Opposition to hitler youth in hannover: the schniegels – ns time in hannover

Snapshot of students of the Lutheran school in the country home in Bredenbeck dancing swing 1942. Historical Museum 008810

Spitting hair and face

Reading time: 90 seconds

Since the Youth Protection Ordinance of 9.3.1940, boys and girls under the age of 18 have been prohibited from staying on the street after dark. And there was Kle >(please refer below "If you have the turntable. ") checked the dress code. They cut boys ‘hair too long and spat makeup on girls’ faces.

"Schniegels" opposed the German mess of Hitler youth
And yet there were approx. 5 – 10% young people who took up the HJ w >(Interview Michael Bayartz with Günter Bode, Großburgwedel, 14.3. 1989, Hanover City Archives).

The "definitive ban on nigger jazz" on the radio by Reichsendeleiter Eugen Hadamovsky did the opposite for the critical youth: the swing youth in many German cities – contemptuously by the Nazis as "Swing Heini" referred to – enthusiastic for American revue films such as "Broadway Melody" (1936), swing music and English-style clothing.

In Hanover they wore "Schniegels" – this is what they called themselves – dove-blue trousers, blue / white checked jacket, blue shoes with white stripes, white sole, light blue plain shirt, dark blue tie.

Their outlook on life was fundamentally different from the Hitler Youth’s Deutschtümelei: boys with hair often reaching to the collar (27 cm) and girls with also long, open hair, eyebrows drawn, lips dyed and fingernails varnished.

You met in the Lido at the Maschsee and heard records from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Duke Ellington on the portable gramophone. Checked a HJ patrol, there was an argument. Plates broke regularly.

What still exists today GOP, the Vienna Cafe on the corner of Bahnhofstrasse and Georgstrasse (today Hennes & Mauritz) and the dance halls in the triangle Georgstrasse, Karmarschstrasse and Ständehausstrasse showed "Swing dancing prohibited!" In the front door. They did not stick to this: Benny Goodman’s famous big band "Pennsylvania 5-6000" was e.g. Renamed to “Berlin 4711” and continued playing. Controlled a field patrol patrol continued until the check was over. (Eyewitness Günter Bode, City Archives Hanover)

In the Lutherschule 1942-1945 the German Swing Club with 200 records and its own newsletter (DSC courier). Luther students liked to end letters with "Swing-Heil".

Günter Bode founded a swing band as a student in 1938 "with 4 people from my middle school class 1, Meterstrasse" – today Otfried-Preußler School. It was played in a home at the horse tower. "For us, swing was the music of freedom, love". Photo Mario Bode

Broadway stars on a leash: display of the Palace Theater at Adolf-Hitler-Strasse 3 in the Hannoversche Anzeiger May 15, 1936

View from Georgstraße to the intersection Kamarschstr./Adolf-Hitler-Str. (Today Bahnhofstraße) to the corner house Wiener-Café (framed in red) – one of the large swing bars in the late 1930s. On the right, the dome of the Café Kröpcke. Photo: Werner Heine

In the Georgspalast GOP – "the best swing restaurant with the largest orchestras" (Günter Bode) – the Dutch orchestra played John Kristel Swing, a music that was considered by the National Socialist rulers "degenerate" was true, but the "put youthful enthusiasts in jazz frenzy". From the book "A club makes jazz, 1991"

"If you make the record player too loud, you will come to Moringen"

Reading time: 50 seconds
Because of their attraction to the youth, the Nazis’ appearance and enthusiasm for music seemed dangerous. Around 150 boys from the HJ patrol service, with the support of the SA, combed through the bars and “dark” quarters, because young people under the age of 18 were not allowed to “hang around” in public and had to be at home at 10 p.m. There were often brawls between Swing Heini and patrol duty. From 1938, the HJ strips were accompanied by members of the Secret State Police.

A group of 50 to 60 male and female swing fans – the "Schlangenhaus Guild"– met between 1941 and 1943 on the edge of the Eilenriede behind the zoo, where a row of semicircular benches were covered with a "meandering" frame.

15 – 16 year olds regularly held loud swing and dance parties.

The Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, instructed the police in 1942 to arrest Swing-Heinis "including supporting teachers" and to take her to the concentration camp. There, "everyone should first be beaten up, then drill and do hard work". Parents who allowed their children to join the swing youth should also be directed to concentration camps and their property should be confiscated. (Source: Lewis: the history of the Hitler Youth, p. 90)
Several raids in mid-1943 put an end to the snake house guild. The "ringleaders" of the Schniegels ran the risk of becoming infamous Moringen youth concentration camp to be admitted where they could be “raised” with work, solitary confinement, food deprivation and punishment. For girls from 14 years of age there was a risk of being instructed Girls concentration camp Uckermark in Northeast Brandenburg.

Knowing + understanding = applying

Reading time: 30 seconds

American dance music conquered the world in the 20s and 30s. Instead of waltz and polka, young couples danced Charleston, blues and swing – music that was largely determined by the rhythm of African-American musicians.
That did not fit into the worldview of the German-Nazis. Soon it was said in the dance halls: "Swing dancing prohibited!". The ban on opening oneself to new and international things did this for some of the urban youth

Opposite. As a silent protest against the perceived uniform appearance of Hitler Youth and BDM uniforms, the HJ service was skipped, wearing English clothes, let the hair grow and put on make-up as girl – although this was not without danger in view of HJ patrol services.
Your opinion: was this a real resistance to National Socialism? Or, from today’s perspective, a soothing “dance out of line” in the totalitarian NS state ?
What can civil disobedience do in society and politics??


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