Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

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

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The assumption has been that this will not occur and the contrary
has not been proved. In this matter, however, the unions have made
a very sage move. Instead of protesting about the employment of
cripples, they have championed the establishment of Arbeitsgemein-
schaften arbitration board in each trade which shall decide on the
wages of each cripple on his individual merits.

These boards are to be composed of equal numbers of employers
and workmen, sometimes with a neutral president. The unions have
been striving to get such arrangement as this for other purposes for
a long time. At present, it would seem from their attitude that they
consider it the best policy to push the formation of arbitration boards
and to strive to make them permanent after the war. It would
seem likely that their campaign to be represented on local care com-
mittees may be in part a political move toward this end.

The arbitration board idea has been very successful in Berlin,
where there are boards in the following industries: Woodworking,
breweries, stone masonry, building trades, saddlery and leather work,
transporting, coal dealing, express companies, textile work. 76 The
woodworkers and printers " have organized arbitration boards on a
national scale. 78 Also the war office has constituted such boards in
war industries such as metal work. This is a trade where there was
formerly no cooperation at all between employers and employees.

The arbitration board idea has a certain amount of public ap-
proval. In a few towns, public contracts are not given to firms
which do not abide by their decisions.

'« Verhandlungsbericht liber die Tagung fUr Krlegsbeschildigtenfflrsorge In K81n, Berlin,
1917, p. 129. (Relchsausschuss der Kriegsbesch&digtenfiirsorge. Sonderscbriften. Heft 1 I
™ Zeitschrlft fttr Krtippelfflrsorge, Leipzig, 1915, vii, 289 ; 1916, tx, 244.
"Lllbecker Lazarett-Zeltung, 1916, il, 5.
" Korrespondenz fiir Krlegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, 11, 111.

Attitude of Cripples to Employment.

There are no statistics to show to what extent the ideal of the
volunteer workers is realized and the cripple is reabsorbed into the
mass of the people. Dr. Biesalski states that from 90 to 95 per cent
are thus reabsorbed. The general statement is made by most writers
that the difficulty of getting cripples settled in work is lessening
very much, owing to the wide publicity employed and the system-
atic way in which the care committees get hold of the men.
Figures from the provincial care committee of the Rhine Province,
for June, 1917, give the proportion of cripples who go back to work
as follows : " The total number of unemployed cripples dealt with
by the 43 local care committees under the provincial committee was
927. Of these, there were: Willing to work, 209; work shy, 92;
temporarily unfit to work, 395 ; permanently unfit, 231."

The report of the Ehine committee further gives the reasons for
unemployment : " Nervous disability, 20.5 per cent ; tubercular, two-
thirds per cent; blind, 1.8 per cent; arm amputations, 3 per cent."
The majority of unemployed who are willing to work are disabled
in arm or leg.

As to the proportion of cripples going back to their old trade,
an indication may be had from the statistics published by the com-
mittees of Coblenz and the agricultural advice office at Baden. Of
the 454 applicants for work at Coblenz in two months, the percentage
going back to their old trade was 89 per cent, although only 42 per
cent had so intended. At Baden, out of 204 applicants, 188 went
back to their former trade, although only 95 had so intended.

Machines for Cripples.

A subject which may be taken up under placement is that of the
alteration of machines to suit the use of cripples.

This appears not to have been gone into very widely. Some of
the schools use an Underwood typewriter with shift key worked with
the knee, and these are installed in some business offices which
employ cripples. In Strassburg the ticket chopping machines are
altered so as to be worked with the foot and permit their use by
one-armed ticket choppers. There are descriptions of a bicycle for
cripples, and a special drafting board, but it is not stated that these
have ever been used.

The field where the most work has been done is that of farm
tools. Friederich Maier-Bode, in his book, Der Arm- und Beinbe-
schadigte in der Landwirtschaft, and the East Prussian care com-
mittee, in its publication, Der Kriegsbeschadigte in der Landwirt-
schaft, give long lists of simple farm tools which can be altered as to
length of handle or general shape so as to be used for cripples. The


idea of using electric power for some of these simple operations is
only beginning to gain place. Since the war has made fuel and
kerosene so scarce, the small towns and country districts are begin-
ning to install electricity. The Province of East Prussia is installing
power plants in several places from which all the small farms in the
district can be supplied. The committee recommends to peasant
farmers the use of small electric motors for milking, milk separating,
thrashing, beet crushing, lifting heavy weights, etc. It states that
on a few very large estates it is possible to use electric plows and
harvesters and recommends that cripples try to get employment in
connection with these. It also recommends the electric motor to
handicraft workers, such as butchers, locksmiths, wheelwrights, etc. 79
In order to avoid exploitation of cripples a proclamation has been
issued addressed to them and signed by most of the large workmen's
organizations. It directs the cripples, if they find unjust conditions
in the labor field, to apply to the signers for redress or placement.

Accident Insurance.

Another question which comes up in connection with employment
is that of accident insurance. The matter of increased number of
industrial accidents likely to occur where cripples are employed
came up for discussion at the meeting of the Vereinigung f iir Kriip-
pelfiirsorge, Berlin, February, 1915. At this meeting, Herr Witow-
ski, director of the Reichsversicherungsamt (Imperial insurance
office), admitted the difficulty, but the remedy he proposed was sim-
ply further watchfulness on the part of the accident insurance asso-
ciations. These associations, as has been mentioned, already have
hospitals and reeducation schools of their own and exert themselves
to prevent the occurrence of invalidity as far as possible so as to
avoid paying the pension required by the insurance law.

The attitude of employers toward war cripples, as has been said,
must necessarily be a very liberal one and employers have not pressed
this question. In a few cases there have been difficulties. Section 178
of the Reichsversisherungsordnung (imperial insurance law) pro-
vides that where a man's working capacity is permanently lessened he
may work uninsured if the poor-law authorities are caring for him.
Some trades have been enforcing this provision with war cripples, but
the Prussian minister of commerce and industry has warned against
too wide an application. 80

The Prussian war ministry has decided that where men are dis-
charged from the army and go to work at a trade where insurance
is compulsory, they must be insured under the provisions of the

™ Der Krlegsbeschadigte in der Landwirtschaft, KBnigsberg, 1, Pr., 1916, pp. 108-114.
80 Korrespondenz far KrlcgswohlfahrtBpflege, Berlin, 1916, il, 34.


laws. 81 This apparently applies to all cases except those just men-
tioned, which are proved to be permanently injured and under the
care of the poor-law authorities.

There has been a good deal of discussion about the status of men
still in hospital and, therefore, under military authority who go out
to work in factories, whether for pay or not. The Prussian minis-
try of war has decided that such work must be considered part of
their medical treatment and that they do not come under the pro-
visions of the insurance law, but under the Mannschaftsversorgungs-
gestez (provision for troops) , 82 and any injury to them must be the
responsibility of the war department. In Westphalia, however, the
care committee had so much difficulty with employers that it arranged
with an insurance company to pay the accident compensation in these

cases. 83

Investigation of Employment for Cripples.

Systematic work is only just beginning in the field of investigation
as to possible trades for cripples. The Bochum school for the
wounded divides the trades taught into sitting occupations, for men
with thigh amputations ; half -sitting occupations, for those with am-
putations just above or below the knee and occupations for the one-
armed. The school teaches 12 sitting occupations, 9 half -sitting, 4 for
the one-armed, and 20 miscellaneous. Further details are not given. 84

The Deutsche Industrieschutzverband (German Union for the
Protection of Industry), Dresden, has made a report of 79 trades
compatible with different injuries. The trade operations which are
not given in great detail are such general ones as cabinetmaker,
locksmith, tailor, etc. 86

The most complete piece of work which has been done in this line
is the report entitled, Lohnende Beschaftigung fur Kriegsbescha-
digte aus dem Metallgewerbe (Gainful Ooccupation for War Cripples
in the Metal Trades) , by Franz Almstedt (publisher, Max Janecke,
Leipzig, 1916). The author has been a teacher in the city continua-
tion school at Hanover and since the war teacher and vocational
adviser in the hospital school. He gives a careful description of 92
operations in the metal trades, with an exact statement of their com-
patibility with injuries from the loss of a finger to loss of both arms
or legs.



Public education on the subject of proper treatment of war crip-
ples has been very efficiently managed. There was, at the beginning

11 Zeitschrift ftir Kriippelfursorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 187-188.
« Zeitschrift Mr Krtippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, Ix, 188.
88 Zeitschrift fflr Krttppelftirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 348.
« Zeitschrift fiir Krflppelflirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 406.
86 ZeitechriJt fur Krtippelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 326.


of the war, the usual outbreak of misguided charity. The news-
papers were loud in their demands for Heldenheime (old soldiers'
homes), where all cripples could be maintained in idleness for the
rest of their lives. Uninformed volunteer societies sprang up every-
where. But the leaders in orthopedic work immediately took up
the definite task of educating public opinion.

Dr. Biesalski, the secretary of the federation for the care of crip-
ples, made a tour of the whole country under the auspices of the Red
Cross, speaking in all the important towns before the social workers
and officials, and instructing them in the most modern principles of
cripple work. The result was that the new committees when first
formed were prepared to conduct their work in the most intelligent
way, and that there was very little volunteering and subscription of
money for undesirable forms of charity.

This tendency was diverted very early to an interest in reeducation


There are several regular publications which keep the social
workers informed of the progress and plans of cripple work. The
Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfiirsorge, the official magazine of the Vereini-
gung fur Kriippelfiirsorge, has devoted its pages almost entirely since
the war to reports on the work for war cripples. There are besides
this the regular magazine of the Reichsausschutz and its special
reports and pamphlets, the magazine of the Brandenburg care com-
mittee, Vom Krieg zur Friedensarbeit (From War to Industry) and
the reports on general war work in the Korrespondenz fur Kriegs-
wohlfahrtspflege (Correspondence on War Welfare Work). These
serve for the technical information of the workers, but the various
societies have also been at great pains to issue publications for the
thorough information of the public. The Vereinigung fiir Kriip-
pelf iirsorge has published three illustrated pamphlets by its secretary.
Dr. Biesalski, intended to convince both the cripples and the general
public of the truth of his maxim, " There is no such thing as being
crippled." The books are full of illustrations and examples of the
fact that cripples can and do return to industrial life. They are
Kriegskriippelfursorge, Ein Aufklarungswort zum Troste und zur
Mahnung (Work for War Cripples, a Word of Comfort and Warn-
ing), Die Ethische und wirtschaftliche Bedetung der Kriegs-
kriippelfursorge und ihre Organisation in zusammenhang mit der
gesamte Kriegshilfe (The Ethical and Economic Significance of
the Work for War Cripples and its Organization in Connection with
General War Work), Die Fiirsorge fiir unsere heimkehrenden
Krieger, insbesondere die Kriegskriippel (The Work for Our Home-
coming Soldiers, Especially the War Cripples). All three are pub-
lished by Lepold Voss, Leipzig, 1915.


There are also several pamphlets published in the interests of agri-
culture proving the ease and profit with which cripples may return
to the land. Such are Agriculture for Men with Arm and Leg
Injuries, by Frederic Maier-Bode, vocational adviser at Nuremberg-
Schafhof, and The War Cripple in Agriculture, published by the
East Prussian Care Committee. 86

These books are all as much to provide arguments and material
for the care committees as for the cripples themselves. One particu-
larly popular appeal aimed directly at the cripple is the pamphlet
by Dr. Wiirtz, of the Oscar-Helene Heim, called Der Wille Siegt
(Will Conquers). This is meant for distribution in all the hospi-
tals. It is a collection of the histories of successful cripples from
Tamburlaine and Frederic of Homburg down to the veterans of the
present war. Rehabilitated cripples suffering from all types of
injuries tell their own stories and urge their comrades to similar
courage. Its purpose is frankly to provide the stimulus of patriot-
ism, pride, and ambition which will overcome hospital lethargy and
pension psychosis. The conclusion may serve as an example of the
high dramatic key in which it is couched :


You war cripples ! Receive these stories and these living examples of the
conquering power of the will as good friends into your souls! When trouble
and faintheartedness paint sinister pictures before you, do not believe the
terrible specters. Look upward, toward the victories which courageous war
cripples have won. Listen to the message contained in these battles of crippled
men. Life is earnest and you have learned how hard it can be for each one
of us. But do not let your working power grow rusty. Be good warriors, even
on the battlefield of industry. Think not of what you have lost, look not behind
you, but stride forward, certain of victory. If you believe in yourselves, you
are planting many a victorious banner for the future. Let all that you learn
become a weapon in your proud fight for independence from the help of others.
Be patient as you practice your new knowledge. You have still, as you have
ever had, the joy which lies in every piece of work. With every tiny success
you are building up the strength of the fatherland. The German people needs
you as much as it needs the unwounded.

Dare to will ! Will conquers ! "

There are other publications of this same nature meant to influence
the war cripple while he is in hospital and prepare his mind for the
future. One such is the Liibecker Lazarett Zeitung (Liibeck Hos-
pital Journal), published by the Liibeck Care Committee and dis-
tributed free to all cripples in the city. Among short bits of news
about trades and pensions it has inspiring verses and talks on the
joy of suffering for the fatherland, and each month an article on
the German nature, featuring such qualities as industry, courage,
patience, and patriotism.

"Der Arm und Beinbeschadigte In der Landwirtschaft, Lelpzi* 1917. Der Kriegs-
beschadigte in der Landwirtschaft, KBnigsberg i. Pr., 1917.
"Wurtz, Hans. Der Wille Siegt, Berlin, 1916.



Exhibitions on the subject of cripple care have been held in all
parts of the Empire. A large exhibition on the care of the sick and
wounded in war was arranged in December, 1914, stayed a month in
the Reichstags Building in Berlin, and then traveled to Vienna and
Budapest and to all the large cities of Germany. In this exhibition
a section arranged by the Vereinigung fur Kruppelfursorge exhibited
all the phases of reeducation, model workshops, photographs of crip-
ples at work, and samples of the product. The newspapers reported
this exhibition as being crowded during the whole course of its
progress. The Vereinigung fur Kruppelfursorge plans to establish
a permanent museum for cripple welfare work which shall be con-
cerned with the care of industrial as well as war cripples. 88 Smaller
exhibitions have been arranged by the care committees in different
localities with samples of the work done there, i. e., at Altona, Char-
lottenburg, Stuttgart, Diisseldorf, Leipzig, Potsdam, Cologne, and

The workers in the cripple field are urging that more use be made,
even than has yet been made, of slides and moving pictures illustrat-
ing the possibilities of work for cripples. These are in use for the lec-
tures given as entertainment at the larger reeducation schools and it
is urged that more of them be shown before the general public, so
that the wives and dependents of cripples will realize the possibilities
for them.

Through these publications the host of volunteer workers in Ger-
many is kept continually informed as to the measures for returning
cripples to civil life and is also reminded that one of the first duties
of the worker himself is publicity in the instruction of the cripple
and his dependents as to the possibility of his returning to industry.


The source of the pension provisions for noncommissioned officers
and privates is the Mannschaftsversorgungsgesetz (law of provision
for troops), passed May 31, 1916. According to this, a pension is
granted if a man's working capacity is reduced in any measurable
degree, i. e., 10 per cent or more. Injuries which amount to less
than 10 per cent are not considered; for injuries which impair the
working capacity from 10 per cent to 100 per cent the pension is
correspondingly increased. Pensions are graded according to mili-
tary rank. The full pension for complete disablement is, per year :

Private 540 marks.

Corporal 600 marks.

Sergeant 720 marks.

Sergeant major 900 marks.

'Zeltscbrlft fur Kruppelfursorge, Leipzig, 1915, viii, Monatsblatt, 26-27.
57710—18 12


If the degree of disablement is lessened, pensions can be accord-
ingly diminished. When the degree of disablement reaches less than
10 per cent pensions can be entirely withdrawn. 89

To the pension proper, there are various additions :

1. Kriegszulage (war allowance) , 15 marks a month. This is paid
wherever the pension is paid. If the pension is diminished, the war
allowance remains the same. If the pension is withdrawn on account
of regained working capacity, the war allowance is withdrawn. 90

2. Verstiimmelungszulage (mutilation allowance), 27 'marks per
month. This is paid in case of serious mutilation, such as the loss
of an arm, a leg, an eye, etc., or in case these members are rendered
useless, as by paralysis. For double mutilation, such as the loss of
both legs, total blindness, etc., there is double allowance. The muti-
lation allowance can not be withdrawn so long as mutilation exists,
even though working capacity be completely regained (e. g.,
through the use of prostheses) . It can only be withdrawn if mutila-
tion no longer exists, e. g., if the use of a paralyzed limb is regained. 91

3. Alterszulage (old age allowance). Paid to men over 55 years
old whose yearly income does not reach 600 marks. The amount paid
is the difference between the man's actual income and 600 marks. 92

4. Zusatzrente (supplementary allowance). This is a later pro-
vision not included in the Mannschaf tsversorgungsgesetz ; it is paid
from a special fund recently set apart by the Imperial Government
for this purpose. According to a report made by the intelligence
department of the English local government board, the German
Government has promised to revise the pension system so as to take
into consideration a man's former earnings and not merely his mili-
tary rank. This can not be done until after the war, when more
funds will be available and the supplementary allowance is granted
as a temporary measure. The conditions under which it is granted
were explained by the Prussian war ministry, in a decree of, June 15,
1917, as follows:

The allowance is granted to those who had a definite income from work be-
fore the war and who have lost it as a result of war injuries, or who had such
an income in prospect and have lost it in this way. The impairment to work-
ing capacity must be 334 per cent or more, and the applicant must show that
he has made all possible efforts to get work which will make him self-support-
ing, and that the local care committee has also been unable to place him. The

M Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung fUr Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in Koln, Berlin,
1917, p. 29. (Reichsaussehuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sonderschriften. Heft 1.)
Zeitsehrift ftir Krflppelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1915, ix, 58.

80 Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung fttr Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in Koln, Berlin,
1917, p. 29. (Reichsaussehuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sonderschriften. Heftl.)'

"■ Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung ffir Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge In K61n, Berlin,
1917, p. 29. (Reichsaussehuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sonderschriften. Heft 1.)
Zeitsehrift filr Kriippelffirsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 58.

" Verhandlungsbericht fiber die Tagung ffir Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge in KBln, Berlin,
1917, p. 29. (Reichsaussehuss der Kriegsbeschadigtenfiirsorge. Sonderschriften. Heft 1.)


applicant's total income must be less than 5,000 marks per year, and must be
diminished by at least one-fourth as a result of his injuries. In reckoning
income, all pension allowances, except mutilation allowance, are counted. The
supplementary allowance is granted for only six months at a time and is not
renewed if conditions improve and put the man outside its provisions. The
allowance is graded according to conditions. It may reach 40 to 45 marks a
month. 88

The authority for the granting and readjustment of pensions is
the ministry of war, which can delegate its authority to specially ap-
pointed boards. The amount of impairment of working capacity is
determined by a military board appointed for this purpose. Its
decisions may be appealed from to a higher board and finally to the
war office itself. This board meets once a year to consider changes
and withdrawals of pensions. No change is made except after regu-
lar proceedings where impairment or regaining of working capacity
must be proved.

There is great dissatisfaction with the whole pension system, which
even the late concession of the supplementary allowance has not
remedied. An investigation conducted in the Ehine Province by
cripples themselves revealed, according to Vorwarts, great misery
and injustice. Pensions were proved in every case to be decidedly too
small. (Vorwarts, Sept. 24, 1917.). The director of the bureau for
information and vocational advice maintained by war cripples in
Berlin makes the same statement. This bureau has complained to the
ministry of war particularly about the way in which the mutilation
allowance is determined. (Vorwarts, Oct. 26, 1917.) It has been
decided to address to the Eeichstag a petition signed by as many crip-
ples as possible and asking an increase in pensions. (Vorwarts, Sept.

The newspaper Volkswille, Hanover, October 24, 1917, states that
the number of cripples discharged without pension is so enormous that
there is absolute need of some authority to settle disputes between the
war department and the pension claimants. Vorwarts, October 30,
1917, states that there are many thousand pensioned cripples in bitter

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 20 of 38)