650 FAMILY TREES quite unaware until I became Reich Chancellor. I am a completely non-family man with no sense of the clan spirit; I belong solely to the community of my nation. The Baits are wont to gauge the intelligence of everyone with whom they come in contact by the yardstick of his being the nephew of Count This or Princess That. I, on the other hand, have to think twice before I can remember my cousins or my aunts; to me the whole thing is uninteresting and futile. One of our Party members was most anxious to show me the results of the laborious investigations he had made into the history of his own family. I cut him very short. "Pfeffer," I said, "I am just not interested. All that sort of stuff is a matter of pure chance; some families keep family records, others do not." Pfeffer was shocked at this lack of appreciation; and there are people who spend three-quarters of their lives in research of this kind. Pfeffer was, however, most insistent in his desire to show me that his wife, at least, was a descendant of Charlemagne. "That," I retorted, "must have been the result of a slip! a. faux-pas which can be traced back to Napoleon would be splendid; but of anything else, the less said the better!" Really, you know, it is only the women who transgress who deserve any praise; for many a great and ancient family owes its survival to the tender peccadillo of a woman ! The original slip is, of course, decently disregarded, particularly as its motive was not to infuse new blood, but was usually the result of an animal attraction for some virile being, who, quite incidentally, became the instrument for restoring new health into the veins of a degenerating family. Think what would have happened to the German Princes if little things like this had not happened ! Sauckel told me a very curious fact. All the girls whom we bring back from the Eastern territories are medically examined ; and 25 per cent of them are found to be virgins. That couldn't happen in Upper Bavaria! Contrary to popular belief, it is wrong to suppose that virginity is a particularly desirable quality; one cannot help suspecting that those who have been spared have nothing particular to offer ! And what is popularly said on the subject of Christian virgins I hesitate to repeat. When in the marriage ceremony the priest mentions virginity and the holy bond of matrimony, one always sees some of the lads grin
TRIAL MARRIAGES 65! and nudge each other; quite a number of them probably know this "Christian virgin" inside out! In point of fact there is no great harm in this, and it is explained by the rural custom of matrimonial trial. The rural districts are so poor that the hiring of any servants is out of the question and if there are no children, disaster overtakes them; from the age of twelve or thirteen the boys have to work all day. And so. the custom of trial has sprung up. It is only when a lad prolongs the period of trial too long that he is looked upon askance, and is expected to marry the girl. Generally speaking, one must admit that there is no more primitive instinct than love; the unfortunate thing is that the results of these customs are not outstandingly satisfactory. It is in the small towns that one finds the best blood, for it is there that people lead the healthiest lives. In the country, the peasants are bowed down with work and burdened with a hygienic system that is bad in every way. But at least in the country they have a breath of fresh air; and that blows when the girls of the Labour Service (Arbeitsdienst), clad lightly in their sports costumes, descend on the farms as voluntary workers. All this to the great indignation of the gentlemen of the Cloth. Formerly, the country girls, and particularly the more well-to-do among them, wore at least six petticoats—the more the better—as a sign of a girl of substance. Now there has been a complete transformation, and a healthy wave has swept over the whole countryside. Munich is a particularly tolerant town in this respect. When I arrived there from Vienna, I was astonished to see officers in shorts taking part in a relay race. Such a thing would never have been tolerated in Vienna. Incidentally, I have heard of a priest in Bavaria being reproached for having had an affair with his serving-maid. On the contrary, the whole community hugs itself with glee. "He's a young lad, our chaplain is," they chortle; "you can't expect him to sweat it all out of himself by means of his learning alone"! And we should make a great mistake, politically, if we use these normal liaisons between priest and serving-wench as a weapon against them. The people see nothing wrong in it—quite the contrary!