Published: Feb. 15, 2017

Kriegsbücherei der Deutschen Jugend, (Berlin: Steiniger-Verlage, 1939-1945)

Kriegsbücherei der Deutschen JugendThe Mazal collection includes 15 of the 156 weekly editions of this Nazi-era children’s book series published throughout the war years. The series is called: Kriegsbücherei der Deutschen Jugend, or “War Library of the German Youth.” These children’s books about World War II were commissioned by Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach for the Hitler Youth. Their purpose was to inspire children with tales of the ongoing war, put them into the minds of the soldiers, build identity, glorify sacrifice, and inspire them to join the military. They fall under a genre of children’s writing called ‘Heftroman’, or dime store novels. They are small, durable, staple-bound, and meant to fit inside a pocket. Every book in this set follows an actual event from World War II and has a brightly illustrated cover glorifying the German military cause. Each story deals with a different branch of the military, and representatives from each branch supported this series, providing both content and funding. Both the stories and the covers would make fascinating subjects for studies on Nazi propaganda, the Hitler Youth, Nazi material and visual culture, Nazi views of World War II, and German literature, among others.