Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

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

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need. These statements are not easily reconciled with those made by
the social workers to the effect that 90 per cent of war cripples are
able to return to industrial life. There is evidently a considerable
difference of attitude between the volunteer worker class and the
socialist element which these papers represent.

The matter of pension revision has come up for discussion before
the Hauptausschuz (head committee) of the Reichstag. It was
stated at this discussion that the administration of pensions is much
too bureaucratic and that it is absolutely imperative that the condi-
tion of veterans shall be improved. (Frankfurter Zeitung, Oct. 2,

* Korrespondenz ftir Kriegswohlfahrtspflege, Berlin, 1916, li, 156.


1917.) It was resolved that the chancellor shall bring before the
Reichstag a proposal for changes in the Mannschaf tsversorgungsgesetz
as soon as possible, at the latest by the beginning of the year 1918.
No report of such a proposal has been received.

The principal changes desired are, as has been intimated, the ad-
judication of pensions on grounds of a man's age, occupation, and
family circumstances instead of military rank, and the granting of
permanent pensions irrespective of changed earning capacity. A
suggestion made by Dr. Siegfried Kraus, of Frankfurt, is that pen-
sions should not be fixed until a definite time after discharge when
a man has had a chance to try out his earning capacity and that, once
fixed, they should be inalterable.

The capital settlement law is also criticized on grounds of its dis-
crimination against age. As it now stands, the boy of 18 has the
best chance at a farm, while it is the man of 40, who would be best
able to conduct a farm, who has sacrificed most in war, and who has
the least chance of finding other employment.

Social Insurance for War Cripples.

War cripples, under certain conditions, have a right to payments
under the social insurance laws in addition to their pension pay-
ments. The social insurance organization has been briefly sketched
under hospital facilities. According to the Reichsversicherungsord-
nung (imperial insurance law) of June 19, 1911, there are three kinds
of social insurance — sickness, accident, and invalidity (including old
age.) The law stipulates that accident insurance is paid only in case
of injuries occurring while the claimant was at work in one of the
insured industries. Accident insurance, therefore, does not come,
into question for crippled soldiers, but sickness and invalidity do.

Sick Benefits.

The costs of medical care and sick payments for the first 26 weeks
of illness are borne by Krankenkassen (sick benefit societies) au-
thorized by the State. To these the workmen contribute two-thirds
and the employers one-third. It is not stipulated that the illness
shall be caused by work ; therefore, men wounded in war, if still mem-
bers of sick benefit societies, would have a right to these payments.
Since the war department takes charge of all medical treatment for
such men, their rights would be limited to the sick payments. Mem-
bership in these sick benefit societies is compulsory for workmen
engaged in most of the ordinary trades. It is usually allowed to
lapse when the man is called to military service, unless his family or
some charitable society makes the payments for him. However, men


injured in war have a right to the payments, if illness set in within
three weeks of their leaving the sick benefit society, or if they became
voluntary members of the society beginning within three weeks of
leaving the compulsory insured trade. 94

Invalid Insurance.

Medical treatment and pension, in case of invalidity and old age,
are paid one-half by employers and one-half by employees. A man
is entitled to them if he has made 200 weekly payments. He must
accept whatever medical treatment is offered, whether at home or
in a sanitarium, and must consent to reeducation, prostheses, etc., or
he loses his rights to a pension. A war cripple who has made the 200
weekly payments is, therefore, entitled to the invalidity pension in
addition to his pension from the war department. 96 As a rule,
medical treatment does not come in question because it is attended
to by the war department, but, in case of a relapse after discharge or
of further expensive treatment, the sanatoria of the insurance socie-
ties are very useful.

Even this double possibility does not relieve the poverty among
pensioned cripples. At a session of the Hauptausschuz of the
Reichstag, October, 1917, it was resolved that all invalidity pensions
should be increased 50 per cent during the years 1917 and 1918. The
weekly premiums were also to be increased 50 per cent. Frank-
furter Zeitung, Oct. 2, 1917.)

Capital Settlement Law.

The only important change in the pension laws resulting from
the present war, was the Kapitalabfindungsgesets (capital settlement
law) , of June 3, 1916. This law was the result of the combined de-
mand for greater generosity in pensions and for some means of
keeping the agricultural population on the land. It provides for
commutation of part of the pension into capital payment under cer-
tain conditions. The provisions are briefly as follows:

(a) Purpose for which settlement may be used. — Purchase or improvement
of real estate property, or building of dwelling houses. This is interpreted to
include purchase of farms, market gardens, suburban dwellings, city dwellings,
improvement of houses by addition of workshops or stores, purchase of city
workingmen's tenements by a number of veterans together. (The only thing
definitely excluded is the purchase of building of factories.) The law is in-
tended to benefit practically all the members of the working class. A large
number will be induced to buy farms and gardens or to add to those they
already own; handworkers and small shopkeepers can have their own houses
in the suburbs or small towns, and even city factory workers can combine for
improved city dwellings such as already exist in Berlin."

M Zeitschrlft flir Krtippelfilrsorge, Leipzig, 1916, ix, 169.
« Zeitschrlft fflr Krilppelfiirsorge, Leipzig, 1816, lx, 171.
m Vom Krleg zur Frledensarbelt, Berlin, 1917, 111, 24.


(&) Persons eligible. — Veterans and widows of veterans between the ages of
21 and 55, who have a right to war payments under the provisions of the law of
provision for troops and of the law providing for the widows and orphans of
soldiers. Payments which may be commuted, Kriegszulage (war allowance),
15 marks per month, and Verstiimmelungszulage (mutilation allowance), 27
marks per month. For widows, half of total allowance. Those not crippled are,
of course, entitled only to war allowance.

(c) The pension proper may not be commuted, but remains as a steady in-
come, although it may be reduced or withdrawn with increased earning capacity.
The capital payment is supposed to represent the total amount which would
accrue to any veteran from payment for life of the two allowances in question.
His probable length of life is calculated on the basis of the experience of the
imperial insurance office. As a result of this, a man 21 years old receives 18i
times the yearly total of the allowances due him ; a man of 30, 16 times ; of 40,
13| times ; at 55, 8i times, etc. The result is that a man of 21 who was en-
titled to both war and mutilation allowances would receive 9,324 marks ; a man
of 30, with the two allowances, 8,190 marks ; one of 40, 6,930, etc. With double
mutilation, these would be correspondingly increased.

(d) Conditions safeguarding settlement. — Each individual applicant must
prove his ability to manage the enterprise for which he proposes to use the
money and its practicability. If he purchases land, he must do it through one
of the real estate associations authorized by the Government. If the applicant
is proved later to be unable to manage his enterprise, the total payment must be
refunded and he receives his monthly allowances instead. Sometimes the Gov-
ernment takes a mortgage on his property to insure this.

(e) Managing authority. — No veteran has an absolute right to capital pay-
ment. Each application is decided on its merits by a board appointed by the
ministry of war, before which the proper proofs must be brought.

General Conclusions.

Social workers are extremely hopeful about the results of this law,
which was passed after much discussion. Its need was greatly felt,
but the difficulties were the calculation of a lump sum for men of dif-
ferent ages (dealt with by provisions under (c)) and safeguarding
against the total loss of the payment through inefficiency of the re-
cipient (dealt with by provision under (e), (d), and (e) ). The chief
difficulty now will be in slowness and formality of administration,
since the military boards are notorious for these qualities in the mat-
ter of deciding pensions.

Great activity has been stimulated among real estate associations.
There existed before the war a great many land development associa-
tions of a semicharitable character and, since the passage of the law,
many others have been formed with the definite object of assisting
veterans under its provisions. Many of the States and Provinces, par-
ticularly the agricultural ones like Silesia, have formed semiofficial
associations. There are now 30 or more authorized associations listed
in the appendix.


One of the most important things to be noted in connection with
the reeducation of the war cripple is the attitude of the men them-


selves. The nature of the patriotic appeal made to them and their
own published testimony leads one to believe that there is great una-
nimity and docility among them. The whole spirit of the country
would appear to be at such a high patriotic tension that a measure
like reeducation which is urged on patriotic grounds can be certain
of support from every individual.

Since, however, most of the cripples to be reeducated come from the
working classes, which are the least in accord with the general spirit,
there is evident among them a certain amount of unrest and dissent.
Pastor Ulbrich, an experienced worker and head of one of the oldest
cripples' homes, stands out against the claim that the injured man will
go back to work as though nothing had happened. He feels that the
idea of recompense for what they have gone through is becoming
firmily rooted in the returned cripples, fostered by popular sympathy,
and that after the war the country must beware of a Heldenpartei
(hero party), composed of returned soldiers, who will insist on con-
cessions from the Government.

Slight indications of something of the sort are already evident.
In June, 1916, there was founded at Hamburg the Bund Deutscher
Kriegsbeschadigten (German War Cripples' Union). Its object was
announced to be merely mutual assistance and fellowship. 97 Other
smaller organizations sprang up in different parts of the country and
the papers began to accuse them of socialist sympathies. It was these
unions which conducted an investigation in the Rhine Province to
prove the inadequacy of pensions and which maintain an office in
Berlin from which a petition for higher pensions was circulated.

The interests of these unions have been growing more and more
political. In November, 1917, the Berlin union came to an open
breach with the Pan-German party over the matter of a negotiated
peace. The Pan-German party, in its propaganda for peace by con-
quest only, had been citing the sufferings of the war cripples and,
urging the country to fight to the end in order to avenge them and
to carry on their work. The Berlin Verband der Kriegsbeschadigten
und ehemahlige Kriegsteilnehmer (Union of War Cripples and War
Veterans) called a meeting to protest against this action of the Pan-
German party.

"The speaker," says Vorwarts, "stood emphatically against the
attempt of the Pan-Germans to entrap the veterans and war cripples
by promising them a share of the booty. Instead of that, he de-
manded that the social program of the union of war cripples be
adopted and that all veterans should have full voting privileges."

At the close of the meeting, the following resolution was adopted :

We, over a thousand war cripples and veterans, In meeting assembled, men
who have risked in support of Germany our health and our lives, deny to mem-

« Zeitschrift fiir Kriippelfilrsorge, Leipzig, 1917, x, 238-239.


bers of the German " Fatherland Party " the right to arrogate to themselves a
special measure of love for our country. We protest against their quoting
the veterans in support of their aims of conquest. We demand an early
negotiated peace as soon as this may be done without injury to the nation. We
demand that all class privileges be laid aside. We demand special provision
for those who have sacrificed themselves at the front. (Berlin, Vorwarts,
Nov. 12, 1917.)


I. General Principles.

1. Vocational advice is the duty of civilian agencies for care of war cripples.

2. These agencies should undertake vocational advice for each cripple as a
regular part of their duties, whether requested or not.

3. Vocational advice must begin as early as possible. If it has to be delayed
until a man is discharged from hospital or from the army, its usefulness is much

II. Preparatory Measures.

4. The hospital staff can assist by preparing the patient's mind.

5. Vocational advice is best undertaken in a man's home district. Men should
be transferred as soon as possible to the hospital of their home district and the
local care committee should take up the matter of advice.

6. Within the territory covered by any care committee there should be a cen-
tral office for vocational advice.

• 7. Trade and agricultural schools for cripples should be organized in every
district and the bureau for vocational advice should work in close cooperation
with these. „-

III. Organization of Bureaus fob Vocational Advice.

8. The bureau should cover not one trade, but the whole field.

9. It should have an experienced director with wide industrial knowledge.

10. Experts in different trades should be called in for all special cases.

11. Cripples should be directed immediately to the local care committee, but
should be advised as to work by the vocational adviser.

12. Vocational advice must always be considered in its relation to the whole
cripple problem, even in consultation with specialists.

13. In large districts the committee may appoint individual men as repre-
sentatives in different parts of the district.

IV. Aim of Vocational Advice.

14. Every cripple must be put back, if possible in his old position, and, if this
is not possible, in his old trade.

15. If a cripple's physical condition is such that he can not follow his old
trade, he must be placed n some more specialized department of that trade or
educated for such a department.

os Summary of pamphlet No. 2, issued by the Beichsausschuss der Kreigsbeschadigten-
flirsoree. Berlin, 1917.


16. If the cripple can not follow his old trade or an allied one —

a. A new trade should be found in which labor conditions are good or for

which the man is specially fitted, or
6. A trade in which a normal man would not require all his strength or

which a cripple can master with the aid of special apparatus.

17. In advising as to a trade, the effects it will have on the man's health must
be considered.

18. Temporary and unskilled occupations are to be avoided.

19. The tendency toward civil-service positions is to be opposed, because —

o. The State, the municipalities, and the public-service corporations must
keep open the places of their former employees and, like the indus-
tries, can not overload their free places with cripples.

6. Workmen and clerks accustomed to active competition in wages will
not long be content with a position in which a rise in wages is im-

20. The hospitals and other agencies must be prevented from educating war
cripples from other trades for commercial pursuits.

21. War cripples from agricultural occupations or handicraft workers of
country birth must be encouraged to return to their old residence and dis-
couraged from settling in the cities.

V. Vocational Advice a Continuous Function.

22. Vocational advice should not be confined to a single act. The adviser,
through continued friendly intercourse with the cripple, must win his con-
fidence and learn to know him on the human side as well as on the economic
side, must take all the factors of the situation into consideration and only
then give his advice.

23. The war cripples must be encouraged, but their hopes must not be
extravagantly raised.

24. Fears and prejudices by which the cripple is hindered must be investi-
gated and destroyed.

25. Vocational advice is advice, not command. It is, therefore, necessary to
consider the cripple's tastes and desires ; he should feel that it is he who is
responsible for the handling of his own situation.

26. The adviser must enter into friendly relations with the cripple's depend-
ents or other connections.

27. Vocational advice and the measures consequent upon it must be so
planned that, whenever possible, the cripple's entrance into a position follows
immediately on his discharge or indefinite leave of absence from the army.

28. Wherever vocational advice and placement are not under the same
management, the adviser must stand in close relation to the placement

29. The scope of vocational advice must extend beyond the war and beyond
the immediate activities of the care committees. Plans must be made so that
cripples who need advice again later on may find it to hand.

30. With special types of injury and with special trades there must be special
facilities for vocational advice. In any case, the work must not be done
according to formula, but must be adapted in each case to individual needs.


1. Injury and prognosis.

2. Economic prospects of patient.


3. How long probably in hospital.

4. Bed-ridden or not. t

(This blank is filled out immediately by the doctor and handed tapocal care
committee which gets other facts later.) ^r


Place Date

Office to which application is made

Name (first and surnames; .

Born Date Place


Single, married, widower

Of what State a citizen

Place of present residence

Home address

Number of invalid card

Last employment

Name of employer

Address of employer

Length of time employed

Former employment (addresses of employers and length of time employed)

Trade learned

Certificate from reeducation school or from former employers-

Special training or experience-
Special preferences


Treatment begun or in prospect-
Probable duration of treatment


Patient is unfitted for following occupations-

Patient is specially fitted for following occupations.

Will patient need special investigation, care or treatment (e. g. prostheses) and
how soon will this be completed?

Doctor's remarks

Remarks on convalescent care due under military provisions-

Remarks on convalescent care due under provisions of insurance law_
Remarks on placement



1. Persons to be cared for:

Includes all men connected or formerly connected with German fighting
forces who have suffered, because of the war, any physical or mental
injury which interferes with earning capacity.

2. Purpose of care committee:

To increase the ability and opportunity of the war cripple for gainful
occupation. Means used may include • general information, vocational
advice, vocational training, placement, temporary or supplementary
medical treatment, help in settlement on land and, if necessary, to es-
tablishing man at work, also financial aid for him and his family. In
any other case, such aid is to be asked from public poor funds or

3. Responsibility of care committees :

That committee is responsible for a cripple in whose district he resided
before his call to arms; it remains responsible until he is definitely
established in some other district.


A. Special courses for cripples in city schools, drawing on group of hospitals.

B. Hospitals outfitted with workshops.

C. Hospitals sending men out for instruction, but to regular schools without

special courses.

D. Hospitals with rudimentary shop outfit.

Alsace-Lorraine :

A. Strassburg.

B. Saarbriiken.
Baden :

A. Freiburg.

B. Mannheim.

C. Pforzheim.

Bremen :

A. Bremen.
Bavaria :

A. Munich.

B. Munich.

D. Passau.
Brandenburg :

A. Charlottenburg.

B. Berlin (3).

Brunswick :

B. Brunswick.

"Laid down by the Reichsausschuss
mlttee on Work for War Cripples.)

East Prussia :

B. Allenstein.

West Prussia :

B. Danzig.
Hesse (Grossherzogtum) :

A. Offenbach.
Hesse-Nassau :

A. Frankfurt
Hamburg :

B. Hamburg.
Hanover :

B. Hanover.
Rheinland :

A. Dtisseldorf.

C. Cologne-Deutz.
Saxony (Kingdom) :

A. Leipzig.

C. Zwickau.

D. Dresden.
Province Saxony:

A. Halle.
Schleswig-Holstein :
D. Altona.
der Kreigsbeschiidigtenflisorge (Imperial Com-


Silesia :

A. Breslau.
D. Glatz.







Westphalia :

A. Bochum.

B. Bielefeld.
Wiirttemberg :

A. Stuttgart.
Mecklenburg :

D. Reserve-lazarett.

Totals :

A 15

B 15

C 3

D 11

Not classified because of insufficient data 3

Regular cripple homes which have announced readiness to take war crip-
ples but are not reported as doing so 43

Grand total 90



Strassburg. — Courses for cripples in six different city schools under care

Saarbriicken.- — Instruction in hospitals under care commitHeim Gesellschaft. Provides land and houses. Union of many
private societies. Bonn.
Saxe-Weimar :

Weimar — Thiiringische Landesversicherungsanstalt,
Saxony (Province) :

Halle — Sachsenland ( information ) .
Saxony :

Leipzig — Siichsische Kriegersiedlungsgenossenschaft. Has bought land and

built houses.
Frauendank — Works with Heimatdank looking up cases and acting as in-
termediary agent.
Chemnitz — Chemnitzer Ausschuss fur Kriegsbeschiidigte.
Schleswig-Holstein :

Kiel — Holsteinsche Hofebank.
Silesia :

Schlesische Landgesellschaft. Has bought 21 hektares and presented for

small holdings. Breslau. Royal supervision.
Landesversicherungsanstalt. Lends money for land purchased to certain

classes of insured persons.
Neustadt — City Government has bought 21 hektares to sell as small holdings.
Westphalia :

Westfalischer Verein zur Forderung des Kleinwohnungswesens. Interme-
diary agency for whole Province.
Mflnster — Siedlungsgesellschaft Rote Erde.

General Agencies for Whole Nation.
Deutscher Verein fur landliche Wohlfahrts u. Heimatpfiege has information
office for land settlement.
Auskunftstelle fur Ansiedlungswesen. Berlin.
' Schutzverband fur deutschen Grundbesitz.

Royal Prussian "Ansiedlungskommission." Posen. Supervises all woite in
Prussia and recommends societies proper for use.




The first official step in the care for disabled soldiers was made in
November, 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian ministry of war de-
cided, upon a report by Dr. Hans Spitzy, 2 to create two orthopedic
hospitals, one at Vienna and the other at Budapest. The decree of
the minister prescribed that all soldiers who need artificial limbs
which could not be supplied in a satisfactory way by the institutions
where they were being treated should be transferred to one of these
hospitals. Those soldiers who needed orthopedic or mechanothera-

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 21 of 38)