Thursday 28 July 2011

Food shortages, the Hitler Youth, conscription, the German Home Guard, the Steiner Schools, 1940s trains and exciting news about the Wilhelm Löhe School

Yes, I’ve got through a variety of topics today.
It seems that food shortages weren’t as severe at the beginning of the war in Germany as they were in the UK. They did have problems with their harvest and they also introduced rationing. But they did not suffer too much because of the blockades and there were plentiful sources of food in the countryside. I’ve already got that in the girls’ earlier letters so I’m pleased I seem to have guessed correctly.
I do need to bring in some more instances of the Hitler Youth. Membership was compulsory for boys aged 10-14 from 1936. However, people could get away with just paying the subscription. By 1930, attendance was expected as well. So the boys in the book would have been in the movement.
Conscription started off being for those who had already done their military service. Then young men 18-25 were called up, then 27-33 then when those died up to 34-44 then 45-54,55-64, then he would start by 15-20 all again.
There was a Heimwehr, very similar to our Home Guard, but in 1944 the Volkssturnm was formed. This was a final attempt to scrape together an army. This may also feature in the novel.
I’ve also found out more about the Steiner schools and what trains were like in 1940. I may also have found a contact at the school that was closed in 1938, the Wilhelm Löhe school. It was the closing of this school that caused the letters to be written.
Not a bad day’s work.

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