Volks-Deutsche Jungen in the USA

Published by admin on Thu, 2014-08-07 18:27

This film from 1937 is a joy to watch as we see German-American boys engage in the same type of camping life and sport activities as their ethnic cousins enjoyed in the German homeland. What an extraordinary opportunity this camp experience provided them for discovering and demonstrating their natural gifts of industriousness, teamwork, discipline, comradeship, health and fitness ... and just plain fun. I like it so much I just had to archive it here.  ~CY

From the United States National Archives Blog ...

In Volks-Deutsche Jungen in U.S.A. (German Youth in the U.S.A) you’ll see what first appears to be an unremarkable story of a boys’ summer camp. The film starts with the camp under construction and excited children piling onto chartered buses to make the journey from New York City to Windham, New York in the summer of 1937. The boys pitch tents, unload crates of baked beans, and perform physical fitness drills. If you pay close attention, you might notice that some of the boys are wearing shorts bearing the single lightning bolt insignia that marked the younger contingent of the Hitler Youth, but it’s not until the “Flaggenappell” (flag roll call) at 13:47 that the affiliation becomes clear.

The camp the boys and young men in this film attended was operated by the Deutsche-Amerikanische Berufsgemeinschaft (DAB), more commonly known as the German-American Vocational League or the German-American Bund. The DAB, which came to include more than 70 local chapters, was founded in 1936 to promote Germany.

These films were the property of an independent organization. The sequence of events that led to the film coming to the Motion Picture Preservation Lab began when the U.S. government searched the DAB’s national headquarters on January 5th 1942 [almost immediately following the state of war between the U.S. and Germany -cy]. Under Federal Grand Jury Subpoena, agents seized scores of 16mm films and sound recordings that documented the activities of the DAB. The audio-visual material comprised what was labeled “EXHIBIT 147” in the case against the DAB’s un-American activities. These films and sound recordings are held at the National Archives as records of that investigation. An archivist discovered them in the textual holdings in the late 1980s and transferred to the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch at that time.


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