Walter Wagnitz. 23.07.1916 – 01.01.1933
Hitler Youth: Kameradschaft Pharus, Bann 6 Berlin.
The former Reich Youth Leader Artur Axmann remembers in his autobiography – This Could Not Be The End:
“In the early hours of the new year, Walter Wagnitz was murdered by stabbing at Utrechtstrasse 24. It happened only a few hundred meters from my apartment. He was a tailor’s apprentice and sixteen years young. Shortly after the sad report, I was at the murder site. His friends, who knew him closely, told me about his strong sense of comradeship and that he often donated when others could not pay. He lived in Liebenwalderstrasse, where there were almost only communists. He was always on the spot and never chickened out when things got queasy.“
Only a few weeks earlier, the Communists in Berlin had emerged from the Reichstag elections as a strong force. Wagnitz had celebrated New Year’s Eve together with some comrades in a local pub (sturmlokal) in Utrecht Strasse, later renamed Walter-Wagnitz-Strasse, in the district of Wedding.
Around 11pm a group of communists walked past the pub and shouted to the young man that they would be back in two hours, and that the fascists would then experience a lot more. Walter Wagnitz lived in a communist dominated street. He had experienced enough threats and fisticuffs not to take everything at face value.
Around 1:30am, the sixteen-year-old was standing alone in front of the pub/restaurant when he was brutally attacked in the darkness. With several stab wounds, one of which punctured his lung, the boy staggered back into the restaurant and collapsed bleeding.
Walter Albrecht Jochen Wagnitz, Hitler Youth in the Schar 3, Kameradschaft Pharus, Bann 6 Berlin, died shortly after his admission to Virchow Hospital.
The scene of the crime in front of the building numbered 24, was later marked by a memorial plaque with the words ‘Here died for Germany by a communist murderer’s hand on January 1, 1933 the Hitler Youth Wagnitz’.
Walter was born in Braunschweig on July 23, 1916. At the age of two, he was fostered by a couple who later adopted him. In Berlin he attended the 6th Oberreal-schule, which he had to drop out at the age of 14 due to the family’s financial hardship. The sixteen-year-old lived with his parents in a one-room apartment in the red Berlin working-class district of Wedding until his death.
On April 15, 1931, Wagnitz began an apprenticeship as a tailor. At this time he had already been a member of the NS-Schulerbund for three months without the knowledge of his parents, and joined the Hitler Youth in October. Only months later, in the course of 1932, did his parents learn that their son belonged to the NS movement and that he had been hiding his uniform with his comrades for a long time. A few weeks earlier, the boys of Schar 3 had been surrounded and attacked by political opponents.
The evening before the funeral, a large gathering had taken place in Berlin’s Lustgarten in honor of the fallen. While the flags were lowered for the last salute, one of the National Socialist speakers took the pledge from the Brown Shirts who had lined up:
“It is only an unknown worker boy, whose slim body rests in the open grave, but because he came from the people, fought for the people, he is buried like a king, and the whole people follows his coffin. He paid for his loyalty to his people with his life and joined the front line of the Horst Wessel company of the dead, who gave their best blood for Germany. At this point we vow that soon a flame will rise from this tomb, calling the whole nation to freedom and leading it towards the goal for which the young worker Walter Wagnitz fell.”
The Berlin Hitler Youth named banner 6 after the dead man. Furthermore, a floating youth hostel at the Hansabrucke and a youth home in the Ackerstrasse in Berlin-Mitte bore the name Walter Wagnitz.
In Dr Joseph Goebbels book: My Part In Germany’s Fight, his entry for January 2nd 1933 reads, “In the night a boy from the Hitler Youth has been murdered. The red fist of Communism is again threatening the capital. Now and then one is overcome by momentary weakness, but one must pull oneself together, and not give way.”
On January 7th he also wrote: “The Hitler Youth Wagnitz is being buried. The whole population of Berlin accompanies him to the grave as if he were a king. At midday we receive the corpse at the mortuary, and then an endless funeral procession winds its way through the drizzling rain of the Berlin suburbs. We march behind the coffin of this murdered boy through eternal walls of men for two-and-a half hours. The whole SA, SS and Hitler Youth follows.
Hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets. We reach the cemetery at dusk and lay him back into the motherly bosom of the earth. Deeply affected, the crowds remain standing near the cemetery until midnight. Tens of thousands are bidding their last goodbye to the sixteen-year-old Hitler Youth!”
My Part In Germany’s Fight is available from the British Movement.
“Only The Forgotten Are Dead”
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