Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

The evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors online

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for the one-armed at Strassburg, 33 Baden Baden, Heidelberg, Munich,
Wiirzburg, Kaiserslautern, Ludwigshafen, Niirnberg, Erlangen,
Frankfurt a. M., Hanover, Dresden, Chemnitz, Diisseldorf.

A school for the one-armed means, as a rule, special courses for one-
armed men given in the regular city schools where the men will
afterward be taught a trade. The purpose of these courses is to ex-
ercise the stump and the remaining members of the one-armed man
until he is in a position to take up trade training beside others less
seriously crippled. The course includes instruction in the ordinary
acts of life which are made difficult by the loss of a hand, such as
eating, washing, dressing, tying knots, using simple tools. Six weeks
is said to be enough to put a one-armed man in condition to go on
with regular training. A great part of the teacher's duty is to con-
vince the men that these things are all possible and need only a little
practice. For this purpose one-armed teachers, preferably industrial
cripples who have worked out their methods by long practice, are the
most useful, though crippled officers have already found employment
in this way at Niirnberg, Diisseldorf, and Berlin-Zehlendorf.

As essential part of the course is left-handed writing for those who
have lost the right arm. This is necessary, whether or not they are to
have a clerical occupation, both for removing the feeling of helpless-
ness and for giving the hand greater flexibility and skill. German
teachers have made a scientific study of this question and state that
left-handed writing can be made as legible and characteristic as right-
handed. Samples of left-handed writing from Niirnberg show ex-
cellent script after from 12 to 20 lessons.

Left-handed drawing, designing, and modeling are often added as
a matter of functional reeducation. Men with clerical experience are
taught to use the typewriter, sometimes using the stump, sometimes a
special prosthesis, and sometimes with a shift key worked with the

All the schools put great emphasis on physical training. In the
school at Heidelberg, under a regular gymnasium instructor, the men
do almost all the athletic feats possible to two-armed men.

M Korrespondenz fdr Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, 11, 35.


Dr. Kunssberg, of the Heidelberg school, states that he has made
a list of 100 occupations suitable for the one-armed man. He gives
the following conclusions drawn from his own experience:

1. One-armed men are, as a rule, able to continue with their old trade. Of
those at Heidelberg, only 5 per cent were obliged to take up another.

2. The best opportunity for the one-armed man is in narrower specialization
within his own trade. For example, the carpenter can take up polishing and
wood inlay, the tailor can become a cutter, etc.

3. The most important point is for employers to rearrange their work so as
to reserve for one-armed men the places they are able to fill.

There have been several textbooks written on the subject of the
one-armed man and left-handed writing. The best known are by
Von Kunssberg, Dahlmann, and Count Zichy.

Agricultural Schools.

A special effort is being made to return to the land all who have
any connection with it, such as farmers, farm laborers, and even
handworkers of country birth. In districts like East Prussia, almost
all the wounded come from country districts, and 50 per cent from
agricultural occupations. 34 It is felt that to allow these men to be
diverted from their original work by the war would be a serious
loss to the country. Therefore there is wide publicity on the advan-
tages of agricultural life, and it is part of the duty of the care com-
mittees to encourage interest in it among the wounded. The sug-
gestion has even been made in Bavaria that cripples from the country
districts should be separated while in hospital from the city men,
so that they will run no danger of being estranged from their old
interests. 35

All the hospitals which have any land give courses in farming and
gardening for their inmates. 36 It is estimated that there are several
hundred such hospital farms, small or large, run by the wounded.
In addition to this there are definite summer farm courses at agricul-
tural schools and universities, which are free to cripples. East
Prussia alone has eight such specialized courses in different branches
of farming, such as dairying, beekeeping, forestry, a course for farm
overseers, etc. 37 There are in the empire 10 regular agricultural
schools for war cripples, which are listed in the appendix. The
largest appears to be the farm at Struveshof, Berlin, which accom-
modates 200 and trains cripples as farm teachers. The one of which
the fullest description is obtainable is that at Kortau in East Prus-
sia, which accommodates at present only 15 pupils.

The farm at Kortau is under military discipline and serves as part
of the reserve hospital at Allenstein, two kilometers away. All pa-

M Der Kriegsbeschiidigte In der Landwtrtschaft, Konigsberg, i, Pr., 1916, p. 27.

M Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfilrsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 157-164.

86 Zeitschrift fiir Kruppelfflrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 235.

" Der Kriegsbesehadigte in der Landwirtschaft, Konigsberg, i, Pr., 1916, p. 12


tients at Allenstein who come from agricultural occupations are
immediately transferred to Kortau, that they may be in surround-
ings which will encourage them to go back to farm work, and that
they may have orthopedic exercises and prostheses specially suited
to them. The instruction consists of two courses — a preliminary
course of four weeks, and an advanced course, the duration of which
is determined by the man's physical condition and the time of his
discharge from the army. Work is divided into three classes :

1. Work done primarily with the hands and arms : digging, shoveling, wood
chopping, sowing, planting, mowing, hoeing, raking, thrashing, and the care
of the necessary tools for these occupations.

2. Work where horses are used — plowing, harrowing, driving, and the oper-
ation necessary for the care of horses — harnessing, foddering, etc.

3. Exercises over rough ground and obstacles for men with leg injuries."

It would appear that the instruction is of the simple type useful
for small farms, and that the matter of farm machinery and its
adaptation to the war cripple had not been gone into. The chief need
is to fit the small peasant farmer to go back to his own holding, where
he may, with the help of his wife and children, manage truck garden-
ing or poultry raising. Most of the courses serve this sort of purpose.
There seem to be few large-scale farms in Germany, and though
Maier-Bode, in his article, " Einrichtungen der Kriegskruppelfiir-
sorge fur die Landwirtschaftz," a9 mentions a dozen or more occupa-
tions possible for cripples on large estates, very few of these have
anything to do with machinery. A publication issued by the pro-
vincial government of East Prussia 40 ,calls attention to the possi-
bility of the use of electric motors by peasant farmers, but limits its
suggestions to small-scale operations. Apparently, the schools aim
to give only a background of farming theory and a certain amount of
efficiency in the operations performed by hand.

To this smaller field, however, a great deal of inventive thought
has been applied. Teachers in the various schools have been very
ingenious in contriving tools with modified handles which can be
gripped with a prosthesis or a stump, and extra straps and hooks to
be attached to the clothing for aid in balancing tools. Friederich
Maier-Bode in his book gives examples of ways in which cripples of
every kind can manage all the ordinary operations of a farm. 41 The
same author strongly urges that crippled farm workers shall learn,
in addition to farming theory, a handicraft which they can practice
at home, thus doubly assuring themselves against helplessness. 42

38 Der Kriegsbeschlidigte in der Landwirtschaft KSnigsberg, i, Pr., 1916, pp. 27-41.

30 Zeitschrift fur Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 157-164.

«° Der Kriegsbeschlidigte in der Landwirtschaf t, KBnigsberg, 1916.

41 Maier-Bode, Friedrich. Der Arm und Beinbeschadigte in der Landwirtschaft, Leipzig,

42 Zeitschrift fur Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, U, 157 -164.


The teaching in all schools is very largely volunteer. That does
not mean that it is unskilled, for there are a large number of trade
and other school teachers, craftsmen, and invalided officers who are
willing to give their services. The National Teachers' Association
has passed resolutions to this effect. Where the committee has funds
enough, as at Diisseldorf, a staff of technical teachers is paid. At
other places only one or two are paid and the others donate their
services for half time. Employers often donate the services of a fore-
man for half the day. The war department helps by assigning in-
valided officers and noncommissioned officers who happen to have ex-
perience in some particular line to act as instructors of farming, archi-
tecture, etc. The make-up of each school staff is, in this way, a matter
of chance depending on the funds of the committee, the suitable vol-
unteers in the locality and the personnel at the command of the local
military commander.

This does not seem to make for as much lack of system and training
as is usual where an institution relies on volunteers. The fact that
the care committees and the volunteers are almost all people who hold
public positions and the military spirit which pervades the Empire
seem to make for a rigid system and a high standard of efficiency in
the schools. The esprit de corps, the unanimity of the workers as
shown in every report, is striking.

Attitude of Men.

Reports point to very little difficulty met with among the men.
This is due to the fact that they are partly under military discipline
and also to the very early beginning of schooling before "pension
psychosis " has time to get a foothold. The appeal made to them is
a patriotic one, to the effect that no man is a worthy citizen of the
Fatherland who has not the will to overcome his handicap. Much
literature has been published on the subject, the motto being Der
Deutsche Wille Siegt! (The German Will Conquers!) One gathers
also, from the reports, that the semiofficial position of the volunteer
teachers and care committee members, who are mostly from the
official and the educated classes, makes the whole system more or less
a class matter and causes the wounded soldier to accept the plans of
his superiors without question.

Attitude of Employers.

The attitude of German employers has always been a very paternal
one. The large firms appear to have had, for some time, a benevolent


policy toward their employees and have furnished them with a great
many material conveniences, such as baths, rest rooms, model dwell-
ings, etc. These same large firms have been among the leaders in the
war movement and have made many spectacular donations to war
relief, to the widows and dependents of soldiers, etc. In the matter
of trade training, the large employers have also taken a prominent
place. As a matter of fact, the duty of helping the war cripple back
to civil life has become a patriotic issue and any employer who. did
not publicly show his cooperation would suffer considerably. There-
fore, most of the large firms can be counted on not only for donations
to reeducation of money, apparatus, and trade teachers, but for an
actual share in the work on a large scale.

Many firms have made experiments toward retraining their own
crippled employees. The firm of Friedrich Krupp, at Essen, has a
hospital on its own grounds to which its former employees are trans-
ferred from the military reserve hospital for final orthopedic treat-
ment. While at this hospital they work as many hours a day as they
are able, under medical superVision, in a special shop built for re-
education purposes. They receive, while working, a minimum pay-
ment of 10 marks a month, and anything they make which can be
used is paid for at regular piecework rates. When their training is
complete, a place is made for them in the shop. Cripples who were
not former employees are also trained whenever there is room
for them. 43 The Electric Accumulator Works, at Oberschonweide,
Berlin, has a similar hospital and shop. 44 Most others do not have
hospitals, but receive men while atthe orthopedic hospitals for train-
ing in their works, which thus constitutes a reeducation school.
These firms are: Phoenix Works, Diisseldorf; Northwest Group
of the Association of German Iron and Steel Industries, Diissel-
dorf; Siemens-Schiickert, Siemenstadt, Berlin; 45 Emil Jagenberg,
Diisseldorf; Rochlingen Bros., Volkingen a. d. Saar. 46 In all these
cases, the men live at the hospital and go daily to the shop, working
under the supervision of a doctor furnished by the employer. In the
case of Siemens-Schiickert, the military authorities place an officer
in the factory to take charge of discipline, though this is not always

Smaller employers help in different places by taking men as appren-
tices by arrangement with the local care committee.

*" Zeitschrif t fiir KriippelfUrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 56-60.

" Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung fiir Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in KBln, Berlin,
1917, p. 113. (Reichsausschuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sonderschriften. Heftl.)

" Zeitschrift fiir KriippelfUrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 291-299.

*• Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung fiir Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in KBln, Berlin,
113. (Reichsausschuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge, Sonderschriften. Sonderschrif-
ten. Heft 1.)


Insurance Associations.

The help given to training by State and imperial insurance offices
muct be counted as help given by employers since, under the law, it
is they who furnish most of the funds for these institutions. By
the German social insurance laws, employers in any branch of indus-
try all over the empire are required to form Berufsgenossenschaften
(accident insurance associations), which attend- to the payments and
the medical care for the men injured in that industry after the first
13 weeks of invalidity. These Berufsgenossenschaften have
large funds obtained by taxation of members, for the care of indus-
trial cripples and the prevention of invalidity. They are supervised
in each State by the Landesversicherungsanstalt (State insurance
office) and in the nation as a whole by the Reichsverischerungsamt
(imperial insurance office). The insurance officers are allowed, by
the law, to spend their funds not only for the care of individual cases,
but for any general measures which are for the health of the commu-
nity. In accordance with this, they have, in different States, voted
large sums for orthopedic hospitals, for reeducation, and even for
loans to cripples and for land settlement. Money thus contributed by
the State insurance office may actually be considered as money con-
tributed by employers.

Attitude of Workmen.

The attitude of the workmen toward the reeducation of cripples
is not so unanimous as that of the employers. This will be taken up
more fully under the head of placement. It may be generally stated
that the attitude of the handicraft workers, whose standards are pro-
tected by law and who, therefore, have nothing to fear from the in-
roads of unskilled labor, is cordial ; that of the unions, consisting of
mostly machine workers, is less so.

The representatives of labor who have given the most cooperation
to the reeducation of cripples have been the chambers or handwork.
These are a distinctly German institution, in force only since the re-
vision of the Gewerbeordnung (the industrial code) in 1897. By
former provisions of the industrial code, there existed chambers of
commerce and of industry (Handels und Gewerbekammen). They
were elected bodies from among the merchants and the industrial
workers of a locality which were recognized by the State Government
and acted to it in an advisory capacity wherever the interests of com-
merce and industry were concerned. In some districts the chambers
of commerce and industry were represented by a single body, in
others, where conditions seemed to call for it, by two.

This left the smaller industries, where a man conducted the manu-
facture and sale of his own goods, unrepresented. Most of these


small industries fall under the head of handwork and the men en-
gaged in them are members of handworkers' guilds.

There still persist in Germany Innungen (handicraft guilds) which
are lineal descendants of the guilds of the Middle Ages. They are
possible in any trade, such as brace making, butchery, baking, which
uses only simple tools worked by hand power and where the worker
sell his product straight to the consumer. There is no set line as to
which trades have guilds and which have unions; it is a matter of
chance development, though the guilds are comparatively few in
number and unimportant compared to the unions. The guilds have
set rules for membership ; they establish a standard length of appren-
ticeship and tests for the successive stages of journeyman and master
workman. A man who passes the master workman's tests sets up for
himself, is recognized by the guild, and has a definite standing before
the public.

With the spread of large scale industry, these guild regulations
were suffering and it was feared that some useful handicrafts would
lapse. Therefore, when the industrial code was revised in 1897, there
was included in it the Handworkergesetz (handwork law), which es-
tablished the Handwerkskammern (chambers of handwork). Their
members are chosen from among the handicraft workers, both guild
members and union members, and their function is principally to
regulate apprenticeship and the journeyman's and master's tests.
There is now one or more of these chambers in every State and Prus-
sia has 33. The Handwerkskammern, in all parts of Germany, have
been of great help to the reeducation schools, and, more than that,
they have undertaken an active propaganda to urge cripples to learn
a handicraft and to become master workmen. This they do without
injury to themselves, since the amount of training necessary for the
master's test is fixed and there is no danger of a cripple becoming
eligible for the guild unless he is perfectly competent to maintain its
standard. Also, handwork is dying out and it would be of advan-
tage to the guilds to recruit their numbers. Beside this, although
some master workmen take work as foremen in large establishments,
most of them set up for themselves and there is very little danger of
wage reduction. However, the chambers of handwork have made
real concessions. At Diisseldorf , Bochum, Nurhberg, Liibeck, Han-
over, and in Lower Saxony, they have modified the master test so
that its requirements will not mean the usual expense and physical
labor. At Diisseldorf, the chamber has ruled that time spent in the
cripple school shall count in the necessary time of apprenticeship.
The chamber of handwork in Prussian Saxony, in cooperation with
the provincial care committee, has established special bureaus of
vocational ad"ice for hand workers. Their purpose is to advise a


man as to his chances for becoming a master workman and to see that
he gets to the proper reeducational school. Spokesmen for the handi-
craft workers urge that the crippled worker shall be encouraged to
settle on the land where he can combine a handicraft with raising his
own food.

Attitude of Unions.

The unions have not come out so strongly in favor of reeducation.
In really well-planned schools, like that at Diisseldorf, there is a
union representative on the care committee, but the complaint is
often that the care is a class affair and that labor is not represented
nor consulted in the reeducation plans. This comes out more strongly
when it is actual placement rather than training which is being


Cooperating Military and Volunteer Agencies.

Vocational advice is the first of the civilian functions in the care
of the war cripple. There has been such wide publicity that every
care committee understands that its duty in urging the cripple to
a trade begins as soon as the man is well enough to be visited in
hospital. This demands a certain amount of cooperation with the
local military authorities who censor the visits made to the men. The
usual arrangement is that certain men should be appointed by the
care committee to serve in a volunteer capacity as advisers and that
their appointment should be sanctioned by the local military com-
mand. These men make regular visits to the hospitals and take the
names and the necessary information about each new cripple in
preparation for advising him as to reeducation. Some committees
have blanks worked out on which these facts are recorded. (See ap-
pendix.) In some places there is no regular visitor, but the hospital
doctors and nurses are asked to fill out these blanks. In others, the
committees have a large subcommittee consisting of experts in vari-
ous trades which deal with the whole question of vocational advice.

At the beginning with such a large body of voluntary workers
there was some complaint that many of the advisers did not possess
the necessary experience. At present, there has been a good deal
written on the subject and the adviser's work has been well defined,
so that there seems an improvement. Also schools have been opened
in two cities to furnish them with a brief course of training.

As a matter of fact, the principle is fast held to that a man must,

if humanly possible, go back to his old trade, or, failing that, to an

allied one. This narrows the scope of vocational advice and makes

it rather vocational urging. The real requirement would seem to

57710°— 18 11


be that the adviser shall be an enthusiastic and reliable person who
would act as a sort of publicity agent for the school and convince
the cripple that he will find through it the means of getting back
to his old work. Vocational advice, though in point of time it comes
before reeducation, is so dependent on the reeducation possibilities
in the different localities that the description of it here can best
follow that of reeducation. Vocational, advice is almost always the
function of the local care committee. The general rule of the mili-
tary authorities is to send a man for his final, long, orthopedic treat-
ment back to his home district, and the committee in this district is,
therefore, better acquainted with labor conditions and with the back-
ground of the men.

The practice of the committees is to send representatives to the
men in hospital as soon as they are well enough to be visited to
get full facts on their experience and their physical condition and
then advise them as to reeducation or immediate work. The mili-
tary hospital authorities demand that anyone allowed to visit the
men be approved by the local military commander. This approval
is sometimes given in writing and the visitor receives a regular ap-
pointment ; at other times it is more informal. The war office has, how-
ever, given instructions that district commanders shall cooperate
as much as possible. (Kriegserlass.)

Vocational advice is managed with more or less efficiency accord-
ing to the locality. In some localities, such as those of the eighth
and eighteenth army corps, the committee requests the doctors to
consult with the men in the hospital, to fill out blanks and furnish
them with the necessary advice. 47

In others there is a special subcommittee of the care committee,
consisting of educators and trade experts, which visits the hospitals
in a body or holds sittings there. This is the plan in Freiberg, Bres-
lau, Strassburg, and in Grand Duchy of Hesse. 48 The plan most
often followed is that of having, as vocational advisers, individual
men with knowledge of trade conditions and an ability to win the
cripples' confidence. These men are, as a rule, volunteers and from
the upper classes, but the realization is growing that they must have

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 18 of 38)