Flak helpers

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The articles Luftwaffe Helpers , Flak Helpers and HJ Marine Helpers overlap thematically. Help me to better differentiate or merge the articles (→  instructions ) . To do this, take part in the relevant redundancy discussion . Please remove this module only after the redundancy has been completely processed and do not forget to include the relevant entry on the redundancy discussion page{{ Done | 1 = ~~~~}}to mark. 18:11, Feb. 27, 2015 (CET)

Luftwaffe helper on a 2 cm Flak 38 (summer 1944)
2 cm flak with flak helpers (born 1927) on the flak tower in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen (Humboldthain), 1943
8.8 cm anti-aircraft battery in Berlin-Karow , anti-aircraft helper (born 1927) as a loader and gunner on the "Bertha" gun (January 1944)

As Flakhelfer were young people referred to in the last years of World War II (from 1943) in the German Empire in the Air Force and the Navy in the defense against enemy air attacks used and accordingly as Luftwaffenhelfer or naval auxiliaries were called. By far the largest group was made up of the high school students born in 1926 to 1928 , officially referred to as Luftwaffe helpers, abbreviated as "LwH" . From January 5, 1944, middle school students born in 1928 and from August 1944 apprentices from the same year from the industrial and commercial sectors were also employed.

According to the definition that is used worldwide today, these could subsequently be counted as child soldiers in the broader sense .

Legal basis

The legal basis for the call-up and deployment of air force and naval helpers was the Emergency Service Ordinance of the German Reich of October 15, 1938. According to this, every resident of the Reich could be called upon to perform any services specified by the state after reaching the age of 15. The legal basis of this ordinance went back to the Defense Act of March 16, 1935 .

Preparation of the mission

On September 20, 1942, Adolf Hitler issued a Führer order for the immediate deployment of 120,000 Luftwaffe men for ground combat , the navy and use in submarine weapons . This meant an enormous reduction in the workforce of the flak units in the Reich. Since April 1942 it was possible for students to be deployed in so-called home flak batteries, but this was voluntary and also subject to a lower age limit of 17 years.

In October 1942 there was the first contact between the of Hermann Goering led the Air Ministry and the Prime Minister Bernhard Rust guided Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Culture . Goering's ministry announced that they intend to use those born in 1926 and 1927 for auxiliary services in the Air Force. The plan was to work as a news helper , as ground staff on military airfields and similar services. Students from higher and middle schools should be called up if lessons are completely canceled. The Reich Ministry of Education raised considerable reservations about these plans, especially the planned discontinuation of classes. This must be guaranteed, ideally by calling in school classes and their teachers. Other ministries joined the discussion and raised objections for various reasons. The Reich Minister of the Interior feared inadequate training of future leadership elites and scientists in all areas. The Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop wanted the project to be carried out as inconspicuously as possible. It was said that the impression had to be avoided that the German Reich was using children as the last contingent, as cannon fodder .

The most serious concerns, however, were raised in an internal paper by the top party leader of the NSDAP after Hitler, Reichsleiter Martin Bormann . In a letter to Göring dated December 21, 1942, he saw military service primarily as a health hazard for young people. Above all, school and Hitler Youth care must be ensured.

Decision by Hitler

Flak helpers working on a listening device in 1943

The final decision was made by Hitler on January 7, 1943. There were considerable objections and modifications to the original plans:

  • Only students from higher and middle schools born in 1926 and 1927 should be called up.
  • Operations should only take place near home.
  • It was no longer planned to use girls, but it could be done on a voluntary basis from the age of 17. Later, however, there were service obligations, mainly in the intelligence community ( Blitzmädel ) and at headlights. From 1944, female members of the Reich Labor Service (Arbeitsmaiden) were also used in flak batteries.

The technically competent Reich Ministry for Education published the final version of the decree on the “War Aid Deployment of Youth in the Air Force” on January 22, 1943. The Reich Minister for Aviation and Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force Göring regulated the entire employment relationships of air force helpers in a decree intended “only for official use”. This ranged in bureaucratic detail from the distribution of competencies between all the departments involved in calling up the flak helpers, through the planned school lessons, to disciplinary regulations and the threat of arrest in the event of violations.


Group photo of a 7th class of the Frankfurt Goethe-Gymnasium , born in 1926, completely drafted in February 1943 and in service with a 10.5 cm anti-aircraft battery near Frankfurt-Schwanheim

The first confiscation date was set for February 15, 1943. The 15 to 17-year-old schoolchildren born in 1926 and 1927 received a notice of attendance signed by the district administrator , mayor or police chief .

The notices should be handed out at the end of a parents' meeting. It was planned that the respective headmaster for the school and a flak officer for the military aspects would take part. A sovereign of the NSDAP , for example the district leader , should explain the political reasons for the measure. A participation of the Hitler Youth in such events was not intended.

In December 1942, 68,522 pupils were available for this purpose, and from January 1944 pupils born in 1928 were also drafted, this time without a special event. In the summer of 1944, students from vocational and commercial schools joined the group. The 15 to 17-year-olds were initially mainly deployed near their place of residence, later also at a greater distance from their place of residence. They received school lessons.

The flak helpers were obliged to perform their duties by repeating a declaration of commitment. There was a special disciplinary penalty for cases of breach of duty. An "unauthorized removal from the troops" could be punished with death . Nothing is known of such judgments.

Attempts to influence the Hitler Youth

There was a draft for the HJ service of air force helpers from January 19, 1943, which was supposed to shape the community life of the boys according to the principles and ideas of the HJ leadership. Above all, this considered the weekly “home evening” to be indispensable for the “ ideological training ” and the National Socialist orientation of the flak helpers. From September 1943 the flak helpers were officially called "Luftwaffe helpers (HJ)". The Reich Youth Leadership had succeeded in enforcing the addition to the service title. An air force helper badge, the armband of the Hitler Youth, an eagle with the letters LH embroidered on the right side of the uniform blouse, was intended to distinguish the air force helpers from the soldiers and demonstrate their membership of the Hitler Youth. The wearing of rank insignia of the Hitler Youth, such as lanyards or stars on the epaulets, was not allowed among the Luftwaffe helpers.

Again and again there were renewed attempts by the Hitler Youth leadership to gain a stronger influence on the boys. In particular, the Hitler Youth leadership pointed out the obligation to wear the Hitler Youth armband with the swastika to the “ dress uniform ” of the flak helpers. This became an ongoing issue and conflict. According to experience reports, the air force helpers took off this armband as often as they could. In practice, this often led to friction with higher-ranking Hitler Youth leaders, who as a rule had not been drafted into service as air force helpers, or with the Hitler Youth patrol service , who had certain police powers over Hitler Youth. The military superiors of the flak helpers were supposed to punish such violations of uniform regulations or the duty to greet NS leaders or higher-ranking Hitler Youth leaders with disciplinary measures, but in practice it became apparent that the officers and NCOs in the flak batteries ignored this.

The flak helpers viewed themselves primarily as soldiers and adults. They thought further services in the Hitler Youth with singing evenings and field games were childish in view of the war effort required of them.

School lessons for flak helpers

For high school students, 18 hours of school lessons per week were planned, of which three hours each in German , Latin, history , mathematics and two hours each in physics , chemistry and geography . Latin was the only foreign language. There were isolated protests against the discontinuation of English lessons, which occasionally even succeeded. Lessons were either given in the main schools by the previous teachers or, where this was not possible for reasons of distance, in rooms near the flak positions or in the positions themselves. The function of the supervisory teacher was newly introduced for deployment at greater distances from the home school location . This accompanied the students to the place of action and was supposed to represent the school issues to the military and to ensure that lessons were not unnecessarily canceled and lessons that had failed were made up. He should also keep the flak helpers interested in and feeling the need for school lessons. Even at the beginning of the mission in 1943, the military necessities could often hardly be reconciled with the school requirements. The result was that school lessons were often restricted in favor of military tasks.

From 1944 onwards, there was an increasing number of missions in areas that were far from the home of the flak helpers. For example, students from Baden and Württemberg were initially stationed in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance , then one after the other at short intervals near Karlsruhe , in the Palatinate , on the Swiss border and finally near Pforzheim . Students from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Osterode / East Prussia were deployed as flak helpers near Stade at the mouth of the Elbe and on Borkum. School classes at the Fürst-Otto-Gymnasium in Wernigerode am Harz were deployed as flak helpers for the naval flak at the mouth of the Elbe opposite the canal lock at Brunsbüttel and on Sylt. Flak helpers from Castrop-Rauxel in the Ruhr area came within a few months from positions in the immediate vicinity of their hometown to Upper Silesia within sight of the Auschwitz extermination camps . Flak helpers from the high schools in Zwickau came to Berlin and Berlin high school students to the Leunawerke in the province of Saxony .

The increased attacks by the Allied air forces day and night at ever shorter intervals from 1944 onwards made regular instruction increasingly difficult. The flak helpers had to take over the tasks of the regular operating teams on the weapons and devices to an increasing extent. Because of this and because of the number and length of arms service and combat times during the air raids , school lessons were greatly reduced. Former flak helpers report that they had a total of around one month of lessons during their 13-month service.

Flak helpers were dismissed from service as flak helpers before they were called up for the Reichsarbeitsdienst or for regular military service and thus also ended their school attendance. As a rule, they then received a leaving certificate from the school with the “Reifevermerk”, which was a substitute for the Abitur , but was mostly not recognized after the war, or the “Voremestervermerk” (flak helper born in 1928 in January 1945).

The decision on the "recruitment of schoolchildren for the war effort of German youth in the air force" determined u. a .: "Air force helpers who leave the Air Force before the time in which they would under regular circumstances take the high school diploma in order to transfer to labor or military service, receive according to the regulations of the Reich Minister for Science, Upbringing and public education include the maturity note on their leaving certificate, provided that their performance and behavior in class and on the job justify this ”.

In the actual process, however, these air force helpers only received a certificate of leaving the Air Force with a certificate stating that they would receive the “pre-semester note” on the date on which they would have passed the school-leaving examination if they would continue to attend the school. Air force helpers who were released shortly before the end of the war often did not receive such a certificate of departure. If, however, between the labor service and the drafting into the armed forces, one had attended school lessons again and had been transferred to class 8, another certificate of departure for air force helpers with a subsequent "maturity note" was issued. There was also a "certificate of maturity" with the content that the pupil of grade 8 would be awarded the "maturity" due to his attitude and his performance at the time at which he would have taken the maturity examination under normal conditions, if he would apply for this through his Wehrmacht or Waffen SS office by presenting the certificate of departure. Even if all the conditions were met, this “Reifevermerk” (Abitur replacement, secondary school diploma) was mostly (illegally) not recognized after the war.

As early as the autumn of 1945 the schools were offering special courses for these cases to obtain the university entrance qualification, which lasted six months or all year round. After written and oral exams, the “certificate of maturity” was issued.

Luftwaffe helpers born in 1927 and 1928, who finished the 7th grade in the spring of 1945, received regular school lessons as high school students from autumn 1945, which were completed in February 1947 with the Abitur examination (examination for obtaining the university entrance qualification, "matriculation examination"). Until 1945, the Abitur examination was regularly taken after 12 school years, now only after the 9th grade after 13 school years.

Those air force helpers who only returned after being a prisoner of war for many years had little chance of being awarded maturity.

Flak helpers in military use

Weapons and implements

The flak helpers were trained and used practically on all weapons and devices that were part of the equipment of the German anti-aircraft defense . In detail, these were the following:

2 cm Flak 38 (German)
2 cm twin flak, aircraft cannon mounted on a base

Light flak weapons

Medium AA guns

Heavy flak weapons

The LwH often called the 8.5 / 8.8 cm cannon the "Russian syringe" because it was captured from the Eastern Front. The cannons were of German origin, however. H. Delivered to the Soviet Union by Krupp in the early 1930s.

8.8 cm anti-aircraft gun "Anton" of the battery in Berlin-Karow in firing position (October 1943)


  • 60, 150 and 200 cm in diameter

Command devices

  • Type 35 (command auxiliary device);
  • Type 40 (mechanical analog computer for determining the shot values)

Radio measuring devices (radar)

  • FuMG 39 “ Würzburg ”; FuMG 40 “Mainz”; FuMG 41 “Mannheim”; ???? "Dora" (was the one with the smallest diameter)

Flak evaluation device

  • "Malsi" , used in the event of failure of their own locating devices, and "Hutzenlaub" used for coordinate conversion between FuMG and headlights in Hamburg. The canopy revaluation processed the compass value, the elevation angle and the measured distance value of the FuMG. All values ​​were transmitted to the headlight via telephone line and set there by LwH on the device.

Training of the flak helpers

Naval helper training plan

Training on the devices and weapons took place either in barracks or directly in the flak positions. One could assume that basic military knowledge such as marching , drills , moving in the field and greetings from the service in the young people and Hitler Youth were available to all flak helpers. The boys were also familiar with accommodation in communal accommodation through Hitler Youth camps. This meant that the training was largely function-related and lasted four to eight weeks , depending on the device or weapon . This included aircraft recognition, working at the map table when using plan fire, getting to know the devices including their individual parts and functions, as well as practical exercises including target exercises on towed targets. The theoretical basics of the mission included teaching units in ballistics and radio technology . Once the flak helpers were permanently assigned to a battery, there was constant weapon training in the flak positions, occasionally also shooting exercises at tow targets, e.g. B. on the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts and on Lake Constance.

Uniforms of the flak helpers

Air force and naval helpers were equipped with special, different uniforms for their service as flak helpers.

Air force helper uniform

The predominantly worn "service uniforms" and "work uniforms" ( Drillich ) of the air force helpers resembled the uniforms of the air force. However, they did not have any military badges such as collar tabs , tucks and braids . The “dress uniform” that was worn when traveling from the place of work to other locations (offices, schools), during vacations and when traveling on the occasion of transfers, however, was identical to the corresponding uniform of the Flieger-HJ. Only the ban number was missing on the light blue piped epaulettes, as was the area triangle on the sleeve.


The Luftwaffe helpers wore a fabric badge with the letters "LH" made in light blue thread embroidery on a black background. The shape of the badge corresponded to the Luftwaffe national badge. It was worn sewn on the right breast side of the blouse and the coat. The letters LH were often mockingly interpreted as “last hope” by air force helpers. The seat and wearing style corresponded to those of the Luftwaffe national badge. The Hitler Youth badge was worn on the cap, the Hitler Youth belt lock or that of the Air Force on the belt. Sometimes the Luftwaffe's boat was worn as headgear, then with the Luftwaffe eagle on the front.

Rank badge

The ranks of the Luftwaffe helpers differed from those of the Hitler Youth, but were accordingly:

  • The team leader corresponded to the squad leader of the Hitler Youth.
  • The Luftwaffe Oberhelfer corresponded to the comrade leader of the Hitler Youth.

The team captain wore an aluminum star on each epaulette. The Luftwaffe Oberhelfer wore a 0.5 cm wide, patterned braid made of aluminum spun around both epaulets (similar to the badges of the Uffz. Aspirants of the Air Force).

Naval Auxiliary Uniform

In normal duty, the naval helpers wore simple drill gear in the west, due to the climate, and in the east the soldiers' typical gray gear with winged grenades on their epaulets. The traditional “blue stuff” of the Navy with blouse, drill collar , kerchief knot , folding trousers and colani served as “dress uniform”, but only the hat (boat) as headgear . The attractive Colani sleeve stripe (left forearm) in light blue with "Marinehelfer" as an inscription in yellow, with the "Oberhelfer" flanked by two gold strands (5 mm each). The Hitler Youth armband with the swastika, which was required for going out, was only required when passing the UvD room and disappeared naturally in the trouser pocket after leaving the battery area.

Duties of the flak helpers

The designation "Flakhelfer" gives the impression that they were auxiliaries for the soldiers. For the most part, however, this was not the case; instead, they replaced soldiers and took over their tasks. For example, they were used on cannons as directional, loading and ammunition gunners. On light flak, only the gun leader was a soldier, the rest of the gun crew consisted of flak helpers. One flak helper was deployed alone on board cannons mounted on bases. The entire crew consisted of anti-aircraft helpers at the headlights . In the last days of the war it even happened that air force helpers were used as gun leaders. In addition to the tasks mentioned, security services, telephone service, gun maintenance, storey maintenance and digging work also included the tasks of the flak helpers.


As awards, the flak helpers could be awarded the flak combat badge and the war merit cross for participating in the downing of enemy aircraft according to a point system . Flak helpers injured in battle received the wound badge in the appropriate gradation.

Vacation and pocket money

Flak helpers were given leave (except for school leave). There was occasional vacation for half a day, if stationed near the parents' apartment, occasionally for a night or even for a weekend. A 14-day vacation was granted twice a year. The trips with public transport were free of charge (Wehrmacht ticket for the railway). The flak helpers had to carry a vacation ticket with them outside of their place of employment or, in the event of an official absence, a marching order so that they could prove the authorization of their stay outside the place of employment. The flak helpers received 1.00 Reichsmarks per day as pay, but only 0.50 Reichsmarks were paid out. The remaining RM 0.50 was given to the flak helper's parents when he finished his service, unless the end of the war prevented payment to the parents.

Numerical use

The deployment of 120,000 regular personnel to the front, which Hitler demanded in 1942, was made possible by the call-up of flak helpers. A total of around 200,000 boys born between 1926 and 1928 served as air force helpers, initially only in the Reich area remote from the front. At the beginning of the mission in 1943, only pupils from high and middle schools were affected, but from autumn 1944 apprentices were also drafted, mainly from Austria and from the areas incorporated or occupied in the east. They partly replaced the Luftwaffe helpers born in 1926, 1927 and, as far as suitable for the front, in 1928, who left for the Reich Labor Service and the Wehrmacht in 1944. The rapid advance of the Allies towards the end of the war brought many boys into action against ground forces , both in the east against the Red Army and in the west against British and American units. The flak helpers had a legally non-combatant status within the meaning of the Hague Land Warfare Regulations . When the enemy approached, some were declared regular flak soldiers and were given appropriate notices on their ID cards.

Flak helpers and other staff

In the flak batteries there were often, in addition to the few remaining regular soldiers - often only one man per gun - as auxiliary personnel, intelligence assistants (air force and naval assistants) in the office and switchboards of the stick batteries and flak assistants at the headlights.

In addition, there were Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war and volunteers (Hiwis), mostly members of the Vlasov Army , who were used for digging, transporting ammunition and similar activities. In numerous batteries, the Hiwis were also used as ammunition gunners on the anti-aircraft guns. Officially, the flak helpers were strictly forbidden from any contact with the Russians and Ukrainians that went beyond regular duty operations, but this prohibition was largely violated without serious punishment. Very often the prisoners received additional food and tobacco products from the boys. It was not uncommon for a barter to develop , with the Russians and Ukrainians mostly exchanging toys made from scraps of wood, ammunition boxes and similar materials for bread or potatoes. Many flak helpers were able to convince themselves of the mendacity and baselessness of the Nazi propaganda , which had only ever spoken of " Bolshevik subhumans " , through their own dealings with those willing to help . Many of these student assistants were students who spoke German quite well. Many Croatian soldiers were deployed in the flak in 1944 . "Flak-usable" were also used from the German- speaking islands in Slovenia . They wore normal German uniforms and also occupied the ranks up to sergeant major.

Temporary assignment at Auschwitz

Air raid on Auschwitz on September 13, 1944

It is known from correspondence that air force flak helpers from Hamburg and their entire teaching staff were relocated to the vicinity of Auschwitz concentration camp in the summer of 1944 . A supervisor of the flak battery concerned complained in writing to the responsible school director in Hamburg that it was “unpleasant” that thousands of convicts and inmates of the nearby concentration camp were employed as field and road workers and that their presence caused a kind of “discomfort” at the battery triggered. A lesson was no longer possible due to the constant air alarms. Therefore, the battery was ordered to Breslau in mid-September 1944. Specifically, the following air strikes on Auschwitz are documented, which also affected naval and / or air force helpers:

  • 1st attack: 4th / 5th May 1943 (Soviet bombing, no significant damage)
  • 2nd attack: August 20, 1944 (American bomb attack targeting IG Farbenindustrie Auschwitz)
  • 3rd attack: September 13, 1944 (American bomb attack targeting IG Farbenindustrie Auschwitz)
  • 4th attack: December 18, 1944 (American bomb attack targeting IG Farbenindustrie Auschwitz)
  • 5th attack: January 19, 1945 (American bombing raid)

Consequences of the mission

The first deaths among flak helpers occurred on March 1, 1943. Six high school students from the Schadow School in Berlin-Zehlendorf who were deployed as anti-aircraft helpers in Berlin-Lichterfelde- South were killed by an English bomb . In addition, 14 Soviet prisoners of war who had been declared “willing to help” died, although this was not mentioned in public. The people who were killed were given a state funeral at the Dahlem forest cemetery, with great sympathy from the population . The commander of the Luftgaukommando Berlin gave a speech and placed "Iron Crosses" on the coffins, which already had a "Reichsmarschall's wreath". The Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels , walked along the front of the coffins, had a wreath laid down and condoled the relatives. Five flak helpers were wounded and were taken to the Hindenburg hospital in Zehlendorf. Among the first visitors there were the Reich Youth Leader Arthur Axmann and the city commandant of Berlin, Lieutenant General von Hase .

Memorial stone for killed flak helpers in Saarbrücken

When the first flak helpers were drafted, it was assumed that 100 young people would represent a replacement for 70 regular flak soldiers. In reality, however, it often turned out that the flak helpers, who in the further course of the war ultimately managed entire flak batteries independently, exceeded the actual flak soldiers in terms of operational readiness. How many of the flak helpers were killed is unknown as they were not recorded. Due to the numerous reports of direct hits in flak positions, high casualties are to be expected. In an air raid on a flak position in Cologne-Brück on January 28, 1945 alone , 17 air force helpers were killed. On October 3, 1943, a flak position near Sandershausen near Kassel was hit by a direct bomb. 23 high school students were among the victims. A memorial stone today commemorates the victims at the site of the event. In an air raid on Hanover on September 27, 1943, 13 Hanover high school students were killed in the flak position in Langenhagen by a direct hit in the conversion (a mechanical computer system to determine the ballistic values ​​for the guns). A memorial stone was created for them too, which is located near the “Neue Bult” racecourse in Langenhagen. Two air force helpers from the State German High School for Boys in Zwickau were killed in the Soviet shell fire in the final battle in Berlin in early May 1945.

Prominent flak helpers

A former air force helper is Pope Benedict XVI , who was in office from 2005 to 2013 . , then Joseph Alois Ratzinger (born 1927). He and his class were deployed to protect a BMW plant in an anti-aircraft position near Munich. Also the Nobel Prize for Literature Günter Grass (1927–2015), the writers Martin Walser (born 1927) and Günter de Bruyn (born 1926), the journalist and writer Jost Nolte (1927–2011), the former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1927–2016), the cabaret artist Dieter Hildebrandt (1927–2013), the Mainz professor for medical microbiology Dietrich Falke (born 1927), the SPD politician Erhard Eppler (1926–2019), the sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1927–1998) and the publicists and journalists Matthias Walden (1927–1984), Joachim Fest (1926–2006) and Peter Boenisch (1927–2005) as well as the historian Wilhelm Volkert (1928) belong to the so-called “Flakhelfer Generation ”. In Vienna, the future show star Peter Alexander (1926–2011) was deployed as an air force helper, in Hamburg the actor Walter Giller (1927–2011). The future prince consort of the Dutch Queen Beatrix, the German diplomat Claus von Amsberg (1926–2002) belonged to the flak as a naval helper from 1942 to 1944, as was the director of the Halle Handelhaus, Prof. Dr. Konrad Sasse (1926-1981). The well-known publisher Wolf Jobst Siedler (1926–2013) was sentenced as a naval helper together with Ernst Jünger Jr., the writer's son, for undermining military strength. The German flak helpers moved into the spotlight of the world when the son of the legendary Field Marshal Erwin Rommel , who was driven to suicide by Adolf Hitler and who would later become the mayor of Stuttgart for many years, Manfred Rommel (1928-2013), at the memorial service with a state ceremony for his father on May 18. October 1944 walked behind the coffin in the Ulm City Hall in air force uniform. Manfred Rommel, who was called up for the flak at the age of 15, confessed in an interview with “Zeit” in 2002: “I still have a nightmare from my time as an air force helper!” The Cologne satirist Helmar Meinel (born 1928 ), Air Force helper in Berlin, defined the forced recruitment of high school students in the “Confirmand Flak” as “Hitler's revenge on the humanistic education system”.

After the war, the cohorts, largely unencumbered by the Nazi era and hardly decimated in contrast to their fathers' generation, played a decisive role in the reconstruction of Germany as “flak democrats”. For example, the closest advisors to Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt were the former air force helper Horst Ehmke (1927–2017, Head of the Chancellery), Klaus Schütz (1926–2012, State Secretary, later Governing Mayor of Berlin) and Klaus Harpprecht (1927–2016, speechwriter for the Chancellor ) active. The GDR spy in the Federal Chancellery, Günter Guillaume (1927–1995), was a former anti-aircraft helper.

The GDR writer Dieter Noll (1927-2008) processed in the first volume of his autobiographical novel The Adventures of Werner Holt to a large extent his experiences as an anti-aircraft helper in the Ruhr area.

See also



  • Malte Herwig : The flak helpers. How Hitler's youngest party members became Germany's leading democrats. DVA, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-421-04556-0 .
  • Walter L. Frank: Air Force helper between school, air warfare and Hitler Youth. Pupils of the Schwabach advanced school as air force helper in the heavy flak battery 5./634 in Nuremberg-Schniegling February 1943 to August 1944. A report on young people, circumstances and politics. Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-939533-50-4 .
  • Heinz Bude: German careers. Life constructions of social climbers from the Flakhelfer generation. Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-518-11448-4 .
  • Paul Emunds (Ed.): At fifteen to the cannons. A case study about the fate of the high school students deployed as "Luftwaffe helpers" (LwH) in the barrage batteries (Flak Dept. 514) around Aachen during the Anglo-American air offensives of 1943/44. Aachen 1975.
  • Werner Baumeister: Castrop-Rauxel in the air war 1939–1945. Castrop-Rauxel 1988, ISBN 3-923299-04-4 .
  • Renate Fricke-Finklenburg (Ed.): National Socialism and School. Official edicts and guidelines 1933–1945. Opladen 1989, ISBN 3-8100-0752-8 .
  • Hans-Dietrich Nicolaisen: The flak helpers. Air force and naval helpers in World War II. Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-548-33045-2 .
  • Hans-Dietrich Nicolaisen: group fire and volley bar. Schoolchildren and apprentices in the Flak 1943–1945. 2 volumes, Büsum 1993.
  • Ludwig Schätz: Air Force Helpers - a chapter on the history of the German army succession in World War II . ( Dissertation ), Munich 1970.
  • Ludwig Schätz: Student soldiers. The history of the Luftwaffe helpers in World War II. Darmstadt 3rd edition 2003, ISBN 3-7677-0034-4 .
  • Franz-Josef Schmeling: Marked by the war for a lifetime. Former Air Force and Navy aides respond 50 years later. Osnabrück 1997, ISBN 3-87898-358-1 .
  • Rolf Schörken : Air Force Helper and Third Reich. The emergence of a political consciousness. Stuttgart 2nd edition 1985, ISBN 3-608-91124-3 .
  • Rolf Schörken: Defeat as a generation experience. Young people after the collapse of the Nazi regime. Weinheim / Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7799-1134-5 .
  • Ludger Tewes : Youth at War. By air force helpers and soldiers 1939–1945. Essen 1989, ISBN 3-920460-49-9 . (Foreword by Rolf Schörken ).
  • Fritz Helberg-Oldenburg, Rainer Hendricks (arr.): One night without an alarm - Diary of a flak helper 1944–1945 , Walsrode 2005. ISBN 3-00-017621-7 .
  • Wolfgang Waldhauer: As an air force helper in Berlin and at Leuna in 1944 . Internet reports in collective memory and Berliner Unterwelten e. V. , Leverkusen 2001.


  • Dieter Borkowski: Who knows if we'll meet again: memories of a youth in Berlin . Fischer-Taschenbuch 3479. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1983. ISBN 3-596-23479-4 .
  • Günter de Bruyn : Interim balance: a youth in Berlin . 5th edition. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1992. ISBN 3-10-009609-6 . (Autobiography, pp. 140-172).
  • Harry Käpernick: Luftwaffe helper - seduced - wasted - forgotten . RG Fischer, Frankfurt / Main 2000. ISBN 3-8301-0014-0 .
  • Dieter Noll : The adventures of Werner Holt: novel of a youth . Construction pocket books 1583. Construction pocket book publishing house, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-7466-1583-6 .
  • Günter Grass: When peeling the onion . Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2006.
  • Gert Ledig : retaliation . S. Fischer, Frankfurt / Main 1956; Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / Main 1999, ISBN 3-518-39741-9 .

Lesson module

  • Manuel Werner: Power and helplessness of young air force helpers - an example from the Echterdingen / Filder air base and concentration camp , in: State Center for Civic Education Baden-Württemberg / Educators Committee of the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation Stuttgart (ed.): Through fascination for power - the fascination power. Building blocks for the relationship between power and manipulation. Handouts for teaching , Stuttgart 2003.


Film adaptations

Web links

Wiktionary: Flakhelfer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Martin Stimpel: Student soldiers 1943–1945: High school students as air force helpers in Berlin, at Auschwitz and as paratroopers in the "Harz Fortress"; Experiences, causes and connections. Cuvillier, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-86537-181-7 . (Googlebooks)
  2. ^ Hans-Dietrich Nicolaisen: Die Flakhelfer - Luftwaffe and naval helpers in World War II. Pp. 141-147.