Hitlerjugend: An In-Depth History: HJ Organizational structure
by Arvo L. Vercamer

The Hitler Jugend (HJ) was an offcial, state sponsored youth organization, whose primary goal was to create a class of youth totally obedient to the wishes of the German Nationalist Socialist Workers Party leadership and to Germany's Führer, Adolf Hitler. Participation was compulsory for all German boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 21.

While the overwhelming foucs of the HJ was towards its main target group, German male youths between the ages of 14 and 18 - to ensure that every female and male German youth would benefit from a correct Nationalist Socialist education, additional state approved youth organizations were established. These were the Bund Deutscher Mädl (BDM) for the older gilrs, the Deutsches Jungvolk (JM) for younger boys and the Jungmädl (JM) for the younger girls. As can be understood, the size of each entity was dependent on local demographics. As far as the boys were concerned, over time, they became a large replacement manpower pool for the German armed forces. During the later stages of the war, a "Hitlerjugend" armored division was created for use in combat.

Every January, each 10-year old German boy was required to register himself with the HJ authorities. After registration, the individual would receive his official Meldeschein, his official registration card. In March of that same year, the 10-year old DJ candidate was ordered to appear at his local Standort for an Aufnahmeappell (inducution hearing). Barring any official reason for exclusion, such as political unreliability or racial/religious disqualifications, the new DJ was approved for membership as a Pimpf of the DJ. The official acceptance Standortappel ceremony was held every April 20th, the Führer's birthday.

Prior to being accepted as a Pimpf (cub) into the HJ, the candidate had to pass a Pimpfenprobe (entrance examination for the young cub). This consisted of:
- Running 60 meters in 12 seconds or less (100 yard dash).
- Long jump (2.75 meters or greater).
- Throwing a ball 25 meters or greater.
- Memorizing the HJ oath of allegiance.
- Memorizing the German national and HJ anthems.

The Standortappel was usually filled with great pomp and circumstance. New and old DJ and HJ members alike were ordered to participate and welcome in the next class of German youths. On this same day, April 20th, those individuals who had completed their four years in the DJ and JM, were transferred to the HJ or BDM respectively. Each German youth had to give the following oath of allegiance (which is nearly identical to the oath which SS candidates had to give):

"Ich gelobe meinem Führer, Adolf Hitler, Treue. Ich verspreche ihm und den Führern, die er mir bestimmt, jederzeit Achtung ung Gehorsam entgegen zu bringen." (I promise to be faithful to my Führer, Adolf Hitler. I promise to him, and to those leaders he has assigned to me, to give them my undivided obedience and respect.)

Once the oath was administered, the new candidate was now allowed to wear the ceremonial dagger as an accessory to his uniform.

In terms of activities, these focused strongly on politically approved cultural education as well as para-military teachings. A strong emphasis was placed on teaching its members hate and racial/religious intolerance. After coming to power, the pre-1933 era school curriculums were rewritten to conform to the ideological and political agenda's of the German Nationalist Socialists.

At the lower levels, most HJ components had their own marching orchestra, their own singing choir and their own play and stage production group. During the fall months, HJ groups built handmade Christmas decorations and toys, which they would sell or donate to the needy at Christmas time. In schools, a strong effort was place on Weltanschauung, the view of the world (ideological training according to German Nationalist Socialist standards). The Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübung (NSRBL - Nationalist Socialist National Union for Bodily Fitness) oversaw the physical fitness development programs provided to Germany's youths.

In July of 1933, Reichsjugendführer (RJF) Baldur von Schirach re-organized the HJ somewhat. Now there were five official youth groups available for membership consideration in Hitler's Germany (excluding the quasi-tolerated Catholic youth organizations):
Hitlerjugend (boys from 14 to 18 years of age)
Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitlerjugend (boys from 10 to 14 years of age)
Jungmädl im Bund Deutscher Mädl (girls 10 to 14 years of age)
Bund Deutscher Mädl (girls 14 to 17 years of age)
Bund Deutscher Mädl - Werk "Glaube und Schönheit (girls 17 to 21 years)

On every November 9th (the anniversary date of the failed Munich putsch of 1923), HJ members who were 18 years of age were transferred to the SA. After the 1934 "Röhm putsch" affair, the youths were absorbed directly into the NSDAP - unless they opted to persue a career in the German military.

The following structures applied to the four primary youth organizations:

Deutsches Jungvolk in der HJ (lowest unit to highest unit):
Jungenschaft (comprised of up to 15 boys-Pimpfe)
Jungzug (comprised of up to 3 Jungenschaften totaling up to 50 boys)
Fähnlein (comprised of up to 3 Jungzüge totaling up to 150 boys)
Stamm (comprised of 3-5 Fähnleins totaling up to 600 boys)
Jungbann (comprised of 5 Stämme totaling up to 3.000 boys)

Hitlerjugend (lowest unit to highest unit):
Kameradschaft (comprised of up to 15 boys)
Schar (comprised of 3 Kameradschaften totaling up to 50 boys)
Gefolgschaft (comprised of 3 Scharen totaling up to 150 boys)
Unterbann (comprised of 4 Gefolgschaften totaling up to 600 boys)
Bann (comprised of 5 Unterbanne totaling up to 3.000 boys)
Oberbann (comprised of 5 Banne totaling up to 15.000 boys)
Standort (an administrative component only)
Gebiet (comprised of 5 Oberbanne totaling up to 75.000 boys)
Obergebiet (comprised of 5 Gebiete totaling up to 375.000 boys)