Church Wedding of an SS Member in Uniform (1934)
Most high-ranking representatives of the Nazi regime were well aware that attacks on deeply rooted religious traditions and church institutions were associated with grave dangers. As with other radical social plans, the Nazis postponed the complete “coordination” [Gleichschaltung] of ecclesiastical life, or even its total elimination, until after the end of the war. In the meantime, the regime more or less tolerated a combination of old and new rituals, ceremonies, and symbols. Himmler, however, was a particularly vehement enemy of the church and encouraged the members of his SS to make a clear break with it. He hoped that all SS members and their families would leave the church and that, when the time came, they would opt for a “marriage consecration” [Eheweihe] instead of a church wedding. The “marriage consecration” was one of many pseudo-Germanic rituals that Himmler wanted to see in place of church rituals. The image featured below depicts a traditional church wedding, albeit with Nazi touches.