Hitler Youth: Events and Ceremonies

Figure 1.--This HJ photograph was labeled 'taken up'. We believe it depicts an induction ceremony, but we are not sure. Some of the boys seem to be the correct age, about 10-years old. Note the Naval HJ boys in the background. The portrait is undated, but we would guess was taken about 1937.

There weere a variety of events in the lives of Hitlker Youth boy, beginning with their induction into the Hitler Youth at 10 years of age. Curiously although there is a huge body of photographs depicting the Hitler Youthboys and their activities, images of the major events are quite rare. Given the NAZI penchant for pagentry we are somewhat surprised at this. We think it may relate to the fact that such events were commonly staged indoors and indoor photograph was more complicated. Almost all the HJ photographic record is outdoor photography. There are some indoor photographs, but these seem more propaganda images taken by professional photographers. The induction ceremony was only the first event in a boy's HJ careers. Boys were promoted as they demonstrated leadership capabilities and political commitment. Unfortunately we do not have any images of these ceremonies. After induction, the new boys spent a few months on probation. During this period the boys were trained by older HJ boys. They had to pass a test reciting all the verses of the Horst Wessel Song, the NAZI anthemn about a martyred HJ boy. They also had to answer basic questions about both Hitler's life and NAZI Party history and ideology. The boys also had to demonstrate their physical fitness by running 60 meters in at least 12 seconds. And they had to complete a cross country hike lasting a day and a half. The boys also had to successfully complete a Mutprobe (courage test). This varied somewhat. A common component was was then given such as jumping from a first or second story ledge into a large canvass held by older HJ boys. After he passed these tests, the new boys were deemed entitled to wear the brown shirt with the the Jungvolk insignia and a leather shoulder strap. We think the boys could wear the uniform at theur inductioin ceremony. It was the Jungvolk badge and shoulder strap that they had to pass the tests to wear, but this is a subject we are still working on. We ae also not sure what was meant by the Jungvolk badge, this may refer to the sports or performance badge, butv this was not normally worn on the uniform. The shoulder straps became less common by the time of the War. What the boys coiveted more than anything was the Hitler Youth knive worn with the uniform. The knife had the inscription -- ' Blut und Ehre ' (Blood and Honor).


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Created: 8:03 AM 6/10/2012
Last updated: 8:03 AM 6/10/2012