The German Races

Published by carolyn on Fri, 2019-08-30 02:26

From the Handbook for Schooling the Hitler Youth

Chapter Two: The German Races (for Chapter One, see here)

This much longer chapter gives the students an overview of the various “races” that make up the German people – their people. There are six distinct groups described, ranging from the 'Nordic,' the largest which makes up approximately 50% of the population, to the 'Western' making up only 2%. In between, from greater to lesser, are the 'Eastern', the 'Dinaric', the 'East Baltic' and the 'Phalic.'

From Hans F. K. Gunther's (pictured left) book Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (1933), it is quoted:

A race is a collection of individuals differentiated from every other group by its unique combination of bodily characteristics and soul attributes and continually reproduces its own kind.

The students were taught that pure races of people scarcely exist today. Individuals have everywhere intermingled. Many people in Europe have preserved above all the Nordic character; others the Western, or Eastern, or East Baltic and so forth. Since man is body, mind and soul, the mental and spiritual characteristics are considered along with physical structure.

Geographical distribution of races in the German Reich

According to Gunther, who was the leading racial theorist for the Third Reich, Nordics are found in Germany and in large sections of the lands of northern Europe, in Scotland, Denmark, on the Baltic coast, in Sweden and Norway.

They are tall, an average 1.75 meters for the matured man, and slender, with large limbs in proportion to the body. The Nordic skull is long and narrow, the face small, the nose high set and small relative to the rest of the face. The skin is rosy-white and delicate, the light-colored hair is smooth, wavy, thin and fine. Sexual maturity comes relatively late, as does the onset of old age.

The Nordic is distinguishable from other “races” even to the structure and size of the brain and bodily glands. He is uncommonly gifted mentally, outstanding in truthfulness and energy, and power of judgment. Nordics are inclined to be taciturn and cautious, to dislike loudness, are persistent in sticking to a project when once set upon it. They are natural leaders.

The Nordic “race” is most closely associated with the Phalic, which make up only 5% of the German population. They are commonly found in Westphalia, from whence derives the name, but also in Swabia and Wuerttemberg. They surpass the Nordic in height and breadth, acting generally more forcefully. The skull is broader but just as long, the nose broader, the skin the same rosy-white, hair blond with sometimes a tinge of reddish, wavy or even curly.

As to soul qualities, the two are very similar, with the Phalic type less emotional, less fool-hardy, more good-natured and cordial, patient, and governed by a strong feeling of loyalty. These two are more related to one another than to any of the other four German “races.”

The Western and Dinaric racial groups

What's named by Gunther as the Western “race” (also called Mediterranean) is not only the smallest in Germany, amounting to only 2% of total, but hardly occurs in it's pure form. It's found principally in the Rhineland, and in England, France and the Pyrenees. The Western is slender like the Nordic but not as tall, averaging only 1.61 meters, with the same long skull and small face, but the skin is tinted with a light brown. The hair is smooth and fine, sometimes curly, colored dark brown to black, with brown eyes. As to soul qualities, they have less patience and steadiness than the other two; are excitable, even passionate; given to act more by feeling than by reason. They are more talkative and lively, mentally agile but with less creative power. They've produced only a few outstanding men.

The Dinaric group, about 15% of the German population, is found mainly in the South and Southwest, and in central Germany. Outside the Reich, they are in England, in the eastern Alpine lands (their name comes from the Dinaric Alps) and in the Balkans as far as Ukraine. Tall and slender, average 1.74 meters, their skull is shorter, especially in the back. The nose is high and fairly large, the skin slightly brownish, the hair fine, brownish-black to black, and more abundant on the body than the other German groups. The eyes are also dark.

The Dinaric has some outstanding attributes of mind and soul. He is proud and brave, a good warrior with great love for his homeland. He has more creative ability than the Eastern man, but is more subject to his moods than the Nordic. He is noisier and more loquacious, and exhibits a great gift for music.

The Eastern (2nd largest) and East Baltic

The Eastern (or Alpine) race group makes up 20% of Germans, second only to the Nordic, but most unlike the Nordic. His average height is only 1.63 meters, is more thick-set, compact and clumsy. He reaches sexual maturity early and also reaches old age earlier. His skull is short, wide-faced and rounded, the nose is set lower, the skin more yellowish, not as delicate as the Nordic's. The hair is thicker and tighter, brown to black; eyes brown. In spiritual attitude, the Eastern men are courageous but not rash and bold. They are unwarlike, more inclined to craftiness. Gunther says they make compliant and submissive subjects, never the leaders.

Finally, the East Baltic type, making up about 8%, is on average only 1.64 meters tall but large boned, with great shoulder breadth, and is more energetic than the Eastern man. He seems to mature rather late but still begins to age early. His skull is short and wide-faced, it is however bonier and more angular than the Easterner. The nose is set low and is rather broad. The skin is light, with a grey-yellow tinge. The hair is thick and coarse, blonde; the eyes can be grey, blue-grey to water blue. These men are not leaders by nature, but need leadership. They are cautious, seldom resolute for lack of real power of decision in conflicts. Creatively, they are best in the field of music.

In summation, the Nordic is the most widely represented “race” in Germany. But this is not to say that half of our people are pure Nordic. All the above mentioned “races” appear in mixtures in all parts of our fatherland. “The circumstance, however, that the great part of our people is of Nordic descent justifies us in taking a Nordic standpoint when evaluating character and spirit, bodily structure and physical beauty. It also gives us the right to shape our legislation and to fashion our state according to the outlook on life of the Nordic man.”

My comment

I note that there is no mention of 'supremacy,' of 'overman' or 'underman' or 'superman.' It is all written in a modest, reality-based style. We do find the standard of leadership being foremost in consideration of value, which is understandable since the main purpose of the Hitler Youth was to prepare leaders for the future Reich.

There is full acknowledgement that these six racial types are intermixed in the German population--thus there is no status attached to one type of German over another, one locale over another. Loyalty and leadership appear to be given the most attention, along with creativity. Wherever those qualities appear in the youth, both male and female, they are given opportunities for further development through responsibility. Nothing could be more fair, populist and productive of success.

Could we use some of that today?


An interesting article.

A fair assessment given the zeitgeist of the times, I should write one up on the representation of the White Man in North America!!  What a dogs breakfast that would make...Just think, after accounting for smatterings of "..Native.." ,  African, Latino, and all the other European races from the Mediteranian to the North Atlantic, not to mention the Asiatic contributions..., bound together by a dominant White genome.., you'd have a regular Doctorate Thesis on your hands!!! 

Do it! I will publish it.

...Regarding his feelings about the good-natured Germans being easily led astray by certain foreign elements?
My family is from Westphalia, Han's book does a pretty good job of describing us physically, intellectually and emotionally, IMHO.

I identified with the Phalic German too! And Hans does link it to Swabia, from whence my ancestors came. Not that we're pure types;  from this I can identify with Nordic, Phalic, Eastern (Alpine), and Dinaric. My father definitely Nordic, my mother's side with a lot of Eastern but with Nordic looks popping out in some family members. I do think the Phalic sounds like the best of all, but as you say, maybe too cordial for our own good, considering the liberal politics in both Westphalia and the Stuttgart area. Thanks for pointing that out.

Yes, likewise - I did identity with some of the statements about hair colour and texture.  As a side note,  when I was younger, I was often told I looked like the Schumacher brothers (of F1 racing) - then I looked them up, they come from Westphalia.  Go figure!
I am keen to find that exact quote from AH - what was it again, do you recall?  Something like "he felt his germans were to trusting of..." ...?  I'll have to keep searching, but it seems like google's search result on this "senstive" topic are not what they used to be.
BTW, I sent you a couple of e-mails recently, to the account you used last time to write to me.  I hope you don't mind.  Just some musings on the current state of affairs...

These passages from MK are close, but not it:
"I say this because, unfortunately, scarcely any other people in the world has ever fallen a prey to this nonsensical and illogical idea to the same degree as our own."
"Scarcely any other people is made to study as much history as the Germans, and scarcely any other people makes such bad use of its historical knowledge."
Do you have any further details? "he felt his germans were to trusting of..." sounds like it comes from a memoir or historian.

Hi Janus,

Thanks for looking for this quote for P-K. I haven't even tried, but if anyone could find it, it would be you. Hitler often spoke with chagrin of this particular weakness in the German people, didn't he. We're still speaking of it today; it hasn't changed. It would be good to pinpoint it a little better. It fits well with the topic of the racial character qualities being discussed in the Hitler Youth Handbook that I'm posting now. What is this particular trait connected to?

Hi Carolyn,
Apologies for the delay in responding. Regrettably my search for Germans being too trusting towards foreign help has turned up nothing exact so far. I need further details from P K. I haven't checked Rudolf Hess's testimony or the memoirs of Hermann Giesler and Otto Wagener yet.
It's certain that Hitler viewed Germans this way. I suppose this September 10, 1943 excerpt from Goebbels' Diaries would be a good place to start from: "Once again our old German inheritance, our sentimentality, has had evil consequences when applied to politics." The key search term here being "sentimental".
I concur that it'd be ideal to track it down, and while we're at it, how about some of his maxims? He claimed that "god loves those who demands the impossible" (which I used as a motto for my site) was German in origin. Definitely not Greek. The closest I've come to tracking it down is in Moltke.

What is this particular trait connected to?

That's a good question, I'm not so sure myself. However, I did stumble across a quote from OW which said that Germanic/Roman mixtures had "the disadvantage of being unstable".
It reminded me of Table Talk entry June 24, 1943 which alludes to Beethoven being of the Alpine race. Also: "The inspiration is of Slavonic origin, the art of composition is of Germanic."
His claim that the British never had a great composer like Beethoven (due to them being purely Germanic) occurs in both a November 8, 1939 speech and Table Talk, has become one of my preferred starting arguments when arguing for Table Talk reliability.
We can perhaps descry from the British characteristics a glimpse of what the original Germans were like.
"The Germans, too, once possessed that sense of insular security which is such a source of strength to the British... It was the Peace of Westphalia which was the foundation of the permanent weakness of modern Germany." (Table Talk, August 26, 1942)

I have written to P-K and asked him to read your comments. He has a busy life and doesn't actually get back here - doesn't spend as much time on the Internet as we do, haha. But I don't think he can be any help from what he said to me previously -- he just remembers the gist of it but can't remember where it came from. I agree with you that Hitler did see the Germans this way, but he also saw them as the best, most reliable Europeans, that he could count on. So he wasn't all negative, just would have liked a more militant people (he thinks, maybe he really wouldn't have liked it if he had it!).

I like the Goebbels' diary quote you found and think that really exemplifies the affectionate but baneful attitude of the "Nazis" toward that German soft-heartedness that could show up at all the wrong times!! People who believe that Germans are sadistic and cold could not be more deluded. What Germans have is a devotion to duty that keeps them disciplined and following the rules, which any leader would appreciate. Germans are very civilized and certainly don't enjoy being mean.

I'm quite sure there is nothing like what we're looking for in Giesler's memoir. The best place to find it would be Table Talk, and after that Mein Kampf. It probably wasn't said just the way P-K remembers it either.

Your further remarks about where this "weakness" came from are interesting. It had never occured to me that the English were more German than the Germans! But didn't the Norman invaders mix with the native Britons (maybe Celts?) to form the English, so would not be pure Germanic?

I'll have to look into the Peace of Westphalia again, with this in mind. Thanks.

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