"Das sind keine Pimpfe der 'Hitler-Jugend' sondern Mitglieder Ulbrichts 'Pionierorganisation'. 1961"
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Picture 23: In his comment on this picture, the photographer cynically pointed out that this little drummer was not a member of the Hitler youth but a Communist „Pioneer“. The similarities in dress, songs and rituals (even, occasionally, flag consecrations and torchlight processions) between the East German youth organizations „Pioneers“ and „FDJ“ (Free German Youth) and the Hitler youth were noticed by many contemporaries, not only in the West. Officially, East German children’s and youth organizations followed the model of the communist German youth organizations from the 1920s as well as the Soviet model. Ulbricht attempted to carry on these traditions without taking into account the effects of 12 years of Nazi rule on the German population. The consequences were „fatal associations“, as Katja Mann, the wife of the writer Thomas Mann, called it - but also actual continuities. Eye-witnesses reported that when the Free German Youth founded a marching band in a village, the members were exactly the same as those in the village Hitler youth band some years before.