JULY 28, 1956
HYDE PARK—I have an appeal from a man in Australia, a refugee who pleads for the old and the sick refugees who are still in Europe. Many of these probably will never leave the camps in which they now live. Their only protection, as far as civil rights go, is in the hands of the High Commissioner of Refugees of the United Nations.
Dr. van Heuven Goedhart, the commissioner who died the other day, was looked upon by thousands of people as a father. And they looked to him for understanding and help, because, though his mandate was only to see that refugees got the opportunity to work and live in the countries where they might be, he took a deep interest in those who lived—and because of illness, probably would always have to live—in camps in different parts of Europe.
He tried to get governments to understand the refugees' plight and to contribute money to help them, and he got some funds from both governments and individuals. Now these refugees have lost their protector and, for a little while until a new commissioner is appointed, they will feel that there is not even someone to whom they can write about their problems.
My correspondent in Australia, Peter P. Golovchansky, is editor and publisher of "Our Life," a periodical to promote understanding between aliens.
He prizes highly the liberty of expression which the free world must preserve. For, he says, it is the only way that refugees may find out about each other, and those fortunate enough to be rehabilitated in free areas of the world thereby can do something to help their unfortunate brothers, languishing in camps until they die. Golovchansky wants to develop interest in these people who, he feels, may die of starvation if no one is concerned about them.
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I mentioned that I would tell you about a manuscript which was sent to me. I do not know whether it has found a publisher or whether, in its present form, it would be widely read, for it seems to need shortening to bring out the vital points, but these points made by the author are very important.
He feels that much of our delinquency, insanity, and emotional disturbance among our young people comes from the fact that we will not face up to the need for sex education from an early age, and that so few of us are prepared to be honest on any subject, let alone this one, with our children.
Some of the statistics he cites and the stories he tells certainly are worthy of consideration, and I don't see that any of us can shrug off our responsibilities to face the facts.
We may not agree with him in the solution of the problem, but that the problem exists is unquestionable. And if we do not like his solution, we had better be looking for a better one.
His analysis of some marital difficulties and his suggestions for coping with them were interesting and might give great value to this book.