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A Hitler Youth in Poland (Jewish Lives (Paperback)) Paperback – 28 Feb 1998

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From the Back Cover

Between 1933 and 1945, millions of German children between the ages of seven and sixteen were taken from their homes and sent to Hitler Youth paramilitary camps to be toughened up and taught how to be "German". Separated from their families and sent to far-away away places like Denmark, Latvia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and occupied Poland, these children often endured incredible abuse by the adults in charge. In this memoir, Jost Hermand, a distinguished German cultural critic and historian who spent much of his youth in five different camps, writes about his experiences during this period. After reviewing what others have published about the camps and explaining why previous romanticized views must be corrected, Hermand provides background into the creation and development of the camps. He then devotes one chapter apiece to each of the five different camps to which he was sent: Kirchenpopowo, San Remo, Gross Ottingen, Silesia, and Sulmierschutz. Each was quite different from the other, he writes, and almost every form of behavior existed at each place.The children did sometimes find, with certain adults, parental solicitude, belief in the inherent goodness of human beings, and naive idealism, but by and large they encountered fascistic indoctrination, dreary routine, conscious brutalization, and the worst sort of sadism. In the two final chapters, Hermand focuses on the postwar consequences of his camp experiences for his own development, and his return visit in 1991 to some of the sites. In these chapters, as in the rest of the book, Hermand carefully and skillfully combines his personal story with an analysis of the overall purpose of the camps. An intelligent and persuasive document, this book should be read by anyone interested in psychology, the history of everyday life, and in the story of Germany under Hitler.

About the Author

Jost Hermand is William F. Vilas Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gerhard Richter is associate professor of German at the University of California, Davis.

Dembo is an editor at the American Museum of Natural History.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed this for research 29 Jun. 2015
By sandhog - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you thank you thank you - it took me a long time to find something on this subject in English!
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Shocking 15 Jan. 2016
By Megan Stauffer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is quite a bit of content in this book that is disturbing. It's well written and gives an interesting historical perspective on Nazi Germany. But prepare to read some shocking and disturbing information. Just a fair warning, because I wish that someone would have warned me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Aug. 2016
By Lindel H. Litton - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
wonderful book
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SAD BUT TRUE 4 Feb. 2010
By Marilyn A. Courchaine - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
10 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars day of Hitler's camp 1 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Two soldiers probably between the ages of 14 and 17 entered my classroom the day before. they talked of Hitler and all of his promises and what we should get if we joined him in German ways; if we joined the Nazis. out of my class of 20, already 13 had signed up. i, however was scared and against Hitler's ways. that night i lay awake in my bed. i heard someone at our door, footsteps and someone with a deep rumbling voice talking with my father. then, the door closed and i didn't hear anyone dowstairs. i finally fell asleep. the next morning, no one was home. i searched my house fully, but mother, father, and my baby brother Dexter had all dissapeared. i never found them again and later that day, the same two soldiers in my classroom came and took me to a paramilitary camp to become "German". the food at the camp was hard and old. the people were cold, crying, and hungry. most of the people there were about 14 years old; my age. they worked us from 5:30 until dinner time. we had five meals a day, but they were simple: bread, water or grape jiuce, a slab of beef, and some sort of vegatable. i stayed at that camp for 5 years and then went to a different more advanced and better conditioned one. then, i was "German". i wasn't really, but Hitler's followers had grown from 9% to nearly 68%. i, of course, had to pretend to be a follower. and, besides, Hitler wasn't done yet. he was determined to get everyone on his side against the Jews, and so far he was winning. Hitler the madman, Hitler the God, Hitler the killer, Hitler the idol. whatever the reason, wherever he is now, whenever you feel as if you are with Hitler, turn back. he is the evil of the sun and moon. he is the devil of everyone on this Earth, yet he was most often compared to Christ. do not love him, for he is not one to love, but one to hate.
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