Praise for Hitler's family policies gets television presenter Eva Herman fired
11 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Telegenic German television presenter Eva Herman revelled in the controversy generated by her outspoken views on the failings of feminism, but when she praised the family policies of the Third Reich, that was a step too far.
11 September 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Telegenic German television presenter Eva Herman revelled in the controversy generated by her outspoken views on the failings of feminism, but when she praised the family policies of the Third Reich, that was a step too far.
Public broadcaster NDR fired her, and editorial writers poured out their scorn for her and her views.
Herman referred to Nazi policies while publicizing her new book, entitled: The Noah's Ark Principle - Why we must save the family.
Speaking last week to a Berlin audience that included dozens of journalists and in front of rolling TV cameras she said: "What was good was the values - children, mother, family."
Herman's hobbyhorse is promoting "traditional family values," while expressing contempt for mainstream feminism and the morals of the post-1968 generation.
"They left nothing standing," she said at the same gathering.
She has written articles and books on the topic, penning sentences like: "We have lost our femininity," and "Women are often exhausted in trying to reconcile children and career."
Homemaking was essentially a woman's business, she once said in a comment that provoked more amusement than anger. "That's what we're there for."
The ideas, while provocative to many women - and their male counterparts - are not new.
US social critic Camille Paglia has acerbically and repeatedly attacked mainstream feminism from the post-femínist stance that Herman seeks to adopt.
And British newspaper columnist Melanie Phillips, who regards herself as a "progressive," has railed against the anti-male aspects she sees in much feminist rhetoric.
But casting a favourable light on the horrors of the Hitler years was too much for the German commentariat, no matter what their political colour.
The mass-circulation Bild newspaper, that drew attention to Herman's comments in its Sunday edition, said that the "Mothers' Cross" awarded by the Hitler regime had effectively "demoted women into birthing machines."
The bronze version of the cross was awarded for four children, the silver for six and the gold to women who had eight or more children.
"They should have children so that the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler would have sufficient soldiers for his murderous war. The family policy of the Third Reich was contemptuous of people and cynical," the paper said.
Herman would herself scarcely have qualified for the award. She is on her fourth marriage and, at the age of 48, has but one child.
The Hanover-based Neue Presse urged its readers to set aside for the moment the "reactionary and sexist image of women" she was purveying.
The presenter's opinions showed "ignorance of history, social insensitivity and boundless naivety," its Monday editorial said.
The opinions were mirrored across the German media. Personalities invited to Herman's talkshow on NDR began cancelling and Jewish organizations made their outrage plain.
NDR announced her sacking on Sunday, the day Bild splashed her comments on its front page.
"Frau Herman is free to continue her 'mothers' crusade' but this can no longer be reconciled with the role of an NDR TV presenter," NDR programme director Volker Herres said.
German TV viewers have not seen the last of Herman, however. She was set down to appear on rival public broadcaster ZDF's late-night talkshow on Tuesday - as a high-profile guest rather than in her accustomed role of presenter.
Subject: German news