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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 millions of Americans have seen and heard the operetta of the Student Prince. Millions have heard of the tradition of student dueling in the German universities Horst Marsh style bear and Valter Volman both of them 24 years old. Law and philosophy students at the ancient university of Maya Borg in western Germany. When I interviewed Horst Baer five years ago he was a high school student destined I thought for our future leadership. Today he is head of the independent student organization of Marburg University and a member of the Executive Committee of the student body governing organisation of Germany. His home is in my arbor and he is the son of a retired preacher
Valter Volman comes from a little son in Lower Saxony where his father is a high school teacher. Brother what fraternity do you belong to. I belong to the German year book. Germany I'm on our board. Now that is safe for a community of marble or of university and we're talking about the the German student corporate CEO man or corporations. These are the social fraternities of the German universities are divided into three groups and I'm going to have to ask our audience to try to keep these three groups in mind because they are different. There are the abortion Shafton which if the word could be translated would be the fraternity fellows there are the
linesman Shafton which again if the word could be translated would mean originally the fellows from the same state. And then there are the cars all of them together constitute the German fraternities. First mar what further and do you belong to. I belong to no fraternity or router. When you tell me why you joined. Germany I'm arboreal. Yes I belong to the bush trust because in the bush we have the ideals of freedom and of democratic government as it was the idea since the bush of was founded. All right Horace smart tell me why you have not shown a fraternity here in Marble.
I live here in my apartment have my my parents here and so I am not that much in need of a social contact. As the students are come to Marburg and by themselves and are looking for some way of contact and some way of cooperation. Do you have any nobler reasons than that for not belonging to a German fraternity. I do not think that the term fraternities use the chance they had right after the war in building up their old cop out soon again to go over the time and to free themselves of the of their own rules and of their ancient views about many things and suggest themselves to the necessities of our modern student life. All right our terror. I wonder if you would
take your time and tell us about. The German fraternities. Perhaps I'd better again say that they are divided among abortion Shafton the linesmen shaft and the cars. Tell us router how they started and why what they did. I guess I should given this moment the review to the story. The book was founded in the 18 15 in Jena. It was the idea of the students to have a new ideal of living in the government in the state. The form of absolutism. They sought was no longer a right for the people and sad
that a constitutional monarchy would be the best for them in that time. To get the freedom for the people. And so the worship was founded as a group with a political ideal with the idea as I said for freedom and democratic system. Bush often not in the way of living then ruling government blood. And so the Bushies Shafton soon forbidden by the monarchs by the nobles and in 1848 for the first time the Bushies Trafton got large resonance. To the people. In this. Not
soon I says to a friend for I can translate that. Well I think I think you might say the National Assembly which a first time for the first time covered the representatives of all the small states of Germany to one big community. Yes. That's right. Members of the Bush's shafting isn't leading in this assembly. Now after this year the year of 1848. Is of course the Year of the. Well the German revolution. Yes the German democratic revolution. Yes and this year the revolution that was given by big part of. The people because the Bushies have got resonance in the state.
And the people knew. That in this time of reigning was not the right form. And so revolution broke out. But they had no possibilities. These people who wanted a new form of government to realize that what they wanted the military was able to suppress this revolution. And many Bush after members of Bush asking for or imprisoned now router at this time or some of the were the great liberals of Germany members of the fraternity. Yes. For example. Sure. Yes he was a very liberal man and he went to the United States was a member of the bushes. And he went to the United States because he saw that he
had no possibility of realize his form of sinking. But after all this time Bush has had no possibility. To live in the form. They live. And the bushes and I must say that here. In the next 20 or 30 years became similar to the life in the cause in the land's mine shaft. Now pardon me about her but I think you better bring us up to date about the linesman Shafton our cars and the Lance Van shuffle in the course. Your style of life began. That was not similar to the idea of the bushes and. They had no political ideas but they had an idea of the groups of elites and they got no
influence to the common people. But as I said the bushes in this time years of 1850 1860 and 1870 lost the idea. Of getting a connection to the common people of the political idea. But when the industries grow are. The social problems in the country people became very great about 80 90 to the ideas of their foundation. And they got there. They had had. When in nineteen hundred eighty one it became an end and the nobles
had no lower influence to life to the politics of politics. Bush laughed and said that they no had a moment in the life. Of the state. And necessity. Of getting influence. And it is interesting that in men political men like street. The idea of getting connection to other nations the idea of Locarno the idea of getting a connection to the AR was a Bushmaster. Bet in nine thousand nine hundred thirty three. Bush was paid and there was no possibility of living in that time. Our router where the linesman Shafton and the cars also forbidden by the
Nazis. Yes by the Nazis the Lensman shaft and cause were forbidden to because they had become a class that was not left by the Nazis. They had a style of living that was not similar to the style of living in the US are or something like that and I wish to say in this moment that not only the bushes but to the linesman Trafton and cause were forbidden. Well horsed in the light of this historical picture of. The German fraternities routers give us I don't see exactly why I never join one. You didn't give a chance to evolve the talk about the post-war development of the fraternities and I think this is a very important point here because when I signed up at the university I was faced with this as they are today and I
cannot say that they freed themselves of that part of the tradition they have which doesn't belong in our time anymore. Let's take the duelling for instance. Yes that's right the form of words or I must say one form of now is existent in the fraternity. And to Trafton. But that is only one for one of the living. In the fraternity is in the books and shafting. The most important. Idea for us as I said is the idea of political movement in such a group of students. This is a form of frustration and it is right there to be took over much of our tradition.
But there are forms of. Living today that before never has been there. Today there is a task for every member of staff to work three months. He has to have a job as a worker in the industry and I think this for example is very important to get connection with the kind of people to see the problems of the common people and the form of tooling is there. It is not a form of tooling for owner but it is a form of sport to stand for. The group. To become. Brave. This is an ideal that we have and I must say we are proud for this idea as we are proud for
the idea to work as a worker. Well now out there. Before we go on with the question of dueling which of course is a very important one I'd like to ask whether all of the fraternities all of the bush and Sharpton and also the lineswoman Sharpton and also the cars have this ruling that every member must first work for three months in industry. And I say that there are certainly some fraternities who have nipped not this ruling. That and then that has to have had their job back to the very most have this ruling. The reason that question part that fact interests me so much charged is that. I was surprised when Bulger was giving us the history of the abortion shaft and that their history should have been
as radical and revolutionary as it as it seems to be in view of the fact that after all the university students in Germany do represent an elite don't play. Yes that's true. That is right. The German university students are only about 2 percent of the alumni of the students. They went to school with at grammar school only 10 percent of all German students go to high school and only 5 percent half of these 10 percent finished high school. And of these 5 percent only about one half goes to university and wrote at the university. And I would suppose that a century ago or 75 200 years ago the proportion of German young people in the universities would have been even smaller.
This is right because in the former centuries. The education was a privilege of the rich and even now compared to other European countries. We may say that only a very small percentage as effect there only 5 percent of the German students children of workers but everybody has the capacity is able now in Germany to enroll at the university and to pass high school and he'll get a scholarship. But even so or if I understand you correctly only 5 percent of the university students here in West Germany are the children of workers. Yes that's right. No. I'm still mystified as to how this elite
could have a liberal such a liberal history as router as givens. I think the question is very difficult to answer in short because it can only be understood out of the movement of the 19th century in Germany out of the literary movement too. It was a very great experience and you can see it in German literature too. In the time of the romanticism that people particularly the higher classes found their way back to nature or you might better see rogues through their own barriers which their fathers had built up between the different social levels would have just about the character of castes in Germany. Well now let's get on with the question of doing because that for Americans is certainly symbolic of the German fraternity where our own fraternity problems
hazing or what we call pledges that is roughhouse and maltreatment sometimes very severe maltreatment of boys who are being initiated for eternity. Well I'm sure there have been many deaths which occurred through the brutality of initiation. Now on the question of dueling forced Do you agree with Altair in the picture that he gives in his own attitude toward student fraternity. I see in the fact that he's dual again. A sign that the students have forgotten most of the experiences we had during the war. And I do
not think that the duelling as a sport as Walter praises it but that there should be any sport which hurts a man and which this faces a man and if I go to university and I see the university students with scars in their faces and being proud of these scars I cannot agree with them. That any mal treatment of a human being. And this is worth any sport. Well now let me see. Doing it while her. Student doing was forbidden by the Nazis wasn't
it. Yes that's right. Why. It was forbidden. Because government leading people in that time thought that the fact that people could see. That there was some body who belonged to intellectual class would not be right and what's the question for expression for discriminants this discrepancy would give in the face of discrepancy in the nation. But we say it is not important that if a member of the fraternity is happy it is not important that anybody can see that.
But it is important that he stored for his group and that he. Was brave in this moment. RS Well I can't quite get clear on that because as far as I know the duelling is a requirement for for everybody who joins or for the push and shove and there is no way to avoid it. And I think if somebody feels or if a group feels that she should stay together and if somebody feel that he feels that he should stay for a group there are better ways than fighting against somebody else. Pardon me a moment before you go on. Prior to the Nazi time he was doing forbidden under the Weimar Republic.
No in the Weimar Republic the duel was not forbidden and under the Nazis it was. And then what about the occupation after the war. What about the occupation after the war by the Americans the French the English and the Russians. Yes it was forbidden but I think that the Americans and the English and French did not know what was the sense of their doing. Certain really. The Russians have forbidden that. Not only by. Pressure for expression for opportunity not because they saw opportunity but because they mean that it is not good.
Many people who belong to the intellectual class because they know that the members of the branches always will be very strong enemies of the form of communism and so on. That they fear that they belong to the western form of living and the western form of government and yet route are you certain that the Western Allies also for bad duelling during their occupation of Germany but that you think they misunderstood the idea of doing what you tell us a little more about that. Yes in that time they understood that. It is interesting that often Americans who are students or are students in Germany belong to fraternities and to Bush and to trust and often the Americans
who had come to Germany and had come to the houses to the assemblies and so on of birth of trust lands much else not because said it we have seen that in another light. Now we must say that you are. Real fears can I think man struggle and striving for the audience that they struggle in the forms of fraternities about forms of living that they struck. Therefore how we can get the best form of democratic life in our very young Federal Republic of course Tamar do you see the German fraternities as a force for democracy. I don't see anything democratic about it putting other students faces with sabers. I think there are very more
very much more important things to do and to fight for and for German student such as I think of the reunification of Germany for instance. And the problem which is very closely related to the re-armament. Rearmament of Germany is to greatest barrier to the unification and I don't understand why don't the fraternity's the bush and Shafton take up their ancient tradition and fight for the reunification of Germany just as they fought for the unification of Germany in 1848 and fight it. The militarism the same way. Router. I should like to say that the problem of the Dual for example is a very minor problem in the whole complex of tasks we believe to have as members of the
Bush of. The rearmament. We will say it is right to have such rearmament. Because we think that it is the duty of our federal republic to do all what we can to defend the free world. The main task we see is beside to the rearmament the reunification of our fatherland and freedom and real democratic states. And we hope. That we will find more and more connection. And friendship of the free world. And Arthur do you think that most German fraternity men agree with you. Yes I'm sure.
Harsh. How do most German nuns fraternity men feel. I do not know if I can generalize my opinion about that but I think I must say that many of the German students in general don't have any opinion about this problem at all right now until the few years ago they were told. Re-education programs of the allied forces. What they had to think. But now we are free fed a Republican and so we are free to think nothing at all of the problem. Thank you gentleman. 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
Voices of Europe
Horstmar Stauber and Walter Wolman
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program features interviews with two German students about fraternities, societies, and student life.
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.
Global Affairs
Students--Germany--History--20th century.
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Interviewee: Stauber, Horstmar
Interviewee: Wolmar, Walter
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-7-23 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Horstmar Stauber and Walter Wolman,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 21, 2021,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Horstmar Stauber and Walter Wolman.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 21, 2021. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Horstmar Stauber and Walter Wolman. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from