Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Kriegshilfsdienst



Literally: War Help Service. From 1941, this was created as a half year extension to the Reichsarbetsdienst taken on by young German women. There was a similar programme for men until the war broke out but their war work was considered to be the conscription into the SA.
The German girls write much about this in the letters – in the actual ones and the ones I’ve fictionalised in the story. In the real letters the girls are writing from March 1942 to November 1944. Most of them complete their Reichsarbeitsdiesnt in that time and many of them are in their Kriegshilfsdienst. What they describe is actually what we might consider to be war work for any young woman: helping with the field post, manning the local telephone exchange, helping on farms, working in laboratories, air traffic control and helping look after children on the Kinderlandvershickung.
They talk a lot about duty in the letters.
Is it right and fair to expect young people to do their duty during war time?
Should they also do duty during peace time?

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