Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Adolf Hitler not only saw youth as Germany’s future but knew they could play... read more

Adolf Hitler not only saw youth as Germany’s future but knew they could play an important role in the present. The Hitler Youth was formed in 1926, offering children and teens in a struggling Germany a sense of purpose, as well as “excitement, adventure, and new heroes to worship.” Author Susan Campbell Bartoletti looks at the lives of twelve children and teens who were members of the Hitler Youth. Some of them joined in spite of their parents’ misgivings or disapproval: it was the thing to do (as long as you weren’t Jewish or otherwise excluded). To not join was a stigma difficult to overcome. As she follows each of the twelve youth, Bartoletti shows how some remained loyal to Hitler, even turning in family members, while others, as they matured, began to question the Nazis and even to work actively against them, joining existing resistance efforts or establishing their own. Among the latter were Inge, Hans, and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose Movement, and Rudi Wobbe, who secretly listened to foreign broadcasts and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets. Bartoletti’s carefully researched, fascinating narrative is a compelling work of non-fiction. She provides extensive documentation in a volume that not only informs but also inspires readers to ask difficult questions about choices they may face in their own lives. (Ages 13–18)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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