JF Ptak Science Books Post 2502
There's a bookcase in the house that has a top shelf for small books, most of which I haven't written about, though there is a clutch of them that have gotten some exposure here on the blog, with most of them being unused diaries, and most of those being Nazi-oriented. I've wondered about the people who would have sat down with those things blank-ish books, thinking about scheduling their time, or recording events, and then deciding not to. Maybe they didn't want to be reminded of Nazi holidays and/or the birth of Hitler, or the right of duty and the proper way to respond to current events based on the policies of the NSDAP. The diaries are all pretty much like-new, and aren't even all that old in the scheme of things, though their distance in time doesn't match their distance in historical "space" (so to speak).
This diary was for German girls who were members of the Young Girls League (Jungmädelbund), which in the German stratification of Nazism was part of the League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädel), which in turn operated under the broader gender-divided organization of Hitler Youth.
It is difficult as a father of two daughters--one of whom is of the correct age to have been using this diary had circumstances been enormously different--and it is painful to imagine her looking through these pages, at the red-letter days and inspiration photographs, filling in the book and responding to these enormous and not necessarily subtle social pressures.
"Wir folgen!" states the cover of the diary, and it meant it. "We follow".
The book itself is not-at-all-fluffy, and pretty adult, set up with five days per page, and with plenty of Nazi propaganda and history. Al of that occupies the first 157 pages; from there to page 220 is a textual review of Hitler Youth philosophy, plus stories of brave young party members, twelve pages of explanation of rune symbology, maps, diagrams, and the like.
Liberally sprinkled throughout the diary section are many quotes by Hitler and other party sub-luminaries. For example, opening to the two pages covering December 20-27, we see nothing for Christmas except for its lonely date. Right next door, on the 26th, there is a note marking the day for the death of Dietrich Eckart--he was one of the founders of the Deutsche Arbeitspartei which became the NSDAP, and was one of the leaders in the Putsch of 1923, jailed in Landesburg with Hitler, though he was released early to die of a heart attack in Bertschesgaden that same year. (I'm sorry that I know that much about such an inferior person, but I do.) On the page opposite is a note stating that Hitler was released from prison on that day, December 20, 1924, to begin his work again. It is a homely two pages.
There are also a few loose quotes for the writer Hans Baumann, who became a significant nationalist figure in the indoctrination of German youth via his many works for children. Mr. Baumann's work was not-so-pretty, and after surviving years on the Eastern front and imprisonment he somehow rose up again to become a popular international writer of childrens books and a winner of several awards, all in spite of his great popularity among the National Socialists. He died in 1988.
Oh--and this note for April 13, noting that on that day in 1932 "S.A., S.S., H.J, verboten", referring to the Weimar government banning the S.A., S.S. and Hilterjunge (H.J.) .
And of course February 24 for the 1930 death of Nazi martyr Horst Wessel, and at the bottom of the same page as long quote from the odious Alfred Rosenberg.
On and on it goes.
The book was published by Eher-Verlag (Franz Eher Nachfolger GmbH), which was the central publishing arm for the Nazi Party, and which published, well, pretety much everything, including Mein Kampf, from 1925 to the end. The building at Thierschstrasse 11 in Munich still stands, a piano company occupying the ground floor now.