NAZI CULTURE: INTELLECTUAL, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL LIFE IN THE THIRD REICH
8. The Key: Education of Youth
NAZISM, like any revolutionary movement, attempted to capture the new generation and rally it to the cause. The movement stressed youth, at the expense of the older generation, which might still harbor vestiges of liberalism or even socialism. Education, therefore, can show us the principal application of the cultural impetus within the Third Reich. The Nazis did make changes in the school system, though the federal structure of the Reich made this difficult at first. Until the individual states were abolished, Prussia was the laboratory for much of this change. High schools specializing in natural science and a non-classical curriculum were put on the same footing as the ancient and prestigious humanistic Gymnasia. The Nazis attempted to unify the school system, as they "meshed the gears" of all other activities in the Third Reich.
As a matter of fact, changes in curriculum brought all schools closer together. Compulsory training in racial biology (see page 79) and a greater emphasis on German history and literature meant that less time could be spent on other subjects, such as ancient languages and even science. The former were, of course, subjects with a high ideological content. Moreover, at least five hours a day were set aside for physical education, because of its value in building character and discipline as well as for future military usefulness. A valiant attempt was made to give girls quite a different education, in accordance with the Nazi ideal of womanhood (see page 39). They were to be excluded from subjects required for admission to a university, for the woman belonged in the home.
It is difficult to say just how successful the Nazi reshaping of education proved to be in practice. It must have varied greatly from school to school and depended a great deal on individual teachers and principals. For example, until March 1, 1938, the sifting of textbooks for schools was handled in a haphazard way; at times the individual schools did their own censoring. Only after that date did a centralized censorship come into existence, to be exercised by a Nazi party com mission in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Yet the textbooks were increasingly National Socialist, the teachers were regimented, and, perhaps most important of all, some of the youth responded with great enthusiasm.
Evidence for the enthusiasm of the youth comes to us from all sides. The examples we have chosen should be especially telling, for they were written by opponents of the regime. Inge Scholl tells of herself, her brother and sister, who founded a resistance group among their fellow students at the University of Munich which was called "The White Rose." Sophie and Hans Scholl paid dearly for their convictions -- both were executed in 1943. Yet initially the Scholl youngsters were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi movement and the reasons for their emotional commitment, given in the document, are typical of those held by many of the young people. The description of Hans's early disillusionment is less typical, but it does show how the Nazis attempted to control this youthful enthusiasm.
Paul Oestreich (b. 1878), when writing his memoirs, from which our extract is taken, could look back upon a long career as a progressive educator until the Nazis put an end to it. Oestreich had founded in 1919 his League of Decisive School Reformers (Bund Entschied ener Schulreformer) in order to help to overcome class differences. As a socialist he believed that school children should learn the importance of "production," have some experience with work, and become activists. He blames the parents for the Nazi enthusiasm of the high-school students and gives us a good picture of the social pressures which aided the Nazis in getting rid of the influence of the older generation. Moreover, increasing Nazi discipline did mean an ever greater taming of the original enthusiasm: a condition to which, unlike Hans Scholl, many young men and women submitted gladly on behalf of the cause.
Ilse McKee wrote about her schooldays in Nazi Germany from the perspective of a life lived in England. She sums up what happened in one school during the first years of Nazi rule and what this meant in the life of one schoolgirl. Ilse McKee, now married to an Englishman, is skeptical, but at the very end of her account she also yells "Sieg, Heil!" with all the strength of her lungs.
What sort of children were the "ideal types" of this system of edu cation? The Nazis once more built upon an older tradition. Character building rather than book learning had for a long time been one of the much desired educational ideals. The short statement by the Inspector of National Political Educational Institutions, SS leader Heissmeyer, seems harmless enough; it might have come out of an older Prussian educational tradition or even from that of the English private school. But Heissmeyer was an important party figure (until the war in charge of the central office of the SS), and his ideal boy was to subordinate his qualities completely to the service of the Third Reich. What that service might be, L. Grunberg, the principal of a high school, makes quite clear. "Character" did not mean self- reliance and independence, but a steeling of oneself for service and obedience in the name of the Volk and the Fuhrer. It is small wonder that the hours to be devoted to physical education were increased by order of the Ministry of Education (1933), for physical training was directly related to these goals. In fact, to the Nazis it necessarily went hand in hand with acceptance of the Nazi world view, as the official guidelines for instruction in physical education show well enough. Book learning was always secondary in the educational system of the Third Reich.
Anti-intellectualism is an integral part of every movement built upon irrational premises. Hans Schemm was the leader of the Nazi teachers' union and, after 1933, Minister of Education in Bavaria. What he has to say against "miniature scholars" is certainly authoritative, even though he died in an airplane accident as early as 1934 -- becoming himself mythologized into the Nazi gallery of heroes.
To inculcate service and obedience, the individualism and the enthusiasm of the schoolboy had to be controlled by instilling within him a sense of community. The liberal ideal of the "cultivated man" had to be replaced with an educational ideal based upon the "fellowship of battle." This is shown in the instructions issued by the Ministry of Education. The "fellowship" itself was the racial community engaged in "actual battle" against its enemies both without and within. The Ministry of Education ordered this doctrine taught in every school, not only in racial-biology courses but also in the teaching of history. Stories like that by Lucie Alexander, a writer of children's books, drove home the point. She had been active in the party and in 1931-32 founded the first Bund Deutscher Madel (BDM) in East Prussia. (The BDM, or German Girls' Organization, was the girls' branch of the Hitler Youth.) When writing this book, Lucie Alexander was studying for a doctorate in journalism and literature. She uses the Labor Service, in which all members of the Nazi youth groups performed some manual labor, to illustrate the evil of attempting to withdraw from the Volk.
Boys love a hero, and the Nazis were not slow in providing one for them. Herbert Norkus exemplified the love of battle, the complete devotion to the Volk community for which he sacrificed his life. Norkus was a young boy killed by Communists while on an errand for the party. Rudolf Ramlow, a theater critic, wrote a book for boys which glorified Norkus and went through no less than twenty-five editions in six years. He can show us not only the ideal of fellowship but also, once more, the anti- ntellectualism of the Nazi movement. For it is not necessary to understand in order to fight for the party; even a young and uneducated boy can experience the emotions which are those of his blood. Norkus was also the subject of one of the most famous Nazi films, Hitler Junge Quex, first shown to Hitler in 1933. This boy became, in a special manner, the hero and martyr of the Hitler Youth: they were charged with his cult. In the passage from his book, reproduced here, Ramlow, without mentioning Norkus himself, points to the general lessons to be learned from the life and death of the Nazi child saint.
We can only sample the schoolbooks used under the Nazis, but our selections are typical of the great many that were produced in this period. The story from the primer merely glorifies Hitler in a way understandable to very small children who have just learned to read, but the other books have a more direct ideological content. The parallel between the oak tree and character building derives from a popular series of readings for the lower grades. The middle and upper grades made much use of books of readings, and our two selections were among the most popular. Baldur von Schirach (b. 1907), the leader of the Hitler Youth, fancied himself a writer and poet. His story has two themes -- the exaltation of the common experience and the enthusiasm in a common cause -- and a symbolism in which the sun is linked with this experience and cause. For the Nazis the sun had a special meaning, which they took from a wider romantic and Germanic tradition: it was the sign of the heavens, the giver of light to which everything on earth wants to ascend and which links man with the cosmos. Baldur von Schirach's story for schoolboys exemplifies this kind of paganism and its fusion with the ideal of the community.
Otto Dietrich (b. 1897) was the press chief of the Reich, and as Hitler's publicity man had earlier accompanied him on his campaign trips. Dietrich's "stormy flight" appears in almost every book of readings for use in the schools. The moral needs no explanation, but as with the other stories, the constant parallel drawn between man and nature is striking. This was a favorite Nazi device, for it pointed to the "genuineness" of the emotions and the true rootedness of the ideology through which they were expressed. Here, once more, use was made of an older romantic tradition. Quite shrewdly, all of these readings appeal to the student's sense of adventure, now channeled into the Nazi party in the same manner as the activism of their elders.
The list of essay topics assigned to the various grades of a prestigious high school in 1935 was designed to reinforce the desired educational objective. The topics carry their own answers, allowing little room for original thought. The wars of liberation against Napoleon are to be seen through the eyes of the nationalist historian Erich Marcks and then related to the Third Reich. The Nibelungen saga, treated no doubt as a great national epic, is to be disentangled from the Christian elements which the nineteenth-century romantic Friedrich Hebbel had added on to it -- something which Richard Wagner had already repudiated. Walther von der Vogelweide was a medieval minnesinger who at times struck what could be regarded as a patriotic note. The sacrifice of the farmer's daughter in Hartmann von Aue's medieval "Poor Henry" could teach a sense of unconditional personal sacrifice. For this innocent girl had sacrificed herself for her master and through her act converted him from his vanity and evil ways. These themes were assigned at a private school near Bonn, but they could be duplicated elsewhere.
The schools were merely one part of the Nazi effort to direct youth. Ilse McKee shows us how much of the student's after-school time was taken up by party and related ideological activity. The Hitler Youth was central here, and Baldur von Schirach, its leader, explains its or ganization and ideals. This all-encompassing youth movement must have dominated the adolescent's life. The idea of service to the community runs through his book Die Hitler-Jugend (The Hitler Youth) (1934), from which this extract is taken. Moreover, Schirach is quite explicit about the political purpose of those group excursions which he had sentimentalized in his story for the book of readings. Equally important is what he has to say about the relationship of the Hitler Youth to family and school. The family, after all, was a "holy bond" the Nazis wanted to preserve, but Hitler Youth activity did take the student away from home. Schirach attempts a "division of service," but if the parents objected, in practice it was they who lost out and not the organization. We must in this respect remember the ideological differences between children and parents which came from Nazi indoctrination, and the abdication of so many parents which Oestreich describes. The clean division of functions between school and the Hitler Youth did not work out either; indeed, Schirach's book presents a good picture of what the teacher was up against. It also gives us the Third Reich's concept of the "ideal" teacher, while learning is once more subjected to the Nazi definition of character and leadership. Finally, this passage demonstrates the importance of youth to the party, the fear that the older generation might not prove reliable. For all that, the basic aims of the Hitler Youth and the school coincided: to form men and women who were reliable because of their ideal of service and belief in the Nazi world view.
The education of the racial elite, the SS, takes a boy from the Hitler Youth in his eighteenth year. Nothing is said about academic education; indeed his fitness is determined by his work in the Hitler Youth and not in school. Gunter d'Alquen was for a time the publisher of the official SS paper, Das Schwarze Korps (The Black Corps), and wrote his book on the SS, from which this extract is taken, at Himmler's command.
University students presented a special problem. They were not as easily impressed as their juniors, but they could be aroused by any emotional cause and once this happened they were not easy to deal with. Fortunately for the Nazis, they had made much headway among the students long before coming to power. Gerhard Kruger, the leader of the Nazi students' union, was elected president of the national student organization fully two years before Hitler became Chancellor. From 1933 on, all students were required to belong to this organization, and in its official journal, Der Deutsche Student, Kruger calls for a new kind of university community which will liquidate the liberal heritage. On this level also we can see anti-intellectualism at work, spurred on by the fear that students might come to consider themselves a privileged caste in a society in which only leader and Volk mattered. Thus service is stressed and the "socialism" in National Socialism is taken to mean the absence of privileged individuals in a community where only the battle for the Volk has meaning. The value of the individual is determined by how well he serves the Nazi state and such service cannot be based upon excellence of intellect alone (which is, in any case, dangerous, in that it leads to opposition).
This idea of service was made concrete through the students' duty to take part in the Labor Service (Arbeitsdienst) side by side with working-class or peasant youths. By performing manual work in the fields or on public-works projects, the university student became the equal of everyone else and himself realized that academic work did not provide the whole content of life. Like Michael, in Goebbels' novel (see page 104), he went out to the people at work. Werner Beumelburg (1899-1963) idealizes these work camps. He was well known as a writer of books dealing with experiences in the war and as a longtime enemy of the "weak" Weimar Republic. The criteria for admission to the University of Berlin show that scholastic attainment was only one of a number of conditions laid down to make sure that the prospective student possessed the proper Nazi character. Thus the student body which Kruger desired was guaranteed in advance. The admissions policy of the University of Berlin was followed throughout the Reich.
The all-encompassing world view was bound to have its effect upon faculty as well as students, for the university community was regarded as an organic whole. All members of faculties were required to join the National Socialist Association of University Lecturers (NSD Dozentenbund). Dr. Walter Schultze, who in 1939 addressed the first meeting of the members of scholarly academies who were also members of the Association, was a doctor of medicine. While he directed the public-health department of the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, more importantly he was the national leader of the Association from 1935 to 1943. His words in this extract, then, are official doctrine. What matters, in the last resort, is not the devotion to subject matter or the intensity of specialization, but the "binding ideology." Academic freedom is redefined. The Nazis' exploitation of traditional institutions is again prominent: externally, the organization of the university was not changed, the fraternity system was not abolished. But a new spirit was to reign -- the new man the Nazis desired to produce was the goal of their effort to transform university life. If the proper character and attitude were created from the elementary school upward, the outward forms of institutions would not matter at all. The victory of the "binding ideology" was primary: Nazi culture would solve all pressing questions, for the liberal age had ended. The reduction of individual ideas to generally held notions is the essence of ideology, and these notions were instilled into youth through the Nazi cultural drive. For Hitler the world view was basic and all other activities, including the Nazi party, were designed merely to activate this ideology (see page 7).
The Jew was the enemy of the new man who was to be formed through education, indeed his very opposite. Boys and girls were taught to recognize his racial characteristics at first glance (see page 80). The continual use of the Jew as an abstraction (Hitler once called him "a principle") robbed him of all individuality; he became the anti-type to the Aryan ideal. The list of alumni of the Kaiser-Friedrich Gymnasium of Frankfurt documents this fact and illustrates vividly the exclusion of Jews not only from the nation but also from the educational system which formed the members of the community. This excellent school faced a problem in the Third Reich, for it counted many Jews among its former students. What was to be done? The answer to this problem, so typical of Nazi Germany, was to transform individuals into abstract numbers. Thus the school could safeguard the purity of an educational system which, in many ways, was the test of whether the thousand-year Reich would be able to fulfill its millennium.
One morning, on the school steps, I heard a girl from my class tell another: "Hitler has just taken over the government." And the radio and all the newspapers proclaimed: "Now everything will improve in Germany. Hitler has seized the helm."
For the first time politics entered our lives. Hans at that time was fifteen years old; Sophie was twelve. We heard a great deal of talk about Fatherland, comradeship, community of the Volk, and love of homeland. All this impressed us, and we listened with enthusiasm whenever we heard anyone speak of these things in school or on the street. For we loved our homeland very much -- the woods, the great river, and the old gray retaining walls that rose on the steep slopes between groves of fruit trees and vineyards. We were reminded of the smell of moss, of soft earth and spicy apples, when we thought of our homeland. And every square foot of it was well known and very dear to us. Fatherland -- what else was it but the greater homeland of all who spoke the same language and belonged to the same people! We loved it, but were hardly able to say why. Until that time we had never lost many words over it. But now it was written large, in blazing letters in the sky. And Hitler, as we heard everywhere, Hitler wanted to bring greatness, happiness, and well-being to this Fatherland; he wanted to see to it that everyone had work and bread; he would not rest or relax until every single German was an independent, free, and happy man in his Fatherland. We found this good, and in whatever might come to pass we were determined to help to the best of our ability. But there was yet one more thing that attracted us with a mysterious force and pulled us along -- namely, the compact columns of marching youths with waving flags, eyes looking straight ahead, and the beat of drums and singing. Was it not overwhelming, this fellowship? Thus it was no wonder that all of us -- Hans and Sophie and the rest of us -- joined the Hitler Youth.
We were in it heart and soul, and could not understand why our father did not happily and proudly say "yes" to it all. On the contrary, he was quite opposed to it and on occasions he would say: "Don't believe them; they are wolves and wild beasts, and they are frightfully misusing the German people." And on occasions he compared Hitler with the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who enticed the children with his pipe to follow him into perdition. But Father's words were lost in the wind and his attempts to hold us back came to naught in the face of our youthful enthusiasm.
We went with our comrades of the Hitler Youth on long hikes and rambled in wide sweeps through our homeland, the Swabian Alps.
We marched long and strenuously, but we did not mind; we were much too enthusiastic to admit fatigue. Wasn't it wonderful suddenly to have something in common, a bond with other young people whom otherwise we might never have come to know? In the evenings we met at the den, and someone would read, or we sang, or played games and did craft work. We heard that we should live for a great cause. We were taken seriously, and indeed in a very special way, and that gave us a special buoyancy. We believed ourselves to be members of a great, well-ordered organization which embraced and esteemed everybody from the ten-year-old boy to the adult man. We felt we were part of a process, of a movement that created a people out of a mass. Certain matters that seemed senseless or left us with a bad taste would eventually adjust themselves -- or so we believed. One day, after a long bike tour, as we were resting in our tents under an immense starry sky, a fifteen-year-old classmate said to me unexpectedly: "Everything would be fine -- but this business about the Jews, I can't swallow that," The girl leader said Hitler must know what he was doing and that for the sake of the greater cause one had to accept what seemed to be difficult and incomprehensible. But the other girl was not entirely satisfied with this answer; others agreed with her and suddenly one could hear in them the voices of their parents. It was a restless night in the tent, but eventually we became too tired to stay awake. And the next day was indescribably beautiful and full of new adventures. For the time being, the talk of the night before was forgotten.
In our groups we held together like close friends. The comradeship was something very beautiful.
Hans had assembled a collection of folk songs, and his young charges loved to listen to him singing, accompanying himself on his guitar. He knew not only the songs of the Hitler Youth but also the folk songs of many peoples and many lands. How magically a Russian or Norwegian song sounded with its dark and dragging melancholy. What did it not tell us of the soul of those people and their homeland!
But some time later a peculiar change took place in Hans; he was no longer the same. Something disturbing had entered his life. It could not be the remonstrances of his father -- no, because to them he simply played deaf. It was something else. His songs were forbidden, the leader had told him. And when he had laughed at this, they threatened him with disciplinary action. Why should he not be permitted to sing these beautiful songs? Only because they had been created by other peoples? He could not understand it, and this depressed him, and his usual carefree spirit began to wane.
At this particular time he was given a very special assignment. He was to carry the flag of his troop to the party's national rally at Nuremberg. He was overjoyed. But when he returned we hardly dared trust our eyes. He looked tired, and on his face lay a great disappointment. We did not expect an explanation, but gradually we learned that the youth movement which there had been held up to him as an ideal image was in reality something totally different from what he had imagined the Hitler Youth to be. There drill and uniformity had been extended into every sphere of personal life. But he had always believed that every boy should develop his own special talents. Thus through his imagination, his ingenuity, his unique personality, each member could have enriched the group. But in Nuremberg everything had been done according to the same mold. There had been talk, day and night, about loyalty. But what was the keystone of all loyalty if not to be true to oneself? ... My God! There was a mighty upheaval taking place in Hans.
One day he came home with another prohibition. One of the leaders had taken away a book by his most beloved writer, Stellar Hours of Mankind by Stefan Zweig  It was forbidden, he was told. Why? There had been no answer. He heard something similar about another German writer whom he liked very much. This one had been forced to escape from Germany because he had been engaged in spreading pacifist ideas.
Ultimately it came to an open break.
Some time before, Hans had been promoted to standard-bearer. He and his boys had sewn themselves a magnificent flag with a mythical beast in the center. The flag was something very special: it had been dedicated to the Fuhrer himself. The boys had taken an oath on the flag because it was the symbol of their fellowship. But one evening, as they stood with their flag in formation for inspection by a higher leader, something unheard-of happened. The visiting leader suddenly ordered the tiny standard-bearer, a frolicsome twelve-year-old lad, to give up the flag. "You don't need a special flag. Just keep the one that has been prescribed for all." Hans was deeply disturbed. Since when? Didn't the troop leader know what this special flag meant to its standard-bearer? Wasn't it more than just a piece of cloth that could be changed at one's pleasure?
Once more the leader ordered the boy to give up the flag. He stood quiet and motionless. Hans knew what was going on in the little fellow's mind and that he would not obey. When the high leader in a threatening voice ordered the little fellow for the third time, Hans saw the flag waver slightly. He could no longer control himself. He stepped out of line and slapped the visiting leader's face. From then on he was no longer the standard-bearer.
From Inge Scholl, Die weisse Rose (Frankfurt: Verlag der Frankfurter Hefte,. 1961), pp. 10-15. (Reprinted by permission.)
1. Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), the popular essayist and novelist, was both a liberal and a Jew.
Youth was -- and still is -- helpless. Its "leaders" have deceived it and it has been abandoned by its parents. How hopeless, how despairing were all discussions about the education of youth in these ten years! A wornout idealist, the former democratic Minister of Public Education of Saxony, Richard Seyfert, in 1933 accomplished the feat of writing an article about the good fortune of the school in the National Socialist state, where now, freed from all party politics, it could finally devote itself exclusively to its specific educational tasks. A blind man who betrayed himself -- and democracy and the people!
And the parents! They had eyes only for the "happiness" of their children -- the better ones for the "youth-happiness" of painless growth, the more "normal" ones for their careers. Thus one group kept its thoughts and ideals locked up from their children, so as not to endanger them; the others literally drove their children into complete surrender to the Nazi organizations, since without membership in any of them nobody could hope to acquire education, an apprenticeship, the opportunity for higher studies or a career as an official. A pathological desire for uniforms and insignia infected a youth that formerly had always been idealistic and "revolutionary." These young people now played "old," they assumed military attitudes and arrogance, they advanced in rank and affected an NCO jargon of the oldest vintage -- in short, they became "un-young" in every fiber of their being. They were trained for spy work, denunciation, and terror. And the parents (since the teachers had been reduced to mere functionaries, for whom to have conscience was accounted a crime) looked on, shuddering and lamenting only in silence. They neglected the most elementary parental duty of exemplary living and of giving their children true information. In their opinion it was not endurable for their tender children to live painfully in a zone of disagreement between family and state (school). In reality, these parents were too cowardly, too incompetent, too stupid to solve, or even to attack, the problem of education -- namely, to put their children squarely in the polar field of life, to develop their ethical understanding through insight into the tragedy of existence and a sense of decision regarding it. Thus they retired into resignation and passivity-and let the children go their own way, barely seeing to it that in the civic and military spheres at least they would grow up unburdened with guilt. The great majority of this youth has grown up abandoned, betrayed, lonesome, and without true parents! No wonder that it permitted "its leaders" to goad it into opposing "old-fashioned" parents and outstripping them. Millions of families experienced deep cleavages, misunderstandings, even open enmity. The Hitler cult subverted the family, while it exalted the clan and presented awards to prolific mothers as if to so many armament workers. Never before had the parental ethos been left to dance so pathetically on the surface of things. After the collapse of military robotry, this youth, with great pain and in deep anger, but also with great joy, will first have to rediscover all the profusion and beauty of a past that has been besmirched by the "mis-leaders." Only then will this youth be able to understand how great was the wrong that was done to us who fought and suffered for the right of youth to enjoy depth and freedom of thought as a total responsibility wan in knowledge and struggle. The slaughter of Jews was augmented by the murder of many thousands of old, incurably sick, and mentally disturbed people. As in all other phases of life, so in the sphere of charitable activity, all true love, all reverence, even the awe of death, was ground to dust under the heels of SA and SS boots. A "cleanly" functioning "welfare" apparatus that embraced everyone, was no longer in need of a soul. The youth also now know only institutions, uniforms, ranks, and -- as surrogate for true religion -- idolatry.
From Paul Oestreich, Aus dem Leben eines politischen Padagogen: Selbstbiographie (Berlin and Leipzig: Volk und Wissen Verlags Gmbh., 1947), pp. 92-94. (Reprinted by permission. )
After Hitler became Chancellor things began to change in Germany. Great provisions were being made for the working classes to ease their lot and improve their standard of living. New houses were being built everywhere and the old slums torn down. There was going to be work for everyone. Fewer and fewer unemployed men were hanging around the cigarette and beer kiosks down by the cinema, shouting, arguing, and drinking. People were wearing better clothes and could afford to buy sufficient food for their families.
Slowly the bait worked. Even those who had been rigidly against Hitler before now became ardent followers. The various youth clubs were closed down and the Hitler Youth organization took their place. Freemasonry was strictly forbidden. Old comrade and student organizations were taken Over by the party. There was hardly anything which was not N.S. ...
As the years went by the pressure on everyone who had not joined the party increased steadily. Those who did not join felt they were outcasts. At last, with a heavy heart and many doubts, Father let me join the Hitler Youth, and he became a member of the NSDAP himself. The fact that his nerves were bad and that he suffered from severe attacks of asthma protected him from any active service.
Things were quite different for me though. I, and all the other girls of my age, had to attend evening classes twice weekly. We had to be present at every public meeting and at youth rallies and sports. The week-ends were crammed full with outings, campings, and marches when we carried heavy packs on our backs. It was all fun in a way and we certainly got plenty of exercise, but it had a bad effect on our school reports. There was hardly ever any time now for homework.
The evening classes were conducted by young girls, usually hardly older than we were ourselves. These young BDM leaders taught us songs and tried desperately to maintain a certain amount of discipline without ever really succeeding. In summer, instead of conducting the class, they would give us a few hours' drill in the yard. We were marched up and down as if we were soldiers on the barrack square, with a girl leader barking orders at us like a regimental sergeant-major.
We were of course lectured a lot on National Socialist ideology, and most of this went right over our heads. In most cases the young girl leader did not know herself what she was talking about. We were told from a very early age to prepare for motherhood, as the mother in the eyes of our beloved leader and the National Socialist Government was the most important person in the nation. We were Germany's hope in the future, and it was our duty to breed and rear the new generation of sons and daughters who would carry on the tradition of the thousand-year-old Reich.
The boys' evening classes were run in exactly the same way and in the same building. Frequently we would all have to go to the auditorium, where some important personage would give a lecture On racial problems and the necessity of raising the birth-rate. He too would remind us of our duties as future fathers and mothers of the nation, and somehow I never managed to suppress a giggle when I looked at those spidery-legged, pimply little cockerels who were supposed to become the fathers of our children.
These lessons soon bore fruit in the shape of quite a few illegitimate small sons and daughters for the Reich, brought forth by teen age members of the BDM and conceived in the grounds of our Hitler Youth Home. The girls felt that they had done their duty and seemed remarkably unconcerned about the scandal. The possible fathers could be heard proudly debating as to who had done it, whenever there was a chance that the girls might be able to overhear.
I soon got tired of it all and frequently found some reason for excusing myself from the evening classes. My education took up more and more of my time now, and doing my homework was a far more satisfying occupation to my inquisitive mind. It also brought my school report up again to a decent level. That this attitude earned me the reputation of a shirker did not worry me much, as there were quite a number of other girls who did exactly the same....
During my third year at the grammar school a great change in the whole educational system took place. The nine years required to obtain the school certificate were reduced to eight. Every subject was now presented from the National Socialist point of view. Most of the old lecture books were replaced by new ones which had been written, compiled, and censored by government officials. Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf became the textbook for our history lessons. We read and discussed it with our master, chapter by chapter, and when we had finished we started again from the beginning. Even though we were supposed to know the contents of the book almost by heart nothing much ever stuck in my mind. I hated politics and distrusted politicians, but I thought, as most people did, that Hitler was far above intrigue and perfidy and would prove to be the saviour that Germany needed. Even so I found his book dull and boring. Rosenberg's The Mythos of the Twentieth Century, which the majority of thinking Germans regarded as a bad joke, was the next most important book to Mein Kampf. A new subject, the science of the races, was introduced, and religious instruction became optional.
Our school had always been run on very conservative lines and I am sure the situation was difficult for our teachers. Most of them had been doubtful about Hitler, but unless they wanted to lose their jobs they had to make a violent turn in his direction. Even if they sympathized with my attitude towards politics, they could not afford to let me get away with it. Some of the children in each class would not hesitate to act as informers. The Government was probing into the past history of every teacher, exploring his political background. Many were dismissed and it was dangerous to act as anything but a National Socialist.
Once I attended one of the big youth rallies. It was held at Weimar. As I should have to stay away from home for two or three days my father was reluctant to let me go. I was only thirteen, too young in his opinion to go anywhere without the protection of at least one parent, and he had not much faith in our young girl leaders who were to look after us. I promised that I would be very careful in every respect, and he finally gave in.
We were taken to Weimar by coach. Rooms had been booked for us beforehand in private households. I was accommodated by a very nice elderly couple, who seemed delighted to have me and treated me like a daughter. Early the next morning the coach picked me up at my billet to take me, along with all the other girls, to the stadium.
This was such an immense place that most of it was out of our range of view and we could see what was happening only in our own section. Many bands made their ceremonial entry into the great arena and marched round, each one with its own special military appeal. But the one I shall never forget consisted of about twenty-four young boys whose performance was so awe-inspiring that every time they marched past there was a hush. This band was called "The Drums."
The actual drums were very long, reaching from the waist to the knee, and they made an uncanny sound, hollow and threatening, as the boys beat them to the rhythm of the quick march. There was something symbolic about them. The monotony of the low-pitched beat, following the same pattern of rhythm over and over again, made me involuntarily think of doom.
These drum bands were meant to remind us of the drummer boys of hundreds of years ago, who had marched into battle ignoring the wounds they received, drumming until they fell and died. Their unlimited courage was meant to be an example for us throughout our lives....
While the bands played, the gymnasts marched in. The boys, who were dressed in black P.T. kit, formed themselves into the shape of a giant swastika on the arena floor; then the girls, in white P.T. kit, formed a circle around the swastika of boys. Next the gymnasts started to perform, accompanied by appropriate music blaring from the various loudspeakers, and all the while they kept their formation as a gigantic black swastika in a white circle.
Races followed later and, during a sixty-minute break, girls in white dancing dresses performed folk- dances round the maypoles. Then there were mare races, followed by a P.T. demonstration given by the younger age group of which I was a member. For this we wore black shorts and white sleeveless vests, and were rather cold. When it came to the prize-giving we were too far away to see anything and too worn out to bother to listen to the results which were announced over the loudspeakers.
To conclude, the boys and girls once more formed the swastika. The area Hitler Youth leader gave a speech and when he had finished we stood at attention at the salute and sang the Hitler Youth song.
Finally the leader stepped forward and shouted: "Adolf Hitler." We replied: "Sieg, Heil! Sieg, Heil! Sieg, Heil!" We yelled these words with all the strength our lungs could muster, and they sounded enormously powerful.
From Ilse McKee, Tomorrow the World (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1960), pp. 7-9,11-15. (Reprinted by permission.)
"What good is a boy," said the Inspector of National Political Educational Institutions, SS Senior Group Leader Heissmeyer, "who is endowed with great intellectual gifts but who for the rest is a weak, hopelessly irresolute, and slack fellow? We have in mind the ideal of the lively youngster who comes from good parents with hereditary virtues, who is physically sound, full of courage, and brings with him spiritual exuberance and alertness."
From the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, Dec. 30, 1941. (Wiener Library Clipping Collection.)
We German educators must rid ourselves altogether of the notion
that we are primarily transmitters of knowledge. A coming clash of
arms will be the test of whether the German teaching profession has
become a useful member of the German people in the Third Reich.
1. Physical education is a fundamental and inseparable part of National Socialist education.
2. The aim and the content of education follow from the National Socialist world view, which sees the conserving and driving forces of the nation in the Volk community, readiness to bear arms, race- consciousness, and leadership.
National Socialist education is oriented toward the people and the state. It grasps man in his totality in order to make him able and ready to serve the community of the people through the development of all his powers -- of the body, the soul, and the mind.
3. In the training of youth in the schools, physical education, within the framework of education as a whole, is of the greatest importance.
Physical education has not been placed on the curriculum merely for the purpose of training the body. Rather, it is a training on the basis of the body, or through the body, that is to say, it reaches out to young people where they are most easily educable: in gymnastics, in play, in sport, in movement.
4. Volk, defense, race, and leadership also serve as guidelines for the structuring of physical education, which accordingly has a fourfold goal:
a) Physical education is education in community. By demanding obedience, coordination, chivalrous conduct, a comradely and manly spirit from the lads in the classroom, in the section, and in the squad without regard to person, it trains them in those virtues which constitute the foundations of the Volk community.
b) Physical education leads the growing man, through the systematic development of his innate instincts for movement, games, and competitive struggle, to the practice of physical accomplishment and to militant engagement of self. Thus it creates the physical and psychic foundations for the ability to defend oneself and for a healthy utilization of leisure time in adulthood.
c) Physical education develops and forms body and soul, as the carriers of the racial heritage, through physical exercises rooted in Volkdom. Through habituation to sports it creates healthy views concerning physical beauty and efficiency. It awakens and demands in the individual and in the community the consciousness of the worth of one's Own race and thereby places itself in the service of racial eugenics.
d) Physical education demands from the youngster courage and self-discipline as well as independent and responsible conduct in the community of sport. Thus it creates the possibility of recognizing and fostering talent for leadership in the process of selection. Physical education is education in will and character.
5. Militant accomplishment stands in the center of physical education -- not as the end purpose of education but as a means.
It must keep pace with the physical and spiritual development of the young people and their capacity for accomplishment, starting out first from the unconscious and then leading to competition through consciously trained movement.
Good form is the result and the external expression of good accomplishment. The set forms of the drill-like exercises for the purposes of examination and inspection are not compatible with the aims of physical education in the school. Likewise during performances within or outside the school the number of demonstrations should be kept to the necessary minimum.
From Richtlinien fur die Leibeserziehung in Jungenschulen (Berlin: Weidmann'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1937), pp. 7-8.
The goal of our education is the formation of character.
We don't intend to educate our children into becoming miniature scholars.... Until now we have transmitted to them too much knowledge and too little of human nature.
The real values resting in the German child are not awakened by stuffing a great mass of knowledge into him....
Therefore, I say: Let us have, rather, ten pounds less knowledge and ten calories more character!
From Hans Schemm spricht: Seine Reden und sein Werk, edited by G. Kahl-Furthmann (Gauleitung der Bayerischen Ostmark, Hauptamtsleitung des national-sozialistischen Lehrerbundes; Gauverlag Bayerische Ostmark, 1935), pp. 175-178.
The National Socialist philosophical revolution has replaced the illusory image of a cultivated personality with the reality of the true German man, whose stature is determined by blood and historical fate. It has substituted for the humanistic conception of culture, which had continued in vogue up to very recently, a system of education which developed out of the fellowship of actual battle.
From Erziehung und Unterricht in der hoheren Schule (Amtliche Ausgabe des Reichs- und Preussischen Ministeriums fur Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung; Berlin: Weidmann'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1938), p. 12.
Teachers are directed to instruct their pupils in "the nature, causes, and effects of all racial and hereditary problems," to bring home to them the importance of race and heredity for the life and destiny of the German people, and to awaken in them a sense of their responsibility toward "the community of the nation" (their ancestors, the present generation, and posterity), pride in their membership in the German race as a foremost vehicle of hereditary Nordic values, and the will consciously to cooperate in the racial purification of the German stock.
Racial instruction is to begin with the youngest pupils (six years of age) in accordance with the desire of the Fuhrer "that no boyar girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity."
World history is to be portrayed as the history of racially-determined peoples. The racial idea leads to the rejection of democracy or other "equalizing tendencies" (specified as pan-Europa or international civilization) and strengthens understanding for the "leadership idea."
From an order of the Minister of Education, Dr. Bernhard Rust, for all German schools. The Times (London), Jan. 29, 1935. (Wiener Library Clipping Collection.)
"I want to tell you a story, and 1 want you all to listen carefully. There is one in our circle who in bitter and lonely hours has begun to understand what Labor Service really means, and who seriously searches herself to determine whether she is capable of this service to her people. She knew from the first that this service would involve sacrifices, as does all service to the community.
"But she was not satisfied with that. Once she had made her decision, she began in her heart to fight the same battle for all her companions. Her only desire was that they, like herself, would become willing to pass through such times with open eyes and clear decisions.
"At first I did not wish to see the necessity of extending responsibility to a whole wide circle of people. Now you have convinced me by your own words: we must all be an indissoluble community! The individual can no longer be left to do or not to do as he or she pleases, unless we want to place obstacles in the path to our common goal.
"It may happen that one has not been received like the rising sun and now finds it comfortable and soothing to withdraw in a sulk to one's own little chamber, to nurse one's holy wounded feelings and say, 'You don't need to count on me any longer. 1 don't care a hoot and a holler about the whole thing.' Or because one's tender sensitivity has been offended by one thing or another, to spoil the joy of creative achievement for a whole group. Far better would it be to grit one's teeth, to realize that one has taken on duties and obligations, and that one must prove with every act that one is worthy to be a member of our community."
There was a hushed silence among the girls while Elisabeth was speaking. Finally Trude, the factory worker, came to her and said in a loud voice: "You're a terrific girl! It's quite true that most of us never really thought out what all this means: Labor Service and Volk community. I too came here only to escape the numbing loneliness of sitting around the house. What you said about a deeper understanding of our purpose and a sense of duty toward each other, I have never known before."
"But it must be so when Elisabeth says it's so. After all, yesterday she also wanted to help us with her harmonica playing."
"Yes indeed, and today she really put it on the line for us." Marthe was obviously deeply satisfied.
"It's right that one of us should have spoken out," said Kate, who hailed from Rastenburg. "What we need is not heavenly illusions which burst at the first trial like so many soap bubbles, but a solid idealism...."
Now, after the evening meal, Elisabeth, at the insistence of many of the girls, ran upstairs to the dormitory to get her harmonica, so that the group could sing some jolly songs together. In the golden light of the setting sun streaming through the windows, she found Gabriele sitting on the edge of her bed, staring through the window down onto the red-gold waters of the lake. Somewhat surprised, but with her customary graciousness, Elisabeth told her comrade that it was time to come down, for the rest of the girls were already assembled.
Gabriele's eyes began to flash sparks of passionate anger. "I don't want to!" she shouted. "I can't stand so many girls sitting around together!"
For a moment Elisabeth was utterly perplexed. Then she said quietly -- but her voice echoed in the large room: "You will just have to force yourself, my dear Gabriele. You must realize that there's no longer a way back for you. You should have thought these things out earlier."
"But I didn't come here of my own free will. I was forced to!"
"That is a serious matter," said Elisabeth quietly, aware that for the moment she could offer no help, since obviously there were matters involved here which she could not understand.
"Whatever it is, it can't be changed now. But you should try. Come, show a little pep. How shall I ake it clear to you? Just make yourself realize that the great circle of which you are afraid, or which you cant' stand, is in actuality composed of many individual members. And believe me, each of them has to face her own fate in her own way. You must know that today each of us will talk about her own life. That should definitely get rid of all feelings of strangeness between us."
"Even that I could never do -- lay myself bare to everybody," Gabriele stammered. "Please, understand, I just can't."
"Ah, dear, foolish Gabriele, nobody asks you to," Elisabeth scolded her in a friendly fashion. "Of course, each of us has to keep a little part of herself. We don't need to give up every part of ourselves entirely to the community, but we should strive with all our energies to become rooted in it. But that you deliberately would try to set yourself apart from our community, that I simply can't permit under any circumstances!" And so saying she pulled the still hesitating girl up and took her arm. "In the name of all!" she added forcefully.
Thereupon they went downstairs to the others.
From Lucie Alexander, Unser der Weg: Vom Kampf der Jugend unserer Tage (Berlin: Verlag Hans Wilhelm Rodiger, 1935), pp. 47-51.
The National Socialist movement, whose purpose was to encompass the whole people in order to establish a Reich, could not but sweep the youth along with it. To be National Socialist, there was no need for the youth to know the twenty-five points of the party program by heart, or indeed to know them at all. Because National Socialism is not simply a party slogan but a world view, a life attitude, therefore a little ten-year-old Hitler Youth can be just as much a good exponent of the movement as a high-ranking leader of the SA.
The youngster who out of an innate Volk sensibility loves his homeland and his fatherland, who, through this love and his feeling for our common language, feels an unconscious bond with those who are of the same tribe, with his people -- he is no less a national German than the grown man who has consciously used this feeling as a guide to his conduct.
In the lad of the same age marching beside him in the same uniform, each youngster recognizes the comrade, the equal part of the fellowship in which they both march. He knows that it makes no difference how much the fathers of the boys earn, or whether they live in a one-room or an eight-room apartment. He understands that his comrade in the same file is entitled to an equal part of whatever his own thoughtful mother has prepared for him to take along on the hike. He knows that for whatever he does or does not do, not only he himself but the whole community of his comrades is responsible, that the energies of his body and spirit belong to everyone of his companions as much as to himself. And if ever he should fall into the temptation to look out for himself rather than for his comrades, his guilty conscience would give him no rest, even if he was formally in the right.
The youngster who feels and acts in this manner, consciously, yet not necessarily from well-thought- out motives -- that youngster is a socialist. To maintain comradeship is equivalent to active socialism.
The foremost task of the Hitler Youth is to plant the concept of national comradeship, this national socialism, into the heart of the German youth. Hence its formation was necessary. The movement had to close ranks if it wanted to be victorious. It needed a storm troop of youths, ready to carryon the battle under the same slogans and under the same Fuhrer as the troops of the adults, the SA and SS.
From Rudolf Ramlow, Herbert Norkus? -- Hier! Opfer und Sieg der Hitler-Jugend (Berlin: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1933), pp. 90-91.
Far from our homeland, our Fuhrer Adolf Hitler has a beautiful villa. It is located high up in the mountains and is surrounded by an iron fence. Often many people who would like to see and greet the Fuhrer stand in front of it.
One day the Fuhrer came out once again and greeted the people in a very friendly way. They were all full of jay and jubilation and reached out with their hands to him.
In the very first rank stood a little girl with flowers in her hands, and she said in her clear child's voice: "Today is my birthday."
Thereupon the Fuhrer took the little blond girl by the hand and walked slowly with her through the fence and into the villa. Here the little girl was treated to cake and strawberries with thick, sweet cream.
And the little one ate and ate until she could eat no more. Then she said very politely: "1 thank you very much!" and "Good-by." Then she made herself as tall as she could, put her little arms around the Fuhrer's neck, and now the little girl gave the great Fuhrer a long, long kiss.
From Fibel fur die Grundschule, im Bezirk Dusseldorf, edited by Wilhelm Brinkman and Paul Rossing (Gutersloh: Druck und Verlag von C. Bertelsmann, 1935), pp. 67-68.
Can you see the oak tree over there atop the bald hill?
Proudly the strong trunk carries the mighty crown. Centuries have passed over it. Legend tells us that he Swedes, as early as the first of the world wars, which they call the Thirty Years' War, used its gnarled branches as gallows. Six men are not able to encompass the mighty trunk with their arms. When, about forty years ago, a terrible hurricane felled hundreds of giant trees in this vicinity like so many matchsticks, the oak tree stood straight and strong through the howling storm and the foul weather.
Where do you think this giant among trees draws its mighty strength?
The mystery is not too difficult to fathom. From its earliest youth this oak tree had to depend on itself. Free and without protection, it stood on its lonely height. It had to defend itself, to hold its own in the battle against wind and water and weather! In summer and winter the storms blew through its crown and bent its trunk until its very roots groaned and moaned.
But that was precisely what made this tree so enormously strong. The wilder the foul weather that fell upon its branches, the stronger did the tree defend itself against the attacker, the deeper the brown roots dug into the soil. The tree had no time for idle rest. Above it stood the law of motion, of survival, of self-defense, of necessity. The tree was a fighter from the beginning.
May this oak tree, German youth, be a picture of yourself. You should be like it! Sound and strong and stately, of tough strength and noble marrow. And it can teach you the secret of its deep strength too. Don't you hear what the leaves up there whisper to you? "Fight! Struggle!" they whisper. "Temper your strength! Then you will become like me. Never back out of a battle! Grow with the obstacles. What does not break you will make you stronger."
And now, German child, come with me into the great forest and hearken to its voices. It too knows the secret of its strength and its powerful life. Listen! Listen to its dialogue with the booming northeast wind that falls crashing into its crowns. There is no asking for mercy. There is only challenge and the joyful certainty of victory:
German boy! German maid! This is spoken for you. You also should temper your strength in battle. Rest will make you rusty. Stay-at-homes are pale and bloodless. Their muscles are slack and their minds dim and joyless.
You do not want that! Well, then come with us into the open to the ever-flowing springs of noble joys and true strength. They are called light, air, sun, and water. Come, join us! You will experience wonders. Your tired eye will have a new sparkle. Your pale cheeks will become fresh and red again. Your sluggish blood will flow with fresh movement, your muscles will gain new sap and strength.
From a series of "class reading matter for the New German School": Die Schule im Dritten Reich. No. 59: Deutsche Jugend, gesund und stark! (Berlin: JugendzeitschriftenVerlag Heinrich Beenken, n.d.), pp. 9-10.
One day they marched again. Again the flag waves at the head of the column. Over forest trails, still soft with the rain of the night, they go as far as the main road. There one can see how hard it has rained. There are great puddles. It is not exactly the best road for a marching column. But nobody gives it a thought. The woods, showing the first green of spring, are echoing with songs. Then, during a pause in their own singing, they hear a disembodied sound: "For us the sun never sets." They hearken to it as they march along. The song becomes louder, and they can hear by the voices that the singers are girls. Now they can see them: a long column of the BDM comes marching toward them. Above them too flutters a pennant. It comes ever closer in solid route step. Now, of course, the boys have to show that they can march even better: their boots clang and slap on the road to the rhythm of their marching and the water from the puddles splashes and squirts in every direction. But what of it! ... Now both columns come to a halt. The girls have been on their march for several days. And they look it too! But their faces beam. For many of the smallest ones this is the first great march. The girls' leader tells how they were surprised yesterday by the cloudburst, but how even the small ones did not lose their spirits, and how even the ten- and eleven-year- aids in the midst of the rain had begun to sing: "For us the sun never sets."
That is what they sing today, in joyful scorn and from an inner impulse: "For us the sun never sets." It is the great German "Nevertheless" that rises up here and represents the overcoming of the Ego. Only common experience can bring something like this into being.
The sun breaks through. The youth leader orders a rest. The boys take out their sandwiches. The girls sit down at the edge of the road. The standards of the boys' and girls' troops are raised side by side. The spring wind blows strongly through the morning.... Already the march is about to resume, in different directions, in rank and file, boys as well as girls. Then the leader calls them once more together in a circle:
"Fall in around the standard...."
A pledge to the flag, a holy oath, the song of youth: "Forward, forward, shout the shining fanfares," and then the march into the bright spring morning continues. Soon the girls can no longer be seen. But from the high woods resounds the echo of their song:
"For us the sun never sets."
As if the song itself had brought it fresh strength, the sun has fought its way into the clear sky and now shines radiantly. The steaming woods draw fresh breath. What has just been gray rain now appears in the light of the spring sun as multi-colored dew. The "Nevertheless" was victorious here, as it always is when expressed and lived with full strength.
This strength of the "Nevertheless" the German boy can make his own when he follows the directions of the Fuhrer, who has assigned him the task "to be slim and slender, quick like a greyhound, tough like leather, and hard like Krupp's steel."
From the textbook Neubau des Deutschunterrichts, edited by Wilhelm Rathrath. Vo1. IV: Das funfte und sechste Schuljahr: "Von der Heimat zur Nation" (Munster: Hein rich Buschmann Verlag, 1936), pp. 238-239.
On April 8, 1932, a severe storm, beyond all imagining, raged over Germany. Hail rattled down from dark clouds. Flash floods devastated fields and gardens. Muddy foam washed over streets and railroad tracks, and the hurricane uprooted even the oldest and biggest trees.
We are driving to the Mannheim Airport. Today no one would dare expose an airplane to the fury of the elements. The German Lufthansa has suspended all air traffic.
In the teeming rain stands the solid mass of the most undaunted of our followers. They want to be present, they want to see for themselves when the Fuhrer entrusts himself to an airplane in this raging storm.
Without a moment's hesitation the Fuhrer orders that we take off at once. We have an itinerary to keep, for in western Germany hundreds of thousands are waiting.
It is only with the greatest difficulty that the ground crew and the SA troopers, with long poles in their strong fists, manage to hold on to the wings of the plane, so that the gale does not hurl it into the air and wreck it. The giant motors begin to turn over. Impatient with its fetters, the plane begins to buck and shake, eager for the takeoff on the open runway.
One more short rearing up and our wild steed sweeps across the greensward. A few perilous jumps, one last short touch with earth, and presto we are riding through the air straight into the witches' broth.
This is no longer flying, this is a whirling dance which today we remember only as a faraway dream. Now we jump across the aerial downdrafts, now we whip our way through tattered clouds, again a whirlpool threatens to drag us down, and then it seems that a giant catapult hurls us into steep heights.
And yet, what a feeling of security is in us in the face of this fury of the elements! The Fuhrer's absolute serenity transmits itself to all of us. In every hour of danger he is ruled by his granite-like faith in his world-historical mission, the unshakable certainty that Providence will keep him from danger for the accomplishment of his great task.
Even here he remained the pre-eminent man, who masters danger because in his innermost being he has risen far above it. In this ruthless contest between man and machine the Fuhrer attentively follows the heroic battle of our Master Pilot Bauer as he steers straight through the gale, or quickly jumps across a whole storm field, and then again narrowly avoids a threatening cloud wall, while the radio operator on board zealously catches the signals sent by the airfields....
From Deutsches Lesebuch fur Volkschulen. Funftes und sechstes Schuljahr, Vol. VII (Gemeinschaftsverlag, Braunschweiger Schulbuchverleger, n,d.), pp. 365-366.
From a report for the school year 1935, Deutsches Kolleg (a private school), Bad Godesberg am Rhein, prepared by the director, Dr. Hans Berendt.
National Socialism recognizes only National Socialist forms of organization, which are structured on the basis of our world view in the same way as are all other institutions of our movement. Organization is not just a haphazard collection of people. Rather, as the term itself implies, it is something that is organic, something fully grown. Organization is the concrete form of our world view.
In the National Socialist organization we must perceive the idea which has given it form. The idea must have the same relation to organization as an artistic concept has to the form in which it is expressed....
The Hitler Youth knows no superiors, only leaders.
The leader is not a private individual who just happens to direct a youth organization from eight to six. His is more than an occupation; it is a calling. He cannot leave his task in the evening like an office worker, for he himself is a part of the task. He is committed far beyond his office hours. National Socialist leadership consists not in insignia, stars, and braids worn on the uniform, but rather in the constant dedication to that accomplishment for which stars and braid are only a token of recognition. The HJ (Hitler-Jugend) leader owes it to his followers to set them an example; he must lead a National Socialist life. He does not need to be physically stronger than the youths he leads, but he should be the strongest of his unit in terms of spiritual and character values. The structure of the HJ is such that the HJ leader cannot simply sit on a throne; he must be a comrade among comrades. His followers should look up to him not because his authority comes from above, but because it is based on the quiet superiority that derives from self-restraint.
A single will leads the Hitler Youth. The HJ leader, from the smallest to the largest unit, enjoys absolute authority. This means that he has the unrestricted right to command because he also has unrestricted responsibility. He knows that greater responsibility takes precedence over the lesser one. Therefore he silently subjects himself to the commands of his leaders, even if they are directed against himself. For him, as well as for the whole of young Germany, the history of the Hitler Youth is proof that even a fellowship of young people can be a success only when it unconditionally recognizes the authority of leadership. The success of National Socialism is the success of discipline; the edifice of the National Socialist youth is likewise erected on the foundation of discipline and obedience. The lesson of the period of the time of persecution likewise applies to the time of our victory and power. Thus the Jungvolk  youngster who at the age of ten enters the movement of Adolf Hitler soon learns to subordinate his own petty will to the laws which have built states and made whole nations happy, but the violation of which result, in the loss of freedom and the collapse of the Volk. As he grows older, he learns that discipline and subordination are not arbitrary inventions called into being by a few power-hungry men to safeguard their own personal position, but that they are, rather, the premises for his own and his nation's existence.
The great value of organization for a youth rests on this fact. Among those of his own age, and even in play, he acquires knowledge that will serve above all as a setting for adult life. And as he is instructed in discipline in a form in keeping with his mental faculties, he begins to understand that his own blind obedience gives the will of the group the possibility of success. Thus what is learned in early years by struggling with small tasks will later benefit the state in the fulfillment of its larger tasks....
Everywhere now new youth hostels of the National Socialist type have come into being. The HJ is aware not only of the great influence of education, but especially of the practical experience of life. If Ger man youth today takes hikes, it does not do so with a false and gushing sentimentality intoxicated with Nature, but even here it subordinates its action to a political purpose. German youth roams the countryside in order to know its fatherland and, above all, comrades in other parts of the Reich. Anyone who has experienced the German Volk community and has learned to appreciate his fatherland in this way, in terms of the National Socialist ideology, will be able, if called upon to do so, to defend this state with his life.
The deeper meaning underlying the idea of hostels is to get the youth of large cities away from the morally corrosive dangers of its environment and to show that there is a form of recreation which is more satisfying than movies and beer joints and which costs less money. Through the youth hostel movement, even the poorest children of our people are given a chance to know the homeland for which they may be called upon to stake their lives. They need no expensive hotel accommodations and for only a few pennies they can be housed in a beautiful and practical building in the most beautiful regions of their homeland. A youth which has learned to know its great fatherland in such a way will in later life have a much wider political horizon than that of the beer hall....
There are above all three forces which, in combination, determine the correct development of youth: the parental home, the school, and the Hitler Youth. The family is the smallest and at the same time the most important unit of our Volk community. It can never be the task of the HJ to interfere with the life of the family and with the work of the parents in bringing up their children. But neither should the parental home interfere with the work of the HJ. The HJ leader, however, should consider it his duty not only to maintain the best relations with the parents of the youngsters entrusted to him, but also to allow them every possible insight into the work of the organization. He must be ready to answer questions put to him by the parents of his young charges and should try to become the confidant of the family. Only that leader knows his young charges who also knows their fathers and mothers, their living conditions, their home, their joys and sorrows.
Every youth movement needs the spiritual cooperation of the parental home. If both parties attempt to undermine each other's authority, then there are wrong leaders at work. The parental home is in an even better position to give unqualified recognition to the service of the Hitler Youth, since this service supports the authority of the parents and does not impair it.
The HJ, especially in the last two years, has suffered from the fact that it did not have sufficient time for the fulfillment of its prescribed tasks. It is impossible for young workers to attend HJ service before eight in the evening. Thus students could not be assembled before this time either, since an earlier and separate assembly of students would have violated the spirit of the whole. But inasmuch as their service could not be continued into the early-morning hours, it was necessary to utilize every weekday evening and every Sunday. Such a situation is intolerable for two reasons: (1) the daily-attendance requirement disrupted family life and was the cause of inferior performances on the part of the youngsters during the day; (2) despite its efforts, the HJ did not have all the time it needed. On Sundays, consideration for the church frequently made it impossible to march out before noon. Further, in line with the agreement with the Evangelical Church, one evening a week and two Sundays each month had to be reserved. A decree of the Ministry of the Interior which stated that all juveniles had to be home by 8 P.M. could not be complied with because most employed youths were unable to do so, especially in localities where it took a young worker an hour or more to reach home after quitting work at 7 P.M. The decree was nullified by reality, coupled with the fact that the HJ in particular did not and could not abandon its principle that in some way time had to be found for the educational work of the state. No police regulations, however well-meaning, could change this situation. This could be done only by a new arrangement -- namely, the reservation of a full weekday for the purposes of the HJ. The plan for a State Youth Day provides for five work (or school) days for juveniles; a sixth day will be devoted exclusively to the HJ and its political education; and the seventh day, also exclusively, shall belong to the family. This arrangement, espoused by Reich Minister of Education Bernhard Rust, settled many difficulties which a continuation of the former situation would have created, particularly since the Reich youth leadership on its own decided that with the introduction of the State Youth Day, all weekday evenings, with the exception of Wednesday, should be exempt from service. Wednesday evening, which is traditionally the den evening of the HJ, will be an educational evening with a unified program prepared by the Reich youth leadership.
Thus the parental home can finally count on a definite division of service. The youth, however, has its own day, the day of the HJ, which it can devote to hiking and sports, a day in which it is led away from the schoolbench and workshop so that it may renew the living experience of its own time, the experience of comradeship.
Thus the relationship between youth organization and family is balanced to some degree. Jointly, both are helping to clarify for German youth its task and mission -- the parents by transmitting the lessons f their own lives to their children and by imbuing youthful hearts with the unique experience of German family life; the youth leadership by proclaiming and formulating the demands which National Socialism makes on Young Germany.
The school is education from above; the HJ that from below. In the school it is the teaching staff which educates; in the HJ it is the youth leadership. Obviously, within the school the authority of the teacher must be the highest authority. Equally obvious is the fact that the authority of the HJ leader is the highest authority outside of the school. If both parties scrupulously observe this distinction there can be no friction, particularly if both are also clearly aware that youth education is a unified whole in which both have to integrate themselves meaningfully. Without intending any criticism of the teaching profession, it must be said that a teacher, as such, should not, at the same time, also be an HJ leader. The fact that we also have several hundred teachers in the ranks of the HJ does not contradict this requirement. The HJ leadership comes from all walks of life; hence it also includes members of the teaching profession. But the Reich youth leadership does not as a matter of course recognize in any given teacher a greater aptitude for the office of youth leader than it does in any other Volk comrade. A teacher with special aptitude for youth work has the same possibilities for advancement within the HJ that are open to every other Volk comrade. His profession, however, does not give him a claim to youth leadership. Teaching and leadership are two fundamentally different matters. Even the most experienced and successful schoolmaster may be a complete failure in the leadership of a youth group, just as, on the other hand, an able HJ leader may be incapable of giving regular school instruction. The prerequisites of teaching, in addition to a natural calling, include a definite, planned training routine supervised by the state. The youth leader also is subjected to a certain educational routine, which must, above all, include practical activity within the youth movement. Beyond that, he must possess an ability that no teacher's seminar, no university, and no ministry of public education can give him -- namely, the ability to lead, which is inborn. This innate gift of leadership is crucial for the calling of youth leader. Whoever possesses it, whether teacher, peasant, or factory worker, can be employed in youth work. Unfortunately, many a teacher is of the opinion, among other things, that the right to youth leadership was bestowed on him along with his teacher's certificate, as it were. A fateful error! If by some oversight such a teacher should take over the leadership of a youth group, he would unconsciously falsify the meaning of the youth movement, because he would conceive of the youth organization simply as a continuation of scholastic instruction by different means. What for the youngsters is intended as marching and a serious hike then becomes a school outing, etc. All too easily, an office that obligates him to work with youth seduces a teacher into an erroneous self-estimation. He is apt to confound the authority bestowed on him as a teacher by the government with the other, innate authority of the leader. The end result is that the teacher and the youth are both disappointed; the teacher loses faith in himself and the youth loses faith in the idea. Such mistakes are hard to overcome, especially in the field of youth leadership. Hence it is far better to prevent such failures from the outset. Moreover, many a teacher has confirmed to me that a teacher who has a serious conception of the teaching profession would seldom be able to cope simultaneously with the responsibilities of educator and youth leader, since the work load would be much too great.
Moreover, the sociological structure of the Hitler Youth, in which the overwhelming majority are working youths, would confront a teacher who is an HJ leader with a social group altogether different from that which he had imagined from his work at school. The pedagogical qualifications which enable him to deal successfully with his own students within the HJ have no validity as soon as he is surrounded by apprentices from a wide variety of trades who have dropped out of school. And if at first he had presumed that he had to deal only with a school class dressed in uniform, he now becomes fully aware of the fact that the HJ, down to its smallest cell, represents the whole people.
The line of demarcation between school and the HJ cannot be drawn clearly enough. To be sure, the cooperation between youth leaders and teachers must be based on mutual confidence and comradeship. The more frequently that teacher and youth leader discuss the problems of the youths entrusted to their care, the better it will be not only for the school but also for the youth organization. A lazy student (and there are lazy students even in the HJ!) may frequently be more strongly motivated to do better work if his youth leader, after a conference with the teacher, exhorts him to do better, than would be the case if a warning came directly from the teacher. In this connection the following must be given special consideration: with the rise of the National Socialist youth movement, all schools today have classes that include leaders of the JV  and the Hitler Youth as well as of the BDM among its students. The teacher must exercise a great deal of tact in order to find the right tone in dealing with them. Naturally they are pupils just as much as the others in the class. Nevertheless, it is a different thing to reprimand a student who leads a youth group outside of school than to reprimand one who is nothing but a student. Here the teacher must always strive not to reduce unnecessarily the authority of a youth leader in front of his comrades. He should tell him privately what must be said to him in the interest of his education. And if he is unsuccessful, he should get in touch with the superiors of the particular youth leader rather than engage in a disputation with him before the whole class, which frequently will lead only to the psychologically understandable consequence that the Hitler Youth will close ranks against the teacher, because they are unable to distinguish clearly between a reprimand to the pupil and one to their youth-group leader. And if in the excitement of the moment a word should be uttered against the HJ, the confidence of the student body in the teaching staff is destroyed, and it is not easily reestablished. But the more a teacher strives to enter into the spirit and structure of the HI. the more success will he have. In my opinion, a teacher today must be willing to make the truly small sacrifice of attending this or that affair of the HJ, to show that he takes an interest in what his pupils are doing outside of school. So many teachers in Germany have in this way known how to establish psychological bonds between themselves and their students! But how many have made the mistake of turning their backs on the youth! The latter simply forget that in a higher sense youth is always right because youth carries within itself the new life. The inflexible adherence of such teachers to the olden times will only place them outside the new times, and they no longer will have any contact with youth and life.
In these times, the teacher is more necessary than ever. Like the youth leader, he has a great and magnificent task to perform for the sake of the young generation. Less than ever before should he be satisfied to close his books with the final bell and call it a day.
To be sure, youth has no particular respect for knowledge. It respects only the man. Whoever is a real man among the teachers will be able to make an exciting experience even out of the musty classroom. He who is not is beyond help. We can only hope that the breed which looked upon teaching only as a comfortable berth, and saw in the pupil only an unpleasant material that had to be worked, will oon die out. We all know men of this type, called "kettle-drummers" in popular usage. There are fewer of them every day. They can't stand the fresh air of the Third Reich, and as they vanish, the stalwart figures of our young teachers take their places. They, however, stand with both feet in the present, march in rank and file with their comrades in SA and PO,  and, like them, are the older comrades of the Hitler Youth.
The liberalistic era invented the horrible title of Head Director of Studies (Oberstudiendirektor). National Socialism will show us what a schoolmaster is.
The HJ is a corporate component of the NSDAP. Its task is to see that new members of the National Socialist movement will grow up in the same spirit through which the Party achieved greatness. Every movement that finds itself in the possession of political power runs the danger of being corrupted by opportunists. Even the National Socialist movement has had its difficulties with these "knights of expediency." In popular usage they are known as the "hundred-and-ten-percenters." These are people who for years have joined whatever political party was dominant, only to leave it at once when the star of political expediency began to wane. They have no interest in a world view nor the slightest spiritual impulse for their political decisions. Their only interest is the possibility of personal profit and advantage. It is obvious that on January 30, 1933, such types also thought they saw opportunities for personal gain in National Socialism. Aware as they are of their own inferiority, these people are always examining the actions of National Socialist leaders to see whether they might not perhaps glimpse a betrayal of the National Socialist idea. Such "followers" of National Socialism are a greater danger to the movement than its real enemies. The NSDAP protects itself from these creatures primarily through its youth organizations. Whoever at the age of ten or twelve joined the JV and until his eighteenth year belonged to the HJ has served such a long probation period that the National Socialist party can be certain of him as an utterly reliable fighter. The party has no other way of safeguarding its inner strength. In the period of struggle, every NSDAP member, by the very fact of belonging to the party, was subjected to sacrifice and persecution; whoever came to us in those years was motivated by his faith. Today membership in the NSDAP carries with it a certain prestige. Rightfully this prestige is even greater the longer the membership has lasted. Today everyone knows that the insignia of the Old Guard of the party are symbols of willing sacrifice and loyal collaboration in the National Socialist movement.
It may well be that our movement, even after January 30, 1933, won hundreds of thousands of loyal and indefatigable members -- but none of them, however eager, could any longer subject themselves to the probation of the period of struggle. It would be unjust to doubt whether any of them could prove his mettle if put to the test. The fact remains, however, that the old members, as lonely men, aligned themselves with a lonely Leader, while the new ones, in a chorus of millions, hailed the legal Commander-in-Chief of a nation. And it remains true that there are still men who would like to exploit a great, selfless idea for their personal advantage and to misuse the German freedom movement for their selfish purposes.
Thus, the National Socialist party seeks to increase its ranks from, among our youth -- from the mass of those who, like the old fighters of National Socialism, have in their early years sworn themselves to follow the flag out of faith and enthusiasm. Membership over a period of years in the HJ provides an opportunity for rightly judging a youngster's inclination and his worth to the community. Not every Hitler Youth necessarily becomes a member of the National Socialist party; membership in the HJ constitutes no title to later membership in the higher "order" of the movement. But whoever in his youth has unfailingly fulfilled his duty to the movement can be sure that on the day of the solemn and ceremonial graduation of youth into the NSDAP, on the ninth of November, the portals of the party will be opened to him.
It is hardly necessary to point out that harmonious cooperation between the NSDAP and the HJ is especially indispensable. The relations between the top leadership of the youth organization and the Reich leadership, as well as those of the regional leadership to the respective provincial National Socialist administration (Gauleitung), are imbued by the common will to further and strengthen the movement. Wherever difficulties arise, they will be quickly overcome by joint discussions. The close connection between the HJ and the political organization is clearly expressed in a regulation enacted by Dr. Ley  making it compulsory for political leaders to appoint a suitable HJ leader as their aide. Through this measure the PO purposes to acquaint a greater circle of HJ leaders, while they are still active in the HJ, with the scope of duties of political leaders and thereby secure a pool of candidates for political leadership. Thus thousands of HJ members have been ordered to serve as aides to political leaders for a one-year period. Even if they should later on devote themselves exclusively to youth work, the knowledge that they will have acquired in the course of their political activity will be of great and essential value for the relationship between youth and the party. On the whole, the Reich youth leadership strives to bring the individual HJ leader into the closest possible contact with other branches of the movement.
From Baldur von Schirach, Die Hitler-Jugend: Idee und Gestalt (Leipzig: Koehler & Amelang, 1934), pp. 66-69, 150·151, 165-179.
1 The Jungvolk was the branch of the Hitler Youth for boys aged ten to fourteen.
3 The Political Organization, or PO, was a subgroup of the Central Party Office (Reichsleitung) and several organizational groups were attached to it, such as the Nazi party cells in factories, the Nazi party women's organization, and the group of artisans and apprentices.
4. Robert Ley (1890-1945), since 1933 director of the Nazi Political Organization in the Reich and leader of the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront).
The development of the SS man is as follows: Once his aptness and suitability for the SS have been determined, the Hitler Youth, at the age of eighteen, becomes an SS applicant. On the occasion of the Reich Party Congress of that year, he will receive his identification as an SS candidate and will be enrolled as such in the SS. After a short probation period he will take the oath to the Fuhrer on November 9.
As an SS candidate, during his first year of service he must earn the military sports insignia and the bronze Reich sports insignia. Thereupon, at the age of nineteen or nineteen and a half -- depending on when his age group is enrolled -- he enters the Labor Service and, following that, the army.
After two additional years, he returns from military service, unless he decides to become an NCO candidate. On his return to the SS, he still remains an applicant for the time being. Before his final acceptance, he will undergo additional specialized ideological training, during which he will be specially instructed in the basic laws of the SS, particularly on compulsory marriage and the honor code of the SS. On November 9, following his return from armed service, and if all other prerequisites have been fulfilled, the applicant will then definitely be admitted into the Elite Guard.
Simultaneously, on November 9, he is given the right to wear the SS dagger and on that occasion he takes an oath that he and all his kin will always obey the basic laws of the SS. From this day on he has not only the right but the duty -- according to the law of the Elite Guard -- to defend his honor in conformity with the honor code of the Black Corps.
From Die SS: Geschichte, Aufgabe und Organisation der Schutzstaffeln der NSDAP, edited by Gunter d'Alquen (Berlin: Junker und Dunnhaupt Verlag, 1939), pp. 18-19.
The aim of the university during the period of classic liberalism was to develop as many all-round educated individuals as possible. The value of a man lay entirely within himself. The more complete and self-contained a personality was, the greater seemed its value for the further development and progress of all mankind. The widely held picture of the old Goethe represents the ideal of that time: to be poet, philosopher, natural scientist, and artist at the same time, to embrace all fields of human culture. In this connection, even his political activity had only one purpose, to lead this one valuable exemplar of man to an ever-increasing perfection and serenity. But it is worthy of notice that the Goethe who was thus idealized in the imagination of great numbers of people increasingly became a master of the joys of living and the pleasures of life.
Later this ideal found an entirely new formulation in the "higher man,." the superman of Friedrich Nietzsche -- even though this concept in many of its aspects, especially in its deliberate one-sidedness and exaggeration, already constituted the overcoming of the classic ideal of the human personality. Nietzsche also saw the value of mankind exclusively in its most rare and excellent examples, beside whom the rest appeared at best only as garbage or perhaps test material for a nature that was engaged in creating the Superman, and were no more than an abomination and nausea to the "higher man."
During the nineteenth century, the ideal of the harmonious man, as classic liberalism viewed it, gradually degenerated into the one-sidedness of specialists who no longer had any true connection with the community. Specialized education and the overrating of the intellect bred that "spiritualized" human whom nobody has characterized as trenchantly and as ironically as has Nietzsche, who countered him with the demand for a sound, healthy lust for life. The university bred the "brain man," the "instructor." The university itself, and with it its teachers and partly even its students, lost all relationship to the people and the state.
To this bourgeois ideal Marxism counterposed yet another, that of the proletarian, who likewise had no relationship to blood and soil. The class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat necessarily had to arise from the confrontation between these two ideals.
The liberal university cannot be absolved of the grievous political guilt of having sown the seed of this struggle through its scientific and educational ideal. And the student of the prewar period cannot be absolved of the guilt of never having instinctively rejected this education.
The student of that period was a privileged being by virtue of his education. He needed to serve only one year in the army. He had his special academic rights and his special attitudes. The feudalistic principles of a few corps  spread to all other student fraternities. According to the tradition of those corps the fraternity has only one task, to help its members develop their talents in keeping with classic liberalism. And here, too, as this ideal became all-embracing, the result was one-sidedness and progressive shallowness. Education became ever more external, increasingly and exclusively directed toward empty form and social manners.
It is the fault of the German student fraternities, despite their other merits, not to have perceived in time the danger of these developments for the totality of the life of our people. The result of this development was that German youth no longer found the way to German youth, nor the student to the worker, even though it is normally one of the most striking characteristics of youth to disregard entirely the disputes of the older generation.
Only National Socialism, which grew out of the life at the front during the war, could bring a change. How deep liberalism had impregnated our people, how deep the cleavage it had opened between bourgeois and proletarian, is best illustrated by the fact that National Socialism, despite the shattering experience of the war, needed nearly one and a half decades to prevail. But we must not believe that the enemy has been definitely defeated. If the Volk community is to become a reality, every generation must wrestle anew for the soul of the rest of the people.
To lay the foundation for this is the socialist task of education and of the educators, last but not least at the university level. The liberal university has not yet been entirely overcome; the majority of university teachers intellectually still represent the educational ideal of classic liberalism. The opposition between youth and university cannot be -- nor should it be -- overcome until the university has recognized its great political and socialist mission and is actively engaged in achieving it.
Our aim is to gather the student body into unified and serried ranks. The student body itself can fulfill its task only if this reconstruction is carried out in its own ranks with all severity and consistency. Even today anyone who in some way has obtained his qualification diploma can attend a university. The intellect is still the only yardstick for admission.
To be able to devote many years exclusively to the training of one's intellect and thereby to attain a higher position in life is a privilege which is granted to an individual by the state and which he must repeatedly strive for by special service to the people as a whole. Intellectual abilities are not the only standard for admission to university studies; rather, above all, the value of an individual for the people as a whole -- for the state. In the future we must no longer look upon it as merely a right, but also as a duty, to determine at frequent intervals to what extent the individual student fulfills these requirements. And in time our criteria will have to become ever more strict.
The fraternities and corps, as the educational communities in the universities, must recognize their specific task in this respect. Only in this way can they justify their existence. The prewar fraternity with its feudalistic principles has to be overcome. Belonging to a fraternity or corps must become a testimony to a new form and content of student life that is sharply disciplined and is carried on with the virile austerity of the soldier. The experience of the SA must have a continuous effect here. Only thus can the student fraternities -- freed from the stale romanticism of old Heidelberg -- become politically valuable and truly Volkish in character.
It is the task of the student body to participate in this renovation of the scholastic community. In some fraternities the first steps toward this development have already been taken. A new type of fraternity house must be created to serve as a center for the new community life. Perhaps the experiment that was tried in Freiberg, where students active in the leadership of the student movement were lodged in the same home with workers, can be carried further. It is an idea that originated in the students' Labor Service.
In the days since the National Socialist revolution, a great deal has been said about a Volk community and socialism, much of it by people who in their innermost being never understood the meaning and spirit of Adolf Hitler's National Socialism. These are mostly the same people who tried to have others believe that the revolution had come to an end with the Day of Potsdam? These are the same men who demanded of us students that we now should return from the political battle to the university and our studies. But the SA student, the political student, can and will never become apolitical, because the battle for the shaping of our people will never end. The SA student can and will never return to classrooms in which are taught subjects that are the product of liberalism, which, through this spirit and its exponents, stand in opposition to the will of the youth.
Socialism has not yet become a reality simply because a socialist-dominated government has been formed. Nor will the demands of socialism be fulfilled when all economic organizations have become "coordinated." True socialism shakes the fundamental concepts of life as it has been lived up to now. It must renew the entire life of our nation down to its last and tiniest units. There can be no limits. There are no autonomous institutions and concepts. Even the universities and learning must in their being be imbued and renovated by the revolution. And here is the great task of the student body -- to keep things in a state of restlessness -- to be the storm troop.
This is the battle that the student now has to wage for learning and education: not to fall into a negative stance outside the university, not to permit himself to be seduced or to be taken in by a learning that is at bottom liberal, even if it assumes a national costume. But to win learning and the university, in their very being, for National Socialism.
From Gerhard Kruger, "Verpflichtung der Studentenschaft zum Sozialismus," Der Deutsche Student, Aug. 1933, pp. 26-30.
1. Color-bearing fraternities.
2. On March 22, 1933, the Reichstag met in the historic town of Potsdam and here Hitler received the blessing of President Hindenburg, himself a symbol of the German past. The former sergeant major had arrived.
They speak of German youth, of a sacred will to assume obligations, of sacrifices and skills. The lofty concept of duty comes alive: everyone in his place, even the apprentice. And now the Reich youth leadership and Labor Front call German working youth to a fresh and joyful battle. This will be no boring school hour, no scrambling for high marks, but a struggle as if fought on the battlefield -- except that here it will be in the vocational sphere. Everyone should simply show what he can do. He is to become conscious of his shortcomings, and new ways to perfection are to be pointed out to him. Our economy needs good workers and employees. For this reason, the Labor Front also calls upon employers, firms, superiors, parents, and teachers. They should participate spiritually and actively because the way of youth is the way of our people. It should be a matter of honor for every employer to require every youngster in his charge to participate.
From Werner Beumelburg, Arbeit ist Zukunft: Ziele des deutschen Arbeitsdienstes (Oldenburg i. D.: Gerhard Stalling, 1933), p. 66.
Native Germans (subjects of the German Reich) upon their full matriculation must present the following:
Those temporarily incapacitated must likewise send their army service record. Or if they have volunteered, the rejection of their application by the Reich Labor Service to the above-mentioned office of the Reich Students' Leadership. On this basis they will receive an acknowledgment of their temporary rejection, which must also be submitted upon their matriculation.
Female candidates who intend to study must likewise have served their time in the Labor Service, or in case of incapacity in the Social Service, before admission to courses. Applications for the Social Service are accepted by the Reich Students' Leadership Social-Political Office, Department for the Care and Fostering of Female Students, Berlin W 35, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse 22. They will be assigned to service in the NSV in the framework of the Mother and Child Welfare Organization.
Remarks: All Reich Germans upon their matriculation must produce either their Labor Service record or the duty book of the German Students' Organization or their army service record, with a certification of the time served in the Labor Service or proof of service in the Social Service or a certificate from the Reich Students' Leadership stating that they have temporarily been exempt from such service. New Courses for a New Reich
From Personal- und Vorlesungsverzeichnis, Trimester 1941, Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat zu Berlin (Berlin: Preussische Druckerei- und Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1941), pp. 10-11.
1 National Socialist Motor Corps.
2 National Socialist Pilots' Association.
1. See page 323.
2. See page 65.
In our times learning is called to participate in the National Socialist regeneration of our people's spiritual unity and community. It is in that sense that National Socialism -- represented on the university level by the NSD Association of University Lecturers -- also understands its educational task.
Scientific knowledge must not be carried forward by technical skill alone -- it must be inspired to its very depths by its German mission, in the sense of a Platonic universitas of a purely Nordic character, which must find its ultimate significance in the state, that is, in the Volk. This idea does not endanger the German universities themselves, as some people have been impelled to point out. For them the problem is simply the finding of men capable of leadership, and of their transformation in accordance with the National Socialist world view.
The National Socialist movement seized power in Germany on January 30, 1933. By means of a few highly effective measures, the movement removed what was useless and created what was necessary to exercise this power. It would have been easy also to transform the external and formal elements of the universities. This was not done, not so much because the external form of the university appeared inaccessible or even useless, but because the movement discerned that before anything else the men who lived and worked under these forms had to undergo a transformation. In fact, neither governmental or other administrative regulations nor other organizational measures and decrees can bring forth a National Socialist university. This can be achieved only by molding the living forces that are the heart of a university. Hence the reorganization of the entire university system must not begin with exterior measures; it must begin precisely where the university heretofore has failed: with the human being. The reformation of men, however (or, with respect to our field, perhaps better expressed as the development of a truly National Socialist body of teachers and the creation of a truly German scholar), has been left by the Fuhrer for all time to the party, which must imbue all sectors of public life, including the universities, with its ideology. To make the German universities truly National Socialist -- not just to coordinate them here or there, or to "paint them brown" -- is therefore the principal task of the NSD Association of University Lecturers.
The Association takes into its ranks all the forces at a university whose character and ideology attest to their unconditional loyalty and readiness to serve, but who beyond that also can point to considerable professional accomplishments. To an increasing extent these forces form a comradeship and a committed community which is in a position to call a halt to the liberalistic philosophy sketched above and to give the mission of the German scholar, researcher, and teacher the prestige that is expected by National Socialism in the Party and in the state and, last but not least, by the people united by National Socialism. The strongest bond connects us not with a vague humanity but above all with our own people, from whom we come, to whom we owe everything, and to whom, therefore, we belong entirely. Today this insight, as was the case in the past, does not stand apart from scholarship: it is not an alien element that enters scholarship from the outside. Rather, it is the origin of our existence and thus the purpose and the point of departure of all our scientific knowledge.
Hence we do not view the Universitas literarum as an isolated community of scholarship. Rather, we regard it as an idea living in the totality and community of our people, from whom scholarship flows and to whom it will return. For scholarship, however, the university is the embodiment of this common intellectual task which has meaning and purpose only if all its fields of endeavor are rooted in a common ground, namely, in a world view common to all. Knowledge of this nourishing soil from which every academic discipline must grow, knowledge of a binding ideology, this is the living principle of our German universities. Only the acknowledgment of this principle safeguards the existence of the German university.
Finally, we find that unconditional "academic freedom" is also based on this concept. We proceed here from a notion of freedom that is specifically our own, since we know that freedom must have its limits in the actual existence of the Volk. Freedom is conceivable only as a bond to something that has universal validity, a law of which the whole nation is the bearer. Today, what the great thinkers of German idealism dreamed of, and what was ultimately the kernel of their yearning for liberty, finally comes alive, assumes reality. It fills the gap which in the past repeatedly divided spirit from life, and what is from what ought to be. Never has the German idea of freedom been conceived with greater life and vigor than in our day. This idea of freedom, which at the same time is an idea of personality, in its deepest sense is being lived and thought through today at the university. And we must also understand the freedom of scholarship, the freedom of inquiry and teaching, on this basis. Ultimately freedom is nothing else but responsible service on behalf of the basic values of our being as a Volk.
The task of the National Socialist Association of University Lecturers, acting as a trustee for the party, is to maintain this historically developed academic freedom, the results of whose activity ultimately flow directly to the Volk.
The NSD Association of University Lecturers has taken possession of the great tradition that was founded by the most important men in German intellectual life and will carry it forward in the spirit of our ideology. It is the nucleus of the new "university" and will attract in time the best available forces to shape it in accordance with the demands of our time into a truly Volkish university. Above all else we know one thing, that organization for its own sake is a lifeless structure: only the people within it can make the organization live. This insight came to us after a long struggle for the political freedom of our people. Applied to the universities, it means that the university and the Association of University Lecturers stand or fall with the type of combat-ready political, National Socialist fighter who regards his Volk as the supreme good.
From Erste Reichstagung der Wissenschaftlichen Akademien des NSD-Dozentenbundes, Munich, June 8-10, 1939 (Munich and Berlin: J. F, Lehmanns Verlag, 1939), pp. 16-17.
387. Ahl, Paul, 2.11.1896, Dr. phil., Elektro-Ingenieur, Ffm.
405. Radtke, Adolf, 25.2.1898, Kapellmeister, Saarbrucken.
1916. JUNI, KRIEGSREIFEPRUFUNG
406. Dienstbach, Hermann, 25. 7. 1897, Dr. rer. pol., Syndikus bei
der Handelskammer in Solingen.
1916. NOVEMBER, KRIEGSREIFEPRUFUNG
412. Bornemann, Gottfried, 14.11.1898, Dr. jur., Landger.-Rat,
Frankfurt a. M.
416. Schmidt, Richard, 24.3.1899, stud. rer. nat., Grenzschutz
From Verzeichnis der Abiturienten des staatlichen Kaiser-Friedrich-Gymnasiums zu Frankfurt am Main, zur 50 Jahrfeier der Schule (1939), pp. 26-27.