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Military government weekly information bulletin
No. 35 (April 1946)

General,   pp. 11-16 PDF (4.1 MB)

Page 16

yet been completed, the problem of find-
ing adequate housing for these expellees
within the next few months is already
acute. Bavaria will absorb one half of
the 2,250,000 expellees and reports from
that indicate that the situation is critical.
Munich, for instance, recently reported
that if dwelling space were further re-
quisitioned for the use of expellees, a
corresponding number of the civil popu-
lation would have to be evacuated.
Despite the unsatisfactory situation
which is bound to result from this
expellee influx, the German authorities
under the guidance of Military Govern-
ment have thus far carried out a fairly
successful housing program whose objec-
tive is to provide minimum essential
shelter for the homeless.
The program as outlined by Military
Government was to be effected primarily
through -the use of all available local
resources, which consisted almost exclu-
sively of material salvaged from debris
and used to effect minor repairs on da-
maged dwelling units. No attempt was
made to do extensive rebuilding, andnew
construction has been absolutely prohibi-
ted. The materials needed have been in such
short supply that only those buildings
that lent themselves to emergency mea-
sures have been repaired. Repairs to
lightly damaged houses have proceded
at a rapid rate due to the careful
allocation of building material and the
establishment of priorities for their use.
To meet the critical shortage of
materials, -a determined effort has been
made to use - substitutes as well as
everything salvageable from buildings be-
yond repair. The results, as reported from
different cities, have not been uniform.
Frankfurt reports that "the civilians have
put these materials to good use with their
own hands, but their total effect is almost
negligible." On the other hand, the US
Sector of Berlin reports a very favorable
amount of reconstruction through the use
of these materials. However, there is a
limit to the uses to which brick and like
materials can be put. All windows can-
not be filled with brick nor can houses
be roofed with them.
The critical materials are lumber, tar
paper, plaster, cement, glass, and roofing
materials. Bremen reports that "as com-
pared with the material requirements for
emergency repair and winterizing, the
city has received 20 percent of the
roofing slate needed and 101/2 percent of
the required plaster." Similar reports
have come froom other areas with the em-
phasis on shortages according to local con-
ditions. Furthermore, the extreme shortage
of materials is a concomitant of the
equally acute shortage of basic commo-
dities such as coal. The effects of the
disintegration of a complex and inter-
dependent industrial economy could not
be overcome to meet the requirements
for even modest repairs on such a large
scale. These are other deficiencies besides
lack of ability to manufacture building ma-
terials quickly enough. For example,
transportation of such materials could
not be effected until railroad bridges
were repaired and there was coal for
The shortage of skilled labor in the
building trades is another contributing
factor to the delay in providing emer-
gency housing. This is particularly true
in the case of Bavaria, where there is an
estimated shortage of 12,000 building
workers. There are approximately 4,000
in training on all trades and of this
number, 2,000 are in training for the
building trades. Much of this apprentice
training, however, is "on the job training"
and does not develop as high a degree
of skill as is desired.
(Continued on page 23)

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