I read a few articles yesterday which gave me some more insight into this. The girls mention it a lot in their letters. It seems to loom large for them and they all participated in it one way or another. However, as far as the way everyone else understood it, it was of far more importance for men. It was originally started up as a way of getting employment for the 6,000,000 unemployed German men.
However, it became a forerunner of Kreigshilfsdienst for the girls and actually trained them in all sorts of useful tasks that helped the war effort.
There were three parts to this: the training, “Aussendienst” (where they worked outside the camps, putting into practice what they had learnt) and “Innendienst” (where they helped run the camps and train other girls). Now some of what I’ve read in the letters makes a lot more sense.
It is interesting also that the men had a very military-looking, dull brown uniform. The women were dressed to look like house-wives. Their uniform consisted of two blue cotton dresses with short sleeves, two white pinafores, two red headscarves, two pairs of boots, two pairs of thick socks, one brown overcoat, one jacket and one hat, along with state-issued underwear. Ursula Sabel’s account of this is very informative.
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