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News Archive    Printer Version April 2, 2007   

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Oy vey! The Reappearance of the Nazi Eva Principle!

"Be a hausfrau for Germany? That's Nazi talk"

Source:  The Sunday Times - April 1, 2007
By Nicola Smith

A former top German television newsreader has been accused of evoking the Nazi era with a campaign to encourage women to choose motherhood instead of emancipation and highflying careers.

Eva Herman, 47, is urging women to leave the workplace and embrace a pre-feminist ideal of home-making, cake-baking and child-rearing to save a country with one of Europe's lowest birth rates: 1.3 children per woman.

"If we carry on in the same way as we have been, then in 100 years' time we will no longer exist. Germany and Europe will die out," she said last week.

According to Herman, mothers should be paid �11,000 to �13,500 as "family managers". Her views are expounded in a book that she has filled with letters from disillusioned career women who found salvation in motherhood.

Feminists have been incensed. One of the fiercest critics has been Alice Schwarzer, a feminist campaigner and magazine editor, who described Herman's theories as "gibberish between a Stone Age bat and a Mother's Cross" - the Nazi medal of honour awarded to mothers of more than three children.

Herman replied that it was dangerous to link the desire for a family with the darkest time in Germany's history. "During the National Socialist era mothers were separated from their children. It is absurd to make that link," she said.

Herman, once voted Germany's most popular newsreader, said her career ambitions began to wane when she became pregnant at 38. Last August she left her job on Tagesschau, Germany's most prestigious television news programme, to campaign.

In her first book, The Eva Principle, she argued that the failure of women to stay at home was leading to family breakdown and a "soulless society". Her views struck a raw nerve and more than 100,000 copies of the book were sold in 10 days.

She has failed to convince Werner Herman, her former husband. "Dear Eva," he wrote. "You were the one who always wanted to pursue a career and you were the one, not I, who did not want to have children. You didn't do the housework because we had a maid..."

Herman responded: "I had three marriages and one child. One marriage with three children would have been better."

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