Figure 1.--Reich Youth Leader Artur Axmann pictured here in 1943 is awarding the Iron Cross to these boys for bravery. Notice the diagnally crossed ribon on their jacket. He is using his left hand because he lost his right arm on the Eastern Front. Most of the Hitler Youth was first assigned to the Flakhelfer (anti-aircraft battalions), and by 1943, the HJ members basically never left their batteries, until the Jungvolk took over the Flakhelfer as the HJ left for the front lines. Noticing the age of the boy in the photo, and the date of 1943, it is an assumption that he was a Jungvolk member who, perhaps, survived an air raid. Many Flakhelfer units were destroyed in air raids, and if their were survivors, he might receive the medal for protecting the homeland. The Older HJ boys were already being absorbed into the SS and Wehrmarcht, so by 1944, only the youngest boys were left at the homefront.
Reich Youth Leader, Artur Axmann was born on 18 February 1913 in Hagen.
Hev studied law.
In 1928, Axmann founded the first Hitler Youth group in Westphalia. In 1932, he was called into the Reichsleitung of the
NSDAP to carry out a reorganization of Nazi youth cells and in 1933, became Chief of the Social Office of the Reich Youth Leadership. Axmann gained a place for the Hitler Youth in the direction of state
vocational training and succeeded in raising the status of Hitler Youth agricultural work.
He was on active
service on the western front until May 1940. In August of the same year he succeeded Baldur von
Schirach as Reich Youth Leader of the Nazi Party. In 1941, he was severely wounded on the eastern
front, losing an arm.
He was a fanatical NAZI and stayed with Hitler until the end. During Hitler's last days, Axmann was among those present in the Fuhrerbunker. Axmann said that he had heard the shot with which Hitler committed suicide, and had later also seen the body of Martin Bormann lying on a bridge in Berlin. Axmann made his escape at the end of April 1945.
He was arrested in December 1945 when a Nazi underground movement which he had been organizing,
was uncovered. A Nuremberg de-Nazification court sentenced him in May 1949 to a prison sentence of 3 years and three months as a 'major offender'. Axmann subsequently worked as a sales
representative in Gelsenkirchen and Berlin. On 19 August 1958, a West Berlin de-Nazification court fined
the former Hitler Youth Leader 35,000 marks (approximately 3,000 pounds), about half the value of his
property in Berlin. The court found him guilty of indoctrinating German youth with National Socialism right
until the end of the Third Reich, but concluded that he had been a Nazi from inner conviction rather than
base motives. He
was found not guilty of having committed any crimes during the Nazi era.
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