Artur Axmann (18 February 1913 – 24 October 1996) was the German Nazi national leader (Reichsjugendführer) of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) from 1940 to the war's end in 1945. He was the last living Nazi with a rank equivalent to Reichsführer.
8 August 1940 – May 1945
|Appointed by||Adolf Hitler|
|Preceded by||Baldur von Schirach|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
|Born||18 February 1913|
Hagen, Province of Westphalia, German Empire
|Died||24 October 1996 (aged 83)|
|Political party||Nazi Party (NSDAP)|
Axmann was born in Hagen, Westphalia, the son of an insurance clerk. In 1916, his family moved to Berlin-Wedding, where his father died two years later. Young Axmann was a good student and received a scholarship to attend secondary school. He joined the Hitler Youth in November 1928, after he heard Nazi Gauleiter Joseph Goebbels speaking, and became leader of the local cell in the Wedding district. He also joined the National Socialist Schoolchildren's League, where he distinguished himself as an orator.
In September 1931, Axmann joined the Nazi Party and the next year he was called to the NSDAP Reichsjugendführung to carry out a reorganisation of Hitler Youth factory and vocational school cells. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, he rose to a regional leader and became Chief of the Social Office of the Reich Youth Leadership.
Axmann directed the Hitler Youth in state vocational training and succeeded in raising the status of Hitler Youth agricultural work. In November 1934, he was appointed Hitler Youth leader of Berlin and from 1936 presided at the annual Reichsberufswettkampf competitions. On 30 January 1939 he was awarded the Golden Party Badge. Since October 1941, Axmann became a member of the Reichstag constituency of East Prussia.
After World War II began, Axmann was on active service on the Western Front until May 1940. On 1 May 1940, he was appointed deputy to Nazi Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach, whom he succeeded three months later on 8 August 1940. As a member of the Wehrmacht 23rd Infantry Division, he was severely wounded on the Eastern Front in 1941, losing his right arm.
In early 1943, Axmann proposed the formation of the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend to Heinrich Himmler, with servicemen drawn from the Hitler Youth. Hitler approved the plan for the combat division to be made up of Hitler Youth members born in 1926. Thereafter, recruitment and training began. In the last weeks of the war in Europe, Axmann commanded units of the Hitler Youth, which had been incorporated into the Home Guard (Volkssturm). His units consisted mostly of children and adolescents. They fought in the Battle of Seelow Heights and the Battle in Berlin.
During Hitler's last days in Berlin, Axmann was among those present in the Führerbunker. During that time it was announced in the German Press that Axmann had been awarded the German Order, the highest decoration that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual for his services to the Reich. He and one other recipient, Konstantin Hierl, were the only holders of the award to survive the war and its consequences. All other recipients were either awarded it posthumously, or were killed during the war or its aftermath.
On 30 April 1945, just a few hours before committing suicide, Hitler signed the order to allow a breakout. According to a report made to his Soviet captors by Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Rattenhuber, the head of Hitler's bodyguard, Axmann took the Walther PP pistol that had been removed from Hitler's sitting room in the Fuehrerbunker by Heinz Linge, Hitler's valet, which Hitler had used to commit suicide; saying that he would "hide it for better times".
On 1 May, Axmann left the Führerbunker as part of a breakout group that included Martin Bormann, Werner Naumann and SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger. Attempting to break out of the Soviet encirclement, their group managed to cross the River Spree at the Weidendammer Bridge.
Leaving the rest of their group, Bormann, Stumpfegger, and Axmann walked along railway tracks to Lehrter railway station. Bormann and Stumpfegger followed the railway tracks towards Stettiner station. Axmann decided to go in the opposite direction of his two companions. When he encountered a Red Army patrol, Axmann doubled back. He saw two bodies, which he later identified as Bormann and Stumpfegger, on the Invalidenstraße bridge near the railway switching yard (Lehrter Bahnhof); the moonlight clearly illuminating their faces. He did not have time to check the bodies thoroughly, so he did not know how they died. His statements were confirmed by the discovery of Bormann's and Stumpfegger's mortal remains in 1972.
Axmann avoided capture by Soviet troops and lived under the alias of "Erich Siewert" for several months. In December 1945, Axmann was arrested in Lübeck when a Nazi underground movement which he had been organising was uncovered by a U.S. Army counterintelligence operation.
In May 1949, a Nuremberg denazification court sentenced Axmann to a prison sentence of three years and three months as a 'major offender'. He was not found guilty of war crimes. On 19 August 1958, a West Berlin court fined the former Hitler Youth leader 35,000 marks (approximately £3,000, or $8,300 USD) (equivalent to €74,527 in 2009), about half the value of his property in Berlin. The court found him guilty of indoctrinating German youth with National Socialism until the end of the war in Europe, but concluded he was not guilty of war crimes.
After his release from custody, Axmann worked as a businessman with varying success. From 1971 he left Germany for a number of years, living on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Axmann returned to Berlin in 1976, where he died on 24 October 1996, aged 83. His cause of death and details of his surviving family members were not disclosed.
Axmann is a German surname. People bearing this surname are or were:
Artur Axmann (1913–1996), leader of the Hitler Youth
Elisabeth Axmann (born 1926), Romanian writer
Heike Axmann (born 1968), German handball player
Viktor Axmann (1878–1946), a pseudonym of Vladoje Aksmanović, Croatian architectThe variant form of this surname is Axman.
Miloš Axman (born 1926), Czech politicianBaldur von Schirach
Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974) was a Nazi German politician who is best known for his role as the Nazi Party national youth leader and head of the Hitler Youth from 1931 to 1940. He later served as Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna. After World War II, he was convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison.Eidgenössische Sammlung
Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.Faith and Beauty Society
The BDM-Werk Glaube und Schönheit (German for BDM Faith and Beauty Society) was founded in 1938 to serve as a tie-in between the work of the League of German Girls (BDM) and that of the National Socialist Women's League. Membership was voluntary and open to girls aged 17 to 21.German Order (distinction)
The German Order (German: Deutscher Orden) was the highest award that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual for his services to the "state and party". It was designed by Benno von Arent. Adolf Hitler awarded the first such order posthumously to Reichsminister Fritz Todt during Todt's funeral in February 1942. A second posthumous award of the German Order was given to SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich at his funeral in June that year. Cynics called the award the "dead hero order" as it was almost always awarded posthumously. The only two recipients who received the German Order and survived the war were Konstantin Hierl and Arthur Axmann.Government of Nazi Germany
The Government of Nazi Germany was a dictatorship run according to the Führerprinzip. As the successor to the government of the Weimar Republic, it inherited the government structure and institutions of the previous state. Although the Weimar Constitution technically remained in effect until Germany's surrender in 1945, there were no actual restraints on the exercise of state power. In addition to the already extant government of the Weimar Republic, the Nazi leadership created a large number of different organizations for the purpose of helping them govern and remain in power. They rearmed and strengthened the military, set up an extensive state security apparatus and created their own personal party army, which in 1940 became known as the Waffen-SS.Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Weidling (2 November 1891 – 17 November 1955) was a German general during World War II. He was the last commander of the Berlin Defence Area during the Battle of Berlin, and led the defence of the city against Soviet forces, finally surrendering just before the end of World War II in Europe.Hirden
Hirden (the hird) was a uniformed paramilitary organisation during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, modelled the same way as the German Sturmabteilungen.Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth (German: Hitlerjugend , often abbreviated as HJ in German) was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. Its origins dated back to 1922 and it received the name Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend ("Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth") in July 1926. From 1933 until 1945, it was the sole official youth organisation in Germany and was partially a paramilitary organisation; it was composed of the Hitler Youth proper for male youths aged 14 to 18, the German Youngsters in the Hitler Youth (Deutsches Jungvolk in der Hitler Jugend or "DJ", also "DJV") for younger boys aged 10 to 14, and the League of German Girls (Bund Deutsche Mädel or "BDM").
With the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, the organisation de facto ceased to exist. On 10 October 1945, the Hitler Youth and its subordinate units were outlawed by the Allied Control Council along with other Nazi Party organisations. Under Section 86 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hitler Youth is an "unconstitutional organisation" and the distribution or public use of its symbols, except for educational or research purposes, is illegal.Jungmädelbund
The Jungmädelbund (German for "Young Girls' League") was the section of the Hitler Youth for girls between the ages of 10 and 14.
It was called the Jungmädelbund in German, and commonly abbreviated in period and contemporary historical writings as JM. Since this was a girls' organization, it fell under the League of German Girls (BDM), which was led by the BDM-Reichsreferentin (National Speaker of the BDM), who reported to the overall head of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach (who was later succeeded by Artur Axmann).Kurt Petter
Kurt Petter was a German physician, youth leader and educational administrator.
Petter was born in 1909, the son of Bernhard and Marie Petter. He studied medicine at the University of Würzburg, University of Bonn and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. During his final exam period he was pediatrician to the Hitler Youth in Jena.He was appointed Hitler Youth area leader for Weimar region in 1933. In 1939 he was appointed head of the Reichsführerschule in Potsdam. In January 1937 he served as an inspector-general of the Adolf Hitler Schools with the rank of Gebietsführer. On 20 April 1942 he was promoted to Obergebietsführer and served as Deputy to Artur Axmann and as head of the Adolf Hitler Schools. From February to May 1945, he was acting Stabsführer of the Hitler Youth following the death of Helmut Möckel.He was also a senior physician advising on physical and nutritional requirements for former Hiter Youth joining the German Army. During April and May 1945 he served as Regimental Medical Officer to the 96th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 38th SS Division Nibelungen of the Waffen-SS.Petter was interned after the war and upon his release moved to Sweden. He married Carin Lennman (1912-1989), daughter of Rear-Admiral Fredrik Lennman of the Royal Swedish Navy. He practised medicine until his death in 1969 and is buried in Nättraby.Liechtenstein Homeland Service
Liechtenstein Homeland Service (German: Liechtensteiner Heimatdienst, LHD) was a political party in Liechtenstein that advocated corporate statism and the abolition of party politics.Established in the autumn of 1933, the party's positions began to radicalize and move toward National Socialist ideas within a few months of existence. By December 1933, this radicalization caused some members (such as co-founder Eugen Schafhauser) to abandon the party.LHD merged with the Christian-Social People's Party (VP) in 1936 to form the Patriotic Union (VU).National Union (Switzerland)
The National Union (French: Union Nationale) was a French-speaking fascist political party in Switzerland between 1932 and 1939.
The Union was formed in Geneva in 1932 by Georges Oltramare, a lawyer and writer. Noted for his anti-Semitic writing, Oltramare founded the Order Politique Nationale in 1931 but merged it with the Union de Défense Economique the following year to form the National Union. The group continued under Oltramare's leadership until 1940 when he moved to Paris in order to co-operate more closely with the Nazis. Oltramare spent four years as a member of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland representing the National Union.The Union became notorious for a demonstration in Geneva on November 9, 1932 when their march to the city's Salle Communale was counterdemonstrated by the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. In the resulting trouble the Swiss army opened fire on the Socialists resulting in 13 deaths.Nationale Jeugdstorm
The Nationale Jeugdstorm (English: National Youth Storm; NJS) was a Dutch youth movement that existed from 1934 to 1945, organized as the Dutch equivalent of the German Hitlerjugend and as a Nazi counterpart of Scouting Nederland.Reichsjugendführer
Reichsjugendführer ("National Youth Leader") was the highest paramilitary rank of the Hitler Youth. In 1931, Hitler appointed Baldur von Schirach as the first Reich Youth Leader. In 1933, all youth organizations were brought under Schirach's control. Artur Axmann succeeded Schirach as national leader of the Hitler Youth on 8 August 1940.SS-Junker Schools
SS-Junker Schools (German SS-Junkerschulen) were leadership training facilities for SS-Junkers, officer candidates of the Schutzstaffel (SS). The term Junkerschulen was introduced by Nazi Germany in 1937, although the first facilities were established at Bad Tölz and Braunschweig in 1934 and 1935. Additional schools were founded at Klagenfurt and Posen-Treskau in 1943, and Prague in 1944. Unlike the Wehrmacht's "war schools", admission to the SS-Junker Schools did not require a secondary diploma. Training at these schools provided the groundwork for employment with the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; security police), the Sicherheitsdienst (SD; security service), and later for the Waffen-SS. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler intended for these schools to mold cadets for future service in the officer ranks of the SS.SS Education Office
The SS Education Office (SS-Schulungsamt) was one of the Nazi organizations responsible for the ideological indoctrination of members of the SS. The office operated initially under the jurisdiction of the Reich Race and Settlement Office (RuSHA) but was later subordinated to the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt).The Immortals (neo-Nazis)
The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.Werner Naumann
Werner Naumann (16 June 1909 – 25 October 1982) was State Secretary in Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the Nazi Germany era. He was appointed head of the Propaganda Ministry by Führer Adolf Hitler in his last will and testament after Goebbels was promoted to Reichskanzler. Naumann was present in the Führerbunker in Berlin in late April 1945.
Final occupants of the Führerbunker by date of departure (1945)
|Still present on 2 May|