Edelweiss Piraten

Discussion in 'Germany' started by Owen, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Flicking through After The Battle No 104 , "Battle For Cologne" the Edelweiss Piraten get mentioned on page 3.
    They made attacks on high-placed Nazis including the assassination of an NSDAP-Ortsgruppenleiter .
    Never heard of them before.
    Had a quick Google, found a wiki page.
    Edelweiss Pirates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Interesting indeed - never heard of them either, Owen.
  3. deadb_tch

    deadb_tch the deadliest b#tch ever

    Hmmm... never heard of 'em ;) good find anyway ;)
  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I had heard of groups like this, they are mentioned in the Topography of Terror exhibition in Berlin (I think). Kenneth Branagh made a film about "Swing Kids" a related youth group. I believe it was not good though.
  5. uksubs

    uksubs Senior Member

    Flicking through After The Battle No 104 , "Battle For Cologne" the Edelweiss Piraten get mentioned on page 3.
    They made attacks on high-placed Nazis including the assassination of an NSDAP-Ortsgruppenleiter .
    Never heard of them before.
    Had a quick Google, found a wiki page.
    Edelweiss Pirates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    There a film out about Edelweiss pirates & it not a bad film but not great

    The Film called Edelweiss pirates :D
  6. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Junior Member

    I learned about these guys during my A-levels. They were groups of teens that rejected the regimentation of the Hitler Youth but still loved the outdoors so set up their own groups. I think that the overall term they have become known as as are the edelweiss pirates (edelweiss is a flower I think) but they had different names depending on what area they were from. My favourite is the 'Roving Dudes'. I think they might have been into Jazz and American culture too, something frowned upon greatly by the Nazi regime.

    Other pains in the Nazi ass include the White Rose group, perhaps not as down and dirty as the pirates but they ended up paying for their views with their lives.
  7. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Can I recommend this box set as a soundtrack?

    An excellent remastered cd with excellent notes in a book!

    My favourite is the 'Roving Dudes'. I think they might have been into Jazz and American culture too, something frowned upon greatly by the Nazi regime.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Thanks for that. Something else new I have learned from the forum.

    Well found and posted.

  9. guinness

    guinness Junior Member

    It's a subject covered in the classic novels 'Tin drum' and 'Cat & Mouse' by Gunter Grass too. The group he describes, apparently based in fact, were known as 'The Dusters' and were based in Danzig
  10. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Junior Member

    Can I recommend this box set as a soundtrack?

    An excellent remastered cd with excellent notes in a book!

    Does this mean the Nazis didn't mind a bit of the old jazz?
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Jean Jülich, who has died in his native Cologne aged 82, was one of the last surviving Edelweiss Pirates, the working class German teenagers who ran wild in the ruins of the city during the last years of the Third Reich. By 1944 as many as five thousand tearaways were living as outlaws in Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt and in the heavily bombed cities of the Rhine and Ruhr valleys. Known sometimes as Navajos, Ruhrpiraten, Harlem-Club or even Meuten [wolf packs], they were usually under military age and had evaded the compulsory Hitler youth organisations.

    Boys and girls wore long hair, short shorts and distinctive checked shirts decorated by a small badge or pin in the shape of the edelweiss flower.

    Jean Jülich tramped the hills south of Bonn with his guitar, singing attheir secret meetings. He had lived with his grandparents from the age of seven, after seeing his communist father badly beaten by SS men and jailed for high treason. In a deserted bomb-disposal bunker, the Navajo group of the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne supplied black market food and shelter to runaway forced labourers, concentration camp escapees, fugitive Jews and German army deserters. They attacked Hitler Youth patrols, derailed ammunition trains, catapulted bricks through the roof of a munitions factory and sabotaged machinery.

    Their plan to blow up the Gestapo headquarters in Cologne, using detonators extracted from unexploded British bombs, was discovered after a 24-year-old Edelweiss Pirate had shot dead a Nazi informer.

    Jülich was arrested at the age of 15, held in solitary confinement without trial and tortured for four months. His 16-year-old friend, Barthel Schink, was hanged with 11 other Pirates on a public gallows at Ehrenfeld railway station, without trial, on orders from Heinrich Himmler. Jülich survived a year of beatings, starvation and typhus in a concentration camp until liberated by American tanks in 1945.

    In "year zero", after the defeat ofGermany, feral surviving Pirates living on their wits in the ruined cities were frequently arrested by Allied military police. One Pirate was sentenced to death, though later reprieved, by amilitary court in Lower Saxony inApril 1946 for his "very active part in carrying out the nefarious schemes of the Edelweiss Piraten. An organisation such as this might well threaten the peace of Europe."

    In the Soviet zone, Edelweiss Pirates were routinely jailed for 25 years. In West Germany, the courts ruled that wartime teenage criminal convictions recorded by the Gestapo counted as part of their criminal record. Jülich and a fellow Navajo, Gertrud Koch, codename "Mucki", fought a long campaign to get the Piraten rehabilitated as resisters. Despite being recognised as "righteous gentiles" by Yad Vashem in Israel in 1988, their Gestapo records were not annulled until 2005.

    "Mucki" lost her father in a concentration camp. Now 87, she said, "The old Nazi judges used after the war upheld the criminalisation of what we had done and who we were."

    During the campaign for recognition, Jülich made a successful recording of a romantic tramping song, "Es War In Shanghai", much loved by the Edelweiss Pirates but banned at Hitler Youth campfires, that tells of a midnight encounter in the Ohio Bar in Shanghai between Heini and Charly from Hamburg and Jim Parker, their comrade from 'Frisco.

    Jülich always claimed, "It was not a political song, but it addresses the desire for foreign countries, fellowship and independence. The Nazis did not sing this song because it was not consistent with their ideology."

    His 2003 pamphlet Kohldampf, Knast un Kamelle ("Hard Times, Jail and Carnival: An Edelweiss Pirate Looks Back on His Life") was equally romantic.

    His wife, Karin, daughter Conny and son Marco were at his bedside when he died in hospital after a heartattack.

    Jean Jülich: One of the Edelweiss Pirates, who resisted the Nazis - Obituaries - News - The Independent

  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  13. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Jean Jülich
    Jean Jülich, who has died aged 82, was one of the last surviving members of the Edelweiss Pirates, a group of rebellious teenagers from western Germany who formed a resistance network against the Nazis.

    Jean Julich
    7:05PM GMT 06 Feb 2012
    He was born on April 18 1929 in the working-class Cologne suburb of Sülz and was just seven years old when his father, a member of the Communist Party, was arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour. Jean’s grandmother and aunt were also imprisoned for six months and Jean was placed in an orphanage until they were released, when he went to live with his grandparents.
    Later he was sent to a Nazi Reichsbahn (railway) training centre in the Nippes suburb of Cologne which, he recalled, “consisted of a factory, school, Hitler Youth – all in one”. In 1942 he dropped out and joined the “Edelweiss Pirates”.
    The Pirates (named after the edelweiss emblem they wore on their collars or hats) had emerged out of a (non-political) youth hiking movement of the 1930s called the “Bündische Jugend” in response to the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth. A loose-knit group based in and around Cologne, they consisted of working-class youths of both sexes, mainly between the ages of 14 and 17, who had evaded the Hitler Youth by leaving school while also young enough to avoid military conscription.
    To begin with, the Pirates’ rebellion was more to do with gang rivalry than ideology. They specialised in taunting and fighting pitched battles with the Hitler Youth, from whom they distanced themselves by growing long hair, sporting brightly coloured shirts and singing popular songs that owed nothing to the German Volkish music approved by the Nazis. “We wore our hair long, we had a knife in our sock, and we wouldn’t march,” Jülich recalled. Individual groups of Edelweiss Pirates hung around in cafés, parks, or street corners in the evenings or weekends, or took hikes or rode bicycles into the country for camping trips. They also indulged in sexual relationships, an aspect of teenage life frowned upon by the strictly segregated Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls.
    As the war progressed, however, the Pirates became involved in more serious resistance activities. As well as writing anti-Nazi graffiti and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, including those dropped by the Allies, they stole food, other supplies and even some explosives to supply small local adult resistance groups. Some offered shelter to German army deserters or escaped prisoners from concentration camps and forced labour camps, while others committed acts of sabotage. Jülich recalled how he and his friends threw bricks through munitions factory windows and poured sugar into the petrol tanks of Nazis’ cars. Other groups derailed train carriages loaded with munitions. By 1944 as many as 5,000 teenage tearaways were involved.
    The Gestapo declared the group criminals, and gang members were often rounded up and released with their heads shaved. In 1944, at the age of 15, Jülich was arrested with several of his friends for allegedly being involved in a plot to bomb the Gestapo headquarters in Cologne. He spent four months in a cell at the Brauweiler prison on the outskirts of the city, where he was interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. Though he survived, on November 10 1944 his friend and fellow prisoner, Bartholomaeus (Barthel) Schink, was executed without trial on the public gallows at Ehrenfeld railway station, along with seven adults and five other “Pirates”. Jülich was later transferred to a concentration camp where he survived beatings, starvation and typhus until the camp was liberated by the Americans in 1945.
    After the war ended, Jülich eventually became the proprietor of a popular “music pub” in Cologne and in 1984 he was declared a “righteous Gentile” by Israel. Subsequently, in 1988, the Edelweiss Pirates were collectively recognised as ”Righteous among the Nations” by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
    Yet in Germany, while the efforts of the White Roses, a similar but smaller group based at Munich University, were celebrated from shortly after the war, the Edelweiss Pirates, possibly because of their “proletarian” background and their refusal to become involved in the officially-sanctioned political youth groups formed under Allied supervision after the war, continued to be regarded as criminals. In 1946 one Pirate was sentenced to death (though later reprieved), by a military court for his “very active part in carrying out the nefarious schemes of the Edelweiss Piraten”. In 1987 an investigation by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed that their Gestapo criminal records should stand. “The position of the authorities is that the Edelweiss Pirates were insects, anti-social elements and criminals,” Jülich complained.
    With another former Pirate, Gertrud Koch, Jülich led a long campaign to have the group recognised as resistance fighters, but it was an uphill task. When, in 2004, the film director Helmer Niko von Glasow made Edelweiss Pirates, dedicated to Barthel Schink and two other Pirates, it was shown around the world, but had difficulties finding a distributor willing to take it on in Germany.
    During the campaign Jülich made a recording of the Pirates’ tramping song, Es War In Shanghai, a romantic anthem banned by the Nazis that tells of an encounter in a Shanghai bar between two German youths from Hamburg and Jim Parker, their friend from San Francisco.
    Jülich’s efforts were finally crowned with success in 2005 when the Pirates were “politically rehabilitated” by the German government, their criminal records were annulled, and they were officially recognised as “resistance fighters”.
    Jülich is survived by his wife, Karin, and by their son and daughter.
    Jean Jülich, born April 18 1929, died October 19 2011

    Jean Jülich - Telegraph
  14. Kbak

    Kbak Senior Member

    :poppy:Jean Julich RIP:poppy:
    Just like the White Rose group you thought for your rights and Won
  15. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Just reading about these in Kershaw's Hitler. Very interesting.
  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Gunter Grass writes about them a little in his novels of wartime Germany. I'm not an expert on the subject, but aside from the Anti-Nazi aspect they should also be seen in the context of wartime juvenile delinquency generally. With parents away in the services or doing war work, lots of children and adolescents spent critical years without proper supervision. The juvenile delinquency rate went up sharply in the US during the war years. According to Ahrenfeldt's book about psychiatry in the British Army, by 1944 the army was getting a lot of 18-year olds who were barely socialized. Once in uniform they were a serious disciplinary headache.

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