LUFTWAFFE OFFICER WITH HITLER YOUTH~UNUSED REAL PHOTO POSTCARD
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Up for auction from my personal collection is an increasingly scarce original rare photograph postcard of a German Luftwaffe Officer with a group of teenage Hitler Youth in full uniform (usually ages 14 to 18 which is evident in this image) . The detail in this photograph is fantastic. Some of the youth appear to be taking their lot very seriously and others are typical teenage boys poking fun at each other while the photographer captures the image. All of the boys appear to have suitcases. One teenage boy dwarfs the German Officer that he stands next to. The photograph postcard measures approximately 5 ½” x 3 ½” and is in very good condition with the exception of some foxing on the reverse.
The HJ (or Hitlerjugend) were viewed as future "Aryan supermen" and were indoctrinated in anti-Semitism. One aim was to instill the motivation that would enable HJ members, as soldiers, to fight faithfully for the Third Reich. The HJ put more emphasis on physical and military training than on academic study.
After the boy scout movement was banned through German-controlled countries, the HJ appropriated many of its activities, though changed in content and intention. For example, many HJ activities closely resembled military training, with weapons training, assault course circuits and basic tactics. Some cruelty by the older boys toward the younger ones was tolerated and even encouraged, since it was believed this would weed out the unfit and harden the rest.
The HJ wore uniforms very like those of the SA, with similar ranks and insignia.
By 1943, Nazi leaders began turning the Hitler Youth into a military reserve to draw manpower which had been depleted due to tremendous military losses. In 1943, the 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend, under the command of SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Witt, was formed. The Division was a fully equipped Waffen-SS panzer division, with the majority of the enlisted cadre being drawn from Hitler Youth boys between the ages of 16 and 18. The division was deployed during the Battle of Normandy against the British and Canadian forces to the north of Caen. During the following months, the division earned itself a reputation for ferocity and fanaticism. When Witt was killed by allied naval gunfire, SS-Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer took over command and became the youngest divisional commander at age 33.
As German casualties escalated with the combination of Operation Bagration and the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation in the east, and Operation Cobra in the west, members of the Hitlerjugend were recruited at ever younger ages. By 1945, the Volkssturm was commonly drafting 12-year-old Hitler Youth members into its ranks. During the Battle of Berlin, Axmann's Hitler Youth formed a major part of the last line of German defense, and were reportedly among the fiercest fighters. Although the city commander, General Helmuth Weidling, ordered Axmann to disband the Hitler Youth combat formations; in the confusion, this order was never carried out. The remnants of the youth brigade were "mowed down" by the advancing Russian forces; only two survivors remained.
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