Wolfhilde's Hitler Youth Diary 1939-1946
Written by Wolfhilde von König



by Wolfgang Schleich


      Initially, the material upset me emotionally in an unexpected way. It took me some time to re-read the diary entries one by one to gain a calmer perspective. Of course, for 60 years or longer I have been aware of the strategies and tactics, the techniques and methods applied and utilized by the Nazi regime to contaminate and poison the minds and souls of people—beginning with children from the age of 10—with its fierce, all-embracing ideology.

      Never, before reading Wolfhilde’s Hitler Youth Diary, have I been confronted with such massive, monstrous evidence as to what the Nazi regime was doing to us—and how they did it. What is presented here in the diary of a girl from 13 through 21 years of age is a textbook example—concrete evidence—of how they did it.

      Manny is quoted in spring of 1953, the first year of his resident status in the United States: “We got everything we wanted. We were Hitler’s children. We got all the athletic goods and overnight camping trips we wanted; we could study art, architecture, sculpture. We were told all kindness came to us from Hitler. We knew nothing but Hitler and his kindness.”[1]

      That is, of course, the way it began. Later, I, like Manny, starting at age 15, served as a Luftwaffenhelfer(LWH, Air Force Helper) manning anti-aircraft artillery from trenches, he in Munich and I in Berlin. On "D-Day" 6 June 1944, I, then a chap of 16 (and anything but a "teenager" as we have come to know them later), was in a Flak gun emplacement on the Berlin outskirts. We fired our 105 mm artillery pieces like mad at some mighty British bomber formation of several hundred during a night raid and at the US Air Force bombers which were active during the day. The Nazi propaganda so successfully played-down the Allied invasion that I did not, for some time, realize its significance. Nor did I realize the significance and consequences of all that had gone before, by which I mean the thoroughness of our ideological training.

      These accounts of Wolfhilde's everyday life in Germany during World War II—her teenage views of, and attitudes toward, developments as they occur—demonstrate the functioning of a mind held captive within the National Socialist ideology.

      She was only 14 when WW II began in 1939. At the end of the war in 1945 she was 20. During those six years she had undergone nomaturation, despite all the harsh experiences she had endured. Of course, political emancipation had been out of the question; there were no alternatives among which she could have chosen.

      The young generation was the vital reservoir out of which the Nazis would build the fundaments for their envisaged "Thousand-Year Reich." Just as the exponents of other totalitarian philosophies have stipulated, their objective was to forge a neuen Menschen, a "New Man." These New People would firmly believe in the dogmas and doctrines which were drilled into them day-in and day-out. Such men and women were needed to build the absolutely loyal homogeneous society which would be ready to follow the leaders of the One-and-Only party. In the final account they would be ready to die for the ideals in which they had been conditioned to believe; a totally submissive mass which would ban, persecute and punish any individualistic tendencies. It is essentially George Orwell's 1984 horror scenario. In 1946/47 he knew what he was writing about; it had already been played out in Germany.

      Germany was on its way toward such a system when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. It should be remembered that he did not "seize" power, as has long been said, but that he was appointed chancellor by Reichspräsident von Hindenburg after the post-World-War-One first German republic, the "Weimar Republic," failed for various reasons. Once in this position, he wasted no time to really "seize" all the power he could get—and he got it all.

      Considering the grave consequences which the disastrous Big Depression had for Germany—widespread destitution, with millions out of work—Hitler soon garnered massive popular support with his promises to abolish unemployment, put the economy back on its feet, bring prosperity to everyone and restore a proud nation. As many millions of people joined its ranks, the National Socialist German Workers' Party—the NSDAP, the only political force left after all other parties were banned—set about forming a giant network of organizations in all sectors of public life to control all citizens and herd them into the "right" direction.

      Under the Hitler Jugend (Youth) umbrella, boys aged 10-14 were required to join its junior branch, the Jungvolk; girls of that age, the Jungmädel. At 14, girls graduated into Bund deutscher Mädel (BDM, translated as League of German Girls); 14 year old boys became Hitler Youth, per se.   

      Beginning in 1938, boys and girls could be drafted into the respective organizations, even against the wishes and wills of their parents, and taken by police to the weekly gatherings. These took up two afternoons per week for ideological and physical training. Hiking and marching, pseudo-"war games" (including hand-grenade throwing), and weekend excursions with primitive tents and cooking gear were also parts of the program—as were small-group meetings for singing and indoctrination held in intimate settings, the so-called Heim-Abende (Home Evenings, often in some roughly furnished basement room in their parents' private homes). Through all conceivable means the Nazis saturated youth with their world-view.

      The flag marching song (Fahnenlied) written by Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach, leader of the HJ from 1933-1940, signifies a seal of accomplishment for Hitler’s goal, stated in 1933 as: “My program for educating youth is hard. Weakness must be hammered away. In my castles of the Teutonic Order, a youth will grow up before which the world will tremble. I want a brutal, domineering, fearless, cruel youth.” At the 1934 Nuremberg Rally, Hitler said:  “While the older generation could still waver, the younger generation has pledged itself to us and is ours, body and soul!” Every verse of the Fahnenlied is followed by this chorus:

                        Our banner flutters before us
                        Our banner represents the new era
                        And our banner leads us to eternity!
                        Yes, our banner means more to us than death!


            With few exceptions the boys and girls would sing itever thinking—a great deal, or at all—about the meaning of the words or the insane concept behind them. The ideology settled in their minds without being consciously noticed; they were envenomed, mentally subverted,and corrupted without being aware of it.

            Wolfhilde appears to be among those who succumbed completely; her diary entries bear witness. They show that she was not just routinely doing what a BDM girl was supposed to do in the way of participating in the decreed activities; she did it with enthusiastic dedication without evercritical thought. She takes pride in getting recognition—basically a natural human reaction, put to exaggerated use by the Nazis—and being promoted to leader of a small group. She chooses Hitler or Goering quotes to head the annual volumes of the diary; she uses the official Nazi terminology to condemn various aspects of Allied diplomacy and warfare.

            Set in the heart of Munich, the city which saw the birth of the Nazi Party and which Hitler held dearest, Wolfhilde’s account mingles domestic life with the most devastating aspects of the war, even as defeat approaches and all fronts retreat into Munich for its final collapse.

            Wolfhilde is a loyal disciple of Hitler even in his defeat; she is embarrassed by those of her fellow Bavarians who wave the white flag and cheer entry into Munich of the U.S. Army’s Third Division.

            All in all, the  Diary is a highly informative document which should be of special interest to readers who favor the immediacy of the journal form. It is primary source material; authentic history.

What is unique about this book is that it is a Diary, not a Memoir, meaning it is an unedited first hand account of day to day history as it happened, not a story written from memory many years later...



[1]  Article by Carl Hennemann titled “Job here taught ex-Nazi democracy best.”       St. Paul Dispatch 1953.

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