Komsomol

The Indoctrinated Children Of The Soviet Pioneers & Komsomol

This is an article that I wrote for an educational journal back in 2004. They wanted something about children in the Soviet Union, in particular, about the youth organisations. I recently found it while cleaning out, so I scanned it and I am now reproducing it here, because I think it is one of the best pieces of work I have ever done.

I have also done a similar article about children in the Third Reich.

With Donald Trump beginning to sound more and more like a dictator, I am starting to feel as if my old article here is becoming relevant once more.

I hope some of you will find some educational value in it. If you want to reproduce it for any school projects or whatever, please contact me first and obtain my permission. I will gladly give it, but I would just like to be told first. Thanks!

lenin

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed i have sown will never be uprooted.

Vladimir Lenin

Communism and Nazism were poles apart in an ideological sense. After the First World War, Germany and Russia never saw eye to eye. Being so different was one of the reasons why Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact signed in 1939 was just a temporary marriage of convenience. Hitler saw Communism as Nazi Germany’s natural and ever-lasting enemy of which they (Germany) could never come to terms with.

But if you were to examine the social structures of Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), you would notice startling similarities. If the theories behind Communism and Nazism were different, the methods to implement those ideological ideas were all but identical. One of the ways in which Communism and Nazism were similar were the ways in which the two regimes regarded their young people.


In Germany, there was the Hitler Jugend and the Bund Deutscher Madel. In the Soviet Union, it was the Young Pioneers and the Komsomol. Different names but identical aims. The main aim of the Soviet groups, as with the Nazi version, was to get young Russian people to swear blind obedience to the Soviet Communist Party and the State. They would be brainwashed and lectured on doses of Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, and they would be taught that their sole vocation in life was to serve the state unquestioningly and willingly.

All traces of the former Tsarist regime would be erased to be replaced with a left-wing workers paradise (in theory anyway). The people would go along with it because as Marx puts it, “the proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains”.

But, as with Hitler, Stalin saw the value of controlling the state’s children from the moment they were born and decided that he couldn’t just assume that the people would go along with him at the way, all the time. He would need to ensure their loyalty by controlling their lives and indoctrinating them into the faith. “Ideas are mere powerful than guns” was a phrase Stalin believed in strongly and was often repeated to party colleagues and in speeches.

The Young Pioneers

“I, a Young Pioneer of the Soviet Union, in the presence of my comrades solemnly promise – to love my Soviet Motherland passionately. To live, learn and struggle as the great Lenin bade us and as the Communist Party teaches us”

The solemn promise of a Young Pioneer.

young pioneers

In the first rung of the youth group ladder was the Young Pioneers at the age of 10. Membership of the youth movements were officially optional but, in reality, it was compulsory if the child wanted to get ahead in life and make something of themselves. As with the Nazi groups, your level of future success in the Soviet Union depended on your political track record, your attendance at meetings and your political connections. Everything you said and did in life was noted and nothing was forgotten.

The Young Pioneers organisation existed in the USSR from May 1922 until the break up of the Communist regime in 1990. By 1923, membership was at around 75,000, 2 million by 1940 and approximately 25 million people by 1974. The Nazis in Germany would segregate the children into their respective sexes – boys into the Hitler Jugend and girls into the Bund Deutsche Madel. But in the Soviet Union, there was no segregation of the sexes into different groups. Soviet children were instead segregated according to their age.

Children of between 10 & 11 years old were called “Young Pioneers of the 1st stage“; 11-12 years old – “Young Pioneers of the 2nd stage“; 13-15 years old – “Young Pioneers of the 3rd stage“. Young Pioneers of 15 years old could then apply for a transfer and join the other youth organisation – the Komsomol. But to join the Komsomol, you needed the recommendation and approval of the Young Pioneer group leaders.

The main aims and duties of the Young Pioneers and membership requirements were set down by the “Regulations of the Young Pioneer organisation of the Soviet Union”, by the “Solemn Promise” (recited as an oath by each Young Pioneer joining the organisation for the first time and which is set out at the beginning of this section); and by the “Rules of the Young Pioneers“.

The rules of the Young Pioneers of the Soviet Union were:

  • A Young Pioneer loves his Motherland, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and prepares himself to enter the Komsomol organisation.
  • A Young Pioneer honours the memory of those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom and for the prosperity of the Soviet Motherland.
  • A Young Pioneer is friendly to the children of all countries.
  • A Young Pioneer learns well, is polite and well disciplined.
  • A Young Pioneer loves labor and is careful of public property.
  • A Young Pioneer is a good comrade, he cares for the young and helps the old.
  • A Young Pioneer is brave and unafraid of difficulties.
  • A Young Pioneer is honest and values the honour of his detachment.
  • A Young Pioneer hardens himself, he does physical exercises every day.
  • A Young Pioneer loves nature, he protects green plantations, birds and animals.
  • A Young Pioneer is an example for all children.

The main symbols which made the Young Pioneers stand out were the red banner, red tie and badge. A scarf, mostly red but sometimes also blue, was also traditionally worn.

Some of the rituals in the Young Pioneers were virtually identical to the Hitler Youth – saluting, parades, banner bearing and raising of the flag. Some of the most common traditions were the Young Pioneers rally (usually round a bonfire) and festivals. It was all very comradely, everyone working as a team, everyone of equal status, just as Marx and Engels declared communism to be about in their book, “The Communist Manifesto”.

The Pioneer organisation is often named after a famous party member that is considered a suitable role model for young Communists. In the USSR it was a man called Pavlik Morozov. The children were taught the slogan “We are Pavlik Morozov pioneers. We wear our red scarf with pride.” Morozov was an ordinary young Soviet citizen, risen to martyr status by the Soviet propaganda machine, after he was murdered by his relatives for denouncing his father to the KGB. The story, like all good propaganda, was mostly fake, and was thoroughly debunked after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Morozov’s life was used by the propagandists to show the natural duty of all loyal Soviet citizens, especially children, to be informers for the regime, regardless of family loyalties and relationships. Nazi Germany’s version of Morozov was Horst Wessel. So both sides understood the need to have at least one martyr for young people to look up to as a role model.

The Young Pioneers who did impressive work and made themselves stand out for excellent studies, hard work, outstanding sports results, or impressive social activities were elected to the self-governing institutions and were delegates on the Young Pioneers gatherings. The most notable members were written into the Book of Honour of the organisation.

During the war, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, many young Pioneers suddenly found themselves with a gun in their hands, risking their lives to defend their country. During the sieges of Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kursk and other ferocious battles, many Young Pioneers fought bravely against the German military in small partisan groups.

Nearly 30,000 Young Pioneers were awarded various decorations and medals and 4 Young Pioneers became “Heroes of the Soviet Union“, the highest military award in Soviet Russia, equivalent to the US Congressional Medal of Honor or the British Victoria Cross.

At the age of 14, the child would graduate to the next level – the Komsomol. It was the last stage before becoming an adult and choosing a career path. For many, the Komsomol would determine who would go onto university or careers in the government or KGB.

In many ways, the Komsomol became the most effective method for the authorities to weed out those who would become the future Soviet elite and leave those who were deemed to be worthless and non-productive.

The Komsomol

“The Komsomols of my generation took offence at our fate. When we went to work in the factories, we lamented that nothing was left to do because the revolution was over”

A quote by an unknown Soviet youth

“Komsomol” is a word taken from the Russian phrase Kommunisticheski Soyuz Molodezhi, or “All-Union Leninist Communist League of Youth“. The organisation served as the youth section of the Russian Communist Party. It is believed that two-thirds of the present adult population in Russia were once members of the Komsomol.

The Komsomol started in 1917 and its first congress was the following year. Its membership grew steadily over the years, and in 1936, membership stood at four million and by 1939, nine million. In the early years, just like all other Soviet agencies and organisations, the Komsomol bore a number of names, including the RKSM (Russian Communist Union of Youth), RLKSM from 1924 and WAKSMA from 1926.

The Komsomol proved invaluable in indoctrinating Russian youth about the values, aims and ideas of Communism and it also gave the young their first opportunity to be introduced into the political domain. The Komsomol also instructed Soviet young people on social and sexual morality, the right way to live and the evils of “anti-social behaviour”.

The term “anti-social behaviour” could cover many things such as listening to western pop music such as the Beatles (which was considered “decadent behaviour”) and alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality.

However, it wasn’t a perfect system by any means. Having a child in the Komsomol didn’t always guarantee perfect party clones. In 1935, the NKVD (later renamed the KGB) discovered a plot by young Komsomol members in the town of Gorki to assassinate Stalin, in protest of the purges which were being carried out with murderous efficiency throughout the country. The plot was easily put down and the ringleaders executed but Stalin realised that the Komsomol was not politically reliable enough for his tastes and many more young Komsomol members with politically dubious track records were murdered or thrown into camps.

The Komsomol was often criticised for not doing their job property and for “not speaking with one voice“. Matters finally came to a head in the 1980’s. The reforms of General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, (Perestroika and Glasnost), finally recognised that the Komsomol was no longer serving the best interests of Russian young people and the Soviet state. The calibre of the Komsomol leadership was very low (at times, shockingly incompetent), and these, along with other problems, could no longer be hidden in the new, more open and liberal atmosphere.

At the radical Twentieth Congress of the Komsomol the rules of the organisation were massively changed to reflect a different strategy of running the Komsomol with a view to improving its overall efficiency. However the reforms actually had the opposite intended effect – the organisation eventually collapsed due to fragmentation, lack of clarity-of-purpose, and waning of interest, membership and calibre of membership.

In the past few years, there have been various attempts to revive the Komsomol, mostly by people who want a return to the Soviet way of life. It is well known that Vladimir Putin is a huge supporter of such an idea.

Moving Into a Career

When a Russian youth reached the age of 18, it was time to choose a career. As with Nazi Germany, you got nowhere if you were not a member of the party.

Membership in the party was not automatically granted like you would join a modern-day democratic party upon payment of membership dues. In the Soviet Union, who became party members and who didn’t ultimately became a privilege bestowed upon you, which you had to earn with a lifetime of loyalty and hard work.

When someone was finally admitted as a party member, they would become an elite, or nomenklatura, in Soviet society. Members of the nomenklatura would enjoy special privileges not open to non-members, such as shopping at well-stocked shops (including a huge, exclusive well-stocked Harrods-type department store off Red Square), receiving special preferences in obtaining the best housing, having first choice of dachas and holiday resorts, being allowed to travel overseas (non-party members had no chance to leave the Soviet Union because they were not granted passports), and also sending their children to the best universities and obtain prestigious jobs for them.

It became virtually impossible to join the Soviet ruling and managing elite without being a member of the Communist Party. So for a child in Soviet Russia, to get ahead in life with a meaningful career meant toeing the party line, being loyal, working hard for the regime and hoping that fortune would eventually smile on them.

The first path that a young person could follow would be to university. Moscow University was highly sought after (therefore places were few and highly valuable) and it was at university where your exceptional talents could be spotted which could propel you to the highest levels of Soviet society.

What jobs were open to young people in the Soviet Union? The most highly sought-after jobs were for the KGB (Committee for State Security – Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti). Recruitment for the KGB took place in the Komsomol and university where promising young people were tested and vetted. Those with high levels of intelligence, high levels of fitness, extensive knowledge of foreign languages (especially English and German), a proven track record of loyalty to the Soviet Union (being able to quote Marx certainly didn’t hurt) were accepted into the secret state police.

Being a member of the KGB was a very prestigious career in the Soviet Union. In the hierarchy of things, the KGB was superior to everyone else and KGB officers got the best of everything. So if a young person was offered the chance to go into the KGB, they rarely refused. Being in the KGB meant a good lifestyle with a good salary, being able to eat well, live in a nice apartment, foreign travel…in other words, being able to experience things what other Soviet citizens could only dream about.

Young people that went off to the KGB ended up becoming arrogant and egotistic with a superiority complex. If a person didn’t make it to the KGB, then other career avenues open to them included working in the government as a civil servant, becoming a politician with aspirations of making it to the Politburo (the executive decision-making body of the Soviet system) and the ultimate post of General Secretary, the military (which, just like Nazi Germany, was strongly encouraged), or performing a public service such as being a doctor or a lawyer.

Private business ventures were looked upon as decadent western capitalism and were strictly forbidden (which didn’t stop black markets from springing up). Everything in Soviet Russia was strictly controlled and supplied by the state so private enterprise wasn’t needed (at least that was the official view).

However, during the early stages of perestroika, when private enterprises were cautiously introduced, Komsomol members 8 leaders were given special privileges in opening businesses, with a motivation to give Russian youth a better chance in life, since the Soviet state probably wouldn’t be around forever to protect its citizens. As a result, many Komsomol members got a chance to get rich quick, the most prominent example being the head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Hitler Youth parade

Children In The Hitler Youth – How Nazi Germany Controlled Their Young

“When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already…you will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

adolf-hitler

These words, spoken by Hitler, sums up the Nazi Party’s whole philosophy & attitude towards Germany’s children. The Nazis (just like the Soviets) looked upon children as the foundations and the basis of a more prosperous and stronger future nation. They would be part of a Germany which they would accept unconditionally because they would know no other possible way of life. A Germany with blond Aryans, healthy citizens with no physical or mental defects, and fanatical unquestioning National Socialists.

They would start their association with the Nazi Party by joining the Hitler Youth or the Bund Deutscher Maedel, and after school progressing to the armed forces where they would be expected to fight for the Reich and quite possibly die for it too. They would become parents and produce even more Aryans and fanatical healthy unquestioning National Socialists.


Hitler saw early on that the key to Germany’s strength lay in controlling the destinies of the children “from the cradle to the grave”. Using a phrase first mentioned in his book “Mein Kampf”, Hitler told colleagues in 1935,

Youth must be swift as greyhounds, tough as leather and hard as Krupp steel. The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain”.

In his book “Inside the Third Reich”, Albert Speer wrote:

On the whole he (Hitler) regarded children as representatives of the next generation and therefore took pleasure in their appearance, stature or intelligence than in their nature as children”.

From the moment Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, he immediately set about making sure that he and his party would keep that power forever by ensuring there would be no viable opposing political force to oust the Nazis from government. Hitler would later boast that his Reich would “last a thousand years”.

Hitler achieved absolute power in many ways but the most basic fundamental one was to ensure the complete unconditional loyalty of the German people. For if the people were to be allowed to start to question the regime then eventually a opposition movement would develop and that was unacceptable. Dissent would not be tolerated under any circumstances.

hitleryouth2

So Hitler and other senior Nazis (such as Goering, Hess, and Himmler, amongst others), realised right from the outset that in order to keep the loyalty and obedience of the German people, they had to keep strict control over people’s lives. The regime had to control what people read, watched, heard, did in their spare time and they had to control people’s way of thinking. These days, we would call that brainwashing. Back then, it was considered business as usual.

The children of the Reich were a big part of that control process. The Nazis realised that in order to preserve the purity of the German race, they had to control who was born and was not. They achieved this by introducing forced sterilization to mothers considered to be unfit to give birth. This included mothers who suffered from any physical or mental ailment such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, insanity and any other condition deemed to be “impure”.

The Nazis realised that in order to preserve the purity of the German race, they had to control who was born and was not. Click To Tweet

Once the children were born, they would then be told what to do, what to say and what to think. The casualties of the First World War robbed Germany of their healthiest people, as they ended up on the battlefield and most often, eventual death in front of a machine gun. Those that survived the war were mainly those who were either maimed or crippled (both physically and mentally) by the war, or those who were medically unfit to serve in the military.

These would be the people who would now become parents and produce Germany’s future generations. This concerned the Nazis greatly as they felt that the blood lines and heritage of the German people would be permanently tainted by the effects of the First World War. So a policy of state-run birth control was started and the Reich’s children got extra-special attention to ensure they grew up the way the regime wanted them to.

vonschirach_axmannBefore we go into specifics, let’s take a look at the two people, appointed by Hitler to supervise the German children in their lifelong development. It basically comes down to two people at the top of the hierarchy – Baldur Von Schirach and Artur Axmann. Von Schirach was half-American and was directly related, on his mother’s side, to two signers of the US Declaration of Independence. His father was a German aristocrat and Von Schirach led a pampered life, even into adulthood.

Described by his colleagues as “wet, deluded and arrogant”, Hitler liked him because he wrote many of the Nazi marching songs and also poems in praise of Hitler including such lines as “loyalty in everything and everything is the love of Adolf Hitler” and “His soul touches the stars and yet he remains a man like you and me”. He became Gauleiter (Governor) of Vienna in 1940 and in his place as Reich Youth Leader stepped Artur Axmann. Axmann, who founded the first Hitler Youth group in 1928, went onto active military service in Russia (losing an arm in the process).

Both Von Schirach and Axmann were arrested in 1945. Von Schirach was put on trial at Nuremberg and received 20 years in prison. Axmann was convicted twice by Denazification courts in 1949 and 1958 respectively. The first court sentenced him to 3 years and 3 months in prison and the second court fined him 35,000 Deutschmarks, both for “nazifying German children”.

The Hitler Youth

“I promise to do my duty in the Hitler Jugend. In love and fidelity to the Führer and to our flag”

Hitler Youth vow

A lot of people have compared the Hitler Youth to the modern day Boy Scouts but there was one big difference – the Boy Scouts have and always will be voluntary, the Hitler Youth definitely wasn’t. There were no exceptions and refusal or resistance to join was interpreted as “political unreliability” – this would in turn create problems for the child and their family, both immediately and in the future.

Even though some parents didn’t like the idea of their child going into the Hitler Youth, they decided there was no other option. If the child refused to join, the father could lose his job or at the very least the prospect of promotion, the family could lose their apartment and the child could lose all hopes of a meaningful career.

When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, membership of the Hitler Youth stood at 100,000. Not long afterwards, all other youth movements were abolished and Hitler Youth membership increased to 4 million by 1936. 100% attendance at meetings was actually not compulsory until 1939, When it became clear that some children were not going to regular meetings, a law was passed making 100% attendance compulsory. Many teachers then complained that late-finishing Hitler Youth meetings were making children too tired to come to school the next day.

There were separate organisations for boys and girls. The main mission of the boys section was to prepare the boys for military service, For girls, the organisation prepared them for motherhood. Boys, when they reached the age of 10, joined the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young People) until the age of 13 when they transferred to the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) until the age of 18, Come their 18th birthday, they transferred to the military, unless a medical problem or other circumstances made them exempt.

hitleryouth3

Girls, at the age of 10, joined the Jungmadelbund (League of Young Girls) and at the age of 14 transferred to the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Girls), Girls had to be able to run 60 metres in 14 seconds, throw a ball 12 metres, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100 metres and know how to make a bed. They were taught that their sole purpose in life was to give birth to healthy children as many times as possible and be a good loyal wife to their husband. The idea of a young woman having a career was considered ludicrous and as such, educational and career opportunities were virtually non-existent. The best a girl could hope for in the way of education was home economics.

The Hitler Youth was very paramilitary in nature. Members wore uniforms and the emphasis was on marching, bayonet drill, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, cutting barbed wire and firearms training., as well as the usual dose of National Socialist brainwashing. In fact, the Hitler Youth was so military in nature that the former Reich Youth Leader and Gauleiter of Vienna, Baldur Von Schirach, had to answer accusations at his trial in 1945 that the Hitler Youth was a covert and illegal method for training under-age children for a future career in the German military. At Nuremberg, Schirach told prosecutors that he “preferred poetry to steel helmets and guns”.

However, an earlier quote from Schirach seems to contradict himself. He told colleagues that “he who marches in the Hitler Youth is not one among millions but the soldier of an idea”. Scholars have interpreted that remark to mean that Schirach and Axmann, amongst others, subconsciously prepared German youths for the possibility of falling in battle for the Reich.

Hitler Youth members would later go on to careers in the military or the Gestapo (Geheimestaatspolizei – Secret State Police). The more fanatical believers in National Socialism would end up later in the SS or its more notorious counterpart, the Waffen-SS. Having been indoctrinated in the Hitler Youth, these SS soldiers would carry out orders unquestioningly and with pleasure, believing totally in the Nazi ideal and knowing no other way of life. They would murder and wage destruction in the name of their Führer, believing that the ends justified the means.

That’s why when the horrors of the concentration camps were revealed in 1945 to advancing Allied troops, the SS were the ones running away the fastest. They were the most guilty because they truly believed that what they were doing was right. There was no grey area between right and wrong.

Everyday Life For a Child In Nazi Germany

“Führer, my Führer, given to me by God.Protect and preserve my life for long. You rescued Germany from its deepest need. Í thank you for my daily bread.”

Evening meal prayer for children

peoplescourtAs part of the control process against the Reich population, the Nazis encouraged people to report others who made disparaging remarks against the regime and to inform on anyone who said or did something that could be deemed to be against the best interests of the state.

What constituted “against the best interests of the state” was very broad and often decided on the spot by a Reich official or the People’s Court. The Nazis encouraged children most of all to be informers as children were considered to see and hear everything and perhaps pick up on something an adult might miss.

Through Hitler Youth meetings, children would be taught the importance of loyalty to the Führer and to the Reich. They would be taught that informing on friends and family was not bad but actually good. They would be told that the person they informed on would be “treated” or “re-educated” and that in the long run, informing on people would benefit everyone. In reality, the people informed on would end up in a concentration camp and the only “re-education” they would receive would be gas or a bullet. But of course, the regime made sure such inconvenient details never made its way back to the German population.

An interesting picture exists of US soldiers taking captured Hitler Youth children to a train filled with dead Jews. The Hitler Youth refused to believe that the people they informed on were murdered so the allied troops were forced to take the children to see the bodies. Even then, they refused to believe it was done by German soldiers.

There’s no doubt that encouraging children to inform on friends, family and strangers helped the regime to strike decisively against enemies, both real and perceived. But the social downside was that families were split because children informed on their parents and close relatives and parents were suddenly afraid to speak in front of their children. Children in the Hitler Youth became aggressive with their patriotism and their sabre-rattling. The repercussions of this behaviour by the children towards their families lingered on for many years after the war.

Being a Teacher In Nazi Germany

naziclass

To be a teacher in Nazi Germany, you had to have nerves of steel, a careful tongue and a constant ability to walk a very precarious tightrope. Everything you said would be interpreted in many different ways and teachers were under constant pressure to teach their subject the way the Nazis wanted them to – there was Nazi history and Nazi science for starters. History teachers were told to teach history to gloss over Germany’s not so wonderful moments and emphasise Germany’s achievements.

Any teacher daring to venture another opinion would be informed upon, probably by one of their own students. Students studied the concept of “Blood and Soil”, which said that the advancement of the Aryan race and the “reclaiming” of Germanic lands were far more important than the liberty and the rights of any one individual.

German Teenagers In The Third Reich

As boys and girls moved into their teenage years, they were instructed in which forms of entertainment were acceptable. Jazz was forbidden as the racially impure sound of the African, and German composers, especially Richard Wagner, were promoted. Girls were discouraged from wearing makeup, as the Nazi ideal was freshly-scrubbed and pure. “A German woman does not wear makeup and a German woman does not smoke,” a Nazi girls handbook warned.

Physical fitness was very important, and both boys and girls were urged to participate in sports. Nazi recreation camps were popular, as was the “Strength Through Joy” organisation, which sent German teenagers to work on rural farms. The scheme became a joke when many girls returned home pregnant. German Nazi teenagers would joke, “I lost my strength through joy.

After The War

The Nazi regime was so successful in brainwashing their children that after the war, the Allies were faced with a huge problem – how to “de-Nazify” the country. Even though Hitler and the Nazi party were gone, they had citizens who were still committed National Socialists. These citizens, who had been through the Hitler Youth and then the military seemed unfazed with the destruction of the country and the deaths of so many people. Due to their Nazi beliefs, they believed that they were once again the victims of victorious and vindictive Allied nations, the same as what happened in November 1918 after the First World War ended.

Many of these children-turned-soldiers managed to evade capture by the Allies and they started to burrow their way back into German society. Some profited from Germany’s defeat and destruction by becoming black marketeers and criminals. Others steadily and discreetly made their way back into the service of their country by occupying low-level positions in the government. Others joined the police force (mainly those who were in the Gestapo).

Once in, they would cover for their former colleagues by ensuring that they got jobs and were not prosecuted for anything they did during the Nazi era. When former Nazis got into jobs in the Ministry of Justice and prosecutors offices, prosecutions against many low-level and medium-level Nazis then became much more difficult.

However, with pressure and help from the newly formed state of Israel, high profile Nazis continued to be prosecuted, the most notable being Adolf Eichmann in 1962.

When it came to brainwashing children, no-one did it better than the Third Reich.