The LEAGUE OF GERMAN GIRLS or (cognate ) BAND OF GERMAN MAIDENS
(German : Bund Deutscher Mädel, abbreviated BDM) was the girls' wing
Nazi Party youth movement, the
Hitler Youth . It was the only
legal female youth organization in
At first, the League consisted of two sections: the Jungmädel , or Young Girls' League, for girls ages 10 to 14, and the League proper for girls ages 14 to 18. In 1938, a third section was introduced, the Faith and Beauty Society (BDM-Werk Glaube und Schönheit), which was voluntary and open to girls between the ages of 17 and 21.
With the surrender of
* 1 History * 2 Uniform and emblems * 3 Leaders * 4 Training and activities * 5 Wartime service * 6 Dissolution * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Bund Deutscher Mädel had its origins as early as the 1920s, in
the first Mädchenschaften or Mädchengruppen, also known as
SCHWESTERNSCHAFTEN DER HITLER-JUGEND (Sisterhood of the Hitler Youth).
In 1930 it was founded as the female branch of the Hitler Youth
movement. The league of German Maidens was nicknamed "The League of
German Mattresses" perhaps suggesting sexual promiscuity between the
gender-separated groups. Its full title was BUND DEUTSCHER MäDEL IN
DER HITLER-JUGEND (
League of German Girls
Soon after taking office as
Reichsjugendführer on 17 June 1933,
Baldur von Schirach
The Gesetz über die Hitlerjugend (law concerning the Hitler Youth) dated 1 December 1936, forced all eligible juveniles to be a member of HJ or BDM. They had to be ethnic Germans, German citizens and free of hereditary diseases. Girls had to be 10 years of age to enter this League.
The BDM was run directly by Schirach until 1934, when
Trude Mohr , a
former postal worker, was appointed to the position of
BDM-Reichsreferentin, or National Speaker of the BDM, reporting
directly to Schirach. After Mohr married in 1937, she was required to
resign her position (the BDM required members to be unmarried and
without children in order to remain in leadership positions), and was
succeeded by Dr.
Jutta Rüdiger , a doctor of psychology from
Düsseldorf , who was a more assertive leader than Mohr but
nevertheless a close ally of Schirach, and also of his successor from
1940 as HJ leader,
As in the HJ, separate sections of the BDM existed, according to the
age of participants. Girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years old
were members of the Young Girl's League (
At the beginning of World War II, the
While these ages are general guidelines, there were exceptions for members holding higher (salaried) leadership positions, starting at the organizational level of "Untergau". As regards lower (honorary) positions, even members of the JM could apply for them after two years of membership and would then obtain such a position typically at the age of 13. The higher leadership was recruited from members over 18 and was expected to maintain salaried office for no more than 10 years, and to leave the BDM by the age of 30. As a general rule, members had to leave when they married and especially when they had children.
UNIFORM AND EMBLEMS
Traditions-Arm-Dreiecken, regional sleeve badges, gold is HJ, silver is Bund Deutscher Mädel Badges of the Bund Deutscher Mädel
The BDM uniform was a full blue skirt, middy blouse and heavy marching shoes. In 1939, a new uniform was introduced for regional and national leaders within the League of German Girls, and along with the new uniforms came new rank insignia for leaders. These new rank insignia took the form of a silver, and for higher ranks, gold bullion embroidered open-winged eagle on a black (white, on the summer tunic) shield with various types of borders to indicate grade. They were worn on the left chest of the tunic.
Trude Mohr was appointed the first Reichsreferentin in June 1934. Her main initiative was to nourish a new way of living for the German youth, stating
Our volk need a generation of girls which is healthy in body and mind, sure and decisive, proudly and confidently going forward, one which assumes its place in everyday life with poise and discernment, one free of sentimental and rapturous emotions, and which, for precisely this reason, in sharply defined feminity, would be the comrade of a man, because she does not regard him as some sort of idol but rather as a companion! Such girls will then, by necessity, carry the values of National Socialism into the next generation as the mental bulwark of our people.
In 1937 after marrying Obersturmführer Wolf Bürkner, she became pregnant and resigned her duties.
Jutta Rüdiger (1910–2001) was a special case. She joined the BDM only in 1933, at the age of 23 and after having finished her doctorate in psychology. She obtained honorary positions instantly in 1933 and early 1934, was promoted to her first salaried position (leader of Untergau Ruhr-Lower Rhine) in June 1935 and was appointed Reichsreferentin for the BDM (head of the BDM) in November 1937 (aged 27), succeeding Mohr, who had vacated the position on her marriage, as Nazi policy required. She kept this position even until the German defeat, when she had reached the age of 34.
Clementine zu Castell-Rüdenhausen (b. 1912), a countess and member of the higher Franconian aristocracy, was appointed leader of Gau Unterfranken in 1933, at the age of 21, which also seems to have been the age when she joined the BDM, as no earlier date of membership nor any previous lower positions are recorded in her case. She was appointed head of "Faith and Beauty" in January 1938, a few days before her 26th birthday, and was discharged in September 1939 because of her marriage with Wilhelm "Utz" Utermann in October 1939. She was followed by an Austrian member, Annemarie Kaspar (b. 1917), who had been appointed Untergauführerin at the age of 20 in March 1938 and became head of B&B two weeks before her 22nd birthday. She too married and was discharged in May 1941, to be replaced in June 1941 by Martha Middendorf (b. 1914), who was 27 at the time of her appointment and was discharged already in February 1942, as she too had married. From this time on, Jutta Rüdiger, who was no candidate for marriage but living in lifelong partnership with Hedy Böhmer, took over to lead the B"> Berlin girls of the BDM, haymaking, 1939 BDM, gymnastics performance,1941
The BDM used campfire romanticism, summer camps, folklorism,
tradition, and sports to indoctrinate girls within the National
Socialist belief system, and to train them for their roles in German
society: wife, mother, and homemaker. Their home evenings revolved
around domestic training, but Saturdays involved strenuous outdoor
exercise and physical training. The purpose of these activities was
to promote good health, which would enable them to serve their people
and their country. The "home evenings"—ideally to be conducted in
specially built homes—also included world view training, with
instruction in history. This instruction would include learning the
Horst Wessel song , the Nazi holidays, stories about Hitler Youth
martyrs, and facts about their locality and German culture and
history. Physical education included track and field sports like
running and the long jump, gymnastics (e.g. somersaulting and
tightrope walking), route-marching, and swimming. The importance of
self-sacrifice for Germany was heavily emphasized; a Jewish woman,
reflecting on her longing to join the League of German Girls,
concluded that it had been the admonishment for self-sacrifice that
had drawn her most. The League was particularly regarded as
instructing girls to avoid
Holiday trips offered by HJ and BDM – i.e. skiing in winter and tent camps in summer – were affordable; children from poor families got subsidies. These offers were popular.
The League encouraged rebellion against parents. Der Giftpilz presented the propaganda of a German girl being ordered to visit a Jewish doctor by her mother; the girl protested on the grounds of what she had learned at BDM meetings, and while at the office, remembered the warnings in time to escape being molested by the doctor. This caused her mother to agree that the BDM had clearly been in the right.
Ilsa McKee noted that the lectures of Hitler Youth and the BDM on the need to produce more children produced several illegitimate children, which neither the mothers nor the possible fathers regarded as problematic. These and other behaviors taught led to parents complaining that their authority was being undermined. In 1944, a group of parents complained to the court that the leaders of the League were openly telling their daughters to have illegitimate children. Public opinion attributed a great deal of sexual laxity to the members. The preparation camps for the 'Landdienst' (land service) of girls and boys often lay adjacent to each other. 900 of the girls participating in the 1936 Reichsparteitag in Nürnberg became pregnant. In 1937, a prohibition came out saying that camping was forbidden to the BDM.
The Jungmädel were only taught, while the BDM was involved in community service, political activities and other activities considered useful at that time.
Before entering any occupation or advanced studies, the girls, like the boys in Hitler Youth, had to complete a year of land service ("Landfrauenjahr"). Although working on a farm was not the only approved form of service, it was a common one; the aim was to bring young people back from the cities, in the hope that they would then stay "on the land" in service of Nazi blood and soil beliefs. Another form of service was as a domestic work in a family with many children.
The 'Faith and Beauty' organizations offered groups where girls could receive further education and training in fields that interested them. Some of the works groups that were available were arts and sculpture, clothing design and sewing, general home economics, and music.
Das deutsche Mädel was the Nazi magazine directed at these girls.
The outbreak of war altered the role of the BDM, though not as
radically as it did the role of the boys in the HJ, who were to be fed
into the German
Girls also helped stage the celebrations after the de facto capitulation of France (see Second Armistice at Compiègne , 22 June 1940).
The older girls volunteered as nurses' aides at hospitals, or to help
at train stations where wounded soldiers or refugees needed a hand.
After 1943, as Allied air attacks on German cities increased, many BDM
girls went into paramilitary and military services (Wehrmachtshelferin
), where they served as
Many older girls, with
Hitler Youth were sent to Poland as part of
Conversely, the young Polish girls who were selected for "racially valuable traits" and sent to Germany for Germanization were made to join the League as part of the Germanization.
By 1944, the drafting of boys resulted in most of the "land service" help with the harvest being performed by girls.
In the last days of the war, some BDM girls, just like some boys of
Hitler Youth (although not nearly as many), joined with the
Some BDM girls were recruited into the Werwolf groups which were intended to wage guerrilla war in Allied-occupied areas.
The 'Kontrollratsgesetz Nr. 2' (enacted 10 October 1945) by the Allied Control Council forbade the NSDAP and all its sub-organizations, including the BDM. Their properties were confiscated.
* ^ DeMarco, N. (2001) This World This Century: Working with Evidence Collins Educational * ^ Hitler Youth: Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) * ^ Simon Henderson, "The White Rose and the Definition of 'Resistance': Simon Henderson Explains the Significance of Hans and Sophie Scholl in the History of Nazi Germany,"History Review 53, (2005): 42. * ^ H.R. Kedward, Fascism in Western Europe 1900–45, p. 65. New York University Press, New York, 1971. * ^ "Der Jungmädeldienst", published February 1940, Berlin * ^ Michael Kater, Hitler Youth, Harvard University Press, 2004, chapter 3. * ^ A B Walter S. Zapotoczny , "Rulers of the World: The Hitler Youth" * ^ Gisela Miller-Kipp (ed.), "Auch Du gehörst dem Führer": die Geschichte des Bundes Deutscher Mädel (BDM) in Quellen und Dokumenten, Juventa publ., Weinheim et al. 2001, p. 56f. * ^ * ^ "Education in Nazi Germany", Lisa Pine. Berg, 2011. ISBN 1-84520-264-3 , ISBN 978-1-84520-264-4 . p. 121. * ^ A B "Women in Austria", Anton Pelinka, Erika Thurner. Transaction Publishers, 1998. ISBN 0-7658-0404-2 , ISBN 978-0-7658-0404-4 . pp. 20–23 * ^ "Auch Du gehörst dem Führer": die Geschichte des Bundes Deutscher Mädel (BDM) in Quellen und Dokumenten * ^ For her and the following see Miller-Kipp (2001), p. 41 ff. * ^ Junge Freiheit, 49/99 (in German) * ^ Guy Nasuti, "The Hitler Youth: An Effective Organization for Total War" * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas , Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 101, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Leila J. Rupp , Mobilizing Women for war, p. 134, ISBN 0-691-04649-2 , OCLC 3379930 * ^ "Nazi Worldview Education for Girls" * ^ A B C Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p. 278, ISBN 0-03-076435-1 * ^ Claudia Koonz , The Nazi Conscience, p. 143, ISBN 0-674-01172-4
* ^ "The Jewish Question in Education" * ^ Klönne: Jugend im Dritten Reich. Munich 1995, p. 128. * ^ Claudia Koonz , Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics, p. 196, ISBN 0-312-54933-4 * ^ A B "Inge’s Visit to a Jewish Doctor" * ^ George Lachmann Mosse , Nazi culture: intellectual, cultural and social life in the Third Reich, p. 277, ISBN 978-0-299-19304-1 * ^ Richard Grunberger , The 12-Year Reich, pp. 248–9, ISBN 0-03-076435-1 * ^ Richard Grunberger , The 12-Year Reich, p. 280, ISBN 0-03-076435-1 * ^ Michael H. Kater reports in his book Hitler Youth (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., London 2004, ISBN 0-674-01496-0 ) one case that a pregnant BDM girl named 13 boys as possible fathers * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas , Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 107, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ A B Arvo L. Vercamer "HJ-Landdienst" * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, pp. 110-1, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Richard Grunberger , The 12-Year Reich, p. 237, ISBN 0-03-076435-1 * ^ "Material from "Das deutsche Mädel" * ^ Arvo L. Vercamer, " Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)" * ^ Jay W. Baird, The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda, p. 123, ISBN 0-8166-0741-9 * ^ A B C Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 215, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 217, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ A B "BDM-" * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 219, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 218, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web, p. 339, ISBN 0-679-77663-X * ^ Richard C. Lukas, Did the Children Cry? Hitler\'s War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. Hippocrene Books, New York, 2001. * ^ www.verfassungen.de Full text (in German)
* "Growing Up Female in Nazi Germany"-Dagmar Reese, translated by William Templer * "The Hitler Youth" – David Littlejohn * "Ein Leben für die Jugend" – Dr. Jutta Ruediger * "Deutsche Frauen und Mädchen" – Norbert Westenrieder * "Brauner Alltag" – Klaus-Joerg Ruhl (1981 / 1991) * "Alltag im 3. Reich" – Frank Grube 1st edition 1982 * period 1930s/1940s publication of the BDM from www.bdmhistory.com digital archives * "The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood", Penn State University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-271-03448-5 . Account of Ursula Mahlendorf's childhood