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The Truth About Youth Hostels
In August 1909 German teacher Richard Schirmann was caught in a violent thunderstorm during an eight-day migration with his students and found lodging in a farmer’s barn.
While the students slept, Shearman stayed up all night.
The idea suddenly struck him, “to create a place, where the mobile-enjoying youth and students would have a safe and cheap overnight stay”.
He expressed this concept for the first time in 1910 in an article about “Volkschuelerherbergen” (“Elementary school student accommodation”).
“…Also the boys and girls of the common people must have fresh pleasant walks as a counterweight to the room stool time of their school years… How can I imagine suitable and adequate accommodation for a vast army of elementary school pupils? ?… in every town. And almost every village has a primary school, which waits almost on holidays for vacancies, one for sleeping and one for dining hall which can be changed. , one for girls. The banks are partly set one above the other. It lists 15 beds. gives free area for . . . Each camp site contains a straw plugged bag and cushion, 2 sheets and a blanket. Each child is stopped to bring back his or her camp site to be meticulously tidied…”
Following the publication of this article in the “Koelnische Zeitung” (Cologne Newspaper), many monetary and gift donations and offers of support came from all over Germany.
In 1912, the first youth hostel was opened in Altenia Castle, Germany
The first youth hostel was laid out according to Sherman’s plan: 2 sleeping halls with 3 floors of hardwood beds, a day room, kitchen, wash and shower rooms. The first hostel warden was Richard Shearman. He lived directly above the hostel room. In the same year Sherman published the first hostel list with about 140 addresses.
Many of these lodgings, however, did not even have basic accommodation, i.e. nothing for girls.
In 1913 there were already 301 youth hostels in towns and villages. A year later one already counted 535.
In 1920, the first issue of the magazine “Youth Hostel” was published and the first manual with addresses of youth hostels was published with about 700 addresses.
From 1924-1929, 1.5 million real marks were won through the first lottery on behalf of the youth hostel. In 1932 there were already 2,123 youth hostels in Germany. More than 4.5 million stayed overnight. But by the end of the twenties more than 600 youth hostels had already opened in other countries such as Poland, Holland, France, England and Switzerland.
On October 20, 1932, the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) was created in Amsterdam in the presence of land associations from Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, France and Belgium.
The Federation today has its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, near London. Richard Shearman was elected president. The conference language was German.
A later conference in 1933 was also attended by Isabelle and Monroe Smith from the United States. Within a year they could open thirty youth hostels in the United States. Also in 1933 the National Socialists came to power in Germany.
All political and religious youth associations were dissolved and compulsorily replaced by a system of university-formed youth organizations, under the line of “Real Youth Guidance”. Richard Schirmann to step down as chairman of German youth hostel factory
He allowed himself to be influenced by the idealistic element of the new movement and became honorary president of the State Federation for German Youth Hostels. A decision he would later regret bitterly.
In 1936 it came to a break with the International Federation of Youth Hostels for political reasons. After the end of the World War in 1947, 247 youth hostels with 1,158,500 overnight stays in Germany were counted again.
An extensive network of youth hostels was built in the GDR from 1949-1990. Initially still led as federations, these later became state-led organizations of youth. The existing federations are dissolved. In 1960 it was the most youth hostel in the Federal Republic. More than 720 homes realized 11,300,312 overnight stays.
After the end of the GDR in 1990, youth hostel federations were also created in the new lands of the Federal Republic. In November these federations joined the German Youth Hostel Association.
Youth Hostel today
There are more than 4,000 youth hostels in 65 countries worldwide, including more than 600 in Germany alone.
Youth hostels in Germany offer much more to their guests than a cheap overnight stay Beside the experience of small cozy old buildings or castles and residences you will find many houses in big cities as well as natural picturesque surroundings. Visit www.smart-travel-germany.com/hostels-germany.html for more details.
This true story was published in German by the German Youth Hostel Association and translated by Markus Hochstadt.
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