Either consciously or unconsciously, ideas about morals, values, and beliefs shaped the manner in which objects were made, and the way in which they have survived. By grouping together objects and images, we offer a prism through which to understand the complexities of the path to perpetration.
Children under National Socialism
The Jubelfahne and the limits of the People’s Community
The Nazis put much time and effort in creating a so-called ‘People’s Community’, a Volksgemeinschaft. To most ordinary Germans this notion was a positive one, as it represented a break with the socio-political divisiveness that had marked the prior years of the Weimar Republic. Yet, few people subscribed to the idea of a Volksgemeinschaft of their own accord.
The Poesie-album and the direct efforts to shape the minds of youngsters
How the Nazi language entered the manners and the ways people communicated with each other can also be seen in the Poesie-album of a little girl. This entry quotes Field Marshal von Moltke and mentions that it is written in “war-year 1944”, clearly echoing the language used by propagandists. Children are impressionable, and the Nazi regime fully exploited that.
Marching in step
Serving a military function was hailed as the highest achievable honour, a mark of a “real man”. It is not surprising that the boy we see in the picture is strutting with pride in donning a uniform. He is accompanied by an even younger boy, perhaps his little brother, who is already walking in step with him, mimicking his demeanour, a sentiment worthy of being captured on camera.
The Wehrpass and the active use of children in Germany’s war
The military passport, or Wehrpass [ 4 ] is of a boy only sixteen years old and is dated November 1944. This boy had never known anything other than National Socialism, and when during the final months of the war the army desperately needed new troops, it was also these children who were used to defend the country.