Photo of the Day

Hitler Youth members perform the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin.

Hitler Youth members perform the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin.

The Hitler Youth

The Hitler Youth was a logical extension of Hitler?s belief that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. The Hitler Youth was seen as being as important to a child as school was. In the early years of the Nazi government, Hitler had made it clear as to what he expected German children to be like:

?The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp?s steel.?

Nazi education schemes part fitted in with this but Hitler wanted to occupy the minds of the young in Nazi Germany even more.

As Russian soldiers closed in on Berlin during the waning days of World War II, Margarete Koehn, a ticket seller at one of Berlin?s train stations, left her position. She?then set off to walk the roughly ten miles back to her parents? home in the village of Luebars.

As she walked, evidence of the city?s collapse surrounded her. Upon arriving home, she told her family that she saw ?trucks burning, barricades, people not allowed into cellars, and a boy shot by the SS.? The boy, she told her adolescent daughter, ?couldn?t have been more than fourteen.? He had been shot for defecting his military post.

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Photo Of The Day

Girls dancing at the rally of Greater Germany in 1938.

Girls dancing at the rally of Greater Germany in 1938.

German League of Girls

With origins in the 1920s, the Bund Deutscher M?del was the only female youth organization within Nazi Germany. Against a racial ?defilement? and pro-rebelling against parents should they compel female youth to take part in events that involved Jewish people, the M?del formed as a way to harvest good German mothers for the one thousand-year Reich. Members contributed to the Nazi war effort by collecting money, goods and clothing for Nazi charitable donations. The female arm of the Nazi movement was severed in 1945 at the hands of the Allied Control Council.

In 1930 the Bund Deutscher M?del (German League of Girls) was formed as the female branch of the Hitler Youth movement. It was set up under the direction of Hitler Youth leader, Baldur von Schirach. There were two general age groups: the Jungm?del, from ten to fourteen years of age, and older girls from fifteen to twenty-one years of age. All girls in the BDM were constantly reminded that the great task of their schooling was to prepare them to be “carriers of the… Nazi world view”.

“The leadership immediately set about organizing youth into a coherent body of loyal supporters. Under Baldur von Schirach, himself only twenty-five at the time, the organization was to net all young people from ages ten to eighteen to be schooled in Nazi ideology and trained to be the future valuable members of the Reich. From the start, the Nazis pitched their appeal as the party of youth, building a New Germany…. Hitler intended to inspire youth with a mission, appealing to their idealism and hope.? Schirach promoted the idea of the German Girls’ League as “youth leading youth.? In fact, its leaders were part of “an enormous bureaucratised enterprise, rather than representative of an autonomous youth culture.”

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