A controversial new film entitled “Hitler’s youth” – Hitlers Jugend – is set to be shown in Austrian schools in a bid to help youngsters learn of the dangers of allowing themselves to be led astray politically.
Produced by the young Salzburg filmmaker Lydia Schiffkorn it used extensive archive footage and also spoke to people who were around at the time to talk about the dangers that politics can create.
It shows for example how the Association of German girls (BDM) managed to recruit youngsters for the Nazi regime
One eyewitness from the time, Siegfried Bernegger, talks about how it was compulsory for schoolboys to have to buy the Hitler youth uniform in a certain store in Salzburg.
Schiffkorn to a lot of time with the reporter make sure every detail was properly covered. That included working with experts from the University.
She said attempting to probe the grandparents generation was a sensitive topic. She said “I deliberately attempted to make sure that I got facts, dates and numbers that were associated with strong emotions and personal memories that could be combined with the present-day circumstances of those that were involved. Only then is it possible to get an alive complete picture that will be valid for schoolchildren as well as for teachers, and to make a proper historical study possible.
“It was commonly regarded that the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis only began after the occupation where is the film shows that there were many problems beforehand where the ground was laid for the Third Reich to take root.”
Another eyewitness from the time, Helga Bachner, pointed out how difficult it was at the time to obtain independent and completely unbiased information. She said: “I would appeal to the youth of today, if there was one thing that I thought was important, to make sure they inform themselves properly and that they educate themselves about the reality of the way things are. Before they rush in and follow anybody they should really look carefully at what they’re getting involved with. Get right down to basics and look at everything – that is more possible now than it ever was before.”