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The voices of Europe produced and recorded by Milton Mayer in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. And now Milton Mayer. What should a young American or even a not so young American man or woman do who wants to broaden themselves in some useful fashion and have as little time on his hands or can manage to make a little time on his hands. A summer's holiday already even as much as a year or two. In Paris I am interviewing successively two young men one of them a German one of them the Swiss
who are connected with two of the organizations international organizations established to facilitate the visiting with travel and the mutual assistance primarily of young men and women between America and Europe. First time interviewing Herr Erik Hofmann. Who is the director of the mind grand orientation program of the Council on student travel and organizations sponsored by a very large variety of religious and secular associations in the United States.
Herr Hoffman was born the son of a Salesman in Homburg in Germany in 1924 in 1943. He was taken into the German army at the age of 18 fought in France and in Italy before he was wounded in Russia. I. Was a prisoner in Holland and then in England after the war and in 1946 he had an opportunity to study for a year at the YMCA war prisoners camp in England after his repatriation to his native country. He went back to high school took his college entrance exams. And then was employed by the YMCA war prisoners aid in Germany. He received a scholarship to a little Manchester College in Indiana where he spent two
years and then did three years of graduate work at the University of Wisconsin where he took kids and may in social and political science after returning to Germany. He studied for a semester at the University of home bored and then went to work for the Council on student travel. Here Hofmann exactly what does the Council on student travel do. The Council on student travel provides facilities for individuals and groups to go to Europe each summer not on planes but on ships which the Council on student travel charters and of which it makes the space available to students educators and anyone connected with any educational organization.
Does it have anything to do with people going from Europe to the United States. Oh yes it is a two way street if you may call it that. We are also bringing over European educators and European students to the United States. But of course the people traveling from Europe to the United States I should say Europeans visiting the United States is much smaller than Americans visiting Europe. What's the ultimate purpose of the council. Why why does it exist. The ultimate purpose of the council is if you want to call it that to foster international understanding create a better atmosphere in the world. And we believe that this is possible through the exchange of persons and providing the people with facilities to meet people in other countries for this purpose. We are eager to charter ships or blocks of space on other
ships to transport people across the ocean that they can meet people in their own profession on their own line to talk over their problems with us and try to understand and get an insight on how they lived what their problems are and what their worries are. And as I said we hope that this will contribute ultimately to a better world. Is your program one only for summer travel. No. Our program is not only for summer travel. I think I have to point out that of course our main programs are run during the summer namely between the academic years when we transport more than 3000 students each way. Students and educators. That is. And so that is where the bulk of our effort is directed. On the other hand we also have programs that run through the year namely on
commercial tourist ships and here the travelers are not so much people connected with any educational institution but our programs are directed at the average tourist. If you may say so who goes to Europe for a visit or for business purposes and on the ships we try to prepare them as well as possible for the European experience and coming back from Europe. We try to evaluate this experience with him also on these ships are always a number of immigrants coming from Europe to the United States. And we found that many of these immigrants were utterly unprepared for was there or. Experience in the United States on Canada. And we felt a real need to do something about this. And so it was more as an avatar was that we got also into the business of migrant
orientation which we carry through now on various ships on the North Atlantic between Braemar and channel ports and New York or Canadian ports. Is there no organization or institution in the United States itself which helps orient immigrants. Yes there are various organizations in the United States and also the government who are Aryans migrants but only. After they have landed in the United States you are know about the evening schools set up in the various states to prepare as the immigrants for citizenship. So that's a can pass examinations. There are various voluntary Terry and private agencies who do that but that is only after the immigrant has landed and does not help the immigrant. In the very first days that he is in the new homeland memory in those days where the confusion and
frustration is greatest and we tried to alleviate a little bit of this frustration and confusion by preparing the immigrant especially for his first days in the new homeland your programs and Herr Hartmann are entirely ship board programs. That is correct. Our programs are entirely ship board programs. We do not run any programs ashore and how much are you able to do with people on say an 8 to 10 day crossing of the Atlantic. In my opinion we are able to do quite a bit. Of course there are skeptics. And so far we were quite successful in convincing the skeptics that it is worth worth while to run a program in the short time. Take for instance language instruction. Every language teacher will be horrified with the thought of teaching a new language in 10 days. Well of course we do not try to teach a new
language but what we can do in 10 days is to give a basic vocabulary and a collection of useful phrases to the newcomer. The American student going to Europe and trying to learn German or French or Italian or the immigrant trying to learn English. At least they can ask for directions buy a ticket and can spare them names in this strange out of a bet. And what is most important. These people have to a certain extent by the time they land. Overcome their shyness of even trying to use the new language and as a little bit more encouraged to speak out and also go ahead to extend the foundations which we have laid on shipboard. How did the organization the Council on student travel come into existence
and how is it supported. Well the Council on student travel came into existence shortly after the war. Until then the United States government had to make shipping space available for transporting students to Europe and back in 1946. That was no longer possible. And the various religious and educational organization who had an interest in transporting students back and forth across the Atlantic got together a conference sponsored by the State Department to see what could be done. And it was decided then and there that these organizations formed a council which should attempt to obtain private shipping space what out of this conference group the Council on student travel which has since then been a permanent organization seat in New York and sub
office in Europe and parents and the council now charters ships and blocks of space on certain ships and makes the. Birds of the space available to the member agencies of the council and give sufficient space is available also to individuals who apply for space. Is the council self-supporting. Yes the council is self-supporting. The member agencies pay a token fee and for that they have the privilege of changing space through the council. But otherwise the council is self-supporting through the passages we provide to groups and individuals. Each year we transport between 3000 and 3500 short term visitors each way and the number of migrants
is of course much higher. For instance we run a programme on one ship which saves every three and a half weeks out of twelve hundred fifty immigrants. There are always several hundred immigrants on the other ships on which we run orientation programs so that by the end of the year we have reached. For more than 20 25000 newcomers to the United States or Canada there are half one. I can understand the advantages of the kind of program that you conduct. What are the disadvantages What are the objections to this kind of program or don't you see any. Of course it is a question hard to answer. For me I am so wrapped up in this program. I see the technical disadvantages that such a program has because running an education program on the high seas has its
shortcomings often you are unable to predict what a program exactly will be like. That is of course space limitations you are dependent on the weather and each day. Passenger compliment is different so that you have to be flexible and adjust quite a bit. I do not see a disadvantage in running such a program but only as the advantages of it and I myself knowing what it is like to go to the United States unprepared and without a program and always again favorably impressed with what we are able to offer on a 10 day crossing and how boring and an education it is to come across the ocean with out such a program. How do they get more information they can get any information they like by simply writing to the Council
on student travel 179 Broadway New York 7 New York thank you very much. My next interview is where Hans Peter Miller. Who is executive secretary. This is a mouthful of the coordinating committee for international voluntary work camps a non-governmental organization associated with few Nesco and supported by a great many social welfare organizations in the United States and in your hands. Peter Miller was born in Davos Switzerland in 1913 educated in
Basel to enter the hotel business. He went to work for his uncle a hotel man in law's son and after three years of apprenticeship he went out like a good Swiss hotel man to operate a hotel in the NBA. After three years there he went back to Europe in 1941 and instead of remaining in the hotel business became associated with the International Red Cross with whom he worked for eight years in Geneva in finance and in postwar Poland in 1949 when the International Red Cross was expelled from Poland. He entered a work camp an
institution of which I hope we shall hear more and subsequently lectured on work camping for you Nesco until in 1952 he took his present position. Here Miller what is a work camp. Our usual conception of a work camp is a team of 20 to 30 volunteers doing some work which is needed for a community something which would otherwise not be done. These people would come from various states from. Various backgrounds. There would be girls and boys. Sometimes there would be 18 to 25 and sometimes older. They might also be from different races and from different religious backgrounds.
The emphasis all is almost always on doing some way which is badly needed for refugees building schools. Part of this kind of thing get started. It really started out of the frustration of a group of young people who had been sitting in a three days conference. They felt that something should come out of this conference and they were not sure that it would come out in the way of frequent patients and the resolutions. So they proposed that something very tangibles should be done. This was in 1920 just after the first world war and they went right out from there to a place near Verdana where they helped farmers reconstruct their houses which had been destroyed by the war. Who were these young people and herded they happened to be in a three day conference.
While the conference was the fellowship of free consultation a group of people from various nations which have a strong concern for building peace between the nations. The group of people were dark age English and German students. The leader was Swiss by the name of service. He happened to be the son of a former president of the Swiss Republic. After that he gave his whole life to this type of work. He went to France. He went to Austria. He went to a little tinge dye and went over a big floods. And he really organized the whole thing. All the NIEs ation which is called the service serial International. They now have branches in 15
nations in for a 15 states. If I'm a young person in the United States. 18 to 25 or perhaps if I understand you correctly also Alder who is interested in doing something about this sort of work. Exactly what what I find myself doing and how would I go about it. I should think you could apply to the carbonation committee for international voluntary work camps care of unit school are just right. Work camps. You know school Paris. That would be quite sufficient. But there are several agencies in the States who could help you. For instance the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia are than the ecumenical work camps in New York. It's usually. Religious groups in the States who provide these opportunities
is the motivation for doing this kind of thing. Basically religious it is. And strangely enough it applies to most religions in work camps we have Buddhist groups Hindu Moslems. We have Protestants and Catholics all very active expressing their faith in action. We also have. Jewish groups especially in Israel doing very fine work. So you see it applies related to the philosophy of the of most of the great religions. Or I hear Miller take me back to the United States. Let's say I am a young person a young man or woman 18 to 25 years or perhaps older and I have made application through one of these agencies or simply
to work camps you know Skoal Peris. Then what happens to me from Paris. You will receive a list of all the work camp possibilities available in the whole world today. There are such possibilities in 50 states and territories. You will find also the addresses of all the various organizations doing such work. Then what do I do. From there you will look through disinformation. You will apply to the organization of your choice. You can get from the carbonation committee and information on the conditions for participation on the individual names of the various organizations and so on. So it's for you then to choose IAD Nies ation you want to apply to just a moment if I am.
Are there any limitations or special requirements I must be 18 years old is that right. That's the rule. There are also cams for younger people. Pardon me for 15 18 also for people young people 15 to 18 years. And can I be older than 25 for in some organizations people are accepted up to the age of 70. And do I have to have any special educational standing allowed there. There are again differences between on lies ations you have student organizations who only take students university students but most of the ardent eyes ations will take people from any profession. Students workers and anybody. Do I have to speak a foreign language. It is quite essential to know a few words at least of the
language of the nation where you go to. Do I have to have any money. I should think you would need some money to go there. Usually you want to pay your own travel. What happens to me if I want to go to a work here. But I don't have the money to pay my own travel. Some organizations will then ask you to first do a camp in your own country. If you do well they will accept you for a camp in another country and they will provide you with some means to go in and either work a a poem which are my paid for my work. There is no page file you would like in these voluntary like camps I was in called Avante let's run America and Herr Miller or perhaps I should say on Swiss. Why why should I. Now here I am a young person perhaps trying to pay my way through
college and I have in mind. Getting married maybe I'm already married and if I understand you correctly I am to pay my own way halfway around the world perhaps in order to have the opportunity of working somewhere for strangers without being paid. Now you convince me this hypothetical young person why I should do this. It is indeed a question I had to put to myself when I myself joined a first work camp. At that time I felt some frustrating about the way things are going in the world and I felt that some of us like the Swiss and the Swedes and the Americans are getting too much of the good things and others don't get anything. And in how far can the individual do something about it. Well I founded work camps
are a means of doing something about it and doing something very directly being directly in touch with people. Talk with the people that need us. And do you work with them. Do something for them. There are camps. Doing work. Which needs long time pro ject. What we call a long term project. For instance in Korea a group of 12 mostly Americans are building houses for refugees. While this goes on for several years in the same way in Germany and Greece there are groups of people doing building work or doing it doing agricultural work the whole year round. But these are the exceptions. Most camps are held in summer are in the autumn of education. Then this hypothetical young person.
Would perhaps do well to get in touch with one of these agencies say in the United States if he's an American first get into finding out who the agencies are by communicating with your Coordinating Committee. I think maybe we'd better give our listeners young persons and their parents the exact name and address again. He called the nation committee for international voluntary work camps care of youth section UNESCO's 19. Haven't you played there. Kal Paris 16 you would say then that probably this young person the specially if you are under 18 and had not had much travel before would go into a summer work camp in the United States under one of these
organizations. That is right and then if you did well there he would probably or certainly be accepted subsequently into a work project in Europe or Asia or Africa I should think so. Americans are very much needed. They are needed in Europe but they provide a different element in the camps. The liberal element there are more open. They don't have some of the inhibitions we Europeans have. They sort of loosen the team on although this loosening may also tighten the team together and it does the Americans themselves some good. I should think so. I should think that a number of Americans who have been over here are eager to come back again and they are working far these work camps. They are in the Argand eyes ations and they publicize the
work camp by the end America. So this is a sign that it really has done them some good. Thank you very much Ariel. Voices of Europe was produced and recorded in Europe by Milton Mayer in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This program has been introduced by Marvin. This is the end. A radio network.
Voices of Europe
Erich Hoffmann
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features interviews with Erich Hoffmann and Hans-Peter Muller about student exchange programs and work camps.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Work camps
Media type
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Interviewee: Hoffmann, Erich
Interviewee: Mu_ller, Hans-Peter, 1934-2004
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-7-24 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:34
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Erich Hoffmann,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Erich Hoffmann.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Erich Hoffmann. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from