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Parcels To Germany

Early in 1947 when we began to send food parcels through "Save Europe Now" to the British Zone of Germany we hardly realized what they would mean to the recipients. These 7 lb. parcels are distributed by the relief societies working on the spot, and go to very needy families. We sent ten parcels and have had sincere letters of thanks for each of them. We have had three from mothers of young children in refugee camps, one from an ex P.o.W. from Russia with an invalid wife, and two on behalf of blind people unable to make journeys into the country to obtain additions to their rations (which are less than half ours).

It is clear that it is not the quantity of food received that prompts their gratitude, for sometimes two families share one parcel, but the knowledge that someone cares and that kindness still exists.

In the Spring Term we sent over seventy bars of chocolate for distribution to children in schools and institutions in Central Europe. We have also sent thirty fitted toilet- and sewing-bags and a quantity of clothing and shoes for distribution among refugees in the British sector of Berlin. Well over a hundredweight has been sent already and we are still receiving a steady supply of outgrown shoes and garments which have been carefully laundered and mended. As the German soap ration is 2 ozs per month and mending materials are almost unobtainable, this thoughtfulness is undoubtedly appreciated.

Finally, in March, we "adopted" a family of refugees from Pomerania. Their story is typical of many: they left their farm, which the family had cultivated for several generations, in their flight from the Russians two years ago. They have no hope of return because the Potsdam Agreement decreed that their home district is now part of Poland.

There are five children of school age, and by means of friendly letters and photographs we feel we know them- Eckhard, aged 17; Gisela, 15; Hinrich, 12; Armgard, 8; and Helma, 5. They have now a makeshift home in a small town in the British Zone of Western Germany, where we hear that our big school photograph is fixed to the wall of their room. Their mother writes that we look calm, friendly and attentive! Since we have adopted them we have sent, each month, a food parcel, and a parcel of clothing or other necessities which are otherwise unobtainable.

Thanks are due to the generous parents and girls who make these undertakings possible by their gifts and money.

S. Fraser.

School Chronicle 1947

PARCELS TO GERMANY (Cont.)

A steady supply of outgrown clothing and shoes has come in through the year. We have been able to send nine large parcels for distribution among refugees in the British sector of Berlin, and five parcels of babies' clothing to a district nurse in the American zone.

We hear regular news of our " adopted" family in Vienenburg. (For their story, see last year's Magazine.) We have managed to send them a small food parcel nearly every month, and eight parcels containing other necessities, during the year. Their mother describes the joy when a parcel arrives and the contents are unpacked, revealing what to them are practically unobtainable luxuries : a ball, some pencils, soap, a warm vest, tooth brushes for all the family. " By your care we slowly become civilised people again," she writes.

We are glad to report that none of our parcels has been lost in transit.

We would like to thank all those who have brought gifts to help those who have lost everything. The faithful few who sort, weigh, pack and fill up customs forms deserve our thanks, too, and those who carry twenty-pound packages up Keere Street to the Post Office.

School Chronicle 1947

PARCELS TO GERMANY (Cont.)

During the past year we have sent several parcels of food and second-hand clothing to our adopted family in Vienenburg. An outstanding "charity" collection enabled us to send a pair of strong boots for each of the boys at Christmas, while the family sent us a book containing beautiful photographs of the Oberammergau Passion Play and of the Bavarian landscape. This is in the library for all to see.

Frau Schulze-Fielitz tells us that it is now possible to buy most of the essentials of life in Germany; she asks us to spend no more money on them, though they will always be glad of second-hand clothing for the children and for other families of refugees from the East. So though we have sent no food parcels since hearing this we still collect second-hand clothing, both for them, and for the Friends, who distribute to refugees all over Europe.

What about those outgrown shoes, that old coat? Someone in a camp for "displaced persons" could adapt it into a useful garment for one of her children.

School Chronicle 1949

[Gisela Schulze-Fielitz, the oldest daughter of the family who the school "adopted" after the war, visited Lewes in the summer of 1950. ]

GISELA'S FAREWELL LETTER TO THE SCHOOL

May I tell you a bit of my feeling about having stayed at your school?

First of all, I say you my heartiest thanks for such a lovely interesting time which each of the mistresses and girls gave me by kindness and interest they took in me, showing me the country, talking to me, being friends, so that I cannot forget any of it. This affirmed our strong feeling of your love for our family which you have showed during several years by letter, parcels and the invitation. It makes us happy to know that all those bad political affairs which parted your country from Germany did not hurt the personal feelings from one person to another, from you to us. Isn't it happiness to know this?

I was very glad when I got Mrs. Rooper's invitation last autumn because I always liked to learn English and listened to every person who could tell something about England and English ways of living and behaving. For years I have hoped to get to know this, but never did I imagine that it should be realised so soon. And then it turned out so successful in every way, that is lovely. At first I was afraid that it would be difficult to speak English, but you helped me to understand it. I did not notice my mistakes, you did not laugh at me, so it was all right! I like your School's-may I call it-free and easy style? The way how you have lessons and learn so much. At our German schools, it always is hard work; you have to be awfully quiet and attentive, often there are too many pupils in one form, and then you have to sit all afternoon to do your homework, u you do it. And I don't think that there is so hearty a contact between mistresses and girls. How lucky you are to play so many games! You cannot imagine how each of us would like to be able to do that.

The visit in Lewes was one of the finest, if not the very finest, adventures of my life. Let us please thank you for it by all my heart. I only hope that you liked to have me there so that not only I but also you got some good from my stay.

School Chronicle 1950

A German visitor in 1950 and in 2013

Note from Jennifer Whitmore (nee Thorpe 1949-1956) for the Centenary reunion in 2013

I am bringing with me the husband of Giselle Schultz-Fielitz the German girl we had at school in the summer of 1950. Through Mrs Rooper we had supported the family in the post war years by sending them parcels of food and clothes. Each girl gave 3d in 1950 to pay the 7 ticket for Gisele to come from Essen to Lewes. Two years later her sister Armgard came and I did an exchange with her; she has been my closest friend ever since.

The school played a key part in this family's survival. Their mother used to write long and interesting letters to the school which Miss Moss used to read out at Assembly (Miss Shearer having translated them). Right to her dying day Frau Schultz-Fielitz talked endlessly about the food and clothes which meant that her five children survived. A wonderful thing to have done!

As a result of this connection I studied German and taught it all my life. My daughter, Sophie, stayed often with Giselda and her husband, a Lutheran minister. As a result of his influence my daughter will be "priested" in the C of E the same day as the reunion. We will come for lunch and then head for Chevening, Kent where she is the curate. Giselda cannot come as she is in a home because of the dreaded Alzheimers.