Nazi public relations tentacles are shown in a museum exhibit . A professor of German recently wrote an article for National Public Radio News and tells of her visit to see “Glamour and Horror.”
The showing of the 600 items may be in the new Hitler Museum in Berlin, but she didn’t say.
People usually think of the Nazis as being particularly fashionable in their uniforms, medals and awards, which were prolific and the most
remarkable. My research for Lebensborn learned from a top war weapons collector in the U.S. that once the war began, the German SS officers decided as a group to put away the black “party” uniform. Himmler asked that they be turned in and he sent some to other countries and to be used by the Gestapo.
Folkloric clothing became the “thing” for many during this time in history. . . the alpine life represented by tight-formed waists, flowing skirts, aprons and often seen worn by women who came out to welcome Hitler in parades, or even by Eva Braun, his mistress.
Linda Schutz-Sasse, who wrote the piece, points out that the regime never lost sight of the demands of its wealthier women who wanted to be internationally chic. In Lebensborn, the fiance of the SS Officer Major Hurst dresses to compete with the French and wants always to look “fresh” and wears the latest international fashions.
Glamour became more elusive as the war progressed so even the wealthy had to resort to sewing new dresses out of remnants. The only party-affiliated women’s journal, NS Franenwarte, told its readers that the use of two kinds of material were not only practical but it saved on points (a reference to their clothing ration).
One horrific example of horror in the exhibit was the consumer research conducted in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. A “Shoe Testing Track” had nine different walking surfaces for the “Shoe Walking Commandos” who were forced to walk miles in boots and civilian shoes in newly-designed synthetic fabrics to replace leather which had grown scarce. Conservative estimates suggest l5-20 of the walkers died daily.
There was no aspect of life under the Nazi that was free or private, especially clothing.