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Artur Axmann (February 18, 1913 – October 24, 1996), head of the Hitlerjugend from 1940 to 1945. He was one of the last survivors of the 3rd German Reich and one of the last witnesses of the questioned death of Martin Bormann in Berlin.
He was born in Hagen (Germany) on February 18, 1913. He was the youngest of five brothers, in a bourgeois family of Westphalia. In 1916, when Arthur was 3 years old, the family moved to Berlin, where his father worked as an employee in an insurance company, until his death in 1918. The mother had to arrange alone to raise her large family .
Artur went to school in 1919 and got outstanding marks. In 1922 he received a scholarship to the secondary school. In 1928 he heard a speech by Goebbels and was fascinated by everything that was offered and promised by National Socialism to young Germans. At the age of 15 he filled his application for admission to the Schülerbund of the Hitler Youth, of which he was a member until finishing high school in 1931.
Trajectory in the Hitlerjugend and in the Party
Between 1929 and 1930, he reached important positions in the NS-Schülerbund, but a year later he was forced to resign to enter the University of Berlin, where he was enrolled in two simultaneous courses: Economics and Law.
A year later, his mother and older brother lose their jobs and Artur is forced to abandon his studies and help the family in his maintenance. After getting a job, he re-enrolled in the NSDAP. As he already had experience in leadership of young students, he managed to be assigned in the Reichsleitung of the Hitler Youth, a position where he spent a good time, without major complications.
In 1932, he was named Gebietsführer and leader of Soziales Amt der Reichsjugendführung which was the social welfare branch of the Hitler Youth. He fulfilled all his tasks with the approval of his leaders, who in recognition of his dedication to the Party, the following year he was assigned to occupy an important position as head of the Hitler Youth in Berlin. By then, the only thing that kept him away from the highest position in the organization was Baldur von Schirach, the highest authority of the Hitler Youth. However, Axmann was always ready to assist Schirach in everything that the leader could not handle, despite not being his assistant.
At the start of World War II, Artur Axmann volunteered for the Wehrmacht, but shortly after he was removed from service at the front. That year of 1940, Artur Axmann was called to replace Baldur von Schirach, assuming the undisputed leadership of the Hitler Youth. His first decision to take office was to militarize the HJ and transfer the older youth to the Wehrmacht and those more prominent to the Waffen SS.
During the invasion of Russia, Axmann was on the Eastern Front, fighting the Russians, but he was seriously wounded and as a result of the wounds, he had to completely amputate his right arm. As of that moment, Hitler prohibited that Axmann returned to the front, separating it of the active service in any activity before the enemy. His mission was to dedicate himself full-time to the Hitler Youth.
End of the war
When the end came in Hitler’s bunker in 1945, Axmann was able to escape as soon as the Führer made the decision to commit suicide. Following the orders of General Mohnke, in turn he managed to leave the bunker with Hitler’s private secretary, Bormann and the Führer’s personal physician, Stumpfegger. The subsequent testimony of Axmann – witness of the death of both when they were on a Tiger tank, which was hit by a Russian howitzer, getting fired and being seriously injured in the Invalidenstraße, at about 01:30 to 02:30 h It was corroborated 27 years later when the bodies of both were found during the works that were carried out in that street in 1972.
Axmann managed to outwit his capture after the war by masking himself under a false identity.
His life after the war
Axmann managed to hide in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where he tried to lead a less attractive civilian life by the name of Erich Siewert. Artur Axmann was officially declared dead. However, half a year later he contacted other former Hitler Youth leaders who were being watched by the Allied secret services and captured. After extensive interrogation, he was released in 1946, but a year later he was arrested again and interrogated again. In 1949, he was tried and sentenced to 3 years and 3 months of civil works, which he fulfilled. Then he got a job trying to go unnoticed, but in 1958 he was arrested again, tried and sentenced to pay 35,000 marks.
In 1970, he traveled to Spain and built a tourist center in Gran Canaria. Then he began to write his memoirs, which were published on cassette with the title of Schicksalsjahre der Hitlerjugend (Crucial years of the Hitler Youth) and in 1995 they were printed with the title Das kann doch nicht das Ende sein (This can not be the final). The following year, 1996, Artur Axmann died in Berlin.
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