“Zivis”, Zivildienstleistende [civil servants], were quite common in Germany until the end of 2011.
These were young men who had refused to follow the military draft on conscientious grounds. If their application [to be acknowledged as a conscientious objector] was approved, they no longer had to “serve” in the military, but instead were drafted for civil service. This service could then be performed at hospitals, rest homes, rescue services, Meals on Wheels and other social services, and by that token also at kindergartens.
At our kindergarten we managed to employ a civil servant at all times. This saved us kindergarten teachers from having to take care of a number of household duties, freeing time for pedagogic work. It also made us more flexible when planning excursions and expeditions, since the legal requirements regarding supervisory duties were much easier to meet with an extra adult.
Date of Publication in German: 2013, September
Translation: Arno Zucknick
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