Nerother Wandervogel

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Nerother on a journey in the mountains (2008)
Pennant and red beret with the symbol of the Nerother wandering bird

The Nerother Wandervogel (NWV; Nerother Wandervogel - Association for the Establishment of the Rhenish Youth Castle eV ) is one of the last existing migrant bird associations , which have their roots in the historical youth movement .

The Nerother Wandervogel is a pure boys' association in the spirit of the Wandervogel founder Karl Fischer . His wisdoms - a collection of values ​​and insights - serve as the spiritual basis. Contents of the Nerother Wandervogel include group lessons, maintenance of folk and own songs, amateur play and building together at the Rhenish Youth Castle . However, special attention is paid to the hiking trips at home and abroad. The trips together strengthen friendship, which is what makes the principle of the NWV as a vital bond possible.


Federal camp of the Nerother wandering bird

The Nerother Wandervogel is divided into autonomous groups. They are called “orders” and are made up of individual “ flags ” with usually 5 to 10 members from the same region. Everyday group life usually consists of group lessons and shared trips.

Among the wandering bird federations, the Nerother Bund is characterized by the fact that the orders are not divided according to geographical proximity, but that individual flags join the order, to whose particular peculiarity they are drawn to, or found their own order to live their particular peculiarity can. The federal chapter is the decision-maker at the federal level. It helps the Order in regional work and confirms its leaders. However, all groups are independent within the framework of the overall goals.



The trigger for the establishment of the Nerother Wandervogel was the dissatisfaction with the situation in the Wandervogel e. V. , who - with the end of the First World War and the subsequent November Revolution - had got into a severe leadership crisis. For example, in 1918 Robert Oelbermann published a "battle cry to the decided youth", which included:

“You stir up, but you cannot inspire, you false leaders. You can only gossip in the form of leaflets and revolutionary speeches. True leaders keep silent and act. The only king is Wyneken , but the real ones have already recognized it and so you will no longer desecrate and use the Wandervogel. "

Paul Readers, a later member of the Nerother Wandervogel, felt the same way, who in 1919 put a “declaration of war” in the Wandervogel newspaper: “Schöngeister and day thieves are our enemies who only chat about the past instead of actively helping to shape the future. We have no place for such. "

On December 31, 1919, eight members of the Wandervogel eV met in the Mühlsteinhöhle at Nerother Kopf near Neroth in the Vulkaneifel . Under the leadership of Robert Oelbermann they founded the Knight League of Nerommen, whose founding members called themselves Erznerommen. Oelbermann spoke about the fact that they are responsible for the youth and the Wandervogel and that it is their task to regain the old thrust of the Wandervogel. This requires aristocratic rule and the duty of confidentiality on the part of federal members. The Neroth Wisdoms were drawn up as a constitution. The first goal of the "secret society" was to build a youth castle .

Several newcomers followed in the next few months. At the same time, a kind of “coup d'état im Wandervogel eV” was prepared, which was to proceed as follows: infiltration of the Rhineland district in Wandervogel eV, separation from the girls' groups, takeover of the leadership by the Nerommen, transfer of the Gau to Alt-Wandervogel .

In the spring of 1920, Robert and Karl Oelbermann were able to largely implement their plans. After all girls' groups left, Robert Oelbermann was elected Gau leader. Immediately afterwards he made the transition to Altwandervogel, who had a charismatic and energetic federal leader in Ernst Buske . In the federal leadership of the Altwandervogel, however, the Nerommen encountered resistance to their plans for the first time.

In March 1920 the so-called castle tour took place. After visiting several castles in the vicinity of Koblenz , the Nerommen decided in favor of the Waldeck castle ruins as the location of the "Rhenish Youth Castle ". Already at Pentecost 1920 a Gau day of the Rhineland district took place there.

In the second half of 1920 the dispute between the Nerommen and the management of the Altwandervogels, which was not prepared to accept a league in league, escalated. After a mediation meeting with Ernst Buske, the Nerommen left the Altwandervogel in friendship in January 1921. All groups of the Gau Rhineland joined them.

1921 to 1945: Founding, flowering and prohibition of the Nerother Wanderer Bird

The Nerother Wandervogel was founded as "Nerother Wandervogel - Deutscher Ritterbund" by Robert Oelbermann on March 27, 1921 at Drachenfels Castle near Busenberg / Pfalz. The first federal leader was Robert Oelbermann. Three orders, in which the individual groups gathered, were formed and vowed loyalty to the covenant. These were the Order of the Raven Claw, the Goat Riders, and the Werewolves. The blue cloth with the silver wild swan on it was declared a federal symbol. The color of love and friendship and the color of loyalty , red and blue, became the federal colors of the Neroth Wandering Bird, which was expressed in the Nerother velvet berets.

In addition to a traditional migratory bird life as a pure boys' association, it was from the beginning the aim of the Nerother Wandervogel to build its own youth castle as a “memorial for the fallen migratory birds of the (First) World War”. In 1922 he acquired the Waldeck castle ruins in the Hunsrück near the village of Dorweiler . The architect and life reformer Karl Buschhüter was brought in to plan the castle ; construction began in 1922. It soon became apparent that the original planning was not feasible in terms of both size and monument protection, the construction program was reduced and relocated to the castle meadow above the ruins. In 1926 a second youth castle was acquired with Grenzau Castle near Höhr-Grenzhausen .

A lively boy life began in and around the castle and the association was very popular. The Nerother Wandervogel achieved a certain fame among the Bündische Jugend in particular because of his large-scale trips and the films he filmed by Karl Mohri . Mohri's films were distributed by Ufa well into the 1930s, despite the prohibition of the Bündische Jugend . From 1927 the writer Werner Helwig also lived at the castle for some time. He was a member of the Nerother Wandervogel until his death and wrote several songs, including texts by Bertolt Brecht , and books about the Bund and his own experiences as a Wandervogel.

After the seizure of power of the Nazis in 1933 the Nerother Wandervogel was forced to dissolve itself. On June 18, 1933, Waldeck Castle was occupied by HJ , SA and SS . Thereupon Karl Oelbermann , who represented his brother Robert, who had been on a world tour since 1931, as federal leader, declared on June 22, 1933 the federal government in the German Reich to be dissolved. Robert Oelbermann revoked the dissolution a little later, but had to realize after his return to Germany that the Nerother Wandervogel could not go into resistance against the Nazi regime out of responsibility for the young members. At the turn of the year 1933/34 he finally dissolved the Nerother Wandervogel.

Nevertheless, numerous groups stayed together illegally and met for home evenings and trips until the outbreak of World War II . In some places new groups even formed. Meanwhile Robert Oelbermann tried to protect the property of the Neroth Wandering Bird from access by Hitler Youth and the state. To this end, the Burg Waldeck Working Group was established in 1934 , but it had to be dissolved in 1935 under state pressure.

In 1936 Robert Oelbermann was arrested for alleged violations of Section 175 , convicted on the basis of fabricated misinterpretations of Oelbermann's statements and, after serving his sentence, put into so-called protective custody. His ordeal led him through the Oranienburg, Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps , where he died in 1941. A total of around 150 Neroths between the ages of 13 and 40 were arrested and, in 1936/37, severely tortured in the “Ulmer Höhe” prison in Düsseldorf in order to blackmail false statements against Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Karl Oelbermann was in South Africa at the time, among other things to ensure the continued existence of the Neroth Wandering Bird together with some other Nerothers.

Nerother during construction work on her boyhood home, the "Trutz" Burg Waldeck (November 17, 1966)

1945 to 1974: Reconstruction of the federal government and property processes

Pentecost meeting of the Neroths at Stahleck Castle in 1958

Immediately after the end of the Second World War, old Neroth migratory birds gathered and founded new "Fähnlein" and "Orden". The Nerother Wandervogel in Saarland , which under the leadership of Wilhelm Sell became a large community of several orders, should be mentioned here.

The lawyer Wally Plessner, who had defended Robert Oelbermann in 1936, looked for the former Gestapo officers Hirtschulz and Schaefer after 1945 with a private detective. The Gestapo officer Heinemann was executed in the Netherlands in 1947 for crimes against humanity. Gestapo officers Hirtschulz and Schaefer were sentenced to long prison terms in Düsseldorf for extorting confessions.

Robert Oelbermann's twin brother Karl was interned in South Africa during the Second World War. He returned in 1950 and took over the fate of the Nerother Wandering Bird as the new federal leader. In addition to Waldeck Castle, the Nerother Wandervogel acquired a second youth castle for a few years with the Hohlenfels im Taunus castle ruins .

At the same time as the reconstruction of the Wandervogelbund, the working group Burg Waldeck was created. In the mid-1950s, a long-standing legal dispute began between her and the Nerother Wandervogel over the ownership of numerous properties in the vicinity of the castle, which was also sparked by the various concepts of youth work and culture . The trials were not ended until the 1970s, and the disputed site was awarded to the working group. The actual castle ruins and the new castle that was built in 1954 still belong to the Nerother Wandervogel.

Migratory birds on Alaska voyage 2004

From 1972, the "Ehrenhain der Deutschen Jugendbewegung" was created on the site of the working group Burg Waldeck and later on the slope directly in front of the upper castle, with which the idea of ​​the "memorial for the fallen migratory birds of the (First) World War" was taken up and was extended to the entire youth movement. Today there are around 30 memorial stones for leaders of the Wandervogel, Boy Scout and Young Society associations , which are maintained by the Nerother Wandervogel.

In 1974 Karl Oelbermann died at Waldeck Castle.

Since 1974: expansion of the castle

In 1974 Fritz-Martin Schulz was elected as the new federal leader after violent internal conflicts, which also led to the resignation of some orders. In the years that followed, his management style repeatedly gave rise to further disputes, which resulted in renewed splits, but also ensured the continued existence of the Federation in its original form. Fritz-Martin Schulz leads the federal government to this day.

During his federal leadership, further castle buildings and a chapel were completed. A bell made of collected non-ferrous metal in honor of the federal founder Robert Oelbermann was anchored on a bell cage in the courtyard. The bell was cast in the early 1970s on behalf of Karl Oelbermann ("Oelb") for the federal government and was consecrated in the Dorweiler chapel in early May 1972 in a ceremony with great participation from Nerothers and the local population. It then hung for a few years in the old grove of honor and moved with the relocation of the grove of honor to the castle courtyard, where it awaits its actual purpose with a bell tower still to be built.

Under Schulz, the upper castle was fenced in and a public path was closed. The Ehrenhain and the former road into the Baybachtal to the ruins of the lower castle, which has belonged to the Nerother Wandervogel since 1985, are freely accessible. The Nerother Wandervogel is accused by critics, not only from the working group Burg Waldeck, of insufficiently fulfilling the contractually assumed obligation to maintain the so-called "bastion" (i.e. the ruins of the castle and medieval castle in the lower part of the castle).

Schulz initiated and led numerous trips to America lasting several weeks. He justified his claim to give priority to quality over quantity when selecting the youngsters taking part, so that not everyone would be able to withstand the rigors of these journeys. Schulz repeatedly criticized the acceptance of state grants by groups of the Bündische Jugend, as they had given up their freedom of decision and action through the rules associated with the granting of grants.

In recent years, critics accuse the federal leader of having given up political neutrality and taking right-conservative positions. Fritz-Martin Schulz gave, among other things, an interview in the Junge Freiheit . According to a report by the taz , Schulz is said to have described foreigners as "non-integrable parts of the population" and neo-Nazis as "media populace" in circulars from the Nerother Wandervogel . In his self-portrayal, the Nerother Wandervogel writes as follows:

“It is correct that the painful experience of the Neroth League with a dictatorship is always present to its main personalities. This nourishes a self-confidence that recognizes opportunists as the forerunners of despotic states and that is immune to political phrases. In addition, a uniform political location in the Nerother Bund is impossible, since its groups are autonomous and require a solid worldview of the mature person. "

The Wisdoms

In 1930 Robert Oelbermann published the wisdoms of the Nerother League in the text The Idea of ​​the "Nerother League" and the "Rhenish Youth Castle" . With the wisdom, Robert Oelbermann answers the question about the constitution of the Neroth wandering bird. As a monarchical constitution, it also underpins his claim to leadership as a federal leader. With regard to the question of leadership, Robert Oelbermann rejects both democracy and oligarchy as not very expedient, as these would immediately lead to a flattening and disintegration of the migratory bird federation.

I. Wisdom

“All events of a covenant and a people can only be recognized and shaped in the deepest source by superior, clear-sighted men, by noble leaders; never from a crowd. That is why the leader idea is the basis of the covenant. It requires: aristocracy and allegiance. "

II. Wisdom

“Noble friendship is the root from which a covenant draws its strength, from which the life of the covenant grows and creates deeds and works. She demands: a pure boys' union and unconditional commitment of all leaders to the common federal idea, which is embodied in the federal leader. "

III. Wisdom

“The two deepest basic forces of a covenant, leadership and friendship, require an inner and outer coexistence of all the individual members of the covenant. They demand: selection and shaping of the raging youthful life. "

IV. Wisdom

"Youth life means: 'Search, struggle, grow, recognize, fight.' The form and design are therefore constantly changing and moving forward; it is movement. Requirement: The federal government must never allow itself to be pressed so tightly into a shape that it can no longer move. "

V. Wisdom

“The necessary internal and external structure of the covenant is shaped by its leader through its own development. He adopted this design from the midnight hour of the year 1919/20 in the Nerother cave to the Nerother meal at the Waldeck youth castle on December 25, 1922. "

Known members


  • Werner Helwig : The blue flower of the wandering bird . Revised new edition. Deutscher Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 1998, ISBN 3-88778-208-9 .
  • Werner Kindt: Documentation of the youth movement. Volume 3: The German youth movement 1920 to 1933. The Bündische Zeit. Diederichs, Düsseldorf 1974, ISBN 3-424-00527-4 .
  • Stefan Krolle: Bündische Umtriebe: History of the Nerother Wandering Bird before and under the Nazi state; a youth association between conformity and resistance. 2nd Edition. Lit, Münster 1986, ISBN 3-88660-051-3 .
  • Stefan Krolle: Musical and cultural stages of the German youth movement from 1919–1964. Lit, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-7642-X .
  • Nerohm (Fritz-Martin Schulz): The last migratory birds. 2nd Edition. Deutscher Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 2002, ISBN 3-88778-197-X .
  • Hotte Schneider: The Waldeck. Songs - rides - adventures. The history of Waldeck Castle from 1911 to the present day. Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2005, ISBN 3-935035-71-3 . 2nd ext. Edition by Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 2015, ISBN 978-3-88778-449-2 .
  • Fritz-Martin Schulz: Advertised from the street. Deutscher Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 2007, ISBN 978-3-88778-310-5 .
  • Norbert Schwarte, Stefan Krolle (eds.): "Anyone who was Nerother was outlawed :" Documents on the occupation of Waldeck Castle and the dissolution of the Nerother Wandering Bird in June 1933. Pulse 20, 2nd revised and expanded edition. Publishing house of the youth movement, Stuttgart 2002. ISSN  0342-3328
  • Gerhard Ziemer: The Wandering Bird and the Political Location of the Historical Youth Movement . Self-published by Nerother Wandervogel, Dorweiler 1984

Web links

Commons : Nerother Wandervogel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. W. Kindt: Documentation of the youth movement. P. 211.
  2. ↑ Brief portrait. Retrieved on September 8, 2015 (scroll down to the heading "Federal Chapter").
  3. Frank Seiß: Sung intoxication. Brecht reception in the Bundische Jugend . In: Dreigroschenheft . Information on Bertolt Brecht. Augsburg. 29th year, issue 4/2013; see also: Werner Helwig: Carmina Nerothana. Südmark. Heidenheim 1983, ISBN 3-88258-048-8 .
  4. so z. B. 1936 from prison: "All really great deeds arise from the drive ... Every leader does this from an unconscious drive of same-sex inclination ... A new people, filled with noble humanity and full of human dignity, filled with ideal striving and creativity, comes to the highest perfection only out of new love. ”(quoted from H. Schneider: Die Waldeck. p. 208).
  5. a b H. Schneider: The Waldeck. 2005, p. 448.
  6. The youth movement was not for sale
  7. 100 years of hitchhiking, singing and being free .
  8. Nerother Wandervogel - Political Location .
  9. a b c d e f Robert Oelbermann: The idea of ​​the "Nerother League" and the "Rhenish Youth Castle" . 1930.
  10. Hotte Schneider: The world trip of the Nerother Wandervogel 1931 to 1933 (PDF) in "Köpfchen", ed. from the working group Burg Waldeck, Kastellaun, June 2003
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on October 13, 2005 .