NAZI-era Schoolwear: Chronological Trends

Figure 1.--Here we see a primary school class in 1940. They look like first year students. Note the many different styles of clothing that they are wearing. Wold war II began in 1939, but the War went so well for Germany at first that the home front was not much affected.

The NAZIs did not significantly change the structure of German education durng their 12-years of power in Germay. The educational system remained basically unchanged from that of Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic. There were of course changes. The NAZIs expelled Jewish children from pubic schools (1935). The staff of the schools was changed. Jewish Teachers were immediately dismissed. Teachers criticals of the NAZIs were replaced with NAZI supporters. Political reliability rather than competency became important. This of course affected educatinal standards. But these are changes that do not show up in period photographs. The photographs do show the changing fashion trends during the period, bith at the primary and secondary level. Only during World War II, especially the later part of the War do we begin to see some major changes because city children were being evacuated as aresult of the Allied bombing. There were no school uniforms at most German schools. The boys wore their own clothes. I believe that boys mostly wore short pants and kneesocks. The younger boys may have worn long stockings. Older boys wore shorts, knickers, and long pants. Many parents let the boys wear long pants during the winter. We see some children wearing theor HJ uniforms at some schools.

Primary Schools

HBC has very limited information on the clothes worn in elementary schools during the Third Reich. Except for the appearance of Hitler Youth uniforms, the clothes worn were quite similar to those worn during the Weimar Republic era (1919-32). Strangely, as uniforms were ordained for just about every one in NAZI Germany, school uniforms were not required for school children. Most boys wore short pants. During the colder winter months some boys wore long pants, but many wore shorts with kneesocks or long stockings. Lederhosen were common as were English style school sandals.

Secondary Schools

Boys after finishing Grundschule school at age 10 or ll years then begun secondary school. There were some exceptions to bdifferences in this basic system, but this was the school experience for most German boy. This was not a new system, buat a continuation of the system in placed during the Weimar era. The NAZIs did not change the basic German education system, although they did add some special Party bparding school for training future leaders. The academically clever boys went on to a gymnasium, a school like a British grammar school. This was an academically selective secondary school. Other boys went to Realschule that lasted 6 years and usually enter a „Lehre“ or apply for job. Or they have to go to Hauptschule (usually 5 years).


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Created: 3:42 AM 9/28/2008
Last updated: 3:43 AM 9/28/2008