National Socialist Training School for the Party Elite [Ordensburg] in Sonthofen, Allgäu (1939)
On January 15, 1937, Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach and the leader of the German Labor Front, Robert Ley, announced the founding of "Adolf Hitler Schools." Like Napolas, these schools aimed to educate the NSDAP’s next generation of leading functionaries. Unlike Napolas, however, instruction was free, and the schools were not administered by the Ministry of Education, but rather solely by the party, in order to ensure that political instruction would be provided only by party functionaries. Under the guidance of the Hitler Youth [Hitler-Jugend or HJ], the curriculum concentrated almost exclusively on physical and military training. Students and teachers distinguished themselves chiefly through their low academic and intellectual abilities. After completing an apprenticeship or university study, graduates of the Adolf Hitler Schools were supposed to receive their final political and ideological polishing in so-called Ordensburgs. Conceived on a medieval model, these institutions were supposed to train loyal, disciplined administrators. Students were to spend their first year studying racial biology at the Falkenburg Ordensburg. The second year was devoted primarily to athletic training at the Vogelsang Ordensburg. In the third year, students received additional physical and ideological training at the Allgäuer Ordensburg in Sonthofen (shown here). Additionally, each year, they were required to do three months of practical work in party organizations. As was the case in all other elite National Socialist schools, the students' intellectual training was almost completely neglected, and the school day was marked by bullying, intimidation, and violence among the students. Photo by Walter Hege.