Garry

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I thought I'd translate this account from Hans-Christian Brandenburg's 1968 book 'Die Geschichte der Hitlerjugend' to show how the Deutsches Jungvolk came to be. I hope that it will be of use.



The origins of the Deutsches Jungvolk

The origins of the Deutsches Jungvolk

Racist and nationalist tendencies had played a large role within the austrian Wandervogel movement ( Österreichische Wandervogel - ÖWV ) prior to the outbreak of the First World War - much more so than within the Wandervogel movement in Germany. After the fall of the Donau monarchy... and due to an increase in nationalist and socialist feeling some sections of the ÖWV splintered away and began to form new groups: Sepp Fürstenaus Sturmvolk (concentrated mainly in Styrias industrial centre), the Treuvolk in Salzburg and the Jungvolk in Linz. Of these new groups only the Sturmvolk would make the crossover into Germany. In early 1926 a section of the Sturmvolk in Germany (Sturmvolk Deutsche Jungmannschaft) under the leadership of Werner Laß went over to Gerhard Roßbachs Schilljugend. The Treuvolk and Jungvolk remained active in Austria only.

Groups with similar aims to the Jungvolk began to form around Curt Brieger in Vienna during the second half of the 1920s and these were eventually merged to become the Wandervogel Jungvolk, Bund deutscher Tatjugend. Under the direction of Bundesführer Brieger the association made contact with the austrian NSDAP and with the party's support it was able to establish further groups throughout Austria.

In the Sudetenland there were also youth groups who called themselves Deutsches Jungvolk and this organisation may have been a splinter group formed out of the Deutschnationales Jungvolk. Bundesführer of the Deutsches Jungvolk in the Sudetenland was Herbert Schmidt who was based in Komotau. There was also a Deutsches Jungvolk in Czechoslovakia which worked with Curt Brieger but which remained an independent organisation.

It would be 1930 before the Deutsches Jungvolk would join forces with the Deutsche Jungmannschaft, Bund der Tatjugend and begin to make inroads into Germany. The latter group had been formed during discussions between various Wandervogel leaders and with the approval of the HJ at the close of the 1929 NSDAP Reichsparteitag. Once HJ Reichsführer Kurt Gruber had recognised that the acceptance of the Deutsche Mannschaft might help him to win over the other nationalist groups who did not yet want to cooperate with him he tried to use the Deutsche Jungmannschaft in an attempt to gain influence. The HJ Jungmannschaften and the Bund deutsche Jungmannschaft now co-existed and with the "Richtlinien über das Verhältnis zwischen Jungmannschaft und HJ" (guidelines governing the relationship between the Jungmannschaft and the HJ) an attempt was made between Kurt Gruber and the Bundesführer of the Deutsche Jungmannschaft Hans Schlupper to establish control. At the same time Gruber sent a message to the Reichsführerring der HJ entitled "In confidence - The position of the HJ Reichsleitung with regard to the newly-formed Deutsche Jungmannschaften" but Grubers hopes for this new formation would never be realised. The Deutsche Jungmannschaft did expand and form new Fähnlein and groups in Sachsen and Thüringen, down into Franken, Hessen-Nassau and Baden but it remained small and meaningless. In the context of the free youth movements the Deutsche Jungmannschaft was completely ignored. It tried to publish its own paper, Die Sigrune but only one issue was ever published.

Bundesführer Schlupper was replaced by Franz Schnaedter but by the end of 1929 the loose bond between the HJ and the Deutsche Jungmannschaft had weakened further and the latter began to work more closely with the revolutionary nationalist groups who would soon begin to exert a more long-lasting influence than the HJ.

Towards the end of 1929 the leaders of the Deutsche Jungmannschaft heard about the presence of a similar organisation in Austria, the Deutsches Jungvolk, Bund der Tatjugend. On the 1st of July 1930 after a few months of close cooperation the Deutsche Jungmannschaft and the Deutsches Jungvolk, Bund der Tatjugend amalgamated and on the 18th of August 1930 the new organisation was named Deutsches Jungvolk, Bund der Tatjugend Großdeutschlands. Its stated aim was to unite all German youth and to form them into leaders of the people. Despite unification there was no appreciable increase in the membership numbers. According to a 1931 reference, the Kleines Handbuch der Jugendverbände (Handbook of the youth movements), the Deutsches Jungvolk had just 700 members spread across the Sudetenland, Austria and Germany. This was the core of the huge movement to come.

The Deutsches Jungvolk had an internal publication "Die Tatjugend" and also published "Das Deutsche Jungvolk" which appeared monthly. For its leadership there was the publication "Die Kommenden" which was not specific to the Jungvolk but rather a publication meant for general consumption by the various nationalist youth groups. The movements flag was black with a silver Sigrune and the Jungvolk slogan was "For the Reich and for truth".

The Deutsches Jungvolk within the Reich consisted solely of boys groups but in the Sudetenland and in Austria there was a small number of girls groups. The movement saw its task as being to instil german values and customs, a scouting spirit and a love for land and people into the very youngest.

In 1930 the Deutsches Jungvolk described itself as follows:

"our idea is of a movement that stands at the forefront of a young, activist Germany; against the lie of war reparations, Versailles and Young and for the fusion of all german lands into a free Greater Germany"

Now it was just a matter of time before the movement would align itself with those who were the greatest proponents of this sentiment. The Deutsches Jungvolk was radicalised even further through its active participation in the campaign against the Young Plan.

In autumn 1930 Gau Baden amalgamated with the Bund der Geusen and the remainder of the Jungvolk movement re-aligned itself with the HJ. The final act was the complete inclusion of the Deutsches Jungvolk, Bund der Tatjugend Großdeutschlands into the HJ on 27th of March 1931. Prior to this, the Bund der Tatjugend Großdeutschlands had taken part in an increasing number of political campaigns and the national leader Curt Brieger had been arrested in Vienna after national-socialists had demonstrated against the Remarque film "Im Westen nichts Neues".

The Deutsches Jungvolk had not been the only german or german-austrian youth movement which had been prepared to give up its autonomy before the 30th of January 1933 in order to grow within the HJ. The Deutscher Pfadfinderbund Österreichs, a nationalist movement which had splintered off from the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund and which had been founded in autumn 1928 by Ferry schmidt, took a similar path to the Jungvolk. The Deutscher Pfadfinderbund Österreichs failed to attract many members and it was eventually dissolved in the summer of 1932 and its groups amalgamated with the austrian HJ.

After moving over to the HJ, the Deutsches Jungvolk was amalgamated with the HJ Jüngerengruppen and Jungmannschaften and these three constituent parts formed the DJ. In some cases the Jüngeren groups catered for boys as young as seven. Boys aged 15 and over had to leave the DJ and move up to the HJ if they were not group leaders. Any girls groups present at this time were transferred to the BDM.

The national flag, black with a silver Sigrune remained as the emblem of the Deutsches Jungvolk. The internal publication "Die Tatjugend" ceased to be produced and was replaced by the monthly publication Jungvolk, "Deutsche Jugendblätter" which was produced under the auspices of the HJ press office.

The Deutsches Jungvolk in the Sudetenland were excluded from the amalgamation with the HJ. A 1926 NSDAP party decree stated that the party leadership had the right to organise party members in states under german sovereignty. This applied to Austria and Germany and perhaps to the Free City of Danzig but not to Czechoslovakia. The decree also applied to the partys youth work and so neither the Nationaler Deutscher Jugendverband which had existed since 1931 under the leadership of Peter Donnhäuser with 10,000 members nor the Deutsches Jungvolk in Czechoslovakia could be incorporated into the HJ.

After the DJ had been incorporated into the HJ it was brought into line with party policy ("gleichgeschaltet") and this same tactic would be used again two years later but this time on a much larger scale. Instead of a national office the DJ now had a head of department within the Reichsleitung der HJ (HJ Reich Youth Office) which at this time was being moved from Plauen to Munich. The former national leader of the Deutsches Jungvolk, Bund der Tatjugend Großdeutschlands Curt Brieger was appointed to the HJ Reichsleitung with special responsibility for Jungvolk matters.

Kurt Grubers final progress report on the HJ Reichsleitung shows the extent of this "Gleichschaltung":

"The Deutsches Jungvolk which had previously been separate from the HJ and which had worked independently was reorganised. Less 100 boys in Austria and 50 in Germany it was established that the Jungvolk was not working correctly. For this reason the membership at that time was sifted and propaganda work and the organisation of the Jungvolk were rearranged. The Jungvolk prepares boys for the HJ but they are not won through political ideas but rather by appealing to their natural boyish interests but always with the aim of preparing them for the HJ".

Curt Brieger found himself unable to continue under these conditions and at the end of 1931 he left the HJ Reichsleitung and formed his own youth organisation, the Jung-Ostara with an accompanying newspaper "Sig-Run" but the movement failed to attract any interest among the youth. The HJ forgot him to such an extent that he was never again mentioned in any later accounts.

According to a semi-official statement by the HJ Reichsleitung in 1932 the Jungvolk was to "gather the youngest and smallest boys apolitically and in the spirit of the Bünde"*

*the Bünde were youth organisations dating mostly to the inter-war years with similarities to the scouting movement.

The reality was however completely different and actually, the Jungvolk exerted systematic party-political pressure. As a consequence of this and effective from the 25th of February 1932 the bavarian Minister of State for Education and Cultural Affairs banned membership of the Jungvolk for children of school age. Baden and Hessen also introduced a ban and the ministries hoped that the move would prevent a political instrumentalisation of the children but they were to proved wrong.

The state ban of the SA and SS between the 13th of April and the 16th of June 1932 also affected the HJ and its sub-organisations including the Jungvolk. Once the ban was lifted Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach embarked on a reorganisation of the NS youth organisations. As part of this reorganisation he appointed Balduin (Bun) Geißler as head of the Deutsches Jungvolk. The Jungvolk was unable to increase membership levels and increase its influence prior to 1933. Interest in the other youth movements was always greater and the boys who were attracted more by the political aspect joined the NS-Schülerbund. Those however who were more interested in boyish activities, camping, hiking, singing and games joined the Deutsche Freischar or one of the many scouting movements. According to official HJ reports the Jungvolk had exactly 28691 members at the turn of the year 1932/33 but this number is likely to be too high and was probably not reached until the spring of 1933 when members of the disbanded youth organisations began to move over to the Jungvolk.

Due to its voluntary amalgamation with the HJ the Deutsches Jungvolk enjoyed a kind of special status for many years. It was the jewel in the crown with which the HJ could say "look here; you can keep your outward appearance when you come to us". The Jungvolk was the only part of the NS organisation that maintained the tradition of hiking, camping, singing and the Nestabend (a word used in the scouting movements to describe a meeting. HJ: Heimabend) forged in earlier years. Even the unit designations Horde, Jungenschaft, Fähnlein and Stamm continued in use despite being terms used in earlier times within the Wandervogel movement. The Jungvolk even adopted the Jungenschaftsbluse and Kohte which had been developed during the latter stages of the movement's development.

Notes:

Over the years the DJ lost some of the traditions described above and it was gradually pulled into line. The matter of non-standard DJ equipment and uniforms was still extant in late 1935 as shown by a special order issued by Gebietsführer Berlin, Artur Axmann. The order was directed at the DJ and banned the use of Kohten and Jurten, the procurement and wearing of uniforms or parts of uniforms worn earlier by some pre-HJ youth organisations. The ban also included certain books and songbooks. This was the first major attempt to bring the DJ 'into line' and would be followed by others. For example :

'..........once the numbers of DJ had reached a sufficiently high level and the organisational structure was strong, it became obvious that the RJF was implementing measures designed to remove all signs of the DJ's past. The HJ took control of the Jungvolk publication in 1934 and installed its own editor who soon began to publish articles which disagreed strongly with the way that the DJ was retaining elements of its pre-HJ past...'.

'........the post of 'Reichsjungvolkführer' was removed and was followed later by the removal of the Gebietsjungvolkführer and the head of the Jungvolk at Bann level. The DJ Jungstamm was also placed under the control of the HJ Bannführer. Despite these measures the DJ continued to try to exert authority at local level and to maintain its identity. In order to combat this further , special posts (Bann Jungvolkbeauftragter) were introduced during the war whose function was to further break down any differences and to finally bring the DJ into line*

* ('gleichschalten')'

In an article entitled 'On the history of the Jungvolk' the following was said: 'and there they came - those who wanted to continue in the same vein. They tried to gain control of the leadership of the Jungvolk. Let's be honest, they succeeded in getting seasoned Jungvolk leaders on their side but all attempts to subvert the ideals of the Jungvolk and to change its direction ultimately failed...'



Source: Arno Klönne, Jugend im Dritten Reich 1990 page 120-122
 
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.......The Jungvolk even adopted the Jungenschaftsbluse and Kohte which had been developed during the latter stages of the movement's development.

The matter of non-standard DJ equipment and uniforms was still extant in late 1935 as shown by a special order issued by Gebietsführer Berlin, Artur Axmann. The order was directed at the DJ and banned the use of Kohten and Jurten, the procurement and wearing of uniforms or parts of uniforms worn earlier by some pre-HJ youth organisations. The ban also included certain books and songbooks. This was the first major attempt to bring the DJ 'into line' and would be followed by others. For example :

'..........once the numbers of DJ had reached a sufficiently high level and the organisational structure was strong, it became obvious that the RJF was implementing measures designed to remove all signs of the DJ's past. The HJ took control of the Jungvolk publication in 1934 and installed its own editor who soon began to publish articles which disagreed strongly with the way that the DJ was retaining elements of its pre-HJ past...'.

'........the post of 'Reichsjungvolkführer' was removed and was followed later by the removal of the Gebietsjungvolkführer and the head of the Jungvolk at Bann level. The DJ Jungstamm was also placed under the control of the HJ Bannführer. Despite these measures the DJ continued to try to exert authority at local level and to maintain its identity. In order to combat this further , special posts (Bann Jungvolkbeauftragter) were introduced during the war whose function was to further break down any differences and to finally bring the DJ into line*

*
('gleichschalten')'

In an article entitled 'On the history of the Jungvolk' the following was said: 'and there they came - those who wanted to continue in the same vein. They tried to gain control of the leadership of the Jungvolk. Let's be honest, they succeeded in getting seasoned Jungvolk leaders on their side but all attempts to subvert the ideals of the Jungvolk and to change its direction ultimately failed...'



Source: Arno Klönne, Jugend im Dritten Reich 1990 page 120-122
 
Sehr interessant. Ich wusste auch nicht, dass das DJ diese Sonderstellung innerhalb der HJ hatte. Ich habe immer gedacht, dass das DJ von der RJF 'erfunden' wurde um die ganz jungen Kinder zu unterbringen. Man lernt nie aus!

Very interesting. I doidn't know that the DJ had this special position within the HJ. I always thought that the DJ was 'invented' by the RJF in order to accomodate the very youngest. You learn something new every day!
 
Hi Garry,

now it would be interesting to know, if/when the DJ wore the red/white armband with black Sig rune or which pre-HJ organisation wore such armbands in Germany.

Regards,
Sven.

The matter of non-standard DJ equipment and uniforms was still extant in late 1935 as shown by a special order issued by Gebietsführer Berlin, Artur Axmann. The order was directed at the DJ and banned the use of Kohten and Jurten, the procurement and wearing of uniforms or parts of uniforms worn earlier by some pre-HJ youth organisations. The ban also included certain books and songbooks so it is clear from this order that the DJ had been able to retain some of its customs and practices even up to late 1935.

Source: Arno Klönne, Jugend im Dritten Reich 1990 page 120
 
More info on the first appearance of a flag for the Deutches Jungvolk from the Aug 1934 issue of the publication "Jungvolk":

The DJ flag design was originally an embroidered silver sigrune on a black background. The very first flag of this type was presented to the Jungvolk (at this stage a purely austrian youth movement) on the 9th of Nov 1929 in Vienna by Gauleiter Eugen Werkowitsch.
 
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