HBC notes that most of the available images of Geman school children taken during the NAZI era show the children wearing their ordinary civilian clothes. Class photiographs not uncommonly show a few children wearing their HJ unforms to school. We notice a few images suggesting that some children wore their Hitler Youth (HJ) to school. One report indicates that this was not common, but we have only limited information at this time. This images looks like a school group with quite a few boys wearing their Hitler Youth uniforms--most placed at the front. There are several interesing ascpects to this photograph. We also notice some images showing many of the childrenwearung their HJ uniforms. We believe that janhybiof tese grouos are the children evacuated to the countryside at the
Kinder Land Verschickung (KLV) camps.
We do not know where this photograph was taken. We do know that it was taken in a city, because they were sitting on the steps of a large building. It could have been a school, but the steps look a bit grandiose for an elementary school. Perhaps the steps are an entrance to a museum and the children are on a field trip, but it is not a school field trip. After translating the message on the back, we see that the boys are definitely on a field trip from their KLV camp. These camps were located all over Germany. It seems to be a multiple day trip in which the children sent cards back home. Apparently they must be in the same city for some time, otherwise there would not have been enough time to have the photograph taken and copies printed to send home. Of course the camp could have been located near the city and the children may have sent the cards once they got back to their camp.
While there is a mesage on the back of the photograph, there is a message. The quality of the image and the clothing and uniforms suggest the early 1940s to us, perhaps 1940-41. This is, however, just a guess at this time. Once we learn more about Hitler Youth uniform trends, we might be able to date the image. We do not think that it was taken later in the war as the Allied air campaign against Germany began in ernest in 1942 as the American 8th Air Force arrived in England. As a result, German children were being evacuated from the cities and not taking field trips to them. Since we have learned about the KLV we know it is a World war II image and the fact that they have been brought into a city on a trip confirms our opinion that it was fairly early in the War.
There is a message on the back, clearly written by a child. Click on figure 1 to see it. The message, as best I can make out, reads, "Zur Erinnerung an meiner lieben Mutti und Geschwister von ihren Sohn und Bruder Harald aus seiner KLV Reise. Hier bin ich in der ersten Reihe." That means, "To commemorate my dear mother and siblings by their son and brother Harald from his KLV trip. Here I am in the first row." Harald made several mistakes, understandable as he is only about 10 years old. I didn't correct them, because that's what he wrote. The siblings may be only sister or brother, too. Because 'Geschwister' means both genders in general. Apparently his father is dead, perhaps a war casualty.
KLV is an abbreviation with different meanings but I believe in this case it does mean Kinder Land Verschickung which operated during World War II (1939-1945). The children had to go to rural areas on "holiday" but really they should be out of the cities and towns that had difficulties feeding them and were being bombed by the Allies. I believe that both schools anf the Hitler Jugend were involved in organizing thd KLV. One reafer repotys that the HJ was especially important in the KLV organiation beginning in 1940. About 2.5 million children were send to 9,000 camps until end of World War II. I believe in many cases their teachers accompanied them. Apparently these children were given a little treat by being brought into the city to see thesights.
We note two older children in the photograph. One is a Hitler Youth boy and the other is in the Bund Deutcher Madchen--the girls' division of the Hitler Youth.
The children in the photograph look to be about 9-11 years old. On boy to the right looks about 13 and their is n older boy at the back who looks to be 13 or 14 years old. We wonder if the boys not in uniform are not 10 yet and have not yet joined the HJ. All of tge boys in uniform, expep the older boyvat the back, are in the Deutcher Jugend--the younger division of the HJ.
e count about 45 boys in this photograph. We are not sure what size school classes were under the NAZIs. A class of 45 seems rather large, but perhaps it is two classes combined. It is possible that is a DJ unit, although again we are not sure about the size. We think that this is the lkeast likely possibility because so many of the boys are not in uniform and there do not seem to be any HJ youth leaders in charge. hre is one older boy, but he seems to be rather like one of the boys than a touth leader.
As all of the boys in the front row are in uniform it is difficult to assess wnhat the boys not in uniform are wearing. The boys wear both short and long sleeved shirts. A few or colored shirts. We do not notice any boys wearing leaderhosen--at least the halters do not show. Several boys wear short-sleeved sweaters. A few boys wear suit jackets. As far as we can tell, all of the boys wear shirt pants.
The DJ boys all seemed to be wearing their shirts open necked and wiyj a meckerchief and woggle. Most but not all of the boys have a single lighting bolt patch on their left sleeves. I am not sure what that represented. We also note a triangular patch with writing, but do not yet know what that is either. We note several of the boys do not wear socks. We wonder if this was late in the War and socks were becoming hard to get, but rejected this theory as the Allied air campaign would have made trips to cities unlikely. Also civilian use of transportation was being dicouraged. Perhaps it was a warm day and some of the boys did not want to wear their kneesocks, but a few boys wear jackets. Perhaps the boys do not wear socks because as it was some kind of trip, they were running out of clean clothes.
This image appears to be children from a KLA camp rather than a school. They may be children from a school evacuated with their teachers. As a result, the photograph may not reflect what the boys wore at school. We believe in particular that the DJ uniforms wer not so commonly worn. The regular clothese that the boys are wearing probably is a good relection of what was worn at school.
One interesting question is why some of the boys wear their DJ uniforms and some do not. Some boys look to be only 9 years old and thus not yet inducted into the DJ. You would think that on a big event like goung into a city for a special trip that all of the boys would have wanted to proudly dress up in their DJ uniforms. Could it be that some children were less entralled about being in the DJ. Many of the boys look to young to have strong political views. Perhaps their parents did not send them off to the KLV with DJ uniforms. Were these parents likely to be the ones less committed to the NAZIs?
One boy i the front row appears to have a broken arm. He wears his arm in a sling. He doesn't seem like a very happy boy. Most of the other boys look to be in a much better mood.
There are four adults in the photograph. There are two men in suits. They may be school teachers. Their age suggests that it may have been during World War II when younger teachers had been drafted. The size of the group suggests it may be two classes combined for a trip. We have since learned that the children are from a KLV camp. Thus these men are probably teachers that accompanied the boys to their KLV camp. We do not think that they are Hitler Youth leaders as they are mnot in uniforms. One seems to have a NAZI pen in his lapel. There are also two women in the image. We are not sure who the lady at the right is. We are not sure that she was a teacher because women techers for boys were not that common at the time. Perhaps she is one of the mothers accompaning the children on a field trip. The other lady is presumably the KLV nurse at the camp.
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