Leading up to WWII, a group of German teenagers known as the Edelweiss Pirates rebelled against the authoritarian Nazi regime by intermingling with the opposite sex, growing their hair long, and singing banned songs. As the war ensued, they became active in sabotaging the Nazi war effort.
There is a memorial for the Cologne victims on Schönstein Str, next to the Bahnhof The Edelweiss Pirates (Edelweißpiraten), a loosely-organized group of youth in Nazi Germany. They emerged in western Germany out of the German Youth Movement of the late 1930s in response to the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth.
|Des Hitlers Zwang, der macht uns klein,
||Hitler's dictates make us small,
|noch liegen wir in Ketten.
||we're yet bound in chains.
|Doch einmal werden wir wieder frei,
||But one day we'll again walk tall,
|wir werden die Ketten schon brechen.
||no chain can us restrain.
|Denn unsere Fäuste, die sind hart,
||For hard are our fists,
|ja--und die Messer sitzen los,
||Yes! And knives at our wrists,
|für die Freiheit der Jugend,
||for youth to be free,
||Navajos lay siege.
The Nazi response to the Edelweißpiraten was typically harsh. Individuals identified by the Gestapo as belonging to the various gangs were often rounded up and released with their heads shaved to shame them. In some cases, young people were sent to concentration camps for youth or temporarily detained in prison. On October 25, 1944, Heinrich Himmler ordered a crackdown on the group and in November of that year, a group of thirteen people, the heads of the Ehrenfelder Gruppe, were publicly hanged in Cologne