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Hitler Youth Knives: From tool of political indoctrination to an Allied War Trophy

The WW2 era HJ / Hitler Youth Knife was a highly prized war trophy and souvenir for Allied soldiers in Europe at war’s end, and they are now highly collectible.

Many filtered back into the USA, UK and Russia as veteran bring-backs and some into the hands of Australian collectors from family connections or from trading in military antiques. In recent years like most WW2 militaria, these items have become far harder to source.

The Hitler Jugend / Hitler Youth were one of the most recognisable organisations of Third Reich era Germany.

The organisation was formed in 1922 and recruited school aged boys aged from ten to eighteen. The appealing structure, curriculum and appeal was built along the lines of the Boy Scouts. An outdoor and adventure-based curriculum concealed a very deliberate framework for National Socialist political indoctrination as the war progressed that training became progressively more militaristic.

The highly characteristic Hitler Youth Knife was introduced in 1933 and was awarded to a member based upon earning specific qualifications.

Some early knives feature the HJ motto of "Blut und Ehre!" (Blood and Honour!), whilst many do not. Scabbards were made of steel with a leather hanger.

Experts will generally appraise items across three periods.

1933-1936 early period: Steel hilt, some feature motto on the blade, thin bladed, maker marked, low or no ricasso.

1936-1940 transitional period: Thicker blades, RZM designations start to be used, high ricasso, mixture of maker marks and RZM marks and some mottos.

1938-1942 later period: Thick blades, high ricasso, no motto, some with RZM marks and later ones with no markings.

There were at least 150 makers of these knives, and so there are many variations and configurations to be seen.

Like many WW2 items there are also some fakes around, some fakes are obvious ‘out of the factory’ looking items with clearly modern machining and etching, but also some cleverly aged and worn fakes.

Best to buy such items from a reliable source confident enough to offer a money back guarantee on their pieces, as we do. Ours have been through the hands of a recognised subject matter expert and appraiser before we have offered them for sale.


In the course of WW2 militaria collecting and study, museums and private collectors will acquire items of all nationalities, including German. We see this as a legitimate aspect of militaria research and collecting.

We make no political or revisionist statements whatsoever, merely provide an online platform for military antiques and collectables of all styles.

To see more on our policy in this regard CLICK HERE.

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