The newspaper "Essener Tagblatt" of 31st May 1950 also shows the existential difficulties of families and their makeshift possibilities for getting by:
"And the parents of these children? Almost all of them know about the border business of their offspring, some tolerate it, others encourage them, very few prevent them from taking part. A fourteen-year-old who can support a family of five? It's not uncommon. A four-year-old child on his way through the border forest? It happens every day. The uncrowned smuggling king, a youth with 18 previous convictions? Only a local record which will be broken the next day."
Cologne's Archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Frings (1887-1978), was also aware that the daily struggle for survival had scant regard for God's commandments nor for civil rights. In his sermon on New Year's Eve in 1946, he granted absolution to those people who had taken what was necessary to survive when it was not possible to obtain it by working or begging. His leniency with the thieves-by-necessity during those years of acute need and deprivation left a memorial to Rhenish dialect with the word "Fringsen".