by Jost Hermand
translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo
Northwestern University Press, 1997
Paper: 978-0-8101-1292-6
Library of Congress Classification DD253.5.H4613 1997
Dewey Decimal Classification 940.53161

Jost Hermand's A Hitler Youth in Poland is an invaluable first-hand account of his experience in Nazi education camps for German children, four in Poland. An important addition to the growing record of the childhood experiences of so-called Kriegskinder (children of war) in Germany during the Nazi regime, A Hitler Youth in Poland is a memoir of Germany's Kinderlandverschickung (KLV) program, by which German children were evacuated from large cities to countryside camps designed to toughen and prepare them for future careers in the military.

During the Nazi era, 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 the far-flung corners of Europe, these children often endured incredible abuse by the adults in charge. In this memoir, Jost Hermand, a cultural critic and historian who spent much of his youth in five different camps, writes about his experiences as a small, unathletic boy thrown into a "wolf pack" governed by brutalization, dreary routine, and sadism.

Intelligent and persuasive, A Hitler Youth in Poland should be read by anyone interested in psychology or the history of everyday life in Hitler's Germany and the mental scars of adults born during the Nazi regime.