Dallett, F. J., Jr.
American friends in Germany, pp. -25 PDF (1.9 MB)
ii DP camps in the Munich area, one of which, the Schleiss- heilm Camp, has some 5,000 dwellers. At Feldafing, the unaccompanied children's village in Bavaria, the Quakers are concerned with the boys and cils as individuals-in their home life, their relations to each other and to their house parents. They are trying to establish a bridge of relations for the children with the caimp administration; by concentrating on the personality at the child as much as on his physical necessities, the molding of social consciousness in the citizen of tomorrow is not being neglected. THE REFUGEE PROBLEM, with millions homeless and Lmillions more living on welfare or partially socially dependent, is still a grave challenge in all its aspects, despite the large slice of the German Federal Republic's budget which is allotted to social welfare work. Giving hlinaediate material aid, AFSC distributed relief supplies contributed in America and shipped to Germany through the auspices of CRALOG (Council of Relief Agencies Lic ensed to Operate in Germany), through the facilities of the German welfare agencies and also through its own projects. This aid goes largely to refugees but AFSC does not stop there. 'Ihe Service Committee has always realized that long- term contact is the most effective method in working with e fUgees. Defeatism and inertia in refugee camps break dlown only with the conviction that someone is personally interested in the refugees and their problems. For instance, thIne years ago the refugee camps in the vicinity of the town of Oldenburg were faced with physical and moral starvation. An AFSC team went to live in the area and to set LIp programs in six of the most desolate camps, where they have been working ever since. The work varies in each camp, depending on needs and opportunities. Last year the AFSC team, equipped with good will, g(eat energy and real sympathy, was given a $1000 grant mi addition to its regular budget, to see if it could develop a self-help project with the inhabitants of Burlags- heir; Camp, completely isolated in sandy wasteland in a rirlit area. With that money the men in the camp built International youth of high school and college age come ('eaIch year to lend willing hand with construction projects. Refugee women from Silesia, Pomerania and East Prussia find new incentive and sense of usefulness through jobs in bed-linen workshop established at big Oldenburg Camp. and equipped a sewing room. Today 22 women, represent- ing that number of the 70 resident families, are turning out bed linen from material supplied by a local manu- facturer. This is record employment for refugee camps in Germany, perhaps in all of Europe! A kindergarten run by AFSC is maintained in the camp by the local town officials. Materials and shoe leather are converted into clothes and shoes for camp consump- tion. Burlagsberg and Schweinebrueck have "common rooms" where discussion programs are planned and concerts arranged with records borrowed from local US Information Centers. F OR THE PAST FOUR YEARS, the AFSC workers in these camps have helped to create a fund of good will and real love which is a heartening sign for the future. Self-respect has been reestablished in the camps, and tension has been broken down between the refugee groups and the native residents who were reluctant to accept them. Local authorities have been stimulated into action. Isolation, the chief confederate of distrust, has been diminished. Such an accomplishment would have been impossible if AFSC workers, convinced of the value of personal contacts stemming from sympathy with human beings rather than from intellectual interest, had not stayed on the job, tirelessly, year after year. In such ways the American Friends Service Committee fulfills "the widespread need and desire of individuals for dependable human relationships, with opportunities for developing them" and, regardless of political or social con- flict, works everywhere -with people as people. +END INFORMATION BULLETIN J]ANUlARY 1952 25
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