History - Hitler Youth and Bund Deutscher Mädel

Hitlerjugend (HJ)

The history of the HJ begins in 1922, when the "Jugendbundes of the NSDAP" was founded and which was part of the SA until 1932.

In order to convince the young people to join the Hitler Youth, a enormous publicity campaign was started. Those who didn`t join, became outsiders. Civil servants were forced to send their children to the HJ.

From December 1st 1936 to March 25th 1939, membership of the Hitler Youth was voluntary.

After which, "Youth Service Duty" imposed membership, even against the will of the parents, and was enforced by the police. By then most boys and girls were already registered in the HJ.

The mission of the HJ was to educate and influence children and teenagers in the spirit of the National Socialist ideology. Their daily live was based on a military scheme.

Members of the Jungvolk and the HJ were also drafted for service in the "Winterhilfswerk". For teenagers there was also the voluntary labour service (RAD), which became compulsory from 1935 for males, and 1939 for females.

This compulsory service was mainly used for constructing roads, trenches and fortifications (for example the Westwall).
From 1943, the Hitler Youth was also drafted to war service, especially as Luftwaffe or Navy auxiliaries.

The HJ arrived in the autumn of 1944 as "last means to the total war" in the "REIMAHG". In the beginning several groups of hundreds HJ that came from the neighbouring regions were used, but later even from much further away.

The Hitler Youth lived in the camps in the Zwabitz and Schindler Valley.

For most of the teenagers, hard work wasn`t common.

Typhoid, that had broken out in most of the "REIMAHG" camps, also struck the HJ and some of them died.

Bund Deutscher Mädchen (BDM)

The BDM was founded in 1930 by joining together different, disparate girls` groups and then attaching them to the HJ in 1931.

The BDM was for girls aged 14 to 18, which had its own identity within the HJ. Beside the BDM, the "Jungmädelbund" took care of the 10 to 13 year old girls.

The BDM`s last years were influenced by the Second World War. Numerous female members were used for non-combat roles such as hospital nurses, air raid wardens and farm workers.

In the "REIMAHG" they were used for domestic duties in the camps.