The Nationale Jeugdstorm (NJS) is often described as a Dutch Hitler Youth. The actual nature of the group is more complivated. It certainly was a Fascist far right group. There was, however, also an element of Dutch nationalism that did not quite make it a Dutch Hitler Youth organization. There was also a more flexible attitude toward racial differences.
A Dutch reader has supplied some basic information on the founding and political affliliation of the Nationale Jeugdstorm in Dutch. A HBC reader has kindly provided an accurate translation. We are retaining the Dutch text which our Dutch readers may find helpful.
The NSB was a higly organized and fully uniformed party. Participation expanded in 1941 as it still looked like the Germans could not be stopped and would win the War. The youth organization was the Nationale Jeugdstorm--NJ (Youth Branch) which was greatly expanded after the German occupation. Membership in the NJ has swelled to 18,000 members by the fall of 1942. This was the high mark of the NJ. Stalingrad fell to the Russians in January 1943 and as the year progressed many Dutch began to realize that the Germans were not winning the War. Many began to realisticically that their country would be liberatred. HBC wondered about just which Dutch children joined the NJ. A Dutch reader informs is that, "Children who joined the JDS usually did so at the instigation of their parents who usually had right-wing political orientations. The children usually did not even understand what it was all about. Of course, they were ignored and snubbed by the rest, but real fights were rare." The fact that fights were rare presumably reflected the fact that it could be dangers for the parents. HBC is not sure how the NJ members were treated by the other boys after liberation.
It is interesting to note that in spite of the emphasis on "aryan" blood in order to join the Jeugdstorm, there nevertheless were several kids of mixed Dutch-Indonesian heritage who were members of this organisation. It is a fact that many officials of the colonial government in the Dutch East Indies were Nazis and/or Nazi sympathizers. When they returned to the Netherlands with their native wives and part-Indonesian children, many joined the NSB. A HBC reader reports that he knew several such families when he grew up in Holland. In every Jeugdstorm group there were some brown faces. This was never the case in Germany with the Hitler Youth. The Germans in fact had a program of sterilizing the mulatto children resulting from the French ocupation of the Saar, often without the parent's knowledge.
A Dutch reader writes, "I had a good friend who's father was a Dutch Fascist. This man had been in Indonesia (at that time still the Dutch East Indies) and had married a woman of mixed ancestry. There were many Fascisrt parties in Europe and many of them were not as race-obsessed as Hitler's NAZIs. My friend Eugene became a member of the Jeugdstorm and was one of the few who had a brown skin. I don't know what happened to him, because we moved away. Be sure this was in 1938-39 before World War II. The NAZI-oriented parties in Western Europe became more strict about race as NAZI influence grew. I suspect that he may have been expelled. This might have saved his life. Many of the older Jeugdstorm boys after the occupation were drafted into Waffen-SS units and deployed in the East. (The Germans were not sure that they wold be reliable against the Americans and British in the West. I have always woindered how he made out."
The Jeugdstorm organization consisted of:
Trek: 6 persons
Wacht (Troep for the girls): 12 persons
Schaar: 39 persons
Vendel (Groep): 160 persons
Stam (Vlucht): 650 persons
Ban (Zwerm): 3,200 persons
The NJ was divided into the following age and gender groups. The different groups were organized separately, but all participated as a group in party functions. The uniforms wore by the boys and girls was similar. The basic uniforms are described here, but there were also many details and special features for officers and instructors. There were differences in the uniform among the different gender and age-level group. There were also seasonal differences.
Boys from 10 to 13 years belonged to the Meewen (Sea Mews). The sea mew is appears to be a sea gull. During the summer they wore a light blue shirt with epaulets, navy blue tie, navy blue or black short pants, belt, blue/grey kneesocks, and an astrakhan cap. The Meewen wore ties rather than the destinctive Scout kerchiefs. In fact their light colored shirts and dark shorts looked much like the Hitler Youth. They did not, however, like the Hitler Youth wear white kneesocks. The winter uniform was a dark blue "battle dress" cap, tunic, and long pants styled like ski trousers. The winter uniform was almost identical to that worn by the Hitler Youth. Members and officers had destinctive belkt buckles with sea mews.
Girls from 10 to 13 years belonged to the Meewen (Sea Mews). They wore a light blue shirt with epaulets like the boys. They also wore a navy blue tie, but it was smaller than the boys' ties. The girls wore a navy blue or black skirt, but without the boys' destinctive belt. Like the boys, they wore blue/grey kneesocks, and an astrakhan cap.
Boys from 14 to 17 years belonged to the Stormers (Storm Troopers). The Stormers were organized to funnel the boys into the military when they reached 17. This was something that many of the boys and their families did not realize when they joined--especially in the early years of the occupation. They wore the same uniform as the Meewen, except they had the addition of a cross shoulder strapwith their belt, rather like the leather shoulder belts of the German Hitler Youth. On the left upper sleeve wore a sea mew badge with a circular background.
Girls from 14 to 17 years belonged to the Stormers (Storm Troopers). They wore the same uniform as the Meewkes, except they were allowed toweara belt--but without a cross strap that the older boys wore. On the left upper sleeve wore a sea mew badge with "M" on a diamond-shaped background.
The NJS presumably had many of the same activiyties as the Scouts and Hitler Youth. The Hiler Youth when the NAZIs seized power in Germany took over the facilities of the other youth groups in Germany which were either incorporated in the HJ movement or banned. Presumably the same thing occurred in the Netherlands, although I have no details at this time. This presumably provided access to facilities for camping and other outdoor activities. Mosdt of the images we have found, however, show the NJS youth in city environments , usuallu participating in civic dermonstrations or parades of some kind. The boys are usually stranding in military formation or marching. We also note drum and buggle units that look just like their HJ counterparts.
The basic uniform for each Jeugdstorm unit are described above. There were many detailed uniform items besides the basic uniform garments of cap, shirt, and shorts. All Jeugdstorm members, officers and boys, wore a black astrakhan cap. The only exception was the Marine Jeugdstorm. The astrakhan cap was black with a red top, and on the left side a white sea mew on a blue circle. The scarf or neckerchief was also black or dark-blue. Some boys buttoned their collar when wearing the scarfe. Others wore the scarfe unbuttoned. The shirt was a sky-blue of color. They look almost white in the black and white photographs. The shirts were long sleeved. The boys often rolled up their sleeves. The official pants for the uniform were black shorts. Male officers (adults over 18 years) were authorized to wear black breeches and top boots. Clothing was rationed during the War and became increasingly difficult to get as the War turned against the Germans. You would occassionally see Jeugdstorm boys wearing brown shorts--meaning he or his brother had formerly been a Scout. Like the Hitler Youth, there were belt buckles and insignia worn on the shirt. There were seasonal uniform garments. The simmer uniform was similar to the HJ. The Winter uniform appears virtually identical.
The Jeugdstorm had several specialized sections. A Motor Section and a Air Section (Luchtvaartjeugdstrom) was raised in 1943. A Marine Section (Marine Jeugdstorm) was raised in 1944. The Marine Jeugdstorm was outfitted in a naval uniform.
The Jeugdstorm had cadre schools at Ommen, Wijk aan Zee, and Zandvoort for male officers, and at Blaricum (near Hilversum) for female officers. The normal duration of an officer course was 3 months.
The Jeugdstorm never succeded in attracting large numbers of boys. The accepted membership at the high point in 1942 was about 18,000 boys and girls. This is an extremely small number even in a small country like the Netherlands. The great bulk of these children probably came from the families of collaboraters and right-wing political groups. Some boys may have been swept up along weith them, especially in the early years of occupation when it looked like the Germans would win the world. Tragically, the Jeugdstorm funeled boys into the German military. Thus many of the older members died in the War when they could have probably stayed out of it. There was an active program to recruit boys, but it had little effect. The relationship between the Jeugdstorm and German military as it became understood certainly must have discoraged membership, especially by 1943 as the Germans began experiencing increasing losses.
We do not know of any attempt to coordinate youth group activities between the NJ and Hitler Youth organization in the Netherlands. Some NJ members had summer work experiences on German farms. These apparently were possitive experiences and as they were on farms, the children probably ate better than at home. Apparently these summer experiences were conducted in 1942 and 43, but then discontinued because of the dangers traveling as the allied bombing intensified. These summer experiences were uin Germany, but not part of the Hitler Youth program. We do not know if the Hitler Youth organization sponsored any activities in Germany for NJ boys or invited NJ boys to attend Hitler Youth camps.
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main Dutch World War II occupation page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organizatiion pages:
[Return to the Main Dutch nationalist page]
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]