1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 16


Sm,—During my recent visit to Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia I took the opportunity to visit some of the Greek children who are being sheltered and cared for away from the horror of the tragedy being enacted in their homeland. At Bankia, ten miles from Sofia, I saw 300 boys and girls whose ages ranged from three to fourteen years. They all looked healthy and well cared for. Each girl was dressed in a gaily patterned cotton frock- and each boy in a neat suit. They presented a very different picture from photographs taken when they arrived. Then most of them were suffering from scabies or other diseases of undernourishment, and their clothes were pitiful. They are housed in what was formerly a hotel in this little spa. Recently reconstructed, it stands in large grounds, where I saw the children romping about in a carefree manner. I inspected the bed- rooms, dining-rooms, kitchens and class-rooms. All were bright and clean. Notices on the walls were in Greek, and I was told that all lessons are ccmducted in this language. Before I left the boys and girls danced and sang national dances and songs for me with tremendous energy and enjoyment. Each song was full of expression of love for their homeland. Villagers came into the grounds and watched them. One old lady turned to me and remarked, " The little darlings ; they are just like our own children." As I talked to the doctor and others who are in charge of these children I felt this sentiment was shared by them all. I was told there are 2,000 Greek children being cared for in Bulgaria.

At Sadska Lazne, twenty-six miles from Prague, I visited sixty-two boys and girls whose ages are from four to fifteen. They are housed in a former hotel, which is surrounded by lovely pinewoods. When a whistle was blown to announce that tea was ready children can hurrying from the woods, and a more healthy and carefree collection of children I could not wish to see. A remarkable woman is in charge of these children, and is known to them all as maminka, little mother. As I walked with her first one and then another child came running to her calling her by this name and asking her questions about this, that and the other as children do of their mothers. I was surprised that she knew each child by name. I went over the bedrooms, dining-rooms, class-rooms and play-rooms (where there was a good supply of toys of all kinds). A great deal of effort had been expended to create the homelike atmosphere which I found everywhere. I watched the junior children having lessons after tea. The Greek language was used. On the walls were pictures which the children had drawn of animals and flowers. I saw no sign anywhere of political

activity such as Mr. Keith Butler quotes in his letter of recent date. Again I was entertained by the children with a seemingly inexhaustible repertoire of Greek songs and dances, and I left the cheering children with a feeling in my heart that here, as at Bankia, a fine humanitarian