Norkus, Herbert, born on 26-07-1916 Tiergarten, Berlin, Gauleiter of Berlin was Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels (did you know), was a member of the Hitler Youth, who was murdered by communists whilst distributing leaflets advertising a Nazi propaganda rally. Following his death he became an “example of heroic commitment of the
Hitler Youth and was declared a “blood witness of the Movement”. He was also reported to have enjoyed playing the piano and drawing. His father had been wounded in World War I, and supposedly had Communist sympathies. Norkus’ father was invalid and stoker by trade, later is believed to have been a member of the SA . His mother suffered from neuropathy and died in 1931. Clashes between the Hitler Youth and the Communist Red Front youth movement (Rote Jungendfront) were becoming increasingly common as the NSDAP and the German Communist Party struggled for power in the waning days of the Weimar Republic.
On the morning of his death, Norkus was distributing Nazi propaganda leaflets with other Hitler Youths in Berlin-Moabit when a group of communists attempted to stop them and began chasing them. His comrades nicknamed him “Quex” because ”he carried out orders faster than quicksilver.
Death and burial ground of Norkus, Herbert.
On 24-01-1932, 15-year-old Herbert Norkus and other Hitler Youth members
were distributing leaflets advertising an upcoming Nazi rally. The group was confronted by Communists. Norkus group flew for the superior opponents but Herbert was hunted and caught, beaten up and stabbed several times. Norkus fought them off and ran to a nearby house for help. A man answered and slammed the door in his face, presumably because he saw the other boys. Norkus was then stabbed six times by the pursuing Communists. He banged on another door, which was answered by a woman who tried to get him to a hospital. At last he was kicked to death in the Zwinglistrasse, nr 4, in Berlin, and his face was almost unrecognizable. He died on the way to the hospital 24-01-1932, age 15. His father identified him in the Moabiter hospital. The probably murderess were the communistic boys Herbert Klingbell a criminal boy, Werner Simon and Harry Tack. Already on the next morning, Joseph Goebbels began to use Norkus’ death for propaganda purposes during a rally in Berlin’s Sportpalast.
The funeral on 29 January at Plötzensee, Berlin, was turned into a major ceremony of several Nazi party organizations, under the aegis of Goebbels. The following day, also the Nazi paper “der Angriff” appeared with the headline “Wie der Hitlerjunge Herbert Norkus von Rotmord gemeuchelt wurde” “How the Hitler Youth Herbert Norkus was assassinated by red murderers”. (see Adolf Hitler) Herbert was given an martyr funeral, with many “big” Nazis like Hitler’s Youth leader Baldur von Schirach
and is buried on the Neu Johannes Friedhof of Plötzensee, Berlin.
After the Nazis assumed power, the grave of Norkus was turned into a Nazi shrine, visited annually on New Year’s Day by Nazi youth leader Baldur von Schirach for a speech that was broadcast nationwide. To the site of Norkus’ death at Zwinglistraße 4, a plaque was attached reading “He Gave His Life For Germany’s Freedom“, the first of several such memorial plaques subsequently placed throughout Germany. 24 January was made remembrance day for all killed Hitler Youths, and the flag of Norkus’ unit became the Hitler Youth’s “blood flag”
Two weeks after the Enabling Act of 1933, a provocative Hitler Youth march to Norkus’ grave took the route through Berlin’s communist districts of Wedding and Moabit. Throughout Germany, the Nazis organized demonstrations and speeches commemorating their newly created martyr. Novels, plays, poems and songs were written about him.
The novel Der Hitlerjunge Quex was written by Karl Aloys Schenzinger between May and September 1932. It was first published in Nazi party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, and as a book in December 1932. A required reading for Hitler Youth members, more than 190,000 copies were sold within the first two years, and more than 500,000 copies until 1945. In Schenzinger’s novel, Herbert Norkus is named Heini Völker