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German Refugees Find Haven In Iowa Hostel

CAREY, GAM, LAURY, ROSEGG, SCHAEFER, TREUER

Posted By: Diana Wagner
Date: 2/8/2015 at 21:56:04

German Refugees Find Haven In Iowa Hostel
WEST BRANCH, IA –Converting an abandoned boarding school, in the heart of the tall corn country into what they call a “hostel,” 50 Quakers of this community are opening a new U.S. haven for refugees from greater Germany.
The Quakers, with a long-standing tradition against war and violence, are testing a theory which they hope to put into action on a nationwide scale: that refugees can become useful American citizens, if given a chance to leave crowded population centers and orientate themselves to real American life.
Scattergood school is living up to its name again. Reconditioned, surrounded by a 12-acre farm, it is the first of 15 such hostels which the American Friends Society, through the refugee division of its international service committee, hopes to establish in separated rural sections of the United States.
Professors and students from the University of Iowa, only 15 miles from here, have volunteered to take charge of lecture courses at the school. Several Quakers will live at the hostel to direct agricultural work and supervise a recreation program.
The refugees will be taught the English language, American history, civics, economics, sociology. They will be taken to any church they desire – and are welcome to attend Quaker services, it they so choose.
They will be encouraged to resume the trade they followed in their homeland, then attempt to secure this kind of work in some community which has a need for them.
No children or aged persons will be admitted until the program is operating smoothly. For the first few months, all inhabitants will be young, educated, unmarried persons, with definite talents for a certain profession.
Typical are the first four to arrive at Scattergood:
Fritz Treuer, 45, a Jew, is a former Vienna stationer and amateur gardener. His wife and 13-year-old son are living in New York City. They hope to join him this summer in Iowa.
Kurt Schaefer, 35, was a Berlin town council statistician at the time of the Reichstag fire in 1935, after which he fled to England. He is a Protestant.
Kurt Rosegg, 30, a Vienna Jew, was an apprentice goldsmith who escaped the Anschluss to Sudetenland, where he was forced to leave again a few months later.
Karel Gam, 26, is a former Czech army lieutenant and a Catholic. He was a professor of physical geography and graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania when Hitler marched into his country.
In charge of the national program is Reed Carey, a Philadelphia business man, who explains the hostels as “breathing spots” where the refugees may regain confidence, prepare for normal life again.
The Quakers have no permanent fund-raising agency to support them. They are receiving donations from Jewish and Catholic organizations, but are relying mainly on regular individual contributors.
Although making no attempt to let down U.S. immigration barriers, they are supporting the bill before Congress to allow 10,000 more refugee children to enter the country.
(Photos accompanied the article with the following caption: German refugees work and study at Scattergood school, their Iowa haven. George Laury, once head of radio exporting office, spades up flower garden plot. Studying English literature in library are Fritz Treuer, left, former Vienna stationer, and Kurt Schaefer, ex-town council statistician in Berlin. Background is the school building.)
Source: The Newton (IA) Daily News; May 17, 1939, page 2


 

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