"My program for educating youth is hard. Weakness must be hammered away. In my castles of the Teutonic Order a youth will grow up before which the world will tremble. 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." -- Adolf Hitler, 1933.
Hitler saw children as the perfect tool to build his New World Order. He wanted to shape their minds from a very early age.
The Nazi flag and Hitler’s portrait hung in every classroom, and every morning students had to start the class with “Heil Hitler!” Any teacher who would not support the National Socialist Party and its principals risked being fired.
In racial science lessons, children were taught Aryans belonged to a superior race and should marry only Aryans.
Students were also taught how to identify Jews by learning the physical traits the Nazis claimed characterized “inferior” people. These racist teachings and attitudes made school a hostile environment for Jewish students.
Hitler Youth was officially formed in 1926. When Hitler became president, he made all other youth groups illegal.
Hitler appealed to the German youth with posters appealing to their sense of rebellion and adventure.
Only healthy pure Germans were allowed to join Hitler Youth. Jew, half-Jews, and even Jews who had converted to Christianity were not allowed to join.
At meetings children sang songs, played games, learned slogans, listened to readings, and read propaganda leaflets about how to be a good Nazi.
The Nazis knew what appealed to kids- uniforms, flags, badges, and weapons. badges Uniforms handbooks
Physical fitness was stressed in Hitler Youth for both boys and girls.
Boys in Hitler Youth received training for future military life. Hitler Youth learned to throw stick grenades under the directions of Nazi soldiers. Boys learned how to use rifles.
Female members were trained to be good wives and mothers.
The Catholic church forbade its members from joining Hitler’s Youth, but because kids were so drawn to the group and the church was afraid of loosing control of the youth, they relented.
On December 1, 1936, Hitler passed a law requiring all healthy, non-Jewish Germans to join Hitler Youth. Parents who did not comply risked prison and having their children taken from them.
Some members of Hitler Youth turned their parents in for speaking out against Hitler. Anyone who did so risked imprisonment or being sent to a concentration camp.
One member of Hitler Youth, 18yr old Elisabeth Vetter, told her parents she no longer belonged to them: she belonged to Hitler. When her parents asked her to leave, they were arrested and disappeared for four weeks.
When the war began, Hitler used the children he had been training for years through Hitler Youth. As Hitler took over more countries, the girls in Hitler Youth traveled from village to village helping Germans move into their new homes. At home the Hitler Youth went door-to-door collecting brass, copper, scrape metal and other items to help the war effort.
By April 1945, Hitler Youth soldiers as young as ten were fighting and dying in the defense of Berlin.
Service during the war Boys fifteen years of age attempted to shoot down enemy aircraft during air raids. Younger boys worked the searchlights. Boys also dug antitank barriers that were eighteen feet wide and fifteen feet deep.
Most members of Hitler Youth had no idea they were serving a murderer, even when they saw Jews being taken away. “We were told that the Jews were detained together in these camps for their own safety, so that they wouldn’t be killed by people who hated Jews…” Bund DeutscherMadel, member of Hitler Youth