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Far From Hitler:


The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-43


WELCOME to Far from Hitler: The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees. From April 1939 to March 1943 about 185 refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe found an unexpected safe haven at Scattergood, a temporary hostel in what had been a Quaker boarding school near West Branch, Iowa. Among them were a large percentage of Jews, as well as political opponents of Hitler’s regime, Christian religious leaders, artists and others endangered in the “New Germany”. (The Quaker staff didn’t note which of their charges were Jews and which were not. A review of the refugees’ names plus information gathered during research, however, suggest that approximately 85% of those individuals seeking refuge at Scattergood were either self-identified Jews or identified as Jews by others.) With the help of the Quaker farmers and idealistic college students who took them in, the refugees (referred to as “guests” by staff) sought to overcome the trauma of their experiences in Europe, find a niche for themselves and build new lives in the New World.

          A 13-minute-long, Iowa Public Television-produced documentary offers a brief overview of Scattergood. The narrative panels which follow (starting topically with Jewish People and ending with Legacies) provide an abridged introduction to how the hostel arose in direct response to the Nazis’ Kristallnacht pogrom, to Scattergood’s staff and specific refugees whom they aided, to the hostel’s shared daily life, conditions under which the refugees left Scattergood and the hostel’s surviving legacy. The unabridged texts are available in an exhibit catalog. For more information about Scattergood Hostel see Out of Hitler’s Reach (available from the exhibit’s sponsors) or the related web page at www.TRACES.org.

Far from Hitler is sponsored by the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and supported by a major grant from Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. TRACES executive director Michael Luick-Thrams conceptualized the exhibit and oversaw its creation. Former refugees and staff donated documents, photographs, artifacts and interviews. Scattergood School members helped transcribe the audio taped interviews. The following institutions provided supplementary materials about Jewish, Quaker or World War II history: the American Friends Service Committee Archives, Berlin’s Gedenkstätte Deutscher Wiederstand, Haverford College’s Quaker Collection, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance Library and Archives, and Swarthmore College’s Friends Historical Library. The Central Campus Home Building Shop of the Des Moines Public Schools assisted in the physical construction of this exhibit.


JEWISH PEOPLE share religious and cultural traditions reaching back to the roots of recorded Western history. What differentiated the first Jews from their Semitic neighbors was Jews’ belief in a monotheistic god, when the regional norm was to believe in numerous gods. While Christianity and Islam share the same god as Judaism, religious differences plus political struggles put Jews in conflict with their neighbors and the power elite of two thousand years ago. After a period of enslavement in ancient Egypt, the Jews returned to what they called the “Promised Land” under the leadership of Moses. They lived there until eventually expelled by imperial Rome. The subsequent dispersal cast many Jews across the world as far east as India and China, into much of North Africa, and across Europe.

The first Jews in what is now Germany followed Roman armies and colonists into the region as traders. After a precarious presence along the Rhine River for a thousand years, between 1350 and 1450 Jews were falsely accused of having poisoned local wells and causing the Black Death, and thus were expelled from Central Europe in large numbers during a series of merciless pogroms. Many of those expellees fled to Eastern Europe. Only as of about 1650 did Jews return to Germanic lands in large numbers. During the Reformation Martin Luther conveyed anti-Semitic sentiments common in his time, nation and church (which held that Jews caused Jesus’ execution). That anti-Jewish feeling grew and receded over centuries of European history, influenced in great part by cycles of war, economic expansion or contraction, natural calamities and shifting political alliances.

In the mid-1800s, Jews became increasingly useful to Germany’s (and nearby Austria’s) ruling classes as Europe’s most powerful Teutonic states expanded and unified, industrialized and modernized. The German Kaiser in Berlin declared Jews emancipated in 1871, so Jews in German-speaking Europe left the enclaves they had lived in for over a millennium and a half. They and French Jews would become Europe’s most integrated Jewish population.

During the turmoil in Germany following World War I, the ascending National Socialist German Workers (“Nazi”) Party increasingly and effectively blamed the country’s losses and alleged “degeneration” on Jews as well as pacifists and “internationalists”, homosexuals, “Gypsies” and others. Once Austrian-born Adolf Hitler took power, the Nazi regime introduced a spiraling list of restrictions on the rights and freedoms of these people, until many felt they had no choice but to escape the growing Nazi terror—even if it meant fleeing to what might have seemed the end of the known world.


QUAKERS share a worldview that arose in England during the social foment of the early 1600s. Members of the Religious Society of Friends, “Quakers” (a nickname given them during persecution) broke new theological ground when they held that something sacred exists in every person. Given what Friends saw as each one’s innate, universal insight into “the Truth” and their belief in the sacredness of each life, they gave birth to two unique practices: their silence-based “meeting” for worship and their testimony to peace and justice. According to Quaker practice, in the quiet of meeting each person tries to draw closer to the “Divine Presence” and anyone who feels led may express a thought or feeling they experience arising from the silence. This practice mirrors Quakers’ commitment to honoring “that of god” in each person—and thus prohibiting war and injustice.

          Such views immediately brought early Quakers into conflict with the power elites of their own day—resulting in persecution, exile and death. Those conditions led William Penn to create “Pennsylvania”, a “Holy Experiment” where all might live unencumbered. Having known persecution, Quakers took up causes like penal reform and relief for the poor or war-stricken. Of England’s North American colonies, only Pennsylvania paid for the land and, in turn, was not attacked.

          As America’s frontier pushed west, Friends in West Branch, Iowa, helped slaves flee the South on the Underground Railroad. In the 1870s they brought Native American youth to Iowa from the Great Plains, believing that the best way to assist Natives was to give them modern clothing and training in skilled trades. In the early 20th century North American Quakers worked for women’s rights and to mitigate the effects of the First World War: British and US Friends’ postwar relief program fed up to a million German and Austrian women and children a day; some of those children grew up to be Nazi officials who tolerated Quakers’ presence and work in Nazi Germany.

As fascist violence began spilling across Europe in the 1930s, British and North American Quakers again responded to suffering: within months of Hitler’s seizure of power in January 1933 they jointly began opening over a dozen refugee centers and programs in Europe, Cuba and the US; German Friends visited Nazi concentration and later prisoner of war camps, and filed reports of what they saw.

While British Friends helped organize the Kindertransport, US Quakers tried to replicate such an action, but were blocked by overt anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant sentiment and indifference. US Quaker representatives met with Nazi officials in 1938 and attempted to secure Jews’ passage out of “Greater Germany”—but before that could happen, Hitler unleashed a premeditated pogrom, Kristallnacht.


PERSECUTION of individuals and groups hated by German Nazi leaders or their supporters began long before Hitler took power, but intensified immediately thereafter. The day after the burning of the Reichstag in February 1933 (a fire in the German parliament building to this day claimed by many historians to have been set by the Nazis, even though they blamed it on a Dutch Communist), the Hitler regime began closing and destroying its opposition’s offices, and abusing such groups’ leaders—as attested by one-time Dresden Social Democratic Party official Gertrude Hesse [refer to Document One in the black folder in the living room’s magazine rack]. Those not sent to concentration camps or simply murdered outright were restricted from earning a sufficient living wage and forced to register daily with the police—such as in the case of Erich and Lisa Hausen, Communist activists who eventually found their way to Scattergood Hostel [Document Two].

Besides political figures, those among the first to flee the new Nazi regime included dissenting intellectuals and artists like Vienna-born Grete Baeck, and “non-Aryan” civil servants, which in Germany included university professors such as Jewish-born Donald Hopf’s father. Ironically, even some of the early targets of Nazi oppression minimized the threat posed to “civilized” Germany and, ultimately, almost the whole of Europe.

          Nazi persecution of Jews intensified in stages, as related in Viktor Popper’s story [Document Three]. At first many German and Austrian Jews thought that the Nazi terror would pass; they felt thoroughly integrated in the local life and culture—and many had fought enthusiastically in the First World War, including Karl Liebmann. Both German, then Austrian Jews soon learned, however, that the Nazis meant business—as was evident by comments made by the first of Scattergood’s guests. As of the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, however, German and Austrian Jews no longer could ignore the imminent peril facing them, were they to remain in Hitler’s Third Reich—as related in Grete Rosenzweig’s account of the Kristallnacht spree of destruction in her native Kassel, Germany [Document Four].

          A third wave of European refugees fleeing Nazi terror consisted of Jewish or political exiles from occupied European countries such as Austria, the Bohemian and Moravian sections of Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Lowland countries, France and Hungary. Individuals such as Magda Salmon of Warsaw, and families such as the Schostals from Vienna and later Paris well knew—firsthand—the effects of the Nazis’ deadly tactics [Documents Five and Six, respectively], and chose to flee rather than to perish.          Even if they fled Europe against their will or fled to the US only out of desperation, the refugees who found safety at Scattergood chose flight over death.


FLIGHT from Nazi Europe was dangerous and costly, but grew worse as time passed. At first, political exiles, intellectuals or artists could take significant assets with them. By the late 1930s, though, with a “Jew Tax” and other restrictions, the last to flee arrived in New York literally with only ten Reichsmarks. Many running from Nazi terror landed in foreign countries unable to speak the language and not knowing anyone; older individuals could not easily find work. Jewish, Quaker and other relief agencies on both sides of the Atlantic did offer assistance to limited numbers of refugees [Document Seven].

For political targets still stranded in the Nazi hell, imprisonment threatened any chance of escape. Already in spring 1933 the Berlin government opened Sachsenhausen and Dachau to detain political enemies. Individuals such as former members of the pre-Nazi Reichstag Marie Juchacz [Document Eight] or Paul Frölich easily might have landed in a concentration camp, but rather fled to Paris or Vienna, or later—in stages, usually just one step ahead of the German Army—on to Prague or the South of France, to Portugal, Casablanca, the Caribbean and, finally, even to the Iowa prairies.

Desperate to escape, by the tens of thousands German, Austrian and Czech Jews landed in Yugoslavia, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Shanghai—and the American Heartland. Frantic parents, unable to secure passage for themselves, consented to sending their children to the US as charges of virtual strangers [Document Nine].

 While the US took in more Jewish refugees than any other country, it could have taken in many more. In fact, US government officials actively stalled processing asylum seekers’ applications in order to keep out thousands. Not once during the Third Reich’s existence did the US grant all of the slots that the Congressionally drafted quota system would have awarded Germans or Austrians. One trick the State Department used was to grant visas only to male heads of households. Still, some men felt so imperiled they accepted such an unhappy arrangement anyway: in a few cases—like that of the Weilers and the Seligmanns—the male heads of households were reunited with their families at Scattergood Hostel. Others, like the Rosenzweigs and Seligs, were reunited with children they had sent to England with the Quaker-supported Kindertransport, upon arriving in New York City or even in rural Iowa. Some parents were able to escape with their children—but only under dangerous circumstances, as in the case of Gunther Krauthamer and his mother [see text, below].

In the case of some political exiles at the hostel, they had been rendered stateless and arrived at Scattergood in legal limbo. Had they remained in their native lands, however, they might have been murdered on the spot or, torturously, in a concentration camp.


          SCATTERGOOD opened as a Quaker boarding school in 1890, having been awarded $4,000 in seed money some two decades earlier by Joseph Scattergood, a wealthy Philadelphia chemist on a tour of what then was the frontier. Due to declining Quaker demographics and the Great Depression, the school closed in 1931 and for eight years remained unused other than as a local picnic spot and the site of the Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative) annual assembly.

          In summer 1938 Young Friends gathered in Clear Lake, Iowa, proposed bringing European refugees to Iowa as part of their annual summer work camps. They envisioned a temporary community where Quakers and refugees might live and work together, as they thought contact with those from Nazi Europe would be a beneficial exchange.

The letter outlining this proposal arrived at the Philadelphia office of the American Friends Service Committee (the leading North American Quaker relief and reform organization) at an auspicious moment, for AFSC director Clarence Pickett—who had lived in Iowa—had just returned from a fact-finding mission to Berlin, during which the US Quaker delegation discussed with Nazi officials a never-realized proposal to visit Jews inside the Third Reich: Goebbels mocked a post-pogrom delegation’s members as “the three wise men”.

          In response to the Hitler government’s premeditated Kristallnacht pogrom in early November 1938, AFSC sent a memo to all Quaker meetings in the US and Canada, asking Friends what they could do to relieve the suffering in Germany. West Branch Friends immediately offered to convert their abandoned boarding school into a refugee center where European Jews and others fleeing Nazi terror might find rest before venturing back into the wider world.

          The AFSC called both wings of Iowa’s divided Quaker community together in January 1939 to discuss the evolving proposal to opening a refugee hostel in the former school. As had Quakers across the United States, Iowa Friends had suffered a contentious split along theological lines in the last half of the 1800s; the AFSC-convened conference was the first time that Friends of both the so-called “conservative” (observing the silent worship of the early Quakers) and “progressive” (now pastoral and evangelical) varieties had cooperated with each other in almost half a century. To much surprise, both factions agreed to share the work of opening Scattergood Hostel: the “conservative” Friends would rent the school to the AFSC for $1 a year and oversee its renovation, while programmed Friends would furnish it [Document Ten]. The hostel’s inception facilitated the reconciliation of two branches of one religious family: that healing served as a harbinger for Scattergood Hostel’s curative atmosphere.


          SCATTERGOOD HOSTEL’S physical creation involved practical as well as philosophical considerations. Of the first, reconstruction efforts addressed the damage wreaked upon Scattergood’s physical plant during almost eight years of disuse. Crews of Quaker and State University of Iowa volunteers visited the emerging hostel, fixing fallen plaster and leaky rain gutters, replacing broken windows and missing hardware, reshaping former classrooms into dormitories or simply clearing and cleaning the mess at hand. Meanwhile, Quaker farm families dropped off extra chairs or sheets or books, a bushel of apples, orphaned lambs, a sow or newly hatched chicks—anything they thought future staff and guests might be able to put to good use.

          Sara Pemberton and her husband Verlin lived on a farm half a mile up the road from the would-be hostel, at Yankee Corner. Sara served as the de facto on-site director, although she never before had filled such a role. Anxious to accommodate the soon-to-arrive European refugees, she wrote to the AFSC, asking what to plant in the hostel’s garden.          For its part, AFSC had more abstract concerns. Among others, it identified three goals in bringing refugees to Iowa:


1.) to avoid an anti-refugee backlash—as already was brewing in the Northeast, where New Yorkers referred to Manhattan’s Upper West Side as the “Fourth Reich”, given the prevalence of German spoken on the streets by European exiles sojourning there;

2.) to help newcomers learn the language and ways of the US faster in the America Heartland than in some East Coast ethnic enclave; and

3.) to more easily find useful employment for such displaced people in the Midwest rather than in the crowded, labor-saturated, Depression-worn Northeast.


To accomplish these goals, the AFSC strove for hostel population of about 10 staff members and 30 guests. The high ratio of natives to foreigners was to insure quick language and customs acquisition. Also, the Service Committee planned to hire a job placement director to comb the Midwest in search of placements in the US work world, and a dietician to oversee the refugees’ health. Already early in 1939 the AFSC hired Walter and Sara Stanley as the hostel’s caretakers.

Even as both Iowa and Philadelphia Quakers went to great lengths to assist newly arrived Jewish and other refugees, they exhibited contradictory attitudes towards Jews. The AFSC, for one, cautioned West Branch Friends not to accept “too much” of the local support that had been offered by Jews in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, lest the project appear to “coddle Jews”. Later, the staff rejected Chicago-born Esther Levine application to work at the hostel “on a race basis”—referring to her being a Jew.


          ARRIVAL at Scattergood Hostel marked only the latest station in the refugees’ protracted flight. Indeed, for the first arriving “guests”, even the drive from Philadelphia to Iowa proved to be edifying. On the 10th of April 1939, 22-year-old Friend John Kaltenbach met four male refugees at Philadelphia’s Y.M.C.A. After breakfast and a send-off in a borrowed station wagon, the group drove through Lancaster County’s Amish settlement to Gettysburg, where Kaltenbach gave the men an overview of the Civil War. From there they drove to Iowa—as recorded in Vienna-native Fritz Treuer’s detailed journal [Document Eleven].

          On Saturday, the 15th of April, the group pulled into Scattergood’s driveway—only to find far more journalists and photographers than their own number. Although tired from the three-day journey, the men spoke to the press about their experiences; the following day a front-page article and photo of them appeared in the Des Moines Register          On Sunday morning Friends offered to transport Karel Gam to Iowa City to attend mass, and the three Jewish guests—Fritz Treuer, Kurt Rosegg and Kurt Schaefer—to visit Jewish homes in Cedar Rapids for the day. Although later they would celebrate Chanukah at the hostel and attend synagogue in Iowa City, the men chose to join Quakers in silent worship. That afternoon a fifth exile, Heinz Lurie, arrived in Iowa City aboard a bus. That evening the now-complete group ate dinner with neighboring farm families: that potluck was the Europeans’ first encounter with their Iowa hosts.

          Chosen deliberately as Scattergood’s first residents, the five male refugees and their Quaker guide came to Iowa from the East primarily to finish preparing the hostel for its planned future as a haven not only for men but for women and families as well. On their first weekday morning at Scattergood Hostel, they started working at the monumental project of returning the Main Building to a usable state. The men scrubbed the entire structure and scraped wallpaper off the worn walls, painted, plastered, carpentered and turned over the garden: “It is surprising how many floors there are in that little building”, Kurt Schaefer marvelled [Document Twelve].

The men’s essential work, though, did not proceed uninterrupted. That first week local Friend Emery Hemingway whisked Schaefer away to hear a Service Committee representative speak and then, himself, to address a discussion group. This would prove to be only the first of a mailbag of invitations to the guests to appear at podiums or round tables in the region. Despite the curious public’s demands, however, the hostel finally seemed ready for the second wave of guests to come—and they soon did, including the first family, the Deutsches from Vienna. Ultimately, almost 200 refugees would come: each would lend his or her unique imprint to the emerging hostel.


            STAFF at Scattergood made the hostel’s existence possible. Even though 30 of the 49 individuals who were to work at Scattergood during its four-year existence would be under the age of 30, they brought with them a vitality and conviction that guided them even when experience did not. None of the staff is recorded to have undergone specific training or even general preparation beforehand—and how could they? Never in history had there been a refugee crisis of such magnitude and global reach: voluntary, residential refugee centers were a modern invention. (The AFSC intended Scattergood to be a prototype for about 20 hostels it planned to establish around the United States—of which it realized less than a handful.) And, no one anticipated how varied or sporadic the staff’s requisite tasks might be. The volunteers and few paid staff at Scattergood took turns serving as construction workers, gardeners, cooks, janitors, instructors, chauffeurs, interpreters, editors, correspondents, actors or emcees, public speakers, immigration advocates, job seekers, secretaries…

          Staff at Scattergood, however, did not only give; many later reported that they received far more than they ever gave. Camilla Hewson, for one, underwent a profound transformation at the hostel. Conceived in Russia while her Quaker activist parents worked with the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee during the civil war there, Camilla graduated a semester early from Des Moines’ Roosevelt High. Instead of going straight to Earlham College to study sociology, her parents encouraged her to volunteer a few weeks at the about-to-open Scattergood Hostel—where she ultimately worked for almost a year and a half. In the process, Camilla gathered formative and indelible impressions, which she’d reflect upon and cherish her whole life.

          Similarly, Presbyterian-born Minnesotan Robert Berquist also discovered a new life at Scattergood. Having read about the hostel in an article by Marcus Bach—a professor of religion in nearby Iowa City— Robert wrote to director Martha Balderston and offered to spend his two-week vacation at Scattergood. The quality and depth of the encounters he experienced there with some of the refugees touched him like nothing he’d ever known. Once back in Minneapolis, Robert found his life empty: he resigned from an adjustor’s job at Ministers Life, vacated his shared apartment and moved back to West Branch to work with Europe’s rejected. He intended to stay until it closed, but after some 14 months the US Government drafted Robert as a conscientious objector and sent him first to southern Indiana to plant trees, then to California to fight brush fires. After the war, Robert married Sara Way, a Quaker nurse, and moved back to West Branch, where he taught social studies at the re-opened Scattergood School for 33 years and was an active, respected Friend.


            REFUGEES came to Scattergood from nine countries. Among them were “non-Aryans”, political and religious activists, intellectuals, artists, professionals, merchants, a butcher, elderly ladies, solitary young men and children: the only thing the 186 individuals had in common was that they all had escaped a Europe under dictatorial rule. Later, many would cite two themes: that Scattergood Hostel was their first home in the United States, and that the Quakers’ kindness and the quiet of the Iowa prairies offered them the rest and perspective they needed both to start recovering from the catastrophe now behind them and, concurrently, to wade into life in the New World. Even those most burdened by the trauma they had suffered benefited from Scattergood’s peaceful environment and daily routine.

          Ernst Solmitz of Lüneburg, for one, arrived at the hostel in May 1939. Soon after Hitler seized power the Gestapo took Ernst’s Jewish-editor father to a nearby prison and beat him to death over five days. Ernst’s mother subsequently took her children to Berlin. There, she worked with AFSC representatives, who helped the family flee first to London, then to Philadelphia. With Quaker support, Frau Solmitz established a boardinghouse for fellow exiles. Busy caring for other refugees, she could not stop her son when he stowed away for England—only to land in a Liverpool prison for that act. The athletic runaway escaped, however, and roamed England for a month—knowing no one and with only the clothes he’d been wearing. Ernst Ernst finally was re-apprehended and the British forcibly returned him to America, to Ellis Island—where the judge yielded to his mother’s tearful pleas for mercy for her son. Still unable to accept the idea of living at his mother’s boardinghouse, Ernst grabbed the chance to drive the newly appointed Scattergood Hostel director’s wife and two sons to Iowa in his car. In effect, he was “escaping” yet again.

          In contrast, Hans Peters struggled to deal directly with external matters beyond his control. As was often the case for many would-be refugees, Hans could secure a US visa only for himself. He arrived Stateside, alone, in December 1938. Hans’ “non-Aryan” wife of 14 years and their two sons arrived the following autumn; as she strolled down the gangway, his wife announced she wanted a separation and custody of the children. Dejected, AFSC then invited Hans to Scattergood. Having heard in advance of Hans’ misfortunes, when hostel staff picked him up they were looking for a man “spiritually broken”—but that was not what they found: the next morning, Hans emerged at breakfast wearing overalls and introduced himself in perfect English. A non-Jew, Hans quickly took to young Camilla Hewson—who he soon dubbed his “Blümchen” (“little flower”) and “Sternchen (“little star”); he later married Camilla’s best friend.


     WORK provided both Scattergood staff and their guests the sense of a joint life that didn’t consist merely of finding a few new friends or sitting down, taking pen in hand and scribbling out nice words about noble ideas. Rather, genuine community arose out of a common daily life that provided the necessary shared context for true friendships to bud and ideas based on personal experience to bloom. In essence, at Scattergood Hostel the means were the ends, for the very act of living together in an “American” environment prepared the refugees for the post-hostel lives on which they ardently pinned their greatest hopes.

Along with organized instruction and semi-organized free time, work offered the refugees myriad opportunities to learn new skills, adapt to new customs and values, learn or improve their English and regain some of the self-confidence which had been shattered by Nazi persecution and their later flight. The much-touted “rehabilitation” or “integration” of the Europeans living at Scattergood happened not during some magical, appointed moment, but during many mundane, spontaneous moments. The hostel’s daily life afforded the European newcomers a vehicle by which they finally might “arrive” in America, the land of—if not their dreams—their last hope; it offered survival.

Insofar as Scattergood staff intended to incorporate the necessary work at the hostel in their efforts to rehabilitate and integrate their guests, they had to make a daily plan. All common activities were to be coordinated and then executed within an agreed-upon structure—or at least, that was the plan. As “Scattergoodians” soon learned, however, holiday observances and seasonal changes often threw wrenches into the works without apology. Similarly, the unexpected offer of a whistle-stop visit by a renowned figure instantaneously could overturn the most rigorously observed routines—as happened when Grant Wood came in November 1939 and provided a painting lesson, or the von Trapp Family Singers stopped by in March 1942 and gave an impromptu concert. The arrival of summer staff or their fall departure also forced revisions of the workload; towards the end of the hostel’s existence, the lack of refugees created a labor shortage.

The all-important language lessons also decimated the ranks of many a hostel work crew. So did the limited capabilities of the guests: the elderly or disabled simply could not be expected to accomplish as much physical work as their younger or more fit counterparts, while other guests lacked manual dexterity or basic technical skills. Also, over time, since the hostel’s opening, staff members as well as the refugees living among them had differing attitudes or needs regarding “work”. Thus, the Daily Schedule changed daily and without warning.

To illustrate the flow of the typical daily routine at Scattergood Hostel, staff member Camilla Hewson later wrote that


Most folks made it down to breakfast, and many went to Meeting, too. Crews then got into the work of the day, and those not working were probably in a class or a one-on-one tutoring session. After lunch, often there was a trip to West Branch or Iowa City, and a driving lesson for someone. In summer, the garden took priority, and we had big canning sessions for corn and beans. Dishes were washed, of course by hand, after each meal, tables set, food prepared. People were on cleaning crews, washing and ironing, and often if there were visitors someone was designated to show them around and answer questions.

        After dinner, there was free time, unless a community meeting for business was scheduled. Group activities (large and small) such as hikes, movies in Iowa City, jigsaw puzzles, singing, and other games were organized spontaneously. Visitors gave talks. Sometimes we put on a play for ourselves. [Staff members] Ruth Carter and Mildred Holmes sang with an Iowa City chorus. People read, listened to the radio or just sat around talking. A memorable "snipe hunt” played a good-natured trick on a couple of new arrivals, and a scavenger hunt was enjoyed by all. In summer there were frequent excursions to the Quarries, not far away, for picnics and swims (even at night, on occasion). People were also invited to homes of Friends and neighbors. Little was regimented; most things were flexible according to individual tastes and needs.

        Everyone did something, and most jobs rotated weekly, with a schedule posted on the bulletin board.


            INSTRUCTION at Scattergood Hostel played a major role in the “Americanization” espoused by the refugees’ Quaker hosts. As such, in formulating its daily plans the hostel staff juggled adequate time for work with ample time for instruction and recreation; the staff realized that the reason for their guests’ presence did not consist of changing sheets, flipping pancakes, gathering eggs or turning the garden. Writing down new vocabulary, cracking the civics books, mulling over history lectures and opening the door to the driver’s seat of the station wagon counted as much as other aspects of hostel life.

The staff’s European charges found themselves in a foreign land with unfamiliar ways of living and thinking: to make the adaptations necessary to fully functioning in such a culture the refugees had to become—in essence—new people, whether or not they wanted to. The degree to which they would find satisfying niches in American society would directly reflect the degree to which each was able to release Old World ways of living which did not fit the New and to tailor their social selves to match a wholly different set of cultural expectations.

In addition to conjugating irregular verbs, judging cuts of beef, wrapping a wound or sending a telegram, Scattergood Hostel’s guests learned anew how to act as self-directed, autonomous individuals. No longer under the thumb of totalitarian machinery, Europe’s rejected thus reclaimed control over their lives. At Scattergood, they weren’t only discovering new ideas, customs and ways of living, but rediscovering what it meant to have choices and to be able to exercise them freely—what some would call the essence of American democracy. As Friends said, instruction at Scattergood focused on creating “New Americans”.

George Thorp served for almost a year as the hostel’s education director. A trained engineer who previously had taught eleven years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and at an American Friends Service Committee program for refugees in Maine before coming to Scattergood, in October 1942 he outlined his vision for “The Scattergood Educational Program” in a Scattergood Monthly News Bulletin article:


A vital part of Scattergood training is its education program. In its formal aspects this includes individual and group instruction designed to accelerate mastery of the English language and to present as complete a picture as possible of the varied aspects of the American scene. In its less formal approach the program merges largely with the other phases of life at Scattergood. In the process of sharing the work program, the household duties and other essential activities and through daily social intercourse and more pretentious social affairs, this side of the program supplements in innumerable ways the more formal part of the educational plan.

        Instruction in English is fundamental in importance. Each guest, upon arrival, is assigned to a member of the staff for tuition, in accordance with his needs. Each person usually receives three hours of individual tutoring a week. Supplementing this, there are lectures or seminars each week in phonetics and general English, in which principles and practices are discussed with larger groups.

        Another side of the formal part of the program consists in the presentation of a variety of facets of the American picture, accomplished through lectures and discussions on every important aspect of American life. The plan in effect is to make a complete round of these subjects once in three or four months, the period usually spent at Scattergood by a guest.

        History, from the early settlements to the present, occupies a weekly place in the program and serves as a background against which the other subjects are presented. Those range through such varied fields as labor, government, educational systems, geography, home economics, politics and racial problems.

        Speakers or discussion leaders are obtained from various sources. The faculty of the University of Iowa is drawn upon frequently and advantage is taken of the presence of visitors who can make contributions of this sort.

Informally, most important education results come about through daily contacts between Americans and Europeans, guests and staff. Such situations afford continual opportunities for the practice of English and for instruction in American customs and habits. Special festivities such as birthdays, farewells, holidays and sundry celebrations help very greatly toward preparing for life in America.


            RELATIONSHIPS at Scattergood constituted both the hostel’s intent and its legacy. The project intentionally facilitated contact between groups otherwise unknown to each other: it brought US natives and Europeans together to live closely, so that the latter might absorb some of the former’s ways and perspectives. In the process, while still at Scattergood and after leaving it, the intimacy shared and the enduring connections between friends made while at the hostel enriched both staff and refugees the rest of their lives.

         Although he harbored critical feelings toward other Jewish guests, Ernst Solmitz—for example—became “special friends” with Camilla Hewson. Not daring even once to hold hands, the two argued philosophy and politics; Ernst played devil’s advocate to tease Camilla and “make her think”. In turn she respected his reserve and let him teach her German—sometimes up in the maple by the Main Building. When weekends found floods of volunteer work crews, reporters, visiting local and out-of-state Friends or mere curiosity seekers covering Scattergood’s grounds, Ernst and Camilla would “disappear” to the roof of the Main Building to escape and spy on the hordes. During such stolen moments, Ernst entrusted Camilla with his family’s tragic story, or his plan to make his way to Paraguay to join a Bruderhof community. (In the end—given Ernst’s limited finances and emotional stamina requisite to chase such a dream successfully—a community in South Dakota had to suffice.) Then, as abruptly as he had appeared some eleven months earlier under the guise of helping someone else, Ernst left on a spontaneously awarded scholarship to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

          Like Camilla, Robert Berquist also felt deeply touched by the bonds he forged while at Scattergood—during both of his two stints as staff. During his stay there, though, Robert’s involvement in hostel life remained “less than total” because he had enrolled in university education courses to earn a secondary teacher’s certificate. On most of the trips he made to Iowa City, however, he took one or more passengers from the hostel—and those two parts of his daily routine became closely interrelated. During the half-hour jaunt from Scattergood to the university campus Robert became acquainted with various members of the hostel “family”; he gained deep respect for many of the European guests and developed close friendships with some of them, as well as with staff members. After being drafted and ordered elsewhere, Robert wrote in a report about Scattergood in the December 1941 issue of the Iowa Peace News that


Trying to put oneself in the place of a refugee and helping others to do likewise is the greatest contribution anyone can make toward working out this human problem.


     COMMUNITY at Scattergood arose on the windy, rolling Iowa prairie—an obscure spot where people and worlds met, interacted and enriched each other, then resumed their individual journeys, with varied destinations. The basis of that community consisted of a fluid constellation of single young adults, married couples, children, infants and the elderly; its only constant was an ever-changing mix of nationalities, anchored by a core group of American volunteers. Both staff and their guests formed a community that soon after the hostel’s founding assumed a character of its own, independent of any specific personalities residing there. That shared spirit there still can be felt.

          Scattergood’s special community came to represent decency and continuity for individuals who had not known either for a long time. As intended by its sponsors, one could gain “membership” in the hostel community very easily—by daring to care. The pervasive sense of belonging felt by most (but not by all) of its members provided the stability for which many had hungered; it also assisted the refugees’ rehabilitation as more fully functioning members of the larger society they wished to join. Scattergood’s rich sense of community served as an anchor in the lives of those it touched—those from the New World as well as the Old.

          Visitors to Scattergood scarcely saw the hostel any differently than its residents. The AFSC’s Mary Middleton Rogers, for one, made a trip to Iowa to help celebrate the hostel’s second birthday. Although there numerous times before, Scattergood impressed her anew with its special atmosphere—as she wrote to its director, Martha Balderston:


Spring sees the beginnings of many good things and so Scattergood had its beginning in spring. The spirit of helpfulness and understanding, the belief in the right of human beings to be different and to contribute to the common good from that very diversity of belief and of culture were woven into the fabric that is Scattergood. The spirit of dedication of those who started Scattergood has been carried on by many since then and the splendid part of this heritage is that it is a cooperative product. Neither Americans nor Europeans could have created alone this new entity, this Scattergood.

        When huge forces seem to be blocking out those things in which we believe so intensely, the value of a small demonstration of another way of life is increased. One candle shining in a lighted room may be passed over, but a candle in a darkened room becomes of great moment. Each of Scattergood’s guests and staff brings his candle of faith in democracy, of belief that a new world of tolerance can be built. If our candle is burning low we can be grateful for this demonstration of the way of light.


THEATER at Scattergood provided both entertainment and edification: it distracted especially the adult refugees at the hostel from memories of unaccounted for or even known-lost loved ones back in Europe; it also—largely coincidentally—exposed them as well as the hostel children to the language and culture of their adopted homeland.

Bona fide theater pieces at Scattergood included skits, gags and dramatizations of familiar scenes, around which other entertainment might be built. One evening, for example, the staff and their guests enjoyed a lively performance of This is My Scattergood, a play written and directed specially for the occasion by the young, aspiring Jewish actor from Berlin, Peter Seadle. It depicted—in an amusing fashion—life at Scattergood. Afterwards, staff, guests and visitors stood around the piano and sang American songs until, as one participant later recorded, “The good old moon then broke through the clouds and smiled down a pleasant ‘Good Night’ onto us happy souls at Scattergood!”

Besides accelerated acculturation, another “use” of theater at Scattergood involved providing a vent for the inevitable stresses and conflicts endemic to communal life—especially for staff, those devoted individuals jointly responsible for the performance as well as survival of the hostel. The Initiation of Elsie, The New Staff Member [see transcript in the folder, below] provided a welcome chance for both staff and refugees to smile over some of Scattergood’s taxing, regrettable realities.

Another time, the hostel “family” penned a play to mark Robert Berquist’s invaluable role at Scattergood and his imminent, forced departure. The piece was performed as part of a special farewell party held for him in November 1941.


CELEBRATIONS took many forms at Scattergood. They also began literally as a given resident walked through the door: Sara Stanley, the hostel’s kitchen manager, discreetly recorded each refugee’s and staff member’s birthday as each new person arrived—and on the appropriate day “surprised” her or him with a cake and the best wishes of those gathered to present it. Besides a means of showering the European refugees with confidence-building recognition, the celebration of all birthdays provided an excuse for having a good time—as Camilla Hewson’s account of one staff birthday celebration colorfully illustrated.

A “family” celebrates—or observes, in the case of loss—important rites of passage: births, birthdays, awards, weddings, anniversaries, promotions, departures, deaths (Martha Balderston’s husband, for instance). The birth of staff members John and Josephine Copithorne’s first child found the hostel community welcoming “Little Susan”, and announcing on the Bulletin’s front page in October 1942 that


the Scattergood family has added a new member to its circle. Early visitors report that both mother and child are doing well and that the father has quite recovered. Susan is a chubby infant who squalls lustily when presented to the gaze of her admiring public. To date she seems to have inherited her daddy’s looks but not his disposition.


Both staff and guests met mates during their stay at Scattergood. Of Wilhelm Feist’s union ceremony in August 1942, fellow refugee and former Reichstag member Marie Juchacz later reported that


America has its romances and Scattergood also. William Feist was a member of the Scattergood family in 1940. Scattergood gave him, like many others, the first quiet refuge for the preparation of the new life in America. If Scattergood had visitors, his sensitive feeling of the good atmosphere in the Hostel inspired him for talking with them enthusiastically about the purpose and the results of the small but interesting institution. And it was at such an opportunity when he met Miss Jean McIntyre of Minneapolis for the first time. In the meantime this native Berliner and engineer got his first job in Moline, Ill., then went to Chicago to work; and they were engaged. And now they wished to get married and wanted that the wedding ceremony should take place under the same, beautiful old tree, where they saw one another for the first time.


          In September 1939 the hostel community hosted an open house:


Guests came from far and near; the place was full from two o’clock till the end. We offered a big buffet supper in the dining room. All ran easily, however, with the help of a special schedule, cookies and cranberry juice (complete with ice from West Liberty—our helper in times of trouble; West Branch failed us miserably). Gunter Meyer played our faithful old piano, while Walter and Sara [Stanley] served as host and hostess.


CHILDREN experienced their own challenges at Scattergood. For adult refugees who had escaped Nazi-occupied Europe and reached “Amerika”, the steps to reconstruct their lives were clear: they had to become fluent in the new language, learn at least the fundamentals of American history and culture, and find a new job, if not a new career. Regardless of their own confusion or suffering, as rational, self-interested individuals of legal age, they simply had no choice but to cope with the conditions placed upon them by their very displacement.

For refugee children, the path ahead was not so clear. No longer Europeans but also not yet Americans, they continued to be dependent upon their parents. Unlike that of their parents, the future that awaited the exiled children remained wide open. Arriving at Scattergood, refugee children were cast into an ambiguous role in which each somehow had to carve out her or his own niche. That was no easy task, given the lack of role models and the fact that most of the adults around them were preoccupied with other pressing worries. Naturally, parents cared greatly about what would become of their offspring: after a certain point, however, uncontrollable or unforeseeable forces would have much more say about the destinies of their young than they ever could. West Branch public schools, for example, would be an effective if de facto center for the Americanization of its newest charges.

Despite appearances at times that hostel staff were not fully clear how to respond to the special needs of guests not of legal age and despite the difficult attaché status of its youngest charges, the children, too, became an integral part of Scattergood’s comprehensive program. Partially by providing much-needed distraction from the emotional fallout of the traumatic experiences that their seniors had encountered in Europe, children helped the hostel fulfill its mission of offering refugees a place where they slowly could rebuild their shattered lives.

Regardless of how effective an emotional cushion they proved to be, however, the children of Scattergood were not at the hostel as mere appendages of displaced adults; although older individuals stole most of the stage most of the time, the hostel existed as much for the benefit of the young ones as for their elders. And, the lingering legacy of their sojourn at Scattergood would have profound effects on most of the 23 children between the ages of ten months and sixteen years who found refuge in Iowa. Besides two known exceptions (a future architect and Federal meat inspector), most of them later went on to become social workers, counselors, teachers or other people-oriented professionals. Perhaps their early experiences of being helped in time of need predisposed the children to become adults with finely tuned sensitivities to the needs of others.

While still a guest, one of them—referred to only as “an 11 year old child”—wrote a poem reflecting her or his impression of the folks who made Scattergood Hostel possible:


The Quakers are good and helpful to one, in every way.

No cross or evil words we ever hear them say,

Remember the time the negroes were slaved

And the Quakers did their best to have them saved?

They helped the persecuted across the land

Against the slavers, the Quakers were able to defend,

The helpless and the homeless that were in need

And don’t we today see and read

How the Quakers help us persecuted Jews?

They don’t just say, “How dreadful the news”!

That Hitler is in Germany

And is ruling the people in tyranny

But help as much as they can, and wouldn’t it be fine

To have less sorrow in the world all the time.

And the Quakers are doing their best

To have the world in peace and rest.

So let’s try to cooperate and help the best we can

Because the Quakers are truly good to man.


FREETIME played a central yet diverse role at Scattergood. At the hostel shades of “work”, “education” and “free time” could not be so clearly differentiated. Corn shucking and pea shelling, for instance, did not constitute purely “work”. Washington’s birthday found hostel staff and their guests on excursions to the Amana Colonies: if they were only “educational” why did the refugees derive so much pleasure from that annual outing? And, little Michael Deutsch delighted in cowboy dress-up, while Doris Arntal and Bertl Weiler savored endless games of “playing Indian”: was that these Jewish children’s “Ameri canization”? In fact, the fabric of daily life at Scattergood Hostel consisted of a seamless garment of “rehabilitation” and “integration” woven on one and the same warp. Freetime, then, was both restorative and edifying.

The “free time” activities which were planned or arose organically between scheduled shifts of work and classroom training also provided a context for the refugees not only to restart their lives, but to reorient themselves according to the differing magnetic lines of a new society.

Cultural excursions from Scattergood Hostel, for example, provided important links between the lives the Europeans had led in the Old World and the ones they were yet to be grafted onto in the New. As “the Singers”—Paul and his fellow-refugee bride Elsie née Kepes—wrote in a joint article in the Scattergood Monthly News Bulletin in February 1942,


Scattergood is like an island, but not an isolated island, for it is connected with the wide world. The residents have opportunity enough of learning the American way of living and working, not only at home, but also outside.


Scattergood Hostel’s outings consisted, for example, of marveling at technical wonders (visiting Iowa City’s newspaper plant and the university radio station) or trying to decipher new norms (reviewing cuts and measurements of meat at the local butcher shop or gawking at mechanized milk processing at a nearby dairy). Sometimes while on excursions, though, the refugees themselves provided the focus of attention—as seen in an account of two of spring outings in May 1942:


Miss Margaret Cheek, who attended Scattergood’s third birthday party, was so enchanted by the Russian dances of our children, that she asked them to give a performance at a party for the International Student Service at the Presbyterian Church in Iowa City one Saturday evening. Our children showed their artistic talents! Julius Lichtenstein was the announcer, and of course he confounded the titles of the dances. But nevertheless Edith and her brother Louis Lichtenstein and Frank Keller got strong applause. Alfred Adler then told the audience some of his old stories, but they were new to the people there. We played several games, such as horseshoes, fish pond and ski-ball, and joined in community singing.


            CONFLICTS arose at Scattergood between individuals, between cultures and between the hostel population and West Branch locals. Of the first sort, for example, Leo Jolles—a Viennese Catholic—and Emil Deutsch were outside once, digging a new septic tank ditch. As a Jew, Emil was incensed over Leo’s anti-Semitic comments and soon a fistfight ensued. Jolles later proved to be a generally difficult “guest”: he was the only one out of 186 ever asked to leave the hostel. Staff Giles Zimmerman escorted Jolles to Iowa City and put him on a bus for New York, thinking that a spat of recent troubles with Leo now would be resolved once the displaced Austrian reached his relatives on the East Coast. A couple of weeks later, however, Giles was driving down the gravel road leading to the hostel late one afternoon and saw a “shadowy figure” jump into the ditch; upon reaching Scattergood, the excited staff rushed to the car and reported that a woman in nearby Cedar Rapids had called earlier in the day, seeking a recommendation for Leo Jolles—who had interviewed that very morning for a position. As Leo had had an intense crush on the hostel’s blonde secretary, Mildred Holmes, she and her roommate Camilla Hewson blocked their bedroom door that night with a broom handle and shoved furniture in front of it, as they feared that Leo had come back to stalk Mildred.

          Less rowdy than fisticuffs and less thrilling than a suspected stalking incident, but no less hurtful to the parties involved, summer staffer Leanore Goodenow (later the director for several decades of the re-opened Scattergood School) meant well when she tried to wean the refugees from their European eating habits by holding fork and knife as is common in the United States. This, the refugees resented no small bit. For the staff as strange as their guests’ eating habits, on the night that Albert and his wife Lisa Beam arrived at Scattergood, upon retiring for bed they placed their shoes outside their door, as in good European hotel fashion they assumed the shoes would be polished in the night.

          The Europeans seemed strange to more than just some of the Scattergood staff. As a visiting Des Moines Tribune journalist reported,


A class of war refugees lay on blankets in the shade of a big maple tree at Scattergood hostel with their attention on John Kaltenbach, 24, youthful Pennsylvania-Dutch Yale graduate and hostel director who was giving a lecture—in English—on the Declaration of Independence. Fifty yards away, on the road, a bright yellow school bus roared by, raising a cloud of dust. The heads of school children stuck out of all the bus windows toward Scattergood. They were yelling wildly. "Hi, yi! German spies. Hi, yi! German spies!” The reporter jerked his head toward the road—then back to the solemn-faced group of refugees. The expressions on their faces did not change. And Kaltenbach, without a change of expression, continued his lecture.


          ART is humanity’s ageless attempt to document, interpret or celebrate the human experience—and as such was practiced, of course, by Scattergood Hostel’s staff and their guests. From Camilla Hewson’s early diary doodling to Lisa Hausen’s quaint folkloric painting on wooden bowls, from Hans Frey’s woodcuts of Scattergood through Helmut Ostrowski Wilk’s skilled photography of its inhabitants or Iowa’s pastoral landscape, the hostel “family” used art to document, interpret and celebrate their experiences, too. Hans Schimmerling, for example, composed a hymn dedicated to Scattergood—and, similarly, actress Grete Baeck drafted a never-used screenplay about the hostel, while Peter Seadle wrote a stage play about Scattergood. Several of the refugees took Scattergood as a topic for English classes, poems, farewell songs and the shared Log of Scattergood—or simply as the focus of their own, personal reflections. Traces of those various art forms survive, suggesting the richness of Scattergoodians’ creativity.


WAR disrupted life for all at Scattergood Hostel—yet differently, for different people. For the refugees, they suffered over the fates of friends and family back home: in the summer of 1939, as the crisis that had been gathering over Europe came to a head, their worry for loved ones grew. Already for weeks, the crisis had dominated Scattergoodians’ thoughts and conversations, as they all had become concerned about events beyond America’s shores. In late August, they called nearly 400 young people from the county’s religious groups together to confer:


Meeting and program were in Mtg. House. John [Kaltenbach] and [Kurt] Rosegg were the main speakers. And, even after all that, there were still seven who kept on till 2 A.M. discussing war, peace, methods of life, etc., in the kitchen, fortified by lemonade.


          Thereafter, for several days both staff and their guests distracted themselves with corn canning and croquet games, residents’ departures and a picnic supper at the quarries; some sang far into the night. On the 28th of August, however, they no longer could ignore the situation in Europe. As Nazi Germany seemed about to attack Poland, they debated


the attitude of the Hostel in case of war. We deferred any decision until such time as we might know all legal requirements and determine our own individual course of action. This is a matter of personal conviction, but does affect the group as a whole. Hot discussions on the evils of the capitalist system.


On 1st of September 1939, one observer noted in the Log of Scattergood:


A day we will long remember. Beginning of hostilities between Germany and Poland. Our sympathy and grief for our overseas brothers and sisters is boundless—but America must not fight! We can only hope and pray for Peace.


          As the hostel’s atmosphere remained tense, on the next day some residents went to see The Wizard of Oz in Iowa City. Despite self-imposed distractions, though, Scattergoodians soon faced yet another crisis, when on the following day, France and England declared war against the Third Reich. Somehow, amidst the chaos, staff and refugees alike tried to organize their days as if all were normal: on the 5th of September some of the staff attended a farm auction—but now to look for cheap appliances before such items might become scarce.

          Twenty-seven months after German bombs fell on Poland, Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbor: Scattergood Hostel found itself in a world at war, trying all the while to serve as an unflappable island of peace.


DEPARTURES from Scattergood often were bittersweet. On one hand, with some excitement the European refugees set out for their new lives in the New World—but on the other, as they passed through Scattergood’s front gate, they were leaving behind the only home they knew in “Amerika”. Whether or not they were prepared for it, the fiercest challenge facing the Quakers’ erstwhile guests since their flight from Nazi-occupied Europe was yet to come: they were to discover that in the “Land of the Free”, each one was just as free to fail as to succeed.

After weeks or months of language training, cultural excursions, free time recreation and a modest amount of career coaching, the adults among the guests would be tested in a stiff job market—and often disqualified due to their “over-qualification”, the accent with which they spoke English or their house of worship. If they managed to press past those hurdles, they might bump against the blinding fear of or resentment towards foreigners—or even just their foreign-sounding names. To remedy that obstacle, even without prompting from the Scattergood staff, Jewish and non-Jewish refugees altered if not their surnames at least their first names to fit the Anglo tongue: “Wilhelm und Hertha Leitersdorfer” altered their names to “Willy and Hedy Layton”; “Grete Baeck” became “Greta Beck”, and “Adolf und Elisabeth Beamt” chose “Albert and Lisa Beam”, while creative “Karl Bukowitz” transformed himself into New-World-sounding “Charles Bukovis”. “Hans Grunwald” became “Peter Greenwood” and “Hans Neude” “Harry Norton”, “Ljubover Koropatnicky” became “Louis Croy”, “Heinz Lurie” “George Laury” and “Hans Popper” “Jack Potter”; “Ludwig und Kaethe Unterholzer” became known as “Louis and Catherine Underwood”.

          For her part—no matter what they now were called—hostel director Martha Balderston felt ambivalent about the refugees’ departures. In a piece she wrote for the Scattergood Monthly News Bulletin in March 1940, she admitted that it was with


mixed feelings that we celebrate each departure, glad for the new opportunity to get established in America, and genuinely regretful that we are losing from the Hostel friends of whom we have grown very fond.


To make the best out of the departures the staff often made light of them—as recorded in the Bulletin in August 1942:


Scattergood’s family spent much of the past month saying farewell to members moving on to new fields. On Tuesday evening the living room was transformed into a Court of Justice, and the Lichtenstein family were made defendants in a trial to determine whether or not they were guilty of base desertion of Scattergood. After the testimony of witnesses, among them the kitchen, the garden rake, the phonetics class and the cats, the jury found the family not guilty. Julius, Elizabeth, Edith and Louis Lichtenstein left for St. Paul, Minnesota; they had spent almost ten months at the Hostel, and we said good-bye to them with deep regret. On the next day Lothar Gidro-Frank went to Iowa City to prepare for a college entrance examination. The future medical student then returned to his home in New York City and will probably be back in Iowa City early in January. On Saturday evening Robert Keller, impersonated by Louis Hacke and dressed in Robert’s favorite costume of short blue shorts, white shirt and blue beret and carrying an enormous dictionary, was interviewed by John Copithorne, a self-styled representative of a Milwaukee employment agency. After calling numerous references from Scattergood to prove his “ability” in lawn mowing, dishwashing, child care and English speaking, Robert (alias Louis) was given a wonderful position in Milwaukee. Immediately following this employment agency farce, a special news broadcast was heard over the radio; interspersed with items of international news, were news flashes about the exploits of the well-known European newspaper man, Louis Hacke. The next day, Louis and Robert left with Par Danforth for Milwaukee. Robert obtained employment there, and his family will join him soon. Louis will work part-time as a linotype operator in Milwaukee until September, and then leave for New York City, where a position has been found for him. Walter, his son, left Scattergood on the same day, met his father in Chicago, and will go on to New York with him. Walter will return to Cherry Lawn School, Darien, Conn. on the 16th of September.

Lists of Scattergoodians

Guests, 1939-43

#. surname, first; [child];(nick-/new name) nationality dates (and age) at SH

1. ADLER, Alfred; ADLEY French 6.XII.41-7.VI.42

2. ADLER, Marta; ADLEY German 6.XII.41-7.VI.42

3. ALES-ADLER, Franticek Francis Czech 30.I.43-22.III.43

4. ALTMAN, Fred German 24.I.42-25.V.42

5. ALTMAN, Marie Russian 24.I.42-20.V.42

6. ARNTAL, Doris [daughter] German 28.IX.40-4.VI.41; 4

7. ARNTAL, Rolf German 23.VII.40-5.I.41; 37

8. ARNTAL, Tekla German 28.IX.40-4.VI.41; 29

9. ASCHKENES, Kaethe Austrian 11.VI.41-9.III.42; 50s

10. ASHER, Klaus German 17.VII.42-13.II.43

11. BAECK, Grete; BECK Austrian 23.XII.39-8.VII.40; 50s

12. BARDACH, Adolf (Gus); Adolphe Austrian 18.III.40-29.IV.40; 30s

2nd x 6.VII.40-17.X.40

13. BARON, Walter German 28.V.42-3.II.43

14. BAUER, Otto Austrian 2.XII.40-28.IV.41; late 40s

15. BAUER, Rosa Austrian 2.XII.40-28.IV.41; late 40s

16. BEAMT, Albert; BEAM Austrian 7.XI.39-21.VII.40; 40s

17. BEAMT, Karoline; BEAM, Lisa Austrian 7.XI.39-21.VII.40; 40s

18. BENNDORF, Elly German 8.XII.39-14.III.40; 40s

19. BENNDORF, Oskar German 8.XII.39-14.III.40; 40s

20. BLUMENKRANZ, Erwin; Irving Austrian 10.IX.40-5.XII.40; 20s

21. BRAUN, Andre [son]; Andrew Polish 9.X.42-10.III.43; 3

22. BRAUN, Sonia Russian 9.X.42-4.I.43

2nd x 1.III.43-10.III.43

23. BRAUN, Stanislaw; Stan Polish 9.X.42-10.III.43

24. BROESLER, Ernst; BRESSLER German 21.XII.41-14.XII.42

25. BUCHOWITZ, Karl; BUKOVIS, Charles Austrian 17.X.41-8.XII.41

26. DEUTSCH, Emil Austrian 11.VII.39-20.XI.39; 39

27. DEUTSCH, Hanna [daughter] Austrian 11.VII.39-4.I.40; 6

28. DEUTSCH, Michael [son] Austrian 11.VII.39-4.I.40; 9

29. DEUTSCH, Regina Austrian 11.VII.39-4.I.40; 39

2nd x 6.V.41-25.VII.41

30. DRAKE, Arthur (names altered before arrival) German 5.VII.39-24.X.39; late 30s

31. DRAKE, Ellen (names altered before arrival at hostel) German 5.VII.39-24.X.39; late 30s

32. DREYER, Otto German 6.I.41-13.X.41; late 40s

33. ELIASBERG, Rose Latvian 24.X.41-27.I.42

34. FEIBELMAN, Ernst German 24.IX.41-9.II.42; circa 60

35. FEIST,Wilhelm (Willi]; William German 24.I.40-12.VIII.40; circa 50

36. FRANKEL, Theodor; FRANK, Teddy Austrian 3.XI.41-19.I.42

37. FRANKL, Karl; FRANKLIN,Clarence German 18.II.41-27.VII.41; late 40s

38. FRIEDMAN, Arnold Polish 27.VI.42-22.IX.42

39. FRIEDMAN, Mina Barska Polish 27.VI.42-22.IX.42

40. FROELICH, Paul German 5.VII.41-15.IX.41; circa 60

41. GAM, Karel Czech 15.IV.39-10.VII.39; 26

42. GIDRO-FRANK, Lothar Hungarian 1.VII.42-12.VIII.42

43. GREENWOOD, Peter Austrian 23.XII.39-20.II.40; circa 30

44. GUTTMAN, Richard Austrian 28.XI.39-8.II.40; 56

45. HACKE, Ludwig; Louis German 25.I.42-23.VIII.42

46. HACKE, Walter [son] German 26.VI.42-9.IX.42

47. HACKEL, Hedwig; (Omi) [grandmother)] German 19.I42-15.VI.42; 63

48. HACKEL, Nicole [grand-daughter] French 19.I.42-25.V.42; 3

49. HACKEL, Nora [daughter] Russian 19.I.42-6.V.42; 40

50. HANSEN, Richard German 4.III.42-18.V.42; elderly

51. HARTMANN, Ludwig German 20.XII.39-29.I.40; 27

52. HARVEY, Anny (names altered before arrival) Hungarian 3.VII.41-23.IV.42

53. HARVEY, Francis (names altered before arrival) Austrian 3.VII.41-6.IX.41

54. HARVEY, Liselotte [daughter] Austrian 3.VII.41-23.IV.42; 6

55. HAUSEN, Elisabeth (Lisa) German 13.V.41-20.III.42; 29

56. HAUSEN, Erich German 13.V.41-9.II.42; circa 30

57. HESSE, Gertrude German 25.VI.41-3.X.41; mid-30s

58. HIRSCH, Sabine Austrian 1.II.41-6.VI.41; early 50s

59. HOHENADL-PATEK, Klara; Clare Austrian 23.XII.39-14.VI.40

60. HOPF, Donald German 4.VIII.39-14.IX.39; 21

61. JAFFE, Boris Russian 24.I.40-6.IX.40; circa 50

62. JOACHIM, Otto Austrian 23.I.40-15.V.40; early 30s

63. JOLLES, Leo Austrian 20.VII.39-10.II.40

64. JUCHACZ, Marie German 28.I.42-28.IX.42; 62

65. KELLER, Anne-Marie German 10.IV.42-17.IX.42

66. KELLER, Annette [daughter] German 10.IV.42-17.IX.42; 2

67. KELLER, Frank [son] German 10.IV.42-17.IX.42; 12

68. KELLER, Leo Austrian 20.IX.40-4.VI.41

2nd x 25.IX.41-7.X.41

69. KELLER, Robert German 10.IV.42-23.VIII.42

70. KELLNER, Frank Austrian 18.V.40-23.X.40; late 30s

71. KEPES, Elsie Hungarian 21.III.41-16.V.41

72. KOBYLINSKI, Martin German 7.III.41-9.VI.41; circa 50

73. KOESSLER, Thomas Austrian 13.XII.39-25.IV.40; 22

74. KOROPATNICKY, Ljubover; CROY, Louis Austrian 28.I.40-28.IX.40

75. KOVACS, Oskar Austrian 12.III.41-24.IV.41; circa 30

76. KRAUTHAMER, Ellen German 22.V.42-16.I.43

77. KRAUTHAMER, Gunther [son]; George Polish 22.V.42-16.I.43; 16

78. KRAUTHAMER, Michael Polish 22.V.42-13.I.43

79. LADEWIG, Hans Karl German 9.VI.39-12.X.39; 53

80. LADEWIG, Heid German 9.VI.39-12.X.39; circa 50

81. LANDYCHEFF, Eugenia Russian 16.VI.41-24.X.41; circa 60

82. LAURIE, Heinz; LAURY, George German 16.IV.39-10.VII.39; 26

83. LEITER, Edith Austrian 19.VI.40-29.VII.40

84. LEITER, Lothar Austrian 19.VI.40-29.VII.40

85. LEITERSDORFER, Hedy; LAYTON Austrian 30.XII.39-17.VIII.40; 30s

86. LEITERSDORFER, Wilhelm; LAYTON Austrian 30.XII.39-10.VII.40; 40s

87. LENZBERG, Walter German 16.IX.42-13.I.43

88. LEVINSOHN, Ruben Russian 29.I.43-15.II.43

89. LICHTENSTEIN, Edith [daughter] German 30.X.41-14.VIII.42; 11

90. LICHTENSTEIN, Elisabeth German 30.X.41-14.VIII.42; 39

91. LICHTENSTEIN, Julius German 30.X.41-14.VIII.42; 46

92. LICHTENSTEIN, Louis [son] German 30.X.41-14.VIII.42; 9

93. LICHTMAN, Friedrich; LISTER, Fred German 3.V.40-17.IX.40; early 20s

94. LIEBMAN, Karl; LINN German 7.X.39-25.V.40; 49

95. LIEBMAN, Lotte; LINN German 7.X.39-25.V.40; circa 40

96. LUSTIG, Peter German 25.VI.41-28.VI.41; 20

2nd x 25.VII.42-17.VIII.42

97. MALAMERSON, Ernst; van den HAAG German 14.III.41-9.VI.41; mid-20s

2nd x 4.VIII.41-21.IX.41

98. MAUTNER, Egon; MOUTHNER, Joe Austrian 3.VIII.40-29.XI.40

99. MEYER, Guenther German 6.VII.39-4.IV.40; 30s

100. MICHAEL, Walter German 6.VI.40-30.IX.40; mid-20s

101. MUELLER, Jan German 12.VII.41-18.X.41

102. NATHUSIUS, Franz German 27.I.41-20.VII.41; 50

103. NEUDE, Hans; NORTON, Harry Burnett Austrian 1.VIII.41-1.XII.41;circa 60

104. NEUMANN, Julius; NEWMAN Hungarian 20.IV.42-20.IX.42

105. OSTROWSKI, Helmut;WILK German 30.III.40-19.VII.40; 38

106. PEISSEL, Ewald Austrian 13.XII.39-25.IV.40; 28

2nd x 13.VII.40-23.IX.40

107. PETERS, Hans German 27.X.39-23.IV.40; 33

108, POLLACK, Friedrich; Frederick Austrian 20.IX.40-12.V.41

109. POLZER, Karl Austrian 14.IX.42-15.XII.42

110. POPPER, Hans; POTTER, John (“Jack”) Austrian 25.IV.40-11.X.40; 30s

111. POPPER, Viktor Austrian 14.VIII.41-30.1V.42

112. REHAKOVA, Jarmilla Czech 16.I.43-22.III.43

113. ROSEGG, Kurt Austrian 15.IV.39-30.X.39; 30

114. ROSENZWEIG, Grete German 7.IX.40-14.II.41; 45

115. ROSENZWEIG, Irmgard [daughter] German 7.IX.40-14.II.41; 14

116. ROSENZWEIG, Louis German 7.IX.40-14.II.41; 55

117. SALIN, Erwin German 22.III.41-29.IV.41

118. SALINGER, Kurt German 2.VII.39-29.VII.39; 30s

2nd x (?) -17.IV.40

119. SALMAN, Magdelene; SALMON Polish 12.VI.41-25.VIII.41

120. SALMAN, Krystyna[daughter]; SALMON Polish 12.VI.41-25.VIII.41;infant

121. SCHAEFER, Kurt German 15.IV.39-30.IX.39; 34

122. SCHEIDER, Georg; George Czech 3.X.40-13.XII.40; late 30s

123. SCHEIDER, Rosa Mimi; Mary Czech 3.X.40-13.XII.40; late 30s

124. SCHEIDER, Wolfgang [son]; Walter Czech 3.X.40-13.XII.40; 9

125. SCHICK, Peter Austrian 4.III.40-21.IV.40; 18

2nd x 28.VII.40-3.IX.40

126. SCHIFFMAN, Max German 19.VIII.40-6.X.40; 52

2nd x 27.I.41-12.III.41

3rd x 1.IV.41-18.VI.41

127. SCHIFFMAN, Rosa German 19.VIII.40-6.X.40; 50

2nd x 27.I.41-12.III.41

3rd x 23.IV.41-9.VI.41

128. SCHIMETSCHEK, Richard Austrian 18.III.41-18.VI.41; ca. 50

129. SCHIMMERLING, Hans Austrian 18.III.40-3.III.41; 50s

2nd x 1.VI.41-25.VI.41

130. SCHLOSS, Frank Austrian 20.V.39-7.IX.39; 30

131. SCHMID, Josef Austrian 1.I.43-21.II.43

132. SCHMIEDL, Marta; Martha Austrian 17.VII.42-28.X.42

133. SCHNABEL, Karl Austrian 23.VII.40-10.I.41; circa 45

134. SCHOENTHAL, Anne; Anny Austrian 13.X.39-23.VII.40;mid-30s

135. SCHOENTHAL, Heinrich; Henry Austrian 13.X.39-23.VII.40

136. SCHORSCH, Fritz Austrian 13.I.41-3.X.41; late 20s

137. SCHRECK, Rudolf (Rudi) Austrian 23.II.40-14.VI.40; 28

138. SCHROEDER, Hertha German 12.VI.39-4.XI.39; circa 60

139. SCHROEDER, Gerold [son]; G/Jerry German 25.V.39-11.IX.39;early 20s

140. SCHUBER, Angela Austrian 25.XII.39-25.I.41; 40s

141. SCHUBER, Erich [son] Austrian 25.XII.39-25.I.41; 14

142. SCHUBER, Richard Austrian 25.XII.39-6.XII.40; 48

143. SCHUMACHER, Jack French 1.VIII.42-8.IX.42

144. SCHUMACHER, Mariette French 1.VIII.42-1.IX.42

145. SCHUMACHER, Monique [daughter] French 1.VIII.42-1.IX.42; 6

146. SCHWARZ, Paul Austrian 29.XI.39-28.IV.40

147. SELIG, Ernst German 15.IV.40-1.VII.40; circa 50

148. SELIG, Lucia; Lucy German 16.IV.40-7.I.41; late 40s

149. SELIG, Werner [son] German 27.V.40-26.I.41; 11

150. SELIGMANN, Ilse [dau.]; SEAMAN, Elizabeth German 17.IX.41-17.I.42; 7

151. SELIGMANN, Friedl; SEAMAN German 17.IX.41-17.I.42; 45

152. SELIGMANN, Helmut [son]; SEAMAN German 17.IX.41-17.I.42; 12

153. SCHOSTAL, Claude [son] SHOSTAL French 21.VII.42-25.III.43; 2

154. SCHOSTAL, Pierre [son] SHOSTAL French 21.VII.42-25.III.43; 5

155. SCHOSTAL, Magda; SHOSTAL, Theresa Hungarian 21.VII.42-25.III.43; 36

156. SCHOSTAL, Walter SHOSTAL Austrian 21.VII.42-8.XI.42; 34

2nd x 11.XII.42-27.XII.42

3rd x 9.I.43-14.II.43

157. SIEDEL, Peter; SEADLE German 6.VI.40-25.IX.40; 21

158. SINGER, Paul German 15.III.41-16.V.42; late 50s

159. SOLMITZ, Ernst; SOMERS German 5.V.39-14.IX.39; 17

2nd x 30.III.40-

160. SPERLING, Eduard; SPURLING Austrian 17.IX.41-16.X.41

161. TRADELIUS, Guenther German 3.VII.41-24.X.41; circa 50

162. TREUER, Fritz Austrian 15.IV.39-2.VII.39; 44

163. TREUER, Robert Austrian summer 1941; 15

164. TUERKEL, Theodor; Ted Austrian 13.IV.40-8.V.40; mid-20s

165. TURK, Ernst German 1.VIII.42-4.I.43

166. UNTERHOLZER, Kaethe; Catherine German 2.VIII.39-5.X.39; 30s

167. UNTERHOLZER, Lucas; UNDERWOOD German 2.VIII.39-5.X.39; 30s

168. VANDEN BROECK, Alice [daughter] Luxembourger 15.III.41-22.VIII.41; 7

169. VANDEN BROECK, Kaethe Luxembourger 15.III.41-22.VIII.41

170. VANDEN BROECK, Paul [son] Luxembourger 15.III.41-11.VI.41; 18

171. VANDEN BROECK, Sylvain Luxembourger 15.III.41-9.VII.41

172. VEOLIN, Karl; VIOLIN Austrian 20.IV.40-19.I.41; 50s

173. VOLKMAR, Ernst Austrian 4.XI.40-21.IV.41; 40s

174. WEILER, Bertel [daughter] German 26.VIII.40-12.I.41; 5

175. WEILER, Gus German 18.VII.40-18.XI.40; 30s

176. WEILER, Rosl; Rosa German 26.VIII.40-12.I.41;mid-30s

177. WEISS, Margot German 7.VI.41-1.X.41

2nd x 24.XII.41-5.I.42

178. WEISS, Philip Austrian 26.XII.39-8.IV.40

179. WEISZ, Oskar; Oscar Austrian VIII/IX.40- .X.40; 40s

180. WEISZ, Ruth [daughter] Austrian 5.IX.40-30.XII.40; 5

181. WEISZ, Zlata Austrian 5.IX.40-30.XII.40; 40s

182. WELTER, Marianne German IX.41-29.III.42; 34

183. WERTH, Jean; John Austrian 4.VIII.41-I.XII.41

184. WERTH, Kathryn Austrian 4.VIII.41-I.XII.41

185. WINKLER, Jakob Austrian 23.IX.41-7.I.42; circa 60

2nd x 20.VIII.42-3.X.42

186. WINKLER, Melanie Austrian 23.IX.41-7.I.42; circa 60

2nd x 9.IX.42-17.X.42


Staff, 1939-43

(except where noted, all staff were American, Quaker and in their 20s)


#. surname, first; [child]; (assumed name) nationality/relig.; dates of stay; age

1. ANTHONY, Robert IX.40-early X.40

2. BALDERSTON, Martha 31.X.39-IV.43; 55

3. BALDERSTON, Marydel VII.41-20.IX.41

4. BALDERSTON, Walter VII.41-20.IX.41

5. BERQUIST, Robert Presbyterian 30.IX.40-6.XI.41

6. CARTER, Ruth (BURGESS) 1.IV.40-9.VI.40

7. CHARLES, Mary Lane (HIATT) 20.VI.40-VII.40; late 30s

8. CLAMPITT, Amy mid VI.41-21.VIII.41; 21

9. COPITHORNE, John (Saun) Irish 19.IX.41-III.43; 33

10. COPITHORNE, Josephine Canadian 19.IX.41-III.43; 39

10a. COPITHORNE, Susan [baby] (ROBINSON) early X.42-III.43

11. COPPOCK, Ruth (PALMER) 8.VIII.39-2.IX.39

12. CORY, Robert 16.IX.41-25.VII.42

13. CRAVEN, Roger 3.X.42 - (?)

14. DANFORTH, Par 29.XI.41 - (?)

15. DeLINE, Joyce (BALL) Unitarian 23.I.42-X.42

16. DILTS, Adda 1.I.41-21.VIII.41; circa 60

2nd x 20.VII.42-IX.42

17. EDWARDS, Earle 29.IX.39-15.IV.41

18. EDWARDS, Marjorie 29.IX.39-15.IV.41

19. ELLIOTT, Jane summer 1941; early 30s

19a. ELLIOTT, Becky [daughter] summer 1941; 4

20. EMMONS, Ardith 10.VI.39-early VII.39; 35

21. FOREMAN, Betty (HUMMEL) summer 1940

22. GEORGE, Hetta British summer 1940

23. GOODENOW, Leanore 10.VI.39-10.VIII.39; 35

24. HANNUM, Margaret (Peggy) (STEVENS) Episcopalian 26.IX.41-15.VI.42

2nd x (?) - III.43

25. HEMINGWAY, Ada Glee (LEET) (?) - (?)

26. HEWSON, Camilla (FLINTERMAN) V.39-VII.40; 16

27. HOLMES, Mildred (HALE) (?) - VI.40

28. HUGHES, David VI.40 - VII.40; 14

29. JENSEN, Marie (BAKER) 9.VI.39 - (?)

30. JONES, Elinore (CLOE) V.41-7.XI.41; 18

31. KALTENBACH, John 15.IV.39-I.VII.40

32. KING, Gertrude (Trudy) 25.IV.42-18.V.42

33. MARTIN, Albert 23.V.39-17.VII.39; circa 50

34. MARTIN, Ann 5.V.39-17.VII.39; late 40s

34a. MARTIN, Joseph (Joe) [son] 5.V.39 - (?) ; 17

34b. MARTIN, Richard (Dick) [son] 5.V.39 - (?) ; 11

35. McCOY, Margaret 11.VII.39-late summer

36. MILLER, Barbara VII.40- (?)

2nd x (?) - 41

37. PEMBERTON, Beulah (DeHAVEN) late VI.40-IX.40


39. PICKETT, Rachel (STALNECKER) summer 1939

40. RICHARDS, Hilde 3.VIII.42-31.VIII.42

41. SMITH, Esther (MEYERDING) Brethren 20.XI.40-mid XI.41

42. STANDING, Eva (PLAGMAN) 1.VIII.41-21.VIII.41

2nd x 21.VI.42 - (?) ;early 30s

43. STANLEY, Sara duration; 60s

44. STANLEY, Walter duration; 60s

45. THORP, George 31.VIII.42 - (?)

46. WILLOUGHBY, George 1.IX.40-VII.41

47. WILSON, Mildred spring 1939

48. ZIMMERMAN, Giles 23.VII.39-early I.42

49. ZIMMERMAN, Lynn (FRANZEN) Catholic 18.VII.39-early I.4


          CLOSING Scattergood Hostel took place abruptly and with much bitterness. As with its creation, Scattergood’s demise was in response to events in Europe: in the late 1930s, refugee agencies there and in the US could not accommodate even a fraction of those seeking help; by late 1942 AFSC workers in the Northeast scrambled to find even the minimum number of refugees to warrant keeping Friends’ hostels open. In the first week of January 1943, AFSC staff member Mary Middleton Rogers wrote to hostel director Martha Balderston to announce Scattergood’s imminent closing.

          Friends immediately considered alternative uses for the hostel site. One idea was to reopen the hostel as a relocation center for Japanese-Americans, who were forcibly removed from their West Coast homes after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and were still languishing in deserts. As there were many farmers in the camps, Friends thought Iowa an obvious place to resettle Nisei. They did not consider, however, the potential for local opposition.

On the 11th of February 103 persons attended a pubic meeting in West Branch’s crowded high school gym. As soon as Friends outlined their detailed suggestion to use Scattergood Hostel as a placement center for Americans of Japanese descent, two brothers spoke out against the proposal, saying that it would not be acceptable to the community. They claimed “our boys” would not approve of the plan to bring Nisei into the community while they were away fighting “the battle of Liberty”. West Branch’s mayor said that he would be embarrassed if he had to write to his sons—who were in the services—and tell them about the project. After a few questions were posed and answered, three local Quakers spoke briefly in favor of the project. After some rebuttals, the mayor moved that a decision on the project be deferred: the motion passed because no one voted against it; many of those present did not vote at all.

On the 24th of February a second meeting to discuss the matter before the divided community was called again, spontaneously. Given immovable opposition, and despite pleas against doing so, local and Philadelphia Friends decided to close the hostel and chose the 15th of March 1943 as the last day of operation—exactly one month shy of four years after its opening. Regarding their decision not to offer the hostel to the Nisei, the Scattergood staff issued a press release which—not in keeping with Quaker practice—contained thinly veiled barbs for those with whom they so strongly yet quietly disagreed:


Following a conference in Washington… between representatives of the War Relocation Authority and the American Friends Service Committee [it was announced] that for the present plans for using Scattergood as a relocation hostel for persons of Japanese ancestry to assist the W.R.A. in its relocation program would be postponed. Officials of the W.R.A. and the A.F.S.C. expressed regret over this decision but stated that it is the policy to establish relocation hostels only in those communities where cooperation can be readily secured. As a result of this decision the farmers in the West Branch area will not have as accessible a supply of Japanese-American labor as the hostel would have provided.


            THE LEGACIES of Scattergood Hostel’s unique experiment are varied and indelible, philosophical and practical. Of the last category, Scattergood as a hostel created to rehabilitate and integrate refugees offers a replicable model—albeit not an exact one given current realities and needs that differ from those of the world that existed from 1939 to 1943. The working model, however, exists—and with a proven track record that included many successes as well as relatively few failures.

          Only a small number of Americans, and virtually no Europeans, know in detail the events that took place on the Iowa prairie more than half century ago. Still, letters to the staff from their former guests after the announcement of the hostel’s closing in March 1943 illustrate what the refugees saw as Scattergood’s legacy. The communiqués that hostel director Martha Balderston later made public consisted of reactions ranging from disbelief to deep gratitude. A Würzburg Jew, Lucy Selig exhibited shock common to those stricken with great loss:


It seems as if a solid ground were giving way under my feet, as if we would lose something like home for the second time. Scattergood became a part of my life and an important one and I do feel that it became a spiritual and uniting center for all of us. No one whoever lived there close to the cornfields, the white still nights, the beauty of the moonlight, the silence of the meetinghouse—close to the eternity of nature and the love of Quakerism, will ever get rid of this atmosphere. Sometimes I long for one of those moments there that are gone, more than for all [the moments] the days to come hold in their close-shut hands.


Similarly, German-Jewish refugees Alfred and Martha Adler could not


believe that Scattergood has outlived its usefulness. We know too well what Scattergood meant and means for us, what Scattergood gave and gives us. We came to Scattergood nearly broken in health and spirit after the hardship of the last years in Europe. It was at Scattergood where we had the opportunity to recover from the distress we had to go through. We found there friends eager to help us in our difficulties. They showed us American way of life and taught us to speak English. With help and kindness we found ourselves again and became again self-confident.


Paul Schwarz’ sentiments resonated with the Adlers’ image of the diffusion of goodness having been possible through Scattergood Hostel. In his letter, he prophesied that


If this is a farewell letter to the Scattergood Hostel, it is not one to the Scattergood ideal. A spark of these ideals lives in each and every one of us who once lived there. Scattergood has fulfilled its wonderful mission once more and “scattered” those sparks out into the world. The rest is up to us. We shall not fail.


Egon Mauthner, on the other hand, struck a less optimistic chord and regretted that Friends’


wonderful work has now found its end. But I feel with you how satisfying it must have been to have helped so many, many people in their first steps in this country. The Quaker idea will give you more and more work in these times which need so much toleration and mutual understanding. I myself shall never forget what you Friends did for a stranger.


An unnamed individual not only wished to deny Scattergood’s end, but also held that its essential spirit was inextinguishable:


You are right to hate to say farewell, but it is no reason too to say this word—why?—Scattergood isn’t gone, Scattergood isn’t dead; no, Scattergood exists, now as before—Scattergood surrounded by peace and freedom. Scattergood exists as the sun, too; they belong always together and no one can divide them. The spirit of Scattergood exists—the spirit of Scattergood is not a merchandise: you cannot buy it, it cannot be sold, too—but you can have it; if so, then you get it forever.


Instead of subsiding, Rose Eliasberg thought that the need for centers like Scattergood would increase once the Second World War ended:


For all those enslaved, imprisoned or in concentration camps for the time being, many, many centers with the spirit of Scattergood will be a necessity when the peace is won. These refugees, like all those who went through Scattergood, will appreciate the peaceful atmosphere, the cordiality and the good will to remedy and re-adjust those persons who have suffered persecution, starvation and torture. May Scattergood soon be reopened!


Like Eliasberg, Louis Croy meditated on Europe, too, but from a different perspective; he was led to think of what had happened to him in the Old World and the person he had been upon leaving there:


Looking back to my first year in this country I realize the decisive and beneficial role of Scattergood in my new life here. I got shelter and friends in the time of my greatest stress, I learned the ways of this country when I was a complete stranger, and a way for my future was paved which proved successful, in spite of my pessimism in the beginning. But Scattergood did more than this. I escaped the European nightmare with very little confidence in humanity. Scattergood taught me that I was wrong. The generosity and unselfishness of Americans at Scattergood was one of the most valuable experiences I ever had.


The name “Scattergood” evoked different images for the different people whose lives it had touched. Some saw the meetinghouse as a symbol for the community that gathered there. Martin Kobylinski maintained


the symbol of love and humanity, of helpful kindness and friendship, of mutual understanding is this little, simple Meetinghouse, which united all these different people in silence and worship. These meetings have bound us together more than many words. When we left Scattergood we had got a deep love for America thanks to that wonderful work done by the Quakers. We had found friends and had learned what that means: Society of American Friends. So I am happy to say you that my connection with Scattergood and the American Friends is not bound to building and time, but it will last forever.


Newly married, former Sozialdemokrat activist Gertrude Hesse Liepe also spoke of the meetinghouse, but in the form of a wish of well for the staff remaining upon the hostel’s closing:


Your letter distresses us not a little. But we hope another feeling is prevailing, that you and your staff have completed a great task. We are very anxious to know what your further plans will be, personally and for the hostel. There may come back one day new tasks for it; the Meetinghouse, we hope and think, will remain a precious meeting-place, saved by what was done during these years. When your divisions are done you will have a fire in the little stove and you will sit there, not alone. All who ever were there with you will be there—you will feel it.


The overriding image the refugees held of Scattergood, though, was—as Frankfurt Jews Karl and Lotte Liebmann described it—as having been


our home, the place you could go to for a rest, maybe the only place where you would be always welcome and where there would be always somebody who would have understanding for your troubles, difficulties and grief. I wish this feeling can remain until the day when Scattergood starts again to be a refuge for people who will need a place from which they can start all over.


Calling it “a monument a friendship in many many hearts”, Rudolf Schreck characterized Scattergood perhaps the most poetically, saying


Scattergood has given so much to everyone of us who went there to find a place of security in a strange, bewildering new world—as America was to many of us—a place of human understanding, help, advice. A place of peace in a world of war, a haven amidst a world of hatred.



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