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Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow…

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (2005)

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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80710311,302 (4.24)22

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RGG: The focus is on the children who grew up in the Hitler Youth organizations. Fascinating history of propaganda, brainwashing, and children soldiers. Another horrifying aspect of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Interest: YA.
  rgruberexcel | May 28, 2018 |
RGG: The focus is on the children who grew up in the Hitler Youth organizations. Fascinating history of propaganda, brainwashing, and children soldiers. Another horrifying aspect of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Interest: YA.
  rgruberexcel | May 4, 2018 |
This chilling book offers its readers an unusual perspective. As the author states, it is not a book about Hitler himself, nor is it really about the millions of victims who were horrifically murdered under his regime. This book instead focuses on a generation of young men and women who were seduced by his false promises and who chose to follow and devote their hopes and energies to his movement, unwittingly playing a role in the unimaginable horrors that followed. The book is based on first-hand accounts of a dozen young men and women who were part of the Hitler Youth Organization, and who later clearly felt they had been misled and taken advantage of for what proved to be hideous and evil purposes. In contrast, Bartoletti also tells the story of the brave young men and women who resisted the Nazi movement, and risked their lives in doing so.

Something that struck me in this book was a truth of the holocaust about which I personally had previously been unaware. (Note: This may be a "spoiler" for some as it came as a surprise to me). Bartoletti tells the story of an unusual letter sent to Hitler which ultimately gave him the idea to rid society of the disabled -- persons he deemed were mere "useless eaters." By killing off those unable to serve society, he could save the government money to fund the war. He thus authorized a top secret mass murder movement of the mentally and physically ill and disabled. Patients were taken to "special" hospitals, where they were secretly euthanized, shot, or sent to gas chambers, while the bodies were cremated to hide the evidence. Families were then told that their loved ones died of heart failure or pneumonia. When suspicions and rumors grew, they were denied and deemed "absurd."

Apparently, it was here, with the disabled, that Hitler's use of gas chambers and other methods of mass murder first originated.

Often when I read of the holocaust, I wonder of my own fate and choices had I lived in Germany during those times. Raised in a Christian (Catholic) family, I used to speculate whether or not my family and I would have been brave enough to risk our lives in hiding and protecting Jews and other targeted individuals in our home. Now I realize that may never have even been an option for me. If my circumstances were the same as they are today, I'd have been deemed a "useless eater." I could have been among the first to go.

A chilling realization.

This is a disturbing, but very important book. In the author's own words:

"By nature, human beings search for ways to make sense and meaning out of their lives and their world. One way that we make meaning is through the telling of our stories. Stories connect us, teach us, and warn us never to forget."
( )
  Brightraven | Apr 26, 2018 |
It's kind of incredible the outsized role that the Hitler Youth played in both the early and final days of the Nazi war machine. Hitler's strategy, though reprehensible, was a stroke of genius: effectively buy off Germany's poor, hungry, and disaffected youth by giving them guns, activity, comradery, and false dreams of a better future. He cut off their education, the Nazi word was all the truth they needed. Children turned against their own parents to join what seemed like a fun, ambitious movement. In the end, even when shown the Nazi regime's atrocities on film and in person, many refused to believe it until years later. This is what indoctrination does. This is what propaganda does. The parallels to today's world are pretty astounding. Dogma trumps facts, political affiliation trumps values. The difference was that while Nazi Germany operated under a lack of information, the opposite is true today. There is an overabundance of information, but a lack of reliable, traditional gatekeepers. Amid reports that third-world dictators and despots now use the term "fake news" to discredit unfavorable truths, books like these are reminders of what can happen when the truth, the youth, and reality itself are the means to be distorted towards ignominious ends. ( )
  Jmason21 | Apr 18, 2018 |
This books tells the reader what it was like to be a child during Hitler's ruling . There are many picture of people from this time period which helps you connect with the history of the book. The book takes you chronologically through the Holocaust and WWII.
  klamproe | Dec 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Gr 5-8-Hitler's plans for the future of Germany relied significantly on its young people, and this excellent history shows how he attempted to carry out his mission with the establishment of the Hitler Youth, or Hitlerjugend, in 1926. With a focus on the years between 1933 and the end of the war in 1945, Bartoletti explains the roles that millions of boys and girls unwittingly played in the horrors of the Third Reich. The book is structured around 12 young individuals and their experiences, which clearly demonstrate how they were victims of leaders who took advantage of their innocence and enthusiasm for evil means. Their stories evolve from patriotic devotion to Hitler and zeal to join, to doubt, confusion, and disillusion. (An epilogue adds a powerful what-became-of-them relevance.) The large period photographs are a primary component and they include Nazi propaganda showing happy and healthy teens as well as the reality of concentration camps and young people with large guns. The final chapter superbly summarizes the weighty significance of this part of the 20th century and challenges young readers to prevent history from repeating itself. Bartoletti lets many of the subjects' words, emotions, and deeds speak for themselves, bringing them together clearly to tell this story unlike anyone else has.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
added by sriches | editSchool Library Journal, Andrew Medlar (Jul 22, 2009)
Yes, the Hitler youth is mentioned in most young adult nonfiction on the subject, but to see through this lens creates a completely different book! Bartoletti is quickly becoming a nonfiction writer who tops lists with her engaging writing, viewpoint, obvious dedication to research and knowledge of how important pictures are to the telling for this audience. Her book is filled with chilling quotes, anecdotal stories derived from research and interviews, and stories about how Hitler's young were manipulated and used as a primary source of his power and vision for the future. There are many facts revealed that may be new to readers. For example, the required year of service after graduation, the Landjahr, required youth do everything from clearing forests to shoveling "gravel through sieves for seven full hours" and by 1938 "the Reich Labor Service has turned so many acres of forests and swamps into useful land that it made up for nearly all the territory Germany had lost in the Treaty of Versailles." The author threads through the pages the stories of young heroes who stood up against Hitler, such as Sophie and Hans Scholl who wrote and distributed pamphlets until they were executed. 2005, Scholastic, Ages 11 up.
added by sriches | editChildren's Literature, Susie Wilde (Jul 22, 2009)
Bartoletti (Kids on Strike!) offers a unique and riveting perspective on WWII by focusing on the young people who followed Hitler from 1933-1945. The narrative primarily focuses on members of the Hitler Youth, but also profiles some of the group's dissidents and its Jewish targets. Hitler began his quest for dominance with young people, recognizing them as "a powerful political force" and claiming, "With them I can make a new world." Bartoletti describes how the propaganda of the Hitler Youth attracted children: "The overnight camping trips, campfires, and parades sounded like a great deal of fun," said one 12-year-old. But the organization also emphasized loyalty to the Third Reich above all (including family-one eight-year-old, Elisabeth Vetter, turned in her parents to the Nazis). The author personalizes the war by placing identifiable individuals at the center of the events, such as Sophie Scholl, who moved away from Nazi ideas as a teen and in college joined the "White Rose" group that published pamphlets detailing Nazi evils and urging resistance-a crime for which she and others were executed. Powerful black-and-white photographs testify to the lure and also the cruelty of the Nazis. Bartoletti's portrait of individuals within the Hitler Youth who failed to realize that they served "a mass murderer" is convincing, and while it does not excuse the atrocities, it certainly will allow readers to comprehend the circumstances that led to the formation of Hitler's youngest zealots. Ages 7-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
added by sriches | editPublishers Weekly, Reed Business Information (Jul 22, 2009)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439353793, Hardcover)

In her first full-length nonfiction title since winning the Robert F. Sibert Award, Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores the riveting and often chilling story of Germany's powerful Hitler Youth groups.

"I begin with the young. We older ones are used up . . . But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these men and boys! What material! With them, I can create a new world." --Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg 1933

By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. It would become the largest youth group in history. Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany's young people. Her research includes telling interviews with surviving Hitler Youth members.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:17 -0400)

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The story of a generation of German young people who devoted all their energy to the Hitler Youth and the propaganda that brought gave Hitler his power, and the youths that resisted the Nazi movement.

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