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

The terms "Landdienst" and "Landjahr" have often led to some confusions. Landdienst is the sub organization of the HJ, which involved four years of agricultural education and training. A portion of that training was spent learning and working on a farm, a "Landdienstlehrhof" whenever one was available. Upon graduation, at 18 years of age, the HJ "Landdienst" candidate would obtain a "Neubauernschein", a certificate indicating that the bearer was a "junior farmer". These certificates were to help German officials and colonial administrators to select the best farmers to settle and develop the eastern territories.

"Landjahr" refers to the mandatory service every HJ member was required to complete in the agricultural sector. This was normally broken up into smaller service segments, such as serving during planting season or in the fall, as crops were being harvested.

The Landdienst-HJ was formed in 1934. At its inception, the Llanddienst-HJ contained 45 groups in and around Germany. By 1939, close to 12.000 German boys and 14.000 German girls assisted German farmers to bring in the spring, summer and fall harvests. By 1943, the Landdienst-HJ had close to a total of 40.000 members. Late in the war, 1944 and 1945, it was virtually impossible to differentiate Landdienst-HJ members from the other HJ organizations who were putting in their obligatory Landjahr service. Every available hand was needed to help provide the needed foodstuffs for both the needs of the German military and for the needs of Germany and an occupied Europe. While every effort was made to have boys and gilrs perform their obligatory Landjahr services, for the most part in the last years of the war, the boys were exempted as they were needed for other military assignments. Girls hovever, continued to serve their Landjahr time as before.