Adam Kauschke joins Kaffee und Kuchen group

The next Kaffee und Kuchen meeting will be held at the Langmeil Centre, 7 Maria Street, Tanunda on April 29. Photo: File
The next Kaffee und Kuchen meeting will be held at the Langmeil Centre, 7 Maria Street, Tanunda on April 29. Photo: File

At the end of World War II there were over 11 million people in Europe who had been displaced from their home countries.

Seven million were living in camps in Allied occupied Germany.

For many return was impossible, their cities and villages being now within the Russian dominated Communist bloc.

At the last meeting of the German speaking group Kaffee und Kuchen the guest speaker, Adam Kauschke from Adelaide's Lutheran Archives, spoke of the plight of those displaced people.

In 1945 the Ben Chifley Labor Government established a Department of Immigration with Arthur Calwell as its first Minister.

It was Calwell, recognising how close Australia had come to invasion by the Japanese, who coined the phrase 'Populate or Perish'.

He saw that British immigration would not be sufficient to meet Australia's needs, and so an agreement was signed with the International Refugee Organisation to provide transportation and accommodation for 4000 European refugees, mostly from the Baltic, in 1947.

Over the next five years 170,000 arrived.

Another coinage of Calwell's, in an attempt to break down prejudice, was the term 'New Australian'.

Adam Kauschke referred to some individual cases.

For many their first Australian home was a former army camp at Bonegilla in north-east Victoria.

Some obtained work on the Snowy River Scheme, and the Lutheran Church was active, even before the refugees left Europe, in helping them to learn English, to find employment and permanent homes.

The Lutheran heroes of the refugees who came to Adelaide were Pastor Alfred Zinnbauer and his wife Helga.

They themselves had been refugees, fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and arriving in Adelaide the following year.

When the War ended in 1945, Pastor Zinnbauer was Adelaide city missioner.

He and Helga made themselves responsible for the refugees, meeting them on the wharf or at the railway station when they arrived, finding them somewhere to stay and finding them employment.

In 1951 they established a hostel at College Park, and there they lived with those who needed their assistance for the next 24 years.

The next Kaffee und Kuchen meeting will be held at the Langmeil Centre, 7 Maria Street, Tanunda, on April 29.

It will be preceded by a luncheon at 11.15am at $20 per person.

Contact Reto Gasser by phone or preferably text, 0466 430 803, by Wednesday, April 24.