A Quick Lesson On Hitler Youth Knives

A Quick Lesson On Hitler Youth Knives

The Hitler Youth was a massive organization with membership in upwards of 8 million by 1940. By this time all males between the age of 14 and 18 were mandated to join this para-military group which in many cases mirrors our Boy Scouts. The dream sidearm for every member was the Hitler Youth knife (fahrtenmesser).
This knife, like much of the equipment used during this time, underwent a series of changes during the Third Reich. Early examples up through 1939 had nickel-silver fittings, anodized scabbards, the maker's name and logo and the famous motto for the Hitler Youth which was "Blut und Ehre!". This literally translates to "Blood and Honor!". Of course all of the knives have the quintessential HJ diamond in the middle of the handle.

 Sometime around 1939, you can find what is referred to as transitional examples that still retain the motto but now are dated on the ricasso of the blade. Instead of the maker's name and logo, you begin to see contract numbers which was the Reich's veiled attempt to disguise the names and locations of the manufacturers.


 By 1940 and up until 1942, which is considered by most to be the last year for dagger manufacturer, the majority of the hilts on HJ knives were simply nickel plated with a steel base. The plated blade was plain, with no motto, and just the RZM code of the maker along with the year of manufacture. The scabbards were painted and the leather belt loop and retaining strap tended to be of lesser quality. I have even encountered examples with a rudimentary plastic belt loop. 


It's quite common to find the blade of the HJ knife sharpened. In many cases, this was done by the Hitler Youth member himself because the factory issue knife was quite dull. The same was true for our Boy Scout knifes. I distinctly remember sharpening my knife so I could whittle sticks and things into different shapes. 



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