Hitler Youth in Gaza

by Rafael Medoff

Palestinian Arab children as young as ten years old took an active part in the Hamas pogrom on October 7, according to shocking new testimony from eyewitnesses.

A survivor named Raziel Tamil, who was hiding in a citrus grove adjacent to the Israeli music festival that Hamas attacked, saw terrorists hand rifles to a group of children in Hamas garb—whom he estimated to be between six and ten years old—“and directed them to execute hostages, which they did,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Amotz Bazer and his family were barricaded in their safe room in Kibbutz Nir Oz when terrorists approached their home. Bazer “heard the gunmen push two young boys through the window. The boys then opened the front door for the armed terrorists.” He said that based on the sound of the boys’ voices, he believed they were probably about ten years old, since Bazer has children the same age.

Footage from security cameras has provided further confirmation of children’s involvement on October 7. The Beacon noted that “an online video of a 12-year-old Israeli boy’s abduction from Nir Oz [showed] a Gazan boy of about the same age accompanying the kidnappers.” Also, “boys were among the mob of Gazans recorded crossing into Israel after Hamas terrorists breached the border,” and a Hamas-linked Associated Press stringer “photographed a Gazan boy entering [Kibbutz] Kfar Aza.”

The Beacon added: “In addition to the children, hundreds of ordinary Gazans, including teenagers, joined in Hamas’s bloody rampage across southern Israeli communities.”

Such scenes are not unfamiliar to those who have studied previous Arab wars against Israel. A front page report in the Palestine [Jerusalem] Post on December 3, 1947 began: “A mob of 200 Arab hooligans between 10 and 20 years of age…smashed windows, looted shops and stabbed a number of people” in downtown Jerusalem.

Those teenage and pre-teen Palestinian Arabs were angry at the recent United Nations resolution recommending creation of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside a small Jewish state. They expressed their fury by smashing, looting, and stabbing Jews.

And burning them, too. The Post reported that the young terrorists “forced their way into textile and trade shops” where “the proprietors and workers had barricaded themselves” to escape the mob. The attackers “set goods on fire.” Not unlike those who burned Jews alive in southern Israel last month.

Some Israeli media outlets have been reporting for years that summer camps operated by Hamas in Gaza, and by the Palestinian Authority in the areas it occupies, train children to use weapons and glorify terrorists. Unfortunately, most mainstream American and European publications and media agencies have ignored such reports.

Dictators in previous generations likewise prioritized training children to hate and kill. Adolf Hitler, for example, viewed Germany’s schools as a breeding ground for raising an entire generation of Nazis.

Following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, German school curricula and text books were revised to reflect Nazi ideas. The new biology texts advocated the theory of “Aryan” racial superiority. Atlases focused on the alleged danger to Germany posed by surrounding nations and claimed that various territories had been stolen from Germany. History books presented justifications for German militarism. The Nazis even created their own version of the Cinderella story, with the prince favoring a racially pure young heroine who rejects her racially alien stepmother.

Nazi-educated German children filled the ranks of the Hitler Youth movement. Teenage and pre-teen members took part in numerous atrocities, from forcing Jews to scrub the streets of Vienna with toothbrushes in 1938, to the mass shooting of Jews swimming from sinking boats in the German harbor of Lubeck in 1945.

In addition, many of those who graduated from Hitler Youth joined the Gestapo and participated in the mass murder of European Jewry. Most branches of the Nazi apparatus collapsed or surrendered in the waning days of World War II—but not Hitler Youth, whose members remained fanatically loyal to their Fuhrer to the very end of the war. That’s why they are often mentioned in accounts of atrocities that were perpetrated in the spring of 1945.

Menachem Weinryb, an Auschwitz survivor who was forced to take part in a death march from Poland to Germany, recalled how when the prisoners reached the Belsen area on April 13, 1945, the German guards went to a nearby town “and returned with a lot of young people from the Hitler Youth [and local policemen]…They chased us all into a large barn…we were five to six thousand people…[They] poured out petrol and set the barn on fire. Several thousand people were burned alive.”

Raising children to kill, whether in Nazi Germany in the 1930s or in Gaza today, always has deadly consequences.

(November 2023)