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Thread: For a Genuine and Noble Nakedness

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    For a Genuine and Noble Nakedness

    ‘For a Genuine and Noble Nakedness’? German Naturism in the Third Reich

    Matthew Jefferies


    This essay, based on primary sources from the privately-run Internationale FKK-Bibliothek and a growing body of secondary literature, examines some of the myths and misconceptions regarding the fate of naturism in the Third Reich. It shows that despite Goering's decree of 3 March 1933, which described the ‘naked culture movement’ as ‘one of the greatest dangers for German culture and morality’, naturism did not come to an abrupt halt after the Machtergreifung. While official histories of German naturism talk proudly of the movement's ‘persecution’ and ‘non-violent resistance’, there was little concerted effort to close down naturist associations or to arrest individual activists. In fact, without a definitive order from the Führer, Germany's naturists existed in a semi-legal limbo for much of the 1930s. Many National Socialists regarded the clothes-free lifestyle with contempt, but there were elements within the Nazi state—and particularly the SS—which could see significant benefits from celebrating ‘the instinct for bodily nobility and its beauty in our Volk’. A mutual desire to de-eroticize nudity helped cement the bond between Heydrich, Himmler and naturist leaders. As a result, German Freikörperkultur passed some of its most important landmarks in the years of Nazi rule, including its very first book with photographs in full colour, a full-length feature film, and a new, more permissive Bathing Law. Thus while George Mosse's Nationalism and Sexuality claims the Nazis ‘forbade nudism after their accession to power’, a closer examination of the fate of naturism after 1933 reveals a more complex picture, which serves to highlight not only the limits of the régime's totalitarian aspirations, but also the naturist movement's own disparate and problematic heritage.

    Full Text:
    http://ghj.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/24/1/62

    (Free access to the paper until 31/12/2006)

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    Very interesting article, thanks for sharing!

    The above link doesn't work anymore, but the article can now be found at this address: https://academic.oup.com/gh/article/24/1/62/738250

    From the whole article, I wish to quote the following:

    In only its second month of publication, April 1935, the Schwarze Korps had defended the use of naked and near-naked illustrations in that year's official Farming Calendar. [...] Then, in September 1936, the magazine published an article which stated that nudity 'in itself' is not 'shameless', but 'chaste and pure', and argued that 'even those for whom the sight of a naked, beautiful body is still something new and unusual, must be made accustomed to this sight.'

    pp. 80-81 in the above article. Quoted from Das Schwarze Korps, 17 Sept. 1936. Quoted by Wilke, Dein "Ja " zum Leibe!, p. 118
    [...] in August 1939 the SA-Führer conceded: 'The beneficial effect of fresh air on the naked body is well known to anyone who has ever experienced it for themselves ... Knowledge of the life giving divine power of the sun is part of the basic existential knowledge of all the Aryan peoples'.

    p. 81 in the above article. Quoted in Wilke, Dein "Ja " zum Leibe!, pp. 190-91
    Die Farben duften frisch und grün... Lieblich haucht der Wind um mich.

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    Maybe the sight of a strapping young SS man or German girl au natural would be a welcome ideal, but then there's the thought of Ernst Roehm in the nude and wow that idea goes away real fast. (I'm pretty sure if you were seeing Roehm in the nude, though, it was too late to save you )
    When someone asks, "What would Jesus do?" remind them that flipping tables and chasing people with a whip is entirely possible.

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