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News from SCI International Archives informs about recent activities and insights or ideas around archives and the history of SCI.

Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Mar 20, 2018

SCI Nepal Diary (2002) front pageThe diary, or pocket calendar, issued by SCI Switzerland since 1953 ( is pretty famous among SCI folks all over the world. Probably less people are aware that also the Nepalese SCI branch once issued a booklet called Diary with Directory 2002 – celebrating the International Volunteers’ Year of 2001.

I assume that this issue has been the only one edited by that branch – at least the International Archives do not have any other in their holdings. It is slightly larger than the Swiss one (14,5 x 10 cm compared to 12,5 x 9 cm), and it is printed in high quality white paper, whereas its Swiss counterpart is printed in shabby grey recycled paper.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Feb 18, 2018

My recent encounter with these nice small objects from SCI’s remote past has been indirectly triggered by a visit to the International Secretariat (IS) in Antwerpten a few weeks ago: When I mentioned that due to the digitalisation of most of SCI’s everyday documents (proceedings, correspondence, pictures, videos), the International Archives would put a stronger focus on the collection of physical objects such as printed brochures, business cards, T-Shirts etc, Ossi asked me whether I was interested in official address stamp the IS had used at previous locations. So I took, among other objects, two outdated stamps back to Switzerland.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jan 20, 2018

They may not be the most meaningful objects in the SCI Archives from a strictly institutional point of view, as they do not provide us with answers to the core questions about the history of our movement. But for me they were some of the most astonishing, and actually nicest discoveries I had made during my time as an Archives Coordinator: The bunches of children drawings in postcard format stored in a simple envelope by my pre-predecessor Ralph Hegnauer.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Dec 17, 2017

During more than two years, SCI had provided me with kitchen wall decoration, in addition to the usual SCI pocket diary issued by my own branch each year . The first one was edited by the International Secretariat. Sasha Laziuk, an LTV from Belarus who had been working there, signed the intro together with Finance Officer Nico Verzijden, and as far as I remember (but Mihai knows more precisely, I am sure!) the compilation of photos, texts and quotes from SCI’s history and day-to-day activities was mainly Sasha’s work.


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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Nov 25, 2017

Review - Revue 1971-1974 and Annual Report 1975From the International Secretariat, I recently received its latest Annual Report. When I filed it to the Archives, I took the opportunity to look into older IS Annual Reports. I noticed that until the early 1970s there were no such documents – of course the IS regularly reported to ICM and IEC, but the Archives have no separate collection of reporting documents, apart from the ordinary mailings of the respective meetings. Then Theodor (Theddy) von Fellenberg took over the post of International Secretary from Ralph Hegnauer; the IS physically moved from Zurich to Bern (Theddy’s home town), later to Monti di Bodio, a mountain village in the South of Switzerland.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Oct 29, 2017

Archives Collection SCI Germany Vol.1Even though a German branch of SCI has been founded only after World War II, with the help of British conscientious objectors from IVSP following the first Friedland refugee camp project (see my article from April 2016), SCI activities in Germany have started much earlier. Bertram Schröter, one of the oldest veterans of the movement in Germany, being active mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, has done an enormous job in compiling all available documents (and even transcribing some of them) from the branches pre-history in the 1920s until the mid-1970s.

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Aug 27, 2017

One more report from a seminar on workcamp organisation and leadership from the deep 1980s. The seminar took place in a nice place outside Helsinki and it was called The Finland Seminar. Finland was not just a country among others in Europe, it was also an in-between space back then, in between the East and the West in the Cold War.



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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jul 25, 2017

This is somehow typically 1980s: A lot of critical reflection mixed with funny cartoons, a sloppy layout compared to 21st century standards, and above all a very grassroots approach behind it. The readers are warned as early as in the preface on page 2 that this report is quite boring, as it was mainly written for the participants of the SCI seminar on workcamps that took place for a whole week in October 1985 in Linlithgow, Scotland. Copies were distributed to all branches for filing purposes, in order to fulfill our minimal bureaucratic duties. Even though I assume that most of us who are reading this will find it pretty funny and relaxed, it is hardly imaginable that one of the perfectly professionally layouted, carefully edited, and heavily subsidised brochures international SCI bodies are issuing nowadays would even dare to use such language. (And thanks God, even the generation before us took their bureaucratic duties seriously enough to leave one copy for the International Archives!)

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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on Jun 20, 2017

"The evolution of SCI over the last forty years can be compared to the growth of a plant. The movement has spread from country to country and from continent to continent, taking root here and there. SCI has made various experiments in the field of voluntary work thanks to the energy and the generosity of men and women who deeply believe in SCI ideals and methods."


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Posted by Heinz Gabathuler on May 27, 2017

Not long ago, I received a request from a European SCI branch, asking me for the "first international constitution (1920)".

As everyone is aware that 1920 has been the year in which it all started (therefore we will soon be able to celebrate 2020!) the request somehow seems logical. But on the other hand, Pierre Ceresole and the friends who had organised the first international voluntary service for peace in a devastated French village two years after the end of the First World War surely had other priorities than to draft a constitution before even starting with practical work.

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