Part 22: The Life Of A ‘Pimpf‘

At the age of twelve, I endured all events resolutely. I had fixed tasks that I fulfilled conscientiously.

When there was an air raid alert, taking the pregnant neighbor and her little daughter to the shelter, checking the blackout when there were French visitors and hastily spooning up a plate of soup before disappearing again with the clean laundry. The block warden was not allowed to notice that a strange man was sitting in the kitchen. The vigilance of the Nazis had dropped considerably.

Among the small Nazis, the belief in the final victory had faltered, even though the ‘Deutschlandsender’ was broadcasting final victory slogans daily over the airwaves via the Volksempfänger – also called ‘Goebbelsschnauze’ The ‘Völkischer Beobachter,’ the leading Nazi daily, tried to spread the belief in the use of a miracle weapon that would guarantee final victory among the people by means of targeted propagandistic reports.

When there was no air raid alert in bad weather, the children would go to school, go shopping by bike on grocery cards, and much more. Like all boys from the age of ten, I was a so-called ‘Pimpf,’ (Nazi-speak for a 10- to 14-year-old member of the Deutsches Jungvolk) the preliminary stage to the Hitler Youth. There I had to appear every week once to the service. Now my mother wouldn’t let me go for fear that I might get caught in a bombing raid on the way. A little earlier, my absence from duty would not have been possible without consequences. I must admit that I enjoyed the athletic competitions and the cross-country games with the other guys called ‘Pimpf.’

I found the constant commanding and standing at attention unpleasant and often humiliating. I was careful at the home afternoons because I knew very well to distinguish between the glorifications of Germanness presented there and our family practical and actual way of life. Therefore, I was also aware that the education only served to make capable and invincible German soldiers out of the youth. This became especially clear when our little ensign marched through the town and the boys in their brown shirts sang in a tone of conviction:

‘We will march on,
Until everything falls to pieces,
For today Germany is ours
And tomorrow the whole world!’

I had a different opinion. At the beginning of the sixth year of the war, I had truly seen enough broken pieces in my short life. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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