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Karina Saavedra

Goff & Wehrley

Honors by Exhibition

12 December 2016

The Rise and Fall of German Jewish Youth

In my castles of the Teutonic Order, a new youth will grow up, before which the world

will tremble. I want a brutal, domineering, fearless and cruel youth. Youth must be all that. It

must bear pain. There must be nothing weak and gentle about it. The free, splendid beast of prey

must once again flash from its eyesThat is how I will eradicate thousands of years of human

domesticationThat is how I will create the New Order. The notorious Adolf Hitler rose into

dictatorship throughout the years of 1934-1945, completely changing Germany and its youth.

With Adolf Hitler running the Nazi Party, this specific party became fairly controversial before

World War II, reprimanding Jews as a main source of political, social, ethical, and economic

difficulty to the German population.

On November 9th and November 10th of 1938, Nazis in Germany burned down

synagogues, Jewish homes, schools, businesses, killing 91 Jews. This was known as the Night

of the Broken Glass or Kristallnacht. As for the Nazi Party, the Kristallnacht was set as the

beginning to Jewish concentration camps and the anti-Semitic, the prejudice against Jews, racial

slurs. Hitler began with instituting policies to completely isolate German Jews from non-Jews,

subjecting the German Jews in persecution.

The violence of the Kristallnacht became a wake up call for the German Jews that the

anti-Semitism would only intensify under the Nazi Partys influence. The Kristallnacht was only
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the beginning of the mass murdering, harassment, and violence to the Jews. Starting from

January 30th, Hitler and the Nazi party implemented their Jewish Problem by systematically

murdering 6 million German Jews, which came to be known as the Holocaust. Many Jews were

convinced that there was no clean future for Germany, no matter how hard they attempted to

escape Hitler. They were going to end up in concentration camps, somehow. The prejudice

experiences Jews experienced while growing up has only worsened from there. This leads me to

answering the question: How did growing up as a German Jew in a fascist state, such as Nazi

Germany, affect youth and eventual future during the World War II period?

Growing up as a German Jewish child meant that you were especially vulnerable to

Hitlers Jewish policies. Jewish children living in the ghettos usually died from starvation,

unsanitary conditions, or exposure to the Nazi Party. German authorities finalized that Jewish

children were generally too young to be under labor and were looked at as unproductive, hence

being generally deported to concentration and extermination camps established by Hitler.

German camp authorities sent the majority of Jewish children directly to gas chambers upon

arrival. However, the elite military force of the Nazi Party, which were known as Schutzstaffel

(also known as SS) at German-occupied Poland shot thousands of children into a grave shared

with thousands of other corpses. Dr. Marilyn Harran, Professor at Chapman University and Stern

Chair in Holocaust education, said, Ultimately, many German Jewish youth faced deportation to

forced labor, concentration camps and later on to death camps. By the end of the Holocaust, an

estimated 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered by the Nazis.

German Jewish children also faced the racist extremes anti-Semitism , although the racist

comments derived from the non-Jewish children and Hitler Youth Groups. Chants such as Das
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Judenblut vom Messer spritzt, gehts una nochmal so gut. (The Jews blood spurting from the

knife makes us feel especially good) and Kauft nicht bei Juden. (Do not buy from the Jews)

were fairly popular sayings in Hitler Youth Groups.

However, growing up as a non-German Jewish child in Nazi Germany did not necessarily

mean that you were escaping Hitlers anti-Semitic policies. Many non-Jewish children belonged

to families that were anti-Nazi, however, the Jewish children were immediately forced into Hitler

Youth Groups by German authorities. Non-Jewish children living in targeted ghettos were not

spared, and were brought to extermination camps to be murdered. Often, children were trained in

the Hitler Youth to report their parents to the German authorities when speaking against Hitler

and the Nazi Party.

The Nazi Party targeted the German youth as a special audience for their propaganda

messages, emphasizing the fact that the Nazi Party will continue to inspire the German Youth.

Both boys and girls of German youth were trained to be inspired by Hitler, to be obedient to state

authority, anti-semitism, militarism, and racism against Jews in the Hitler Youth and League of

German Girls. The Nazi Party used children as a form of manipulation to shape the future of

anti-semitism.Nazi Ideologies were spread throughout schools, and Jews were now isolated and

removed from schools that was shared with a non-Jew. Dr. Marilyn Harran, said this about the

biased German Jewish Youth: Jews faced a barrage of laws and edicts limiting their rights. In

1935, German Jews were no longer allowed to be citizens. Jewish children were prohibited from

attending German public schools but initially allowed to attend Jewish schools. This greatly

impacted the everyday life of a German-Jew, for they lived through constant terror, threat, and

denunciation in Nazi Germany.


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According to the book, What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi

Germany, many accounts of both Jewish and non-Jewish Holocaust survivors shared their

experiences to growing up under the Hitler reign. Herbert Klein, head of Nurembergs Jewish

community, was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp stated, But nobody knew

that [the Jews were being systematically murdered.]...But if they [Germans] say they did not

particularly know that the Jews were being murdered by the millions in Poland, that I accept.

Even so, it is very difficult to accept. (Johnson 107). Klein mentions multiple times in his

testimonies that the Jewish and non-Jewish communities were only aware that Jews were sent to

concentration camps. However, no one had a clue that Jews were being systematically murdered.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest killing center, was authorized and established in the

spring of 1942 by SS authorities. Although Auschwitz was originally planned to become a forced

Jewish labor camp to be working for SS-inspired construction projects, Auschwitz gradually

developed into a Jewish extermination camp. SS authorities put their first Jewish extermination

practice to use by directly sending Jews that were unable to work to two makeshift gas chambers.

As the late spring of 1944 arrived, the murdering capacity has reached its peak at Auschwitz; SS

authorities gassed as many as 6,000 Jews per day. By the autumn of 1944, SS authorities killed

over one million Jews, in which 865,000 Jews were killing immediately upon arrival.

Although SS authorities murdered more than one million Jews, there was a large amount

of secrecy surrounding the killing centers. Being called the top classified killing centers, SS

authorities unauthorized disclosure of any information revolving the gassing and murdering of

Jews. SS leadership ordered camp authorities to immediately burn the Jewish bodies of those

murdered in the killing center, and disinter the Jewish bodies that have been buried, so that those
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corpses may be burned as well. Throughout World War II, many people did not have a clue that

Jews were being murdered and cremated in order to protect the Nazi Partys and Hitlers

reputation to society. .

However, many of the survivor accounts include non-Jewish men and women who have

worked under the Nazi Party but were against Hitlers ideologies. Albert Emmerich, a policeman

in Nazi Germany said, Look at that. There are three mass graves. Those are Jews. There are

three hundred Jews lying in each grave...They got a shot at the nape of the neck with simple

revolvers and were forced to undress beforehand. Then the next three hundred were ready. They

had to dig their own mass grave and their turn came later. (Johnson 245). Hitlers purpose in

concentration camps was to manipulate Jews to dig their own grave, while thinking that they

were only used as labor for the Nazi Party.

There were many survivors that witnessed and participated in the mass murdering.

Important witnesses and participators include Ernst Walters and Adam Grolsch. Ernst Walters, a

Nazi Party cell leader, witnessed Jewish murderings and the process that lead to the killings.

Over there is a concentration camp, thats where the corpses are being burned, where soap is

being made from the Jews...Gassed. They were killed, and soap was made from the bones. The

people were nothing more than that. (Johnson 208-210). Adam Grolsch, a radio operator in the

German army stated, People there were slaughtered; in two days, 25,000 men, women, and

children and in the most beastly way...And the absolute worst thing I saw was how this man took

a screaming baby and beat it headfirst against a wall until it was dead. (Johnson 232).

Subsequent to the liberation of Nazi camps, many survivors feared to return to their

former homes due to the presence of anti-Semitism. Though there were quite a few violent
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anti-Semitic propagandas occurring in Nazi-occupied countries, post-Holocaust, many Jewish

survivors immediately migrated to the United States or westward to other European countries.

Armin Hertz, survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, reflects on how

unforgiving the Holocaust has been to the Jewish community: We try not to remember. Its not

that easy. For 36 years, I couldnt talk about it...My wife can tell you that for years I used to

wake up at night soaked in sweat...It was not easy. (Johnson 34).

Even to this day, there are many Jews that are furious with the Nazi Partys policies from

the past, and are still angry at the Germans for every single forbidding action done to the Jewish

community. William Benson, a man born in Leipzig and grew up anti-Hitler, is a prime example

of one of the many Jews that are continually furious at the Nazi Party:I teach my children, you

never forgive, you never forget. And they should teach their children about Germany never to

forget, never to forgive...This is something you dont forgive. (Johnson 7).

From the day Hitler rose into power, a Jewish childs perspective on society, politics, and

the outside world completely changed. Due to Hitlers policy of isolating all Jewish and

non-Jewish children in school, a Jewish childs education completely vanished. Hermann

Gottfried, Jewish man born in Berlin, said this about the education Jewish children had

experienced: Jewish children could not go to any school, so we had our own...I became

convinced that we had no future in Germany. (Johnson 42-44). Jewish children as young as

eight years old became completely convinced that the future education of the Jewish youth was

gone, and the only option for a brighter future was to escape the Nazi society.

The ideals taught to the young German youth greatly impacted the eventual future of
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Germany, as many Jewish and non-Jewish youth schools were taught harsh discipline, Hitlers

ideologies, and the proper ways of living in a Nazi-based society. In the book The Book Thief, by

Markus Zusak, the main character, Liesel Meminger, struggles with growing up in an anti-Nazi

household, while having to forcefully join the All Girls Hitler Youth program. Throughout her

schooling, she continues to learn more about Hitlers intentions, but is brainwashed to

understand that Hitlers intentions are anti-Semitic. It was a label she did not understand.

Communist...And that word. That strange word was always there somewhere, standing in the

corner, watching from the dark. It wore suits, uni forms. (Zusak 31). Liesels curiosity of the

term Kommunist gives us an insight that the German youth were completely oblivious to the

education they received from the Nazi.

As Liesels foster family is greatly admired by Hitler, Liesel is limited to having her own

beliefs about the Nazi Party. Liesel secretly reads books that are anti-Nazi in the basement.

However, as one of her brothers caught her, and said, And what trash is this girl reading? She

should be reading Mein Kampf. (Zusak 105). Liesel was forcefully and obliviously pushed into

the Nazi society. Together, they cried one united heil Hitler and were free to wander. (Zusak

109). Book Thief contributes to showing that there was a large impact on Jewish education during

the Hitler reign.

Moreover, Hitler greatly contributed to one of the many starting points of World War 2,

beginning the German Invasion in many Jewish-based countries such as Poland, Belgium,

France, Denmark, etc. In attempt to make Germany a powerful army, the purpose of the Hitler

Youth program was to train young boys to become soldiers and help expand the German Empire.

The Nazi Partys racial propaganda spread throughout the world, affecting the treatment Jews
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experienced during and after World War 2. Hitler embodied the idea of racial superiority and

anti-Semitism throughout the world. Hitlers intention was to help shape Germany into a

powerful and rich country. However, Hitler did the complete opposite, splitting Germany and

creating the biggest genocide known to mankind.

How did growing up as a German Jew in a fascist state, such as Nazi Germany, affect

youth and eventual future during the World War II period? Growing up as a German Jew in a

fascist state such as Nazi Germany resulted in many brutal consequences. From the moment the

Kristallnacht occurred, that began the racial anti-Semitic extremes which lead to the systematic

murder of about 6 million Jews, which came to be known as the Holocaust. Young Jewish

children were forced to live under racial slanders while not receiving the appropriate education

due to the way the Nazi Party viewed Jewish children.

Growing up as a German Jewish child during the Hitler reign was defined to growing up

in a death trap. An estimated 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered during the Holocaust.

While these Jewish children continued to grow throughout the Nazi Regime, these children were

thrown into concentration camps, digging their own graves as labor. Gassings, being shot at the

nape of the neck, assault, and starvation were the main reasons leading to the deaths of many

Jews. Survivors testimonies help prove that growing up in a fascist state filled with dictatorship

disintegrated ones youth and eventual future to become successful. From Hitler Youth Groups,

extermination/concentration camps, effect of Jewish education, to survivors testimonies, Adolf

Hitlers attempt into creating a domineering country failed, creating an imprint to modern

history.
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Work Cited:

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print.

Johnson, Eric A and Karl-Heinz Reuband. What We Knew. 1st ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Basic

Books, 2005. Print.

Harran, Dr. Marilyn. Inquiry Question Based On German Jewish Youth. 2016. E-mail.

Llewellyn, Jennifer and Jim Southey. "Children In Nazi Germany". Nazi Germany. N.p., 2016.

Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

"Kristallnacht - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.Com". HISTORY.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Nov.

2016.

"Kristallnacht: Night Of The Broken Glass - Key Stage 3 - The Holocaust Explained".

Theholocaustexplained.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

"Children During The Holocaust". Ushmm.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.

"Euthanasia Program". Ushmm.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.

"Indoctrinating Youth". Ushmm.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.

"Killing Centers". Ushmm.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 3 Dec. 2016.