German Propaganda Archive Calvin College


Background: This is the account of the Hitler Youth Day at the 1936 Nuremberg Rally.

The source: “Die Feierstunde der Hitler-Jugend,” Der Parteitag der Ehre vom 8. bis 14. September 1936. Offizieller Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen Kongreßreden (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1936), pp. 178-185.

The Ceremony of the Hitler Youth

at the 1936 Nuremberg Party Rally

On Sunday all Nuremberg was filled with the presence of young Germany. From the earliest hours of the morning, endless columns of Hitler Youth marched to the stadium. As always, it is a marvelous sight: In rows of 48, the youth stand with others from their area. It is a picture of discipline and strength. Other Hitler lads and girls sit in the seats around the field. Across from the Führer’s platform are the choirs and music groups, and high above the watchtowers from which fanfares and drumbeats will sound. Rows of Naval Hitler Youth stand to the right and left of the Führer platform.

Among the guests of honor on the platform are the Reich Ministers as well as Reichleiters Amann, Bormann, Buch, Rosenberg, Dr. Ley, Dr. Dietrich, and all the Gauleiters of the movement. The military is represented by the Commander of the Luftwaffe, Reich Minister General Göring, General Fritsch and Admiral Raeder. Many officers of the army, Luftwaffe and navy as well as the leaders of the party, the state, and the diplomatic corps are seated behind the Reich Ministers. In the front alongside the Gauleiters are Chief of the S.A. Lutze and Reichsführer of the SS Himmler.

A few minutes before ten a command thunders over the field. The units and detachments stiffen, then break out in thousand-fold jubilation: The Führer has arrived.

He strides slowly through the columns of the SS along with the Reich Youth Leader, Reich Minister Rudolf Heß and the staff leader of the Reich Youth Leadership, Lauterbacher.

There is deep silence as the Reich Youth Leader introduces the Führer to the 50,000 young men. The Führer steps to the microphone to speak to his boys and girls who have so longed for this moment: “Heil, my youth,” the Führer greets them. 50,000 throats return the greeting with thanks.

Silence returns and we experience the ceremony of young Germany.

The greeting of the youth is scarcely done when trumpets from the towers announce the beginning of the ceremony. Accompanied by a band under the direction of Bannführer Spitta, the freedom song of the youth sounds out like an oath:

Germany, holy word, eternal.
Be you forever blessed.
Holy are your lakes, holy your forests,
Holy your silent heights
Down to the green sea.
The land falls into sorrows,
Therefore we rise up;
Our helmets shine in the sunrise,
Our hearts rise up.
Freedom is the fire,
It is the bright vision,
As long as it flames high,
The world is never small.

As the song fades out, a bright young voice calls out a confession to the Führer. We all stand deeply moved. Everyone who experiences the moment sees an unforgettable scene:

While the song “A Young People Rises Up” is sung, slowly and solemnly the field banners of the Hitler Youth enter the stadium. 50,000 young throats welcome the banners and their bearers, who have marched for weeks across Germany with the flags of faith in the Führer.

They left weeks ago, some from the East where the Tannenberg Memorial holds holy watch, others from where coal is mined, some from the sea, others from where the royal mountains reach to the skies. Their march through Germany carrying the flag was an affirmation of the love and loyalty the whole German youth has for the Führer. They are the flags that were sanctified on the tomb of Frederick the Great, and before them a Hitler Youth carries the bloody flag of the immortal Herbert Norkus. We think back at this moment to that Sunday morning in February of 1932 when a simple working lad died for his faith in Adolf Hitler, one of so many who gave their lives in the struggle for their faith.

The moment the participants enter the stadium is a splendid experience for the participants in the Adolf Hitler March. They had carried their flags across country roads in all of Germany, through sun, rain and storm.

Once again the hymn sounds out:

Let the flags fly
In the glorious sunrise
That guides us to new victories
Or into flaming death.

Then the Reich Youth Leader steps to the microphone:

My Führer. It is five years since you gave me the task of leading the National Socialist youth. You described to me and my comrades what kind of youth organization it would be. The goal you outlined then, my Führer, is now a reality before you. You told us then to establish a youth community in which the sole rule should be that of achievement.

Before you stand the leaders of the HJ, some of whom are the sons of the poorest of our nation. What significance do concepts like poverty and wealth have in the reality of such a community?

In the future one will call only those poor who did not belong to this community when they were young (stormy applause). You further told us, my Führer, that this youth should be brought together not only by enthusiasm, but also by discipline and order. We have worked for years to fulfill your command, which today it is realized before you. We are proud to be worthy part of your great National Socialist movement. We were unable to meet only one of your requirements. You said then that you would think it a great success if we were able to bring a hundred thousand German youth together in a single organization. My Führer, you forgot that you had given this organization your name. You asked for a hundred thousand, but they have all come (thunderous applause). The number of this youth is also something in which they may take pride. They have proved that there is something even stronger than you thought, my Führer, the love the German youth have for you (stormy shouts of Heil).

There are many happy moments during one’s youth. This each year is our happiest. We feel even more than others, my Führer, that we are bound to you by your name. Your name is the youth’s happiness! Your name, my Führer, is our immortality! Our Führer: Sieg Heil!

Baldur von Schirach’s last words are downed out by the jubilation of the masses. But silence falls immediately as the Führer speaks to his youth. Again and again storms of applause fill the stadium as Adolf Hitler clearly speaks that which lives in young hearts.

The Führer speaks to the German youth

[I am not translating the bulk of Hitler’s speech, since it is available in the English translation of Max Domarus’ collection of Hitler’s speeches. It’s rather expensive, but major libraries will have it. Hitler concluded the speech in this way:]

We live in exciting times. We make no complaints. We are used to battle, for out if it we came. We will plant our feet firmly in our earth, and no attack will move us. You will stand with me, should such a time come! You will stand before me, at my side, and behind me, holding our flags high! Let our old enemies attempt to rise up once more! They may wave their Soviet flags before us — but our flag will win the battle!

(Storms of applause and praise for the Führer fill the stadium.)


A command interrupts the jubilation. The columns are lined up perfectly, the Presentation March sounds out, accompanied by the rhythmic beating of the drums. The Führer watches, along with the Reich Youth Leader, Reich Minister Heß and Staff Leader Lauterbacher. He walks slowly down the lines of youth. Again and again the Presentation March plays. The Führer admires the wonderful discipline of the faithful youth of his only youth movement.

The flags rise once more as young throats sing the songs of the nation as if in prayer. The Führer stands in his car for a drive through the stadium and only after Adolf Hitler is long gone to the shouts of Heil fade.


[Page copyright © 1998 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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