University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 93 (May 1947)

Juvenile detention home,   pp. [9]-11 PDF (2.1 MB)


Page [10]


normal parental influence was lack-
ing, the father in each case being out
of the home. A few of the children
have neither parents nor home.
Since its establishment, MG Courts
have used the Institution to the
fullest possible extent. On the other
hand, there was considerable resis-
tance on the part of the German
judges and law enforcement officers
because the Welfare Department
rather than the courts has respon-
sibility for the operation of the Home.
Instead of issuing a direct order
to the German authorities, the MG
Legal Branch began an educational
campaign to encourage the German
legal staff to recognize themselves
the advantage of the Home and its
administration.  This approach has
been successful. The German law
enforcement officers are now sending
juveniles to the Detention Home pend-
ing trial, and the, time spent in the
Institution is credited to the delin-
quents. German judges also are sen-
tencing juveniles to a period of reha-
bilitation in the Home rather than to
jail. Both these practices are legal
under the law currently in effect (the
Reichsjugendgerichtsgesetz of 1923).
At the Home, a formal education
program is conducted by qualified
(Left) Youth at the Home taking ad-
vantage of the books in the library.
(Right) Boy receiving medical atten-
tion at the Home's infirmary.
Photos by Bowlds, PRO, OMGUS
teachers. Elementary subjects as well
as cultural courses are taught. In-
struction also is given in handicraft,
carpentry, and gardening. Arrange-
ments have been made for bringing
the necessary machinery and teachers
to establish a brush factory in one of
the shops on the premises. A small
library containing 150 volumes of
children's books, US magazines, and
some of the Armed Forces Editions in
English can be read in the library or
loaned out.
All the boys are engaged in physi-
cal labor or are in class for eight
hours a day. The older boys spend all
but ten hours of this time each week
on work projects. The damaged build-
ings, beds, tables, chairs, and the
bomb debris about the premises is an
ample source of employment for a
considerable time. In addition to the
maintenance of the Institution, build-
ings, and grounds there are laundry
and other services that must be pro-
vided.
The leisure time of the boys is filled
with a variety of activities. Chess,
checkers, cards, and other quiet and
more active games can be played in
the recreation hall. American equip-
ment is on hand for outdoor sports;
the most popular outdoor games at
present are soccer, baseball, handball,
and medicine ball. The team of the
Institution recently was invited by
the US Army to participate in a base-
ball match in Madison Square. US
soldiers of the 111th Truck Company
also go to the Home from time to
time to play with the boys and teach
them American sports.
Church Services Provided
A. program of mental therapy also
is in effect. Regular group discussions
are held. A Hans Sachs play was
produced for the recent Spring Festi-
val. And in their spare time some of
the boys made a replica of their bar-
racks to be presented as a gift to the
American juvenile judge as a token
of their respect for him. Recently a
choir was organized. Protestant reli-
gious services are held regularly in
the small chapel in one of the barracks,
while Catholic boys are taken to a
Catholic church for Sunday services.
Sunday also is the day for visit-
ing. Parents and other adult friends
are permitted to visit the boys for
half an hour. The visiting rooms are
comfortable  and  afford  privacy.
Parents may even bring food to the
boys, but only in quantities that can
be eaten during the visit. At the
Home the boys are given food ration
card No. 2 and all meals are served
in individual rooms from a central
kitchen. From a nutritional standpoint
the boys are as well or better off
than the average child in Germany
today. When questioned on the sub-
ject of food the boys unanimously
have expressed satisfaction. Several
of the youths gained as much as 10
pounds during the first month of con-
finement.
On the whole, health is good,
partly due to a preventive medicine


Go up to Top of Page