Patriotic German Youth
The Patriotic German Youth (HDJ) was a registered association with a national socialistic ideology. They pretend to be inoffensive scouts, so they don't attract much attention to their ideology.
According to estimates of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany, the HDJ has about 100-300 members aged between 7 and 29 years. Older supporters can work for the administration or in circles of friends and families of the association.
The official headquarter is in Plön (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), but unofficially they delegate from Berlin, where they have P.O. boxes, as well as their club magazine "Funkenflug" ("Flying Sparks").
The members of the management board are elected tri-annually.
The area where the HDJ acts is divided into seven jurisdictions: Schleswig-Holstein, Sachsen (Saxony), Hessen (Hesse), Schwaben (Swabia), Franken (Franconia), Preußen (Prussia), Mecklenburg and Pommern (Pomerania). The term "Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) is avoided on purpose to point out that they claim East Pomerania to be part of Germany, because it was part of the German empire before World War II.
These jurisdictions are assigned to four control centers: Central, North, West and South, which is also responsible for activities in Austria and South-Tyrol.
Their symbol is an Odal rune, which was used by nazi troops during the war.
The Patriotic German Youth came into existence in 1990 after the "Bund Heimattreuer Deutscher Jugend - Der Freibund" ("Alliance of Patriotic German Youth - a free Alliance") abandoned militant right-wing extremism.
The structures and leaders are similar, partially even the very same, as they were for the "Wiking-Jugend" ("Viking Youth"), which was banned by law in 1994.
In 2001, a newsletter by the HDJ said "that 'Die Heimattreue Jugend' (Patriotic Youth) cannot be abbreviated without using the abbreviation of a organization, which is banned by law since 1945", but the similarities to the Hitler youth (German: Hitlerjugend, HJ), which was as battlesome and racist as the Patriotic German Youth, can't be denied.
The name officially changed to "Patriotic German Youth - Group for Protection of Environment, Contemporaries and Homeland" on October 3rd, 2001, even though the change was set several months earlier.
The first attraction of public attention happened in the autumn in 2006. Andrea Röpke, a reporter, was attacked by members of the Patriotic German Youth after she made inquiries about the group.
At the same time, Tino Müller, a member of the NPD (German neo-nazi party), became a member of the parliament of the German federal state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Similarities to the Hitler Youth and Viking Youth
Comparing the Patriotic German Youth to the Viking Youth, which was a replacement for the Hitler Youth, one can see many similarities.
Leaders of the Viking Youth became leaders of the Patriotic German Youth: Stefan Räbiger was the last leader of the Viking Youth and became the first leader of the Patriotic German Youth, after the Viking Youth was banned.
The Narath family was active in the Viking Youth for over 30 years; now, several members of the family are engaged in the HDJ, one of them is Dirk Narath, who was the leader of the Franconian district of the Viking Youth.
Former leaders of the Viking Youth often give lectures at events of the Patriotic German Youth.
The names for areas and leaders are still the same as they were for the Viking Youth as well as for the Hitler Youth. For example, the words "Gau", which was used by the Nazis to name different districts, is still used to name the districts, and "Bundesführer" and "Bundesmädelführerin" are used as names for the leaders.
Like the Viking Youth, the HDJ uses military exercises, teaches the children how to sneak up on enemies and how to throw hand grenades. Luckily, the latter is carried out without a real hand grenades, but since the German law does not allow children to handle real guns, for shooting lessons they use air rifles for shooting lessons.
The Patriotic German Youth offers "classes", where they teach their nazi ideology, and publish racist and anti-semitic contents in their magazine.
The uniforms of the HDJ and the Viking Youth look alike, except for the name underneath the logo. Their flag shows the Odal rune and on their shirts a eagle can be seen. These are the same symbols the Viking Youth used.
The Patriotic German Youth organizes camps and other activities during school breaks and on holidays.
They hold sport events to demonstrate their "values": The club magazine from 2/2006 says tolerating weaker people is a weakness of character.
For the "forming of body and character", exercises like long hikes (150 km in three days) are arranged.
For girls, cooking competitions are held, for which they don't have to buy the ingredients at grocery stores, but find edible things in nature. Other activities for girls are embroidery, stitching names and pictures on wash clothes, dancing, and bathing in the lake, while the boys build tree houses or earn their knife badges.
For culture and tradition classes, girls have do bake cookies, do folk dances and sing folk songs.
The Patriotic German Youth arranges midsummer night celebrations and travels to former German areas in east Europe.
About 250 to 350 people come together at the Whitsun meeting, which is the biggest and most important meeting in paganism, but abused by neo-nazis for their ideology.
The organization holds social evenings and training courses, as well as military exercises and events to earn swimming badges such as the "hour swimmer" badge or the "skull swimmer" badge.
At a razzia at a camp in Güstrow in August 2008, the police found dish towels with swastikas and maps, on which the children should mark areas such as the Memel territory. Similar objects were found in other searchings at almost 100 houses on October 9th, 2008. Due to those findings, no one was arrested, but preliminary proceedings under the administrative law of associations was instituted against the Patriotic German Youth. The Federal Ministry of the Interior says about the Patriotic Youth that there are indications for the HDJ being against the constitutional system. The HDJ is a neo-nazi youth association; first, they use non-political events such as summer camps to bring kids closer to national socialist ideas in their younger years, so that they will accept those racist and fascistic thoughts as a normal and good ideology when they are older. At some camps, the children are taught the nazi race ideology.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior bared the Patriotic German Youth from wearing uniforms at their events, so their dress-code changed to gray shirts or a blouse and a long blue skirt for the girls. The logo and other badges of the association are attached to the clothes.
Despite the ban, the HDJ still wears their uniforms, for example for the photos for their calendar. The leaders make the children disobey the ban and wear their uniforms.
Within the association, ranks are displayed by different colored badges.
At first glance, the Patriotic German Youth seems to be an ordinary scouts association, but on closer inspection one will discover that they differ from scouts completely by their ideologies.
The patriotic German Youth says they want an "independent Germany in a free Europe". Another one of their goals is to keep the environment clean and nature in good order, as well as to continue traditions.
They have similar values like normal scouts do, but unlike scouts, their values only count within their own group and other neo-nazis.
Other goals are to eliminate the Anglicization of the German language and to work against the "depreciation of life caused by superficiality, arbitrariness, lack of culture and brutalization".
However, the fact that they teach children a racist and inhuman world view remains unmentioned by the association in public, but it can clearly be seen by the club magazine, which publishes racist and anti-semitic material.
Their political attitude is obvious in other things, too: The tents at their camps have names like " Führerbunker" and "Germania", names that glorify the nazi dictatorship. The Patriotic German Youth holds commemorations for nazi-"heroes", like in November 2004 for Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a pilot of an aircraft and an officer of the German Wehrmacht (armed forces). Poems by Kurt Eggers, who was a commander of the SS-division (shield squadron) "Wiking", are part of the standard repertoire of the HDJ.
The Patriotic German Youth has contacts with the NPD, the German neo-nazi party, and other neo-nazi groups.
The children have to do paramilitary exercises and are drilled to be aggressive fighters. One of the leaders, Sebastian Räbiger, said he wants to drill them to a "Sturmjugend" ("storm youth").
Ban of the Patriotic German Youth
The Patriotic German Youth was banned by law in 2009; however, this doesn't mean an actual solution, because other groups continue doing the same things with different names.