Gusset remission

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Upside down swimming trunks with white gusset
Women in historical swimwear (Berlin Wannsee, 1931)

A second decree on public bathing, which was drawn up by Deputy Reich Commissioner Franz Bracht and issued on September 28, 1932 by the Prussian Ministry of the Interior , was popularly referred to as a gusset decree , which prescribed what clothes were to be worn when bathing. It was so named because it contained the word gusset several times.


In the 1920s, women's swimwear in particular became increasingly scarce. Since conservatives saw this as a danger to public order, the ministry issued the Bathing Police Ordinance of August 18, 1932, Section 1 of which regulates public bathing:

"§ 1. Nude bathing in public or bathing in offensive bathing suits is prohibited.
Bathing is considered public within the meaning of this provision if the bathers are visible from public paths or bodies of water. "

However, since the wording "in offensive bathing suits" chosen in Bracht's decree could be interpreted very differently, the decree failed to achieve its intended goal and a new decree - the police ordinance issued on September 28, 1932 to supplement the bathing police ordinance of August 18, 1932 , the so-called "Gore Decree" - was deemed necessary, detailing how men's and women's swimwear should look. The decree, which came into force on November 1, 1932, changed Section 1 of the Bathing Police Ordinance, which received the following new version:

"§ 1. (1) Nude bathing in public is prohibited.
(2) Women are only allowed to bathe in public if they wear a bathing suit that completely covers the chest and body on the front of the upper body, fits tightly under the arms and has trimmed legs and a gusset. The back of the swimsuit must not extend beyond the lower end of the shoulder blades.
(3) Men are only allowed to bathe in public if they wear at least one swimming trunks with cut legs and a gusset. In so-called family baths, men have to wear a bathing suit.
(4) The above regulations do not apply to bathing in bathing establishments in which men and women bathe separately.
(5) The provisions of Paragraph 2 apply accordingly to women's beach suits. "

At the time, the gusset decree caused great hilarity in the press - it was also referred to as the “worthy” decree in reference to the author - and is still considered a symbol of the inadequate intervention of the state in personal affairs. In the film comedy The detours of beautiful Karl with Heinz Rühmann , made in 1938 in the National Socialist German Reich , the “Zwickelerlass” served as a symbol of petty party politics to make the democracy of the Weimar Republic contemptible.

The gusset decree was only overridden with the police ordinance regulating bathing of July 10, 1942, which also permitted nude bathing, "especially on an area that has been approved for this purpose". In the Federal Republic of Germany, this law was partially repealed by state laws, such as the Bavarian Bathing Ordinance of April 11, 1947 or the Police Ordinance on Bathing in the Saarland of January 7, 1977.

In the GDR , the police ordinance of 1942 was repealed by the ordinance regulating the open-air swimming pool in the GDR of May 18, 1956. This order of the Interior Minister, which came into force on June 6, 1956, also regulated nude bathing in Section 1:

"§ 1 (1) Bathing without swimwear (water, air and sunbathing) in places to which everyone has access is only permitted if these places are expressly approved for this by the responsible local councils and marked accordingly, or that Bathing without swimwear cannot be seen by bystanders under the given circumstances.
(2) This provision does not apply to children under 10 years of age.
(3) Bathers must refrain from any behavior that is likely to cause public nuisance. "


  • Adelheid von Saldern : The Zwickel Decree of 1932 or the “Nudity of the German Soul”. In: Belinda Joy Davis, Thomas Lindenberger, Michael Wildt (eds.): Everyday life, experience, obstinacy . Historical-anthropological explorations. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York, NY 2008, pp. 169–187, ISBN 978-3-593-38698-0 (German / English).

Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Prussian Law Collection No. 46, issued on August 22, 1932, p. 280
  2. a b Prussian Law Collection No. 56, issued on September 30, 1932, p. 324
  3. RGBl. I No. 77 of July 15, 1942, p. 461
  4. Saarland Official Gazette, p. 162 (repealed by Act No. 1408 for the Adaptation and Adjustment of State Law (6. RBG) of June 24, 1998, Saarland Official Gazette, p. 518)
  5. a b Journal of Laws I No. 50 of June 6, 1956, p. 433