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Debate of the Bill by Deputy August Schwingenstein (CSU) and Others in the Bavarian Landtag [State Parliament] Concerning the Protection of Youth against Immoral Influences (1948)

Protecting youth in the face of the eroding authority of familial and social structures was a central topic of discussion in the postwar era. In March 1948, the many and varied causes of the crisis were enumerated in the Bavarian Landtag. To counter the crisis, lawmakers called for legal measures, especially against black marketeering and prostitution, for an improvement in material conditions (for example, in housing), and for a return to basic religious principles in raising and educating children.

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The Bavarian Landtag
Budget Committee

Munich, March 11, 1948

The presenter explained that the current bill is directed against one of the worst and most oppressive manifestations of the times, namely against the dissipation and endangerment of our youth. The dimensions of this threat are evident in daily newspaper stories, in court reports, and in reports from police authorities and from welfare and public assistance organizations, all of which present a shocking picture. The dissipation and endangerment of the youth has very deep causes. We are dealing with the repercussions of the wrong-headed educational principles of the Third Reich, with the multi-year absence of fathers and often also mothers, who had to earn a living. The causes lie also in the utter inadequacy of the schools over many years, in all the unrest and chaos of our time, in the presence of so many foreigners, and so forth. Issues connected with the [Allied] occupation also factor into this.

[ . . . ]

Referring to the remarks of the presenter, Schwingenstein advocated a tougher implementation of the laws that apply here. He explained that he visited various youth welfare offices yesterday and was shocked by all the things he discovered there, things that already make Germany seem like Sodom and Gomorrah. The issue today is not so much the rebuilding of cities as the rebuilding of people from the inside, and especially the rebuilding of our youth. Youth laws are good, but one should also enact laws against the dissipation of shameless parents, for they are the main culprits.

One encounters the dissipation of the youth not only among the so-called lower classes. Instead, it reaches all the way to the so-called upper strata, where its effects are relatively more pronounced with respect to the cleverness of the sexual activity. Some dissolute parents are living today from the legalized prostitution of their children. Prostitution has once again reached such proportions that an honorable woman can no longer show herself on the street in the evening.

Black marketeers hang around outside the Simmern School, foreigners, but also Germans. They offer cigarettes and rubber prophylactics (!). They are surrounded by inquisitive youth, who get a real “hands on education” there.

[ . . . ]

We will rebuild our cities in vain if we do not have decent residents again, as in the old Germany. But that requires not merely legal measures, as the co-presenter rightly mentioned, but also a proper education. Our people, and especially our children, must be raised religiously again.

[ . . . ]

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