April 1945: A young German boy poses in a miniature Nazi uniform in the garden of his home in a town just north of Stuttgart. Although this uniform is somewhat similar to those worn by "Pimpfe" ("Wolf-cubs" or the equivalent of Cub Scouts) of the Deutsches Jungvolk (the junior branch of the Hitler Youth, for boys aged 10 - 14), it differs in several key respects; it is probably simply a child-sized uniform made by enthusiastic Nazi parents for wear by their son.

While it was rare for boys this young to actually take part in combat, their older brothers in the Hitler Youth -- aged 15 and up -- often fought either as members of the Volksturm (militia), as members of antiaircraft units, or even special antitank rocket launcher battalions. In any case, a paramilitary uniform such as this could easily be mistaken for the real thing at combat ranges, so the wear of such apparel often subjected boys such as this to the same dangers as their older brothers or fathers in the Wehrmacht.

Photo contributed by Bob Tessmer, I/397th Infantry Regiment.

Back