“A child is born with no state of mind,blind to the ways of mankind” I would never have imagined I would use the words of a 1980’s hip hop song in a blog relating to WWII. The words are from the 1982 Hip Hop hit “the Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. But the words are so true. When a child is born his or her brain is like a blank canvas, and is shaped and filled by the influence of the adults that surround them.
During WWII,as in any other war, all the children were victims,without exception.Of course the degree and severity on how they were victims had a significant difference. Some lost their lives,while others lost their innocence. Many of those who lost their innocence had to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, for they had been forced to do things no child should ever have to do.
The only ‘crime they committed was being born at the wrong time,in the wrong place and sometimes to the wrong parents.
Below are pictures of some the Children of WWII, some of these images may be distressing but I feel it is important to show them.
The Child soldier.
20 March 1945: Adolf Hitler decorates his last tranche of boy soldiers for fighting to the bitter end. Artur Axmann, leader of Hitler Youth, is behind Hitler; Otto Günsche is in background on left, then Hermann Fegelein in the center and Heinz Linge on the right.
U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Hart H. Spiegal tries to communicate with two Japanese child soldiers captured during the Battle of Okinawa. June 17, 1945.
A sixteen-year old German anti aircraft soldier of the Hitler Youth, Hans-Georg Henke, taken prisoner in the state of Hessen, Germany. He was a member of the Luftwaffe anti-air squad who burst into tears as his world crumbled around him. His father died in 1938 but when his mother died in 1944 leaving the family destitute, Hans-Georg had to find work in order to support the family. At 15 years of age he joined the Luftwaffe.
The displaced and evacuated children, they were also victims. Their uncomplicated lives suddenly became a turmoil they had in one way or another deal with. They suddenly had to grow up. Some would even find themselves in a different country or even continent.
circa 1943: Young boys swinging from a lamp post in the midst of rubble left by a city bombing raid. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
As the Red Army took control of East Prussia at the end of World War II, thousands of orphaned children were forced to flee the cities and enter the woods in search of food and shelter. They became known as wolf children because they traveled in packs and made regular night trips between Germany, Poland, and Lithuania to avoid Soviet detection.
During the Second World War New Zealand invited 800 Poles – 734 of them orphaned children – to take refuge in New Zealand for the duration of the war. They had made a harrowing journey from Poland through Russia and Iran, to reach New Zealand on 31 October 1944.
The Children of the Holocaust.
Child survivors dressed in clothes made from German uniforms. The children in the photo are wearing clothes made for them by the Americans out of German uniforms. As prisoners in the camp, they wore striped uniforms just like the other prisoners.
The photo below shows Josef Schleifstein, posing in his camp uniform, a year after he was liberated.
The children that often are disregarded as being war victims are the children of Nazi officials who were killed by their parents at the end of the war for fear of what the allies would do to them. I believe these children were victims too, for they didn’t ask for any pf this.
The Goebbels children.
Deputy Mayor Dr. jur. Ernst Kurt Lisso of Leipzig, his wife Renate Stephanie, in chair, and their daughter Regina Lisso after committing suicide by cyanide in the Leipzig New Town Hall to avoid capture by US troops. April 18, 1945.