Seventy years ago British appeasers and Nazi sympathisers tried a clever propaganda move. PETER FROST explains.
Exactly 75 years ago this month, in March 1939 as war clouds gathered over Europe, a German woman Hitler had described as the perfect Nazi female arrived in London.
When Adolf Hitler had come to power in 1933, he appointed long time Nazi supporter Gertrud Scholtz-Klink as Reich’s Women’s Führerin and head of the Nazi Women’s League.
Hitler’s perfect woman, Gertrude Scholtz-Klink and below, in London as the guest of Prunella Slack leader of the 200,000 strong League of Health and Beauty.
Ironically, Scholtz-Klink argued against the participation of women in politics. "Anyone who has seen the communist women scream on the street and in parliament, realise that such an activity is not something which is done by a true woman" she declared.
By July 1936, Scholtz-Klink was appointed as head of the Woman’s Bureau in the German Labour Front, her job was to encourage women to work for the Nazi government.
On the face of it the Führerin’s visit to London was at the invitation of Prunella Stack, leader of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty, an early women’s keep fit organisation with nearly 200.000 members all across Britain and the Empire.
Stack, still only 25, had inherited the well paid top position in this commercially successful organisation on the death of her mother, the League’s founder, Mary Bagot-Stack.
Prunella Stack (above at Wembley Stadium) had married Lord David Douglas-Hamilton part of a well known right wing family.Her brother-in-law, a Tory MP and well known Nazi sympathiser, the 14th Duke had attended the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin.
While there he dined with Joachim von Ribbentrop an old friend. Ribbentrop was the German ambassador to Britain and later Hitler’s Foreign Minister.
In Berlin the Duke met with Hitler and many other leading Nazis. With Hermann Göring he inspected the rapidly growing Luftwaffe. During this visit it is probable that he first made contact with Rudolf Hess.
It was Hess who, on 10 May 1941, parachuted into Scotland to meet with the Duke and plot a secret peace treaty that would lead to the supremacy of Germany within Europe alongside a strengthened British Empire.
Hess crash landed and ended up in hospital. Hamilton rushed to his bedside and contacted Winston Churchill to tell him of the Deputy Führer’s arrival. Churchill wanted nothing to do with the traitorous plot.
Hess was imprisoned until the end of the war and finally tried at the subsequent Nuremberg trials. He finally hung himself in Spandau Prison in 1987 at the age of 93.
The British establishment, many of them with their own skeleton filled cupboards, rallied round to defend Tory Hamilton.
The official whitewash declared “the conduct of the Duke of Hamilton has been in every respect honourable and proper”.
Stack had taken a troop of her League members to a Nazi organised international congress of physical fitness in Hamburg in 1938. This was a chance for Hitler to show off his Nazi Strength-Through-Joy physical fitness movement.
Encouraged by her right wing friends, appeasers and out and out Nazis Stack invited Reichsfrauenfuehrerin Scholtz-Klink to come to London.
The Anglo-German Fellowship organised a grand dinner in her honour at Claridges. Members included Bank of England directors Frank Cyril Tiarks and Montague Norman; Admiral Sir Barry Domvile; Prince von Bismarck, and Geoffrey Dawson editor of The Times
Corporate members included Price Waterhouse, Unilever, Dunlop Rubber, Thomas Cook, the Midland Bank and Lazard Brothers amongst others.
Many Conservative MPs were members, and from the House of Lords came Lord Brocket, Lord Galloway, the Earl of Glasgow, Lord Londonderry, Lord Nuffield, Lord Redesdale, Lord Rennell and the Duke of Wellington.
The women Nazi leader also used the visit to meet Nazi sympathisers who were engaged in secret talks that would result in the foundation of the Right Club as well as more openly fascist members of the Nordic League.
The Right Club was officially founded in May 1939 to rid the Conservative Party of perceived Jewish control. Founder was Tory MP Archibald Ramsay. He boasted that “The main objective was to oppose and expose the activities of organised Jewry. “Members included William Joyce – Lord Haw-Haw who would broadcast for Hitler in the War.
Thousands of British People tuned into Lord Haw Haw, William Joyce, pictures below with his wife Margaret.
The Duke of Wellington took the chair at meetings. The Club’s badge, was of an eagle killing a snake with the initials P.J. standing for Perish Judah
A heroic Daily Worker (forerunner of today’s Morning Star) reporter managed to infiltrate a Nordic League meeting at the Wigmore Hall, he reported Ramsay as saying that they needed to end Jewish control, “and if we don’t do it constitutionally, we’ll do it with steel” – a statement greeted with wild applause by fellow fascists.
After the visit and all those meetings, Scholtz-Klink returned to Germany to be at Hitler’s side. Just a few days later the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia and within months all Europe was at war.
Hitler’s perfect woman explains the Nazi way to children in Kensal Rise North West London.
This article first appeared in the Morning Star 2 April 2014.