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September 4, 1981

Lutheran clergymen are concerned that conscientious objectors may be forced to participate in compulsory military training for 11th-grade boys beginning this month in East Germany.

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Church officials have been grappling with this issue since compulsory military training was introduced for 9th- and 10th-graders three years ago. In theory they have won exemption for protesting Christians, but in practice nonparticipants are often penalized in school or career. The training for 11 th-grade boys will take place on 12 summer vacation days and one "readiness" day each May. It involves obligatory participation in the hitherto voluntary activities of the military-oriented Society for Sport and Technology.

The new regulations may have left a way out for conscientious objectors in the form of alternative first-aid training, but this point is not yet clear.m