In their efforts to achieve this result, Nazi elites began their indoctrination of Germanys youth almost from birth. Upon entrance into elementary school at age six, Heck was already beginning to feel its pressures It is no wonder that the Nazi elite chose to begin the assimilation process so early. Children at such a young age are far more susceptible to coercion and manipulation, especially in a school setting where teachers preach from a position of authority to children who are separated from the stabilizing force of their parents. The nature vs. urture argument is still up for ebate, but it must be nearly universally accepted that children are, as Heck states, “too immature to question the veracity of what they are being taught by their educators” . Children may question their teacher’s views once they are older, but at such a young age they are uniquely vulnerable. Emblazoned on the wall of his Gymnasium high school wall read the inscription, “the Jews are the traitors and our misfortune” . It is easy to see how such constant propaganda would lead Heck to a place where he would not have “even the slightest doubt that this was true”.
Not urprisingly, by the time he was sworn into the Hitler Youth at age 10, he had already been conditioned to believe the two basic tenets of the Nazi Creed: “belief in the innate superiority of the Germanic-Nordic race, and the conviction that total submission to the welfare state– personified by the F??hrer– was my first duty’ (Heck, 8). Looking back on his education under the Nazi Party, Heck developed a harsh resentment toward his teachers for abusing the power they were entrusted with.
He writes, “not only had they allowed themselves to be deceived, they had delivered us, heir children, into the cruel power of a new God”. By starting with the youngest, most malleable children, the Nazis were able to prepare Germanys youth for their indoctrination even before their entrance into the Hitler Youth. Reflecting on his time in the Hitler Youth, Alfons Heck writes, “l never once during the Hitler years thought of myself as anything but a decent, honorable young German, blessed with a glorious future”.
This blatant honesty permeates A Child of Hitler, and it is his willingness to candidly convey the inner thoughts of a child seduced by the Hitler Youth, as hocking and politically incorrect as those thoughts may be, that sets this book apart from most literature on the subject. The world should never tire of making amends for what happened during World War II, and there could never be enough written about the atrocities suffered at the hands of the Nazis, but the world needs to understand Alfons Heck’s experience of Nazi Germany as well. Tragically,” writes Heck, “now we are the other part of the Holocaust, the generation burdened with the enormity of Auschwitz. That is our life sentence, for we became the enthusiastic victims of our F??hrer” . By this, I do not believe he is comparing his suffering to the suffering of the millions of “subhumans” systematically exterminated by the Nazi party, nor is he writing to excuse his fanatical devotion to a murderous and repressive regime.
Instead I believe he is attempting to share with the world the intense pressures facing a young boy raised in the rhetoric of Nazi Germany, and the lasting burden that this has inflicted upon an entire generation. He begins by portraying the children of the Nazi Youth as humans first, and then progresses from indoctrinated an entire generation of children largely without their knowledge or onsent. That Heck considers himself Just a “decent, honorable young German” speaks to the extent and subtlety with which the Hitler Youth poisoned these children’s minds.
They are still responsible for their devotion, but to truly understand their decisions we must strive to better understand the depths of their indoctrination. Alfons Heck went threw something that I know I will never have to go threw. He was a young kid who was basically brainwashed to hate a certain kind of person. He thought what he was doing was great; he was there for his country and thought what he was doing was the right thing to do.
To only then realize that his so called great country actually Just killed six million Jews and other types of people to and that he was a part of it. I can though so what relate to what happen to Alfons Heck. Just like he was brainwashed by his family, teachers, and government I was to brainwash as a kid. As a young Jew I was always told to hate Muslims because of all the tension between us. I was told and I quote “a good Muslim is a dead one. ” So I understand that a very young age your elders who you think know from right and wrong can make you believe awful thing.