NAZIs liked to describe the Hitler Youth as the German Boy Scouts. We also notice other authors making the same observation. In fact there were major differences between the two organizations. Two of the most important was the roles played by parents and the leadership approaches. Parents plyed a central role in Scouting. The Cubs were a home bsed program with mothers as leaers. The scouts involved fathers as Scout leaders. The Hitler Youth in contrast, structly excluded the parents from any involvement in the program. Adult leaders, primarily parents, played a major role in Scouting. In contrast, the boys themselves provided the leadership core of the HJ. The HJ made a major point of this. It fit in to the HJ ethos of evauating youth. German society was very authiative with children often dictated to by theier parents. Many children especially teenagers were taken in by this and it affected the situation in many homes with some parents becoming careful about how they talked around the children. It also affected the parents influence on school work. All this worked toward the NAZI gial of reshaping youth unsullied by the previous generation or German instittions like school and church.
Parents plyed a central role in Scouting. The Cubs were a home bsed program with mothers as leaers. The scouts involved fathers as Scout leaders. The Hitler Youth in contrast, structly excluded the parents from any involvement in the program. Initially when the NAZIs first seized power there was an attempt to if not involve the parents, at least to win over their loyalty. Schirach in severl of his public addresses vurtually pleaded for their support. Units organized parents' meetings. Once the the NAZIs consolidated their controlm over Germany this changed, especially after the First Hitler Youth Law was promulgated, making participation mandatory. By this time, Schirach and the HJ no longer had to court parents. As one author, explains it, "... such endeavours were no lobnger thought to be bnecessary; parents had to accept the Hitler Youth as they accepted the labour service [I think the author means the Reichsarbietsdienst--RAD here] and military conscription. [Koch. p. 170.]
An important part of the Hitler Youth system was authority given to the members. The Hitler Youth made a point that "youth must be led by youth". This was an important part of the Hitler Youth ethos, meant to cultivate the image of unsullied German youth rejecting the failed old leders and their failed policies and principles.
In fact, boys and girls were given leadership positions. The slogan, however, was misleading. he boys were incouraged to question or even reject some authority figures, such as parents or church leaders, which appeled to many boys. They were had, however, to accept NAZI principles without question. Hitler Youth leaders did not represent an autonomous youth culture, but were in effect functionaries of the NAZI Party bureaucracy. hy were tighty regimented by rules and regulations." [Noakes and Pridham, p. 422.]
HJ and BDM youth leaders recieved lanyards (Kordel, Fangschnur) with attached whistles as symbols of their authority. One BDM girl describes a red and white lanyard which was given after a basic leadership course. [Koehn, p. 143] A green lanyard mean that the person was in charge of a organizational group called Fähnlein (little flag) of maybe 100 boys or girls.
Sometimes there were conflicts between the HJ youth leaders and the teachers. We wonder whose idea it was that she should be in the middle of the portrait. She
wears a plaited cord (Kordel, Fangschnur). We reveive different reports about these youth leaders. One German reader reports, "Often these Fähnleinführer (Faenleinfuehrer) were rather
charismatic persons and loved by the younger ones." [Wellershaus] A girl who was at three KLV camps found the BDM youth leaders to be generally demanding little tyrants.
[Koehn, multiple references] The youth leaders could be identified by the different colored lanyards that they were awarded. The lanyards had whistles attached.
The German Kinderlandverschickung (Child Land Dispatch -- KLV) functioned during World War II (1939-1945). The children had to go to rural areas on 'holiday' but really they should be out of the cities and towns that had difficulties feeding them and were being bombed by the Allies. Both schools and the Hitler Jugend were involved in in the KLV. The HJ played the major role. Sometimes there were conflicts between the youth leaders and the teachers as to who was in charge. The HJ youth leaders commonly won out. One reader reports that the HJ was especially important in the KLV organization beginning in 1940. About 2.5 million children were sent to 9,000 camps until end of World War II. I believe in many cases their teachers accompanied them. The camps were, however, run by Hitler Youth leaders. They were not very happy places. Strangely, unlike the extensive discussion of the British evacuation of children (1940-41), the German KLA evacuation and camps are little discussed.
The Hitler Youth strictly separated the youth program by gender. The programs were separate as were the summer camps. We do note BDM youth leaders with KLV boys. We wonder if the BDM helped with the younger KLV campers. A German HBC reader tells us, "Of course not. Maybe she was a nurse or apprentice for nurse training and assisting the nurse at a KLV boys' facility." [Wellershaus]
Hermand, Jost. Als Pimpf in Polen. (Fischer Verlag. Frankfurt a.M. 1994). A Hitler Youth in Poland: The NAZI's Program for Evacuating Children During World War II Margot Bettauer Dembo (Translator).
Koch, H.W. The Hitler Youth: Origins and Development 1922-1945.
Koehn, Ilse. Mischling, Second Degree: My Childhood in NAZI Germany (Puffin Plus: 1981).
Noakes and Pridham
Wellershaus, Aryaman Stefan. e-Mail, August 21, 2002.
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