1944: Nazi crackdown on Edelweiss Pirates

Wayward teenagers still contributed to the crime figures, with 54 percent of serious thefts attributed to juveniles, an increase of 120 percent since 1939.

1944: Second World War: Heinrich Himmler orders a crackdown on the Edelweiss Pirates, a loosely organized youth culture in Nazi Germany that had assisted army deserters and others to hide from the Third Reich.

The following except is from Hitler’s Home Front: Life in Nazi Germany during World War Two: 

Teenagers in the pursuit of pleasure often ignored the Puritans, kill-joys and prohibitionists. Juvenile charges were also up, which prompted debate at the highest levels of government.

Goring noted that wartime conditions, coupled with the blackout, facilitated a ‘lack of discipline and the commission of offences by young people’.

The notorious Edelweiss Pirates – whose members evaded the Hitler Youth by leaving school at 14 and were also too young to for military conscription – were organised around urban districts.

Fuelled by boredom, poverty and lack of future prospects, they loitered at park entrances, tube stations and on the fringes of town squares.

However, these gangs seldom ventured further than committing petty provocations, attacks on the Hitler Youth or loudly expressing their disgust at the regime.

Then, there was the Swing Youth– whose members exhibited their independence through gang fashion and a sense of pride at being visibly different.

They loved American jazz, British clothes and, like the Edelweiss Pirates, hated the Hitler Youth.

Wayward teenagers still contributed to the crime figures, with 54 percent of serious thefts attributed to juveniles, an increase of 120 percent since 1939.

 

Taken from Hitler’s Home Front: Life in Nazi Germany during World War Two available at Amazon