Travels: France

London | Holland

France, Sept. 25 - Oct. 20?
From Mimeograph, pp. 2-3
Burke had taken in some "displaced Americans" who cooked and took care of the place and were extremely helpful, especially since it is practically impossible to get cooking, laundry, cleaning, repair work on the house or secretarial assistance through normal channels.

I think perhaps I should stop here to say a word about these "displaced Americans". They are folks who, for one reason or another got stuck in Germany, had their American passports taken from them, and are now waiting to get home. They include persons who were sick and unable to get out of Germany in time, women though who though married to Germans retained American citizenship, people who stayed a little too long trying to liquidate business interests (their own or clients), etc. One girl in Paris who had been visiting her grandparents, who would not allow her to return to her parents in New York. Many have been in concentration camps. Of course they must all be screened to be sure they are bona fide Americans, but meanwhile they are being treated worse than p.o.w.'s. At first they had no place to stay and nothing to eat. Finally, through the influence of some Catholic sisters, a place was found for them in an abandoned monastery on the outskirts of Paris and meager meals provided, but the monastery was closed in the fall because there was no way to hear, and they were sent tearfully back to Germany. From those who did go through the screening process, it would seem that most of the cases are bona fide, but there is no one to press their claims, and an officer in charge of the Paris camp is reported by various witnesses to have stated he hoped none of them ever got home. The ones I met were all in an extremely bad psychological state.

Later in Czechoslovakia, a woman from the parallel group there called on me with a similar story. She had been taken in and was getting room and meals in exchange for some nominal light duties by the Czech Brethren church, but her years in prison and of flight after her escape had left her in very bad condition. She said there were several hundred such persons around Prague, and later I heard of similar groups in Vienna and Budapest. I have tried to get various persons interested in their fate, but apparently they are outside the organizational pattern and nobody cares. I have talked with the parents of one of the girls I met in Paris, since I returned to New York. They are frantically trying to do whatever they can, but I'm afraid are in the clutches of a lawyer who keeps demanding money but reports no progress.

France, Sept. 25 - Oct. 20?
From Mimeograph, p. 6
So many worthy projects present themselves in France outside the province of the Church that it is a constant temptation to want to give help direct.

There was the town which had had its own municipal dairy set up to assure milk for the children. Then the Germans drove off all the cows. The Brethren gave them some replacements, and it was as worthy and long-range a project as one could ask for. But we would have to pass up such a project unless the French Protestants interested themselves in it.

Or there is a young man with progressive ideas in education who has set up a home for boys similar to our Boys' Town, and is apparently doing a fine job with them, in spite of practically no equipment (they were for instance sleeping on cots with no mattresses and one blanket apiece.) T here is no particular religious slant to the school. But what an opportunity!

I have more hope that Sophie Zernoff will be able to make a case for help for her Russian children of Paris. She has been in student movement work both in the U.S. and France. During the days when everyone was momentarily expecting the bombardment of Paris, she was in charge of these Russian children. They were not evacuated, as the French children were, and after making several please on their behalf, Miss Zernoff put an ad in the paper appealing to the taxi drivers (many of whom are themselves Russian)to help get the youngsters out of the city. On a day when a taxi could demand almost any price for its services, a long line of them came, volunteering to evacuate the children. Now the children, many of whom are orphans, are housed in what was previously an old people's home. They have two buildings, and more than anything else they want a chapel. They can get priories for the material and would build it themselves (perhaps with the help of the taxi drivers on their days off?) What they need is funds for purchase of the materials. Lots of people hear you are in town and come to you with such stories. I told her to clear through Dr. Boegner and Geneva.

France, Sept. 25 - Oct. 20?
From Mimeograph, pp. 7-8
Searching continually for an answer to what seems to me to be the number one problem of so much of Europe-the re-education of the teen-agers-I could find only one solution that satisfied me at all: teachers with tools. These young people are too restless to go back to school. Besides, who is to teach them? Not Nazi teachers, certainly. But what other kinds are there-what other kinds have been trained this last decade? Pre-Hitler teachers? That's been tried. "What do they know about the world today?" ask the young people. And that's that. They stay home.

But rebuilding-ah now, that makes sense. Give them tools, instruction and guidance in their use, and watch their nervous systems, tense from the tragic years they have been through, unwind and relax under the therapy of constructive labor. Watch democracy become real for them as they work together on a common project.


Day kindergartner.

Le Havre beds
Unloading beds from a London air raid shelter for use at a residence school at Caen, France. Joe Howell (on ground) supervises. Beds made it possible to accept many additional pupils.

France kidsBaby buggy-Caen style. Under the care of their older sister, these two little girls enjoy the warm sunshine on a brisk December day in Caen, France, while waiting for the children's clinic to open.

artifact 4 Market

France market

This woman will sell her scanty stock of greens at a good price here in the theater section. It will be more difficult to find something to buy with the money she receives.

France kids

This boy is learning a trade for the reconstruction of France.

France kids

Two French school girls on their way to an anatomy class.

France kids

From the looks on their faces it is hard to judge if these children are enjoying their lunch or are just plain hungry. Lunch is furnished by the Protestant relief center at Caen, France.

London | Holland

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