CNN reported recently that Germans by and large are very comfortable in their skin. In fact the report suggests that even they readily seek out opportunities for clothes fre vacations or holidays. Something that survived the Nazi WWII regime.
Divided by the Iron Curtain, united by nudity
Germany’s passion for clotheslessness finds its origins in late-19th-century health drives when stripping off was seen as part of a route to fitness and sunbathing a possible cure for TB and rheumatism.
In 1920, while the rest of Europe was still getting feverish over the sight an exposed ankle, Germany established its first nude beach on the island of Sylt.
Barely a decade later, the Berlin School of Nudism, founded to encourage mixed sex open-air exercises, hosted the first international nudity congress.
The Nazi era brought mixed fortunes for nudism, its ongoing popularity tempered by a moral clampdown.
Laws passed in 1933 limited mixed-sex nudism as “a reaction to the increased immorality of the Weimar state.”
More restrictions followed amid claims the scene was a “breeding ground for Marxists and homosexuals.”
Nevertheless, it remained popular, enjoying support among members of the paramilitary SS.
Rules were softened in 1942 but still subject to Nazi prejudices that predictably focused on Jews and other “undesirables.”
But war didn’t dampen Germany’s enthusiasm for stripping off, even when the country was divided by the Iron Curtain.
After the war, nudism was equally popular in both German states.
Even as the country was being split asunder in 1949, some in the West were busy founding the Association for Free Body Culture — an organization that today is part of the German Olympic Sport Federation and the largest member of the International Naturist Federation.
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