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  1. #1

    Discrepancy with BDM achievement badges

    The introduction of the bronze and silver BDM achievement badges was announced in Verordnungsblatt 132 dated the 3rd of May 1934 but something that always bothered me was the fact that so few of the silver would seem to have been awarded. The numbers on all original badges I've seen were always under 1000. That seems incredibly low for a badge introduced in 1934 so I started cross-checking various period sources and the reason for the low number of silver awarded would seem to be because the silver level did not begin to be awarded until as late as 1940.

    In his 1940 book 'HJ, das kommende Deutschland' Günter Kaufmann (who worked on the staff of the RJF) gives the introduction date for the BDM silver as 1940*. The handbook of German youth law (with amendments included up to 1939) shows only one set of award criteria for one BDM achievement badge as does a Gebiet order from 1938 and the 1937 Organisationsbuch der NSDAP shows only one badge for the girls. This is shown in colour and is the bronze badge so it seems possible that the BDM achievement badge in silver, or rather the award of the badge to those qualified to receive it, was for some reason, delayed.

    *The book does however give an erroneous date for the introduction of the JM achievement badge and as I say, the BDM achievement badges (bronze and silver levels) were introduced by
    Verordnungsblatt 132 dated the 3rd of May 1934 so quite what he means with 1940 I don't know.

  2. #2

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    sounds good gar, and would explain the low numbers, after 1940 the awarding of these must have nose-dived quite considerably

  3. #3
    I noticed over on BDM history that the owner has a completely different take on the badges. I've fired off an email to see how he arrived at his conclusion so that could be interesting. He seems sure that the bronze came out after silver. Doesn't make sense to me when I look at the documentation I have here but as I say, if he gets in touch it could be interesting to see what he has.

  4. #4

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    whats his thinking gar, does he think the bronze replaced the silver ????

  5. #5
    This is what he says Stu:

    The proficiency awards were introduced for both the League of German Girls and the Jungmaedel on April 28, 1934. This achievement badge - Leistungsabzeichen in German - was in the shape of the initials "BDM" inside a rectangular frame with a plain red ribbon background for the Jungmaedel and red-white-red for the League of German Girls. Originally, both were in a silver frame with silver letters, but in 1935 a bronze award was added for the League of German Girls. After that, the letters and frame denoted the grade of the award - bronze for the Leistungsabzeichen I or silver for the Leistungsabzeichen II.
    The same letters and frame in silver on a solid red background were awarded as the achievement badge of the Jungmaedel until 1940, at which point a special Jungmaedel award was created. This new award, seen in the photo below, took the shape of the letters JM on a solid red background. After the introduction of this award, the frame with the letters BDM on a red-white-red background was only used for the BDM award. The Jungmaedel award only came in one grade.

    The official order introducing the BDM bronze and BDM silver achievement badges is in Verordnungsblatt 132 dated the 3rd of May 1934 and the JM badge didn't come out until years later so he must be getting mixed up there. He has the bronze badge being instituted a year after the silver which is also at odds with the 8th of May order. He's so far off that I began to wonder whether his date of the 28th of April may be for an advance order which was amended later and I've asked him about that. Hopefully he'll get back to me.

  6. #6
    I was having a read (okay, mostly a look - my French isn't very good) through Lauri's blog and he has a few scanned pages from the 1938 Organisationsbuch. Well, the 1937 Organisationsbuch shows just one badge for the BDM (bronze) and no JM badge but one year later and there are now three badges - BDM bronze and silver and a JM which is a BDM silver but with a solid red backing:


    I'm very confused now :) As I said, in other period documents I have, including one from 1938, there is only one set of qualification criteria for one BDM badge and there is no mention at all of any tests (less those for the Jungmädelprobe) for the JM even though there would appear to have been a badge for them to achieve prior to the introduction of the special JM badge some years later.

    The OB is known to contain mistakes so I'm thinking that this is such a mistake and that they printed a picture of the BDM silver level achievement badge instead of the correct JM achievement badge.

    Does anyone have an the Organisationsbuch der NSDAP from 1936? It would be interesting to see which badges are shown in that.

  7. #7

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    hi gar
    did you get any reply to your email

  8. #8
    Unfortunately not Stu but I'm currently hoping to receive scans of the 1936 Organisationsbuch which I'm hoping will show all of the badges. I still find it very strange that there was only one set of testing criteria for the BDM as late as 1938. If the JM were awarded the same badge as the BDM in the beginning then are we to assume that an 11 or 12 year-old was required to run as fast and jump as far as a 16 year-old? I somehow doubt it so where are the testing criteria in the period books and regulations? Very odd.

  9. #9
    Just a little update on this. The 1936 OB only shows the BDM achievement badge in bronze. I'm looking at a reference dated April 1936 which talks about the HJ, DJ and BDM achievement badges and it is clearly stated that the JM did not have an achievement badge at that time. More on that here: Introduction of the Jungmädel achievement badge (Jungmädel Leistungsabzeichen)

    The mystery of the BDM silver remains though - why would so few of these appear to have been awarded? It's possible I suppose that the girls just weren't as interested as the boys but there were thousands of female leaders who would have been highly motivated to get this badge I would have thought.

  10. #10
    JM - BDM paper lot - JM and BDM Leistungsabzeichen achievement badge.
    BDM Leistungsabzeichen Silber 3849 18 October 1944

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