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New Left Review I/172, November-December 1988

Frigga Haug

Mothers in the Fatherland

In spring 1987, a political document caused a stir in the Federal Republic of Germany: the Mothers’ Manifesto produced by a section of women in the Green Party. Some passed on to the business of the day with a feeling of kindly satisfaction—there was no longer much to fear from the political strength of the Green women. Others set angrily to work to restore the unity of left women with a scathing critique, and yet others warned with righteous dismay of the threat of fascism and the impending extinction of ‘Rainbow Culture’. After all, the Nazi cult of motherhood is firmly fixed in historical memory. Even those who know hardly anything about the period are as familiar with the Mother’s Cross as with the title of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. No one wants to have anything to do with all that, except perhaps on Mothers’ Day, when the younger generation still shamefacedly tries to strike an uneasy balance between disavowal of the fascist legacy and a bad conscience over neglect of their mothers.

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