Background: This page contains translations and illustrations from an elementary school reading textbook that was published before the war began. I am including only the illustrations and texts that have a strong propaganda aspect. Parts of a similar reader are also available.
The source: Otto Zimmermann, Hand in Hand fürs Vaterland, 2nd ed. (Braunschweig: Verlag Georg Westermann, 1936).
Hand in Hand for the Fatherland
There’s the enemy! Go get them!! Get moving! Jürgen, Jochem, Hugo, Julius, go get them! — Hans is there! Ha ha! He has your banner — Get going! Hurray! Victory! Raise high the banner with the music of victory! Now it is ours! Listen to the trumpet! Victory! Hurray!
Yes, the Jungvolk have a good time. They fight, they march, they build camps, they sing, they play, and in their meetings they also sing, read, and work.
The children stand at the gate by Lene’s yard. Suddenly they hear: tromp, tromp — tromp tromp — Hey hey hey! Hitler Youth! Heil, heil heil!
Hurray, Hitler Youth! Let’s follow them! They are marching past: tromp, tromp, right, left, speck und schinken [a kind of rhyming slang — the phrase more or less rhymes with the German for right, left] tromp, tromp, tromp... Hurray!
Listen to what they are singing: We are the Hitler Youth!
Mein Führer! (The child speaks):
Listen, the Führer speaks!
“...We want to be one people, and you, my boys and girls, will become this people. We want this people to be loyal, and you must learn to be loyal. We want this people to be obedient, and you must learn obedience. We want this people to be peace-loving, but also brave, and you must therefore both love peace and be brave. We do not want this people to become weak and soft, but rather hard, and you must learn in your earliest years to be hard. We want this people to love honor, and you should seek honor. We want this people become a proud people once more, and you should learn true pride. We of the older generation will pass away, but Germany will continue to live in you. You will hold our banners firmly in your hands! Heil Germany! Heil!”
The Youth Marches and Sings:
Forward! Forward! The fanfares sound.
Boys become Soldiers
1. Grandmother became gravely ill not long before Easter, and the next morning was dead in her bed. Good old grandmother! She once said that she wished for nothing more than a comfortable death. And now it came...
2. The next day, Grandmother was already in her coffin, and Bruno and Heini and Lene could see her one more time. There she lay, just as in life, only her mouth and her friendly old eyes were closed, and the hands were folded and had become almost entirely white. Perhaps she is only sleeping, said Heini softly, but Bruno said that she was really dead. The doctor had already confirmed it.
3. Three days later, Grandmother was buried. People came dressed in black to her house, bearing wreaths with white roses, and the pastor comforted the sorrowing and blessed the dead one. Everyone said that Grandmother was always a loving and intelligent woman, and Heini and Lene should remember all the wonderful stories that she had told them...
The War Memorial
After visiting Grandmother’s grave, father took the children to the war memorial. A soldier carved from stone lay on top of a stone platform as if asleep, the steel helmet still on his head. Oak wreaths with ribbons and flowers and roses decorated the solemn memorial.
The children are deeply moved. They take off their caps and look silently at the dead hero...
What is that? Heini asks.
This is a memorial for the many thousands of heroes who died for the fatherland, father says. They died so that we could live. One was my best friend and comrade, who fell and died at my side...
In golden letters on a black ribbon stood the words: “I had a comrade.”
The children were silent on the way home, but the words of the song went through their minds, a song that Lene already sings in school:
“I had a comrade,
You are a German child
Why is father so serious after returning from the war memorial? He keeps his brown shirt on and calls his children to him. He holds their hands, and the children look at him and think: What is father doing?
Father speaks: ‘You are German children. Why?” — Lene says: “Because we were born in Germany.” — “That is not enough!” says the father. — “Is Germany everywhere?” Heini asks. — Father says: “Germany is everywhere where real German people are together. Where good mothers and grandmothers tell children old German fairy tales, where you children sing your favorite songs, where you enjoy your little funny sayings and riddles that German children enjoyed a thousand years ago, Germany is everywhere that happens, no matter how far away from here. And where German boys and girls obey their parents and work hard in school, that is also Germany. Where the Hitler Youth play and sing and do their duty, and where girls dressed in brown use their hands to show their love for their Führer and help their people, that is also Germany. Where German soldiers conduct exercises, where we march in brown shirts and sing our songs, that is Germany. Where industrious hands do loyal German work in workplaces factories, that is Germany. Where good hearts sacrifice for our poor to ensure that they do not hunger or freeze, that is Germany. And where even two Germans meet and raise their arms in the Hitler greeting, that, too, is Germany. Adolf Hitler, our Führer, is above all. Germany today and tomorrow and for all time is within him...”
“I want to have a brown shirt and fight for Adolf Hitler,” says Heini. —“ I want to be a German girl and pray and work for Germany,” says Lene
Father then lays his hand on the heads of his children. “Heil Hitler!” he says, and “Sieg Heil Germany, our fatherland!”
Since dear old grandmother is dead, Lene has to read German fairy tales to Heini. She has learned how. Lene sits on a chair, and Heini sits in front of her, and Lene reads about Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty, about Hansel and Gretel and Lucky Hans, of Snow White and Cinderella, of the tailor and his sons! There are so many wonderful German fairy tales and stories!
Heini tried to read himself once, but he held the book upside down without noticing it, and Lene laughed at him.
But now it is Easter! Heini comes home from school! He is learning to read, and is happy. He can even write an “i” and pick it out in a book. It has a dot on top...
It is Easter Eve. German Easter fires are burning everywhere!
German will rise from its poverty!
And now we say good-bye to Heini and Lene. Do not forget them! You have read your first stories about them, and have come to like them:
Heini and Lene.
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.