The stories of the young HJ soldiers congratulated by the fuhrer in the closing days of world war II
Führer und Reichskanzler (“Leader and Reich Chancellor”) Adolf Hitler touches the face of Wilhelm “Willi” Hubner a Hitlerjugend during an awards ceremony behind the Reich Chancellery on March 20, 1945.
This view was taken from “Die Deutsche Wochenschau” Nummer 755 (“The German Weekly Review” Number 755), which was the last newsreel circulated to non-occupied Germany in March 1945.
To Hubner’s left is Alfred Czech. To his right, two persons down, is Erwin Scheidewig.
Reichjugendfuhrer “Reich Youth Leader”) Artur Axmann had just presented twenty Hitler Youth with the Eisernes Kreuz (“Iron Cross”) Second Class.
Hubner was first decorated by Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph P. Goebbels in Lauban, a German city retaken by the Nazis on March 6, 1945.
Hubner was a messenger attached to the Fuhrer-Grenadier-Division and was decorated for bravery under fire in the city square on March 9.
Hubner was flown to Berlin, given a new uniform, and after waiting a short time, was redecorated by Axmann. Hitler never actually awarded the medals.
The scene was photographed and Hubner was compelled to tell his story for the cameras. Hubner told his story, probably heavily edited, for the cameras:
“When the Russians were closing in on Lauban, I reported for voluntary duty as a messenger to the combat commander. My job was to take dispatches to the individual command posts. I also frequently took provisions and panzerfausts (literally "tank fists” a disposable anti-tank weapon) up to the front line under fire.I carried the panzerfausts in a wheel barrow under enemy fire.“
The son of a farmer in Goldenau, Silesia, Czech made two trips under fire with his father’s horse cart rescue wounded German soldiers. He first brought outeight, then four soldiers. The next day, while hiding in their home, a General ordered Czech to fly to Berlin to meet Hitler. Arriving in Berlin, Czech could hear the Soviet artillery outside the city, which was not yet in range.
Hubner and Czech and eighteen others were given a large breakfast and put on clean uniforms. They lined up outside the Chancellery’s back wall in the garden. While they waited for Hitler, Axmann told them to be at ease and to not greet the Fuhrer with the Nazi salute. Axmann pinned the Iron Crosses on the Hitler Youth.
Czech remembered his conversation with Hitler as "So you are the youngest of all? Weren’t you afraid when you rescued the soldiers?”. Czech responded “No, my Führer!”
Decades later, Czech stated “"Even at [age] twelve, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler,” After the ceremony, the Hitler Youth lunched with Hitler in the Führerbunker, and told him their combat stories.
Hitler was especially pleased with Hubner’s story, as it reminded him of his own time as a messenger during World War I. The Hitler Youth were given one wish before returning to combat; Czech asked for and received an accordion. He could not return to Goldenau; the Red Army had occupied it.
He appeared with Erwin Scheideweg in a Netherlands Television documentary called “Die Hitlerjugend” in 1973. Nothing further is known about Erwin Scheideweg.
Armin Lehmann often said to be standing with Hubner and Czech, wasn’t present on March 20, 1945, but was decorated on Hitler’s birthday on April 20, 1945 in an undocumented ceremony outside the Fuhrerbunker in the Chancellery garden.
Hubner received his Iron Cross and was congratulated by Goebbels in Lauban on March 9, 1945
He joined his comrades as they received their Iron crosses from Axmann then shortly after, congratulated by the fuhrer all in Berlin on March 20, 1945
On this day in 1945, as Germany’s defeat in the Second World War became imminent, Adolf Hitler married his lover Eva Braun. Hitler’s National Socialist Party, more commonly referred to as Nazis, came to power in 1933 with Hitler as Chancellor. He immediately set about consolidating his power and establishing a dictatorship in Germany, making himself Führer. An ardent nationalist, Hitler targetted groups he considered a threat to Germany, including Jews, communists, gypsies, homosexuals and the disabled. His regime committed atrocities on an unprecedented scale; the Holocaust saw the deaths of six million Jews and World War Two, which Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy precipitated, was the most destructive war in history. Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun predated his rise to power, but they never married as Hitler feared it would damage his image. Their relationship was thus kept quiet, but was nonetheless apparently affectionate. At the end of the war, as the Allied forces moved on Berlin and defeat seemed all but certain, Hitler (along with some of his advisers and Braun herself) relocated to the Führerbunker. In the early hours of the morning on April 29th 1945 the pair got married in a small civil ceremony in the bunker, the culmination of a relationship that had lasted over ten years. The newlyweds hosted a modest wedding breakfast, attended by the bunker’s fellow residents such as Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and promptly made their wills. The next day, April 30th 1945, the couple committed suicide together, with Braun ingesting a cyanide capsule and Hitler shooting himself. In one fell swoop their love affair was over, as was Hitler’s brutal dictatorship and the war that had plagued Europe since 1939.
“From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere even unto death. I live only for your love” - Eva Braun in a letter to Hitler, after the July 1944 attempt on his life