Hitlerjugend: An In-Depth History: 1945 - Final defeat
by Arvo L. Vercamer

The HJ and the Werewolves: In February of 1945, German political leaders believed that there was a need to create a "rear area" guerrilla force, especially between Berlin and the Oder/Neiss rivers. "Werewolves", who by now came from about the only remaining pool of bodies available - the HJ/BDM - were told that they were now going to transform themselves into "Nationalist Socialist Partisans" who would attack Allied and Soviet rear areas as they best saw fit. Ironically, the German OKW elected to base the structure of the HJ Werewolves on the Polish resistance effort. Reinhard Gehlen (FHO) was the lead officer of this undertaking; in fact it was his idea. In the short time available, available HJ members were provided with all of the basic training they could absorb; sabotage, clandestine communications, assassination, infiltration, etc.

Available evidence indicates that a number of these HJ/BDM cells actually caused the Soviets many problems in their rear areas as they advanced towards and approached Berlin. Many individual HJ Werewolf groups continued to operate in both the Allied sectors and Soviet sector well after May of 1945, performing primarily sabotage missions more than actual assassination or combat missions. These few were blindly obedient to Germany's political leaders to the very end.

The HJ and the Volkssturm: Towards the end of 1944, the Reichsjugendführung announced its third (and final) call-up of HJ members to serve the nation in a military capacity (those born in 1928 and 1929). One of the first units created from this effort in January of 1945 were the HJ - "Panzervernichtungs-Einheiten" (HJ anti-tank formations). Members were essentially "volunteers" taken from the WEL's, so they often had a little exposure to what they could expect. The boys, often no more than 11 years of age, were quickly trained to use the latest anti-tank "Panzerfausts" and sent to the front lines.

In March of 1945, Martin Bormann recommended that BDM girls and ladies be given guns and sent to the front lines to help defend Germany. His goal was to create as many "Frauen-Batallionen" as he could. Reichsjugendführer Artur Axmann was vehemently opposed to this idea. No one could tell what horrors would befall on armed German girls and women should they ever be wounded or captured in combat by the enemy; especially by the Soviet forces. Although later, Axmann somewhat relented to Bormann by allowing BDM members to be trained on how to use pistols - but only for self defense purposes and not for offensive actions.

Many HJ members fought as active combatants in places such as Berlin, Breslau, Danzig, Königsberg, etc., fighting the advancing Soviet forces with no more than a few Panzerfaust in their hands. In one of the more historically eventful HJ battlers, 5.000 HJ members fought the Soviets at the Pichelsdorf bridge in Berlin. Five days later, 4.500 were dead or seriously wounded. While the young HJ soldiers often fought bravely, most were eventually slaughtered in combat. One of the last motion picture films taken of Adolf Hitler shows him awarding medals to members of the HJ defending Berlin outside of his bunker at the Potsdamer Platz. The name of the 12 year-old boy in the now famous newsreel was Alfred Czech; he apparently rescued 12 wounded German soldiers while under Soviet artillery and MG fire in addition to exposing a Soviet spy in Oppeln - for that, the Führer gave him the EK I. Two of the boys in the newsreel were awarded the EK I, the rest, the EK II.

After the Allied authorities had a chance to sort out the various German adult and youth organizations, civilian and military, they were able to render a decision regarding the Hitler Youth movement. It was not declared to be a criminal organization, though as a movement, the HJ was officially disbanded by the Allies.