Any information on Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) please?

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Bon2709
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Any information on Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) please?

Post by Bon2709 » 29 Jun 2002 18:49

I have an armband used by the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), the youth organisation in the Third Reich.

I know next to nothing about the Hitler Youth organisation but would like to know more about their participation during WW2, what they were actually used for during the war and any other relevant information if possible.

If someone can give me any information regarding the Hitlerjugend it will be much appreciated.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 29 Jun 2002 18:53

The establishment of Jugendbund der NSDAP was announced on 8 Mar 1922 in the Völkischer Beobachter and the inaugural meeting was held 13 May. This organisation was not the only nazi youth organisation in Germany, but it was the only one that was affiliated with the NSDAP. The leader of the Jugendbund was Adolf Lenk and he answered to the Oberster SA-führer, head of the SA. The Jugendbund was divided into the Jungmannschaften (boys 14-16 years old) and the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler (16-18 years old).

The first public appearance of the Jugendbund was in the "battle of Coburg" 14-15 Oct 1922, when elements of it took part along with some 800 SA-members. In 1923 the Jugendbund held its first national congress, having expanded beyond the boundaries of Bavaria.
It was meant to take part in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, but did not, however it was banned following the failure of the Putsch along with the rest of the NSDAP.

During the time the NSDAP was outlawed, Lenk made two attempts to resurrect the Jugendbund, first as the Vaterländische Jugendverband Grossdeutschlands and later as the Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung (GDJB), but both attempts ended with his arrest.
Kurt Gruber, who had been leader of the Jugendbund in Saxony also made an attempt to resurrect it, he too used the name Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung (GDJB). His attempt was more successful both because the authorities in Saxony did not ban his GDJB and he also cooperated with other organisations of the far right. His GDJB was renamed Frontjugend when it became with youth branch of the Frontbann (a name used by the SA), but later changed its name back to GDJB.
Another large nazi youth organisation during this time was the Schilljugend, formed by Gerhard Rossbach in Austria and led in Germany by SA-Gruppenführer Edmund Heines.
When Hitler was released he did not immediately decide on who should lead the new official youth movement of the NSDAP, and soon Lenk decided to leave the competion and following the refusal of Rossbach to accept Hitler as the leader, the task was handed to Gruber.

The GDJB was rechristed the Hitler Jugend, Bund Deutscher Arbeiterjugend (HJ) and made the official youth movement during the Reichparteitag held at Weimar 3-4 July 1926. Gruber was made Reichsführer der HJ but did not move his headquarters to Munch and chose to keep it at Plauen. The HJ was once again a part of the SA and also used the SA uniform, which caused some members to be killed because they were mistaken for SA soldiers. This prompted the design of a unique HJ-uniform.
The HJ did not increase its membership by more than a few hundred during the next few years and this did of course not please Hitler. He ordered the HJ headquarters to be moved to Munich in 1931 and Gruber was soon forced to leave his post. The new post Reichsjugendführer was created to head the youth movements of the NSDAP (HJ, National-Sozialistische Schülerbund (NSS), National-Sozialistische deutsche Studentenbund (NSDSt.B)) and Baldur von Schirach was appointed to the post. He also was head of the NSDSt.B and Adrian von Renteln was made head of the HJ and NSS.

A section for boys 10-14 years old was formed Dec 1928 in Plauen under the name Deutsch Knabenschaft but the name was changed to Deutsche Jungvolk in der HJ 27 Mar 1931 when it was formally made a subsection of the HJ.

At the same time it was decided that a section for girls over the age of 14, Schwesternschaft der HJ, would be founded it was not made official until July 1929. It was renamed Bund deutscher Mädel (BDM) July 1930 and a section of girls 10-14 years old, Jungmädelgruppe (JM), was founded Apr 1931. An equivalent of the NSS for girls, the National-Sozialistische Schülerinnenbund (NSSi) also existed but it was merged with the BDM July 1932.

von Renteln resigned in 1932, having done much to rid the HJ of many incompetent or otherwise unsuitable leaders (most of their replacements coming from the middle- and upper-class dominated NSS and NSDStB), and von Schirach took over his posts too (the NSS was soon merged with the HJ).
The HJ was made independent from the SA 13 May 1932, not least to prevent it from being banned along with the SA by the Weimar authorities, however it was banned along with its parent organisation 13 Apr - 17 June 1932.

The first national HJ rally was held in 1928 with 600 boys present and a year later 2.500 boys took part in the party rally in Nürnberg. A National Youth Day was held in Potsdam Oct 1932 following the success of the NSDAP in the elections in July when it became the largest single party, and some 100.000 youths attended the rally.

After Hitler came to power the enrolment into the HJ increased dramatically and some of the other right-wing youth organisations decided to merge with the HJ, first the Scharnhost Jugend but soon several others, until by the end of 1933 all such groups were made part of the HJ, with the exeption of Bund der Artamenen, that became Landjahr der HJ in 1934.
Vice Admiral Adolf Trotha set up an alternative youth movement to the HJ, the Grossdeutsche Bund, but this was of course not tolerated and it was force to disband in May 1933. Trotha was awarded the ceremonial post of Honorary Commander-in-Chief of the Marine HJ.

1 Dec 1936 Jugenddienstpflicht was decreed and all youths had to join the HJ, but it was not until 25 Mar 1939 that HJ service was made compulsory (only for 17 year old boys) and until 12 Sep 1941 that is was made compulsory for boys and girls from the age of 10.

Following the outbreak of war a large number of HJ members volunteered to do the work of men that now were at the front, however as the war progressed the volunteers were not enough and almost all youth were forced to take part. von Schirach was replaced by Artur Axmann who had fought in Poland and France as well as being the head of the HJ Social Office. He later returned to the army to take part in the invasion of Russia where he remained until he lost his right arm below the elbow in Dec 1941.
The role of the HJ in the war was not only doing the civilian work of the men of the front, but soon they also began serving as flak-helpers before being sent to the front during the final part of the war.

(from this very site)

/Marcus

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Post by Pzkpfw6/E » 29 Jun 2002 22:08

I might add most of original core troops of the 12th SS Panzer Division - Hitler Jugend, or "Baby Division" as it was known were from the HJ.

The cadre from the 1st SS PD isn't meant to be included in with my interpretation of "core troops."

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Post by Ken Jasper » 29 Jun 2002 22:21

If you wish to delve more into the Hitler Youth, I highly recommend the three volume series by Philip Baker entitled "Youth led by Youth." The first volume was published in 1989. The publisher is Vilmor Publications, Morton Villa Farm, Mission Springs, Doncaster DN10 6E6, telephone: 0302 770295.

Of all of the works on the HJ, I have found this one to be the best.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 30 Jun 2002 11:15

Ken,

Are those superior to the ones by John R Angolia and David Littlejohn?

/Marcus

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Post by Ken Jasper » 30 Jun 2002 14:46

Marcus,

I believe they are from the standpoint that Baker covers far more esoteric aspects than either of the orher two authors. For example, he is the only author that I know who shows photos of the short-lived "old fighter" chevron worn by the Hitler Youth before the introduction of the traditions stripe. He has excellent color plates and has first hand accounts from some former HJ members. He has many more period photos than the other authors. A number of these show uniform and insignia anomolies that would probably be branded as fakes or fantasies by "experts" today.

Best,
Ken

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 30 Jun 2002 14:53

Ken,

Thanks, I will have to try and get my hands on those books too.

/Marcus

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Post by Ken Jasper » 30 Jun 2002 14:58

Marcus,

You will not be disappointed. I refer to mine at least weekly.

Ken

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Recommendations...Ken

Post by Chris Goodall » 01 Jul 2002 04:49

Ken,

i was thinking about buying the two-vol Angolia books. I use Littlejohns frequently, but feel the need for more depth. Would you steer me in the direction of the Baker trilogy rather than Angolia's publications?

regards,
Chris.
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Post by Ken Jasper » 01 Jul 2002 12:12

Chris,

It really depends on what you want. The Angolia books have more technical information on insignia and such along with larger photos of tinnies, awards, etc. While Baker also covers these, he has more in depth history with first-hand accounts of life in the HJ. I always look for period photos to determine exactly how uniforms were worn, what insigina was worn and how, etc. In this regard, Baker's books are better. I should note that I have Angolia's, David Littlejohn's, and Koch's books as well as half a dozen lesser known works including both by Alphons Heck which are excellent personal histories of a HJ leader. While I'm on the subject of personal accounts, Jurgen Herbst's "Requiem for a German Past, a Boyhood Among the Nazis" is also well worth having.

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HJ Books

Post by Chris Goodall » 08 Jul 2002 22:50

Ken,

Sorry for not getting back sooner. Thanks for the advice. I'll be going for the Baker books.

I too have enjoyed Heck's publications. I just the other day picked up Herbst's book and am looking forward to reading it. May I recommend a couple of books I found most useful.

I've just finished Up a MA thesis on the ideological indoctrination of the HJ and concentrated on the tenure of Artur Axmann. Reinhold Kerstan's Blood and Honor depict a child from a strict religious background and his inner turmoil with Hitler and God. Melita Maschmann's Account Rendered. Maschmann was a BDM Press Officer from 42-45 and had much contact with Axmann. She remained hardened until the 1960s. The last book's author provided much asistance in quite a few interviews. Armin Lehmann's Hitler's Last Courier tells of Lehmann's days as Axmann's courier to the fuhrer bunker in the last weeks of the war. I'd put it up there with Heck's book. Axmann was one of the kids given an Iron Cross at the wars end. I'm sure you've seen the newsreel footage of a stooping, aged Hitler.

Hope these are of some help.

regards,
Chris.
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Post by Ken Jasper » 09 Jul 2002 13:16

Chris,

Thank you for the recommendations. I will look for those books. Two others that I found interesting are:

"Hitler Youth, The Hitlerjugend in War and Peace 1933-1945" by Brenda Ralph Lewis and

"In a Raging Inferno, Combat Units of the Hitler Youth 1944-45" by Hans Holztraeger

Again both have a lot of period photos that are not found in other works and the latter goes into considerable detail of battles in which HJ units were involved.

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Post by Chris Goodall » 09 Jul 2002 16:55

Ken,

Raging Inferno is another book on my wish list, though I am more interested in the social aspects of the HJ rather than the nuts and bolts aspect. I'm sure it would be a worthy addition to my collection.

Brenda Ralph Lewis' book is actually quite good. I was concerned that it was a barnes-and-noble attempt at a mass production book that was relatively poorly researched or simply lifted from other established sources. I was proven wrong. A very useful publication.

Chris
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Ken Jasper
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Post by Ken Jasper » 09 Jul 2002 21:29

Chris,

Have you ever seen the video of "Hitler Junge - Quex?" The version I have was produced just after the war to try to explain to U.S. Forces in the Occupation Army what the HJ was all about and how it affected the German Youth. The scenes in the film are interspersed with commentary in English explaining what is happening in the film. At the beginning is a short film produced by the Army showing scenes from life in the HJ, many of which I had never seen before I bought the video.

I also have an original copy of the book which bears an inscription showing that it was a 1935 Christmas present to a HJ member from his Aunt.

I had the same reservations about Lewis's book, but took a chance and was not disappointed. A really basic HJ primer which actually has some good points is:

"Life in the Hitler Youth" by Jennifer Keeley. Again it has some great period photos and being an insignia collector, I am always looking for those.

Best, Ken

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Post by Chris Goodall » 11 Jul 2002 22:11

Ken,

Thanks again for the recommendations. I've been meaning to see "Quex" for quite some time.

Talking of primers, have you ever read The Nazi Primer? Its a guidebook made circa 1941 and was to be used by those who compiled textbooks for kids aged 10 and above. It's an interesting insight into the banality of Nazi thinking regarding world view, genetics, superiority, etc. A riveting read, and very worthy of scholarly investigation.

Cheers,
Chris
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