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"The Strict Husband": Letters from Readers of Neues Deutschland (November 14, 1959)

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The “Insult”

But comrade S. wouldn’t acknowledge anything, and so I made it very clear to him that I considered him a backward, egotistical man and that I would ask for something else from a state functionary, a model. Well, I had gone too far. The young woman had to immediately quit her job on orders from her strict husband, and I had to cut short my vacation after three days. The school secretary, Mrs. F., told me: “Mrs. S. had to quit because you told her husband that he could help his wife out a little at home. Mr. S. felt that was a grave insult.”

Now I ask myself: Is it an insult for a man to lend a hand in the household? If so, we women suffer this “insult” every day. Alas, for the ridiculous, odd ideas that still cling to so many men and lurk in their heads, even state functionaries. Here, the party spells out in detail in its decrees that we so urgently need workers and why. Here, the party is fighting for full equality for women, the foundation of which is, after all, gainful employment, and it wrestles with all the views that block the path of equality. But our state functionary, member of the party. . .Well, I hardly know what to say.

Just Make Concessions?

And what did the director of the special school, also a comrade, say when he heard about my run-in with the state functionary? My director felt it should have been my task to speak calmly with this gentleman and to mollify him, not to tell him the truth so bluntly. Does that mean we women simply have to make concessions to men in every respect? I just ask myself whether these men even know in what times we are actually living.

Charlotte Täuscher, Torgau, Fischeraue

Source: Neues Deutschland, November 14, 1959; reprinted in Dierk Hoffmann and Michael Schwartz, eds., Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945. Bd. 8: 1949-1961: Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Im Zeichen des Aufbaus des Sozialismus [History of Social Policy in Germany since 1945, Vol. 8: 1949-1961: German Democratic Republic. Under the Sign of the Build Up of Socialism]. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2004, no. 8/205.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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