Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Modern Day Edelweiss Pirates

WW2 has always been a most intruiging subject. Such questions as how did the Nazi's gather such support, and was Hitler really as loved by ALL the peoples of Germany, have crossed my mind from time to time.

How could the Nazi's have risen to power?

Could something similar happen again, in America, or Europe?

They say that until man can properly analyse himself and his history, he is forever doomed to repeat it. So YES, it could happen again.

Some say it already is......
In the US.

But right here I want to address a subject that I previously knew very little about; Hitler and the Nazi's did indeed meet resistance from the ordinary German peoples. It seems not everyone agreed with the Nazi actions and ideologies, some did make a stand and networked to make a stand against Fascism.

Among these groups were the Edelweiss Pirates, the Roving Dudes, the Kittelbach Pirates and the Navajos.

These youth-gangs were raised as very young children into an already established Nazi society. For them, there was no real other alternative to the wishes of their society's leaders. The Hitler-Youth and other 'Approved' organisations were just waiting for them to enter and embrace, but these groups did not do that!

They rebelled, they fought with the Hitler-Youth gangs, danced the 'Un-approved' dances at halls, sang popular anti-Nazi songs and distributed anti-Nazi propaganda leaflets (even going as far as murdering a Gestapo leader).

The strange thing is, contemporary history would have us all believe that ALL of Gemany's peoples were behind the Nazi machine, and that just isn't so!

Peukert writes in his book 'Life in the Third Reich :

"" At these evening gatherings people chatted, told stories, played the guitar and sang songs - especially hiking songs or popular hits about foreign lands, adventure, tough men, beautiful girls.

No cliché from the world of commercial entertainment was left unused.

Nevertheless, the Edelweiss Pirates appropriated these banal stereotypes for their own ends. For one thing, they were not singing the Hitler Youth songs prescribed as "suitable for young people" or the fighting songs of the chauvinistic German military tradition; they sang adult hit songs...

The Edelweiss Pirates developed a remarkable knack for rewriting lyrics - inserting new phrases, lines or whole verses... the Edelweiss Pirates turned the traditional songs of the hiking and youth movements to similar use.

They adapted or reworked these songs and used them as signals of protest, either because the songs themselves were disapproved of or even banned by the Hitler Youth or because the names of supposed foes in the original texts were replaced with those of the Nazis, Gestapo or Hitler Youth. [...] On July 17, 1943, the Dusseldorf-Grafenberg branch of the Nazi Party reported to the Gestapo:

Re: "Edelweiss Pirates." The said youths are throwing their weight around again. I have been told that gatherings of young people have become more conspicuous than ever [in a local park], especially since the last air raid on Dusseldorf.

These adolescents, aged between 12 and 17, hang around into the late evening with musical instruments and young females. Since this riffraff is in large part outside the Hitler Youth and adopts a hostile attitude towards the organisation, they represent a danger to other young people.

It has recently been established that members of the armed forces too are to be found among these young people and they, owing to their membership in the Wehrmacht, exhibit particularly arrogant behaviour.

There is a suspicion that it is these youths who have covered the walls of the pedestrian subway... with the slogans "Down with Hitler," "The OKW [Military High Command] is Lying, "Medals for Murder," "Down with Nazi Brutality," etc. However often these inscriptions are removed, within a few days new ones reappear on the walls. ""

Now, what a great idea for a movie!

I did have an idea that not all of Germany's youth in the forties completely embraced the Nazi ideology;

I once worked with a woman who was raised in Berlin after World-War-2. She lived with her family, as her father was an officer in the RAF at that time.

She told me they had a woman German house-keeper, who herself had raised young children during the thirties. She told of how her two young children did not want to attend the Nazi Youth Rallies, that everyone was expected to go to. In fact her kids hated these rallies.

On one occasion, her boy and his friends decided to play truant and went off somewhere else instead of going to the organised Nazi-Rally. The very next day, an extremely aggressive Nazi Youth Leader, a woman, knocked on their door and demanded to know from the mother why her oldest child had not attended the organised function.

The mother was threatened with various punishments if her child ever missed another Rally......... And these punishements were carried out publicly. I think the mother ensured that her child did not miss any meetings ever again.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.
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12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say briefly: Best! Useful information. Good job guys.
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3:47 PM  

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