Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Kinderlandverschickung

Evacuation in Germany was quite different from in the United Kingdom. Only children from the heavily bombed cities of Hamburg and Berlin were originally evacuated. They were not billeted with families as British children were, but they attended large camps and were expected to wear their Hitler Youth uniforms. There were summer camps for children in the less bombed cities. There were plenty of beautiful unscathed parts of Germany they could visit. It all started off well enough. The children were well looked after, they had plenty of fun and they shared a lot of camaraderie. But it soon became more sinister and a way of promoting Nazi idealism. Weakness was not tolerated. Ultimately, young men were shown how to kill using a gun, a grenade, a bayonet or a rifle. Then once the war was over, and most of the leaders were dead or in prison, a few of them, including Hitler, having killed themselves, a whole generation was left confused. I suspect some of the girls who wrote the letters I’m looking at took care of some of the children in the Kinderlandverschickung. This film gives an interesting account of this progression. Click here.

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