Hitler Youth Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Updated on May 04, 2023. Originally added on Dec 01, 2017 by Kathy Pinna

This photo of a former member of the Hitler Youth - Hitlerjugend - being sentenced for espionage in 1945, has made waves online over the years.

It shows 16 year old Karl Arno Punzeller, a leader in the Hitler Youth organization, listening as he is told that his death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.

Karl had been reporting American troop movements to the Nazis and a German court had convicted him of espionage, giving him the death sentence.

The photo and the story behind it is sad, while also interesting. See some of the propaganda - from both sides - that dominated during World War 2. It's no wonder that people had very strong opinions and feelings that their side was right.

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Karl Arno Punzeller being sentenced

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Some comments from people on Reddit:

"A lot of German prisoner lived in my town of Anniston. The prison and graves of those who died in captivity are still here. Pretty cool stuff." Red-Duke

"He was in civilian clothes befriending American troops. and then reporting back to the Germans on where they were so they could shell them." martlet1

"In uniform, protected by international law. In civilian clothes, a spy or insurgent and subject to death on discovery." stopnfall

United States Anti-Nazi Propaganda

The U.S. was pretty good at demonizing Hitler and those who supported him . . .
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Hitler wants us to believe . . .
"Democracy is dead"
"Jews cause everybodys problems, everywhere"
"We are lost in the Pacific"
and on . . . and on . . .

What's inside Adolf's mind?

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Oh! Hitler's brain - or at least what was in it - was scary!!


Morale booster

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Oh, yes - "Let's Kick Hitler Into Hell"!

Hitler's Helpmates! Anyone who eats, and hoards, too much sugar!
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"Adolf has only the most complimentary things to say about Mrs. Miranda Glucose. She has simply captivated him with her Axis-crable behavior. When the possibility of sugar rationing was first mentioned, this far-sighted lady bought up enough sugar to feed twenty-five American families for the next six years. And now that the rationing order has been put into effect, she is deliberately breaking the law by not telling the government about the secret stores. Happy diabetes, Miranda" - text from government accompanying the photo

German Nazi Propaganda

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"The leader of the youth" A German poster showing an idealized Hitler with a mother holding her "perfect" child up to his image. Propaganda strongly encouraged - if not mandated - youth to join the Hitler Youth and spy for their country - sometimes even on their own parents. It was the patriotic thing to do.

Office of War Information

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Occupied France, 1942. "This grim poster came to the Office of War Information (OWI) from Paris by a devious route, a route which for obvious reasons cannot be given but which, by its very existence, proves that the Gestapo isn't all-powerful. Bordered in red, surmounted by eagle and swastika, the poster is a notice that a member of the German army was killed in Paris, August 21, 1941, and that, as a consequence, every Frenchman under arrest, from August 23 on, will be considered a hostage."


Solving crimes

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A photo of a seven-man military commission on 8 German saboteurs in 1942.

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Stevie Etheridge
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shared on 03/23/2003

Sad memento of the war. A US soldier brought this photo back from World War 2 - possibly taken from the body of a dead Nazi soldier, it seems to be stained with blood.

Have photos that you'd like to see included? Share your photos or see photos of Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941 on the next page.

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