Axmann, Arthur, born in Hagen on 18-02-1913, the youngest of five brothers and sisters, of the Legal Adviser, Aloys Axmann and his wife Emma, born Frick. In 1916 the family moved to Berlin-Wedding, where his father worked as an insurance clerk. After the death of his father, the mother must support the family alone. In November 1928 Axmann enters the age of 15 high school student in the Hitler Youth (HJ) and is the leader of the Hitler Youth in the Berlin district of Wedding, five years before Adolf Hitler (did you know) (see William Hitler) came to power in 1933. He studied law and in 1928, founded the first Hitler Youth group in Westphalia. He is active as a cell leader and as a speaker at the Nazi Students League . He distinguished himself in the eyes of Nazi superiors by organizing units of young workers modeled on early Communist labor union organizations, but with the task of seeking converts to National Socialism. Such was his success that, by 1932, he had been called to Berlin, Gauleiter, Joseph Goebbels (did you know) to join the national leadership of the Hitler Youth, which was open to young Germans between the ages of 10 and 18. He is deputy of the Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach, Axmann served as a soldier on Germany’s Western front from 1939 to 1940 before Hitler appointed him leader of the Hitler Youth, succeeding Baldur von Schirach in 1940. It is a sign of how much Adolf Hitler trusted Axmann as it is known that Hitler believed that the future of Nazi Germany lay with its youth and anyone selected to lead its youth had to be held in the highest regard by the Fuehrer. Axmann obviously fitted this criterion. Axmann was the last living Nazi with a rank equivalent to Reichsführer.
According to the authoritative German ”Lexicon of the Third Reich,” he lost an arm visiting the Eastern front in 1941, and had no hesitation in ordering untold thousands of Hitler Youth members into combat as World War II swung against Germany. During the last weeks of the war, Axmann commanded units of the Hitler Youth,
which had been incorporated into the Home Guard, Volkssturm. His units consisted mostly of children and adolescents.
They primarily fought in the Battle of Seelo Heights, Seelower Höhen, which was a part of the larger Battle of Berlin. Many of the young people fighting for Germany under Axmann died having received neither military training nor equipment. On 04-01-1944, Axmann was awarded the German Order, the highest decoration that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual, for his services to the Reich. He and one other recipient, Konstantin Hierl, Reich Labor Leader (Reichsarbeitsführer) in 1935 and a Reichsleiter in 1936. Hierl died on 23-09-1955, in Heidelberg, were the only holders of the award to survive the war and its consequences. All other recipients were either awarded it posthumously, or were killed during the war or its aftermath. During 1945, Axmann was continually 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. He stated, “Women bring life into the world, they do not take it.”As the Soviet Army pressed into Berlin in April 1945, Axmann later told Allied prosecutors, he remained with Hitler and Eva Braun in the Chancellor’s bunker in Berlin.
He told prosecutors at his war crimes trial in 1949 that he was the last person to see the couple alive. Most historians say Hitler and Eva Braun, (Braun parents) whom he had married a few hours earlier, took their lives and their bodies were incinerated. However, in 1994, a Russian historian, Lev A. Bezymensky, argued that the remains had not been completely incinerated and were removed from Berlin to Magdeburg in eastern Germany, which was right. In April 1945, Axmann fled Berlin ahead of the Soviet advance, Axmann spent five months under the pseudonym Eric Siewert in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. He is officially declared dead, but was captured by the Allies in December of the same year. Axmann is moved into the camp Nuremberg-Langwasser and was tried as a supporter of the Nazis in 1949 and sentenced to 39 months’ imprisonment, but the court ruled that he had already served out his punishment in pre-trial detention. After his release, Axmann worked as a sales representative in Gelsenkirchen and Berlin. On 19-08-1958 a West Berlin de-Nazification court fined the former Hitler Youth leader 35.000 marks, approximately 3.000 pounds, or $8.334.00 USD, about half the value of his property in Berlin. 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.
During his trial, Axmann told the court that he had heard the shot by which Hitler committed suicide. He also stated that he had attempted to escape from central Berlin along with Reichsleiter, Martin Bormann, SS Obersturmführer, Hitler’s doctors Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, who’s remains were just found in 1972 and States Secretary of the Reichsministry and right hand of Josef Goebbels, Werner Naumann, who he said had died during the attempt.
Death and burial ground of Axmann, Arthur.
Arthur Axmann died unexpected, at the age of 83, on 24-04-1996 in Berlin and is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Berlin Wilmersdorf.