Hitler Youth

 This four-part video series shows how young people of Germany were subjected to Nazi propaganda at an early age and became completely subjugated to Nazi ways. This session on national education covers only the last half of the hour."

See also The Nazi Model For Outcome-Based Education




During the week of 8/19/2001 the History channel aired 5 episodes of a series entitled Hitlerís children or Hitlerís Youth. Here are some excerpts from Wednesday night's feature:

Mass youth rally in stadium: "My comrades. At your command, my Fuehrer, here stands a young generation which knows no classes and no or castes."

Schlomp Perul: "This glasshildon, the dispossession of the German boy, the destruction of his individuality, was Schirach's program and he enforced it." ...

Hans-Jocken Vogen, ex-mayor of Munich: "The word voluntary means something different to me, and there was no real possibility -- at least in my circumstances -- of not joining the Hitler youth or Young Folk, if you didn't want to be a real outsider at school too."

Wolfgang Wustefeld, Catholic Youth worker: "The school got a letter from the Hitler Youth tribunal saying I was to be expelled. I didn't deserve to go to a grammar school because I hadn't joined the Hitler Youth. The headmaster then told my parents they had to take me out of school that very day."

Moderator: "Any group which dared to meet outside the state youth organization, like this youthly group in the mid-1930s, ran into trouble with the Gestapo or the Hitler Youth security patrols." ...

Wolfgang Wustefeld:  "Our worst experience came one Sunday when we were returning from an excursion. The Hitler Youth were waiting on the bridge over the Oder. They beat us up and pushed the leader of our small group, 19-year-old Conrad Wight, off the bridge."

Willi Demf, born 1920: "My age group was pressured into joining although it was allegedly voluntary. But later on it was compulsory. No one could say no. The Hitler Youth was in charge of everything to do with young people."

Moderator: (youth band playing, boys painting, fixing cars) "The Hitler Youth monopolized every activity that took place outside home and school."

Moderator: "And so with all their might, they fought, wrestled and ran until it hurt." (film clips of boys racing, jumping, wrestling...)

Gunther Damaske: "If you couldn't jump more than 5 meters, you were a loser. You were rejected and ridiculed."...

Rolf Janche: "You had to be good at something. Everyone could be good at something. Develop a positive self-image and feel important." (film clips of boys printing, sawing wood, hammering, building together...)

Moderator: "After a confidence boost, boys were more likely to join in -- or so the regime believed. Elite sports carnivals, competitions for faithful apprentices throughout the Reich -- accompanied with some bold words." Spoken in next film clip:

Another mass gathering of youth: "At the National Vocational Competition, an entire generation of German youth had been committed to the principle of achievement."

Edi Sers: "You got a certificate that you had passed with a certain mark. Naturally it was an honor."

Moderator: "An ingenious system of praise and censure."

Moderator: "From the youngest recruit right up to the Reich youth leader, the basic law of the Nazi Reich applied: One commands, the rest follow."

Rolf Janche: "...The attraction was that everyone in Germany could rise into a position of command over someone, who in their turn commanded someone else. Nearly everyone had a position, and young people had them too."

Moderator:  "The color of their (armguard?) showed who commanded whom."

Wilifried Gaden: "...You were giving the order. That made you feel pretty good about yourself." ...

Moderator:  "One called the tune and the others had to follow."

No name: "If I gave an order, it would be carried out.... If I gave them marching orders, they marched. It was a matter of course. They did it without questioning the Hitler Youth -- as they did later in the army."

Hitler:  "Nothing is possible unless one will commands - starting at the top and ending at the very bottom."

Karl-Heinz Janssen: "Orders were followed blindly. You didn't question them...."

Film clip from "We want the Sea," Hitler Youth film, 1943. A Hitler Youth member in uniform is corrected by an controlling officer:

"Permission to cease participation in the course, Sir.

"You wanted to be an officer. Now three days is too much!

"Sir, I don't think I can do everything asked of me

"Listen, we decide, not you whether you make it or not. Pull yourself together. Dismissed!"

Karl-Heinz Janssen: "The individual didn't count. ... They were a sworn fraternity."

Moderator: "In step with the whole column, it was hard to follow the beat of your own conscience. The words these youngsters bellowed were not of their own devising. Week after week the Nazi catechism was drilled into them at the regular Hitler Youth meetings, as instructed."

Hans Muller: "...And always telling us things in small doses. One small dose at the time, and then a bit more, so we didn't notice what they were doing to us."

Moderator: "The helpless victims of a demonic and perverted world view. Those who had defamed the Nazi training manual as incendiary, in November 1938, became themselves the victims of a flare-up of state power -- in full public view."

Film clip of the Reichstadt burning.

Heinrich King: "I went to see where the fire was burning. It was next to our school. I wondered why they only put out the house fires next door, and not the real fire -- until a Hitler Youth friend said, 'We lit that. Weren't you there this morning when we smashed the Jews' shop windows?' Then I saw storm troopers and Hitler Youth members bringing out Torah scrolls and cheering 'Thrown them into the fire.' ...

Moderator: "Doubts fade when spine tingling rituals celebrate unanimity. In the torch light, there was an appeal not to reason, but to readiness for self-sacrifice. Burnt into children's souls, blind faith, sacrifice, self-denial."

Film clip of a lines of boys with torches under pictures of Hitler and flags with swastika: "Adolf Hitler, we are ready as always to fight for you to the end!"  

Hans Muller: "Unconditional faith that the Fuehrer would do things right. He was represented in those days to us as God, well akin to God. And that's how we saw him."

Film clip of elementary age children singing to a cheerful marching tune:

"Heavenly grace gave us the Fuehrer

We promise Hitler loyalty to the end..."

No name: "He was our idol; he was a demi-god. I'll tell you quite honestly: If someone had tried to shoot Hitler, then I would have leapt forward and died for him. And nowadays I know it was madness."

Moderator: "There was a method to the madness. Even a pseudo religion needs martyrs. The tragic fate of the Hitler Youth member,  Herbert Norko's, was declared an heroic death."

Film clip of young boy (12 years old?) from the film "Hitler Youth, Quex." The boy is lying lifeless in the street. Uniformed men run toward him and lift his head gently. The dying boy smiles faintly and whispers his last words: "The flag is fluttering."

Moderator: "Also using the seductive power of the silver screen. In the film, Norkos becomes the hero quex, virtually every Hitler youth saw it, an appalling screen epic glorifying the act of sacrifice."

Moderator: Children respond readily to such appeals. These children did not realize that the seeds of their training would bear fruit on other fields as well. What first appeared to be a boys adventure soon led in one direction only. The skills the Hitler Youth learned equipped them for a predetermined goal:

No name: The Fuhrer's goal was to train youth as soldiers. Young men the world would fear. That's what he once said. And the world did fear them.

Moderator: "They fought Hitler's war. The seeds were bearing fruit. The storm of devastation was elevated to a crusade. The victory swept those who were still too young for the battlefield into the vortex." ...

Klaus Nanuelshagen:  We were eager to become real soldiers and go to real war. Although naturally we had no idea how cruel this war would become."

Film clip of boys and young men fighting, wounded, struggling, bleeding, blinded, dying, grieving and disillusioned. Meanwhile a cheerful youth choir sing these words to the throbbing sounds marching melody:

"The boys bear aloft the swaying banners

The flags of the new era

They carry them proudly to victory,

No path is too steep or too far."

Conclusion: "Put on trial by the allies, Hitler Youth leader Baldur Von Schirach expressed regret for founding the organization. 'It is my guilt,' he said, 'that I educated German youth for a man who committed murders by the millions.  Schirach was convicted of crimes against humanity, but in light of his contrition, he was given 20 years in prison. while 11 of his fellow Nazi officers were sentenced to hang."   

"Tomorrow Hitler Youth continues as his young followers are sent into the heat of battle. For the History Channel, I'm Roger Mudd."

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