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Political Guidelines for Party Organizations on Preparing and Implementing the Jugendweihe (1957)

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II. The working class and the Jugendweihe

The working class bears a great responsibility for the Socialist education of our young generation. The Jugendweihe, with its own forms and methods, supplements the Socialist educational work that is being done in schools, in the pioneer organization “Ernst Thälmann,” and in the home. That is why the successful implementation of the Jugendweihe as a contribution to the Socialist education of youth is an important task of the working class. It is interested in seeing an ever larger number of boys and girls participate in the Jugendweihe and in making the youth lectures and events even more interesting and eventful than before.

Good persuasive and educational work was possible wherever capable activist groups for the Jugendweihe existed in enterprises. It is the task of these groups, especially in close collaboration with the women’s committees in the enterprises, to convince more and more workers and young people of the correctness and necessity of the Jugendweihe through systematic education about scientific-technical problems and through conversations about questions of Socialist morality and ethics. In the process, topics like the following should be addressed: problems of nuclear energy, intercontinental rockets, the study of outer space by Soviet earth satellites, and so on, as well as questions concerning the Socialist attitude toward work and public property, Socialist relations among people, and other topics.

In this way, the workers in the enterprises will be introduced to Marxist-Leninist views of the developments in nature and society and will realize the great value of the Jugendweihe for their children. This kind of educational and persuasive work, which should extend over the entire year, will lead to more and more children of members of the enterprise participating in the Jugendweihe.

It is necessary to proactively engage with the issue of the Jugendweihe everywhere. Successes were achieved wherever the working class engaged in intensive persuasive work. Wherever it was possible, through mass-political education about the reactionary role of certain circles within the church, to isolate aggressive clergy from the faithful, to convince church councils to be tolerant of the Jugendweihe, or to achieve mass protests by workers and parents (including Christian circles of the population) against coercive measures and pressures on the conscience on the part of various church leaderships, the opponents of the Jugendweihe retreated. Those forces must be shown that our workers’ and farmers’ state places the freedom of conscience of all citizens under its protection. During these struggles, the feelings of the circles of the population that still have religious sentiments should not be offended. Through this and other methods, as for example, a public debate about scientific-technical questions, we will succeed now and in the future in putting the reactionary forces in their place and in successfully carrying out the Jugendweihe.

In promoting the Jugendweihe, our party comrades must be won over, through the patient work of persuasion, to send their children only to the Jugendweihe and not to confirmation. In order to achieve mass participation in the Jugendweihe next year, individuals who still have religious sentiments must be made aware that their children can participate in the Jugendweihe even if they are also being confirmed. For that reason, the promotion of the Jugendweihe by the committee and activist groups must in no way be limited to ideologically advanced workers and parents, but must be expanded as soon as possible to Christian parents and children as well.

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