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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 13. September 24, 1947


The Council of the International Union of Students met in Prague from July 31 to August 11. It was only the second meeting of the governing body since IUS was set up by the World Student Congress last year, and I have just returned from representing NZUSA there. It was a fascinating experience; I wish I could convey the spirit of enthusiasm and unity that we all felt; that message properly transmitted would more than justify our work and expense.

The trip from London to Prague by train 1B very tiring (it takes about 36 hours) but, for a first visit to the Continent, very interesting. France and Paris were not so unusual, or different from what I imagined; like England only more dilapidated, more irregular, more Mediterranean. But for one whole brilliant summer day we crossed Bavaria, leaving the Rhine at daybreak and reaching the pine forests of the Sudeten lands in the evening. I can understand the remark of the American soldier "why did the Nazis want to leave this country?" It is beautiful rolling country, a patchwork of gold and green, dotted with orderly villages, of redroofed houses guarding bold white washed churches. The agriculture surprised me. It is so primitive with peasants ploughing their strips behind two oxen, and reaping their harvest with hand sickles. I don't remember seeing a single tractor or mechanical harvester. The cities alone bear the signs of war. From a distant train in bright daylight the destruction was not as horrible as I had imagined, but it was obvious that the big towns, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Nuremburg were decorticated, and that little attempt has been made to repair their centres.