Advertisement

Paul Geheeb and Nazi Germany: Progressive Education in the Age of Fascism

  • Ashley Curtis
Chapter

Abstract

On March 7, 1933, Nazi paramilitary troops raided a progressive school in Oberhambach, Germany, ostensibly seeking Communist party literature. The Nazis’ ultimate goal was a greater one, however. Co-opting the Odenwald School, at the time world-famous in educational circles, along with its charismatic founder and director, Paul Geheeb, would have been a propaganda coup, placing the National Socialists at the vanguard of a reformist movement that had up until then been fundamentally opposed to Nazi principles. Geheeb—pacifist, feminist, and anti-authoritarian—faced a choice between maintaining his school and maintaining his principles. When he was ordered not to resign or shut down the school, on pain of seeing himself and the Jewish family he had married into sent off to concentration camps, the dilemma was complete. That he was able to finesse this seemingly impossible situation, eventually landing in Switzerland with a group of students and teachers to continue his life’s mission, was in large measure due to his success in instilling anti-authoritarian values in the children with whom he worked. This case study tells of a leader who despised obedience getting the better of a regime that saw obedience to the Führer (Leader) as the supreme virtue.

Keywords

New Education Nazi resistance Odenwaldschule Paul Geheeb Switzerland and World War Two 

References

  1. Allen, J. and Gutekunst, H. (2018) Street Smart Awareness and Inquiry-in-Action. Amara, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  2. Boehm W. (2012) Die Reformpädagogik: Montessori, Waldorf und andere Lehren. Beck, MunichGoogle Scholar
  3. Cassirer E, Edelstein W and Schäfer W, eds. (1960) Erziehung zur Humanität. Lambert Schneider, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  4. Geheeb P (1970) Briefe: Mensch und Idee in Selbstzeugnissen. Ed. Schäfer W. Klett, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  5. Gutmann, M. (2016) Engineering the European Volksgemeinschaft: Social Engineering, Pedagogy and Fascism in the case of the Swiss Alfred Zander. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 51(1)Google Scholar
  6. Hughes, B. and Klein, C. (2015) Blinkracy. Blinks Labs, Berlin.Google Scholar
  7. Näf M (1998) Paul Geheeb. Seine Entwicklung bis zur Gründung der Odenwaldschule. Beltz, WeinheimGoogle Scholar
  8. Näf M (2006) Paul und Edith Geheeb-Cassirer. Gründer der Odenwaldschule und der Ecole d’Humanité. Deutsche, internationale und schweizerische Reformpädagogik 1910–1961. Beltz, WeinheimGoogle Scholar
  9. Scheibe, W. (1999) Die reformpädagogische Bewegung 1900–1932: eine einführende Darstellung. Beltz, WeinheimGoogle Scholar
  10. Shirley D (1992) The Politics of Progressive Education. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Torbert, W. and Rooke, D. (2009) Seven Transformations of Leadership. Harvard Business Review, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Curtis
    • 1
  1. 1.Freelance Writer and EditorPiemonteItaly

Personalised recommendations