The Volkssturm (lit. People's Storm) was a German militia force established towards the end of World War II. They were part of the Total War doctrine by Joseph Goebbels, and drafted able men between 13 and 60 as a last-ditch effort to defend the Third Reich's Home Front.
The Volkssturm was heavily involved in the Battle of Berlin, where some 60,000 members were divided into 30 battalions of Volkssturm I (those with weapons) in forward position and Volkssturm II (without weapons) in the inner city. Some of these men were World War I veterans in their 50s with experience and training.
The Volkssturm units were under the control of the local Gauleiters. In Berlin, he was Joseph Goebbels.
Joseph Goebbels, the Gauleiter of Berlin, sent out Volkssturm members as part of the defence of Berlin. Because of their inconsistent training and equipment, most proved to be easy targets for the battle-hardened Russian troops. This is prominently shown in the scene where Wilhelm Mohnke was caught in artillery fire. Seeing Volkssturm members on the street being gunned down, he wanted them off the street, but finding they were under Goebbels' command, decided to take time off the battle to the Führerbunker to talk to him directly.
Goebbels declined to move the Volkssturm, saying their fervent will for victory makes up for that. Eventually, he drops the charade saying "they give us the mandate, and now their little throats are being cut." Mohnke leaves.
Later on, Ernst-Günther Schenck and his adjutant Max Müller, on their way to deliver medical supplies to the Chancellery underground shelter, encountered two elderly Volkssturm members fleeing a Griefkommando squad intent on killing "deserters" among the Volkssturm. Schenck followed the squad who were dragging the two members to meet their commander to stop them. The commander shot the two members and a Mexican standoff erupted between Schenck and the Griefkommando. Seeing nothing is to be gained, the two sides backed off and walked away.