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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 3 March 31th, 1943



European Learning Under Fascism.

European Learning Under Fascism.

Are we as Students Doing our Share to Defend Culture? Are we Foiling Hitler's Plans by Sending Help to those Whom He Seeks to Repress?

Students in New Zealand can work here in ease and comfort—dimly we read and hear headlines telling of bitter struggles and conflicts. The tremendous advantages of our lot are obvious, but the contribution which we will make to learning and to humanity going to justify these advantages? Should we not do all in our power, now, to help less fortunate students in—


"Our college students are peculiar war victims. How they have been suffering to continue their studies is known to the world. They constitute one ten-thousandth of our population: one college student out of every 10,000 Chinese. The Chinese nation is poor, and many of the Chinese college students are of the poor families. For obvious reasons the Government did not draft them into military service and not many of them insisted on entering the service when their Government advised them to continue studying. Their colleges moved on as the war spread. They followed. In the midst of suffering that is acute and world-wide, theirs has touched our heart and mind and spirit deeply. Amidst great hardships they have travelled over hundreds of miles to find places for study. They might have lost contact with their families which, in turn, might have suffered untold misfortunes. Their colleges, moved into new locations, might have been bombed again; their meager possessions might have been all lost and they themselves might have remain ed alive only by chance. Yet again, land or aerial bombardments actually have forced them to move, with less remaining of goods and family and more only of suffering.

"The universities are now somewhat settled down. At the very beginning there was a tendency to congregate in the big cities in West China. Because of the continuous bombings from the air, most of the universities have now moved into the country. At present there have sprung into being about a dozen of what might be called isolated university centres,' in small 'hsien' cities or even villages. Many of these universities are quartered in temples or clam halls. The equipment is plain and simple. Students have to use double decked beds in crowded rooms. Mud-bricks are piled up to serve as desks and dinner tables. Mat-sheds are put up as temporary lecture halls. Oil lamps are generally used for night study. These universities need books and laboratory equipment very badly.

"Unless we give students enough to eat they will sooner or later come back to us for medical aid. In fact, medical aid has become increasingly frequent in our relief work among students. For the moment the most common diseases among the students are colds, malaria, cholera, skin diseases and tuberculosis. Quinine is not only expensive but also in some places unpurchasable."


"The students here are men who were part of any army that fled, in June, from an overwhelming invasion it could no longer cope with. While physically these men are well cared for, their morale is bad, and the greatest task lies in this field. The men entered Switzerland suffering from the terrible psychological handicap of knowing they had been defeated. Their condition was made worse by the anxiety they felt for their people in France and with whom they could not correspond."

Central Europe:

"While numbers increase on the one hand, avenues of relief are being closed on the other. For most of these refugees the only solution is emigration. But this is becoming more and more remote, as the consequences of war drive nations to close their doors to those of other countries. But people who are homeless and [unclear: friendless] cannot be abandoned. If we cannot provide escape for those who need it now, we can help some of the most qualified to live, to finish their training, and to prepare their lives so that when an opportunity for a free existence comes they will be able to seize it."

Prisoners of War and Internees:

"Prisoners of war are the biggest single problem facing relief organizations."

"In one of the smaller camps in France there is a group of young men in various advanced stages of tuberculosis."

"The French prisoners are faced with a trying winter. This will be their third year of captivity, but what makes it doubly difficult for them is the uncertainty of the future of their country—no longer in the war—and the place they will have in it on their return. The Universities of Captivity, created last year, functioned well with the help of University professors among them, and the thousands of books sent from Geneva. Many of these older men, who were largely responsible for keeping up the morale, have been repatriated. A number of courses given last year were taught from the information the men carried in their heads, which sooner or later was bound to be exhausted."

The International Student Service, striving to lessen the burden of these students, receives many letters, such as the following:—

"Thank you for the book by G. B. Shaw, 'The Apple Cart,' which arrived a day or so ago in good condition," writes an English prisoner in Germany. "This is exactly the type of book I enjoy most—I am very grateful to you for it."

From a British prisoner in an Italian hospital:

"Many, many thanks for your parcel of books which will greatly assist in passing the long hours of a hospital day. Your efforts to obtain the books we require and your assurance of help at all times are very much appreciated."

Perhaps now you have some conception of what other students are undergoing, of the needs the International Student Service is preparing to meet.

The fate of the world is at stake! We are responsible for saving some at least of the best students among the younger generation. Together with all constructive forces in the international student world, we must unite to ward off the destructive consequences of a total warfare which threatens the basis of our culture.

You are being offered a chance to foul the Nazi plan to exterminate all Universities and culture. Are you going to seize it with both hands, or, as is usually the case, conveniently forget it and continue with your own selfish pursuits? Are you going to support this drive on April 3rd by making it known amongst your friends, and by volunteering yourself as a worker, or are you going to play the role of amused spectator, or idle well-wisher?

For the benefit of those who are not sure What they are expected to do on April 3rd.

1.We are advertising the day to the people of Wellington as an opportunity to get all their odd jobs clone—in the house and in the gar den. They will ring us up and state the number of students they want and for what purpose.
2.The students meanwhile put their names on the lists at Varsity.
3.We sort the two lists and pair them off, keeping the students as close to their own district as possible, for their convenience. We then notify them of the address to which they must go, and what work they will be expected to do.
4.Saturday comes and we set out—some of the things we may be expected to do are: Weeding, mowing lawns, shifting gravel, cooking, ironing, washing, polishing, minding children, cooking and washing up for dinner parties, etc.
5.The day over, we receive our wages with due thanks, 6/- for a halt day, 10/6 for a whole, return home, and on Saturday night or Monday hand in the money at the Exec. Room. The proceeds will be sent without delay to the N.Z. Headquarters of the International Student Service, for forwarding to their overseas Headquarters.