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Nudism in Nazi Germany: Indecent Behaviour or Physical Culture for the Well-being of the Nation

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Organized social nudism started in Germany in the late nineteenth century. Until the 1930s it developed in many different branches according to the political preferences of the membership and tested the legal boundaries of 'indecent behaviour'. After the Nazis had outlawed many of the nudist organizations for lewdness in early 1933, the fascist, the apolitical and the commercial nudists united under the umbrella of the Nazi sport movement and became legal in late 1933. As a 'sport', with a Nazi MP as a new nudist 'Führer' the nudists improved their national standing. After the SS stood up openly for nudism, the anti-nudist laws no longer applied. This article analyzes the development nationally and shows that locally (in the university town of Göttingen) none of the national shifts made much difference as common sense was stronger than law in this field, even during the Nazi period.
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Keywords: Göttingen; Nazi Germany; Nudism; indecent behaviour; physical culture; well-being

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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