If you are considering to do a League of German Girls impression at a living history event, I believe you should at least know the very basic facts about the impression that you are doing, in order to answer questions from other re-enactors and the public.
(This also keeps you from being considered "just another girl whose husband bought her a uniform so he could bring her to events.")
If I were to make an display board or a flyer for the impression, these would be some of the things I'd include.
I'm going to try and cover some of the very basic questions on this page, but I want you to know that re-enacting is always a learning experience, and no matter how long you've researched a subject, you'll never be able to know everything or every little details. Even after more than three years of researching and working on this website, I find out about new things all the time through interviews with former members, photos, and period publications.
Nobody in living history will ever give you a hard time as long as you make an effort,
try to get things right, and keep studying the subject you've picked! (And
if they do, then they are not the kind of people you'll want to associate
→ BDM means Bund Deutscher Maedel
In some early sources you will see BDM abbreviated BdM with a small "d" in the center. This spelling was seen in the early years of its existence and was soon changed. The correct German name is Bund Deutscher Maedel or Bund Deutscher Maedel in der Hitlerjugend. The correct translation is League of German Girls, and League of German Girls in the Hitler Youth.
We see it referred to sometimes as Bund Deutscher Maedchen, or Bund Deutscher Maedels in Germany; as well as League of German Maidens in English. While those terms aren't horribly wrong to the point that you wouldn't understand what a person is talking about, they are still incorrect.
→ The BDM was not separate from the Hitler Youth
Historians and researchers sometimes make it sound as if there the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls were two entirely separate and unconnected entities. This is incorrect. The overall organization was called the Hitler Youth and included the male Jungvolk, the male Hitler Youth, the female Jungmaedel and the female League of German Girls, as well as the Belief and Beauty society. The correct proper title for the League is League of German Girls in the Hitler Youth.
→ The BDM evolved from Hitler Youth Schwesternschaften
The male Hitler Youth became active in the early 1920s as the Nazi party's youth organization. Even though there was no official female party youth organization, groups started to form independently anyway. Because most girls had been introduced to the organization by their brothers, these groups were sometimes referred to as Hitlerjugend Schwesternschaften, or Hitler Youth Sororities.
→ The BDM became an official part of the Hitler Youth in 1932
The male Hitler Youth was officially founded at the Party Congress in 1926, but the League of German Girls was not officially sanctioned until 1930, and did not become a part of the overall Hitler Youth until 1932. Between the time the League was founded and the time it became a part of the Hitler Youth organization, a lot of fighting took place between the youth leadership and the women of the Nazi party's women's organization, the Frauenschaft, which wanted to take the girls under its own wings. Hitler decided that the League of German Girls should be part of the overall Hitler Youth instead.
→ The leader of the BDM was the Reichsreferentin
The highest rank within the League of German Girls was that of the BDM Reichsreferentin, which literally meant national speaker of the League of German Girls. She was only outranked by the overall head of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach and his successor Artur Axmann (1940-1945). The first BDM Reichsreferentin was Trude Mohr, later Trude Buerkner-Mohr after she got married in 1937. Her successor was Dr. Jutta Ruediger, who held the position from 1937 until the end of the war in 1945.
→ Membership in the BDM was open to girls ages 10 and up
The minimum age for joining the League of German Girls was age 10. Girls between 10 and 14 were part of the Jungmaedel, and girls ages 14 and older were members of the League of German Girls. A girl could remain in the League until she either got married, got pregnant, or simply went on to other pursuits after reaching age 18. Most of the League's leaders were women with completed university degrees or vocational training who were between their mid-20s and their late 30s in age. It is a common misconception that a girl had to leave the BDM automatically at age 18.
→ The Belief and Beauty society was a part of the BDM
In 1938, das Werk Glaube und Schoenheit, the Belief and Beauty Society, was founded. Membership in the society was open to young women between the ages of 17 and 21 years, and completely voluntary. The idea behind the Belief and Beauty society was to serve as a tie-in between work in the BDM and the women's organization of the Nazi party, the Frauenschaft. The Belief and Beauty society placed a more feminine image at the center of its philosophy and offered eurhythmic dancing and gymnastics, textile work such as screen-printing and cross stitching, fashion design, and home economics, among other courses. Classes on house-holding and child care were also offered to members of the Belief and Beauty Society, but those were taught by members of the Frauenschaft, not members of the BDM.
→ The BDM did no paramilitary training
Unlike the boys of the male Hitler Youth who did a lot of paramilitary training, such as shooting rifles, the girls in the League of German Girls received no paramilitary training, and particularly no weapons training. The BDM did, however, do a lot of things that historians like to claim was paramilitary, but is taught in the same ways to modern girl scouts, such as camping, orienteering (land navigation), and first aid.
Very late in the war, in March 1945, Martin Bormann sent a letter to all the Gauleiters suggesting that girls and women, especially from rural areas, should be trained to shoot pistols or rifles by their local Volkssturm units for means of self defense, but this was never followed up on a large scale.
→ The BDM only had medical skill badges
Unlike boys in the male Hitler Youth, girls in the League of German Girls did not have the ability to earn a large variety of skill badges, such as shooting badges, riding badges, etc. The only skill badges that the BDM did have were medical in nature. Prior to September 1938, the BDM had a Gesundheitsdienst, health service, badge which consisted of a round badge with the emblem of a snake wound around a staff with the letters G and D next to it. In September 1938 that badge was replaced for both the BDM and the male Hitler Youth by a white badge featuring a red Y-shaped rune.