The National Socialists propagated the image of the healthy, strong, and racially « pure » body of peasant women and men in manifold ways. Mass events, folk festivals, and cultural events served exactly the purpose of staging this image. The beauty and superiority of the « German body » was particularly celebrated in dance, sports, and music, as well as art and photography. These pictures were deliberately used to establish certain norms that also influenced the « physical education » of man. Specially established peasant schools aimed at training strong, beautiful, and fit bodies.
The name associated with the Reich School in public next to that of Richard Walther Darré was Rudolf Bode, who had been appointed its sports director in the summer of 1935. Bode had made a name for himself as a völkisch-oriented sports educator; à convinced National Socialist and determined anti-Semite from the outset, he championed « German gymnastics ». He specially developed the « Neuhaus gymnastics » for the peasant youth. It was to be « practicable for everyone, organically right, physically effective, eliciting joy, equally suitable for both sexes, not requiring more than a little space, allowing intensification, culturally significant, and impressive for the observer », as Bode pointed out in his guidance book. [...] Folk dances and folk songs to be performed in large groups were a special item on the agenda.
Serving racial politics
Anna Koppitz’s photographs for Reich Minister R. Walther Darré
Magdalena Vuković (ed.)