This group was the Deutsche Jungenschaft vom 1. 11. 1929, meaning--"German Boys' Federation from the 1st of november 1929". It was more commonly referred to as "dj 1.11". The date 1.11 has no significance other than when it was founded in 1929. The dj 1.11 was a new youth group with a very short life. One German source writes, "dj 1.11 was a legendary youth federation, sparkling from creativity, absolutely new and, beginning from its name, of a quite different character than the "Nerother Wandervogel (Migratory Birds of Neroth), Pfadfinderschaft St. Georg (St. George Boy Scouts), Deutsche Freischar (German Free Corps), and the other groups of the German youth movement in the 1920s. ... The dj 1.11 kindled a sparkling firework of new ideas and orientations which has influenced the German youth movement even today." The dj 1.11 had a very brief history, only 3 years. Hitler took power and banned the NAZIS banned most other youth groups (1933).
The group was founded by Eberhard Köbel on November 1, 1929. Köbel joined the Wandervogel movement at age 13 years. He subsequentky joined Deutsche Freischar. There he secretly organized the dj 1.11 in an effort to change the focus of Deutsche Freischar. He was eventually expelled and founded the dj 1.11 as aeparate group. The split concerned ideological differences, but we do not yet know the specific details.
This group was the Deutsche Jungenschaft vom 1. 11. 1929, meaning--"German Boys' Federation from the 1st of november 1929". It was more commonly referred to as "dj 1.11". The date 1.11 has no significance other than when it was founded in 1929. The dj 1.11 was a new youth group with a very short life.
One German source writes, "dj 1.11 was a legendary youth federation, sparkling from creativity, absolutely new and, beginning from its name, of a quite different character than the "Nerother Wandervogel (Migratory Birds of Neroth), Pfadfinderschaft St. Georg (St. George Boy Scouts), Deutsche Freischar (German Free Corps), and the other groups of the German youth movement in the 1920s. ... The dj 1.11 kindled a sparkling firework of new ideas and orientations which has influenced the German youth movement even today."
One author sescribes different phases in the development of the Weimar Republic. The first was the wandervogel which dominated the Gerjman youth movement before World War I. The second period after the War was the Bündische Jugend, the youth federations of the 1920s. This was a period of great diversity, but generally a more nationalist and politicized era. The source saw the dj 1-11 as beginning a third era, but of course this was truncated by the NAZI seizure of power. The dj 1.11 had a very brief history, only 3 years. Hitler took power and absorbed or banned the NAZIS banned most other youth groups (1933). One source writes, " At this time, when Germany closed its frontiers to foreign ideas, when the Germans began to fancy that they were the master race, and began to contempt the rest of the world, when also many of the formerly
unpolitical youth federations became imbued with nationalistic ideas, and some of them even in a whole joined the "Hitler Jugend" NAZI youth organization voluntarily. At this time dj 1.11 was a single rebellion against the philistine, narrow-minded, chauvinistic spirit of that age." [Kracht] This seems somewhat was an overstatement. While the HJ did indeed absorb several groups, they also banned several others and not just the dj 1.11.
We have no unformation on the membership of dj 1.11 at this time. We do not believe that they were a large group, but we have no membership counts at this time.
The driving force behind the dj 1.11 was Eberhard Köbel. He was a German youth leader before World War II and then after the War became a writer and publisher in East Germany. Koebel was born in Stuttgart (1907). We do not know anything about his boyhood. He was too young to participate in World War I. After the War at age 13 years he joined the Wandervogel, the most important pre-War German youth group (1920). He became a youth leader. Köbel decided to join the Deutsche Freischar (1926). The Freischar was a group which attempted to unite the Wandervogel and Scout movement in Germany. A few years later he began to have differences with the Freischar leadership, especially Ernst Buske over ideological issues. Köbel secretly organized dj 1.11 to help change the Freischar . When Buske objected to Köbel's acrivities, Köbel founded the dj 1.11 as aeparate group. Köbel was a creative leader. He played an important role in designing both the Kohte (fire tent) and the and a popular jacket, the Jungenschaftsjacke. He also contributed new songs (often of foreign origins) and wrote about the youth movement. Disturbed by the rise of NAZIism in Germany, he reigned from dj 1.11 (1932). He was impressed by the active resistance of the CommunistsHe joined the Young Communist League and the Communist Party. Communists became the primary NAZI target immediately after seizing power (1933). As a low-level member, Köbel was not immediately arrested. He attempted to join the Hitler Youth as an adult leader and fight NAZI teaching from within. Not surprisingly, he was soon arrested (January 1934). He was mistreated while in custody, but we do not have details. He was not committed to a concentration camp. (Prison cinditions were normally not as horific as concentation camps. The NAZIs in 1934 were just beginning to build their camp system.) He was relased from Columbia Haus Prison in Berlin (February 1934). NAZI authorities banned him from any further youth work. He apparently was on a target list during the Night of the Long Knives (June 1934). He managed to evade a NAZI hit squad and escaped to Sweden and then on to London. From London, Köbel attempted to keep in contact with the Free German Movement, but it must have been very difficult. Köbel after the War returned to Berlin (1948). He chose to establish himself in Communist East Germany where he worked as a writer and author. He died there (1955).
A major dj 1.11 activity was camping. And the group invented the "kohte" or fire tent. This tent was adopted by many other youth group. It had two novel feature was an escape for smoke in its top so that you can have a campfire inside the tent. The inspiration was the fire-tent of the laplanders in the Arctic that some dj 1.11 boys had noted. They adopted the basic principle of the Lapplander fire tent to the needs of German campers. Another important feature was that it consisted of several small canvas pannels. While the entire tent was to heavy to be carried by an individual boy, these separate pannels could be easily carried by indiviual campersus and then assembled when they set up camp.
The German youth movement as it developed after World war I was highly nationalistic. The dj 1.11 adopted a more internationa view, rather like the Boy Scouts were pursuing. The dj 1.11 organized trips to other countries. Many members became enthusiastic about Japanese zen philosophy. Singing was popular with manyb youth groups, especially songs on the march or around camp fires. Most groups used traditional German folksongs. dj 1.11 introduced foreign songs and instruments from other countries. [Kracht]
The German youth movement after World war I also became highly politicized. We do not have full details about dj 1.11's orientation, but it was clearly anti-Fascist, meaning anti-NAZI. Here anti-Fascist shold not be taken as meaning supporting democracy. Many groups in Germany were attempting to overturn the democratic Weimar Republic. The NAZIs and other right-wing government suceeded in destroying the Weimar Republic. But the Communists were also attempting to bring down the Weimar Republic. We do not have full details on dj 1.11's political orientation. One of the most vocal dj 1.11 speakers was Eberhard Koebe. After the NAZI take over he was arrested (1934). He managed to escape to London. He along with Brecht, Heym, Seghers and other prominany Anti-Fascists to Soviet-dominated East Germany. This shows a Communist orientation. We are not sure to what extent this was a factor in the dj 1.11. Other dj 1.11 members were active in the resistance to the NAZIs during the War. Several were involved in the youth resistance groups, especially the White Rose.
We do not have much information about the dj 1-11 uniforms. We do note a destinctive jacket that the boys wore--the Jungenschaftsjacke. The dj 1.11 invented the smart boys' jacket, made in thick darkblue fabric and, like a sailor blouse, with a big collar and back flap. The blouse was seen as "looking good" and was a warm garment, useful for camping in cool weather. The blouse was adopted by other youth groups. The dj 1.11 boys affectionately called it a Juja jacket. We note HJ boys wearing these jackets. They are still used in Germany today.
Kracht, Kai. "dj.1.11" (2001).
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