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working-class families in the domain of class and its bonds proved largely
futile. Their calls to join “labor sports associations” had only limited success:
large numbers of children from these neighborhoods, but especially soccer
players “ at that time all male “ successfully strove for entry into “bourgeois”
clubs. Other youth associations like Boy or Girl Scouts or the less acquiescent
Youth Movement groups drew mostly juveniles from families of shopowners,
of¬cials and teachers, academics, doctors, and other professionals, that is, the
vast array of the middle classes.
This points in two directions as far as the maintenance of old bonds and
the creation of new ones are concerned. In “bourgeois” families with political
and ideological af¬nities with the “Third Reich,” young people who joined the
of¬cial youth organizations did so with their parents™ blessing. But in other
cases, parents disapproved (see the case of Melita Maschmann, whose parents
strictly forbade her to join!), so that joining meant rupture of familial bonds.
However, it was just such parental interdiction that stimulated many to join
or, at least, to become active. To these young people, the Nazi organizations
provided space for exploration and maneuver and facilitated the establish-
ment of distance from previous bonds or encroachments. This emancipatory
dimension can hardly be overestimated. Whether and to what extent youth
association membership stimulated the development of new bonds is another
matter. Accounts of the time suggest that young activists focused more on their
relationship with distant leaders and a similarly distant “great cause” than on
any relationship with their peers in the movement.14
Association in informal tightly connected groups, sometimes operating as a
“gang” on streets and other public spaces, had been a familiar feature of male
and even female youth cultures. Such informal associations “ each strictly
observing the boundaries of class, milieu, and religion “ were widespread
throughout society. In contrast, the Nazi youth organizations set out to regu-
late, police, and, in the end, to wipe out such claims to a sphere of one™s own.
It was precisely this policing aim “ and the often rude or clumsy tactics used “
that tended to discredit the Nazi youth associations, at least in the eyes of some
young people. At any rate, youth gangs continued to exist or, more precisely,
to be started anew as boys and girls reached the appropriate age: for example,
the “Kittelbach-Piraten” and “Edelweiss-Piraten” of the Rhein and the Ruhr,
which had a proletarian ring, and “Swing-Youth” in metropolitan centers like
Hamburg or Berlin during the war, who conspicuously displayed “bourgeois”

For this in general and also as a case study for the administrative district of Dusseldorf, see Alfons

Kenkmann, Wilde Jugend: Lebenswelt großstadtischer Jugendlicher zwischen Weltwirtschafts-
krise, Nationalsozialismus und Wahrungsreform (Essen: Klartext, 1996), 55“9, 83“98, 164“
7, 228“31; for the focus on individual achievement and its possible long-term consequences
(past 1945) see Nori Moding, “Ich muss irgendwo engagiert sein “ fragen Sie mich bloss nicht,
warum,” Uberlegungen zu Sozialisationserfahrungen von Madchen im NS-Organisationen “Wir
kriegen jetzt andere Zeiten”: Auf der Suche nach der Erfahrung des Volkes in nachfaschistischen
Landern (Berlin: Verlag J. H. W. Dietz, 1985), 291“5.
Energizing the Everyday 273

clothes, tastes, and habits. Intensi¬ed surveillance of informal activities out-
side the of¬cially demarcated arenas, including patrolling suspicious areas by
the HJ and police, widened the gulf and led some young people into concrete
counterregime activities.15
For the Soviet Union, the time of acute generational con¬‚ict was the 1920s.16
The Komsomol (for adolescents and young adults) and the Young Pioneers (for
the ten to fourteen age group) were then new organizations, emancipatory in
their message and impact and selective in their recruitment (children of “alien”
social origins were not admitted). Komsomol ideology involved a head-on
challenge to the authority of parents as well as others of the older generation
(teachers suffered particularly from this). Sexual liberation was a major part
of the Komsomol message, to the alarm of high Party organs. The Komso-
mol led the charge against religion, often engaging in what their Communist
elders de¬ned as “hooligan” behavior such as taunting priests on the street or
marching around the church during service singing revolutionary songs. Kom-
somol members strove to distinguish themselves from other (“unconscious”)
youth by their dress: girls with short hair, eschewing makeup and femininity,
dressing as much like men as possible; boys preferring an army-surplus look.
Marriage and domesticity were scorned as bourgeois. If two young activists
produced a child, they would either expect one of their mothers to look after
it or hire a nanny from the village, without interrupting their education, work,
or Komsomol activism.17
Soviet youth organizations were by no means sports clubs writ large, as their
German counterparts sometimes were. Youth sports clubs had not been well
developed in prerevolutionary Russia and were hence not part of an acknowl-
edged or unacknowledged substructure of the new organization (as the Boy
Scouts, which had begun to make a little headway in Russia in the early twen-
tieth century, may sometimes have been, though condemned root and branch
as “bourgeois” by the newly founded Komsomol). The Komsomol held sport
in high regard, but the extreme shortage of even the most basic equipment and
prerequisites (sports ¬elds, soccer and volley balls) restricted their practice of
it in the prewar period. For some urban boys and girls, training took place
in Osoaviakhim (Union of Societies of Assistance to Defense and Aviation-
Chemical Construction), a voluntary society that taught military skills to young

Kenkmann, Wilde Jugend, Part B, 129“205, and Part C, 208“341.

On Soviet youth, see N. K. Novak-Deker, ed., Soviet Youth: Twelve Komsomol Histories,

trans. Oliver J. Frederiksen (Munich: Institut zur Erforschung der UdSSR, 1959); and Anne E.
Gorsuch, Youth in Revolutionary Russia: Enthusiasts, Bohemians, Delinquents (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 2000).
See, for example, the autobiography of So¬a Nikandrovna Pavlova, “Taking Advantage of

New Opportunities,” in A Revolution of Their Own, 47“84; also John Scott™s account of his
Russian activist wife™s response to having a child in his Behind the Urals: An American Worker
in Russia™s City of Steel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 128“33.
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke

The Komsomol in the 1920s was above all a political organization, proudly
identifying itself as the junior branch of the Communist Party. Joining the
Komsomol in the 1920s often led to clashes with parents, sometimes even
severing of bonds, especially in the villages (where Komsomol cells were few,
but the more radical and restless young people sometimes emulated Komsomol
behavior without the bene¬t of any formal organization “ “Komsomols by
conviction”). Bonding of young people in the organization seems to have been
strong; indeed, in later mythology it extended beyond the Komsomol and
Pioneers to the whole cohort of youth “ hailed in the media as the chosen
generation, builders of the socialist future, free of the habits of prerevolutionary
bourgeois philistinism and mental “survivals of the past” that their elders might
unwittingly have absorbed. The 1920s and early 1930s cohort would later
look back with great nostalgia to their idealist, activist youth. Memories of
Komsomol activism and the idealism perceived as its milieu were so strong that
that they found re¬‚ection even in interviews with wartime defectors conducted
by Radio Free Europe in Munich in the 1950s.18
Komsomol activism reached its height during the Cultural Revolution of the
late 1920s and early 1930s, when the organization spearheaded a boisterous
campaign against “bureaucracy” and routinism in government agencies and
provided many volunteers for the collectivization drive in the countryside.19
The radicalism of the organization, its implicit ideology of youth as the “van-
guard,” and the political ambitions of the leaders of the Komsomol Central
Committee led to con¬‚icts with the Party™s own leaders. In the mid-1930s,
under pressure from Stalin and other Party leaders, the Komsomol underwent
an unwilling restructuring which made it a “mass” rather than selective orga-
nization (not socially discriminatory in recruitment) and, to the regret of the
Komsomol Old Guard and the relief of the Party leaders, a less revolutionary
one. Much of the old spirit survived up to the Second World War, however.
Komsomol members volunteered to go out and “build socialism” (that is,
develop new towns and industrial plants, like the famous Magnitogorsk or
Komsomolsk-na-Amure) in remote and dangerous locations, preserving the
spirit of adventure that had so powerfully attracted young people since the
Revolution. During the war, the fabled exploits of young “partisans” against
the enemy20 continued this tradition.
In both countries, the beginning of the war “ as different as it was “ marked
a crucial shift and an intensi¬cation of the sense of inclusion in the national

See Nikolai K. Novak-Deker, ed., Soviet Youth: Twelve Komsomol Histories.

See Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Cultural Revolution as Class War,” in The Cultural Front (Ithaca, NY:

Cornell University Press, 1992), 132“6; and idem, Stalin™s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in
the Russian Village after Collectivization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 60“1.
See, for example, Aleksandr Fadeev™s Molodaia gvardiia (Moscow: TsK VLKSM, 1946), a

postwar novel about young partisans that he had to rewrite because of his initial underestimation
of the guiding role of the Party. Arkady Gaidar™s enormously popular Timur i ego komanda
[Timur and his team] (Moscow: TSK VLKSM, Izd-vo detskoi lit-ry, 1941) about adventurous
young activists catches this spirit even better.
Energizing the Everyday 275

project. In the Soviet case, to be sure, the sense of identi¬cation among certain
groups (the Party, urban youth) was already high, particularly in connection
with the industrialization drive, which was conducted rhetorically and to some
degree actually as if it were a war; but with the coming of a real war, the
identifying population greatly broadened. There was also a sense of relief (in
the wake of the Great Purges) that ¬nally there was an identi¬able foreign
enemy to ¬ght. Now the endangered “fatherland” “ exclusively male in German
(Vaterland), both male (otechestvo) and female (rodina or rodina-mat™) in Rus-
sian “ dominated in people™s minds. This was not only an effect of propaganda,
though the media, ¬lm, and other arts, and the respective branches of the rul-
ing party and state apparatus actively aimed at cultivating patriotic sentiments.
Regime propaganda blended with long-standing resentment against the “West”
in the USSR (which is not to deny the existence of an equally powerful strain
of popular attraction and envy) or, on the part of Germans, “the East” and its
supposedly barbaric people (attitudes easily recast in racial terms).
Popular moods in both countries changed with the fortunes of war: tri-
umphant in Germany in June“July 1940 and (though perhaps more tainted by
skepticism) in the spring and summer of 1941; panicky in the Soviet Union
after the German attack in 1941 and fatalistically pessimistic following the
defeats of 1942; more buoyant in the Soviet Union after the victory at Stalin-
grad in early February 1943. From the behavior of the population in Soviet
territory occupied by the Germans, it is evident that “acceptance” of the “rule
of them” was a state of mind that was potentially transferable from one regime
to another, at least as far as many Ukrainians were concerned. But there were
also many Soviet citizens in occupied territory who were ready to upgrade their
level of commitment to the point of active resistance and death. Whatever the
mix of coercion, desperation, and loyalty, the Soviet army somehow survived
a massive shameful, disorderly retreat in the summer of 1941 and another
eighteen months of less dramatic setbacks. In the German case, remarkably,
military defeat scarcely changed the focus or intensity of popular support or
acceptance. In fact, in the German case the long haul of the army™s retreat to
the Reich proper only intensi¬ed determination to continue ¬ghting, both in
the combat zones and in many areas of the home front.

For both Nazi and Soviet regimes, exclusion “ non-Aryans for the Nazis, “class
enemies” for Soviet Communists “ was a basic principle. This had consequences
which, for the purpose of our inquiry, point in different directions. On the
one hand, those stigmatized and excluded experienced the breaking of old
social bonds in particularly bitter form. On the other, the process of exclusion
undoubtedly acted as a bonding force for those within Volksgemeinschaft and
its Soviet equivalent (the national community engaged in building socialism).
Both governments established legislative and administrative regimes of
exclusion, but their successful implementation depended on popular support
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke

and indeed popular initiative, which were generally speaking forthcoming in
both societies. This no doubt re¬‚ected existing resentments against the stig-
matized groups but also demonstrated the dynamics of group formation by
closing ranks and excluding others, especially in times of turmoil and rapid
transformation. Denunciation, a matter of individual initiative, was widely
practiced in both countries.21 In Germany, Jews were the main targets, though
others might be denounced for infractions like listening to foreign radio.22 In
the Soviet context, political as well as class enemies were targeted “ though
this often meant that the denouncer™s private enemy was given the damaging
label of “Trotskyite” or “kulak.” Concealment of true identity was a leitmotif
of Soviet denunciation, just as it was of the public rituals of purging “aliens”
from the Communist Party and state institutions that were regularly held in the
1920s and early 1930s.
While in Germany the Nazi seizure of power did not directly affect most
people™s ways of making their living or socializing, the situation was differ-
ent for those who were excluded from the project of “National Revolution”:
“political enemies,” especially Communists and Social Democrats (not to for-
get union activists) but also Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Protestant church
members. Primarily, however, the new regime ruthlessly persecuted and ter-
rorized all who were stamped “non-Aryans.” Humiliating as it was for those
excluded to be subject to physical assaults by ¬st blows or spitting, for many it
was even more poignant that close neighbors, good colleagues, and even dear
friends almost instantaneously abandoned their relationships. From one day to
the next most of them did not “know” or “recognize” former acquaintances
or colleagues, at least in public.
From the very beginning of the regime, the vast majority of Germans dis-
played conformity to, if not support of, practices of exclusion of those desig-
nated as Jews. Efforts to boycott Jewish shops began even prior to its “of¬cial”
call in April 1, 1933. A law of April 7 allowed the expulsion of those de¬ned
according to Nazi racist criteria as Jews from national, state, or local govern-
ment, and many private organizations and companies followed suit. Critical
comments on the “rather harsh measures” against Jews or the related “waste
of resources” remained subdued and circulated only in private conversation
or pub chats,23 thus leaving no visible trace, though later recollections of the

On denunciation, see Sheila Fitzpatrick and Robert Gellately, eds., Accusatory Practices: Denun-

ciation in Modern European History 1789“1989 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).
See Robert Gellately, The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933“1945

(Oxford: Clarendon, 1990); while Gellately shows a widespread readiness of non-Jews in Ger-
many to denounce people for being “Jews” Eric Johnson has emphasized that the intensity
of such denunciations does not con¬rm that the vast majority of the population generally
engaged in denunciation: Eric Johnson, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans
(London: John Murray, 2000); on the issue of female activity and participation, cf. Vandana
Joshi, Gender and Power in the Third Reich: Female Denouncers and the Gestapo (1933“45)
(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
Cf. David Bankier, The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism (Oxford:

Blackwell, 1993).


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