The German Mothercross

Das Ehrenkreuz Der Deutschen Mutter

The “Mothercross”, or in German “Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter”, was a decoration that was instituted on the 16th of December 1938 by the German F├╝hrer and “Reichskanzler” Adolf Hitler. The decoration was instituted by the NSDAP but in a fascist culture the boundaries between state and government were vague. The crosses were presented on the 4th of August, the birthday of Adolf Hitler’s mother and also on Mothers day. In the period before the Second World War, more then 3 million crosses were handed out. The cross was seldom refused. In the whole period of the war many crosses were given out and an exact number is not available but it is estimated at least 5.5 to 10 million.

The decoration was instituted as part of Hitler’s initiative to encourage Aryan population growth. Large families and fertility were idealized in propaganda and the government had as a goal to keep the German mother at home, so she could live and work with her family. Emancipation of women was not promoted. The lives of a women should be devoted to giving birth to children and raising them. A mother could be awarded a bronze, silver, or gold cross depending on the number of children she had given birth to. Eight or more would entitle the woman to a gold cross, six to seven to silver, and four to five to bronze.

The decorated women were saluted on the streets by the Hitler Jugend. In Nazi Germany, the women who wore the Mothercross were treated with respect by the civil service and they were entitled to have a seat on the public transport. Mothers were only allowed to wear the Cross on special occasions. Therefore, small miniature crosses were made which could be worn in daily life, as a brooch for example. The normal Cross was given to the mothers free of charge, while the miniature had to paid for. The miniature was never officially authorized by the government of that time.

Only women with pure Aryan families could achieve the Mothercross. Women from absorbed Germanic countries (such as Austria and Danzig) were also eligible. The parents had to show that they had pure Germanic blood and were passing this onto their children. They were not allowed to have Slavic, Jewish or other Non-Aryan grandparents.

The 1938 instituted model of the Mothercross which were handed out during 1938 and 1939 were made of bronze, silver (actually silvered bronze) and gold. (actually gilded bronze) As the war continued, cheaper materials were used. On later bronze, silver and gold crosses you can find that there were many different kinds of alloys used. On the silvered and gilded crosses made out of bronze you can find that on the second model all kinds of material and alloys were used, including bronze, “white metal” that consists mostly of zinc, copper and cheap “war metal”.

There are two models of the Mothercross. The first model has on it’s flip-side the text “Das Kind adelt die Mutter” and Adolf Hitler’s signature. The second model has on it’s flip-side the date “16 Dezember 1938” and Adolf Hitler’s signature. The front side of the four armed blue enameled crosses are the same. On the golden ring around the black swastika, on the white background, it says “Der Deutschen Mutter”. Between the arms are small bronze, silver or gold stripes. The Mothercross was worn around the neck on a white cord with 3 blue stripes.

The first model of the cross is quite rare and was never officially given out.