Reaping the whirlwind

October 1948

The bleak and discouraging picture of the housing situation as Germany enters her third winter of occupation is slightly relieved by a few elements of hope. Through the repair of partially destroyed dwellings, through the use of barracks and empty industrial buildings, and through the conversion of attics and unused space in buildings, thousands of Germans can find shelter in spite of the lack of building materials and transport.

Furthermore, a new method for the disposal and use of rubble will go a long way towards solving several heretofore insurmountable problems. By processing the rubble on the site of the ruins with the aid of large mills it can be cleared away and a new and excellent building material made on the spot by mixing the pulverised rubble with concrete. Hence two tasks can be accomplished without depending on transport.

Although the casual visitor may travel in a countryside apparently untouched by war, the first city of any size will show the remnants of destroyed buildings. Würzburg in Bavaria is more than 70% destroyed, Heilbronn in Würtemberg-Baden is more than 50% destroyed and in Greater Hesse, where key industrial plants were more numerous, the extent of the damage is even greater.

One factor that has made the situation worse is the increase in population because of the expulsion of Germans from eastern Europe, who are now living with native German families in crowded conditions, with very limited facilities and no privacy.