner Friedel thought about his girl, to whom he recently got engaged, and sighed: “Yes, I also continually run that through my head. One actually can’t justify it; however, a marriage without children is also nothing. And that children must come, if our folk is supposed to live on, that is, of course, clear. But why do we have a professor among us. Fire away, hold a lecture about having children.”
The professor took one last little swig of his fruit juice, and after he now “had something in his stomach”, he felt strong enough and spoke into the moon-lit hospital room: “I would rather not hold a lecture; but if something comes to me about the subject, I will gladly tell you. You are right, papa Knuth, it is damn hard for our women, and more is expected from them than all of us had thought at the start of the war. And yet - image, no more children at all would be born, what would that mean? After all, one must not think about the present. All the children not born today would be missing to us in 15 to 20 years, as apprentices, as workers, peasants, technicians, scientists and - mothers for new children. Production Minister Speer can produce everybody: machines, panzers, airplanes, U-boats etc.; but there is one thing his organizations cannot produce: people cannot be manufactured on a production line and above all such people who are intelligent and capable enough to correctly operate all these machines, airplanes etc. and effectively use them. They can only be born to such people. There, the supply of capable families and clans, who are alone able to again give us capable people, are the most valuable treasure that a folk can call its own. All material things that are destroyed can sooner or later be replaced again, that is not so bad; but where the last member of a capable family departs life, without leaving behind children, a valuable blood line is for always and eternally cut off, and no ever so cleverly setup organization can awaken it to new life. A portion of the valuable treasure is lost again.
Now reflect on what we did with this valuable treasure before the rise to power. Year by year the birth rate sank more and more, and especially in those families who should have passed along their genes for special ability in their children. I do not want to bore you with numbers and statistics - you can, if you wish, look them up in our educational publications, for example “SS Man and Blood Question”. Furthermore, the fact the birth rate decline started precisely in the so-called better off circles shows that it was not primarily dependent on the economic situation, when one decided for too few or too many children, rather on an inner attitude. And that had gotten so shabby in our folk, that the German family on an average only still had barely over two children, but that means that this number of children was far too low to even maintain the population, let alone increase it. For two children - on the condition that they really grow up, marry and again have children - always replace only two parents. But about 10% of all marriages remain without any children. These pairs are hence not replaced as well as not the sworn bachelors and all the girls who for whatever reason do not get a husband. Unfortunately, these often belong to the genetically most valuable, because they don’t throw themselves at just anybody. And the number of people who never reach marrying age is also not small. So you see what danger for the future of our folk lies in these low numbers of children. We were already a dying folk.”
“Man, that is nonsense!” papa Knuth interrupted. “The population in Germany has not declined. On the contrary, each year is has gotten bigger.”
“That is just want I wanted to say myself’, the professor would not let himself be diverted, “ and nonetheless, we were a dying folk. It is somewhat difficult to explain that in a few words, without numbers and charts; but two facts come together: through the improvement of medicine people today live longer than before, especially more of the very little children survive than in the past. That means the people from the last two, still strong birth generations still live in much larger number than was the case earlier. Only because of that has the ever declining birth rate not yet reduced the total population. But it would, and hence the whole age structure of our folk shifted. By that 1 mean: the portion of the young within the whole became ever smaller percent-wise, and the portion of older people, since they now live longer, became abnormally large. But these people were temporarily still at an age where they could have children, and so even our birth numbers were still abnormally large despite the low number of children per mother, because the portion of child-bearing age women was bigger than before.
But now image that in several years the recently still numerous people of that age class reach the age where they die off. Then a terrible dying will set in for our folk, and the generations that reach marrying age are still numerically very weak.
Then it will become clear to all, that our folk still only...”
“Lived from postponed death”, Aigner Friedel interjected. “Now it is finally clear to me, what these words, that I had always thought to be just a catch-word, actually want to say.”
“If you want to convince yourselves of this fact, you just have to go to our villages, where the reduced birth rate has unfortunately already become ‘modem’, and inquire how many children used to go to school there and how many there are today. I have often had my students research that, and the results were terrifying enough. We were indeed actually well on the way to the same conditions that you have seen in France and of which you recently told me: villages almost without children, but with very many very old people; the farmsteads where the old people had died were already abandoned, because there was nobody left to take them over; the fields that belonged to them were not cultivated and were full of weeds; the farmsteads still in business were worked primarily by foreigners who had originally come as Polish or whatever agricultural workers and had gotten hold of the land. A folk that has reached that point no longer has the strength to survive times of crisis. After France’s collapse, Marshal Petain said as well: ‘We have lost the war, because we had too few weapons, too few allies and too few children.’ 1 think we should learn from that bad example.”
“Man, stop it”, papa Knuth spoke up, who had already become quite uneasy. “It’s high time that mess changes.”
“It has already come. You know yourselves about the fortunate increase of the birth rate immediately after the rise to power due to all the measures and institutions that have been created for that purpose, but especially due to the changed inner attitude to which Germans returned under the National Socialist world-view. The latter, however, is the decisive thing. It depends on us ourselves. Everything that is done by the state, starting with marriage loans to the Honor Cross of the German Mother and the manifold care for mother and child, is only a preparation of the path. The state with its measures shows us signposts, say to speak, on which is to be read: Here leads the path upon which one can - with substantially reduced difficulties compared to earlier - achieved the joy of bountiful children and hence to secured, eternal life - for through one’s children alone does one gain real, eternal life -, but now each must follow this path from his own decision.”
“And to here, courageously and confident in the future, to come to the right decision, that is what it comes down to, naturally precisely right down in the war. Every war is a double biological threat for the future of a folk through the loss of most valuable blood lines and through the fewer children born due to family separation. At the beginning everything still went well. The number of marriages even increased substantially, and as long as there were still longer rest breaks between the first campaigns, the birth rate also did not decline. But with the ever growing difficulty of the struggle, that has changed, admittedly by a long shot not as bad as during the First World War, but still: we must clearly see the great danger in order to not succumb to it, even if it is not possible to send the fathers on vacation as often as before and or to care for the mothers and children in a homeland untouched by the terrors of war. Everything that is possible, it nonetheless done. Just compare how our children are today supplied with food, vitamins etc. and how it looked in this regard during the First World War. Whole assistance efforts had to be launched back then after the war, just to somewhat lessen the tremendous need. Think about the relocation of children to rural areas, about the regulations for expectant mothers in the Work Service etc. But all of this assistance must fail, if we do not through our own decision create the prerequisites so they can be applied. One can twist it as one wants, everything depends on us taking the National Socialist world-view seriously in our own personal life conduct, that means that we affirm the eternal laws of life and act accordingly, even if our reason must tell us that there will be difficulties and inconveniences.
“And one more thing do I want to impress on you, because a lot of nonsense is said about it, naturally also on the basis of malicious enemy propaganda: We don’t need children regardless of where they come from, rather we need families that are rich in children, whereby we naturally only apply the honorable term rich in children to genetically healthy families. Our population politics will always remain family politics, even after victory, when the special problems arising from the long war period must be solved. - So, I have spoken. I believe I have talked myself tired. More another time.”
It became quiet in the room and only Aigner Friedel said yet: “I will insist that we marry right after my release from the hospital.”