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WEST GERMANY
Domestic CP - April 1964



Corpun file 25492 at www.corpun.com

The Milwaukee Journal, Wisconsin, USA, 30 April 1964

German Professor Suggests Wider Use of Birching Rods

Los Angeles Times News Service


Click to enlarge

Bonn, West Germany -- The birching rod, often called the whipping cane and occasionally still called "meines vaters grosser stock," [my father's big stick] is still an instrument of high justice in Germany.

It may be out of style, ridiculed and criticized in much of the world -- including the United States where juvenile delinquency is such a problem -- but in Germany, the birching rod is still reached for.

It is wielded by 85 per cent of all German fathers. Six strokes are about average punishment for a boyhood crime. The site is nearly always within the bedroom of the private home. The application point is just where you would imagine, as has nearly always been the case.

Data Was Evaluated

Why this section of the anatomy is still the favorite is a mystery in Germany because a birching rod applied there with force hurts a lot less than it does applied most other places.

All of this information has been collected and evaluated by an eminent German professor, Walter Haevernick, director of the Seminar for German Archaeology and Folklore in Hamburg.

Prof. Haevernick is one of few German scholars to come out in favor of, in justified cases, of course, laying on the rod to save the child. He disagrees with psychologists who say the cane is nothing but the symbol of a shortage of parental talent to educate.

Children Admit Need

He has gone at length into the study and even turned up evidence that a large number of neurotic children in the U.S. are not found in families that use the cane but mainly, families that practice what is called, "withdrawal of love."

An inquiry in Hamburg schools proved that home punishment does not overly distress or embitter children. Instead, it was found, their punishment seems to be considered normal. Eighty-two per cent of the kids do not consider canings dishonorable. Of 237 youngsters questioned, 71 per cent thought caning usually was necessary.

Haevernick's findings have turned up so much interest that other educators, although not necessarily agreeing, feel the matter should he looked into further. Many disagree.

One said, "I am no friend of corporal punishment but it seems worthwhile to find out if grandfather's good thrashing does not bring better results than a lengthy youth trial."

Prof. Haevernick's findings and opinions take on added weight since he is the father of several children and he was caned as a lad. In fact, he says, hard Indonesian canes used for birching in his boyhood are actually harder than the canes of today.

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