Hitlerjugend: An In-Depth History: Administrative and political regions
by Arvo L. Vercamer

As the listings in the BDM and HJ in the previous profile paragraphs show, the BDM and the HJ were organizationally subdivided into a number of larger and smaller components. They were as follows:

Obergebiete: The Obergebiet (ranking region) was the highest-ranking, nation-wide component of the Reichsjugendführung (RJF). It was more of an administrative organ of the HJ than anything else, as its primary purpose was to administer, control and organize the various Gebiete and lower level entities. In general, an Obergebiet would control anywhere from 4 to 6 Gebiete. Approximately 375.000 boys would be registered within a single Obergebiet.

Prior to the start of the Second World War in September of 1939, the German Reich contained five Obergebiete (1-5) and one autonomous Gebiet (Austria). These were (Gebiet number in parens) as listed below. Of note is that as the war progressed a number of administrative additions and consolidations of the various regions were effected:
Obergebiet 1 - OST - comprising the Gebiete of Berlin (3), Kurmark (Mark Brandenburg) (2), Schlesien (4) and Ostland (East Prussia) (1)
Obergebiet 2 - NORD - comprising the Gebiete of Niedersachsen (8), Nordmark (Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg) (6), Nordsee (7), and Pommern-Ostsee (5).
Obergebiet 3 - WEST - comprising the Gebiete of Hessen-Nassau (13), Kurhessen (14), Mittelrhein (15), Ruhr-Niederrhein (10), Westphalen (9) and Westmark (Moselgebiet, Hunsrück, etc.) (12).
Obergebiet 4 - MITTE - comprising the Gebiete of Mittelland (Anhalt and Halle) (15), Sachsen (16) and Thüringen (17).
Obergebiet 5 - SÜD - comprising the Gebiete of Baden (21), Franken (18), Hochland (Bayrisch-Schwaben and Oberbayern) (19) and Württemberg (20).
Behelfstelle "Sudetenland" (35 - the only numbered Behelfstelle)
Selbständiges Gebiet (autonomous region) - "Deutsch-Österreich" (28-33)

After the dismemberment of the Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1938, a special HJ "Behelfsstelle" was established in the Bohemian and Moravian Protectorate with its headquarters in Prague. After the fall of Poland in 1939, a second special HJ "Behelfsstelle" was established in the Generalgouvernment with its headquarters in Warsaw.

Shortly after the start of the Second World War, a number of new "Obergebiete" were established in Germany and in annexed territories. Also, a number of German "Obergebiete" were reduced in size by creating two new districts out of one old one. By 1943, there were 48 "Obergebiete" in existence.
In 1943, the following "external" Obergebiete also existed:
Behelfstelle "Böhmen und Mähren" - Prag
Behelfstelle "Belgien" - Brussels
Behelfstelle "Generalgouvernment" - Cracow, Poland
Behelfstelle "Niederlande" - Den Haag, the Netherlands
Behelfstelle "Osten" - Kiev(?)
Behelfstelle "Ostland" - Riga, Latvia


Gebiete: Within the borders of the Third Reich, the HJ was organized into 43 separate Gebiete (regions). Each HJ-Gebiet corresponded to a Gau (political district) of the German Nationalist Socialist Workers Party, though the numbering system used was unique to each. Each Gebiet was headed by an HJ-Gebietsführer (HJ district leader). The HJ-Gebietsleiter was assisted by an HJ-Gebietsstableiter (Chief of Staff) who also acted as the deputy of the Gebiet in the absence of the HJ-Gebietsleiter. Approximately 75.000 boys would be registered per single Gebiet.

The following special positions also existed at the Gebiet level (these could be appointed by the HJ-Gebietsführer as required):
HJ-Gebietsartzt - regional HJ medical director
HJ-Gebietsbeauftragter für KLV - regional HJ plenipotentiary for the KLV program
HJ-Gebietsinspekteur - regional HJ Inspector General (IG); this individual could also be in charge of a special unit, such as HJ education and training camps, communications and signalling units, etc.
HJ-Gebietsmusikreferent - regional HJ director of music

The Gebietsführung (regional administration) contained six Haubtabteilungen (HA - main sections) which were closely mirrored their counterparts in the RJF:
Haubtabteilung I (HA I) - Personnel
Haubtabteilung II (HA II) - Sports and pre-military training
Haubtabteilung III (HA III) - Cultural activities and ideological training
Haubtabteilung IIII (HA IIII) - Social services
Haubtabteilung V (HA V) - Buildings and homes
Haubtabteilung VI (HA VI) - Legal issues

Each HJ-Gebiet administered and maintained its own education and training camps as well as schools. Two or more HJ-Gebietsführerschulen were normally located within an HJ-Gebiet. The HJ-Gebietsführerschulen provided leadership training for the executive positions of the HJ within an HJ-Gebiet. Some Gebiete also operated a number of special schools, focusing on musical, medical or some other specialized leadership training skill.

Standort: The HJ-Standort (Garrison) was an administrative component falling below the Gebiet level. It was the highest local authority on all youth issues. An HJ-Standortführer (Garrison commander) was the highest-ranking HJ leader within a Standort.
The Standort was where all of the personnel records of each HJ member falling within the Standort administrative borders were stored. A Karteikarte (filing card) held at the Standort office contained most of the pertinent data on each individual HJ member, though of note is that this information was also held at the Bann level. An abbreviated HJ membership history was placed on the Dienstkarte (service card) of each HJ member as well.

In many cases, the Standortführer was also the Bannführer, the regimental leader of the next lowest HJ component.

Oberbann: As with the HJ-Standort, this was an administrative component overseeing the functions of the Banne within its jurisdiction. An Oberbannführer was the highest-ranking HJ official at the Oberbann level.

Bann: The Bann (regiment) was the basic building block of the HJ. In any given Gebiet, once could find anywhere from 5 to over 30 Banne. Each Bann contained approximately 3.000 boys. The highest-ranking officer within a Bann was the Bannführer. He was assisted in his duties by an Adjutant and a Hauptstammsführer. Each Bann also contained six administrative offices. These wre identical to those of the RJF level and of the Gebiet level.

When the Bann level organization was initially formed, they were supposed to conform directly with the number of regiments active in the German Wehrmacht and they were supposed to use their corresponding Wehrmacht regimental number as their own Bann number. However, as the Wehrmacht grew at an accelerated pace, especially during the war, this identification system broke down rapidly within the HJ. Each Bann could also carry a geographical name, the name of a fallen HJ martyr or some other special identifying name to supplement the numeric designation.

Of note is that the Bann was also the highest-level HJ unit to receive flags. These were normally presented by the head of the HJ, the Reichsjugendführer (von Schirach or Axmann).

Unterbann: The Unterbann was very much like the Oberbann, it was an administrative component of the HJ. It controlled the administrative functions of all of the Stamm, Gefolgschaft, Schar and Kameradschaft units within its area. An Unterbannführer was normally the highest-ranking HJ leader at the Unterbann level. An Unterbann contained approximately 600 boys divided into about four Gefolgschaften.

Gefolgschaft: A Gefolgschaft generally corresponded to a company-sized unit in the military. Led by an HJ-Gefolgschaftsführer, this is where most of the week-to-week action took place in. A Gefolgschaft normally contained about 150 boys divided into three to five Scharen. The number of boys present within an Unterbann determined the composition and size of each Gefolgschaft, Schar and Kameradschaft.

Schar: A Schar was the next to lowest unit in the HJ as this represented a platoon sized entity. Approximately 50 boys, three to five Kameradschaften, were assigned per Schar, though this number varied greatly according to the number of boys available in the area.

Kameradschaft: This was the smallest component of the HJ. It represented the assembly of approximately 15 boys, most, if not all, whom attended the same school and lived with their families in close proximity to each other. Normally, about three Kameradschaften would form a Schar.