• Jennifer V. Evans
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


In a federal youth services memorandum of April 1958, an unknown author outlined the current state of youth criminal policy in the German Democratic Republic. “Unlike in West Germany,” they wrote, “in the GDR, delinquency is no longer the product of war and fascism as it was in the years after 1945.” Implicitly connected to the evils of capitalism and not the aftermath of total war, juvenile delinquency was less of a problem in East Germany, apparently, due to the social character of the Workers’ and Farmers’ State. Contemporary cases of youth endangerment and criminality owed their existence not to the lingering stain of prewar social discipline, the author suggested, but to the inadequate application of socialist educational methods. Indeed, such programs were either unknown or “not uniformly applied by those responsible for instituting policy.”3 This example of double speak - the initial down-playing of youth crime followed by attempts to foist responsibility on the ill-conceived actions of rogue caseworkers and incomplete socialist acculturation - is illustrative of the mechanisms of governance at work in the insecure East German regime. What it fails to take into account, however, is that on both sides of the boundary, and in Cold War Berlin especially, the rise in postwar youth crime posed a host of difficult challenges for police, court, and youth welfare workers in the first decades after the war.4


Train Station Juvenile Delinquency Young Offender Youth Service Penal Policy 
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