Toward Understanding Germany

Toward Understanding Germany

Toward Understanding Germany

Toward Understanding Germany

Excerpt

During the second World War, I took part in a specialized training program at the University of California (Berkeley), where I lectured on German culture to two successive groups of our soldiers. The material was subsequently published in a booklet, The German People: A Social Portrait to 1914 (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1945). In 1950 the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research generously provided for field study of German social psychology, with special reference to family life, the position of women, and the class system. Accompanied by my wife, I left the United States in September, 1950, and returned by the end of March, 1951, having devoted about a week to Vienna, two and a half months to Switzerland, and the remainder of the period to West Germany. Though I did not enter the Russian zone, Berlin and Thuringia were familiar from previous visits. Incidentally, I delivered ethnological lectures in German at the universities or learned societies of Hamburg, Bonn, Frankfort on the Main, Vienna, Basel, and Zurich.

Space permits mention of only a few of the many persons who actively aided my project. For his sympathetic interest and encouragement I must, first of all, register my debt to Dr. Paul Fejos,director of research of the Wenner-Gren Foundation. In the field my wife scanned innumerable dailies and magazines, directing my attention to significant items, and made valuable extra-academic contacts. My sister, Miss Risa Lowie (New York) excerpted various biographical works, novels, and some publications inaccessible in Berkeley; more particularly, she gathered the material on Bebel, the Mendelssohns, and the Rothschilds. In this context I am impelled to state that if my sister and I find no difficulty in speaking and reading German, we owe this precious boon to our long-deceased Viennese mother.

To Dr. Franz Termer, professor of ethnology at the University of Hamburg and director of the Museum of Ethnology there, I am indebted for most helpful contacts with colleagues, students, and municipal officials. Among the last-mentioned, Professor HansHarmsen, head of the Institute of Social Hygiene (Hamburg) . . .

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