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Report on the Camaraderie House for Female Students of Göttingen

Gottingen Camaraderie House
Bundesarchiv Berlin

One of the primary goals of the Nazi regime was to instill "racially valuable" Germans with a sense of belonging to the Nazis' racially defined "national community" ("Volksgemeinschaft"). Universities served an important role in generating this sense of community among future leaders of the "New Germany." Beginning in 1933, students were required to participate in group exercises, labor, and lectures on Nazi racial theories. In 1934, the Nazi Party deepened its efforts to foster a sense of "national community" on campus by requiring students to live together in communal "camaraderie houses."1

The featured document is an activity report submitted to the university's Nazi Student League by a women's student house at Göttingen University.2 Covering a period from October 1935 to April 1936, the document records the housemates' activities in their third semester of communal living. The report describes the daily lives of female students living voluntarily in a communal Camaraderie House, but it also provides insights into the  students' level of commitment to communal living. The author of the document is unknown, and the names of the house's residents are not recorded. 

The report describes the house as a site of communal living, cooking, academic study, and ideological training. The purpose of the house was for its residents "to be educated as complete human beings, shaped, formed, all in the same manner." Weekly "house evenings" were designed to help the students prepare for their labor service, while "leading figures" gave talks. The work of cleaning and upkeep is divided equally among the residents, and the report states that the "household advisor" was in charge of running the kitchen.3 Although a swastika is visible in the report's image of Göttingen's St. Paul's Church, the report does not reference the Nazi Party or Adolf Hitler. Nazi propaganda efforts directed toward university students often sought to spark enthusiasm for ideological programs, such as the concept of a "new university" discussed in the report.

Although Germany had a long tradition of male fraternity houses dating back to at least the fifteenth century, the report reveals that a communal house for female students was "highly controversial."4 Many protested when the leadership of the National Student Union pushed to require all incoming male and female students to live in "Camaraderie Houses" in 1934.5 Nazi student organizations continued supporting communal living for all students, especially in smaller university towns.

 Michael Gru╠łttner, Studenten im Dritten Reich (Paderborn: Ferdinand Scho╠łningh, 1995), 260–271.

The university's student league in turn forwarded the document to the national office of the Nazi Student League in Berlin.

Although this "advisor" is presumably not a student, the report specifically mentions that "she is entirely part of the community of comrades." Nazi propaganda had long worked to unify students and workers in Germany, and the report reflects this concern. For more primary sources related to Nazi efforts to unify so-called "Aryan" Germans into one "national community," see the Experiencing History collection, Nazi Propaganda and National Unity.

See the USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia for more on women in Nazi society. See also the Experiencing History collection Family Life During the Holocaust.

Traditional fraternities and local landlords—who relied on income earned from renting rooms to students—objected, and the Nazi Party eventually revoked the measure, replacing it with a system of voluntary local camaraderie houses.

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Report of the Camaraderie House for Female Students

G ö t t i n g e n

Winter Semester 1935/36.

We have had a Camaraderie House for female students in Göttingen since the summer semester of 1934. With a great deal of effort, it has just recently become "our house."

A Camaraderie House for female students is a highly controversial notion. It has come into being with full awareness of that. We simply believe that a transpersonal comradeship is possible among girls as well, we have demonstrated it in the past semesters, and we think that work can be done on certain joint tasks only in such a group.

At the present time, we need political people at the university, and here being "political"quite simply means being committed, being responsible in all our actions to an ideology: National Socialism. For us, it means having a vital stake in the things that are around us.

What is to be brought into being as a "new institution of higher education" finds its justification and meaning solely in terms of its purpose: to be a seat of education. People are to be educated as complete human beings, shaped, formed, all in the same manner, regardless of the department or faculty in question, in the same sense of responsibility.

[Bottom of page] Copy from the Federal Archives

[Page 2]

[Photo] Room of the head of the Camaraderie House

[Photo] Visitors' room [illegible]

[Photo] Verandah

[Bottom of page] Copy from the Federal Archives

[Page 3]

Page 2

As a result of the focus on the "new institution of higher education," the Comradeship Houses gain meaning and purpose, the houses for male students as well as those for female students. The point is not to have a pleasant "semester of comradeship" by halfway giving up on one's studies. Rather, the point is to study in such a way that one is educated and shaped by the course of studies itself.

The purpose of our House as well is to truly realize, in a group, the comradeship that is a requirement imposed on all of us, based on the task at hand.

There are 15 to 20 of us girls living in the House, and we quite deliberately do all the jobs that come up, both indoors and in the garden, by ourselves. Admittedly, for the actual running of the kitchen we have a "household advisor," a girl; however, she is fully part of our comradeship.

In our House, there are bedrooms for 4, 3, and 2 girls, as well as a few single rooms. For work, we have two study rooms and cozier areas, in addition to a common dining hall and room for showering, bathing, and washing. In the summer we also have the garden with deckchairs, a table, and other chairs, and two verandahs available to us. A library with good books provides for entertainment.

In our House, we want to have cheerful, happy, knowledgeable young people. – Thus our day begins at 6:30 a.m. (in winter) with half an hour of early-morning exercise (running, gymnastics, games). At 7:30, the flag is raised, with a maxim or saying and a song, and then we all have breakfast together. Then each girl goes about her own work, only the "domestic service team" still has to do its household chores. (Each girl has to perform one hour of "domestic service" twice a week.) At midday, at 1:15, we all meet again in the House to have the midday meal together, followed by a newspaper report. The evening meal is served at 7:15 p.m., and is followed by taking down the flag. (At midday and in the evening, two girls help wash the dishes.)

Our training (as an element of the Association of National Socialist Female Students) is always guided by a topic and takes place once a week. We have often invited leading figures to the training session, people who can report to us on economic matters and the like.

The House evenings (once a week) are held for the purpose of preparing us for our deployment in agricultural service [Landdienst] and dealing with issues such as "The Institute of Higher Education and Us."

Copy from the Federal Archives

[Final page]

[Photo] A study room

[Photo] Large bedroom

[Photo] A single room

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Bundesarchiv Berlin
Source Number NS38/4117
Date Created
1935 to 1936
Göttingen, Germany
Document Type Report
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