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Erich Kästner

Many of his publications were made into movies.

The author Erich Kästner is well known for his various works, such as novels, poems and texts for cabarets. His story began in Dresden, where he was born in 1899. At the age of 18 he joined the German military to fight in the First World War and returned with severe heart problems. After leaving the military, he decided to go back to school and start university soon after. During that time he found his passion for writing. Kästner moved to Berlin and started publishing time critical and political satirical poems, of which the National Socialists did not approve. The Nazis burned several works of bourgeois moral, militarism and fascism but also children’s books written by him. The Gestapo arrested him several times for “disrespecting” the Nazi ideology but let him go each time. After the Second World War, Erich Kästner received numerous awards of literature and also the Federal Cross of Merit.

Erich Kästner also wrote several novels for children. One of them works is “Emil und die Dedektive” (Emil and the Detectives). It was an unusual story because of its realistic contemporary setting with round characters. It used to be my favorite book and I knew it by heart.

The story is about a boy called Emil Tischbein, who visits his grandmother in Berlin. His mother gives him 140 marks to bring her. To make sure that he will not lose it, he uses a needle to attach the money to the lining of his jacket. Emil meets a strange man on the train who introduces himself as Grundeis. This man offers him drugged chocolate which makes Emil fall asleep. Later he wakes up and notices that his money and the mysterious man had disappeared. The panic he feels makes him leave the train at the wrong station in Berlin. Luckily, he spots Grundeis in the crowd and follows him. Emil is too afraid to call the police, because he vandalized a statue at this little hometown and feels like a criminal himself. While looking for the man, Emil meets Gustav, a boy form Berlin who offers to help him with his big group of friends. Grundeis tries to change the money into smaller bills at a bank where Emil’s new friends followed him to. He calls Grundeis a thief and is able to prove it with the small holes in the bills which the needle had pierced. Therefore Grundeis flees but the big group of children is able to stop him. At the end the police and Emil find out that Grundeis is a known robber and the police have been looking for him. Emil gets 1000 marks as a reward.

The book has been published in 1929 and became one of his most famous works. During the burning of his books in 1933 by the Nazis “Emil and the Detectives” was spared. Soon after, in 1936 it was also prohibited. Nowadays there are several adaptions of the book and it has been translated in numerous languages. The story of Emil and his friend still has a great impact on children and teenagers entering the world of literature.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Helmi Krappitz, volunteer from Germany, nature and food enthusiast.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.