Dutch Youth Groups: World War II--Recruitment

Figure 1.--This 1943 propaganda poster tried to interest Dutch boys and girls in joining the Jeugdstorm. The headline must read something like, "Which would you like to do?"

The Jeugdstorm never succeded in attracting large numbers of boys. The accepted membership at the high point in 1942 was about 18,000 boys and girls. This is an extremely small number even in a small country like the Netherlands. The great bulk of these children probably came from the families of collaboraters and right-wing political groups. Some boys may have been swept up along weith them, especially in the early years of occupation when it looked like the Germans would win the world. Tragically, the Jeugdstorm funeled boys into the German military. Thus many of the older members died in the War when they could have probably stayed out of it. There was an active program to recruit boys, but it had little effect. The relationship between the Jeugdstorm and German military as it became understood certainly must have discoraged membership, especially by 1943 as the Germans began experiencing increasing losses. Notice that in the poster there is no overt reference to the miluitary or war. The NZAI mind-set is evident though and a failure to understand or even attemp to understand children. After all the purpse of these groups was to mold children, not to provide recreation.

Contrast with Other Groups

A HBC reader remarks, "The recruiting poster is really good. It's very much in line with the contrasts that the Nazis liked to make between their youth groups' members and non-members or members of other groups (especially the Communists, early on, and later church groups)." Of course after the occupation of the Netherlands, there was no need to compete. Other groups were simply banned. However, before the NAZIs seized power, there was acompetition among youth groups, a competition dramatized in the first NAZI propaganda film, Hitler Youth Quiz.

NAZI Mindset

Clearly the NAZIs felt that Dutch boys and girls would have the same interests that they had. Some of the activities pictured might have interested the children, in other cases, the suposedly negative activity almost ceratinly would have appealed more to the children than the Jeugdstorm activity. This discreapancy is especially apparent for the girls--certainly a man must have prepared this poster.

The outdoor activities probably would have appealed to most, but not all boys. HBU wonders if lining up in straight files at attention would have been a major attraction to Dutch or even German children. Of course such activites were important to the Jeugdstorm as one of the main

Figure 2.--"

The girl part of this poster is almost impossible to comprehend. Girls love to dress up and use makeup. They play cames together doing this even before they are old enough to do this for real. One of the reasons they do this is to go to dances with boys. The genius who prepared this seems to think that a girl would rather do manual labor at a loom than maker herself up. Even more incredible is the idea that it is more fun working in a field pitching hay than going to a dance with boys!

Christopher Wagner

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Created: April 13, 2001
Last updated: April 13, 2001