Hitler Spirit, Invading Schools, Declares War on the Young
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Hitler Spirit, Invading Schools, Declares War on the Young

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internationally minded of the teachers usually did belong to the parties of the left, which in Germany have fought for educational reform. Their resignation under pressure leaves the schools in the hands of those who wish to introduce a spirit even more reactionary than that of the Wilhelminian epoch. The emphasis on military training is especially strong. “The object of sport”, says a National Socialist “expert”, “is not individual, but is to make a strong and fighting member of the community.” Children in the public schools have already been promised that at the age of thirteen or fourteen, they will have, in school, practice with small caliber rifles.

In the higher schools and universities, the policy is clearer. It is clearer, first of all, in regard to the Jews. Province after province, university after university have introduced the numerus clausus. In Bavaria, a numerus clausus has been made for all medical students, definitely limiting the number to be admitted to study in the medical faculties, and totally excluding Jews. As far as the Reich, as a whole, is concerned, decision as to the Jews—and decisions in many other important matters—are to be left to the National Socialist student body.


The student body, according to the last decisions, will determine how many Jews will be permitted to attend the institutions of higher learning. This solution is preferred to direct restriction. Inasmuch, however, as the so-called “leader principle” is also to be introduced into the student organizations, and they are to be “led” by appointees of the government party, this will amount to government restriction, and may even prove more trying to Jewish students than direct legislation, which would clearly establish their position, because the actions of the student body will probably be improvised and arbitrary.

One of the important measures of the new government as it affects the universities has been the re-introduction of the legal “mensur” or student duelling. The new decision in this matter goes far back of the Wilhelminian epoch, when duelling was tolerated, but had no sanction in law. At Heidelberg in mid-April a student duel was attended by the University Rector and the municipal authorities, and the newspapers boasted that for the first time in 550 years this was the case! This enthusiasm for the customs of the fourteenth century is characteristic of the Nazi movement, which boasts that it is mediaeval.


The universities and high schools are also to have courses in the technique of war. In Berlin, for instance, Major General Becker has been made honorary professor in the faculty for general sciences, and it is contemplated, according to a notice in the Frankfurter Zeitung, that a chair in the Science of War will be made in the same school, in the summer semester of this year.

The Nazi war against “Marxism” is a misleading term. Marxism, in the Nazi vocabulary, means internationalism and pacifism quite as much as it means socialism. The leader of the movement for decisive school reform, which worked in Germany in collaboration with committees of the League of Nations, and which had its parallels in other countries has been arrested on a charge of treason, the punishment for which under the new laws is death.

Dr. Savereau was the director of the gymnasium (high school) which was engaged in an educational experiment with especially talented children from all social classes. He comes from an old, conservative family, and was himself a conservative until the war, from which he returned as a socialist and pacifist. He especially interested himself in the question of war guilt and obtained from the Prussian Minister for Culture, under the Republic, the job of loking at school books with a view to reforming them away from a purely chauvinistic interpretation of history.


He himself represented the viewpoint held today by most disinterested students of the causes of the war, that the blame could not be exclusively attached to any country, but that Germany was not entirely guiltless. He was also a member of the executive committee in the League for Human Rights. The antipathy against him was augmented by the fact that he was the organizer of the Foyer Francaise which arranged for German children to be received in French homes, and French children in German homes. He is charged with treason on five counts, one of which is furnishing material to an American journalist on the militarization of the public schools. It might be added that evidence of the militarization of the schools has long been obtainable merely by reading the Nationalist newspapers and the official law publications, and by following open court cases.

The prosecution of such men clearly indicates the course of German education. It is to be “exclusively German”; militaristic; anti-international; anti-Jewish; and its sole object will be to produce good soldiers and docile citizens.


As far as the student body is concerned the tendency to turn over to the Nazi students the control of universities policies will probably, as one American correspondent put it, be “like turning over the faculties to the football team.” One of the first demands which the Nazi students made was that “all books by Jews shall be written in Hebrew”. Under this law Professor Einstein would have to write his papers on the Theory of Relativity and the Field Theory in Hebrew; Jacob Wassermann would have been published “in translation”, the texts of the operas of that representative modern German composer, Richard Strauss, could not have been written by Hugo von Hoffmanstahl; applied in England, we should have been deprived of the verses of Robert Browning, who had Jewish ancestors.

Proposals like these seem so ridiculous to modern civilized people that they can hardly take them seriously. Civilized Germans still say: “The revolution is only a few weeks old.” “Nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked.” Perhaps they are right. It seems inconceivable that a movement can go on, which is expressed in such absurdly mediaeval forms as the auto da fe of all non Aryan books May tenth. If we are to believe the statements of National Socialist leaders, all books ought to be banned which advocate or are written in sympathy with humanitarianism, liberalism, republicanism, internationalism, socialism, brotherly love, individualism, pacifism.

The list thoroughly compiled would, I fear, include most of the German classics and practically all contemporary German writers who enjoy any esteem outside the limits of their own country. And, ironically enough, although parts of the Jewish Old Testament might get by, if regarded solely from its contents, I do not see how a word of the New Testament can.

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