Worthington 150: first shipment of clothing reaches Crailsheim on February 6, 1948 – The Globe

Editor’s note: This story of clothing distribution in Crailsheim was written by Ersilia Schuler, a teacher at Crailsheim schools. It was published in the Daily Globe on April 23, 1948.

CRAILSHEIM, Germany — By now you will no doubt have heard the festive reception of your clothing shipment on February 6, and you will probably find in your newspapers the photos taken by the American and German journalist in our time. It was a big day for our city, and everyone was aware of it. He had been very long on his way, but he arrived after just before the coldest period of this winter and therefore served his purpose well and was a great help.

Sadly, there is not a suitable building left in our town or even a large room where we could unpack and sort through the various items of clothing. We therefore had to resort to the kindergarten, which was lent to us for only a few days, because all the children of Crailsheim are cared for there by several governesses.

Volunteers sort through the many items donated by Worthington residents for shipment to residents of Crailsheim, Germany.

Nobles County Historical Society

There we unpacked the 121 bags. (“We” means Mr. Denneler; Mr. Leibersberger and myself as members of the committee, and about 10 women trustees from the church as well as some of our Red Cross nurses.) Our helpers came on morning or afternoon, so that there were usually about eight ready, while Miss Frand and I stayed there most of the time, day and night.

It was a difficult task to get it right because we didn’t have enough space, first not enough time and only a few makeshift tables to put treasures.

Unboxing was the most exciting part. I wish you had heard our cries of joy when we saw all the beautiful things in the bags. We would run towards each other just to show off the last item that “our bag” had given away and to admire the treasures that the clothes had delivered.

But then the difficulties began. We had to pile the coats, dresses, suits and other things on top of each other on the few makeshift tables and stuff most of the shoes under the tables and into every nook and cranny that wasn’t taken .

Weigh boxes
Volunteers weigh boxes of items ready for shipment in Crailsheim, Germany.

Nobles County Historical Society

For two weeks we worked, as I said before, all day and most of the night, some of us deciding which items on the applications we could give and others making packages of, say, a coat, some underwear, two pairs of shoes, and some baby stuff.

You will surely have received many letters at this time from those who were eager to express their gratitude for what they received, and so I think I need not tell you all about it; these letters will speak for themselves.

As they often had to pull things out from under others, some of the addresses that had been pinned got loose and got lost despite all the warnings to be very, very careful. And some of the parcels (for example, Mrs Rawlings’ prints, baby clothes and various things for a 3-year-old girl) were not kept together, but given to different families, which is due to haste, in which we were forced to do the work.

Hope your people won’t mind too much if some of the receivers thank them for an item they didn’t send. I picked up as many stray addresses as I could get and told people to write and thank you all for what they got, so the kind donors wouldn’t be disappointed. And they all want to write to you and thank you all for what they have received.

Of course, there are always those who will never be satisfied with what you give them, usually those who were the most well-known petitioners of all the social organizations of the Second and Third Reich and who again besiege the relief institutions of all beliefs. and nations.

But usually the recipients were more than grateful and didn’t just say “Thank you”. They would say, “Vergelt’s Gott”, which means “God can repay it to you (the donor)”. When I resumed my classes, my boys and girls met me to show me with joy what they had received. They were so proud!

I wonder if we did everything according to your plans and intentions, including not only providing for the “poorest of the poor”, as some claim, but giving a share to all those who had lost their property, their houses, their furniture, their clothes and their market goods by actions of war and cannot buy what they need. Although they have money, as everything is rationed and even if you get a special voucher, the items in nine out of 10 cases are not available.

I had a list compiled of who got the coats and suits. There are switchers and truckers, chemists, instructors, widows, presidents, students and disabled veterans. We haven’t had time to find out how many people in our town have received part of the clothes yet, but we should say around 4,000 or more. Many residents had not applied, but being aware of their plight, we took care of them as well.

I must not forget to mention that we were surprised not only by the quantity and quality of your gifts, but also by the good condition in which they arrived, certainly due to careful packaging.

We hope and pray that the joy you have given may one day return to you.

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