Did Nazi Germany have an equivalent of Britain's official child.evacuation policy?

During WW2 Britain had an official government run scheme to evacuate children to the countryside, so they would be out of harms way if their cities were bombed,

Did the Nazi government or other axis governments have a similar policy?

I think it likely that they did not.

Within the first 75 days of the war, the front lines had been pushed so far out that there was no serious bomb threat to German cities. Could any existing Allied bomber have even reached Geran cities?)

Later in the war, when Allied bombers began to hit German industry, it was mostly after D-day, and the Nazi government was probably too busy to make such plans.

But somebody who knows for sure will probably be along soon.


In the earlier part of the war, the Nazis didn’t expect strategic bombing to be directed against German cities and, by and large, it wasn’t. The British didn’t, I think, even consider a strategic bombing policy until late 1941. Even if they had been minded to engage in strategic bombing of Germany before that, I don’t think they had the capacity to do very much of it.

It was well into 1942 before Germany started to suffer serious amounts of strategic bombing, and by then the Nazi leadership were developing the notion of “total war”; the entire nation was engaged in a mighty struggle, and the privations suffered by civilians simply meant they were sharing in the struggle, rather than shirking the horrors of war that soldiers at the front had to face. Plus, in their view, evacuation of civilian populations made for military weakness; diversion of resources, clogging of transport arteries, detrimental effect on morale. Germans weren’t supposed to react to bombs by running away, but by standing, enduring, fighting and retaliating, and you couldn’t start to learn this lesson too early.

That’s not to say that lots of people didn’t send their kids to stay with friends or relatives in the country; many did. But there were no government-organised efforts at this, as in Britain.

FWIW, in Britain the evacuation programme was unpopular to begin with, and became more so as time went on. Most people found it easier to endure the Blitz if their families were with them, and many either actively evaded evacuation or brought their children home after a comparatively short time. About half of all evacuees had returned home within the first four months of the programme.

Yes, they did.


I doubt it.

During the final Soviet push into Berlin many of the cities defenders were Hitler youth. Looking at old pictures some look as young as 10. Also reading a book called “The Candy Bomber” American soldiers in Berlin and other German cities right after the war gave out alot of candy to all the children they met.

I wonder if the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Whilst shipping off your children to live with strangers may have been unpopular, unofficial evacuation went on in droves. My father went to live with his Grandparents in the countryside (and got an awful education in a village school as a result where, at aged 12, he shared a class with 6 year olds), and my mother and her mother went to live with cousins who had a farm in the north.

They were both from Ipswich, which is a port town near the East Coast, a prime bombing target.

I don’t really get why this question provokes so much rather uninformed speculation. If you aren’t German, then there is no shame in not knowing this stuff (OTOH if you are, then there is), but it is hardly a great mystery.

Good point, kellner. This is one of those few times when two minutes on Wikipedia is apparently more instructive than fifteen minutes of Doper erudition.

hmmm, interesting … From kellner’s link:

On a tangent, I was looking at John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory the other day and he based much of his original work on children evacuated during the Blitz:

Interesting, as also the fact that some Dopers were absolutely convinced there was no such official evacuation policy.

The German Kinderlandverschickung ‘Child land dispatch’ was different in implementation to the British evacuation, but had the same purpose. Originally it was started as a holiday program. Unlike the British who re-homed children in private homes German children were put in Hitler Youth run camps.

Some personal recollections of the KLV.

German doctrine also made much of the massive concrete flaktowers; in which children were sheltered in cramped, unpleasant and unhygienic circumstances. Candles were used to measure air quality - when a candle on the floor went out, the children were evacuated from the level. Of course, Jewish children were forbidden to enter these shelters.

Towards the end of the war Nazi policy on children was less about evacuation and more cannon fodder. Hitler Youth members in the war were often employed as flak cannon operators, but were eventually thrown at advancing Russians.

Sorry for the double-post, just wanted to address the points here. The Vickers Wellington, introduced in 1938, was able to reach Berlin in the first raid in August, 1940.

The impact of D-Day on bombing operations was in switching from bombing German cities to bombing strategic targets in France, something bitterly resisted by Sir Arthur Harris of Bomber Command.

Even after D-Day bombing operations were based in England, counties like Norfolk peppered with hastily constructed airfields for Bomber Command and the 8th Air Force. Before D-Day the strategic bombing of Germany was a matter of priority for Churchill, who argued that in effect it was a ‘second front’ to a disgruntled Stalin.

He had a point as many 88mm flaks and the majority of the Luftwaffe were diverted to Germany from the eastern front to defend against bombing raids.

I hope I didn’t sound snarky. I didn’t mean to single anyone out; I’m sure I, too, have confidently stated some inaccuracies on these boards.