Professor Katherina Peterson, who is in charge of primary education at the Hanover Ministry of Education, gave a penetrating analysis of the mind of the German youth held by German Educational Reconstruction.
Professor Peterson said that the young people of Germany could not be condemned for the state of mind they were in. They were not mature enough to reject indoctrination when they came under the influence of the Nazis, and the years of the Hitler regime had been a time when youth was glorified and made to feel most important.
German people were now mistrustful and disillusioned. They had no confidence in words, and it would be a task needing great patience and stability to bring home the truth to them. They must be given the facts gradually, because they could absorb them only gradually.
Re-education, said Professor Peterson, could not be separated from economic conditions, which at present were seriously militating against it. The shortages of material were almost unbelievable. Public health was deteriorating; in the towns tuberculosis had trebled. The standard of morality was dropping; a large number of young people are engaged in the black market, even for such worthwhile enterprises as gaining a university education.