Excerpts from a Booklet Urging Participation in the BDM
The feminine branch of the German Hitler Jugend — Hitler Youth Movement, the League Of German Girls is organised on parallel lines with the Hitler Youth. It is under the supervision of Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach. There are two general age groups: the Jungmädel — Young Girls, from ten to fourteen years of age, and older girls from fifteen to twenty one.
In mass organisation, the smallest groups are the Mädelschaft, two to four of which make up a Mädelschar. Two to four Mädelscharen constitute a Gruppe, and five Gruppen make up a Ring. From five to six Ringe form an Untergau, of which there are 684. Then come the Obergau. Altogether, there are 125,000 BDM Leaders, who are trained in thirty five provincial schools, most of them on a part time basis.
All girls in the League Of German Girls are constantly reminded that the great task of their schooling is to prepare them to be carriers of the National Socialist worldview. They are to dedicate themselves to comradeship, service, and physical fitness for motherhood. In parades they wear navy blue skirts, white blouses, brown jackets, and twin pigtails. When they reach seventeen years of age, they are eligible for an organisation called Glaube und Schönheit — Faith and Beauty, in which they receive advanced training in domestic science and preparation for marriage. By 1936 more than 2 million girls were enrolled in The League of German Girls.
We are a political organisation of girls, and acknowledge herewith the task which has been set for us by the National Socialist State: to remain alert and ready for our duty, and to help with all our strength in the building of a National Socialist Folk.
Politics today means to us not only the consideration of daily political occurrences, but also the ideological, spiritual, and cultural forming of the entire German Folk in the sense of National Socialist demands. Our educational work is determined by this great political task. It has to readjust itself continually to these demands — then there will emerge from the Folk Community, where such work is done, the person who is the embodiment of our way: healthy and capable, inwardly strong and womanly, consciously German and consciously National Socialistic.
These recreation camps, where our Folk Community becomes closely cemented, are an essential expression of our way. Our chief work in the summer month is therefore the holding of recreation camps in which our political education pattern consciously takes shape. Recreation camps force a cementing of Folk Community. Girls from all walks of life, from overpopulated cities as well as the wide open country, stand together under our flag for days and weeks, leaving behind all their ordinary interests in life — school and machine, lecture hall and household — and finding a vigorous and healthful life. Political education in the recreation camp is not synonymous with scientific discussions, but is rather determined by the experiences shared by the camp community, and is shaped accordingly. Our recreation camps are organised more loosely than the Leadership Schools, but, in spite of all fun, rigid discipline prevails.
Our girls should really be able to leave their daily troubles and cares behind during this week to ten days.
Many who have not yet found us inwardly, acquaint themselves here with the life and the forms of the National Socialist League Of German Girls, and become so attached to it that they cannot dissolve this bond upon their return to everyday life.
Everything the girls experience here takes on a clear, visible pattern in their joint discussions, in which knowledge of their mission in our State, our educational pattern, and the National Socialist ideology, is imparted.
During the domestic evenings, the work done during the forenoon, and the work of The Leader and his assistants, the work of the young creative forces in our ranks, is brought closer to them. During the forenoons devoted to reading, they acquaint themselves with the literature of National Socialism, and so absorb lasting values.
In clear recognition we created these recreation camps not only for the girls already in our ranks, but also for all the others. We want to do our work with a joyful sense of responsibility, with loyal performance of our duty, and with industry. In order not to become tired and sluggish under the burden of work which each working girl carries, however, we need a time which permits quiet collection of strength — free time: Our recreation camps, in which the girls arc schooled and prepared for their responsibility and duty to the Folk and the State, are a political necessity.
The circular which called us to camps stated: Each Junior Girl Leader will give a survey of the historical and native development of her subdistrict, and will consider how she would work this out with junior girls.
Each of us then realised anew how many living witnesses of ancient history, memorials, walls and bulwarks, legends, tales and jokes, songs and old customs are still alive in her subdistrict.
We had been in camps for three days now. We had penetrated deeper and deeper into National Socialist ideology, emphasised especially the cultural desire of National Socialism; we had discussed our junior girl activities, and had worked on the arrangement of our home; we had sung, gone on a short trip, and participated in practical junior girl sports. Today, in our domestic evening, we want to hear something about Pomeranian customs and Pomeranian history.
After supper we march silently down to the sea.
Our Pomeranian coast lies before our eyes. Now Traute, from the village of Leba up on the Polish border, tells us about the immensity of the shore and the sea.
Then she suddenly becomes serious: In our subdistrict, we have 200 kilometres of border. Consider what that means: 200 kilometres of border! The Versailles Treaty separates German soil from German soil, blocks our access to the nearest port, and cuts off traffic to the east. Our border city of Lauenburg is flooded with agricultural products. One farm after another in our country gets into great difficulties since, because of the demarcation of the border, there is no longer a market outlet for agricultural products. In Lauenburg itself the greatest amount of unemployment in Pomerania prevails. The National Socialist Winter Relief work tries to alleviate the worst conditions of misery and distress during the winter. Everything is shut down — the factories, the brickyards, and all large plants. These are the effects of the demarcation of the border on our Fatherland.
And the border itself: visualise a forest, through which a road leads to a railroad station. The road is neutral, the forest is German on the right and Polish on the left. I cannot tell you how one feels on this road; you would have to come and experience it all yourselves.
But we know that we are on outpost duty there. You can rely on us. Traute is silent. We all get up, grasp each other’s hand, and our song is solemn now:
Holy Fatherland, in danger thy sons will flock around thee…..
And then we stand around the flag and look silently towards the east.