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Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Caldwell, W. J.
Touring the border,   pp. [7]-11 PDF (3.3 MB)


Page 10


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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