Re-education of young political offenders children’s homes 1944-1951

GETUIGENVERHALEN.NL

 

Realisation project:

Cogis (2009)

 

Timeframe: 1944-1951
Location: Netherlands, Austria
Number of interviews: 13

 

Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog

DANS: https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-xe2-qx9s

 

Audio can be listened via:

 

After the war, around 20,000 children of political offenders, mainly NSB members, ended up in children’s homes. Their parents could no longer care for them because they were interned as part of the special post-war administration of justice. Among the children were also juvenile political offenders (JPDs). In this interview project, former JPD members look back on their stay in the children’s homes.

A JPD member could be a young person who had been active in the NSB youth movement, the Hitlerjugend, or had been deployed in Germany or on the Eastern Front. They could also be children of around 13 years of age whose parents belonged to the ‘more serious cases’ of collaboration. Their parents, for example, had played an active role in the NSB or a German organisation, had been active in Jeugdstorm or Hitlerjugend, or had been deployed in Germany or on the Eastern Front.

 

Social re-education after the war took place in special homes or camps run by the Special Youth Care Office. This agency was charged with the care and reception of children whose parents were interned. JPD members were also entrusted to their care. In the eyes of the caretakers, this group in particular was a point of concern. It was believed that the elderly among them could be politically infected and that they could grow up to become ‘extremist disaffected and disillusioned’. Re-education to become full-fledged Dutchmen was considered necessary; only by teaching the JPD’er to understand the meaning of democracy and patriotism could these children become full-fledged members of society again.

 

The phenomenon of political re-education was part of the dealings with the ‘wrong elements’ in post-war society. It was a consequence of the then dominant good-wrong thinking. The aim of this interview project is to investigate whether, in the perception of those involved, there was any re-education during their stay in the children’s homes, and if so, in what form and with what consequences.