Naturism in europe 1
West Germany wasted no time in setting up shop for the nudists after the war. On November 16, 1949, representatives from more than thirty newly formed clubs carne together in KasseL and founded the Deutscher Bund fur Freikarperkultur - the D.F .K. - now the largest national nudist organisation in the world. Everywhere there was poverty.
To stay alive was a struggle. The pursuit of leisure was a luxury which few had the time or the money to afford. Yet the first decade after the war proved a fertile seed bed for the new nudist movement. Half a century earlier Nacktkultur had been an expression of rebellion against the Industrial Revolution.
Now, to go back to nature was an understandable reaction to the sickening humiliation of defeat in war. And no activity could be cheaper than Freikarperkultur. Alongside the astonishing growth of the nudist clubs in Germany, the 'unorganised' nudists began to have a substantial impact.
"Unorganised": in nudist parlance, means those who go naked but choose not to belong to clubs: the do-it-yourselfers who are now so numerous in Europe that they threaten the clubs' very existence. Since the early part of the century, the island of Sylt, in the North Sea on the Danish border, had doubled as a holiday resort and a refuge for nudists.
Its long deserted sandy beaches gave ampIe room for both. As early as the 1920's, the govemment of Schleswig-Holstein had authorised naked bathing and a nudist colony had grown up there. One of its residents, Magnus Weidemann, an evangelical pastor, had edited an excellent and influential nudist magazine between 1924 and 1929 which told alI Germany ofthe joys of Sylt. For the people of Hamburg, struggling to reconstruct their beautiful city and its economy, so utterly destroyed by Allied bombs, Sylt was a summer weekend away from it alI. As the country's railway network was rebuilt, the citizens of Dusse1dorf, Essen, Dortmund and Cologne also escaped to the seaside, far from the devastation of the Rhine and the Ruhr. Many found themse1ves at Sylt, experiencing communal nakedness for the very first time.
The sun lovers of southern Germany and Austria meanwhile had discovered, to their surprise, just across the Alps, in Marshal Tito's newly communist republic, that tourists were welcome. Despite a terrible and bloody resistance to the Nazis which had cost Yugoslavia a million and a halflives - five times as many as Great Britain, in a population a third the size - the Yugoslavs were determined to rebuild their economy themselves and remain at a distance from the Soviet U nion. If this meant a welcome to detested enemies, it was perceived more as a quest for desperately needed foreign exchange. There was nothing to export. AlI Yugoslavia had to offer at that time was sun.