The Swing Kids (German: Swingjugend) were a group of jazz and swing lovers in Germany in the 1930s, mainly in Hamburg (St. Pauli) and Berlin. They were composed of 14- to 18-year-old boys and girls in high school, most of them middle- or upper-class students, but some apprentice workers as well. They sought the British and American way of life, defining themselves in swing music and opposing the National-Socialist ideology, especially the Hitlerjugend. The name "SwingKids" (Swing Kinder) is a rough translation of the German Swingjugend ("Swing Youth"), which was a sort of parody of the numerous youth groups that flourished before the National Socialists. They also referred to themselves as Swings or Swingheinis ("Swingity"); the members were called "Swing-Boy", "Swing-Girl" or "Old-Hot-Boy". During the Nazi regime, many of the youth in Germany (ages 10 to 17) were encouraged to join the Hitler Youth. The leaders of this organization realized they had to offer some attraction in the area of social dancing in order to recruit new members. Instead of adopting the popular swing dance (because it was viewed as degenerate and tied to the "damnable jazz'), they resorted to the new-German community dances. They danced in private quarters, clubs, rented halls, and more notably, Café Heinze. These adolescents dressed a little differently than the others who were opposed to swing. For example, boys added a little British flair to their clothes by homburg hats, growing their hair long, and attaching a Union Jack pin to their jacket. Girls wore short skirts, applied lipstick and fingernail polish, and wore their hair long and down instead of applying braids or German-style rolls. (Male Swing Kids rebelled against the short military haircuts of other boys by growing “whips” of long hair, sometimes over a foot in length from their foreheads, that were combed backward with Brillantine or sugared water. Female Swing Kids openly violated the...
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