Emily Hobhouse to Jane Addams, November 19, 1919



c/o Volksbank
6 Christoffelgasse

Nov: 19/19

My dear Miss Addams

You passed like a meteor through Europe and were gone almost before one had realized your presence. I had hoped to have met you here and to have worked under you for the Relief of European Children and Co! You were already in America & leaving us to our ruin & our griefs.

I write now to ask you if you can & will do anything to help Leipzig. I did not see your Report on German towns till after my own visit there -- you can readily understand that what was sad enough in full summer when you were there is far worse now in winter. With this early snowfall and the still greater depletion of supplies such as linen & clothing -- and the still barer allowance of foods, & hanging over all the cruel necessity of sending away milk cows to France.

I visited also other towns such as Dresden, Halle, and München [etc.] but what I saw in Leipzig impressed itself on my mind with a haunting horror. Then I passed to Austria & saw everything in Salzburg. With Dr. Lammasch and in Musbruck with Dr. Schumacher, Senats Präsident -- and I was thus able to appreciate to the full by contrast what [page 2] American feeding has done for the children of Austria. For though the general conditions were somewhat lower than in Germany ([though] not much) and I dreaded to see the children, yet to my glad surprise I found the children & the infants in a far higher condition of health than those in the north. Local conditions are doubtless partly responsible for this -- but the overpowering cause was patent enough -- the American feeding of 4000 children daily in Salzburg and of 6000 Musbruck. Never can Austria be thankful enough for this noble gift of your people. Its management too is excellent and the food not only first class but as planned on Prof Pirquet's N.E.M. system quite wonderful in its results. (I think of adopting N.E.M. feeding in my own house when I settle down again.)

It was lovely to see the children enjoying it. In fact their one anxiety is not to eat too much and to put on a weight which shall disqualify them to continue the benefits. Each child pays 20 Heller a day.

Now all this is probably [well known] to you & I am only sending coals to New Castle in writing of it. I do so merely because only the few who, like myself, have seen the children without this blessing can appreciate to the full what it has done & is doing.

Now could you get Mr. Hoover by the stroke of his wonderful pen to do it for Leipzig? It is a typical industrial town. I plead for it because I have seen it and because Professor Dr. Woltereck lives there & others able & willing to devote time & strength to the organization. [page 3] I have discussed it with him & he believes the municipality could give a sum -- and we went together yesterday to the German Ambassador here, Dr. Müller, & he is heart & soul with us and thinks the German Government would also help -- and both men thought the people ↑parents↓ might pay more per child a day 40 or 50 pfennig a day -- but we want the money ↑to begin↓ and the food --

I am applying to the 'Save the Children' Fund for a share of the Pope's Collection which it is hoped will bring in a large sum [into?] the New Year -- and if Mr. Hoover would sell the food cheaply a beginning might be made about Xmas. We have a strong feeling that it is best to begin in one town. Even if only a section of the children ↑in that town↓ can be fed, day 25 -- 50,000 it is better than none. So ↑in [like] member↓ it seems better to do one town if we cannot do all. We are all so afflicted by a feeling of paralyzed effort when we confront the huge child-distress of Germany and the power of action only returns by concentrating one's limited mind and means on one town, with the hope in the background that more [page 4] may issue from it.

I sometimes think that it might be better if the municipal authorities took the food [and then] is (schleich-handel & all) and rigidly prepared it for rich and poor alike on the Priquet system. This would also save countless kitchen fires. I [fancy] in the bad days that are coming they may be forced to some such plan, and with their organizing powers the Germans would soon adopt the N.E.M. system as economical, varied and nutritive.

Do please take Leipzig under your wing & help us to get it started. I am going to try (if possible) to get estimates often costs for day 10,000 or 25,000 children (a section). Expecting mothers also ought to have it from 4th or 5th month, because then they could suckle their own babies & to save cows milk for older children. But really I do hope no more children will be born for a bit.

May I hope to hear from you? My warm greetings to Dr. Hamilton & Jeanette Rankin.

Yours more & more devotedly,

Emily Hobhouse