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In place of a foreword.
My Fuehrer! It is five years now since you gave me the mission to take over leadership of the National Socialist youth. At that time you explained to my collaborators and to me the idea of this youth organization. What you preached to us at that time as aim and demand, my Fuehrer, has taken on shape here before you. You asked at that time from me and my collaborators that we should create a community of youth in which no other law should be binding for the process of reconstruction but the law of achievement.
Here, among the leaders of the Hitler youth are the sons of the poorest who exercise command over hundreds of thousands. What do the conceptions of poverty and richness mean in face of the reality of this community? In future days only those will be called poor who did not belong in their youth to this community. And further, my Fuehrer, you demanded from my collaborators and from me that we should not only unite the youth in enthusiasm, but also by discipline and order. We fought for years laboriously for this end, but today even this demand is fulfilled and proudly we feel ourselves as a worthy part of your great National Socialist Movement.
But we were powerless regarding one of your demands. You told us then it would appear as a great success to you if we succeeded to hold together in one organization of the German one hundred thousand German youth. My Fuehrer, you forgot, that you had given this organization your name.
You asked for one hundred thousand, and it was all who came. There is one thing which is stronger than you, my fuehrer, that is the love of the young Germany for you.
There are many gay hours in the year of the youth. This one, however, is in every year our happiest. Because more than other people, my Fuehrer, we feel to be chained to your person by our name. Your name is the happiness of the youth, your name, my Fuehrer, is our immortality.
Baldur von Schirach to the Fuehrer at the occasion of the inspection of the Hitler Youth at the Reichs party day 1936.
From Union [Bund] to Nation [pp. 13-19]
That which was formerly called the German youth movement [Jugend bewegung] is dead. This statement has nothing to do with ill will.
No youth leader of our time will deny the merits of the scout [Wandervogel] Karl Fischers in his work with the German youth movement. That youth movement was as right for its own time as the Hitler Youth is right for the present. Without any doubt, many ideas and the form of life [Lebensform] of the Youth Movement helped to create the prerequisites on which the H J is building: The idea of self-leadership on the part of the youth, the declaration to fight against the standards of bourgeois society, the will to folkdom, homeland, or comradeship and many others, are akin to the feelings of the H. J. And yet: The first step into public life, the meeting which took place on 11 and 12 October 1913 on the "Hohen Meissner", remained only an impulse. The best thing about the speech on the "Hohen Meissner" were the people who listened to it [p. 14]. What today's youth is looking for in this, for the youth movement so important meeting, is the sincere will to form, to create.
We, today, see clearer than the generation of that time that the value of their youth movement was in their silent work. The greater German idea and the really valuable return to folkdom and simplicity are achievements of the youth movement which seem to us more significant than the numerous manifestoes which were handed down to us. They had the courage to let themselves be ridiculed, a courage which the National Socialist Fighter of a decade later also had to have. And we must, if we want to do justice to this youth movement, look less to the picture of their actual appearance but more to the determination with which they followed their ideals. The political reality of youth was their cleanness, their decent behaviour, their political change [Umbruch]. The Youth movement was one of the few pleasant phenomena of the Wilhelmman era and it is characteristic for that time that youth was so delightful because it declared war on its time. Few leagues [Buende] of the postwar time have a right to refer to the former youth movement. They were a true copy of its weaknesses without its virtues. They ignored the lesson of the great war. They forgot that the time of a free and easy youth movement had undergone a break by the death of two youth million, which imposed on them the duties of unity and masculine constraint [Gebundenheit und maennliche Zucht-p. 15]. What was right up to 1 August 1914 was wrong after 9 November 1918.
Some attempts were made to create a synthesis of youth and a militant movement [Wehrbewegung], attempts which started from the right principles. These attempts failed because their leaders were either representatives of pure militarism or at best of some lesser political ideas. Therefore, it was reserved to Adolf Hitler, the creator and supporter of an ideology [Weltanschauung], to determine the road of German youth. From the former youth movement the Hitler youth took over this or that form, out of the front of the World War it was given its content by Adolf Hitler. Its organization also has its prerequisite in the great war; its bearing is military, as was the bearing of those who came from the youth movement and who died in their gray coats in Flanders.
Just as the youth of the "Hohen Meissner" felt, the front as the more important, so do we. Between the summer of 1914 and the spring of today lies a long dreary time through which we all passed consciously or unconsciously. Even those of us who had not been born at that time know it, every German knows it. As long as the German people will live, this time will live in their minds [p. 16].
That at that time a whole nation stood in arms, Catholics and Protestants, beggars and millionaires, peasants and clerks, merchants and laborers, and that they all obeyed one will and were only Germans, nothing but Germans, that also started us on the march. No title, no privilege of birth, not a lot of money nor anything special of any kind made a difference then.
We also want the same thing. The black years of war have passed, the spirit of the warrior remains. Again youth in Germany does not want profits, nor personal gain, but renders service and sacrifices to the community. That is the idea of the HJ: A comradeship of those Germans who do not want anything for themselves. Because they do not want anything for themselves they can do everything for their great nation. Not a youth with new rights-a generation of strict fulfillment of duty.
The postwar period showed a sad picture of party-bound youth. "Whoever controls youth, controls the future" was the slogan, given the German National club to the Communist thieves' den. Every lobby was dealing in youth. And they were successful. Young Germany took everything for gospel truth, sold itself today to this one, tomorrow to that one till finally, disappointed and disgusted, it turned its back on all these activities. Then came the time of exclusive sports, of exclusive indulging in entertainments and living to the fullest, the time of exclusive study. [p. 17]. "Politics is nonsense," was the reply given to party functionaries.
When Adolf Hitler began to speak this attitude was shaken. But now the satisfied citizen used the same argument which youth had found against him. He called for peace, for self-possession, for order. "Youth should not mix in politics," because the defensive slogan of all the bourgeois parties which began to lose their young people to the Fuehrer. Anyone who at that time, 1924-25, among youth stood up for Adolf Hitler might have found that even youth leaders anxiously tried to avoid the alleged danger of influencing youth politically in the direction of National Socialism. Many comrades and I myself had to leave a militant organization [Wehrorganisation] to which I had become quite attached, because I had made a speech for Adolf Hitler there. At that time, many, like myself drew a dividing line between themselves and their friends and relatives and exchanged fight for the new ideal for the quiet life of a well protected home.
We were not yet able to account for our conception in detail, we simply believed. And when Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf" was published it was our bible which we almost learned by heart in order to be able to answer the questions of the doubters and superior critics. Almost every one who today is leading youth in a responsible position joined us during those years [p. 18].
Again Youth was divided by politics but this time the problem was different. It was no longer a matter of national parties, of liberal and democratic ideas, it was this: Germany or Marxism, Germany or reaction. But youth also had been slightly infected with party ideas. Youth did not want to be convinced, it wanted to be overruled. Not the accuracy of the idea was questioned, but an attempt was made to prove that with such a small following it could not be successful. The National Socialist movement was regarded as a fractional party, the honest but, because of its pettiness, hopeless attempt of a man of whom it was not known if he had the necessary knowledge, the essential education. A bricklayer from Vienna, a man without college education, a self-taught person should liberate Germany? That was at best very doubtful.
As there are old people who are young, there are also among the youth some who are old. I have met them in the universities, in the youth movement, everywhere. The people who are old in their hearts are like a pestilence to a healthy people. They represent the tenacious and embittered resistance against every new idea. But youth is an attitude. The paralyzed Chamberlain whose lips are forming words which only his wife can read and transcribe represents eternal youth as much as the old Goethe in his last days. His Faust, the Ninth Symphony and the will of Adolf Hitler are eternal youth and know neither time nor death [p. 19].
Yet there are men who are born old and are living their lives as if they were 70 years old. During the years of our fight we overcame those people and we fight them again and again. They are the living dead. Their coldness kills every slight stir of a new life. Only the collective force of passionate youth is able to destroy them.
Let us do away with the old! Only eternal youth shall have its home in our Germany.
The development of the Hitler Youth movement [p. 20, par. 1].
The idea for the foundation of a National Socialist youth organization came from the Fuehrer himself, while the name Hitler Youth was originated by Julius Streicher, who also named the Brown House. The name of the man who deserves the credit for having set up the first groups of the H. J. is Kurt Gruber.
At the time of the beginning of the H. J. Kurt Gruber had just graduated from Law School. He devoted himself with great energy to his new task. From a small cellar in Plenen which served as Reichs office, we first organized a number of Saxonian HJ groups, energetically assisted by the present Reich Governor in Saxony, Martin Mutschinanon.
Here I would also like to mention that since 1928, Alfred Rosenberg also took a special interest in the National Socialist Youth. At that time we were trying to come to an understanding with the leagues. Alfred Rosenberg negotiated with the Eagles and Falcons, the "bensen", and other leagues without fundamental results. I realized at that time that an understanding with the leaders of the leagues would never be possible [p. 23] and devoted myself to the principle of the totality of the Hitler Youth, which in the year 1933 cost all those leagues their independent existence.
When, in 1930, the Fuehrer himself took over the high command of the SA [Storm Troups] and Ernst Roehm started his new office as Chief of Staff, the National Socialist Youth organizations were centralized in the SA. Kurt Gruber resigned. His nervous state was such that he was physically unable to continue his work. On 30 October 1931, the Fuehrer appointed me as Reichs youth leader of the NSDAP with the rank of a Lt. General [Gruppenfuehrer] in the SA. My old comrade, Dr. von Reuteln was given the leadership of the students' league and also the leadership of the HJ, under my command. Now the organization of the HJ was thoroughly overhanded, which was necessary because Kurt Gruber had not been able to fully devote himself to his tasks as a leader especially during the last months of his activities. Dr. von Reuteln continued his work as a consultant for economic questions in the Executive Office [Reichsleitung] of the NSDAP but still found time for official trips and for night work at his desk to which the HJ owes the tightening of the threads of its organization which had become rather loose. At that time I had to go temporarily to Kufstein where I stayed with friends in a little mountain inn in order to avoid a prison term of three months [p. 24]. The previous year I had spoken against the Versailles dictate from the steps of Cologne University, violating a government order and, to begin with, was locked up in the Cologne prison, the so-called "Klingelpuetz", which then often housed Dr. Robert Ley, at that time regional leader of Koeln-Aachen and another leading party comrade, Tom Winkelnkemper. There I stayed for 8 days till my case came up in court and was then sentenced to 3 months in prison without a time of probation according to the emergency decree by the Reichs President. I was very lucky to be set free after the sentence was passed. With great joy I still think of the dear Cologne party comrades who, headed by Dr. Ley stood in a mass before the gates of the prison when I was released. It was high time, I flew to Munich. The following day I took the train to Graz and was able to give to the Graz Student meeting the directive which was needed by the Fuehrer. The National Socialist Student League [Studentenbund] won its decisive victory. A National Socialist was unanimously elected leader of the German student body [Studentenschaft].
Since that time around 12 months had gone by and I had reason to fear that I would be torn away any day now from my organizational work with the National Socialist Youth. My co-workers came to Kufstein for the most important conferences and I frequently crossed the border at night, raced through [p. 25] Germany in our "Nurnberg", announced a meeting in Chemnitz while I made a speech in Berlin, and thus I escaped my well-deserved "vacation" in Cologne. Then came the time of Groener. One evening the Fuehrer came to my apartment in Munich and informed me that he intended to appoint me Reichsleader of the NSDAP the following day, and to take the National Socialist Youth organizations out of the SA. Since prohibition of the SA was threatening we might have avoided the simultaneous prohibition of the HJ. The Fuehrer bases the necessity of such a measure on the principle for which he stood from the beginning, and which I have used in this book as a motto: "Youth must be led by Youth".
By some accident the prompt announcement of my appointment was held up. Soon after this conversation the SA and with it the HJ were forbidden by Mr. Groener. Through Reuteln I raised some half-hearted objections with Groener, referring to the fact that at the time of prohibition I was no longer a member of the SA, but, of course, without results. There was no other way out but to continue work underground. Thus originated the National Socialist Youth movement, the NSJB [NS Jugendbewegung] without uniform, without insignia. At that time we traveled through Germany dressed like bandits. Blue sailor caps, white shirts [p. 26] and a brown sweater or some kind of civilian coat. But we recognized each other everywhere. At this time the HJ gained its best human material. Whoever came to u during this illegal time, boy or girl, risked everything. Thousands upon thousands were thrown out of their schools or became unemployed-but they clung the more tenaciously to our flag. It was a great time and as strange as it might seem we were never happier than at that time when we lived in constant danger. With pistols in our pockets we drove through the Ruhr district while stones came flying after us. We jumped every time we heard a bell ring because we lived in constant fear of arrests and expected our houses to be searched. I have hardly one piece of furniture in my possession that was not attached.
One day even my "Nurnberg" was confiscated. That was going too far. They could have all the wardrobes and chests as far as I was concerned, but the car to us meant freedom, mobility, our work. The Fuehrer was then at Obersalzberg. I called him up and out of his own pocket he gave me the money to pay the printer who had the car attached. I breathed freely again, we were able to continue our work.
At about this time I had a conference with Dr. von Reiteln, as a result of which I also took over the leadership of the Students' League and the HJ as [p. 27] such. This came about in the most friendly manner Reuteln wanted to get free anyhow to devote himself to his great tasks in the economic-political field, I myself wanted to exchange my somewhat formal responsibility for the HJ into a real one. We parted as the comrades which we still are today. Between us never existed any fundamental difference on essential points and The National Socialist Youth owes a deep gratitude to the man who outlined their road in a severe and straightforward manner.
The membership of the National Socialist Youth organisation had grown to about 35,000. The number of applications was mounting day by day. We requested more office space from Reichs Treasurer Schwarz and he created generous working possibilities for us by putting at our disposal the entire top floor of the hotel "Der Reichsadler" in Munich. For the time being we had some space.
With the moving into the hotel "Reichsadler" an unpleasant tension began to make itself felt which existed between the youth and Gregor Strasser, who had installed the offices of the organizational department in the same building. In my apartment on Koenigenstrasse I was lucky enough to be able to express my apprehensions about Strasser to the Fuehrer. Otherwise I never discussed these things with anybody, with the exception of Julius Streicher. But I received [p. 28] reports from all parts of the Reich through the youth organization. I knew what course Strasser was taking, who, at that time, was at the heights of his was instinctively convinced of his unreliability in regard to his character. Gregor Strasser was an enemy of the National Socialist Youth out of the same instinct. It was, after all, a Hitler-Youth and not a Strasser Youth.
The greatest worry of the years of struggle of 1930/31 was the lack of money. Very often we did not have the few gallons of gasoline which we needed for traveling. Another drawback was that none of us was, at that time, a member of the Reichstag and, therefore, had no free transportation. The reason was that we had not reached the necessary age of 25. Our compensation for expenses was just sufficient to cover our bare living expenses. By writing and lecturing I was able to make enough money to pay my own far. Despite all the difficulties we were able to make all the necessary trips. The success of my staff was based on its mobility. Good leadership is not characterized by answering letters on time but by its contact with the fighting community. Thus the Fuehrer had brought us up and he preached again and again not to lose myself in paper work-one of the greatest and wisest teachings which I received from him.
The HJ [Hitler Youth] used the winter of 1932/33 for many demonstrations [p. 31]. We drove through all of Germany and called the youth to the HJ. I will never forget a Fuehrer appeal in the beginning of January in Berlin, at the start of which I was searched for weapons by the police. Twenty days later we were in power. The most magnificent success was the conquest of the formerly Marixist industrial workers youth of the German West. Here my co-worker Hartmann Lauterbacher achieved great things.
I will never forget the hour when we were sitting in the office of the district Ruhr-Niederrhein during an intermission between demonstrations on 30 January and received the news of Adolf Hitler's appointment to the post of Reichs Chancellor. That same night I spoke in Herford in Westphalia. We all felt saved. The policemen [Schupos] who, on the previous day, were still persecuting us, greeted us with raised hands. It was one great fraternization. I spoke in two meetings, and going from one to the other I caught such a cold that shivering with fever I had 0p. 32] to go home the next day, but in all my fever phantasies one thing remained vivid, that which we had won on that day: Hitler in power, Hitler in power. As soon as I had recovered I went to Berlin via Wuerzberg, Nurnberg, where we had 2 demonstrations. Now the problem was to apply the victory of the movement to the entire youth. Our cabinet ministers were overburdened with their new tasks and were working day and night. We could not wait till they would find time to solve the youth question by their own initiative. Therefore, we had to act ourselves. My co-workers met in my Munich apartment and advised me to occupy the Reichs committee [Reichsausschuss] of the German Youth Leagues. I commissioned General [Obergebietsfuehrer] Nabersberg with 50 members of the Berlin HJ to make a surprise raid on the Reichs Committee in the Alsenstrasse early the next morning. This was done and at noon the press had the report that the HJ had taken over the leadership of the Reichs Committee. The Reichs Committee was headed by an excellent man, General Vogt. As much as a surprise the turn of events was to him at first as quickly did this Prussian officer adjust himself to the new situation. I took his job away from him but he understood that this was a necessity and that only from the HJ the great unification of German Youth would be possible, on which, after all, he had worked all his life. General Vogt did not step aside [p. 33] and was not offended, but remained intensely and truly interested in the objectives of the HJ and its aims. His book, "The German Boy-Service" [Der deutsche Jungendienst] is one of the most valuable books of German youth literature. And we are all proud of the fact that General Vogt today belongs to the Reichs Youth leadership and wears the Gold Honor insignia of the HJ.
In the Reichs Committee [Reichsausschuss] we got a tremendous amount of material. All at once we were able to determine the strength of all the German youth leagues and to summon the influential personalities in these youth leagues. From this point I recognized the necessity of coming to grips with the Greater German Union. I appointed my co-worker Karl Nabersberg as my representative on the Reichs Committee and traveled through Germany in order to take a stand against The Greater German Union in many demonstrations. In the meantime I gained control over The Reichs league for German youth hostels [Reichsverband fuer deutsche Jugendherbergen] in a manner similar to the one employed with the Reichs Committee; with its leadership I commissioned a young merchant from Hamburg and bearer of the Golden Honor Insignia [Goldenes Ehrenzerchen] of the NSDAP, Johannes Rodatz.
The Greater German Youth League [Grossdeutscher Jugendbund] was a combination of various leagues and organizations which came under the leadership of the deserving chief of staff of the fleet, Admiral von Trotha. This admirable man, who had served our Fatherland in war and peace with unselfish [p. 34] devotion fundamentally had the same ideas and plans for the Greater German League as I had for the Hitler Youth. That the Greater German League [Grossdeutscher Bund] could not fulfill these tasks was not the fault of the "Admiral", as he was respectfully called by his YOuth, the difficulties lay in the period itself. The Greater German League was not a political union, that is, leagues which partly were opposed to National Socialism were to be found in the Greater German League as well as organizations which ideologically were in agreement with the NSDAP, without, however, drawing any conclusions from it. The unification of youth could never be achieved by the external centralization of partly opposed leagues, but only by a philosophy of life which ahd to be accepted by the young generation as a new law for life. Only the Hitler Youth represented this idea.
The differences between the Greater German League and the HJ grew from day to day. Friction, even frequently actual fighting, were day-by-day occurrences. This state of affairs could not be settled by compromise. We could not be satisfied with incorporation of the Greater German League as, always the incorporation of a youth league into the HJ for us was not even discussed. As all of us once, and that during difficult times, gave our unconditional pledge to Adolf Hitler, especially today every young German must be able to do so [p. 35]. The so-called and often praised individual life ["Eigenleben"] of such leagues is, in the last analysis, nothing but another form of "joiner tendency". "Either all or nothing" is the principle of National Socialism.
The position which I gave to the HJ was not strong enough to overcome the last quaint introspection [Eigenbroetelei] within the youth. Nobody saw that as clearly as the Fuehrer who was convinced of the necessity of giving to the leader of the HJ that backing by the state which he needed for his work. When we discussed these things I asked the Fuehrer to refrain from attachment to one specific ministry, a wish which was readily recognized by the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer himself stated that a ministry cannot exist without bureaucracy, but bureaucracy is death to youth. He intended to create an agency which in its freedom should have the possibility to work. Thus, in the Reichs Chancellory, in the middle of June 1933, he appointed me Youth leader of the German Reich [Jugend fuehrer des deutschen Reiches] by clasping hands. Reich Minister Dr. Frick, as their competent minister for youth questions, drew up the respective document. I was given authority to appoint representatives of the states [Landesbeauftragte] to carry out my instructions and I appointed the district leaders to these positions in all the states in execution of my right.
The first thing I did was to dissolve the Great German league. Since I headed all [p. 36] German youth organizations and I had the right to decide on their leadership, I did not hesitate for a moment to take this step, which was for the HJ the elimination of an unbearable state of affairs. The leader of the Great German Bund, Admiral von Trotha, set an example of rare human greatness to German youth when he, after the incorporation of all leagues and organizations had been completed, one day made an end to all the fights and quarrels of the past years and, after his appointment to Honorary Leader [Ehrenfuehrer] of the Navy Hitler Youth, devoted himself unconditionally to the service in Adolf Hitler's youth movement. Only to great personalities it is given to put youth to shame and at the same time obligate by a noble example. At that time many a German boy will have asked himself if he would be able to act in the same way in a similar situation and honestly answered with a "no". From an educational point of view it was the most important deed that the Admiral, after his organization had been smashed, again adjusted himself to the tasks of the new generation out of his military sense of duty and his love for youth. When, today, the blue columns of our Navy Hitler Youth pass by their honorary leader, their eyes are not only shining with enthusiasm for the Admiral who once at a grave hour won eternal honor for the German Reich, but they also know in their hearts that this man is part of [p. 37] themselves. Following the incorporation of the "Stahlhelm" into the SA we were able to carry out the incorporation of the "Scharnhorst", the youth organization of the "Stahlhelm". But the "Scharnhorst" had to give up it individual existence when it joined the HJ. The individual "Scharnhorst" boys were detailed to the local branches of the HJ. This step would never have been possible without the initiative of Reichs Minister Saldte who was completely convinced of the necessity to create a large youth organization, which, also according to his opinion, could only be the HJ. That the many small and unimportant groups and leagues were incorporated goes without saying and took place without any resistance. The Marxist youth as well as all political youth organization I prohibited after the occupation of the Reichs Committee. The one million members of the HJ which we had on 30 January 1933 had now grown to a round three million. Only the two large confessional groups, the Protestant and the Catholic youth, were opposed to us. They already had lost a great number of their members to us but they still remained powerful factors in the life of German youth. Again and again I called together the district leaders [Gebietsfuehrer] of the HJ in order to discuss this subject. Again and again these true and tenacious fighters announced: We won't stop now. From the last boy to the Reichs Youth leader we agreed that the HJ never should and would give in as regards this question.
Hitler Youth and Confessional Youth [p. 38]
Towards the end of 1933 discussion about the eventual incorporation of the evangelical youth took place between the newly appointed Reichs Bishop Ludwig Mueller and myself. With great satisfaction we from the HJ could ascertain that the Reichs Bishop was fundamentally ready to lead the members of the evangelical youth leagues into the HJ, a point of view which differed somewhat from that of the chairman of the Young Men's Protestant Work [Evangelisches Jungmaennerwerk], Dr. Stange. Dr. Stange actually tried to interfere with this new development against the will of the majority of his followers, but without success. And in December 1933 the Reichs Bishop and myself were able to inform the Fuehrer that incorporation of the protestant youth into the HJ had become a reality.
Through the agreement with the Reichs Bishop the HJ believes to have shown the way by which a later understanding with the Catholic Youth Leagues also would be possible. By this agreement evangelical youth organizations in the old sense, that is leagues, which overlap the activities of the HJ are no longer in existence. As spiritual communities the Protestant [p. 39] groups continue to live in their innate field, namely that of the Protestant creed. The HJ guarantees their protestant members a certain evening each week for their confessional, religious activities. The agreement with the Reichs Bishop follows verbatim:
1. The Protestant Youth Work [Evangelisches Jugendwerk] recognizes the unified state political education of German youth by the National Socialist State and the HJ [Hitler Youth] as representatives of the philosophy of the State.
The youth of the Protestant Youth Work below 18 years of age is to be incorporated into the Hitler Youth and its subordinated branches. Anyone within this age group who does not become a member of the HJ, from now on shall not be a member of the Protestant Youth Work.
2. Education in regard to open air sports (including gymnastics and sports) and in regard to state politics, up to 18 years of age, shall take place only within the HJ.
3. All members of the Protestant Youth Work shall wear the official uniform of the Hitler Youth according to their membership in the HJ.
According to this agreement the Protestant youth was incorporated into the Hitler Youth. With very few exceptions the young followers of the Reichs Bishop were glad to be freed from the inner struggle of the past months [p. 40]. The Reichs Bishop acted like a true spiritual advisor of this young community when he, by this agreement, opened for them the doors to the HJ and thus the doors to the people and the State.
The confessional youth league [Konfessioneller Jugendbund] has no right of existence in our time. While the young German in the period of National Socialism is drawn to the community and thereby the attitude and way of living of the HJ, sometimes some dark pang of conscience holds him back to give in to this urge, to follow really his innermost thoughts. Particularly the catholic youth societies led their members into moral conflicts for which an educator of the youth cannot account. By promises for a life beyond they tried to hold the youth back from the disinterested surrender to the state.As if the all powerful would condemn this service on the people and could see anything objectionable in it. Because the youth does not make any difference between poor and rich, Protestant and Catholic, I am accused of being a "heathen" who does not believe in anything and instills the seed of the antichrist in the hearts of the unsuspecting youth. And yet, considering the confessional composition of our people, a real community of our youth can only exist if confessional questions are not discussed in this community, special confessional leagues are not tolerated. The Christian doctrine is attacked in the HJ as little as any [p. 41] other doctrine; the HJ does not care for class or confession but only for the Germandom. In this sense my slogan is to be understood; "The HJ is neither Protestant nor Catholic, it is German".
The church proclaims its right for a religious education. An uncontested and uncontestable right. The state, on the other side, demands through the HJ to exercise the ideological, political education and here the state has a claim which is as valid as that of the church. In fact a number of Catholic youth leaders are not concerned with this religious education. They occupy their youth organizations with tasks, accomplishment of which falls into the domain of the HJ. Home evenings (social gatherings), hikes, camps, games, sports, and training do not need a confessionally directed leadership, and yet it is exercised stubbornly by a certain circle of catholic youth leaders. Instead of bringing the German youth together where it can be united and should be united, these so called educators and youth leaders try to present even the cooking on hikes as a religious matter and think the young boy's soul could be harmed if he saw that outside of the Catholic youth organization other people lived. The fact that since National Socialism seized the power, about 1½ millions of youths from the camp of the Catholic youth organizations joined the HJ manifests that the spirit of the followers is better than that of the leadership and shows how in the long run confessional, bourgeois thinking must capitulate before German socialism.
A short while after the National Socialist revolution the beaten political parties undertook another feeble attempt to keep at least the youth somehow. The attempt failed; the youth of the bourgeois parties pledged itself to the socialism of Adolf Hitler. The youth leagues followed this example. Even the Protestant youth recognized the demand of the time and followed in faithful fulfillment of their duties the voice of their conscience. But on the spot where once the proud Zentrum stood that we could see work hand in hand with the Marxist traitors of the people in the Reichstag, there stands today a group of the Catholic youth organizations and opposes the "We" of our community with the "I" of their societies.
Who wants Germany without compromise is an arch-enemy of any confessional principle in a state organization. Who would retreat here a hand's width and be he a minister of the new Germany, would betray the tragic fight of the German people for its freedom. May the German people recognize the lesson of the last thousand years and for the first time proclaim an unconditional negation of all separating forces.
There is no reason why there should not be found a solution in the question of the youth education to the satisfaction of the church as well as of the HJ, so much the more as the HJ does not restrict in any way the religious activities of its members. Neither attendance at the Sunday services nor participation in other church gatherings is being made difficult for the Catholic Hitler boys on the part of the leadership of the HJ. If, on the occasion of some big youth demonstrations which don't take place too often, it was occasionally difficult for technical reasons to make it possible for the young people to attend church services it is by no means an indication of a sometimes alleged "antireligious" attitude of the HJ. I even am of the opinion that religious meetings and arrangements in particular religious youth leagues are not at all in contradiction to the totalitarian claim of the HJ. Every effort which aims to deepen and intensify religious life must not only be welcomed by a responsible youth leadership but also be furthered. I believe to have shown by the treaty with the Reich bishop of the Protestant church that the HJ is willing to concede necessary space to the religious youth education. However, it must be demanded that under the cover-name of religious education the youth should in no way be influenced politically. The experiences of the past taught us that the confessional youth organizations do not occupy themselves exclusively with religious questions. The National Socialist movement as pillar of the state cannot be blamed if by reason of past experiences it makes security arrangements which should ban all dangers for the future.
If the church visits of the youths do not correspond the expectations of the churches, it is not the fault of the youth. The real cause of this attitude of the youth is to be looked for in the want of comprehension with which some catholic youth leaders and unfortunately too many priests oppose the education of the HJ. They believe not to be able to part with the sport education of the catholic youth and overlook that the religious education itself suffers by the fight over the competences.
Many Catholic Germans look with disgust at the mean fight which certain catholic youth leaders lead today for their existence and hundreds of thousands of catholic Hitler boys don't have any appreciation of it that there should exist outside the HJ sport a catholic sport and catholic calisthenics. As faithful catholics they stick to the church but they cannot see why this church demands all of a sudden territory which has nothing to do with religious education.
No reasonable man in Germany can give a reason for the necessity of the existence of catholic youth organizations in their present form (catholic boys scouts, "German Jugendkraft", etc.) and many important leaders of the catholic church have long been of the opinion that these organizations have no right of existence in the National Socialist state. The catholic youth itself-this I maintain by reason of the continuous going over, even of whole groups to the HJ-wants to cooperate in the National Socialist state. And not as confessional specialist league but as HJ.
Catholics and Protestants have the same rights in Germany. This is not only valid for their relationship to the state but especially for their relationship to the National Socialist movement. If, however, the catholic youth is advised not to join the HJ, then this part of the German youth is deprived of a right which today every other young member of the community possesses. "Give to the emperor what is the emperor's and to God what is God's". This profound wisdom of Christ shows us even today the possibility to terminate the tension between HJ and confessional youth organization. If the HJ leader works exclusively according to the instructions given to him and only cares for the ideological (that is to say the physical, mental and moral) education of the youth in his charge in Adolf Hitler's sense and the priest just as exclusively for the religious, moral education within direction of the church and is nothing but a German servant of God, all prerequisities of a peaceful and confident work are given.
For the solution of the catholic youth question in Germany there is but one way, which is agreeable to both parties; The Catholic youth organization restricts itself to the spiritual realm and gives up the expensive and unnecessary administration and leadership apparatus of the general presidents and secretaries [General praesidenten und sekretaere]. If the priest of every locality cares spiritually for the youth as part of his community, the church has sufficient occasion to exercise its religious education. The thought, to appoint Protestant and Catholic so called field chaplains or HJ chaplain is against our comradeship and therefore cannot be accepted. If a celebration of the National Socialist youth is held by a catholic and protestant clergyman, every boy and every girl feels the difference of the confession as a wall between them. Where a short while ago two young Germans marched shoulder to shoulder goes then a Catholic and a Protestant and with them the sorrow of the German history.
Unity and community then becomes disunity and cleavage. Then the two millions of the great war would really have died in vain and so would the dead of the Feldherrnhalle [p. 47]. And those twenty one who as pioneers of the new unity were hunted to death by the Marxists and "Zentrum" leaders won't belong to us any more.
But we are spirit of their spirit. The idea for which they died is also the idea of our life. Their fight is our destiny [pp. 64-65].
Self-leadership of youth is not to be understood from the bureaucratic point of view that every one at the age of 30 must resign from leadership. The principle: "Youth must be led by youth" is to be understood according to its meaning and not literally. Therefore, I principally do not apply any age limit. All set patterns are deadening.
Germany is the country of the youth movement. Youth movement and youth self-leadership of youth are inseparable. It is not the purpose of the youth movement to give to young people a possibility to satisfy any power instincts. On the contrary, youth leadership means to be more severe with oneself than with the following. The HJ is a school for leaders. A leader in the true sense of the word is always the creative, the disciplined one.
Therefore, the way to leadership shall be made difficult for a boy. If he is destined for it he will overcome the difficulties. But never shall there be another key to the gate of leadership than achievement. It is a matter of indifference who holds the key, the son of a worker, the son of a peasant or the son of a scientist. Only one thing is decisive: He must be of the aristocracy of achievement, of the only aristocracy which is known to the new youth [pp. 68-69].
A single will leads the HJ. The power of authority of the HJ leaders, that of the smallest as well as of the largest unit is absolute, i.e., he has the unlimited right to give orders because he bears the unlimited responsibility. He knows that the responsibility of the higher one comes before that of the lower ones. Therefore, he submits silently to the instructions of his leaders even if they are directed against him personally. To him as well as to all young Germany the history of the HJ is proof of the fact that a youth community also can only be successful if it unconditionally recognized the authority of leadership. The success of National Socialism is a success of discipline. The structure of National Socialist Youth is built on the foundation of discipline and obedience. The teachings of the time of persecution apply even more to the period of victory and power. The small boy [Jungvolkjunge] who joins the movement of Adolf Hitler at the age of ten learns to subordinate his own little will to the laws which, strictly followed, are building states and making nations happy but which, when violated, result in the loss of freedom, in the collapse of folkdom. In the course of the following years he learns that discipline and subordination are not inventions of despotism that they have not been created by a few with a lust for power in order to secure their personal positions but that they are the prerequisites for the life of the nation and thereby for his own life.
The great value of the organization for the youth lies in the following. In the circle of boys of his own age he gains, partly while playing, a knowledge which must be employed, especially to the life of the adult. And while he is being trained for discipline in a manner corresponding to his emotional life and his capacity to learn, he will see that his blind obedience affords the possibility of success to his group [Gefogschaft]. What is acquired in young years in the struggle with small tasks later serves the state in its big tasks.
Work Abroad [pp. 154-162]
The Reich Youth leadership does not pursue foreign politics.
The Fuehrer created the Office of Foreign Affairs for the foreign activities of the National Socialism. What is done within the Foreign Department of the Reich Youth leadership never means an overcrossing of Party offices and State offices. The HJ deals with the youth and not with big politics. And even where the youth contacts the youth of other nations to exchange young people for study trips or camps, contact is made outside the political sphere. It is the purely human agreement of youth among themself which in this way the Reich Youth leadership attempts to achieve.
During the last year the most important meetings between German and foreign youth were:
The visit of the HJ in Hungary.
The counter visit of the Levente youth in Germany.
The German-English Youth Camp near Hamburg.
The trip of Department Leader Nabersberg to England and Turkey.
A lecture of Karl Nabersberg in Paris on the occasion of a meeting of the "Sohlbergkreis".
The visit of a Finnish Study Group [Studiengesellschaft].
Also on the occasion of the visits of foreign youth leaders (i.e. Greek, Chinese and Japanese) to the Reich Youth leadership, contacts were made with foreign youth organizations.
Every nation has the interest that its youth has a political outlook reaching as far as possible. Especially the National Socialist Germany is strongly interested that her youth knows and respects other nations as early as possible. The better the youth of Europe understands each other, the nicer for the future. A basic principle of the youth exchange is: no propaganda. Hitler boys who go abroad do not travel as propagandists of National Socialism; their task is not to teach but to learn. They should see the beauty of the foreign landscape and explore the national characteristic of the host-country. I believe in a cooperation of the European youth at the basis of an agreement; its only program point should be: to know each other. It would be an utopian idea to believe that such a cooperation would improve the world. Probably the world would not improve but the people could become juster. In this connection we welcome the international exchange of pupils and only desire that it might be extended beyond the circle of pupils to the youth of all professions. The activity of the Foreign Department of the Reich Youth leadership is not only concerned with the relationship of the HJ to the youth of other nations, although this field is most clearly in evidence. It cares, in close cooperation with the League for Germandom Abroad [Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland], for the youth of the German settlements abroad, in Europe and South America, and awakens in the Reich German Youth the understanding for the brothers and sisters abroad.
In a special main branch, the Central Office for Volksdeutsche Youth Work [Mittelstelle fuer Volksdeutsche Jugendarbeit], which took over the main tasks of the Central Office of German Youth in Europe, which in 1933 was attached to the organization of the Reich Youth leadership, the following fields are being worked on:
1. Borderland trips and trips abroad of the entire German youth.
2. "Volksdeutscher" labor service.
3. Schooling in the Reich of German youths living abroad.
The borderland trips and trips abroad offer the possibility to give the young Germans abroad the contact with the new Germany by Reich German Youth hiking groups in form of performances (folk songs, folk dances and plays performed by laymen). At the same time, a selection by these youth hiking groups should be made in the German settlements abroad among those who appear suitable as youth leaders and therefore are to be called to the Reich for schooling.
All borderland trips and trips abroad of youth hiking groups and individual youth hikers have to be authorized by the hike office of the central office. Thereby the hikes of the "wild hikers" should finally be prevented which were not always to the good of the German reputation abroad. On the other side the hikes should be arranged according to a certain plan, so that they can be directed into certain sections where a visit seems really appropriate.
A special task of the central office is the so-called Volksdeutsche Labor Service which has the task of a systematic schooling of German Youth leaders living abroad. In four specially suited labor camps the sense of the labor service is clearly demonstrated to the Germans living abroad by special schooling methods, in order that they can apply what they learned in their home organization.
Another branch of the Foreign Department has the task to combine the Reich German boys and girls inasmuch as is possible in youth groups in which National Socialist ideas are conveyed to them. To this effect the groups receive books and youth literature free of charge and especially such which establish the spiritual contact with the Reich German HJ. The work program provides the establishment of schooling camps of several weeks duration for German youths from abroad who above all should convey to the future leaders the experience of the present fatherland. Through our own press service, the Foreign Department tries to protect the rights of the German youth abroad in the Reich German Press. The daily appearing press service "Space of the East" [Ostraum] brings short news about the movement of the German youth organizations abroad and the German school abroad for Lithuania, Letland, Esthonia, Poland, Czechosolvakia, Austria, Rumania, and Yugoslavia. Another paper "The School Review for Germans Abroad" [Die Auslandsdeutsche Schulschau] is delivered to a great number of German schools of higher learning. Furthermore the branch participates in the youth periodicals published by the Reich Youth leadership or in cooperation with it, and furnishes the German daily newspapers with articles of a principle nature about questions of the youth abroad, as well as the German newspapers abroad with news from the Reich and the German groups beyond the frontier. The branch "Press" in the Foreign Department is thereby the rallying point for the news on the movement of the German Youth abroad and the schools in the Reich for the Germans abroad.
The branch "School" of the Foreign Department is of special importance. Its task is essentially to communicate to the HJ sufficient knowledge about the Germandom of the borders abroad and of foreign politics. To carry through the schooling in the units, borderland and foreign lecturers were appointed who on central instruction of the chief lecturer had to carry out the schooling in the individual units. The first instruction week for lecturers abroad on a systematic execution of the training program, was held from 4 to 10 December 1933 in Potsdam. The training program uses the following aides:
1. A regularly appearing schooling-letter with a publication of 65,000
2. Literature on the subject in general which is distributed to the lecturers abroad
3. The periodical "People and Reich"
4. Contributions in newspapers and periodicals
The training of the co-workers staff is to be extended by a number of additional training weeks and by supply of training material and establishment of competent libraries in the Oberbanne. Furthermore, special attention for the localities less than 100 km from the frontier is intended.
The colonial branch keeps awake the memory of the cultural, scientific, economic and military achievements in the former German colonial territory within the organizations under the order of the Reich Youth leadership. Beyond this, the GErman youth shall be informed about the importance of colonial possession for the supply of the home economy with colonial products and raw materials. It will be taken into consideration concerning this schooling that the guiding line of the German population policy which aims at the utilization of the space in the East will not be violated. In the historical schooling the "colonial-guilt-lie" and the thereby intended defamation of the German people-also in regard before the colored nations-will be emphasized and it will be pointed out that equal terms for the German people are only obtained when these parts of the Versailles shame dictate are also rectified.
Special colonial lecturers who are assigned to the headquarters of the HJ and BDM down to the Bann and Unterbann will attend to the carrying out of these tasks. These lecturers also will be prepared for the solution of their tasks in courses in the Reich Leader School in Potsdam and within the districts and subdistricts. The literature at present on hand about colonial questions which, however, is only for limited use for the schooling within the HJ since it was written under different political conditions, will be put at the disposal as work material. New material, in accordance with timely requirements, is in preparation and will serve in the future as basis for all work. The youth should be informed every three months by a "schooling-letter" about everything worth while in the field of the colonial question which should come down to the sub-leaders of the whole HJ and BDM. In this direction, friendly cooperation with the biggest society, the German Colonial Society, takes place; material is exchanged. As much as the promised shipping space is available, members of the HJ (colonial lecturers) should be sent to the former German colonial territories so that they can learn at the spot the present-day conditions and give the Germans there a sign of our attachment. Supported by what they have seen and lived, they should after their return work here to enlighten the HJ in the country.
It would lead us astray to go into the details of the activities of the Foreign Department. Generalobergebietsfuehrer Karl Nabersberg devoted much energy to these duties and gave up even the leadership of the staff of the Reich Youth leadership with which he was charged for a time in favor of this task which had his particular interest. The thought that every Hitler boy and every BDM girl regardless in which part of the world they are, form a great comradeship and march together in spite of local separation in one direction and live and work in the same spirit was realized by the Foreign Department of the Reich Youth leadership.
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946