A ‘Wayward’ or ‘Incorrigible’ Youth? Juvenile Crime and Correctional Education in Post-war Germany, 1945–1953
This chapter addresses an alarming question posed in Germany in the immediate post-war period: how could youths reeling from the effects of war be prevented from becoming criminals? The focus of the chapter is primarily on the practice of welfare education from 1945 to 1953, with an overview of the nationwide problem of ‘wayward’ youth. It also provides a more specific investigation of the situation in Berlin through an examination of juvenile court case files. The difficulties faced by welfare and judicial authorities are described, as are their effect on juvenile criminal discourse. Turning to a more detailed micro-level, individual case studies of juvenile crimes processed by the Berlin district are discussed as well as popular notions and preconceptions of the causes of post-war juvenile crime.