Your Country Service
November 30, 2006

Posted by BDM Historian

The following text is a direct translation of a pamphlet given to parents of children who were required to fulfill their country service year. This is a fairly quick translation, so please forgive any typos or awkward sentence structure.

The Country Service Year

The Country Service Year is a state-run educational institution. It is under the control of the Reichsminister of Science, Education, and Culture.

The Country Service Year is meant to educate specially selected boys and girls to become responsible young Germans, who are physically and mentally ready and willing to serve their people in their work and any place they are needed. Conscription for Country Service is an honor.

Who is conscripted to the Country Service?

"Participation in the Country Service Year is required of all children who have left school after finishing their minimum educational requirement, and who are conscripted to the County Service." (Paragraph 1 of the Prussian Country Service Year Law, 29 March 1934). The Country Service Year camps are places of strict physical, intellectual, and moral education, and not rest homes for frail or only limited suitable youths. Therefore, only those boys and girls who have proven in school and in their Hitler Youth service that they posses a dependable character, good intellectual abilities, and the physical ability to withstands the rigors of camp life, are chosen for the Country Service Year.

Accomodation of the Boys and Girls

On average, 60 Country Service conscripts are quartered in one camp. The Country Service camps consist of fixed buildings, former farm houses, farms, and similar structures. The regulations put forth by the Reich's Ministry of Education assure healthy accommodations, immaculate care, and constant medical supervision. The Country Service Camps fall under the control of the district presidents.

What are the Boys and Girls taught during the Country Service Year?

The educational plan of the Country Service Year includes:

- Physical education
for the boys: premilitary education, athletics, swimming, boxing, etc.
for the girls: gymnastics, athletics, swimming, games, and dance.

- Medical service.

- Musical education: singing, musik, theater

- National political education

- Practical and pre-professional education
for the boys: crafts, work at camp, in the garden, on the farm
for the boys: kitchen work, house work, laundry, sewing and mending, child care, farm work

The basis of this versatile education is the age appropriate community life at camp.

The Country Service Year and Parental Homes

The Country Service leaders will keep close contact with the parents of the boys and girls through personal letter exchanges and newsletters. Visits from individual parents are discouraged, based on reasons of social justice and with respect to camp life. If possible, an Open Doors event will be held for all parents whose children are at camp. The boys and girls will not be given vacation during the Country Service Year. Special requests by the parents are to be directed to the district official in whose area the camp is situated.

Career Choice and Vocational Training

The boys and girls participating in the Country Service Year will start their vocational training later than youths of equal age. Research shows that this isn't a disadvantage. The physical benefits, experience of real comradeship, the discipline and independence needed for careful work, and the readiness to work for the community, are a lasting benefit and help ready them for any choice of career. The varied education during the Country Service often brings out dormant talents and gives boys and girls an insight into different careers. Some boys and girls are only able to find their right career choices through the adventures and experiences during their Country Service Year.

The time spent in the Country Service Year counts fully toward an agricultural education or a householding education, which build the basis for any agricultural careers.

The Country Service Year counts as six months of the required Service Year for all girls. The fulfilment of the second six months of the Service Year can be pushed back until after a girl has finished vocational training. Vocational schools, as well as the vocational training in the child care and nursing fields prefer Country Service Year girls.

The Chamber of Trade as well as the Chambers of Industry and Commerce are to pay special attention to the former Country Service boys and girls during their job training. Competent Country Service boys and girls who prove themselves in their apprenticeships in trade, industry, or commerce, may be admitted to an early test date for their graduation from apprenticeship. (Shortening of the apprenticeship of up to 6 months.)

Former Country Service boys have been admitted to the aeronautical engineering schools.

In addition, the Country Service Year affords boys and girls who have the proper talent and interest, the following opportunities:

1. for boys: admission to a national political school
2. for boys and girls: admission to a teachers' college, toward which the Country Service Year counts as education (4 years of training)
3. for boys: admission as a teacher candidate for the Country Service. Training at the National Leadership School - Counry Service, after finishing vocational training. After several years of service as a Country Service Year teacher, possibility to further education to become a school teacher.
4. For girls: admission to the national career education field for Country Service teachers (4 years of training). After several years of service as a Country Service teacher, possibility to further education to become a school teacher.

Conscription for the Country Service Year is done through the head of the Selection Committee of the Country Service, who is posted by the district president.

Selection of the Country Service conscripts is done by the school in collaboration with the Hitler Youth, the public health officer, etc. Further information can be requested from the school principal.

The Country Service Year lasts from April until December with no vacation time.

The Country Service conscripts receive an allowance of 0.05 Reichsmark a day.

Clothing and Equipment to Bring


1. Required kit:
1 pair HJ summer trousers
1 HJ skirt with neckerchief, leather knot, and armband
1 HJ belt with belt buckle and cross-brace
1 pair sturdy hiking boots (lace-up boots)
1 pair schoes or work boots (as alternative)
3 pairs uniform socks (preferably grey)
2 each undershirts and short underpants
2 night shirts or pairs of pajamas
1 wool jacket to be worn underneath (or sweat suit)
1 pair sports pants (preferably black)
1 pair swim trunks (preferably black)
ample amount of handkerchiefs
1 pair sturdy leather sports shoes (preferably lace-ups)
writing kit (2 blotters, 1 notebook, 2 pencils, eraser, pen holder with pen or fountain pen)
sewing kit (black and white thread, darning cotton in the color of socks, brown sewing twill, replacement buttons for clothing and linens, sewing and darning needle, scissors)
washing and cleaning kit (1 piece soap, 1 tube toothpase, toothbrush, nail brush and cleaner, 1 box shoe creme, 1 pair replacement shoe laces, shoe brush, clothing brush)

2. Requested kit (if owned):
1 HJ winter uniform (dark blue), sweat suit, backpack, bread bag, canteen, drinking cup, Zeltbahn

Further: if a boy owns soccer shoes, running shoes, knife, a musical instrument (for example, violin, trumpet, recorder, flute, drum, accordeon, or harmonica) so are these to be brought.

3. Absolutely to be left at home:
unnecessary civilian clothing, particularly overcoats, unneccesary toiletry articles such as hair oil, and the like.


1. Required Kit
1 issue BDM blouse, belt, neckerchief, leather knot
2 pairs of sturdy shoes (BDM issue shoes, boots, or ankle boots)
2 pairs of long stockings
3 pairs of socks, including at least 1 pair in white
3 pairs of underwear (preferably separates, undershirt and underpants)
2 underskirts
2 night shifts or pairs of pajamas
2 pairs warm underpants
2 dresses (preferably; must be washable)
1 pair sturdy leather sport shoes, preferably lace-up
1 pair black sweat pants
1 white sport shirt (preferably 2) with HJ insignia
2 aprons (sturdy and large enough to cover clothing)
1 kerchief
2 coat hangers
1 bathing suit and bathing cap
1 Berchtesgaden jacket or other knit jacket
1 rain proof overcoat
1 pair warm gloves
1 garter belt
ample amount of handkerchiefs
writing kit (2 blotters, 1 notebook, 2 pencils, eraser, fountain pen)
sewing kit (black and white thread, darning twill, sewing thread, replacement buttons for clothing and linens, elastic bands, sewing and darning needles, knitting needles, pins, scissors, etc.)
washing and cleaning kit (1 piece soap, 1 tube toothpase, toothbrush, nail brush and cleaner, 1 box shoe creme, 1 pair replacement shoe laces, shoe brush, clothing brush)

2. Requested kit (if owned):
Sweat suit, Jungmaedel uniform, and, if possible, BDM issue skirt and climbing jacket.

Further: if a girl owns a musical instrument (violin, lute, recorder, accordeon) so is it to be brought along.

3. Absolutely to be left at home:
Jewelry, purses, etc., unnecessary toiletry articles.

Once at camp, camp clothing will be issued. The camp is responsible for cleaning and care of linens, clothing, shoe repairs, etc.


Happy Holidays
November 22, 2006

Posted by BDM Historian

When you think glitter and junk mail, the first thing that may come to mind might be your average north American household with one or more children. The glitter for arts and crafts projects, and the junk mail as a general nuisance of modern living.

What you might not think of at first would be advertising in the Third Reich, and specifically advertising for Christmas.

Yet in a magazine published for store owners, called Das Lebensmittelfenster, both were featured in the November 1936 edition which focused on decorating the store windows for Christmas. After all, that's a time for shopping - presents, the holiday meal, and finger foods for the guests. And good advertising can make the difference between selling well, and not doing such great business.

So a little glitz on the window decorations, and some annoying letters to our "dear customers", and even in the Third Reich the store owners were all set for the holidays to come. Make sure to check out Das Lebensmittelfenster in its entirety on our website, by clicking this link.