Marie Jahoda-Lazarsfeld: The influence of unemployment on children and young people in Austria

In: Children, Young People and Unemployment. A series of enquiries into the effects of unemployment on children and young people. Part II. Geneva: The Save the Children International Union 1933, S. 115-135.

Die Veröffentlichung auf dieser Website erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Lotte Bailyn, Belmont (Massachusetts).

S. 115

AUSTRIA.

The Influence of Unemployment on Children and Young People in Austria

by Dr. Marie JAHODA-LAZARSFELD



I. Introduction and Statistical Data.


Whereas the entire international literature on unemployment has until recently concerned itself solely with the economic and statistical sides of the problem, our present aim is to set forth more particularly the effects of unemployment as a social-psychological problem. In Austria there already exists a quantity of material on this subject, in the way of newspaper articles, interviews, impressions and opinions, but very little trustworthy data. Official circles, as may be readily understood, have deemed a study of the problem from this angle superfluous, and concentrated all efforts on relief measures, rather than on research. Individual studies conducted in Austria, mainly by doctors and psychologists(1), have shown, however, that such research work may also be a useful contribution towards practical welfare work among unemployed young people. This research does not, of course, view the entire field of unemployment as affecting Austrian youth either directly or indirectly. It deals, nevertheless, with such diverse and characteristic groups that general conclusions are apparently justified.
We define as directly affected by unemployment those young people who are actually without work, that is to say, who have left school or served their apprenticeship, and have found no position. Their number is estimated at 30,000. The economic situation of the Austrian apprentice market is extremely poor. The depression has brought about a reduction in the number of apprenticeships available; the situations offered are less favourable; owing to the great supply of would-be apprentices, the masters are able to be more exacting and make conditions more stringent. Many young people make no attempt to obtain an

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apprenticeship, because they and their parents are convinced that no work will be available once the handicraft has been learnt. Many are obliged to bring their apprenticeship to an untimely close because their masters are ruined. An enquiry showed that a third of the young people had to break off their period of apprenticeship prematurely. One of these youngsters remained only three months in the workshop, »because it went brankrupt [!]«. Another was dismissed, »because there was very little to do«. A third reported: »After six months he closed down because business was too bad«. And so on and so forth.
The possibilities for factory or unskilled labour are no better. We define as indirectly hit by unemployment those children and young people materially dependent on unemployed adults. One can only attempt a very vague estimate of their number.
In February 1933, there were in Austria 478,000 unemployed (drawing the dole or on poor relief). If we cautiously assume that only one-half of these have to care for a child (the average number of children per family in Austria is naturally higher than one - but it may happen that a family with one adult unemployed may have another member working), we arrive at a figure of something like 230,000 children and young persons indirectly affected by unemployment. The sum total of children and young persons directly and indirectly hit may therefore well be in the neighbourhood of a quarter of a million. This figure appears by no means exaggerated, viewed economically, if we take into account that many children belonging to workers only partially employed should also be included.
In order the better to survey the problem we shall separate the physical from the moral effects, although we are well aware that they constantly overlap.
Children and young persons are dealt with separately in each case.

II. Physical Effects of Unemployment.
There is no question but that the worsening of the economic situation in the long run goes hand in hand with deterioration in the state of health. The change of diet, the diminished possibilities of personal hygiene more than sufficiently explain this fact.
The following table, giving the results of an enquiry undertaken at Marienthal,1 shows that the state of health of the children stands in direct relation to the economic situation of the family. The children were classified according to the usual system in Austria; »Class I« denotes good general condition; »Class II« is less satisfactory; and »Class III« is definitely bad.

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The following situation was revealed:
Children in Class I. - 38.4% of the fathers in employment
" " " II. - 9.4% " " " " "
" " " III, - 0 % " " " " "

Although it may be assumed that the full effects of the economic crisis on the health of children will only be felt later on, there already exists, as the table shows, a close relation between the bad general condition of the children and paternal unemployment.

A. General Conditions.
Of the children (under fourteen years) examined at Marienthal:
16% were in Class I, 51% were in Class II, 33% were in Class III.
Even more striking are the reports of Dr Paul Stein concerning the state of health of children in the industrial districts of Lower Austria[1], where the majority of the population is unemployed. Seventy-five per cent of the children were found to be in a bad general condition. The study concerns all children up to fourteen years of age. We quote from the report: With regard to rickets, symptoms were frequently noticed in several places, e.g. Günselsdorf-Schönau2 among 54.3% of the children, many or whom were obviously suffering from serious rickety conditions. In other places, rickets are less frequently found, but exist nevertheless everywhere, and doubtless depend for their extension on the factors of nourishment and care, as much as upon protracted unemployment. Tuberculosis is certainly on the increase... A closer examination of the children would doubtless reveal much higher figures. Nevertheless, in Wilhelmsburg3 for instance 8.4% of the cases showed symptoms of tubercular processes, and in 15.4% cases lymphoma was diagnosed. In Trumau,4 7.2% of the children were either actually consumptive or showed very suspicious symptoms; while 6.2% of the children suffered from lymphoma. The large number of glandular swellings of the throat and of cases of adenopathy is striking.
Dirt diseases are most prevalent in thoses places where emergency dwellings are still being occupied. Impetigo pediculosis was frequently found in Mitterndorf.5 In Schrems6 and

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surrounding district, impetigo pediculosis and scabies were noticed, neglected eczema in 7% of the cases, lice in as many as 15.1%. Orthopaedic defects, which remain completely unattended to, were frequently found... Resistance to infectious children’s diseases is weakening... This was particularly noticeable in one place, where an epidemic of measles was dying out. Several weeks after their recovery, many children had not regained the weight they had before falling ill. For example, the weight of a nine-year old boy had dropped from 22 kg. to 16 kg., and in the course of several weeks he had not been able to make up, even partially, for this loss of weight. In Donawitz,7 one of the largest industrial centres of Austria, the school doctor, after examining 560 children, drew the following picture of the general state of health: Diminished physical capacity for work and lowered stamina, rapid fatigue and perspiration, lessened resistance to chills and infectious diseases, increase of chronic catarrh of the respiratory system, slower healing in tubercular processes, more rapid dental caries. Most of the children are seriously anaemic; there is an increase of nervous troubles previously seIdom observed (fits of all kinds, insomnia), absent-mindedness, lack of concentration, lessened capacity for learning, frequent headaches, increased disorders of the digestive organs (on account of the diet), frequent nausea during school. This picture is corroborated by numerous reports and observations in other Austrian districts.

B. Loss of Weight.
This most easily measurable change in the state of health was in several cases closely examined. Everywhere a considerable deficiency in weight was observed among the children of unemployed parents.
We quote herewith from an investigation undertaken in Vienna by Gottlieb and Stransky[1]: The general condition of infant health led us to investigate how far the economic situation affected the weight of children from the completed first to the completed sixth year.
Growth was not taken into consideration, for experience has shown that insufficient nourishment affects chiefly the increase of weight and not the growth in height.
The data were collected in two welfare centres, one situated in an industrial suburb, the other in a more central part of the city, where many civil servants and commercial employees also live.

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Altogether the investigation dealt with 401 boys and 408 girls:
Unemployed Employed Foster- Parents Parents Parents
Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls
Total

235

230

133

135

33

43

Over normal weight

91

88

89

97

17

21

Under normal weight

138

130

43

38

16

20

Normal weight

6

12

1

-

-

2


Second year

53

46

59

51

3

5

Over normal weight

16

17

37

37

2

2

Under normal weight

34

28

21

14

1

2

Normal weight

3

1

1

-

-

1


Third Year

53

48

28

39

5

11

Over normal weight

23

9

22

27

1

3

Under normal weight

30

37

6

12

4

7

Normal weight

-

2

-

-

-

1


Fourth Year

39

55

23

23

9

7

Over normal weight

15

18

14

14

4

4

Under normal weight

22

34

9

9

5

3

Normal weight

2

3

-

-

-

-


Fifth Year

45

41

17

14

9

8

Over normal weight

17

23

12

12

5

3

Under normal weight

27

16

5

2

4

5

Normal weight

1

2

-

-

-

-


Sixth Year

45

40

6

8

7

12

Over normal weight

20

21

4

7

5

9

Under normal weight

25

15

2

1

2

3

Normal weight

-

4

-

-

-

-


Three groups of children were distinguished: 1. Children of unemployed parents. This group comprised children whose parents had been out of work at least one year. 2. Children of parents in employment. This group includes children of labourers, as well as of independent workers. 3. Municipal foster-children. These children are placed with foster-parents at the expense of the City of Vienna. Most of them come from the most unfortunate home surroundings. The length of the stay with the foster-parents was not taken into consideration.
From the table it will be seen that the children of unemployed parents are much more frequently below normal weight: than above. Among the children of employed parents, on the other hand, those over normal weight are more than twice as numerous as those under weight. Among the foster-children, whose number is, it is true, comparatively small, those over and those under normal weight are about equal.

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Taking the ages separately, the remarkable fact is revealed that the number of children under normal weight of unemployed parents is particularly high in the second, third and fourth years. In the fifth and sixth years the difference is not so striking.
The large number of children of unemployed parents under normal weight in their second, third and fourth years accounted for by the fact that younger children need special care and attention.
The average weight of children of the employed, both boys and girls, is noticeably higher than that of children of the unemployed.
In Vienna, therefore, as this study shows, 57% of the children of the unemployed are under normal weight. The situation in the provinces, according to the report made by Stein, is still worse. Here are his figures:
Place Percentage of children under normal weight
Wilhelmsburg

83

Schrems and surrounding district

76.5

Marienthal Grammat-Neusiedel8

76.2

Götzendorf9

71.8

Günselsdorf-Schönau

71.1

Trumau

69.7

Mitterndorf-on-the-Fischa10

60.9


In all these places children were found whose weight was considerably below normal. A deficiency of 7 and 8 kg. (15-18 lbs.) was quite frequently observed. In Trumau, the average deficiency per child under normal weight was 2.87 kg. (6 lbs.). Distributed over all the children examined, the average weight deficit worked out at 1,5 kg. (3¼ lbs.) per child. In Marienthal-Grammat-Neusiedel the average weight deficit was 2.73 kg. (2.1 kg. when calculated on the total number of children). In Mitterndorf-on-the-Fischa the corresponding figures are 2.18 kg. and 1.18 kg.

C. Dental Troubles.
Dental troubles are a particularly serious item in the bill of health of the children of the unemployed. In this case, in addition to the problem of food, the absolute impossibility of having the children’s teeth attended to Is decisive.
The unemployed cease to be members of sickness insurance, funds, and private treatment is quite beyond their reach. In this connection, the situation in Vienna is far more favourable than in the provinces, for the municipal authorities have for many years provided free dental treatment for school children.

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Dental examination or the children at Marienthal gave the following results:
Out or a hundred Marienthal children, 8 had sound teeth, 63 had one to three teeth decayed, and 29 had more than three decayed teeth.
As a curiosity we may quote the fact that careful enquiry into the household possessions or three Marienthaler families did not reveal the existence or a single tooth-brush.
Stein’s report on the industrial villages or Lower Austria gives similar results:
In Mitterndorf, half the children had an imperfect set of teeth; the other half or the child population were round to have mostly decayed teeth. In Trumau, the doctors noted »bad teeth« for 53% of the children. In Wilhelmsburg, 57.7% of the children suffered from extensive caries. There is no doubt that under-nourishment, rickets, and the practical impossibility for anybody to pay for dental treatment are the causes of this state of affairs.
To sum up, it may be said that parental unemployment has everywhere a directly deteriorating effect on the state of health of the children. The general health standard is lowered; resistance to disease is lessened; rickets, tuberculosis and dirt diseases appear to be on the increase. The majority of the children show a considerable deficiency in weight. Dental troubles are distressingly frequent.
The state or health or unemployed young persons has, unfortunately, nowhere been systematically examined. However, the diagnosis of individual cases leads one to presume that it has not changed to the same extent as that of the children. All the available data tend to prove that the physical menace is particularly serious in the early years of childhood.

D. Food.
The causes of the poor state or health among the children of the unemployed are to be sought, above all, in the rood, which is inferior in quality and insufficient in quantity. A secondary cause is. apparently, irregular feeding, which has been occasionally noticed.
The kind or nourishment can better be shown by the household budget of an average Marienthal family than by any description. We take the period between two payments of the dole. At the beginning of the fortnightly period, all food right down to the last morsel had been consumed, and only a little fat, half a pound of salt and a few pounds of coal remained; purchases and consumption coincided therefore almost perfectly.

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The budget concerns a family of two adults and five children under fourteen years of age. The family draws a fortnightly allowance of forty-nine Austrian shillings.

Austrian sch.

kg

Flour

3.58

kg Rice

.80

12


Loaves

8.00

20


Rolls

1.40

28

litres

Milk

10.64

3

kg

Lard

7.20

50

gr. Oil

.18

300

gr. Beef and bones (make-weight)

.95

Beer bones

.30

kg

Sugar

1.78

1

packet Saccharine

.30

6


Eggs

.72

2

kg

Vegetables (sauerkraut, greens and spinach)

1.56

8

kg Potatoes 1.44

kg

Pulses (beans, lentils)

1.74

1

kg

Salt

.70

1

litre

Vinegar

.30

Pepper

.10

½

kg

Malt coffee

.48

½

kg Fig coffee

.48


Cocoa

.20

45


Cigarettes

.45


Soda and soap

.45

50

kg Coal

4.00


Total

49.00


N.B. - 1 kg. (kilogramm) = 1.000 gr. (grammes); 1 lb. English = 453 grammes; therefore 1 kg. = roughly 21/10 lbs. - 1 litre = 1¾ pints.)
Particularly striking is the large consumption of flour and bread, and the low vitamin content of the food. This sufficiently explains the reports of the doctors concerning the state of health of the children.
The school doctor at Donawitz reports on the kind of food the pupils receive:
Monotonous diet of farinaceous foods; no vegetables, fruit or other raw foods (particularly butter) during many winter months; little or no milk; no meat; very little fat. Not only is the quality of food inferior, but it is in many cases, and for obvious reasons, irregularly given. Towards the close of the fortnight, before the payment of the dole, resources are exceedingly slender; even necessaries cannot be purchased.
The school welfare worker at Donawitz reports:
It may happen that for some time families can allow themselves only one proper meal a day; longer sleep must take the place of breakfast and supper. In some cases children have been kept from school on this account.

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When money is a little more plentiful, an attempt is made to compensate for this insufficient food by a sudden improvement which, naturally, towards the end or the first week is again drastically cut down. These changes are or course most unfortunate for the children. A teacher in a Marienthal school class kept a record or the lunches the pupils brought with them in view or the four-hour’s schooling on the day before and the day after the payment of the dole.

Day before

Day after

Nothing, or dry bread

19 children

2 children

Proper lunch

19 "      

36 "     


In practically half the cases, therefore, the lunch deteriorates towards the end of the fortnightly period, and only the day after the payment is it again normal. We may certainly assume that this change is likewise apparent in the chief daily meal. Here is a particularly striking case: a twelve-year old boy, the day before the payment of the dole, had not even a mouthful or bread; the next day he brought with him a sausage sandwich, two doughnuts and a bar of chocolate.

E. Clothing.
Prolonged unemployment during several years prevents the renewal or clothing and thus not only involves a risk to health, but has also a moral effect which, in the case or children and young people, is of a particularly distressing nature. In very few cases is health actually endangered through insufficient clothing. On the other hand, pupils are often kept away from school owing to lack or proper clothes. Torn and constantly mended clothing that never fits induces a reeling of shame, and is enough to create visible groups of »declasses« who avoid the others or are ostracised by them.
The school doctor at Donawitz reports:
The pupils’ clothes and particularly their boots are in a bad state and bear no relation to their height, nor to the season of the year, as they are usually gifts. We often note three or four torn under-garments worn one over the other. Linen is very rarely changed.
As an example how this state of things affects children as well as adults we quote the statement made by a mother at Marienthal that she could not send her seven-year old boy to school for a week because he had no shoes. A school teacher in the same place cited a twelve-year old secondary school pupil who had a single pair or

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shoes - or rather »a few bits of leather sewn together and hanging on his feet. Snow or rain prevented him from going out. In his free time his father locked him in to prevent further wear and tear of these miserable remnants by running about.« It is significant that the only new educational problem raised by parents in Marienthal is how to keep growing boys from playing football, and thus entirely ruining their boots and clothes.
Although the children must of course submit to the clothes policy of their parents, the older pupils, for whom this question has a far greater moral significance, try to some extent to avoid a neglected appearance. Of course, they cannot do this by finding new clothes, but at Marienthal, for instance, it has been noticed that unemployed youths give an extraordinary amount of attention to their hair. As visits to the barber have become a luxury quite beyond their means, they devote a few hours at regular intervals to »making themselves mutually handsome«. These are, however, only exceptional instances. The rule seems to be that extreme neglect in outward appearance produces no energetic reaction, but corresponding moral apathy.
The school welfare worker at Donawitz reports:
While some, much to their credit, go to considerable trouble to keep themselves and their homes clean and tidy, others betray their hopelessness by neglecting their persons and homes and going about in dirty rags. Many families, however, are obviously unable to buy the simplest articles, like sewing material and soap, let alone to replace worn out bed-clothes. In the worst cases there are no sheets; people sleep on straw mattresses, with a filthy old blanket, or torn clothes thrown over them... What wonder that the unemployed envy those who have a job, and that this frame of mind is increasingly noticeable among the children... Through constant contact with their elders, they become acquainted with parental weaknesses and deficiencies and lose every sort of respect; this is evidenced by disobedient behaviour, cheekiness, rude manners and undue demands, especially with regard to food.

III. Effects on the Morale.
The above remarks and examples of the inadequacy of clothing have led us from the physical effects of unemployment to the more psychological effects. By this we understand chiefly the state of mind engendered by unemployment and the attitude taken towards it.
While it is relatively simple to describe physical effects, it is a far more difficult task to define a moral attitude in plain terms.

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In order to simplify this task, we shall first set down the dominant attitudes of the adults, as evidenced in the Marienthal enquiry. It will then remain to be seen in which of these groups the majority of the children and young people should he classified.

A. Types of Attitude.
The Marienthal enquiry distinguishes four types: the spiritually unbroken, the resigned, the despairing and the apathetic. Our criteria for these categories, which are characteristic for families and not for individuals, are briefly as follows:
A family was defined as spiritually unbroken when the following were noticed: household properly looked after; persistence of certain material and cultural needs and endeavours to satisfy them; children properly cared for; personal equilibrium; plans and hopes for the future; general vitality; constant attempts made to find work.
The criteria for a resigned attitude were: an ordered household; care of the children; no plans; no interest in the future; no hope; maximum reduction of all needs not exclusively concerned with housekeeping; in many cases plenty of vitality.
The criteria for the third category, the despairing attitude, were: despair, depression, hopelessness; the feeling of the uselessness of all exertion, and therefore no attempt to look for work; no attempt to improve conditions; frequent comparison with better days in the past.
The fourth condition, the apathetic, is marked by the following signs: slack and aimless existence; home and children dirty and uncared for; the attitude is not despairing, but indolent. Hope there is none, nor plans, but much family quarrelling, begging and stealing.
These four categories were represented at Marienthal in the following proportions:
Unbroken

16

per

cent

Resigned

48

"  

Despairing

11

"  

Apathetic

25

"  


As the Marienthal enquiry has abundantly shown, resignation may be regarded as the characteristic attitude among the unemployed.
Now comes the question: in which of these groups shall we find the majority of the youthful population? General principles and experimental research in the field of the psychology

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of juvenile development lead us to expect the children to be in the group of the spiritually unbroken. A distribution graph ought to show a strong tendency towards the positive side. As regards young people, however, we should, according to the findings of modern psychology (e.g. those set forth in Charlotte Bühler’s book, Human Life as a Psychological Problem11) expect an extremist attitude - a displacement of the distribution graph towards the negative side, i.e. despair or abandonment, comparable to the family attitude of the apathetic group).
A survey of all the data relating to the question of the influence of unemployment on children and young persons reveals, however, the following surprising fact: Under the influence of unemployment the differences in age appear to be blurred; children and young persons react in the same way as adults; the predominating attitude is Resignation.
Resignation at this early age signifies a far greater change in character than it does in later years; it is in some sort a break in the general line of development, or at least a deviation about which it is impossible to say today whether, given more favourable circumstances, it could be brought back to the normal line as defined by the psychology of adolescence, since our experience on this point is insufficient.
In other words, unemployment affects old and young alike; children and young people fall into a state of resignation unfitting to their age. Of course, this is merely a statistical indication, that is to say, there are naturally other types of attitude to be found among children and young people, but the attitude of resignation is the commonest.
This anticipated conclusion must now be supported by facts.

B. Psychological Effects.
The resignation of the children of unemployed parents, a state which is perhaps more remarkable than the corresponding state in young persons, is strikingly portrayed in the data from Marienthal.
The children of the unemployed at Marienthal frequent a school in the neighbourhood, where they are in contact with children of employed parents. Shortly before Christmas essays were written on the theme: »What I should like for Christmas«. The wishes expressed were then valued according to a uniform scale, drawn up by experts on the basis of current prices. The average cost per head was as follows: children from Marienthal, 12 (Austrian) shillings; children from the surrounding district, 36 shillings.

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Obviously the resignation has crept even into the child’s desires. And even these modest desires are not voiced with confidence. A peculiarity of many of these essays is that they are written in the conditional mood. They generally begin with an introductory sentence such as: »If my parents were not out of work...«
An eleven-year old high school scholar writes: «[!] lf my parents had money, I should have liked a violin, a suit, paints and brushes, a book, skates and a coat. I have got a winter overcoat”.
A girl of the same age writes: »I should have asked Father Christmas for many things, if my parents had work. But I got nothing, only a pair of spectacles. I wanted an atlas and a set of compasses«.
A nine-year old elementary scholar writes: »I should have liked a picture album, but I got nothing because my parents are out of work«.
Children who had not fallen into this state of resignation before Christmas did so afterwards, for in the main Christmas brings disappointment to the Marienthal child instead of joy and surprise. The disparity between the wish and the actual gift is proof of this. Out of 100 children:
At Marienthal In the neighbourhood

11

48

Received more than they had wished for;

20

44

Just what they had wished for;

69

38

Less than they had wished for.

100

100

-

Considerably more than half the non-Marienthal children had their wishes at least fulfilled; a little more than a third received less than they expected. At Marienthal, out of 100 children 69 did not get their wishes fulfilled. The difference between desire and fulfilment is therefore greater in the case of the children at Marienthal than of those in the neighbouring district, although in addition the level of these three classes of Christmas wishes is already far lower than that of the other children.
An illustration of how deeply the premature knowledge of want has paralysed the imagination of the young is taken from an essay on «[!] What I want to be”. A twelve-year old boy writes: »I want to be an aviator, a captain of a submarine, an Indian chief, and an engineer. But I am afraid that it will be very difficult to find a good job«.
Thus the first sign of the resignation of the child has been found in its diminished desires and imaginative activity; both are easily explained by the many little disappointments of daily life.

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In addition to this personal resignation of the child, we find the influence of the resignation of the adults. In other words, the child escapes from the home atmosphere only in very rare cases, and hence reflects faithfully the mood of its elders. This appears vividly in the report of a school headmistress in Donawitz.
The teaching staff feel the depression most particularly in that the parents no longer trouble about the progress of their girls at school as they did formerly. The general point of view is that it does not really matter whether the child comes home with a good report, because she will not get a job anyhow. The main thing is that she gets something to eat; success at school is a secondary consideration. The children hear this opinion frequently expressed at home; the result is that they lose all desire to continue their studies, and as soon as the age limit is reached leave half-way through the year, whereas formerly great value was placed on the school year being properly ended.
We also suffer greatly from the lack of proper school materials. The local authorities are unable to provide the requisite articles, and the school work suffers accordingly.
Under such circumstances and with such an attitude, interest in the work is naturally not over-keen, and in fact the level of attainment is sinking. The Donawitz schools also report to this effect. But, unfortunately, there are in Austria no accurate data concerning any change in the school marks of children of unemployed parents.
The attitude of the adolescent also spells resignation, and is neither extremist nor lawless. Journalists have indulged in hasty conclusions, based on a few outstanding cases of moral abandonment, thus leaving the impression on the public mind that unemployed youth has adopted radical methods and ways of living. This does not agree with facts - we are almost tempted to add, unfortunately. For it seems to us that if the influence of unemployment appeared directly in some anti-social or other concrete form that could be dealt with and clearly identified, it would surely be easier to combat. The problem of the Berlin gangs, for instance, is occupying the attention of welfare workers, educators and legislators. The surreptitious effects of unemployment, the resignation that has laid hold on the majority of the young, are far more dangerous, for nobody regards them as a problem. No measures are taken to deal with them. The mood of resignation can eat its way into the moral structure of youth without any protest being raised.
How far the life of the younger generation has already been affected by this precocious spirit of resignation may be gathered from the following examples.

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Under normal economic conditions the problem of highest importance to the youngster of fourteen to twenty-one is the question of his occupation. He wants to learn and to get on. All teachers, vocational guidance experts and welfare workers know the deep contempt with which most young people regard unskilled or factory work, and their ardent desire to specialise. All this is now changed. Young people are either not apprenticed, or live in daily fear of their apprenticeship coming to an end; once the term is up it is almost hopeless to expect that they will ever find a job in the trade they have learned. The study by Gan, quoted above, contains striking evidence in support of this:
The great majority of the young persons whom we examined declared themselves ready to undertake any sort of work. ‘I would do anything, no matter what... I take whatever I can get. One cannot be particular...’ - We have elsewhere noted that skilled work acts as a stepping-stone towards improvement in social status. As however, unemployment militates against improvement in status, skilled labour loses this significance... Learning is therefore looked upon as useless waste of time. One witness says: »Nowadays, one doesn’t need school«. Another: »I see now that all my apprenticeship was useless. Pity I wasted three years over it.« A third is glad that he was not apprenticed: »When I left school I stayed at home. Good thing, too, for if I had learned a trade I should now still be at home (i.e. unemployed).«
The few who are lucky enough to find an apprenticeship are of course unable to invoke the laws passed for their protection. There is no doubt that the quality of the apprenticeships has steadily deteriorated during the depression. Nevertheless, it is significant that the number of complaints handed in to the Bureau for the Protection of Apprentices12 grows smaller instead of larger. In 1930, 5858 complaints were received; in 1931, 5008 only, while the number of registered apprentices was approximately the same.
The general aimlessness among the young is also a clear proof of their state of resignation. At a prize essay competition for the Marienthaler youths on the subject: »My future«, not one of the unemployed youngsters produced any concrete individual plan. They indulged in general comment on the world situation, whereas the few apprentices among them were alone able to treat the subject properly.
The Marienthal report adds that it was very difficult to gather data with regard to the young people, the reason being that, since they have been out of work they keep away from all social arrangements. Nor are the youth sections of the political parties especially active or radical, as might perhaps be expected. On the

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contrary, the number of the members is gradually dwindling - another undoubted sign of their resigned frame of mind.
Particularly noticeable is the fact that this resignation has gone so deep that even the young people’s memories of the past life are drab-coloured. In support of this view Gan quotes a few answers to the question as to happy experiences remembered ill the past.
One youth answered: »None. Life so far has been no good to me, because everything is beastly when you are out of work«. - »The fine things in life? To this day I don’t know what they are. Nix: always the same«. - »Up to the present, none.« - »Never had any; nor at school either.« - At best they cite their earliest experiences in childhood, as the happiest things in life - an attitude which is quite abnormal in the young. - »Memories of childhood are always beautiful; one was free then, and had no cares«.(1)
It has often been asked, in connection with the problem of unemployed youth, whether this leisure time could not be usefully employed in furthering their general education. An affirmative answer seems to us to leave entirely out of account the fact of their resignation. An apathetic mind cannot apply itself to purposeless studies. Only those whose faith in life remains whole can do so. As a matter of fact, the way the young unemployed fill in their time is perhaps the most significant, and the most easily apprehended, expression of their resignation. In the great majority of cases they do absolutely nothing.
The following characteristic cases are quoted from Gan’s report:
One youngster says: »One stays in bed longer in the morning, till half-past eight or nine; when you are out of work you get much lazier«. - Another tries to kill time with cards: »Playing cards, or watching others play passes the time.« - A third plays chess: »Anything to kill time and forget your cares.« - Another goes to the young men’s club: »I spend the days at the club; there is at least a little distraction.« - Another is impelled to get out of the house: »For I never know what to do at home, and when I go out the times passes quicker.« (2)
Gan’s study indicates, rightly, that this mood diminishes the interest in the junior sections of political organisations, as we have already seen in Marienthal.
A young fellow speaks of the work in his organisation: »Since I have been out of work I take no more pleasure in it.

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It doesn’t interest me any more. I have given up everything - lost interest in anything at all.«
The rules of psychological development, stated above, might rather have led us to expect negative reactions. But no such reactions have been reported. During the last two winters the leaders of the »Youth in Need«13 movement have opened over forty clubs in Vienna; they stress the fact that discipline has not been more difficult to maintain than is usually the case. In none of the clubs was any damage done to the house or furniture, as was generally expected when the movement was begun.
As to the influence of unemployment on the sex life of youth, very little data are available. It might have been presumed that failing the satisfaction of many other needs a readily available substitute would be sought in this domain. Evidence to the contrary is furnished by the school welfare worker at Donawitz:
In spite of the greater freedom in morals, we are nevertheless happy to say that actual prostitution is almost nonexistent. This new freedom finds its expression rather in earlier unions and precocious maternity (the two outstanding cases at the age of fifteen, the others from seventeen upwards).
Contrary indications are furnished by Gan, who cites a few instances showing that youthful indifference bas also affected relations to the opposite sex. The different conclusions arrived at may be partly explained by the difference of milieu - urban in one case and rural in the other; partly, also, by the fact that Gan’s study deals not only with purely sexual aspects but also with social relations to the opposite sex.
The following are the relevant passages from Gan’s report: The influence on the relation to the opposite sex is extremely clear. Unemployment acts as an obstacle, an inhibition - differently affecting young men and young women.
With male youth, the possession of money plays an important part. It is unlikely, however, that money in itself is really invested with such great importance; it is much more probable that the social effects of unemployment are the real point. As we have seen, young men consider starting in an occupation a matter of the highest social importance. To »have no money« expresses the fear that unemployment will make them lose their social standing. The obvious expression for this anxiety is: »I have no money«, and so, the young men constantly repeat: »I have none (sweetheart) as yet, because I have no money.« - »Not enough money left over to take a girl out every Sunday«. - »When you have no money, you can’t invite a girl out, and to let her pay for you is rotten«. - »So long as I have no work, I don’t want a girl. A girl wants a good time more than a fellow.« - Another has girl friends, but »only temporary - until one has

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had enough.« - He considers that proper friendship depends on a steady job: »I’ll get a permanent girl only when I have some permanent work.«
Girls regard the problem from another angle. Their own unemployment is of no account whatever. Not one of the girls ever answered: »I have no friend because I have no money.« The only condition they make is that the young man shall have a secure position, or as they express it, that he should be »respectable«. One girl said: »He must be a better sort... he must be working.« At bottom, girls always consider friendship in terms of ultimate marriage... It is no wonder, therefore, that their choice of friends should be influenced by whether they are employed or not. If they are not, the matter is settled. »One can always have plenty of friends, but not the right kind. In these difficult times it s impossible; it’s the same everywhere: you can’t get anyone decent and that sort of thing (uncertainty) is not worth while.«
The girls, of course, are supported in this point of view by their parents. Thus one youth complains:
»Her mother is against our keeping company, tells her to get somebody else who is in work.« - Another youngster’s friendship, that had already lasted nine months, was ruined on this account: »Her mother wouldn’t have it because I lost my job.« - This appears fully to justify the standpoint of the young men: »A permanent girl only when we get permanent work.«
Finally, the Reports(1) of the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs and the Vienna Police on the influence of unemployment on children and young persons seem to indicate the absence of the negative reactions that might have been expected. The Reports merely allude to the lack of these reactions. The surreptitious effects of unemployment lie outside their province. These appear, nevertheless, to be sufficiently emphasised in the examples quoted from the special studies.
The Report of the Ministry of Social Affairs says:
The Ministry has for some time past endeavoured to ascertain whether the continued economic depression is not having adverse effects on our youth, and whether such effects are already apparent. The information collected indicates in general that conspicuous effects of economic restrictions... have so far not been observed.
The Report of the Vienna Police states:
With regard to the influence of unemployment on juvenile delinquency, this has not so far been abnormal. Unemployed domestic servants are exposed to the dangers of the streets, especially in the big cities, but, with a few exceptions, it cannot be said that they become criminals... According to figures given by the Juvenile Court Auxiliary Service in

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Vienna, out of a total of 1252 juvenile delinquents dealt with in the year 1931,389 were unemployed.
From all these facts, we feel justified in concluding that marked anti-social reactions among unemployed youth are still very rare. True we have noticed a retrograde tendency; the Donawitz report alludes to the danger of lawlessness, growing insolence towards parents, increased quarrelling in the family. And yet delinquency, lawlessness and gangsterism are still the exception.
It should once more be emphasised that this result must not be wrongly interpreted in an optimistic sense; the unobtrusive, surreptitious effects seem to us in some respects far more dangerous than any excesses.

C. Remedial Measures and their Result.
As antidotes to the evil of unemployment among youth two great movements have been started in Austria; these we should like briefly to touch upon, because they furnish further data for the problem with which we are dealing. We refer to the two movements: »Youth in Need« and »Youth at Work«14 (Jugend in Not, and Jugend am Werk).
»Youth in Need«, a non-party institution, was founded with the idea of opening clubs for the purpose of protecting young people from the dangers of the street. During the first year, forty-two such clubs were maintained, in the second fifty-nine, with the object of providing meals and mental stimulus. They were attended by a daily average of 5000 young people. In 1930, the total attendance was 561,759. There were separate clubs for boys and girls. While the boys’ clubs were very much frequented, attendance at the girls’ clubs was far below expectation.
An analysis of 2029 visitors to the club showed that among the youths the older ones predominated, among the girls the younger ones, as shown in the following table:
Age Boys Girls
14

35

23

15

35

27

16

56

28

17

160

22

18

347

19

19

402

16

20

353

12

21

479

15


1867

162


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All the clubs offered lectures and courses, etc. which attracted much fewer visitors than the days on which there was no programme. The preferences of the unemployed young people, which differ to no great extent from those of the employed, are shown in the following table, giving the average attendance:
Subject

Average Attendance

Amateur film and lantern slides

82

Technical subjects and natural history

74

Sports, hiking, travel

73

Social and political economy

72

General educational subjects

70

Gramophone and wireless

69

Readings

67

Chess course

50

Excursions

33

Esperanto

32


This movement was clearly of great economic importance for youth, but was of course unable to influence their moral attitude, since the steps taken were in the nature of welfare work and did not alter living conditions.
The case is quite different with regard to the second movement, »Youth at Work«. This is also a non-party institution, having as its object to find work for the young. Since it is impossible to absorb them in the normal economic process, the attempt was made to provide them with outside employment, under special conditions and for their own benefit. For instance, such groups were employed in building homes, laying out sports grounds, making furniture for youth hostels, etc. Relief was thus offered in the only possible way - by procuring employment. That it is really the only possible way is confirmed by the young people themselves.
At a meeting of the junior members of the management, the question whether the movement should be continued or not was discussed. All the young people present were unconditionally in favour of continuation, although many grounds against this were raised by the adults, especially of a financial nature. »We go to those who give us work«, was said again and again.
The young workers are paid no salary, but get their meals and a little pocket money. When engaged on building the Victor Adler Club15 the boys set about the job in an exhausting and thoroughly uneconomic fashion and strongly resented attempts to prevent their »working« in this manner. Passionate love of work was the general attitude.
Similar working groups for girls were also started; with sewing as the chief occupation; but this does not seem wholly

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suitable, since it does not satisfy the imaginative and romantic leanings which are very strong in young girls of this age... »We can always do sewing at home«, they say. This probably accounts for the small attendance of girls. Attempts will be made this year to start other work groups for the girls.
Whether this experiment - the only possible solution, we repeat - will succeed is another matter. For, apart from an financial and material difficulties, it has been proved that the young people who take part are very enthusiastic, but also very few in number. Those who come, come willingly, but the majority keep away.
It is therefore most important that such movements as »Youth at Work« and »Help Your Neighbour« (Nachbarhilfe), as suggested by Paul Federn16 in an interesting paper, should be continued. The question of compulsory working service of the young must be tackled from the viewpoints of psychology and economics. The conclusions of the psychologist are unmistakeably positive. It remains for the economist and the legislator to do the rest.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal. Psychologische Monographien, V. Band. Verlag von S. Hirzel, Leipzig, 1933. 123 p.
Lehrlingsschutz und Lehrlingsfürsorge der österreichischen Arbeiterkammer. Bericht der Lehrlingsschutzstellen für das Jahr 1931. (Berufskundliches Archiv, Wien, August 1932, 7. Jhg. Heft 7/9.)
Jugend in Not, Jahresbericht des Kuratoriums, Wien 1931.
Bericht der Aktion »Jugend in Not« (Lehrlingsschutz, Jugend- und Berufsfürsorge, Wien, Juli-August 1932, 9. Jhg. Heft 7/8).
Jugend am Werk. Allgemeiner Rechenschaftsbericht, Wien 1932.
Jugend am Werk. Eine Aktion des Jugendbeirates für die erwerbslose Jugend. (Lehrlingsschutz, Jugend- und Berufsfürsorge, Wien, Juli-August 1932, 9 Jhg. Heft 7-8).
Jugend am Werk. Protokolle mit Teilnehmern an der Aktion. Protokoll mit dem Leiter einer Gruppe. - Protokoll einer Sitzung jugendlicher Funktionäre aber Arbeitsdienstpflicht.
[Karl] Gottlieb und [Eugen] Stransky. Ueber den Einfluss der Wirtschaftskrise auf das Gewicht der Kleinkinder. (Sonderdruck der Klinischen Wochenschrift, Verlag Julius Springer, Berlin und J.F. Bergmann, München. 6. August 1932. II. Jhg. Heft 32. S. 1355 / 1356.)
[Arthur] Seyss-Inquart. Arbeitslosigkeit und Kriminalität der Jugend. Drittes Referat der Tagung »Jugend in Not« am 25.I.1931 in Wien.
[Aleksandra] Gan. Die Einstellung des Jugendlichen zu seinem Beruf. Dissertation an der Wiener Universität, psychologisches Institut, in Vorbereitung.
[Paul] Federn. Nachbarhilfe für Arbeitslose. Blätter für das Wohlfahrtswesen, herausgegeben von der Gemeinde Wien, März-April 1933. 32. Jahrgang.
[Paul] Stein. Erhebungen über gesundheitliche Wirkungen der Arbeitslosigkeit. (Sozialärztliche Rundschau, Wien, November 1932. III. Jhg. Nr 9.)
Bericht von der Polizeidirektion, Wien, vom 19.XII.1932. Fs A.J. XX./62/32.
Gutachten des Ministeriums für Soziale Verwaltung, Wien, vom 15.XII.1932, Zl 93.884. Abt. 9./32.
Berichte aus Donawitz (Frau Medarda Pugel, Schulleiterin, Dr. Jelenigg, Schularzt und Frau J. Premrow, Schulfürsorgerin.)

(1) Cf. Bibliography appended.
1 Marienthal: Siedlung in Gramatneusiedl, Niederösterreich. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
[1] The enquiry was carried out by the Federation of Viennese Social-Democrat Physicians, with the support of the Association »Freie Schule Kinderfreunde«.
Freie Schule Kinderfreunde: 1922 gegründet durch Zusammenlegung der sozialdemokratischen Vereine »Kinderfreunde« und »Freie Schule« als sozialdemokratische pädagogische Organisation für Kinder und Jugendliche; im Februar 1934 aufgelöst. Die »Kinderfreunde« wurden 1945 wiederbegründet. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
2 Günselsdorf und Schönau an der Triesting: Industrieorte in Niederösterreich, südlich von Bad Vöslau. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
3 Wilhelmsburg: Industrieort in Niederösterreich, südlich von Sankt Pölten. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
4 Trumau: Industrieort in Niederösterreich, östlich von Baden. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
5 Mitterndorf an der Fischa: Ort in Niederösterreich, östlich von Baden. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
6 Schrems: Industrieort in Niederösterreich, nordöstlich von Gmünd. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
7 Donawitz: Industrieort in der Steiermark, westlich von Leoben. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
[1] Gottlieb and Stransky. »Ueber den Einfluss der Wirtschaftskrise auf das Gewicht der kleinen Kinder,« Klinische Wochenschrift, Berlin, August 1932.
8 Recte Gramatneusiedl. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
9 Götzendorf: Ort in Niederösterreich, südöstlich von Gramatneusiedl. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
10 Recte Mitterndorf an der Fischa. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
11 Vgl. Charlotte Bühler: Der menschliche Lebenslauf als psychologisches Problem. Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel 1933 (= Psychologische Monographien. 4.). Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
12 D.s. die Lehrlingsschutzstellen der österreichischen Arbeiterkammern, eine Art Interessensvertretung für Lehrlinge. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
(1) The views of the employed youths quoted in the report are incomparably more optimistic and positive in their attitude to life.
(2) Note the words of one youth: »Most of all I’d like to work, so as to pass the time.«.
13 Jugend in Not: 1930 von der Wiener Arbeiterkammer gegründete Organisation für die Beschäftigung arbeitsloser Jugendlicher; aus ihr ging 1931/32 »Jugend am Werk« (siehe Fußnote 14) hervor. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
(1) Undertaken at the request of the Save the Children International Union.
14 Jugend am Werk: 1932/33 aus »Jugend in Not« (siehe Fußnote 13) hervorgegangene Organisation der Wiener Arbeiterkammer zur Beschäftigung arbeitsloser Jugendlicher. 1945 innerhalb des Magistrats Wien wiederbegründet und wirkte später Österreichweit. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
15 Verein, benannt nach Victor Adler (Prag [Praha] 1852 - Wien 1918): Arzt und sozialdemokratischer Politiker, gilt als Einiger und Begründer der »Sozialdemokratischen Arbeiterpartei Deutschösterreichs« (SDAP); Vater von Friedrich Adler (1879-1960). Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.
16 Paul Federn (Wien, 1871 - New York, New York, 1950): Psychoanalytiker; machte 1933 seinen Vorschlag zur »Nachbarhilfe für Arbeitslose«. Anmerkung Reinhard Müller.