[Hitler Jugend (HJ)]
As early as 1922, the SA maintained authority of the German youth under the aegis of the Jugenbund der NSDAP (Youth League of the Nazi Party). The Hitler youth also had a female equivalent, the Bund Deutcher Madel, the League of German Girls. A section called The Deutsche Jungvolk was composed of boys to young to join the HJ; their ages ranging from 10 to 14.
In 1935, the HJ was officially formed and designated as a Party branch. Adolf Hitler appointed a youthful leader named Baldur von Schirach as the initial Reich Youth leader.
The 1939 Youth Service Decree made membership in the HJ mandatory for all German youth between the ages of ten and eighteen, except those whose blood was not pure Aryan. As Germany mobilised for an all-out war effort, the HJ became a convenient way to raise additional manpower. HJ units were formed in the majority of the occupied countries and members of the HJ served with all branches of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS.
Initially, the HJ was run by Baldur Von Schirach who supervised the great expansion of the organization. In 1940 Artur Axeman was appointed Reich Youth Leader until the end of the war.
As the war progressed, the premilitary training of the HJ between the ages of 16 and 18 was taken over by the Army with greater emphasis being given to military training in readiness for the Hitler Youth members joining the Wehrmacht.
The SS undertook much of the youth training and encouraged many youth members to join the Waffen SS ranks when they were of age.
In February 1943, the German Army was facing a man power shortage after great losses on the Russian front and developed schemes to draft in Hitler Youth members before the legal conscription age. This involved volunteer enlistment for 17 year olds with the consent of Artur Axeman and Himmler. As a result of this action, a Waffen SS division was formed with Hitler Youth (12th SS Panzer division) and served with distinction but suffered badly with only 455 of the original 10,000 soldiers left by the end of the war.
The Hitler Youth also took on additional war duties in Germany as manpower reduced. It supplied Fire Defence squads (HJ-Feurwehrscharen 700,000) and an auxiliary Flak organisation (100,000). The HJ was also trained in guerrilla warfare to harass the allies on their advance into Germany.
Hitler Youth Organizations
Dagger In formation - HJ Student Bund
This HJ Student Bund knife was identical to the 1933 HJ knife except that at the centre of the grip a Student Bund badge was installed in place of the standard HJ logo. This is about the same as a HJ knife but again variations exist that will just be to many to list.
Edited by Bruce Petrin