Cross of Honour of the German Mother (Mother’s Cross), 1st Class Order, Gold Cross donated by Adolf Hitler on 16 December 1938

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Previous object Self Portrait

“For the German Mother”

National Socialism ousted women from public life and reduced them to their role of mothers, which revoked the beginnings of emancipation in the time of the First Republic. Its policy of expansion motivated by racial hostility, above all towards living space in the east, increased the pressure. The Mother’s Cross, which was conferred to “Aryan women” with four or more children, combines the symbolism of the war decoration of the Iron Cross with the colour of the cult of the Virgin Mary.

Cast metal, textile ribbon
Graz Museum / Photo: Arno Friebes

“Das Mutterherz” (The Mother’s Heart) from Wochensprüche der NSDAP, GrazMuseum

© GrazMuseum

Categories of Motherhood

The Cross of Honour of the German Mother (Mother’s Cross) was to increase the “German mother’s” willingness to give birth by increasing her reputation. Requirements for being awarded the Cross of Honour of the German Mother (Mother’s Cross) were “Aryan descent” of the parents and a “morally impeccable” way of life. Depending on the number of children, a distinction was made between three levels: The Mother’s Cross in bronze, the third level, was awarded to women with four or five children; the Mother’s Cross in silver, the second level, was awarded to women with six or seven children, the Mother’s Cross in gold, the top level, to women with eight children or more.