Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

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

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special qualifications in order to be efficient. Short courses have been
opened in two cities for men who wish to take up this service. There
were, in January, 1917, 400 vocational advisers serving in Berlin.
Individual men are appointed also in the whole Province of Branden-
burg, 49 in Westphalia, 60 in Bavaria, 51 and in Baden, 52 and many places

" Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 98. Korrespondenz fflr Kriegs-
wohlfahrtspfiege, Berlin, 1916, ii, 141.

" Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1915, viii, 45, 267, 290.

« Zeitschritt fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1915, viii, 263.

«• Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1915, viii, 103.

s > Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 173.

62 Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 24.


in Saxony. Instructions issued to the vocational advisers in Leipzig
(Saxony) by the local committee read as follows:

1. It is the task of the vocational advisers to seek out such soldiers as are
likely, as a result of their wounds, to be hindered in the use of their limbs
and to advise them.

2. The vocational advisers will be informed by the committee in what hos-
pitals, military or associate, such visits are desired. It is desirable, when visit-
ing, to get in touch with the physician in charge or the head nurse.

3. The aim which the vocational advisers should hold before them is :

a. To combat the discouragement of the wounded men by showing them

what cripples have already been able to do.
6. To inform themselves as to the cripple's personal circumstances and

his trade experience.

c. To obtain employment for the soldier with his former employer or at

least in his former trade.

d. To arrange for the cure of hindrances to movement of the limbs re-

sulting from wounds by orthopedic or mecano-therapeutic treatment.

e. To arrange, if necessary, for the education of the wounded man in

another trade which is suited to him.
/. To place the man in the new trade.

4. As a preparation for this task, the vocational advisers are recommended —

a. To read the publications issued by the committee for their instruction.
6. To visit the home for crippled children in Leipzig.

c. To visit the Zander Institute of the Leipzig Local Sick Benefit Society.

d. To keep in constant touch with the members and the officers of the

Leipzig committee for the care of war cripples." 3

Vocational Advice by Military Department.

The war department has recently made some efforts to deal with
this question, which was, at first, left entirely to civilian iniative.
Each reserve battalion has now an Fiirsorgeabteilung (welfare divi-
sion) whose primary duty is to assist men about to be dismissed in
the settlement of their pensions. In some commands, this department
is very active and takes up the matter of vocational advice or even
placement with the men under its authority. Where there is an
active care committee, the welfare department generally turns most
of the actual case work over to it, but in small places, such as a few
of those in East Prussia, the welfare department is very active. The
war department, in its decree of December 27, 1916, says, in relation
to these departments :

In order to avoid confusion, it may be stated that the military bureaus for
vocational advice established in certain military districts are expected to work
toward the same goal as the civilian agencies and in complete cooperation
with them. It is recognized that, owing to their recent growth, these bureaus
are still very faulty ; they can best be promoted by a constant exchange of
opinion between the military authority and the central care committee."

68 Zeltschrift fur Kriippelfttrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, Ix, 97.

w Leitsatsse Uber Berufsberatung und Berufsausbildung, Berlin, 1917, p. 20. (Reichs-
ausschuss der Kriegsbeschadigteniiirsorge. Sonderschriften, Heft 2.)



The problem of placement is much simplified by the German creed
that a " man must go back to his former trade and, if possible, to his
former position." This makes placement more a matter of resorting
and fitting a man into the niche reserved for him than of studying
possible new combinations. Although the creed is uniform, there
is no uniform machinery for putting it into practice. The agencies
to which a cripple may turn are five :

1. The care committee.

2. The public employment bureau.

3. Government service.

4. Employers' and workmen's associations.

5. Miscellaneous charitable and private initiative.

Care Committees.

The care committee, though the least definitely organized for
placement purposes, is generally the agency which comes first in
question. To the care committee belongs the routine duty of making
connections with the former employer. Many cases are settled in this
way without further difficulty. The agent for the care committee
is the vocational adviser who interviews the man in hospital. Often
he has communicated with the employer before the cripple begins his
training and has found exactly what further education is advisable
for that particular position. All committees go as far as this in the
matter of placement. If the old employer is unable to make a place
for the man, some of the committees immediately turn him over to
another agency, generally the public employment bureau. Other
committees, with more funds and a wider scope, run employment
bureaus of their own. The care committee of the Rhine Province,
an industrial and mining locality, has a system of employment bu-
reaus all over the Province, affiliated with the local care committees.
The committee of the Province of Silesia has one employment bureau
which serves the whole Province. In other cases, the care commit-
tees do not have separate offices for employment, but attend to it
from the regular care committee office for the district, along with
vocational advice, pension information, relief, etc. As an example
of a care committee employment bureau, that of Heilbronn in Wiir-
temberg may be cited. This committee, from November, 1915, to
March, 1917, had 656 applications, out of which 246 men were
placed. 55 The Dortmund committee, in Westphalia, had 592 appli-
cations and placed 165, while 17 got places for themselves after
training provided by the committee. 66 Even when the care commit-

» Zeitschrlft fttr Kriippelfttrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 126.

" Korrespondenz ftir Krlegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, 11, 355.


tees do not place men, a good many duties devolve on them in ron-
nection with employment, because many public works or Government
offices will not take on a new man until his local care committee has
certified that he is unfit for his old work. This means giving a
great deal of responsibility to the care committee. In places which
have a representative and efficient committee, it is a good plan, but
in small places where the committee is represented only by one man
there is room for favoritism and unfairness. Complaints in the
papers have stated that the decisions are influenced by class preju-
dice and have made this a reason for asking that the whole cripple
care system be put under Government control.

Public Bureaus.

Germany has a regular system of public employment bureaus sup-
ported by the municipalities. The bureaus in each State or Province
are united under a State or provincial directorate, and the directo-
rates in an imperial federation. Some of these bureaus had, before
the war, special divisions for the handicapped and others are now
forming them. It is advised by the Imperial Committee for the Care
of War Cripples that the whole matter of placement should be left
to these public bureaus and that no new agencies should be estab-
lished. 67 This has not yet been done, however, and there is still
argument as to whether cripples are best placed by the public bureau
or a private one and whether their placement should be handled sepa-
rately from that of the able-bodied.

In a number of the States the" public bureaus are handling the
placement of war cripples, handed over to them by the care commit-
tees after placement with the old employer has been found impossible.
These States are Bavaria, Brandenburg, Grand Duchy of Hesse,
Hesse Nassau, Baden, Saxony, and Anhalt. In Bavaria, where the
whole work for cripples is under the State Government, each district
has a special bureau for cripples, affiliated with the public employ-
ment bureau. The other States and Provinces handle the work
through the regular employment bureau, which keeps a special de-
partment, or at least a list of positions, for war cripples.

Public Bureau Report.

The report of the public employment bureau of Berlin, Province
of Brandenburg, which has a special division for cripples, is as
follows :

August 1, 1915, to December 1, 1916:

Applications received 2, 700

Positions available 2, 000

Positions filled 1, 400

n Verhandlungsberlcht fiber die Tagung fttr Krlegsbeschadigtenftlrsorge Id K81n, Berlin,
1917. (Relclisausscbuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfttrsorge. Sonderschriften. Heft 1.)


Of these 1,400, 730 were followed up after they went to work,
and the report is not so encouraging. One hundred and forty-five
changed their position eight times before the time came for discharge
or renewal of contract; 45 stayed one week; 29 stayed two weeks;
27, three weeks; 22, four weeks; 42, over a month; 22 two months;
and 35, three months. (Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Feb. 3,

Work is done here and there by individual bureaus in States and
Provinces which have not taken over the work as a whole. In East
Prussia, an agricultural district, the provincial Government has
established a farm employment bureau at Konigsberg. In Strass-
burg, Alsace, the municipal bureau takes care of cripples and has
an arrangement with the Fifteenth Army Corps commandant by
which they can be employed in the military clothing workshops.

Government Service.

The Imperial Government has, of course, an enormous number of
positions at its disposal, since the railways as well as all the post-
office and civil-service positions are included. The Government has
already promised that all former employees in any of these lines will
be reemployed, if not in their old capacity, in a kindred one. These
men, according to instructions from the imperial chancellor, are to
be paid without consideration of their pensions. This is a new
departure, since Government pay, in civil-service positions, was
always subtracted from the amount of the pension. 58 The promise,
however, decidedly reduces the number of possibilities for the ordi-
nary cripple.

The post-office department has decided to give all future agencies
and subagencies in the rural districts to war cripples, provided they
are fit for the positions and want to settle on the land.

Germany has the difficulty found in other countries with untrained
men who feel themselves entitled to Government positions, and she
has taken measures to guard against it. The imperial post office has
directed the postal officials in all the States to follow the example
set in the Rhine Province and refuse employment to war cripples
unless it is certified by their local care committee that they are unfit
to go back to their old occupation. In minor civil service posts no
new man is accepted without a certificate, either a Zivilversorgungs-
schein (civilian care certificate) or an Anstellungsschein (placement
certificate). The Zivilversorgungsschein guarantees a man employ-
ment or support in case no position is vacant. It is issued only to
men who have had 12 years honorable service. 59 The Anstellungs-

ra Korrespondenz fiir Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, ii, 157.
*> Korrespondena fiir Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, ii, 89.


schein is given to other noncommissioned officers or privates who are
certified by their local care committee as being unable to take other
work, but it does not guarantee that they will be accepted and, if not,
they have no indemnity payment. 60

City Governments.

The city and other local governments also make every effort to
take in cripples, but their possibilities are small. In many places,
such as Freiberg, they exercise an indirect influence by refusing to
give city contracts to firms which do not reemploy their own injured
workmen, or even new crippled men for whom they have room. 61 In
Nurnberg a foreman is not allowed to discharge a war cripple with-
out bringing the case before a committee of the city, appointed to
see that justice is done in such cases. 62 In general, the city govern-
ments also are obliged to protect themselves. Most of them will not
consider an application for work from a war cripple unless the care
committee certifies that he can not resume his old trade.

War Department.

Aside from these regular Government employments, there are
special employments due to the war and under the war department.
The army workshops at Coblenz 63 and Kassel 64 employ discharged
crippled soldiers to work on shoes, clothing, and saddlery. At Dan-
zig, unskilled men are taken and given regular training as at a
reeducation school. It has been recommended that the other army
corps commanders adopt this plan and employ only war cripples in
the workshops under their command.

A military announcement of March 17, 1917, asks that all crippled
soldiers should be turned, as much as possible, to civilian work at the
rear, such as that of airplane mechanics, blacksmiths, etc. The men
formerly employed in these capacities were retained under army
discipline and given army pay, which is much less than civilian pay.
The war office now promises that they will be retained in a civilian
capacity and will retain their pensions. 65 It also promises that, after
the war, every effort will be made to get these men back to permanent
civilian positions.

The war department has recently established a Versorgungsabtei-
lung (welfare department) in every reserve troop where invalided

m Korrespondenz fur Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, 11, 89.

01 Korrespondenz fur Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin. 1916, ii, 124.

"» Verhandlungsbericht iiber die Tagung fur Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in Kbln, Ber-
lin, 1917, p. 178. (Reichsausschuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sondersehrlften
Heft 1.)

«» Zeltschrift filr Krtippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 332.

M Korrespondenz fur Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1915, 1, 170.

a Zeltschrift fur Krtippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 125.


men are nent while awaiting discharge. This department is supposed
to facilicate their return to civil life through advice about reeduca-
tion or employment. In cases where there is no very active local
care committee, this department communicates with the former em-
ployer and even attempts some placement activity, but the plan is
so new that not much is reported of it so far.

The war office publishes twice a week a journal, Amtliche Mitteil-
ungen (official information), which gives the positions open for war
cripples. All advertisements from employers are accepted free and
the paper is distributed to care committees and Government official?
all over the country. The Prussian war ministry publishes a similar
bulletin, Anstellungsnachrichten (Employment News).


Attitude of Employer.

One of the most active agencies in placement is the employing class.
As has already been mentioned the reemploying of crippled workmen
has been made such a patriotic issue and chambers of commerce, city
governments and newspapers espouse it so violently that no employer
who could possibly make a place for his crippled workmen would
dare refuse to do so. Many of the largest firms, such as Krupp and
Siemens-Schiickert, not only reemploy their former workmen, but
retrain them. Krupp guarantees them the full amount of their pension
for five years, even though the Government should reduce it on account
of increased earning capacity.

The large employers' organizations have also put themselves on
record in favor of reemploying cripples. Such are the Nordwestliche
Gruppe des Vereins deutscher Eisen und Stahl-Industrieller, the
Verein fur bergbauliche Interessen, the Gesamtverband deutscher
Metallindustrieller, the Verband deutscher Steindriickerei Besitzer,
and the Deutsche Arbeitgeberverband f iir das Baugewerbe Bayerische
Industriellerverband. 66

There has recently been formed a national association, the Verein-
igung deutscher Arbeitgeberverbande (Union of German Employers'
Associations) , whose aim is to promote the employment of cripples.
This is a federation of 75 different trade associations, employing be-
tween them 2,500,000 workmen. This association puts placards in all
the hospitals, stating its willingness to employ war cripples and
directing them to apply for work to the associations belonging to it. 67
The names of these associations representing principally the metal
•working trades are listed in the appendix.

*> Zeitschrift fiir KrUppelfilrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 243.

"' Korrespondenz fiir Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1915, 1, 151.


The federation states, as its belief, that the reinstatement of crip -
p'led workmen is a matter which concerns the employer alone and it
does not consult the unions in any of its measures. 68

These are general measures, but there are smaller associations which
take much more definite ones. Many trades have employment bureaus
of their own where any workman formerly employed in that trade
may apply and be reinstated if not with his old employer with
another in the same line. Such bureaus are run by the Verband
deutscher Diplom-Ingenieure, Deutsche Kraftfahrdank, Offenbacher
Lederwarenindustrie, 68 and the very large steel combination, Rhein-
Westfalische Industrie and Nordwestliche Gruppe des Vereins
deutscher Eisen und Stahl Industrieller. The former of these last two
placed to June, 1916, 5,002 war cripples; the latter, to the same date,
2,200. 70

The merchants have not taken such a prominent stand as the manu-
facturers but their representatives have also expressed themselves
publicly in favor of reinstating all crippled employees. The problem
here is not so much the objection to crippled former employees as to
the inrush of new, uneducated employees. Merchants are very defi-
nite in warning against this and insisting that war cripples must have
a thorough commercial course before they can apply for any sort of
clerkship. 71 To this end, the Prussian chamber of commerce has
directed the commercial schools to work closely with the care com-
mittees so that their courses can be made of real use.

Attitude of Workmen.

The attitude of the workmen toward the reemployment of cripples
has not been cordial. Here again, we may distinguish between the
hand workers proper and the industrial workers. The master guilds
among the hand workers have held out every encouragement to
cripples to set up for themselves as independent master workers. An
association has been formed to lend money to returned hand workers
and to their wives while they are away, so that the small business
may be kept up. There is a committee in Wilmersdorf, Berlin, for
the care of returning hand workers and small shopkeepers and there
are other such committees in the Rhine Province. The Handwerks-
kammern in Prussian Saxony and Hanover have agreed to try to
find work for crippled hand workers. All this is for the advantage
of the hand workers, since their craft is in danger of dying out and
they are glad to strengthen it by new recruits and public interest.

1,8 Zeltschrift filr Krilppelftirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, Ix, 244.

» Zeltschrift filr Krilppelftirsorge, Leipzig, 1915, ix, 46.

™ Korrespondenj fUr Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1917, 111, 33. Verhandlnngsbericht
fiber die Tagung ftlr Krlegsbeschadigtenftirsorge In Koln, Berlin, 1917, p. 114. (Reichs-
ausschuss der Krlegsbeschadigtenftirsorge, Sondersehrlften. Heft 1.)

n Zeltschrift fur Kriippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, Ix, 595.


They combine their friendly efforts with propaganda for keeping up
the standard of the master test.

The unions find themselves in a different position. There are three
different types of union in Germany and they will have to be dis-
tinguished, since they do not all take the same attitude: (1) The
Hirsch Duncker unions are the old conservative organizations com-
posed of skilled workmen. They have no political affiliations and
seldom strike. (2) The Christian unions are Catholic organizations
in the nature of benevolent societies, who also have very little politi-
cal interest. They are very systematically organized and maintain
advice offices for members all ove^r the country. (3) The socialist
unions are of two sorts, the free local unions and the free central
unions. These latter are the newest and are more akin to syndicalist
organizations (known popularly as the "yellow" unions).

The attitude of the Hirsch Duncker union is friendly, if not over
cordial. The Christian unions are active in favor of placement of
cripples. Their union advice offices combine help for war cripples
with the regular work ; they have erected schools for the reeducation
of their own men and others; they accord their wounded members
full sick pay and they have subscribed largely to all war relief work. 72
The federation of Christian unions has established an employment
bureau in Berlin for reinstating their own members in industry. 73

The socialist unions are the ones which have shown the least
sympathy. The situation is such that any open expression of hostil-
ity would lay the objector open to charges of lack of patriotism.
The socialist unions, therefore, protest their interest in their fellow
workmen, but they object to the volunteer organization of the work
which, in their opinion, makes it a class matter. Their representa-
tives have demanded in the Reichstag that it be handed over to the
Imperial Government, but without result. At a meeting at Cologne,
held August, 1916, at which all types of union, except the yellow,
were represented, the following resolution was passed :

The workers and employees of Germany take the liveliest interest in sick and
crippled soldiers and have always taken part in war cripple welfare work,
especially that of the national committee.

The work for war cripples, which will be of the greatest economic importance,
especially after the close of the war, must, first of all, have the confidence of its
beneficiaries if it is to be effective. This confidence can only be won if the
proper conduct of the work is guaranteed by an organization established by
law. Since the cripple welfare work is still without such an organization, the
representatives of the workmen's and employees' organizations of Germany,
assembled in Cologne, August 23 to 25, demand its regulation by national law."

72 Korrespondenz Kir Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, li, 22.
»• Zeitschrift fur Kruppelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 351.

™ Verhandlungsbericht flber die Tagung fur Kriegsbeschadigtenfursorge In K81n, Berlin,
1917, p. 122. (Reichsausschuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfursorge. Sonderschriften. Heft 1.)


A meeting of the workmen's and employees' unions of Branden-
burg came to the same conclusions. (Vorwarts, April 12, 1917.)

There is also complaint that the workmen's representatives are not
asked to serve on local care committees, or when they are asked that
they have no active part in the work. The " yellow unions " have
been loudest in these objections, and it is obvious that there is a dis-
tinct attitude of hostility between them and the employers in the
whole matter. At the meeting of the national commitee in Cologne,
Herr Miinchrath, factory superintendent, stated :

If employers and workmen are to be active in such care committees, they
must be inspired by mutual confidence. But confidence between employers and
the members of the aggressive type of unions has so far vanished that there
can be no further talk of it.™

Arbitration Boards.

There has been no open discussion of the possibility that wage
standards will be reduced by the entry of cripples into industry.

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 19 of 38)