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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 97 (June 1947)

Hartshorne, Elsa Fay
The women and reconstruction,   pp. 5-6 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page 6

crystalize women's opinions and make
them felt, she said, but warned at the
same time that if the work were not
truly non-partisan the opportunity
would be lost and with it any chance
for women's influence for all time.
Frau Baehnisch described the con-
crete gains which had been made in
Hanover by the committees of the
non-partisan women's organizations.
On one of these a Communist labor
leader sat next to a nun working out
together such practical problems as
the creation of a women's secretariat
to guide people through the maze of
bureaucratic procedure, the spreading
of information on the use of corn in
cooking, the designing and manufac-
turing of cheap, simple, durable fur-
niture. Frau Baehnisch closed with
the statement that a "Democratic
Women's League of Germany" was
still a dream which could be realized
only by slow and careful building
from the bottom up.
"Discussion" followed in the form
of talks by anyone who turned in her
name as having something to say.
There were pleas to work through the
political parties as the quickest and
most effective way; protests against
training girls to believe that boys al-
ways take precedence over them.
Conscientious objectors, with pro-
tection by the law, were suggested as
a solution to the problem of war.
The second day was devoted to
youth problems. Frau Heidrich from
Freiburg (French Zone) spoke from
her 20 years' experience working in
a school in Cuba. She emphasized
the necessity of excluding all fear
from  parent-teacher-child  relation-
ships. She described the "three R's"
as taught at her German school as
Reverence, Rectitude, and Responsibi-
lity, and praised the American schools
for their development in children of
a sensibility for the feelings of others,
self-help, and absolute honesty. It
would be impossible, she said, to
imagine a school in Germany where
children did not copy their work from
each other. Some in the audience in-
sisted that this was no longer true.
A place was made for approximately
15 young delegates to sit in front 'and
face the room. They were introduced
by Marie Elisabeth Lueders. She was
German Democratic Party member of
the Reichstag under the Weimar Re-
public and is, even now at 60 a vivid
personality who evidently has become
very popular with the younger groups.
She declared-as an economist and
lawyer-that German youth should
bear no guilt; that it was ridiculous
to give them an amnesty, because they
should have been declared not respon-
sible. She herself also could admit
no share in the guilt since she fought
against the Nazi regime.
The young people spoke with a re-
freshing clarity and directness. Their
points of view differed widely, from
those who thought the churches had
failed completely to offer help, to
those who saw the salvation of Ger-
many in a religious revival. They
were mostly students and journalists.
Workers were represented only by a
labor organizer and there was no
delegate from the farm or country
population. Diverse as their opinions
were, they shared distrust iand disillu-
sion, an unwillingness to commit them-
selves to a party, and a wish to cast
off nationalism in favor of inter-
nationalism.  They had a private
meeting in the evening at which they
were outspoken in their criticism of
the long-winded and diffuse talk at
the conference. The ideas of Frau
Dr. Baehnisch also carried much
weight with them.
The afternoon of the second day
was devoted to education towards
civic responsibility. Several persons
spoke briefly for coeducation and the
elimination of nationalism in teaching.
Frau Kipp-Kaule representing the
Trade Unions (Freier Deutscher Ge-
werkschaftsbund) urged a unified
school system without the many
branches which today allow a mono-
poly in education to those who go to
the "higher" branches.
Miss Alice Cameron of the British
Military Government described the
evolution of women's organizations in
England and some of the concrete
things they have accomplished. She
made a distinction between two kinds
of responsibility: one which carries
out orders from above-in which Ger-
mans are well schooled; and the other
which recognizes independently what
is right, and needs doing, and does it.
Frau Barbara von Renthe, new chief
of social welfare for the Soviet Zone,
discussed the welfare program being
carried out in eastern Germany. She
said she had the feeling that the
women of the West did not care to
hear about the East and that the West
distrusted the East because they said
"here we can live as we did before
the war." The audience loudly ex-
pressed opposite views. "We in the
East are not going to build a house
in the old style which would then
fall in," she stated.
Seized Arms Disposal
The disposal of surrendered or seiz-
ed weapons and ammunition now in
the custody of Military Government
units was explained in OMGUS cable
to Land OMG's. It read:
Officers in charge of MG units will
immediately contact the nearest mili-
tary post commander and arrange for
the immediate- turning over and or
disposal by the military post author-
ities of all weapons, ammunition, and
explosive surrendered to or seized by
Military Government during the re-
cent arms amnesty. Army authorities
are being instructed to make arrange-
ments to accept custody and re-
sponsibility for further disposition of
such material.
Weapons classified as museum speci-
mens or specimens of historic value
will not be disposed of as provided
in the foregoing. MG officers having
such weapons in their possession, or
knowledge of the location of such
weapons, will request the Monuments,
Fine Arts and Archives Officer of
the Land Office of Military Govern-
ment, or such German authorities as
may be designated by that office, to
approve the classification of such
weapons as museum specimens or
specimens of historic value.
Upon approval of such classification,
the weapons may be placed in a
public museum, provided: the museum
officials approve and the museum is
secure and is not being operated in
violation of Control Council or Mili-
tary Government Enactments.
The Monuments, Fine Arts' and Ar-
chives Officer of the Land OMG will
at his discretion turn back to the Ger-
man owner those items of this cate-
gory which have no museum value.
16 JUNE 1947

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