Caldwell, W. J.
Touring the border, pp. -11 PDF (3.3 MB)
Eugen Bruecker, sales head of Coburg's Hummel figurine factory, shows newsmen a whisky container with legend, "Thirst is worse than homesickness." (Photo by Jacoby) farms, to compete on the world's free markets. This is one reason why unemployment in the Coburg area is higher than the over-all Bavarian average. Generally speaking, the people living on Bavaria's borders facing Communist-dominated lands are trying to make the best of their lot. Roads linking them with the west are being repaired and new ones built, and housing slowly but re- solutely is being provided in most areas to accommodate workers seeking employment in old and new industries. In some border communities which in prewar days attracted tourists from far and wide, the local officials have been more reluctant about marring their beautiful landscape with smoke and soot-erupting factories. Passau, which faces Austria and where William J. Garlock of Bloomfield, N.J., serves as resident officer, has launched a large power project as an economy aid. However, many of Passau's leading citizens still frown on industries which they fear would deter future tourist trade when life there once more becomes normal. ALL ALONG THE BORDER, the problem of training youth for democratic living was heard, The Com- munist-dominated youth movement (FDJ) in the Soviet Zone of Germany, freely financed by the Communist Party, is making a determined effort to convert Bavarian youth to their cause. The highly-regimented FDJers have made surprisingly few inroads on Bavarian youth, how- ever, despite the impetus a movement of their kind normally-receives when substandard economic conditions and widespread unemployment exist. The anti-Communist youth movement in the border areas generally has received less financial support from local government officials, but their unregimented organi- zation has grown - a growth which many observers attribute in part to the proximity of Communism itself. The Bavarian youth, like their elders, don't have to be told about the evils of a Communist state. Stories re. counted by refugees of life under Red rule has been con. vincing proof for most of the youth that while conditions- in their own Bavarian communities may be bad, their life still is a paradise to that in the East. HICOG, through its resident officers, and US Military authorities are working hand in glove with Bavarian officials to maximize work and play opportunities for Bavarian youth. In Coburg, for instance, a youth home was established in the summer of 1950 through the joint efforts and cooperation of local Bavarian authorities, HICOG and the US Army. The Hof area, as part of its energetic youth program, has completed plans for an international youth forum and camp on the border -one of many such activities plan- ned this summer to promote greater understanding with other nations and to provide, for the benefit of the East zone, an example of unregimented youth activity. THE US RESIDENT OFFICER -the American Govern- ment's so-called "grass-roots ambassador"-deserves much of the credit for introducing the western brand of democracy to a people who, geographically, are exposed to Eastern influences. Only a person who has never taken the trouble to observe the resident officer in action can doubt the vital role he is playing in postwar Germany. His job is a round- the-clock one, with endless conferences, meetings and discussions with local officials and citizenry representing all facets of community life. Sandwiched in to his never-ending schedule of activities are the many problems the resident officer is expected to solve -a controversy stemming from a hunting incident involving a member of the Allied governments stationed in Germany, liaison between American and German officials on a project affecting the interests of both nations, engineering HICOG's exchanges program at the county level, answering questions or providing informa- tion in defense of Western democratic concepts and principles. These are just a few of the jobs which daily demand of the resident officer Solomon-like judgment, wisdom and discretion. Traditional rivalry between city and county govern- ment officials in Coburg -a rivalry which existed long before 1920 when Coburg, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, ceased its historic role as a duchy and was incorporated into the Bavarian state - had retarded community cooperation. This con- dition was further heightened by the fact that the Coburg area politically leans toward two extremes-right and left. Resident Officer Thomsen sensed this rivalry shortly after he took up his post there. He investigated, analyze d the situation, consulted the more open-minded com- munity leaders, and then took some positive steps. Mr. Thomsen intensified HICOG's educational program by organizing youth forums and discussion groups. In the field of adult education he induced the adult people's school (Volkshochschule) to institute a series of lectures, conducted by elected city and county officials of the area, on local civic affairs, explaining that "this develop- INFORMATION BUULLETIN to JUNE 1951
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