National Geographic : 1948 Oct
A New Generation, Facing a New Life, Turns Its Back on the Wreckage of War War was on when millions of such German girls were infants. In early youth, to them, war was the normal way of life. They knew nothing else! Now here at Frankfurt a group of American Military Police work with German kindergarten teachers to reorient young girls and boys. An American girl, Lydia Irene Briggs of Greenville, North Carolina, instructs a sewing class, and an Army captain runs a trade school. lent out some 350,000 books-and lost only 296! (Page 541.) Last Christmas, Air Force entertained 150,000 youngsters. Its GYA sponsors ten newspapers written and printed by young Germans, and more than 50 youth centers flourish at airbases in the U. S. Zone and at Berlin. It builds playgrounds, turns old airfields into gardens, sets up summer camps, and now and then it helps youth to take over and run for a day the affairs of an Air Force city, in the democratic way. Wives of Air Force officers and men, by writing letters to the States, receive hundreds of boxes of shoes and clothing for German children. These American women, working with their husbands, aid orphanages, welfare agencies, parents' advisory councils, and par ent-teacher associations by instilling in both German parents and youth a larger degree of civic responsibility. Nobody is enticed any more with candy or chocolate bars; and no attempt is made to ram democracy down German throats. Instead, Air Force works on a well-rounded program of educational, cultural, and avocational ac tivities. "Operation Boys Town" One outstanding job is "Boys Town," near Munich. This was set up by the Oberpfaffen hofen Airport, which lent tents, field kitchens, cots, and bedding. Then the airport reno vated a 3-story villa, once a Nazi home, and put the boys in it. Each new boy is given shoes, a dyed and made-over suit and overcoat; he gets sprayed with DDT; and he's fed by leftover food from the airport, supplemented by 1,000 calories a day from German relief agencies. Now Boys Town, aided by Air Force GYA, elects its own assembly and lives under a self imposed government. Boys are taught athletic games, trades, and English.