troops with boys as young as 12 were
widely used in the battle of
A soviet tank commander
recalls: the tanks had limited maneuverability on the narrow streets of
On March 19th, his
56th birthday, Hitler ventured outside his Reich Chancellery bunker
for a solemn reception he gave to a contingent of twenty youths. They were
12-13-year-old boys brought in from the German provinces of Pomerania and
The youngest of these boys was Alfred Czech, a twelve-year-old from Upper-Silesian Oppeln, who had been decorated for rescuing twelve wounded Wehrmacht soldiers and catching a “Soviet spy.” All boys wore the Iron Cross. “You already know what battle is like from your own experience,” says the tottering, senile, hunched-over Führer to the little boys staring at him with worshipful admiration, “and you know that this struggle is for the German people, to be or not to be. In spite of all the hardships at this time, we shall emerge victorious from this battle, especially as I am looking at German youth – at you, my boys.” “Heil, mein Fiihrer!” shouted the boys, brainwashed out of their wits, and out of their childhood, with their eyes agleam with fanaticism. They were then sent back out into the streets to fight and die for the old sociopath-bastard who turned them into his obedient Zombies.
When the Czech insurgents took control of Prague city center, they—who were now drowning, hanging, and burning German civilians by the hundreds— singled out the Hitler Youth boys taken prisoner after a gunfight. “Approximately forty Hitler Youths, blood-stained and with swollen, beat-up faces, were driven into the human square. In front of the assembled prisoners, after unspeakable cruelties, they were finished off with knives and clubs.” These boy-soldiers had been the easiest to brainwash. Their brainwashing started at an early age. They were happy to die for the Reich. They often engaged in hopeless battles. In the eyes of the allied command these kids were beyond redemption. Taken prisoner, in the heat of a battle many of them were summarily executed “attempting to escape,” as were SS-men. Americans in this respect were no better than Russians.
On the 3d of March 1945 Wermaht Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, ordered conscription of any male born in 1929 or earlier. These were 16 and older. Those boys born in 1929 and 1930 were to serve in Volkssturm brigades or in Axmann’s HJ special anti-tank divisions, stationed in or near endangered German towns. By the end of March those brigades were often staffed by boys who had already done much fighting elsewhere and, exhausted and sometimes wounded and maimed for life, represented reserves of the last resort. “Here they are,” wrote Vienna HJ leader Ringler in his diary on March 28, “Willi with his artificial lower leg, Hubert with his shot-off thigh, Hannes with his damaged foot, Schorschi with a prosthesis and head bandage, Karl with his empty sleeve, and all the others, those already recuperated or barely so.”
In the East, by the middle of
January 1945, Königsberg was the first important target of the Red Army. There
were many Hitler Youth troops on the East Prussian front, in defense of that
one-time bastion of the Teutonic Knights. Stalin had intelligence reports of a
German atomic program, had intelligence reports of the A-9/A-10 ICBM and
futuristic jet air planes ready to unleash Hitler’s vengeance, not to mention
continuous mobile V-2 ballistic missile launches into
Hitler Youths were everywhere in the defense of Königsberg, often armed with machine guns. Soviets would shell them and eventually overrun their positions killing them off in brutal hand-to-hand combat.
the spring of 1945 the entire eastern front, which the Soviet army was pushing steadily
to the West, was sustained in large part by the newly created Hitler Youth
battalions, all the way to
There were eye-witness’ accounts, of course, describing more age-appropriate behavior. A detachment of eighty uniform-clad boys ambushed a column of Soviet tanks and infantry, but things went wrong: the Soviets immediately returned fire, killing and wounding several of HJ. The remaining children, shocked by the swift violence of the action, ran, tossing away their rifles, some crying hysterically, and were mostly captured by the Soviet motorcycled infantry. One youngster, still carrying his Panzerfaust, was asked why he did not shoot it. He replied that he joined the action just to be with his comrades, and that his mother forbade him to shoot, ever.
By the end of March more and
more Hitler Youths were being put in trenches, bunkers and machine-gun
encasements in strategic spots in
23rd, a regiment made up entirely of Hitlerjugend boys was ordered to defend
the Pichelsdorf Bridges by the
twelfth Army had a legendary reputation: In the beginning of war, the Army of
Greece, which humiliated Italians for 6 months, fell to the same German
twelfth’s army. But that was in 1941. Now, it was ordered to break through the
Soviet Army, which by the end of the war, in 1945, was a juggernaut. The
twelfth Army was ordered to leave the Western front and establish a corridor
supplied with Panzerfausts and Faustpatrone, the Hitlerjugcnd boys lay alone or in pairs at irregular intervals in
the trenches and foxholes on either side of the Heerstrasse in front of the Pichelsdorf
bridges. The boys held off the Soviet tanks for 5 days, their mission
senseless, their lives sacrificed for naught: the twelfth army was not fighting
The same fate
befell those HJ’s defending the Olimpic stadium, and the HJ’s sniping from the
bunkers and fortifications of Tiergarten
(literally: animal park), the park that housed
For bravery, the Russian solders awarded the wild goat, which survived an epic gun battle on the grounds of the Zoo, the Nazi Iron Cross, taken off the body of a killed HJ, many of whom – unlike the goat – did not survive.
committed suicide on April 30th, 1945, when Soviet soldiers were
Hitler’s death, Martin Bormann (Hitler’s personal secretary) and Artur Axmann
(the commander of all Hitlerjugend troops of all
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smaller disposable Faustpatrone and Panzerfoust
were variants of German self-propelled, disposable anti-tank grenade launchers
with a warhead containing a 50:50 mix of TNT and tri-hexogen, the most potent
high explosive charge penetrating up to 5 ½ inch armor from a distance of up to
 Hermann Melcher, Die Gezeichneten: Das Erleben eines 16jährigen Kriegsfreiwilligen der Waffen-SS beim Endkampf um Prag und in sowjetischer Kriegsgefangenschaft, 1945–1950 (Leoni, 1985), 13 (quote); Böddeker, 206–207; Quoted also in Hitler Youth, by Kater; p. 228.
 Jahnke, Aufgebot, 89, 96, 106; Hans Wienicke, ed., “Schon damals fingen viele an zu schweigen . . .”: Quellensammlung zur Geschichte Charlottenburgs von 1933–1945 (Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1986), 151.
 Ralf Roland Ringler, Illusion einer Jugend: Lieder, Fahnen und das bittere Ende: Hitlerjugend in Österreich: Ein Erlebnisbericht (St. Pölten, 1977); P. 149
 For the
Hitler Youths’ last stand in and around
 Kater. Hitler Youth. P. 222.
Knopp, Hitlers Kinder, 2nd ed. (
Die Flakhelfer: Luftwaffenhelfer und Marinehelfer im Zweiten Weltkrieg
 The New
York Times. Artur Axmann,