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Hitler Youth : Growing up in Hitler's Shadow

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  3,213 ratings  ·  602 reviews
Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow, 2006 Newbery Medal Award winner by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. The darker side of humanity is revealed in this book for pre-teen children. Traces in detail how children in Nazi Germany were taken advantage of and did horrible things to please elders, and challenges readers to prevent this from happening again. A must have for any childrens lib ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published 2006 by Scholastic Non-fiction (first published April 1st 2005)
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I was not an easy adolescent to rear. Or maybe I was just typical. My teenage years definitely featured more than a few slammed doors and threats to never talk to my parents again, along with the occasional 'I wish xxx's parents were my parents.' Now just imagine if these types of disagreements ended with angst-ridden teens shouting "I wish Hitler were my father." But instead of a slammed door they go to school where they're learning eugenics, tell their 18 year old teacher, and then some Nazi s ...more
Full review at:

During World War II, Hitler controlled more than just the military; he controlled the entire country of Germany. Much of what this book explains are parts of the WWII history that is not taught in our schools and shows the true extent of the power that Hitler had over everyone.

The Hitler Youth began as a voluntary organization to support Hitler, but it quickly became a way for Hitler to control the youth. Soon the Hitler Youth was not volu
This chilling book offers its readers an unusual perspective. As the author states, it is not a book about Hitler himself, nor is it really about the millions of victims who were horrifically murdered under his regime. This book instead focuses on a generation of young men and women who were seduced by his false promises and who chose to follow and devote their hopes and energies to his movement, unwittingly playing a role in the unimaginable horrors that followed. The book is based on first-han ...more
Closing lines: Could another despot like Hitler rise to power on the shoulders of young people? Only young people today can answer that question. What are you willing to do to prevent such a shadow from falling over you?

Rating: 4.5

I read The Boy Who Dared and loved it. And, naturally, as this was a Newbery, I had to read this.

As you can tell from the excerpt above, this would be a great book for Holocaust study for middle-schoolers, but with discretion. The subject matter is handled quite well.
Lewis Weinstein
Frightening book. Shows how pervasive and persuasive were Hitler's successful efforts to attract young people to his Nazi movement.

Some of my notes from an earlier read ...

Each boy in the Hitler Youth had a Party Record Book in which his performance and progress were recorded. Boys who held exemplary Party Record Books were selected to attend elite schools established by the Nazis.

The Hitler Youth enjoyed the power they had over teachers and other authority figures. Dressed in full uniform, e
What a chilling book. It documents what can happen when youth are indoctrinated by evil men (or women) from a young age and how it can happen in any culture. The necessity for good people to guide youth in learning to choose good over evil and recognize it for what it is.

And yet it also caused me to look over our own society and wonder how many of those scenarios have already occurred. How many history textbooks have already rewritten? How many do not learn from the classics? How many accept oth
Not wholly satisfying in terms of depth and nuance, like all YA non-fiction I've read thus far. But still this book managed to shock me. And, raised on WWII movies and books, I am not easily shocked when it comes to Nazis.

Very sad to read about so deeply indoctrinated children, but then again, there is nothing particularly new about it. Young men seem to be the easiest to influence and they are the first to die in wars.
"What can happen to a people whose youth sacrifices everything in order to serve its greatest ideals?"

—Adolf Hitler, "Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow", P. 157

"By nature, human beings search for ways to make sense and meaning out of their lives and their world. One way that we make meaning is through the telling of our stories. Stories connect us, teach us, and warn us never to forget."

—"Hitler Youth", P. 162

From page one, Susan Campbell Bartoletti lays it out on the table that t
A chilling insight into the dark and maniacal machine that was Adolf Hitler's perspective of the ideal factory of German youth. Bittersweet, it was, to read of how innocent children transformed by choice into a brainwashed, like minded army, and by doing so, selling their soul to 'their Fuhrer' whom had been lying to them the whole time. The Nazis had created themselves an army by poisoning naive minds, so much to the point that they were willing to betray their loved ones to serve a promise of ...more
 (NS) Amie
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a captivating informational text that takes a look at the young people who joined the Hitler Youth Organization, as well as the young Germans who opposed it and the young Jewish people who it targeted. The book starts with the rise of Hitler as Chancellor of Germany and his promise to make Germany strong and successful again after its fall from World War I. He enticed children to join Hitler Youth by promising them excit ...more
I had heard about Hitler Youth but I never got a lot of details about that organization. I took a German film class in my undergraduate and we watched a movie called Sophie Scholl, so I knew quite a bit about her and the White Rose. I guess I never realized how the Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s speeches had totally and utterly brainwashed the children of Germany. It was astonishing and sad to see so many children willing to fight and die for a man that condoned the murder of Jews, gypsies, homose ...more
In her book Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow, Susan Campbell Bartoletti examines the organization that included more than seven million boys and girls and was instrumental in the growth of the Nazi Party. Bartoletti chronicles the lives of twelve adolescents who lived in Germany between 1932 and 1945. Some of these youth were attracted to Hitler’s promise of hope for the German people. Others were attracted to the sports and recreational activities available to the Hitler Youth. And o ...more
I really learned a lot from this book. I remember learning about World War II throughout my schooling, even at the college level. However, I never knew how much of an impact Hitler Youth had on the war. These children were brain washed to the point where they would even turn in their parents to the authorities for disagreeing with what Hitler said. I also had no idea that Hitler Youth were sent to the front lines to fight. These children were fighting for a cause that they were lied to about. Ma ...more
As someone who grew up when World War II was recent news rather than ancient history, who has lived in Germany, and has read quite a lot on World War II, Naziism and the Holocaust, I came to this book not expecting to learn much that was new. I read it as part of a scheme to read all the Newbery Award winners and honor books. Nine times out of ten, the Newbery Awards and Honors go to fiction, so I was also interested to see what kind of non-fiction was thought deserving of this honor.

Susan Camp
Astrid Yrigollen
This book contains many pictures and first person accounts of the children who were caught up in Hitler's chaos. From courageous ones who resisted with conviction & strength (some more then adults) to others who believed that salvation was going to come through Hitler. Starting from the time before Hitler came in to power, till after he so boldly claimed Germany Judenrein (Jewish Free)the stories from these young, impressionable children is captivating.Like a evil pied piper indoctrinating y ...more
High Plains Library District
I was interested in this topic but I didn't want to read a huge tome on the subject. This book is perfect because it is geared towards teens so it is shorter and easier to digest. Yet it is still chock full of details and history, which is what I craved.

I recently realized that I'm burned out on dystopian fiction. So I start this nonfiction book and, ironically, kept feeling like I was back inside yet another dystopian fiction world. Creepy really. I had to keep reminding myself I was reading a
We listened to this on our return drive. I was a little concerned that it would be too gruesome, too dark, too heavy for my little ones; but in fact they were riveted by the individual stories and how one person could lead an entire country to such brutality. We had some nice discussions both during and after listening to the book, about the nature of satan/evil - my 10 year old son was quick to recognize that Hitler started out all "parties and parades," offering outdoor and life skills to all ...more
I was interested in this topic but I didn't want to read a huge tome on the subject. This book is perfect because it is geared towards teens so it is shorter and easier to digest. Yet it is still chock full of details and history, which is what I craved.

I recently posted that I'm burned out on dystopian fiction. So, ironically, this book kept making me feel like I was back inside yet another dystopian fiction world. Creepy really. I had to keep reminding myself I was reading a historical nonfic
This book is about the youth of Germany who grew up under the beliefs of Hitler. It highlights different youth and their experiences. Some who believed Hitler, others who fought against what was being taught. Several boys highlighted are Mormons who never laid their beliefs aside, yet it highlights their struggles. A great new look of WWII.
At first glance at this book, I was skeptical on reading it. I did not want to read yet another book about Hitler, butas the author state on the first line of the book “This is not a book about Adolf Hitler, it is a book about the young people that followed Hitler". Although, I was very apprehensive at first,I found itthe bookto be very informative, and it gave me a different perspective to Hitler’s followers.

This book gives a different perspective on the history we have known about WWII, it de
This was a very well-written and researched book about growing up as a German under Hitler. Bartoletti described how the Hitler Youth began almost as a "scout troup" that all youths wanted to join, including Jewish youths. Then she described how Hitler used the youths and laws to force parents to bend to his will. The personal stories and accounts made this story worth reading. You definitely felt how some of these children were brainwashed and felt trapped by the world around him. There were al ...more
Kiera Burnett
Summary and Critique:
Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the story of an army of children, banded together to fight for the cause of National Socialism. This book takes an uncommon perspective on the rise of Hitler, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. Through the stories of twelve children, Bartoletti shares the draw to join Hitler Youth groups and how the role of these groups progressed. These accounts help a reader see how what started as a weekend camp
Carol Storm
Informative and engrossing, with chilling details on Hitler Youth cruelties and inspiring stories of resistance. Some great black and white photographs also.
Brenna Call
Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Scholastic - New York - 2005 - 176 pages

This nonfiction book chronicles the Nazi rise to and fall from power in Germany during the 1930s and 40s from the perspective of the massive number of young people who supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party any way that they could. From Nazi youth groups to mandatory service to the military the Nazi party depended on the young people of Germany to energize their party and help raise
Photina Haumschilt
Genre: Informational

Susan Bartoletti Campbell delves into World War II and the youth of the Third Reich. This is not about Hitler but the youth he recruited as soldiers, what the youth did for Hitler, and some that went against him. From a young age these youth went to special classes, were fed Nazi slogans and teachings, went on camping trips and hikes or worked in the fields together in the summer, and the top performers were taught military training. Those chosen for the You
"What can happen to a people whose youth sacrifices everything in order to serve its great ideals?" - Adolph Hitler, October 1932

4 CDs
4 hours, 27 minutes
Read by Kathrin Kana

Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Hitler Youth demonstrates how the Nazis separated children from the parents, their churches and their senses in an effort to make them loyal to the German state and Adolph Hitler.

Starting with the story of a member of the Hitler Youth who was killed in a bloody street fight with Communist youths,
Each year from 1926 to the end of the Second World War thousands of German boys and girls took the oath, “I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the Savior of our county, Adolf Hitler. I am willing to give up my life for him, so help me, God.” The mass ceremonies were always held on April 20th, Hitler’s birthday, as a present to the leader. At the height of its membership the Hitler Youth had over seven million members. To free themselves from the past, and the influence of their p ...more
"It would take years for many Hitler Youth to digest the truth about National Socialism: They had served a mass murderer and, in so doing, had contributed to the deaths of millions of people."


I generally avoid reading anything about WWII, the Holocaust, or Adolf Hitler because it makes me both incredibly sad and incredibly livid. I can't stand to look at pictures of the horrific conditions in the ghettos and concentration camps, and was therefore a bit hesitant to pick up this book. But, I a
Shannon Miranda
Informational Book Genre

This is the true story of the Hitler Youth Organizations (for both boys & girls) created by Adolph Hitler in Germany the 1930’s. This book exposes the cult-like brainwashed atmosphere, and the twisted die-hard nationalism that was a result. Although this is a non-fiction book, it is hard to wrap your head around what went on – almost hard to believe at times. It is scary to realize that parents lost their rights when it came to their children as far as
Carly Allen
Chilling History You Probably Didn't Learn in School: An eye opening and emotional read, this Sibert & Newberry Honor book is about the child Nazi’s of Germany and how they came to be part of the Nazi Party, some willingly and some forcefully. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for any grade under sixth grade as they probably don’t have a strong concept of what the Holocaust is even about, not to mention it’s a bit disturbing for their age level. This book would be best for seventh grader ...more
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Susan Campbell Bartoletti is an American writer of children's literature. She was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but eventually the family ended up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. Susan started as an English teacher and inspired many students before deciding to pursue writing in earnest. She sold her first short story in 1989. Three years later in 1992 she published her first pict ...more
More about Susan Campbell Bartoletti...
The Boy Who Dared A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 (Dear America) They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 Down the Rabbit Hole, Chicago, Illinois, 1871: The Diary of Pringle Rose (Dear America)

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“By nature, human beings search for ways to make sense and meaning out of their lives and their world. One way that we make meaning is through the telling of our stories. Stories connect us, teach us, and warn us never to forget.” 12 likes
“In the end, I felt hope. I realized that my soul was not permanently scarred after all. I was still a human being."

—Karl Schnibbe”
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