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Child Feeding: La Rouviere, France, 1940

Child Feeding: La Rouviere, France, 1940

France, 1940 - Child Feeding, La Rouviere

 

A 17-minute, black-and-white film begins silently with fire engulfing the town of La Rouviere (98 miles from Marseille) and townspeople fleeing in May 1940. Then the film cuts to Howard Kershner, program director for AFSC and the International Commission for the Assistance of Child Refugees in Spain. He explains the Quaker philosophy and gives a brief overview of the child-feeding program. The list of accomplishments includes feeding as many as 350,000 children daily on both sides of conflict (in Spain); and feeding and clothing French evacuees from Alsace and Lorraine. Emergency services were set up in 1940 when five million refugees rushed southward. Kershner explains that—since the fall of France to Germany in 1940—all efforts have been directed at helping refugees. He uses a map to show key locations of services rendered. Some 84,500 children get a bit of food daily in their public schools. At 17 children’s colonies, 650 “little victims of war” receive complete care. Also, in German internment camps, AFSC has been providing schooling, food, health inquiries, money, and transfer documents. Kershner’s talk is followed by silent footage of the work in France, which includes scenes of sewing and knitting workshops for women, children in colony classrooms, play time, meals, songs and dance. At bedtime, the older girls help the littlest ones but even very small children proudly change into nightclothes for the camera.

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