Rare Document Shows: BKCR Actively Worked For International Understanding Already in 1955

Posted by W. Niehues (niehues) on Jan 21 2019
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When in summer 2018 Thomas Aussieker was cleaning up, he also went through a drawer of his mother's furniture. Buried in there he found a 71-page report from the year 1955. He noticed it must have been from the times when his mother Sigrid Dörr went to school. When he started browsing through the report, reading the stories written by typewriter and looking at the photos in between, he knew this was not to be thrown out but a historic document.

It tells the story of his mother's class going on a field trip to the Netherlands. The BKCR had chartered a bus that drove 45 people of the BKCR community across our neighboring country on a route through Arnhem, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. 

During their trip, they did a lot of sightseeing, visiting for example the traditional cheese markets, museums and Amsterdam's airport. For many of the students it was not only the first time in their lives they went abroad, but also the first time they got to see and even swim in the North Sea.

Of course, they also got into contact with a lot of people from the Netherlands. But the Dutch were not the only people they met. When they stayed at youth hostels, they also got into contact with a Scottish group of young people, leading to a lot of chitchat and them making music together. These hands-on intercultural learning experiences led to many mutual invitations for visits and was a valuable contribution to heal the wounds torn open by World War II.

Thomas Aussieker, born more than ten years after the trip, said his mother never really mentioned the trip. But the fact that she kept the report safely stashed away shows that it must have been a cherished memory of hers. And as today's headmaster of the BKCR, Fred Nierhauve, knows: "People who talk to each other won't shoot at each other." 1955's trip was active work against populism and blind nationalism. Also today we proudly keep on working for that cause.

Last changed: Feb 10 2019