"Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous." [more inside]
The Edelweiss Pirates - Not all German kids joined the Hitler Youth in the 1930's and 40's. A loosely-knit group of thousands of working-class teenagers called the Edelweiss Pirates existed in Cologne and nearby towns. Growing out of a youth hiking group (rather than swing dancing), they created their own anti-Nazi subculture through clothing and protest music. Many were arrested for tagging the city with anti-Nazi graffiti and working with the Underground--and they eventually killed the head of the Cologne Gestapo in 1944. Orders to root them out came from Himmler himself, and some were hung in the streets or killed in the camps. Their story is now being told in a film playing at film festivals around the world, including its European premiere in Berlin a few weeks ago. But the surviving members' criminal records officially remain on the books in Germany.