The "Pedagogical Province" in transition : Paul Geheeb and the Odenwaldschule in the era of national socialism / Dennis Lynn Shirley.
The "Odenwaldschule"--a private boarding school founded and led by Paul Geheeb--experienced intervention by the Nazis through paramilitary searches and arrests, state-directed faculty purges, and curricular and pedagogical reform. The incursions by the Nazis prompted Geheeb to both accommodate and resist aspects of Nazi reforms. By tracing the character of Nazi interventions, Geheeb's public and private reactions, and the resultant reconstitution of the Odenwaldschule, the dissertation generates new information to assess the complex and contested Nazi transformation of German education. The Odenwaldschule was studied for four reasons. First, the Odenwaldschule was one of the most prominent schools of the German "reform pedagogical" movement, which paralleled Anglo-American progressive education and French "education nouvelle." Second, a study of the Odenwaldschule following the Nazi take-over contributes to the history of education in Germany in this period. Third, the Odenwaldschule occupied an intermediate position between conservative schools which aligned themselves promptly with Nazism and left-wing schools which were immediately closed by the Nazis. Fourth, the case of the Odenwaldschule incorporates new information on the political character of reform pedagogy. The documentation was drawn from hitherto inaccessible papers stored at the Ecole d'Humanite in Switzerland, archives in West and East Germany, interviews conducted with alumni and former teachers of the Odenwaldschule, and historical studies. The methodology is descriptive history. Internal and external biases in the original documentation are controlled by cross-checking sources and by compiling quantitative tables on the student body and teaching faculty of the Odenwaldschule at different phases of its history. The first part of the dissertation describes the German educational system at the turn of the century, Paul Geheeb's biographical background, and the development of the Odenwaldschule from 1910 to 1933. The second part analyzes the Nazi interventions in the Odenwaldschule and the responses of Geheeb and the students and faculty of the school. The third portion describes Geheeb's attempts to establish an "Ecole d'Humanite" in Switzerland and the efforts of two former teachers of the Odenwaldschule to start a new "Gemeinschaft der Odenwaldschule" on the campus of the old school. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
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