The Young Girls League (Jungmädelbund or JM) was part of the League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädel) but catered for young girls aged from ten years to fourteen years. Once girls in the Young Girls League had reached fourteen they moved to the League of German Girls the BDM. The Jungmädel organisation was all part of the umbrella Hitler Youth movement that was separated into boys and girls sections. The girls who acted as leaders in the Young Girls League were from the League of German Girls (the BDM) – older girls who had done their time in the Young Girls League.
The Young Girls League (JM) was all part of the policy of Gleichshaltung – coordination – introduced by Hitler. This was a policy where everyone, as the title suggested, did what everyone else did and what the state wanted. Within Nazi Germany girls had a very specific role to play. Girls were seen very simply as the future mothers of Germany and part of the grand plan for the Reich to exist for 1000 years. If boys were educated to be warlike, girls were trained for a future of domesticity.
Membership of the Young Girls League became compulsory in 1936 when the First Hitler Youth Law made it so.
However, as with all youth organisations that existed in Nazi Germany, there were strict criteria as to membership. Young girls who joined the JM (Jungmädelbund) had to be racially pure, free of hereditary diseases and hold German citizenship.
An ‘entrance exam’ was also held which consisted of attending a lecture about what the JM stood for and the satisfactory completion of a bravery test.
All new members of the JM joined on the same day of the year – April 20th, Hitler’s birthday.
“One day, fittingly enough on Hitler’s birthday, my age group was called up and I took the oath: “I promise always to do my duty in the Hitler Youth, in love and loyalty to the Führer.” (Marianne Gartner in ‘The Naked Years: Growing up in Nazi Germany’)
Over the next six months girls were also expected to participate in the ‘JM Challenge’. The successful completion of this, which was essentially oriented around success in sport and the creation of a fit and healthy Nazi youth, meant that girls became full members of the JM until they were old enough to transfer to the Bund Deutscher Mädel – the League of German Girls (sometimes referred to as the League of German Maidens).
“(I participated) in games, sports, hiking, singing, camping and other exciting activities…ballgames and competitions and weekend hikes.” (Marianne Gartner in ‘The Naked Years: Growing up in Nazi Germany’)
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