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Hitler Youth : growing up in Hitler's shadow
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell.
Children's Fiction DD253.5 .B37 2005

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Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
Holocaust literature is over-flowing with poignant stories of survival from Jewish survivors and non-Jews who resisted the German war machine. The Nazi point of view is less represented, and to no surprise—Hitler’s crimes rank among the worst committed against humanity and his beliefs are difficult, to say the least, to discuss in depth. But author Susan Campbell Bartoletti accomplishes just that by focusing her Newbery Award-winning nonfiction book on the Hitler Youth. Hitler depended greatly on the German youth, whom he seduced into his service with camping trips and nature hikes before inundating them with Nazi propaganda. The Hitler Youth appeared to offer the chance for youngsters to rebel against authority and strike out on their own, but Hitler intended to mold his Aryan youth into zealots wildly devoted to his cause, and he was successful. At its peak seven million boys and girls belonged and former Hitler Youth members served in Hitler’s highest military and advisory ranks. Soon the tenants of Nazism were part of the curriculum in Germany’s schools and participation in the Hitler Youth was required by Nazi law. Bartoletti presents this forced “education” as nothing short of brainwashing. It’s not an excuse for the Nazis’ crimes, but it is a lens through which to understand the German children who grew up under Hitler’s influence. The book centers around the lives of real kids involved in the Hitler Youth, from those fanatically devoted to Hitler’s cause to those who resisted and rebelled (particularly compelling is the story of young members of the White Rose, who were executed for their crimes against the Führer). This is nonfiction writing at its best—crisp prose, real testimonies, original documents, archival photographs, and varying points of view used in harmony to shed light on difficult truths.
posted Dec 24, 2009 at 1:26PM
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