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Opposition To Nazism - The Youth
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Opposition To Nazism - The Youth

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  • 1. Opposition to Nazism The Youth Katie and Annabelle
  • 2. The Groups
    • There were many groups within the youth that opposed Hitler and Nazism which include:
      • White Rose Movement
      • Edelweiss Pirates
      • The Jazz and Swing Youth
        • Helmuth Hubener Group
    I want a brutal, domineering, fearless cruel youth. Youth must be all that. It must bear pain. There must be nothing weak and gentle about it. The free, splendid beast of prey must once again flash from its eyes. That is how I will eradicate thousands of years of human domestication. That is how I will create the New Order. Adolph Hitler Hitler's power may lay us low, And keep us locked in chains, But we will smash the chains one day, We'll be free again. We've got the fists and we can fight, We've got the knives and we'll get them out. We want freedom, don't we boys? Song of the Edelweiss Pirates     (Peukert, p. 158)
  • 3. The White Rose resistance The White Rose was a non-violent resistance group consisting of a Philosophy professor and a number of his students from the University of Munich. The group anonymously distributed leaflets as a part of their campaign opposing Nazism and Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943. The six core members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo, convicted and executed by beheading in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany to the UK, and in July 1943 edited copies were dropped over Germany by Allied planes.
  • 4. Sophie & Hans Scholl Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl were core members of the White Rose non-violent resistance movement. Their campaign was discovered on 18th February 1943, the Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the university where they hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors. Leaving before the class break, the Scholls noticed that some copies remained in the suitcase and decided it would be a pity not to distribute them. Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets into the air. This spontaneous action was observed by the custodian . The police were called and Hans and Sophie were taken into Gestapo custody. The other active members were soon arrested, and the group and everyone associated with them were brought in for interrogation. In the People's Court on February 21, 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying "Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just do not dare express themselves as we did." Scholl's and her brother's defiance, in the face of terrifying consequences, gained them enormous admiration among their contemporary supporters and the post-war German public to the present.
  • 5. The Edelweiss Pirates
    • Become a rebel group in the late 1930s
    • Generally the members were 12-18year old boys
    • They had no distinctive political ideology but wanted freedom
    • They wore dark short trousers, checked shirts, windcheaters, white jumper, socks and scarf, and an edelweiss metal badge – but very few girls wore the windcheaters, white jumper and socks
      • This made them easily identifiable by the Gestapo
    • Many had long hair for the time
    • They were connected to other youth gangs who also wore checked shirts with either an edelweiss or skull badge:
      • Raving Dudes
      • Navagios
    • They seem to have grown spontaneously and most had never joined the Hitler Youth or had left it
    • The Hitler Youth was almost the main target
  • 6. The Edelweiss Pirates
    • They would graffiti ‘Eternal War on the Hitler Youth’ to show their opposition
    • They operated in small groups around town
    • During wartime they went on camping trips despite the strict travel laws
      • They would sing funny parodies of the Hitler Youth songs
      • Say ‘dirty jokes’ about the Hitler Youth
    • Wartime saw a grow in their subversive activities
      • Pitch battles with the Hitler Youth began
      • Anti-Nazi slogans: ‘down with Hitler – we want freedom,’ ‘medals for murder’ and ‘down with Nazi brutality’ became commonplace
      • They posted anti-Nazi leaflets dropped by the Allies
      • They shielded deserters and joined resistance fights – the Communists in particular
  • 7. In the End
    • The local police saw them as childish pranks but in wartime it was seen as opposition
    • The leaders were under constant surveillance
    • 7 th December 1942 saw the arrest of 739 Pirates and sent to ‘re-education’ camps
    • By October 1944, the SS made a decree on ‘combating of youth gangs’ and more were arrested
    • Then in November 1944, the leaders were publicly hanged as a deterrent
    • Known as ‘rebels without a cause’
  • 8. Jazz/Swing Youth
    • British and American music wasn’t actually illegal but was seen as anti-Nazism because it conflicted with the idea of an Aryan Race
      • They often had open associations with the Jewish Youth
    • Defined by ‘ Lottern ’ meaning sleaziness because of the Jitterbug dance which was seen as a ‘threat to public decency’
      • The Hitler Youth would spy on the group and report the ‘overtly sexual nature of dancing’
    • Mainly middle class and not really involved in political activity
    • But as they listened to Jazz they would have understood English and be subjected to allied propaganda and believed to be extremely important in spreading it
    • Swing clubs were tolerated until 1940 but after 500 youths attended a gathering in Hamburg, Jazz went underground
    • By 2/1/42, Himmler said that ringleaders of the swing movement was to be sent to concentration camps with beatings and forced labour
  • 9. The Helmuth Hubener Group
    • In some ways, they were the antithesis of the Swing Kids
    • All were members of the church of Latter Day Saints
    • They defied the Nazi regime by distributing leaflets to expose the lies and deceit of Nazi propaganda
      • E.g. illegal transcriptions of BBC broadcasts
    • Helmuth Huebener was 17 when he was sentenced to death
      • by guillotine on 27 October, 1942
    • Karl, Rudolf and Gerhardt were imprisoned and sent to forced labour camps in Russian and Poland.
    Helmuth Hübener, Rudolf Wobbe (left) and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe
  • 10. Conclusion
    • It is interesting to note how many of the groups actually link with each other and possibly knew each other
    • Yet the groups never formed one major force before the Gestapo captured, killed or imprisoned the members
    • For example, the Jazz/Swing Youth had associations with the Jewish youth who were often in some sort of rebel group
    • the problem was often that the groups were quite small such as the Helmuth Hubener Group, thus ineffective
  • 11. Final Summary All in all, youth resistance was not effective, a handful of students would never have been a serious threat to the Nazi state. Accounts suggest, that at the time university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. In fact, after the executions, students celebrated their deaths. Even though their input is now seen as brave, at the time it was just a group of kids making another insignificant attempt to challenge Germany and its new found ideals.