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The New Youth Program of the Communist Party (September 21, 1963)

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Neither Patronize Them nor Leave Them to Their Own Devices

Thanks to the industrious labor of the working people, our youth today has more leisure time than the working youth of the past. However, the more space that leisure time occupies in the lives of young people, the more important it is for them to make meaningful use of it. Time is a very precious commodity. And it cannot be gotten back. Wasted time is a wasted life!

We appeal to all girls and boys:

Use your time wisely!

Wasted leisure time leads to boredom, apathy, weakness, cockiness, and tedium.

This is why we are calling on all parents, teachers, master craftsmen, clubhouse directors, and officers of the Free German Youth, of the unions, and of the athletic clubs, to help young people, especially in residential areas, in innovative and effective ways so that they use their leisure time sensibly in their own interests and in the interest of society.

This help, however, should not consist of patronizing, finger-wagging, and administering. Young people cannot be forced to participate in cultural or athletic events if they have no interest in doing so. It is more a matter of stimulating and encouraging this interest and love, so that our boys and girls largely plan and spend their free time as they wish.

No amount of patronizing can lead our youth to spend their leisure time wisely, but one cannot leave them to their own devices either. The psychological war that is being waged against our republic from West Germany and West Berlin aims precisely at capturing our young people’s interest in their leisure time. But leisure time is an important part of socialist life, so not a single hour of it should be given over to the class enemy. His influence is to be countered with even more interesting cultural and athletic events, lectures, debates, etc. This applies especially to the villages.

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