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Second Leader of the Hitler Youth

Artur Axmann

18 February 1913 – 24 October 1996

Axmann was born in Hagen on 18 February 1913. He studied law and in 1928, founded the first Hitler Youth group in Westphalia.

Arthur Axman succeeded Baldur von Schirach as Reich Youth Leader (Reichsjugendführer) of the Nazi Party in 1940. Immediately after gaining office he began to organise Hitler youth members to undertake active roles in assisting the Third Reich in areas such as the fire service.

In 1941 after being wounded on the Eastern Front he returned to Germany to have an artificial arm fitted.

On 4 January 1944, Axmann was awarded the German Order, the highest decoration that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual, for his services to the Reich. Most other recipients were either awarded it posthumously, or were killed in the war or its aftermath.

During 1945, Axmann was pressured into letting young women be conscripted into combat roles for the last defense of Germany. Although Axmann had permitted young boys to fight in the final days, he refused to allow girls to fight.

In the last weeks of the war, Axmann commanded units of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend), which had been incorporated into the Home Guard. These young boys fought mainly at the Battle of Seelow Heights. When Helmuth Weidling the Commander of the Berlin Defence Area discovered that a major part of the last line of the German defenses in Berlin were “manned” by Hitler Youth, he ordered German Artur Axmann to disband the Hitler Youth combat formations in the city. However, in the confused situation his order was never carried out.

During Hitler’s last days, Axmann was among those present in the Führerbunker. On 30 April 1945, just before committing suicide, Hitler signed the order to allow a breakout. On 1 May (the day after Hitler’s suicide), Axmann left the Bunker with other well known officials.

Axmann was arrested in December 1945 when a Nazi underground movement which he had been organizing was uncovered. A Nuremberg court sentenced him in May 1949 to a prison sentence of three years and three months as a ‘major offender’.

After his release from prison, Axmann worked as a sales representative in Gelsenkirchen and Berlin. On 19 August 1958 a West Berlin de-Nazification court fined the former Hitler Youth leader approximately £3,000. The court found him guilty of indoctrinating German youth with National Socialism right until the end of the Third Reich, but concluded that he had been a Nazi from inner conviction rather than base motives. He died in Berlin in 1996.

Hitler Youth Leader Dagger

The HJ Leader dagger for leaders from the rank of Stammfuhrer and above, was authorised in 1937; while production stopped in 1942. The dagger could not be purchased individually, therefore could only be received by the Order of the Baldur von Schirach or Arthur Axeman. The dagger was presented in a case and an official certificate.

This Nazi dagger is distinctive with stiletto style blade with the raised detailed HJ emblem on the top of the pommel. The blade also had the motto Blut und Ehre engraved upon it.

The cross guard has an upward inclination with a simple design around the edge. Aluminium and steel were the main metals used in the construction.

The scabbard had silver plated fittings with the HJ eagle on the locket fitting. The dagger had dark blue (nearly black) leather with a smooth grain.

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