Swing Kids – The Swing Kids (German: Swingjugend) were a group of jazz and swing dance fans in Germany in the 1930s, primarily in the port city of Hamburg and Berlin. They were 14 to 21-year-old boys and girls. They admired the British and American youth culture, defining themselves with swing music as opposed to the National-Socialist fashions and behaviours, especially those of the Hitler Youth (German: Hitlerjugend).
Their dress consisted of long, often checked English sports jackets, shoes with thick light crepe soles, showy scarves, Anthony Eden hats, an umbrella on the arm whatever the weather, and, as an insignia, a dress-shirt button worn in the buttonhole, with a jeweled stone. The girls too favored a long overflowing hair style. Their eyebrows were penciled, they wore lipstick and their nails were lacquered.
The Swingjugend rejected the Nazi state, its ideology and uniformity, its militarism, the ‘Fhrer principle’ and the conformity of the Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community). They rebelled against all this restriction of personal freedoms with jazz and swing, which stood for a love of life, self-determination, non-conformism, freedom, independence, liberalism, and internationalism.
On 18 August 1941, in a brutal police operation, over 300 Swingjugend were arrested. The measures against them ranged from cutting their hair and sending them back to school under close monitoring, to the deportation of the leaders to concentration camps. The boys went to the Moringen concentration camp while the girls were sent to Ravensbruck. This mass arrest encouraged the youth to further their political consciousness and opposition to National Socialism. They started to distribute anti-fascist propaganda. In January 1943, Gnter Discher, as one of the ringleaders of the Swing Kids, was deported to the youth concentration camp of Moringen.
This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 30 MAY 2017.