19 JUNE 1947, Page 15


Sut,—Readers of The Spectator will be aware of conditions in Germany and will know of the terrible feelings of despair that fill the hearts of the young people in that unhappy land. I have recently returned with a col- league from a visit to the British zone, and I think that readers will be glad to know that, despite the grim outlook, the position is not as hopeless as it would at first appear. Conditions are bad—how bad can only be judged at first hand. Before our visit, we were fairly well informed on the position, but it was not until we saw the conditions with our own eyes that we fully appreciated the reality. Yet, despite this, we were encour- aged by our visit, for we realised that the situation was not being ignored. Conversations with those responsible for the youth work of the Control Commission revealed that they were not only fully alive to the seriousness of the situation but were anxious to relieve German youth from the claustrophobia to which it had been subject during the tragic years since 1933. After a full discussion, certain proposals for action were made, and, although the Youth Hostels Association is primarily responsible for the carrying out of the proposals, there is a fine opportunity for all who are interested in Germany to participate. The proposals are in four parts and include :— (a) The sending of voluntary working parties of Youth Hostellers drawn from several countries to Germaty to work side by side with young Germans in the rebuilding of their damaged Youth Hostels ; (b) The training in England at our Youth Hostels of a selected number of prospective German house-parents ; (c) The sending to Germany of a few English members to join in Youth Leaders' Training Courses ; and (d) The invitation to this country of a- number of selected young Germans to live for a fortnight or more in English hostels and in private homes, and to work with our members, in order to gain a general insight into the democratic life and the running of our young people's organisa- tions. The young German visitors have no negotiable money, and the expenses of their travel and keep must be borne by well-wishers in Britain. The number to be invited will largely depend on the funds available.

Our members volunteering for work in Germany will pay all their own expenses, and the Youth Hostels Association will help all it can, but it is not in a position to bear the main financial burden, especially in regard to the last proposal (d) and would welcome contributions for this part the work from any who wish to share in this opportunity of helping to build a better Germany. In commending this appeal to your readers, I should like to remind them that these proposals are not merely another item of relief service, but by providing some outlet, for the energies of German youth, they offer the opportunity of making a positive contribu- tion to future world understanding and co-operation.—Yours faithfully,


Youth Hottels Association, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.