The Edelweiss Pirates Fought Back Against The Hitler Youth Of WWII Germany

By | October 4, 2019

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Edelweiss Pirates youth group in Nazi Germany. They emerged in western Germany out of the German Youth Movement of the late 1930s. Source: (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

You have probably heard of the Hitler Youth, an organization that sought to indoctrinate the young people of Germany into the Nazi ideology, but the story of the Edelweiss Pirates is not so well known. While the Hitler Youth worked to promote the Nazi party's agenda, the Edelweiss Pirates opposed Nazism and engaged in activities to undermine the Nazi control. Let's take a look at the story of how groups of German teenagers banded together to sabotage the Nazis and the Hitler Youth at the risk of imprisonment and execution. 

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The Hitler Youth evolved into a military training organization. Source: (

Who Were the Hitler Youth?

The Hitler Youth formed in 1922, when it was originally called the Youth League of the Nazi Party. At first, it just included German boys between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, but it later expanded to include a girls' organization, originally called the League of German Girls. The two divisions were always kept separated from each other to make sure that there were no romantic temptations, and over time, both groups became more and more militarized, with the main focus on combat training. During its peak, the Hitler Youth had as many as eight million members. Starting in 1936, membership in the Hitler Youth became mandatory for Aryan teens. By 1939, non-membership was a punishable offense.