The Free German Youth, also known as the FDJ (German: Freie Deutsche Jugend), is a socialist youth movement in Germany. Formerly it was the official youth movement of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. The organization was meant for young people, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 25 and comprised about 75% of the young population of former East Germany. In 1981-1982, this meant 2.3 million members. After being a member of the Thälmann Pioneers, which was for schoolchildren ages 6 to 14, East German youths would usually join the FDJ. The FDJ was intended to be the "reliable assistant and fighting reserve of the Worker's Party", or Socialist Unity Party of Germany, was a member of the National Front and had representatives in the People's Chamber. The political and ideological goal of the FDJ was to influence every aspect of life of young people in the GDR, distribution of Marxism–Leninism and the promotion of communist behavior. Membership in the FDJ was nominally voluntary. However, those who did not join lost access to organized holidays, and found it difficult (if not impossible) to be admitted to universities, pursue chosen careers etc. The majority of youths who refused to join did so for religious reasons. (Wikipedia)
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