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Voices of Europe produced and recorded by Milton mayor 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. That was already known as United Nations but it is people who really unite to day in the really big day in North Germany and interviewing here Robert Gower who for 20 years has directed the German branch of that amazing organization called the experiment International that aired out the side of two schoolteachers is himself the director of the league he ignores you or high school and you have four children of us all. But his dedication to the idea of learning to live with people by living with them began 30 years ago or so when a student he met up with a group of
English students hiking through Germany. Dear God what has been your own most exciting experiment in the International Living. Well exists maybe coordinate East. Today was probably the most exciting moment in my experience meeting people of other countries for the end at the end of the war. I had been with an interpreter as company for most of the war just doing nothing but teaching English. But in the end during the last few months of the war in 1945 I abuse this company has reduced or do sort of and I was with an infantry company at the end of the war. I suppose I don't need to say it was a probability of the German herb. Yes there's a company of the German army and it was worse. We were all entirely inexperienced so it was in his suffering from the lack
of arms and that munition we just had the old rifles that were still in use in the German army at that time introduced to us in eighteen out of them ninety eight and that was all we had. Then we were marched forward after the allied troops had crossed the run and they are after one night's fighting. It can be called fighting the war so for us. So we decided just to stay in the far waiting for the American who dares to come into it that far. And there we want to surrender to them as we did. When they came in there was more music that exciting moment when the fighting was over for us and these few these young Americans came in and I stepped forward there was three of us being able to speak English. I stepped forward and said Here we are three men we surrender
and at that very moment this American soldier is being addressed saying how do you begin to wish he said yes I do here while you're fighting us for his next question. Well said being a German I couldn't help it. So I spent some very pleasant month of the United States. I had to do my duty to my own country when I was back here the next thing that you want he asked me was what I had all of these combination of fork and spoon that were used in the day and now he just wanted this as he told me as a souvenir. This little toy so a few minutes after the fighting over this plane lacked filled room with a few a little dollars dollars. So that was the day it was started in a very exciting way just for the fighting Well now we got out after a few minutes we were quite good again we are playing with one another.
Did you get your nomination for that. Oh yes I gave it to him and he gave me this. With us on it. Well marketed that was the end of captivity tell me their garb you were there for us of course. W what. Well first of all other than Justin knowing the personnel and to share the fate with all the other German soldiers were taken prisoner and being able to speak English I like to talk to a British soldier the British officers who were handed over to the British the British out there and they asked me to all be in charge to be the German camp leader in a prison camp which I did and then I was an interpreter for British officers medical officers and up through the wire after a couple of months when I looked to be early actually aged. I got into trouble with.
In addition intelligence officer he took me out of the prison can order a prison camp and put manfully in town and camp with other or that are going to suspect him. I do not know why or this is the case and I once was lost in one of the interrogations with our new wire being taken to the internment camp and it is only a year later when I was actually reading actually edited that or found out what had happened. They suspected me of having done something wrong while I was in the United States warning them and it is their only reason for the suspicion was that I could speak English but I had been a schoolteacher in German and that I could easily convert with English people there. This seemed reason enough to keep me into force and so as a consequence of your first internationalism is the extra year or two in the person. So there there were.
Cured you of your international of doubt where I looked was rather hard and somewhat disappointed at first but after having so many friends Abril I was very keen that all turn to get in touch with them again. So even while I was a prisoner I wrote a letter to a good English friend of mine telling him that I had gone through the war that I was safely in captivity and that I hope to get back to my family and American friends also started immediately after the war to contact with us which was a new place new experience and it showed that the work we had done before the war had been rather successful. So of course when you got our personal or restored to your teaching position you went on with your work in a dish to live. Yes ice certainly did that I did that the sureness act for it as soon as I was back in civilian life. And do.
In those days really we had in those marvelous experience with friends that our American friends mainly who sent one package after the other. Those days of privation of starvation Damian really are all in Japanese for they kept us in good health or even and there was nothing we could have. Goodbye and this and closing this and care packages. They did not send it to our family only but to hundreds of German experiment fans who had cooperated with them before. But isn't it a bit dangerous to be an eager to fill us in. Well some people feel that way and it was a few years ago when the situation in the world seemed even more dangerous than at present.
People who are made in Germany. Well you'd better be careful and not. Cooperate with the Americans so much because one day the Russians may be here and then we wouldn't be at the same calamity as you were an item for the fire that the Russians would say well you know all those bags with these are better. Why are you being so very much westernized and they will be probably to Siberia. I would have to go through the Syrian border yellow hearings but I do not think that one can I think it is now to be impossible to base one's life form of trivia. One has to take the risk that one has to do what one thinks is right or wrong. As experience to be like to use the there was a real danger in your international out here in the here and your lead during the Nazi. Years before the war. Please. Yes yes I admit that there was some authorities in Germany were very keen on getting our
own people to Germany was all as well. If one actually brought them to our country was always suspect of not showing him showing them what was really going on inside the country but that one was trying to influence them in an anti Nazi way. But that was mainly the suspicion mainly a role that was in the last thought so I could just tell you what happened only one year before the outbreak of law and I plan to take a group of German schoolboys to being at home the day before we had planned to leave I just called together with the headmaster of my school which I was teaching to the secret police. Go on and at that interrogation we were confronted with two it really was awful.
We only then found out that they had collected sentences from speeches that they had supervised the teaching and school and had given all this all the material they had connected to the secret police and then there are the many that here there is Easter nineteen thirty eight dollars the see the police to withdraw all hot dogs and made it impossible for us to leave the country. It was an astonishing experience to us that the agent of the secret police took a very fair that you would in this interim creation which lasted for more than four hours a day. And out of these four hours we were still all right in the future you try the Hitler Youth and the school you tried to all cooperate nicely their piece for their future and where will you have your promise to do so.
And then the younger brains officers telling us that we couldn't leave the country that year and how far these promises because the leader that day was in Berlin just forbidden all U.S. troops to leave the country. So it was it that had the intro we had not been informed about this or we could not have left the country the next day. So up to this having received this information we told them that this was probably true from people he was groups who felt that it was organization. But they said no this is for schools also. So we ran up to the German academic exchange service in the world in which was our authority there carrying with them that we had received this information from their lives and then they got in touch with the youth leader to you in there and it took them three
days after their straighten the matter out. And after all after two days we received a telegram from them from the Ministry of Education. Saying the Group of this school has to leave the country and to go to India. So this was not on a mission for us to build what it was nor two of our lab boys who wanted to come with me to England and this group that they should leave the country within the year. These are not given to any threats from the are you at all but one doctor only one of them canceled his belt as a patient on this trip and then three days later we actually left the country and from that day on I did not mention anything anything about my international activities in the case where there was this the last of Germany that they were the group before the war and I would watch that from their day and I kept it a secret themselves that I was carrying on the work because I did not want him to get into the
same disastrous situation again what was your last for my last trip there. I started on. My last trip nearly two months before the outbreak of the war was in July 19 39. I took a group of young boys and girls to the United States in the air. This was done within the framework of the experiment in international living and I had worked for a couple of years before the war. We left the country in July are and we planned to get back in September. But then we were stranded in the war's days when the war about the war broke out. Our progress in the first years of the US to do and we were in New York. We had intended. We had tickets for a good hour and the American done which was due to leave New York
on the night the city first of all the first of September 1939. But before that date all the German ships received orders to leave America immediately and to try to get home. So we simply got stuck in the States and we had to wait for about a year until we could see the whole across the Pacific. This was the most exciting candidate after living in a married vest expand right here an American knows that US living with American families again and in summer 1940 at least sitting on the Japanese boat cross the Pacific and got all the 15 months instead of 8 weeks and we had we're down the hall from where I'm going to ensure that a few surgeries periods that were put in to it a little more serious
serious interest in this work but I know that the earth is good. Would you tell me Eric Our exactly whether these there are million International Living years whether it was motivation the jet do our and our operators. We're just celebrating from this year to the next year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary of the experiment in international living was started in the United States United search toolbar gone be what we're now lives in them or not whether you get on the other hand is main office. He was and indeed before he started the experiment rushing the international activities there and he was so important business that it was not that nervous that these activities were not on the right way of bringing people actually
together making them understand each other because they lived separated in different hotel wards and then they met round the conference table talking about problems instead of living with one another. So that persuaded his main idea people learn as we say in the experiment learn to live together by living together that is. And we tried to build up this in all countries that participated in the experiment to build their groups of people who are real it who really mean to work for International Understanding and international peace. Only countries produce the. Where is this participation of regional or governmental or is it entirely private in all countries we have no government appellations anywhere. We are the nomination or we are open to all races all creeds.
We just find that everybody can't participate in our groups who is open minded enough to adapt himself to another situation and to live with other people. There are about twenty or more than 20 nations now participate in it. What are the in the objectives of the poll. Well to end objectives is to make people feel that one can get to go along with everybody in the world if one actually opens one's mind to it well prepare the ground by just by sharing every day and hear their problems with another country. We know that we just had a small contribution here make our smaller contribution to all peace in the world. How exactly does the experiment with International Living operate. But to give you a general outline of our characters just pick out the
normal plan for an experiment experience. We usually organized groups of 10 people. We keep them intentionally keep them small so that the personal contact is still guaranteed in the room. People over who are leaders we don't well the youngest members of our set and sometimes in rare exception they are 16 and the age ranges about from 18 to 20 in Normally we have had groups of people that include members of thirty or thirty two years of age and the leader of us on the bus if you will and very capable people. Each group consisting of 10 members mostly in mixed groups led by fission to and capable leader
who are familiar with. The country that who visit these groups traveling together from their country into another country on the way they use their this is particularly true for those who cross the Atlantic to get some orientation they have discussed their lecture. They need people and they get there they get they are welded into a harmonious on genius bottle so that when they arrive in the other country they really feel that they're not they're not only an individual experience and experience as individuals but they have a group experience in addition to and this is I think the most characteristic feature of these experiment groups that they have this combination of individual experience and experience. For about they stay in another country for about eight weeks for weeks are this first day is spent with the fam and their
host family or their country. And for weeks on a camping trip of the group for three weeks I can move the chair one of the week where they can visit relatives of friends and family there or where they can be on their own. All of these group of sparrows are they going to and up to during the summer. Yes Minister. Nearly all of the Mexicans from coming into the experiment recently and were there by the Nike exchange with the United States so far they now want to send groups for you up to and these groups will probably come in winter or a few groups come in from India to Sweden for the offer where you are during the winter I hope to get it though although the GAAR that the program is primarily for students and teachers.
Most of the participants are students or teachers. The color of the hair the is long vacation. It's very difficult for other people. So in principle the experiment is open to everybody. You've got all the classes of all walks of life all those who are really willing to share this experience. It is restricted to the studios because it takes a week sent there in addition to that they have the advantage that the transportation which also takes them three weeks of the early experience lasts for about 11 to 12. We had a little Harley costs Meadows the programs subsidized or what was the cost for the purchase. Well the participants Unfortunately no. The participants have to pay their taxes themselves there are a limited amount there are scholarships now all in America one has developed the so-called community ambassador program the
money for all participants is collected within their own community a private organization usually as far as the chambers of the junior teams of Commerce and these sometimes put it the money and then they send one person out there from the air. As the community ambassador all the way invites the young European to come over to their country as a community invested in reverse we call them and when they go back we'll or they're in another country. They are looking organizations to give to them so they spread their own experiences. You know understanding the back end of the cost of the individual protest but I take it they don't travel or live first class although there certainly DO THEY ARE THEY NEED A very simple
life and everybody who goes to his head to be prepared to live at home to try to further douse the tourist class on the boat they usually attract non-Dutch student ships and do when they are on the other hand I love their camping trip. They sleep in tents so I know you will often send their scent for food so it is best not. All this for those people do a dog but there have to be prepared to look at that themselves till another tired and situation their guard I wonder if you would tell all the listeners to this this dolphin exactly how a young person who is interested that khloé to the experiment needed to live in our older person might be able to serve as a group leader or perhaps whose organization would be interested in helping support the work of the program can get in touch with the program that it borders and
you notice that. The headquarters of the government of the American section of the experiment in the United States is in a very small place in the long haul. Happening. But many of them are. Is the head of the experiment and the address to send the experiment the lot and the address. The experiment. Partly yes. And finally here regardless. Finally there are all of the international the newer the web of about about people. May I just add one other thing before I answer which liar to answer this put it even though we have mentioned the age limit before. But even we have even had very unpleasant experience with people who are beyond that aims right about 40 or you know 50.
We once hare married couples stick with us in our old family they're coming from the United States for a few weeks and we had nursed close and experienced with a wonderful son and they actually are very. We became friends very civil war and later on the invited my eldest daughter to come over to the United States and stay with them. So even the brother higher age should not being used college to approach the budget office. Call and ask one of the others for the homeowners of course. Yes where the other person again. Yes you have done a lot of it of a national living in one of the learn about people. Well I say people from all over the world. Even if there are there is training for them to call relations between their country areas if they bring the readiness and the flexibility and the ability of
adapt themselves to all different conditions they can very easily make friends and overcome their own prejudices do away with their prejudices and I might mention perhaps I might mention one experience I had with a young French one please do. We had met at an international meeting of the experiment and we had lived together with people about 12 nations there. And one day out about two or three days when we have lived in this very harmonious atmosphere one of these young friends from a man who had lived under German occupation for our During the war came up to me saying here is to go I must confess something to you. You see we are living here in this splendid friendlier atmosphere better not tell it just because we have
this this nice circle of friends here. I must tell you I cannot love the Germans. I know it isn't right. I have to ask for my own actions. And perhaps next year I should take him down into my home. With this frankness our friendship style digs here were actually guests my wife and myself were guests in the home of this friendly Frenchman and from that time we have remained friends that I think this is what happens again and again. The weather people brought a lot of people me. Why did you go. Why says 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 Poizner This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
Voices of Europe
Walter Gaupp
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features an interview with Walter Gaupp, a German headmaster of a school that was part of the Experiment in International Living.
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
School principals--Germany
Media type
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Interviewee: Gaupp, Walter
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-7-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:33
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Walter Gaupp,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Walter Gaupp.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Walter Gaupp. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from