Wednesday 21 September 2011

Touring Bavaria

You have to remember that these girls lived in one of the prettiest parts of Germany. Perhaps pretty is too weak a word. They were surrounded by the type of mountain and woodland scenery that takes your breath away. In the 1930 and 1940 holidays were difficult to come by. But these girls had everything on their doorstep and their default leisure activity seems to be rambling – “wandern” – which doesn’t quite translate exactly.
Many of them completed their RAD (Reichs Arbeits Dienst) in some of the most fascinating countryside. They did work a little like our landgirls but often would work in the household to relieve family members who knew more about farming to do the important work. The girls were pulled in, however, to help with the harvest.
The Kreigeshilefedienst came next and then some were involved in developing weapons and medications.
All this, in places in Bavaria which are beautiful holiday resorts now. I’m collecting names: - Allgäu, Feucht, Garmish-Partenkirchen, Isar Valley, Ludwigshöhe, Mostviel, Neuendettelsau, Nuremberg, Roth, Salzburg Alps, Würzburg, Zugspitze. It’s easy to find material about what those places are like now. There is also quite a bit about how they were during World War II. There isn’t that much change. Except, of course, in Nuremberg itself, which we bombed very badly. The girls are now at the end of 1944 and talk a lot about the attacks on the city. We know that they get worse. And all of this just a few minutes ride in a modern car form the places where you can take a day’s hike through woodland into the mountains.    

There was a lot of unemployment in Germany in the 1930s. Do you think the RAD and the Kreigeshilfedienst helped combat that?     
How did these two initiatives specifically help women? 
How had war often helped  women in the work place?
What happens after the war is over? 
Do you see any similarities here with anything you ahve read about what british women did in World Wars I and II?       

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