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Information bulletin
(September 1950)

Vogel, Leroy; Rhoades, Hillard Anthony
Midway on the main,   pp. 11-14 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 13


can students was a fallacy. They pointed to the fact that
the average American postwar student was often a war
veteran, quite often married, and certainly had a more
serious world outlook than his prewar predecessor. The
American professors stated that the longer period of war
matured the German student a bit more, but also divorced
him considerably from his prewar academic background.
THE GREATEST DIFFERENCE between American and
German college students found to date by the Ameri-
can professors was the German student's preoccupation
with finances. As Gottschalk stated, "Since the purchase
of even one book becomes a major monetary expenditure
on the part of a German student, he must pay extremely
close attention to lectures."
According to Harris, the American student listens to a
lecture, but generally gets considerable material from
text and other books. The German student must, of neces-
sity and by virtue of training and tradition, rely on lecture
material. This, according to the entire Chicago faculty,
has probably led to the authority wielded by German
faculty members.
Schmidt has found that while the German student is less
inquisitive than his American counterpart during lectures,
he is just as vocal during informal seminars, and with
American professors, at least, after class.
Bergstraesser, one of the most noted of Goethe scholars
and author of "Goethe's Image of Man and Society,"
termed the German student of today, "extremely pliable,
but definitely anti-totalitarian." Bergstraesser reasoned
that the sudden collapse of the Nazi regime destroyed
completely many of the ideas held by the students and
that the obvious comparison and similarity between
Eastern totalitarianism and German totalitarianism is so
strong a-s to make any type of dictatorship, be it the Stalin
version or the Hitler version, absolutely repugnant. Berg-
straesser, while performing teaching duties, is also col-
lecting data for a new book on "Germany and the West."
Dr. Seckel, who started his medical career in Germany,
was called to Chicago because of his reputation in the
study of diphtheria. When he first returned to Germany,
he was asked to lecture on his old specialty, but felt that
he could no longer qualify as an expert. His tenure in the
United States did not afford him a chance to practice his
specialty since diphtheria has, to a large extent, dis-
appeared in the United States. Other children's diseases
still prevalent in Germany but no longer commonly found
in youngsters in the United States, according to Dr.
Seckel, are rickets, tuberculosis, diarrhea and syphilis.
Dr. Seckel, who spends all his free time visiting German
children's clinics and working in pediatric wards, has
found the German medical student to be the equal, in
seriousness of purpose and intensity of application, of his
American counterpart. He also found that the German
medical student has an inordinate pride in his studies and
that the German physician maintains this pride of pro-
fession.
Dr. Seckel also found that the Nazi-war era deprived the
German medical student of 20 full years of scientific
medical research and application, and that German age
SEPTEMBER 1950
Chicago professors confer at luncheon. L. to r., Dean
Louis Gottschalk, Prof. Chauncy D. Harris, Prof. Arnold
Bergstraesser, secretary-translator Dorothea von Stetten,
housekeeper Lisa Weimer, Mrs. Gottschalk, Prof. Karl
P. Schmidt and Prof. Helmut P. G. Seckel. (P'RB OLCH photos)
and tradition are hindering use of the most advanced
sanitary and preventive methods in the home.
CHICAGO HOUSE is a livable, warm residence under
C a twofold management. One of the visiting professors
always has his wife accompany him. The wife acts as
hostess of the house, supervising the living accommoda-
tions, shopping and entertaining. As noted by one recent
visitor, a veteran of the occupation and a bachelor, "as
soon as I entered the house, I received a breath of real
old-fashioned American hospitality."
The business side of the faculty is run from an office in
the house. This office is presided over by one of the per-
manent employees of the University of Chicago in Frank-
furt, Mrs. Dorothea von Stetten. A 37-year-old refugee
from Berlin, she has the title of secretary, but is a com-
bination secretary, interpreter, administrative assistant
and fount of information.
The House, combined with field trips, informal after-
class bull-sessions, and the genial informality of the staff,
is what really brings the Midway to the Main. The House
is the faculty home; here they do something rare in Ger-
man educational life. Here the faculty entertains students,
in groups and individually; here American thinking is in-
jected, on a man-to-man basis, and here ideas, theories
and refutations are given on a basic, social level.
The House also plays a significant liaison role between
Germans and Americans. Not only ido the members of the
Chicago faculty entertain Frankfurt U. faculty members
at the House, but also, at the same time, members of the
HICOG staff, important governmental officials and visi-
tors from Washington, D.C., and other countries. Thus are
brought together elements of common interest and mutual
goals which would not ordinarily have the opportunity of
meeting socially, informally
Each faculty member, each semester, contributes
between 40 and 50 books, as an outright gift, to his
seminar library. It is in the House that these books re-
ceive their deepest discussions, not only from the point of
view that the Frankfurt University libraries are enriched
by more than 200 academic volumes each semester, but
INFORMATION BULLETIN
13


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