Hitler Youth members

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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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