Would you enroll your child in Boy Scouts

Werner Mork: Boy Scouts and Hitler Youth 1933

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This entry is from Werner Mork (* 1921) from Kronach, July 2004:

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After the National Socialists came to power in 1933, we met secretly with the "Red Falcons" for a while. Shortly afterwards the floor got too hot for us too. The secret slogan was issued that everyone should try to become a member of one of the youth organizations that were not yet banned. We chose our old "opponent", the Bündische Jugend, the organization of the boy scouts, who had their main camp in the immediate vicinity of our former SAJ home in Lindenstrasse.

There was no trouble. I don't remember why the admission went so smoothly, but we have now become "Pfaffis", albeit with a somewhat restricted membership for the time being. Instead of the gray shirt, we wore a white shirt. We, the new ones, had to prove ourselves before we would have the honor of wearing the gray Pfaffi shirt. But we never got around to it: our pleasure in being with the bourgeois Boy Scouts did not last long. Soon the boy scouts were "brought into line" throughout the empire, all of them were transferred to the Hitler Youth. It was the first youth organization, but it went this way very voluntarily. There was no compulsion on the part of the Reich Youth Leadership of the Hitler Youth. The federal leadership of the scouts themselves had decided to do so. That corresponded to the signs of the new time, the new German unity and unity, so it meant the federal leadership. The German youth should be the role model for this new unit. A future should grow out of her that would no longer know separations.

Well, that's how I, like the other old comrades, became a member of the Hitler Youth literally overnight, at least that's what we were told. We had to assume that that would be true, even if we weren't yet "real members" of the Pfaffis. So we already had our doubts and actually didn't feel affected by this synchronization. We were formally taken by surprise when it was said that the Pfaffis also had to take part in the HJ regional meeting of the "North Sea" region that took place on Whitsun 1933 in Bremen. According to the order of Hitler Youth Area Leader Lühr Hogrefe, all organizations that have already been brought into line should take part. Together with the Hitler Youth they were supposed to march past the Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach, who after the conclusion of a large rally would march past along with many of the greats of the party, in Bremen in front of the Domsheide post office.

The ex-Stammführer von der Borch forwarded this order to us, which was an order that we all had to obey. I also went with the other Pfaffis, together with my friend Helmut. When we arrived in Bremen, we slipped away and looked at the city, where we also visited Böttcherstraße, which we had already heard about. We wore our white shirts, but didn't attract any attention. After our stroll, we went to Domsheide to at least watch the march past that we had successfully avoided taking part. We wanted to see this "move", so we were curious. We positioned ourselves opposite the post office, on the square in front of the "bell", and waited for the things that were to come or march there. What we saw then impressed us very much. These columns marching in perfect order, the great enthusiasm of the boys and girls, the jaggedness of these young people and the many flags that were carried by proud flag-bearers of these young people when they marched past. But also the very likable Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach, standing in a car in front of the post office, made a big impression on us, as did the leaders of the Hitler Youth who were present, the leaders of the BDM and the sizes of the party and its branches.

It all affected us in such a way that these impressions made us think a lot, which also had a positive influence on us. Quite depressed by what we had experienced, we went back by train and burdened with the uncertainty of what would happen to us now. In any case, it was over and over with the "Red Falcons": That was now completely clear to us, to our great regret. Would we now have to take part in the Hitler Youth, with whom we had absolutely no relationship other than our uncomfortable tension from the recent past? We were full of doubts, but felt that we should look for something else immediately because we didn't want to be captured by the Hitler Youth. We should have to realize very quickly that this was a mistake. We no longer cared about the service that was now scheduled for the Pfaffis. We just didn't go along with it, so nothing happened to us. There was still no compulsion, nor was it all voluntary. Because we were not listed as a full member of the Pfaffis, we would probably be able to avoid the transfer to the Hitler Youth, although we should have already taken part in the area meeting in Bremen, but had already successfully avoided . There wouldn't be any documents about us from the Pfaffis either, because we weren't really accepted yet, at least that's how we thought in our childish naivete. The Hitler Youth could not know anything about us, they would have no knowledge of our existence. But we wanted to do something to somehow stay together, especially now.

The only few ex-Rote-Falken now wanted to find shelter elsewhere, at least for the time when the Nazis are still at the helm, which certainly could not be the case for all time. Also a mistake, a very serious one. We got the tip to register as a member of the "Evangelical Youth". This organization had its domicile in the new evangelical parish hall in Hammersbeck, where the new church of the parish had been built. The group was led by Pastor Otten, who was not unknown to us. But we too, these red urchins were not unknown to him. The pastor was still visibly pleased that there were so many red boys wanting to become members of his club and he accepted us. Us, who a short time before had been considered godless! But he would be able to turn us into god-fearing boys after all, thought the pastor!

We didn't have to wait in the association: we became members straight away, we were also allowed to wear the "green shirt" of this organization immediately, along with the purple scarf.

Now we were "good, evangelical boys", we romped about in these church "young hosts", we also prayed very well and actually found everything to be not so bad at all. We thought we could endure pastor Otten and that we could be the "old people" again until we are Red Falcons again. In addition, we boys in this group already knew each other from school. And we hawks had never had a quarrel with the "old" members of this group, we had always got on well with them. There were no ideological problems here, only the somewhat strong bigotry had annoyed us. But now we had to go along with it and it wasn't that difficult for us - we weren't (yet) so godless.

But we had done our calculations without the German thoroughness, we had thought wrong. The new joy of having found good accommodation with the Evangelicals came to an end very quickly. Not because of a conformity which took place later, but because of the search of the Hitler Youth for their missing members. She missed the ex-hawks, which had been registered with the Pfaffis and reported as "stock". So, contrary to our opinion, we did exist in the Hitler Youth. We had been reported by name, and when the documents were checked, the HJ in Vegesack found that a number of young men were missing who had not yet been on duty. During the research that was then carried out, it was found that these "missing persons" had gone into hiding with the Protestant youth of Pastor Otten. As boys registered with the Pfaffis, we had been "passed on" to the Hitler Youth by the leader, with the records of the tribe.

Pastor Otten has now been asked to remove the boys he is not entitled to from his club and to hand them over to the Hitler Youth immediately. The list with the names of the apostates was given to him and he now had to do what had been asked of him, he could not refuse. We were dismissed from his club, which we didn't like, but we also had to submit, at least that's how we thought and not of resistance or refusal.

We, the so insubordinate boys, received the order to report immediately to the Hitler Youth in Vegesack with the stipulation that we had to take part in the service evenings in the schoolyard of the Vegesack elementary school from now on. In the school, the Hitler Youth also had a classroom available in which the so-called back office was held. The service in the evening and not during the day was due to the fact that the members of the Hitler Youth were over 14 years old and consisted of already working apprentices, but also of unskilled workers who could only do "service" in the evening. In addition, there were also the "higher pupils" from the age of 14. At our boyhood we didn't actually belong to the Hitler Youth, but to the German Young People, in which the 10-14 year old boys "did their service". But first we were caught up and romped about with the Hitler Youth. And we too now did the prescribed service, whether we liked it or not. We had arrived in the Hitler Youth as early as 1933, against our own will, but we had become members of our previous opponents, we, the former "Red Falcons".

We were unable to counter this because we had been transferred to the Hitler Youth as regular members of the Bündische Jugend. Nobody asked us, but what should we do about it? Well, we could still have declared our exit, now from the Hitler Youth, but that would cause problems, not only for us, but also for our parents, who would have had to sign the declaration of exit. It was foreseeable that then not only would we get into trouble, but our parents would get even more trouble and possible inconvenience. Our parents were also surprised that we had ended up in the Hitler Youth so suddenly without doing anything of our own. But then most of the parents said that it would be a good thing to take part in the Hitler Youth now. It's not that bad after all: these boys made a very well-mannered impression, behaved much more decently than was first assumed and there were also many boys from the good citizens of Vegesack and the surrounding area. So your own son would be in really good and best company.

Well, so said the parents, who not long ago had nothing in mind with the "browns". And to be honest: We ourselves, including myself, came to the opinion that the Hitler Youth is not that bad after all and that it will be fun to take part. The area meeting in Bremen had a very lasting effect on us. What we saw there made a strong impression, we had a very different attitude, even if we initially resisted it internally and externally. But we were fascinated by the Hitler boys and BDM girls, who appeared in impeccable order. We, who were still against it, were very impressed by the discipline with which everything happened and also by the recognizable bond of the leaders, especially the Reich Youth Leader with the boys and girls, who passed him so radiantly in marching blocks that looked great. That is how we saw it that day and not without a certain sympathy for this still unknown image of stormy enthusiasm that we had never seen before. That was really something completely new. And we, the "Reds", began not only to see everything with different eyes, but also to change ourselves, to get a different attitude. With the result that we made peace in our childlike way with those who had been our opponents a short time before. And both of us, she and we, always met with a lot of hatred at the time, an often very fanatical hatred on both sides. In which we were not just the innocent victims, but in which we ourselves had always "distributed" efficiently and even violently, with words and deeds, with blood flowing from the "other" and the brawls with the "browns" ", as with the" Reds "often resulted in wounds that were more than just scratches.