Front page of the Bild-Zeitung: Protest after attacks against the Pope from Germany.
Europe's largest newspaper writes what the Germans really feel, after being hurt by Great Britain and Spain. The Spaniards forgot that their present King Juan Carlos was installed in his present position by the dictator Generalissimo Franco.
Rome/Berlin/London (bpb) Pope Benedict XVI. was in his youth a member of the Nazi organisation Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth). This youth organisation with the name of Adolf Hitler was obligatory during that time. Every German boy from the age of 14 to 18 years became a member of this organisation. Sport, adventure and political training were the program in the HJ. It is also a historical fact, that the German Joseph Ratzinger from Bavaria was at the age of 16 a 'Luftwaffenhelfer'. In this position he assisted soldiers to operate the guns used against the allied bombings of Germany.
After the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from Germany as the new Pope, vicious attacks in the press in England and Spain started against this 'Nazi Germany' and against the Catholic leader. BILD, the largest daily newspaper in Europe, protested on April 21, 2005 on the front page: "England insults the German Pope". One day later, this nationwide German newspaper published the confession of many prominent people: I was a Hitler Boy. On the front pages, people are quoted as: "We have been Hitler-Jungen (Hitler Boys), but we must not feel ashamed because of it."
This confession was also made by the popular publisher Wolf Jobst Siedler (79 years) in Berlin. Hans-Georg Noack (76) from Düsseldorf said: "Any discrimination against these boys is absolute nonsense and stupidity."
Helmut Beckerflores (76) from Hamburg said: "I never felt shame for belonging to HJ. The British can't imagine what importance this membership had for us in those days."
Actualy, the Hitler-Jugend organisation was most attractive. Before becoming a Hitlerboy, the boys of 10 to 14 years belonged to the Jungvolk (Young People). In both organisations, they had uniforms for official activities. At the end of World War II, healthy members of the Hitlerjugend were fighting against the allied troops. In Berlin, the young fellows were shooting against the attacking Russian tanks. A few days before his death, Adolf Hitler received a delegation of HJ boys to personally thank them for their engagement to defend Germany, even with their own lives.
Professor Joachim Fest, an expert on Hitler and the author of most successful books about Hitler and co-author of the film "The Downfall" (Der Untergang) said this in the BILD newspaper: Hitler-Jungen waren Kinder, keine Verbrecher. (Hitler Boys were children, not criminals).
The former Speaker of the German government, Klaus Boelling (76) recalls about himself: "I was eleven years old, when I started my membership in Jungvolk in 1939. In this group, they never discussed the Nazi ideology, anti-semitism or the racial ideology." Boelling, serving in the government of the former SPD Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said: "The attacks against the Pope are absolute nonsense."
About his own experience Boelling confessed: "We felt well in this community of young boys. Already at the age of 14, Boelling received the title of a Youth Leader. That meant that he had twelve younger boys to guide. "This makes a boy of that age very proud", Boelling added.
© PROMETHEUS 2005
Copyright 2005 West-Art
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 95, Spring 2005