Accession Number: NEKHC:2009.2.1-2

Object: Medal

Category: Women in the Third Reich; Propaganda; Indoctrination; Medals

Physical Description: Medal in cross form on blue and white ribbon. Blue cross with white edging. 'Der Deutschen Mutter' embossed around black swastika on white circular background in centre of cross. Gold award, 16 December 1938 and Hitler's signature are engraved on the back. Dark blue hard case for the Gold Mother's Cross with hinge along top edge. Image of the medal in gold printed on the front. 

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 The Cross of Honour of the German Mother (Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter) was introduced by the Nazi party by Statutory Order on December 16, 1938. The gold award was given to mothers of eight or more children. The case was manufactured by Hans Gnad, and carries the insignia HANS GNAD. WIEN VII inside the lid. 

Further Information:

Mother’s Crosses came in three classes; third class (bronze) awarded to mothers who birthed and raised four to five children; second class (silver) awarded to mothers of six to seven children; and first class (gold) awarded to mothers of eight children or more. The crosses were awarded to 'honour German mothers for their services to the German people' and formed part of a propaganda campaign to promote large families, thereby increasing the population of the Third Reich. Only women fulfilling Nazi racial ideals were eligible for a cross; to receive one both parents of the children had to be 'German blooded' in line with Nazi ideas of racial purity, and mothers had to be considered 'worthy'. Crosses could be withdrawn if officials decided a woman had become 'unworthy' for example by not raising her children in line with Nazi ideals. The first crosses were presented in 1938 and the last in 1944, by which time approximately 4.7million had been awarded.       

Sources:

Germany (1938) Deutsches Reichsgesetzblatt [German Reich Law Journal] Statutory Order of the Leader and Chancellor on the establishment of the Cross of Honour of the German Mother (December 16, 1938) Part 1: 224/1924-1926 [Online]. Available at: http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/alex?aid=dra&datum=1938&page=2102&size=45 (Accessed: 17 January 2015).

Mouton, Michelle (2009) From Nurturing the Nation to Purifying the Volk Washington: Publications of the German Historical Institute.