By the time the Nazis came to power, Jewish youth movements in Germany ideologically consisted of two branches: groups with a strong orientation toward the German youth movement, and Zionist youth groups (religious and secular) including the secular He-halutz (pioneer) movement, whose major goal was preparing young people for immigration to Palestine. The international He-halutz movement began during World War I. In 1935, 4,500 youth in Germany were trained in He-halutz centers, particularly in agriculture.
Nazi policy on Jewish youth organizations was not consistent, but often was aimed at isolating them from German youth groups, and discouraging their efforts in support of Jews staying in Germany. Zionist groups often were tolerated or even encouraged since they supported and provided training for emigration. In 1936, the Nazis prohibited all non-Zionist groups, which led to considerable growth for the Zionist youth movement. During that year, membership rose to approximately 50,000 young Jews in Germany. The Zionist youth groups maintained their own way of life, including their physical, social, ideological, and cultural activities, despite deteriorating conditions and restrictions imposed on Jews.