They wore their hair long because the Hitler Youth wore theirs short. They wore traditional German attire, refusing the dreaded brown shirts. They irritated the Nazis in countless small ways, pouring sugar into gas tanks and stealing bicycles. They simply weren’t buying what the National Socialists were selling; the vision of a totalitarian Utopia was not for them.
They were German teens who stood against the greatest evil of the 20th century. They left school at age 14 to avoid mandatory participation in the Hitler Youth. At age 18, they would be forced into compulsory military service, but in those 3 years, they STOOD. They scribbled graffiti, protected Jews, delivered explosives to resisters.
Who were these incredible kids? They gave themselves a name - the Edelweiss Pirates. Many would pay a price of course. At the least, their heads were shaved. At worst, they were beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and on the morning of November 10, 1944 in Cologne, six of the them we’re publicly hanged without trial. And remember, these were kids, the high school students of today. One can anticipate bravery among grown men and women, but this? Heroism is indeed found in the most unexpected places. I salute you.