Not only did thousands of Hitler Youth boys die in
<<… ’Hitler's final battle plan was pie
in the sky. Advancing from the south, Marshall Konev's forces cut off and
surrounded the Werhmacht's 9th
Army in the forest south of
was an “elite” Army. Many soldiers and officers among the 12th Army
were war criminals, “the butchers of
more than Father to these brainwashed delinquents, he was God. They were encouraged by the massive
propagandist apparatus of the state to rebel against their fathers and to
worship Hitler, who replaced family and human love with a glorified,
high-minded idea of Death for German Faterland. He handed out a few iron crosses and sent the
12-year-olds to death, which bought him a few more days of miserable existence
in a bunker, like a rat. Unlike adults, Hitler Youth were easy victims of
brainwashing, just like children are everywhere, including the
The tragedy of Hitler Youth generation is underscored in numbers, although numbers alone can hardly tell the full story. About 12 million German troops were interned by allies, by some estimates. At least 3 million were captured by the Red Army. Of all POW’s at least half were current and former HJ’s. Many former HJ’s were “Waffen-SS [who] received the blood-group tattoo [and]were singled out for special treatment, as were voluntary members of the SS (hence they often tried to remove the stigma by burning or cutting it out, but the scar gave them away like a mark of Cain. All told, however, these hardships scarcely measured up to the levels of sadistic abuse and murder which the SS had inflicted on their victims in the concentration camps, or which the Wehrmacht, for that matter, had practiced in camps for Soviet POWs.”
The formerly triumphant Waffenn SS, who had been often ordered to “wade in blood,” suppressing resistance to German occupation, left behind a trail of blood and destruction, Eastern Europe in ruins, populations of entire villages and towns wiped out or decimated. They were now prisoners of Soviet soldiers many of whom lost their entire families. Although instructed to demonstrate “discipline and high moral standards of a Red Army soldier,” the victors were not liberally-minded, especially so with tough, indoctrinated enemy who fought till the last bullet. The bitter irony of the whole generation was that conditioned to be The Master Race, the Hitler Youth now faced an uncertain future and slave labor, restoring the economies of their former slaves. Many of them died, before seeing home again.
Let us not succumb to the propagandistic effort to misrepresent that only Germans committed atrocities against civilians and kept POW’s in unbearable conditions. Soviet, American, British and French troops were just as guilty, albeit on a smaller scale. From summarily executing German POW’s to raping women, to keeping POW’s in terrible conditions, the cycle of violence continued, now by the victors, until the most painful memories of war faded.
Unfortunately, the pain did not end when the war ended.
A child is a moral and political tabula rasa. The Latin phrase means a blank slate, on which his/her grownup teachers and indoctrinators can inscribe any toxic ideology, without having to overcome any resistance from the ethical and moral barriers that allow adults to distinguish good from evil. Tabula Rasa is also featured in Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis. Freud depicted personality traits as being formed by family dynamics (see, e.g., Oedipus complex, Jocaste complex, Medea complex). According to Freud’s theories, humans lack free will in a sense that they are the product of their upbringing; and also – genetic influences on human personality are minimal when compared to the upbringing. In psychoanalysis, one is largely determined by one's upbringing, and we all intuitively and empirically know this to be a universally acknowledged truth.
Nazis put parents on a leash: they warned parents that interference or failure to cooperate with the Nazi regime would result in imprisonment or having their children sent to other Nazi homes to be reared.
who progressed through the Hitlerjugend
ranks to become a 17-year-old Bannfuehrer,
equivalent to the
“We five- and six-year-olds received a daily dose of Nazi instruction, which we swallowed as naturally as our mother’s milk. The very young became defenseless receptacles for whatever was crammed into us,” especially anti-Semitism. “To us innocents in the Hitler Youth, the Jews were proclaimed as devious and cunning overachievers, especially in their aim of polluting our pure Aryan race, whatever that meant.”
adults alike were lead to believe that the war Hitler started was actually
unleashed… by Jews. Thus, the Waffen SS recruitment poster, shown here,
intended for Flemish speaking Belgians urges to join the SS Langemarck Division. The caption in red
says: “Our answer: Pick up your arms and fight!” The
“… My defense of the Hitler-Jugend is that even at sixteen, few of my comrades had any inkling that they were pawns of an evil empire. Bombarded by incessant indoctrination from kindergarten on, and surrounded by adults who were either captivated themselves or lacked the suicidal courage to tell the truth, they never had the luxury of any choice. To expect a child to be that discerning was ridiculous!”[H2. 1988, Page 233]
This brainwashing was highly effective because a young boy or a girl was removed from the influence of the parental home at an early age, and if the father or mother objected, the SS would interpret that as a sign of disloyalty toward the Reich, which had life-threatening consequences. The parents were told: Your son is not your personal property, solely at your disposal. He is on loan to you but he is the property of the German Volk. To object to his name being put forward for an elite school is tantamount to insulting the Reich and the Fuhrer. ”
[Koch, H.W. "The Hitler Youth" (Macdonald and Janes, London 1975) pp. 179-185]
This indoctrination took years to shake off, but it was shaken-off to varying degrees, albeit with much emotional pain. The children’s identification with the Fuhrer, no matter how intense it once seemed, was actually superficial, because the ersatz father-figure never provided the intense give-and-take of a genuine father-child relationship. They were a generation of “nobody's children,” who were encouraged to rebel against their parents in order to belong to the state. They were psychologically capable of discarding their commitment to Hitler’s dark and mystical ideology of National Socialism, but this process was accompanied by a considerable degree of moral disorientation. They ran out of marching orders, unable to think for themselves. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Adolf Hitler, the Nazi maniac who
mesmerized the German nation for 12 years, formulated the essence of propaganda
in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle,) even today studiously read by
Here’s one of Hitler’s gems, from chapter VI:
<<Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses.
The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.>>
capitulation of the Nazi Germany, the war was not over for the Hitler
Youth. In various areas, radicals attempted to continue the fight, even
months after the final German surrender. Others joined in droves the doomed
National Socialist guerilla movement, Werwolf, which terrorized the occupying
allied forces. For up to two years after
the Nazis surrendered on May 7, 1945, the threat of a Nazi insurgency loomed
It was a loose network of terrorist sleeper cells, made up of terrified, starving teenagers and fanatical Nazis, some – delusional enough to believe in a Nazi counter-revolution and resurrection, some – malicious enough to carry out a scorched earth policy attacking the allied military units and German civilians to discourage collaboration with Allied forces trying to restore Germany’s democratic traditions. Their tactics varied, but remained typically terroristic: assassinations, sniping attacks and sabotage.
Education Department officials were amazed to hear the Soviet General Nikolai Berzarin, the first commandant
two months before
The Werwolf operations behind the Soviet lines – massacres of civilians and sniping at occupying forces – did not last long, with NKVD capturing the terrorists, then capturing their families, treating them no better than their American collegues.
<< “The [allied] military command had a
war to win,” remembered a U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Command (CIC) officer
(who was also a German Immigrant) and they coldly regarded the psychological
states of HJ saboteurs “as uninteresting
peripheral matters.” Their usual answer to problems with the HJ was to execute
troublemakers or subject them to lengthy prison sentences, and American
Military Police and CIC personnel were known to beat up their juvenile captives
in order to extract information and destroy the remnants of Werwolf groups.
Suspected young Werewolves under fourteen years of age were sometimes seen
behind the wire of ad hoc American internment camps along the
◄ All rights reserved ● Copyright © 2011, Eric Ross, Ph.D. ►
Last updated 2011-03-10; http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/berlin_01.shtml
 Hitler Youth, by Michael H. Kater. P229.
Youth, by Michael H. Kater. HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS.
 Werwolf!: the history of the National Socialist guerrilla movement, 1944-1946. Alexander Perry Biddiscombe.