Succession: What does Kinder Küche Kirche mean?

Cameron Frew
Justin Kirk as Jeryd Mencken in Succession

In Succession Season 4 Episode 9, Jeryd Mencken calls Shiv “Kinder Küche Kirche” – but what does that even mean?

In our review, we wrote: “Another spectacular, unflinching episode as Succession draws to a close, and our excitement for the Battle Roy-al is at an all-time high: who will thrive, and what will be left of them?”

Last week, showrunner Jesse Armstrong course-corrected our sympathies for the Roys with a brutal, thrillingly nasty showcase of how selfish these people really are. Their petty needs for approval and power paved the way for Jeryd Mencken, a fascist provocateur, to win the election.

Episode 9 finds New York and America in a state of growing pandemonium over the new president-elect, with protests on the street campaigning for Daniel Jiménez. Late in the episode, Mencken refers to Shiv as “Kinder Küche Kirche” – so, what does that mean?

What does Kinder Küche Kirche mean in Succession?

Kinder Küche Kirche is a German expression that means “Children, Kitchen, and Church”, and it was used by the German Empire to describe a woman’s role in society.

It’s believed the phrase was first coined by Kaiser Wilhelm II, the final German Emperor and last king of Prussia, although its origins can be tracked back to Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Warner’s 1970 volume of Glossary: A Treasury for the German People, which noted: “Four K’s are requisite of a pious woman, namely, that she keeps regard for church, chamber, kitchen, children.”

Echoing the broad sexist attitudes of the time, it was considered a summation of how a woman should contribute to the community: by raising children, keeping a clean and nourishing home, and going to church.

Under the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), women were given far more freedoms: suffrage, opportunities to pursue higher education, and more relaxed social lives. However, with the rise of the Third Reich, the “Kinder Küche Kirche” philosophy was woven into the Nazi Party’s political propaganda. Women were encouraged to return to being little more than housewives who provide food and children.

Mencken’s far-right views have seen him branded as a Nazi on several occasions throughout Succession. His use of such a notorious phrase when talking to Shiv is two things at once: a joke and another example of him using Hitler’s rhetoric in conversation. It’s unclear if he knows if Shiv is pregnant, but we’d be surprised if he goes all the way with her as Waystar’s US CEO.

Succession Season 4 Episodes 1-9 are streaming on HBO and Sky now. Episode 10 will be available to watch on May 28 in the US and May 29 in the UK. Check out our other coverage below:

Season 4 cast | Season 4 release schedule | Season 4 runtimes | Is Succession based on a real family? | Who will succeed Logan Roy? | What time does Succession drop?Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8

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