Birth control, gold crosses, and women’s rights under Hitler

Historically there have been many times that birth control was banned by governments. Hitler banned all forms of birth control– although his soldiers could have condoms wrapped in plain brown wrappers to “keep them healthy.” After all, syphilis was called the “Jewish Disease.”

Adolf disliked confident women, finding them unfeminine. Working women and women who were childless were scorned under his regime. He saw children as being akin to warriors for his cause and saw motherhood as the only calling a woman should have. It was even illegal to talk about birth control. He put forth laws to encourage marriage and his government paid cash bonuses for children born between 1933 and 1936. In addition, a mother got a medal upon the birth of her fourth and sixth child. A woman was awarded a gold cross for bearing her eighth child. Medals were awarded yearly on his mother’s birthday. On Dec. 16 the crosses were handed out. They were worn around the neck on a ribbon.

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Would you have 8 kids for this? What every mother needs–an ugly cross to bear…I mean wear.

Abortions were considered crimes against “the body and the state” and were banned–the penalty was death!  But if the woman wasn’t white, doctors did not enforce this ban. Later, non-Aryans were encouraged to have abortions while they were strictly illegal for others. Although feminists put up resistance–and were jailed or sent to concentration camps– most German women agreed with Hitler and saw him as a savior. They were thrilled to be a part of something greater than themselves. However, his policies didn’t have much impact on population growth.

Countries that fought against him benefited from the labor of their women and in England condoms were so common that they were used as waterproof covering on military microphones. As history proved, it doesn’t pay to oppress your women or ban your condoms.This could be why feminism stands strong in Germany today but as always, faces challenges from the ultra-right.

Tulips in Pella

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Tuttle cabin and tulips.

 

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Sunken Gardens tulips:Pink/Purple/White Mix w/ Yellow Fritillaria

It’s thought that their name is a botched European translation of the Persian world for turban.They were first written about in Turkey and a religious symbol of paradise on Earth in the Ottoman Empire. They were later popularized in the Netherlands and reworked into a reminder of the brevity of life since each blossom lasts a week or less. It’s nearly Tulip Time in Pella so I did a little library research on tulips. Or tried to.

There haven’t been many studies on the chemical properties of tulips. They contain anti-fungal latex-like chemicals called tuliposides and tulipalins that may cause allergic response, especially dermatitis in some people. The bulbs also contain calcium oxalate which is irritating to the skin. Several of the tulipalins are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. However, some people use the petals in cooking to give a mild onion flavor.

It’s best to plant tulips in the fall. Despite their chemicals, they tend to rot and fall is usually drier than spring. They like cold winters and dry summers.They need the pattern of cold in order to break dormancy and begin to grow. Requiring a specific type of condition in order to sprout is known as stratification.This is a defense mechanism that prevents seeds from sprouting when environmental conditions are unfavorable. It’s terribly complex, with different proteins being produced and protein levels rising and falling. You thought seeds were just sleeping? Not really. They are experiencing life changes.

To keep tabs on Pella’s tulips and if they are blooming, click here for a map of each tulip bed in town.photo-170

 

Chapter Eleven and National Book Award and Pella’s oldest organization.

No, I’m not talking bankruptcy. I’m referring to Natural Attraction. Last summer I had the delight of taking two summer courses at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. My teachers were Amber Dermont and T. Geronimo Johnson (a descendent of the famous Geronimo). Now I see that Nemo as we called him, is up for a National Book Award. He worked with me quite a bit on the first half of Natural Attraction, giving particular attention to the villainous Madame Blu as well as the early sex scenes. He put an emphasis on slowing down some scenes I’d rushed over and to appropriate chapter endings. Cliff hanger chapter endings are popular now and I’m older and had things to learn.  His hand can be seen most prominently in Chapter Eleven of the novel. I love to read pages  145-150 at signings and events. It allows me to discuss a part of the book where a workshop had critical impact.

Speaking of, tomorrow I visit Pella’s Ladies Social and Literary Society. It was founded in 1876 when Pella was 26 years old. Its goals are “To pursue a systematic course of reading. To discuss domestic and foreign subjects. To promote sociability and friendship.” Their topic this year is Pella Women Authors.  There are so many Pella Women Authors that this program will cover two years. There’s something about Iowa that stimulates a writer’s mind.