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Information bulletin
(September 1950)

Siebens, Allen C.
Europa union plebiscites,   pp. [15]-18 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 16


Sunday, July 9, was a lively day in Breisach. By midday
more than 50 percent of the eligible voters had cast their
ballots at the polling booths. Breisach, according to its
mayor, was second most destroyed city in Germany in
World War 11: 80 percent of its buildings were razed while
other 20 percent, without exception, were severely damaged.
Its history is full of wars: it has been destroyed 10 times.
War II it was) the second most destroyed city in Germany,
first place being held by the city of Emmerich on the
Rhine. Eighty percent of the buildings in Breisach were
completely destroyed and the other 20 were, without
exception, severely damaged. The children have to go to
school wherever a place (can) be found. They say that
Breisach's educational system has the longest school
corridor in the world: it runs from one end of the city to
the other."
FOR TWO MONTHS prior to the balloting at Breisach,
1Albert Schinzinger, head of the Baden branch of
EUROPA UNION and an old line German democrat, personally
led an active door-to-door campaign to explain the issue
of European federalization to the population of Breisach.
With the enthusiastic aid of Mayor Bueb, the interest and
assistance of local civic and religious organizations, in-
cluding the male glee club, the church choir, the volun-
tary fire department, sport clubs, trade organizations and
political parties were enlisted.
On the eve of the balloting, a mass meeting of some
thousand persons was addressed by South Baden Minister-
President Leonhard Wohleb, by Dr. Ernest B. Steffan,
secretary general of Switzerland's European Union, ana
by Dr. Eugen Kogon, president of EUROPA UNION. In his
speech, Dr. Kogon explained the purpose of the Union
movement, mentioning that since each American worker
is contributing the equivalent of 18 working days a year
to European assistance, it is up to Europeans to justify
this sacrifice by effecting genuine European unification,
Opposition to the Breisach plebiscite was forthcoming,
as might be expected, from the Communists. In the ab-
sence of any Communists in Breisach who dared to
engage in active opposition, a delegation of Communists
from Freiburg demanded and obtained an audience with
the mayor in which they tried to force from him a state-
INFORMATION BULLETIN
ment that the balloting, if it came out affirmatively, really
would mean that the Germans are for the evacuation of
Occupation Forces in Germany.
According to the mayor, the interview ended sum-
marily when he told the Communists, among other
things, "You are the people who are protecting and sup-
porting the robbers on the other side of the Iron Curtain."
Other Communist disruptive tactics at Breisach, such as
the usual display of crude signs on walls and buildings,
ended equally unsuccessfully.
H OWEVER, IN THE MUCH larger community of
Castrop-Rauxel one week later, the Communists,
stronger and better prepared, swung into high gear. US
Deputy Observer Robert Beghtol in the British-Zone state
of North Rhine-Westphalia reported on the Communist
strategy as follows:
"The KPD put on an elaborate counter-campaign and
sent a special representative  from  Duesseldorf to
Castorp-Rauxel to supervise. In the beginning the Freie
Deutsche Jugend (Communist "Free German Youth") was
the only outward sign of Communist attitude, limiting
itself to the destruction of posters. Subsequently the so-
called 'Committee against European Union' put up posters.
In addition, four other kinds of posters were printed, each
in 3,000-4,000 copies. The Communist propaganda became
so intense that certain of the townspeople became
frightened and some shopkeepers who had displayed
European Union posters in their windows removed them.
The Communists threatened to take the names of those
who voted and ultimately planned a counter-meeting to
be held on July 14.
"To counteract this (meeting) the city manager called
for a practice run of the city's fire-fighting equipment,
to end in the public square near the place chosen by the
Communists for their meeting. This was an administrative
decision for which the city manager said he would take
full responsibilty. The move was successful, large crowds
gathered to see the fire department in action, and the
Communist meeting was failure."
Flags of youths' organizations supported the European
Union movement at mass meeting in the town square at
Breisach. On platform in foreground is Mayor Bueb, who
staunchly supported Europa Union in addressing townsfolk.
SEPTEMBER 1950
16


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