Schirach, Baldur von

Childhood

Inhoudsopgave

Baldur Benedict von Schirach was born March 9th, 1907 in Weimar. His father was Karl von Schirach and his mother Emma Middleton Lynah Tillou, an American. Baldur had two sisters, Viktoria and Rosalind and an elder brother, Karl Benedict who had committed suicide in 1919, 19 years of age. As the son of a Prussian theatremanger, Baldur grew up in an aristocratic environment. Much attention was paid to music, theatre and literature. He showed his talents as a poet at an early age. Because of the American heritage of the Von Schirach family, English was the first language Baldur learned to speak. Only from his fifth year onwards he mastered the German language a little.

At the age of 10, Baldur joined a Wehrjugendgruppe, a youth association where children were given military training. From his late teens onwards he read various anti-Semitic works such as "The international Jew" by Henry Ford and various works by Houston C. Chamberlain and Adolf Bartels. These publicaions probably formed the foundation of his anti-Semitic thinking because he stated later he had never gotten in touch with Jews in a negative way. Soon Von Schirach developed an antipathy for Christianity and his own aristocratic descent. The first is probably wholly attributable to his blind faith in Nazi ideology, which advocated secularism: Nazism would replace Christianity as some sort of would-be religion. He managed to strengthen this attitude later in his first book. "When Adolf Hitlerís book Mein Kampf was published," he wrote, "it became our Bible that we knew almost entirely by heart and with which we could give the right answer to those doubting and criticising the regime." He added that "no soundly thinking man can give me a reason for the necessity of the existence of Catholic youth organisations." His dislike of aristocratic circles was a result of his nationalism. Above all, Von Schirach wanted uniformity among the German population. Later he managed to raise this to its highest level within the education of the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend or HJ): "It is our duty to make the German youth secondary to our national heritage."

In 1925, at the age of 18, Baldur von Schirach became a member of the N.S.D.A.P. In the same year, he met Adolf Hitler (Bio Hitler). Von Schirach was enthousiastic about him immediately: "I went to study in Munich because he worked there and I became one of his most faithful followers," he wrote. "From that moment on I was a dedicated anti-Semite." Just like many others, Von Schirach was convinced that Hitler would become the "saviour of Germany." Von Schirachís left wing nationalistic preference was mainly based on his dislike of his own background. In his view, the class system should be abolished if one wanted to achieve unity among the population. In order to put his ideas into practise, Von Schirach advocated drastic measures: Germanyís misfortune had to be reverted as soon as possible because the Treaty of Versailles was a humiliating stain on his existence as well.

Von Schirachís anti-Semitic prejudices, which had matured early, played an important role in his political preference. As mentioned earlier, he devoted himself at an early age to anti-Semitic publications and subsequently developed an unfounded hatred towards Jewry. Undoubtedly, his slavish devotion for Hitler and Nazism can be attributed to Hitlerís charisma and also to the influence race ideologist Alfred Rosenberg (Bio Rosenberg), as well as the editor-in-chief of the anti-Semitic paper Julius Streicher exerted on him and to a lesser extent, to the promises of the Nazi party. In addition, the quest for unity among the German population played a big role as well for him and the other Nazis. As mentioned earlier, a fervent nationalist like Von Schirach had these ideals high on his list.

Baldur von Schirach soon made a reputation for himself in the Nazi party. As the ambitious young man he was, he put up various ideas about nazification of German youth and the universities which were positively received in general, in particular by Hitler. Through this, Von Schirach quickly gained popularity, enabling him too rise quickly through the hierarchy of the party. He was asked to draft a number of concrete plans based on his outspoken ideas. These were also received positively and enabled him to meet Hitler personally at the Berghof. A number of talks concerning the nazification of youth and higher education nourished the personal relationship between Hitler and Von Schirach. Von Schirach kept being impressed by Hitler: "This prophet, sent by God, is our saviour and the only man who can drag Germany out of her misery, " as he voiced frequently as a young man.

More than a year later, in 1926, he took his diploma of the gymnasium and subsequently, on Hitlerís advice, he went to study Germanic folklore, history of arts and English literature at Munich University. He did not complete his university studies though, two years later he decided to drop out and devote himself entirely to his Nazi career.

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ReichsjugendfŁhrer Baldur von Schirach.

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Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Bob Erinkveld
Published on:
30-05-2016
Last edit on:
12-11-2016
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