Hitlerjugend: An In-Depth History: 1928 - Baldur von Schirach is the new HJ leader
by Arvo L. Vercamer

In 1928, Gruber re-organized the HJ to make it more responsive to the ever-changing times. A new department was added to the HJ, the "Jungvolk" - that for boys aged 10 to 14 years. Within a short period of time, the "Bund Deutscher Mädel" (BDM) was also opened up by Gruber. Despite these additions, the HJ was still overwhelmingly directed against Germany's male youths.

Despite his successes, Gruber ran into a number of major (political) obstacles. His biggest one was from a young aristocratic upstart named Baldur von Schirach. Von Schirach came from a very prestigious Prussian family. His mother was of American heritage and two of her ancestors were signatories of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776 and some of his relatives fought on the Union side during the American Civil War of the 1860's. His father was an affluent Prussian army captain. Throughout his early years, von Schirach was treated to nothing but the best of educations, the best clothing, the best of everything. Von Schirach joined the NSDAP when he was only 18 year old - but that was enough to quickly bring him to the attention of Hitler and his inner circle of associates. It did not take long for Hitler to make friends with von Schirach because Hitler knew that sociolites and nobles such as von Schirach had connections to needed operating funds and political influence.

In July of 1928, von Schirach was given the position of leader of the NSDAP Student Association in Munich. Von Schirach liked this job quite a bit and he soon set his sights on the next goal - to become leader of the HJ.

Although Gruber became aware of von Schirach's ambitions, Gruber was banking on the fact that if continued to work hard for the HJ and show results, his place would be secured. Gruber did reasonably well in these years.

In 1928, a young organizer named Artur Axmann joined the HJ in Berlin; in 1940, he would replace Baldur von Schirach as the "Reichsjugendführer".