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Information bulletin
(January 1952)

Dallett, F. J., Jr.
American friends in Germany,   pp. [23]-25 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page [23]


American Friends in Germany
By F. J. DALLETT, JR.
HICOG Duty Officer
La VItMJLTANEOUSLY WITH TILE SOUND of five lan-
L rjidges echoing through the little town of Donau-
eiingen in the Black Forest were heard the hum of a
sewing machines in a refugee camp in Oldenburg,
tii shouts of small boys in leather shorts raking gravel
in l .ankfurt, the singing of students in a conference
ioom in Freiburg and voices of earnest discussion out-
silri a Berlin neighborhood center.
'I'Desc cheerful sounds of renewed hope for the future
in11'!ed the beginning of the American Friends Service
( wrainittee's (AFSC) sixth year of work in aiding the
-o !!l)ilitation of Germany. AFSC has made its unique
(.o i ibution through a seven-point program which caters
to sacihi and psychological needs in the postwar world,
plol inq it high among social welfare programs of foreign
MJ cries in western Europe.
\ 'lirteer workers sent out from Philadelphia, where
thfr )riaker organization has its headquarters, were on
tIih ibo in the British Zone in the spring of 1946 and a
y-ae liter were active in the French and US Zones,
forv ring relief teams for the distribution of food and
rlr(;iriiq to the most needy in Germany. The old hunting
lo(l(ii of the princes of Hesse atKranichstein, nearDarm-
sci(II, administrative center for AFSC activities in Ger-
nin.:s, has rapidly become an international crossroad and
its (li, antler-hung halls a focal point for program con-
l(-( lies in which German co-workers join.
c';ief work and community activity in urban areas,
ovh ' the aftermath of war had created special prob-
Ii   were focused in the neighborhood centers establish-
erl I  y in 1947. The old maxim of "Help those who help
tii  'Ives" prevailed, the brunt of the building and
oin; liation of the centers being borne by the local
il a')itants under the guidance of AFSC representatives.
C(, ris atCologne,Wuppertal, Brunswick, Ludwigshafen,
FLi  irt, Darmstadt and Berlin were set up to provide
kr(Wig rartens for children of working mothers, sewing
5ci('s, shoe shops, lending libraries and to create
s ail and recreational interests to bring all age groups
i0 I IIc center.
W   I IILE SUCH EARLY relief measures as food distri-
bution and child-feeding on the premises have now
(> ri way to activities for social reconstruction, the
ccli' rIs still distribute gifts from America to the needy
inc( *ii ended by their social welfare committees. Typical
is ' (ommittee in the Frankfurt center, a nucleus formed
by vliren from the Catholic, Evangelical and civic wel-
tal( Jtoops in the city, which is unique in German social
liisl ),v since welfare groups have traditionally not been
Cori. iative.
I i;'ever, it is in the amazingly versatile activities
Pir (l. oni, which combines education and recreation, that
the centers achieve their corporate success. Groups meet
weekly for English discussion and English courses, in-
struction in handicrafts, folk dancing, chess, gardening
and for table tennis and other sports for teen agers, and
story hours and films for younger children.
The Saturday 'work camps" at the centers or in
nearby refugee homes, are participated in by all age
groups. The great amount of activity which stems from
the neighborhood centers has awakened a strong sense of
community responsibility in areas where they are located.
AFSC has consistently been able to withdraw financial
support as centers gradually grow toward independence
and to decrease international personnel as German co-
workers assume greater responsibility. Nearly all the
activities are now led and directed by volunteers, and
the strong association of interest promises a long future
of civic usefulness after AFSC direction is ended.
G ERMAN SOCIAL PROBLEMS are considered in the
GService Committee program through practical parti-
cipation as well as in international seminars which bring
together people of different backgrounds in an atmos-
phere free from academic pedantry. By pooling ideas,
seminar participants try to arrive at a basis for under-
Twenty-nine young persons from seven countries labor
alongside ethnic German refugees from Yugoslavia and
Romania at American Friends Service Committee work
camp in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, to build new homes in that
area for its niany refugees.           (AFSC phoitos)
JAi' l \5eY 1952


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