Showing posts with label Wandervogel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wandervogel. Show all posts

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Remembering the Wandervogel

The Fashionable Rent Boy Gangs That Terrorized the Nazis

by Jon Savage, from Vice Magazine.

Edelweiss Pirates
You thought that youth culture began after the Second World War, but it didn’t. In fact, the story goes back to the late 19th century, when urban gangs in American and Northern Europe began to attract outraged press attention through their behavior and dress: the Hooligans in London, the Apaches in Paris, the Scuttlers in Manchester, and the Hudson Dusters in Manhattan...

After the First World War, the Wandervogel split into many different groups and factions, ranging from the proto-hippies of the Ascona commune to the proto-fascist White Knights...

The Nazi regime had been at its weakest in the German industrial heartland, the Rhine-Ruhr region, and in the early war years neighborhood gangs in those big cites began to form with the express intention of avoiding Hitler Youth service. They were given the generic name of Edelweiss Pirates—like the Ring gangs, they had taken edelweiss badges as their insignias—and had fabulous names like the Shambeko Band (Düsseldorf) or the Navajos (Cologne)...

Inevitably, the Edelweiss Pirates came into conflict with the Hitler Youth, and when they did, they would clobber them. In 1941, a youth worker noted that “they are everywhere. There are more of them than there are Hitler Youth. And they all know each other, they stick close together. They beat up the patrols, because there are so many of them. They never take no for an answer.”

Read On....

See also 1939-1945: The Edelweiss Pirates at

We march by banks of Ruhr and Rhine / And smash the Hitler Youth in twain / Our song is freedom, love and life / We’re the Pirates of the Edelweiss.