Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pastor Hornle

The following is a story as told by Josephine Haugen Senft '48, the very first Guest Teacher.

Upon arriving in Rimbach, Germany, in June of 1948, I was welcomed with love and generosity by the Hornle family and the faculty and students of the Martin Luther Schule.  A faculty member told a story about Pastor Willi Hornle, the founder and organizer of the school.

During the war years Pastor Hornle preached in his sermons to the congregation about the Nazis and their misdeeds.  He was informed that the Nazis would arrive in town at some time and "take him away."  What could he do to prevent this was his question.  He had a family and a congregation and he was needed to assist and help them.  He decided that he would join the "regular" German Air Force--which he did.  He was allowed to continue with his work in Rimbach but he wore his Air Force uniform rather than civilian clothes.

One Sunday morning during the church services the inevitable happened.  The door to the sanctuary opened and several Nazi officers entered.  The congregation was stunned into silence.  Pastor Hornle walked down the center aisle and as he approached the Nazis he removed the robe to reveal the German Air Force uniform.  Seeing that, the Nazis could not arrest him.

Sometime between 1945 and 1948, Pastor Hornle organized the Martin Luther Schule to provide educational opportunities beyond the elementary school in Rimbach for the children and the young people of the entire community surrounding Rimbach.

When I met Pastor Hornle and others in Rimbach in June of 1948, the currency reform and the formation of the Bonn Government had not occurred.  At that time, three years after the war ended, Pastor Hornle was still wearing his Air Force top coat, as it was the only coat he owned.  Those were difficult times for the population.  Food, clothing and other essentials for living were scarce.  Also, all families were required to share their homes with other German families who had to flee their homes in the East.

It is amazing to think about the kinds of challenges that faced the early Guest Teachers in comparison to the challenges I face in 2011!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cloth Napkins

Here is a story from Virginia Larson, ´59, who was the Guest Teacher in the 1959-60 school year:
In the upstairs Internat, where I ate many noon meals, we each had a Serviettentasche with a cloth napkin, which we used for one week. By the end of the week, some were pretty gross, having been used three times a day for seven days. Then they all went in die grosse Waesche, where white things were "gekocht" and emerged pristine as the driven snow. Herr and Frau Praetorious presided over that Internat, all boys.
As we celebrate the upcoming tenth Guest Teacher of the current series, Viriginia is collecting stories about the program. If you have stories, feel free to send them to me, and I'll post them here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trip to Nuremberg

Last December I got to take a great trip to Nuremberg with the thirteenth graders.  We left very early in the morning and didn't get back until very late (I think it was after 10:00 pm).
We started with the Nazi party rally grounds (Reichsparteitagsgelände) where there was an excellent museum in the incomplete Congress Hall.  We also had an outdoor tour of the grounds, including the Great Road and Zeppelin Field.  It was really cold that day, and I did not wear appropriate foot wear.  My shoes were not protecting me from the cold, even though I was wearing double socks.
We also watched Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens), a Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl.  Apparently it is illegal to sell or show it Germany today, so the museum had to import a copy from England.
After leaving the grounds, we went to the Nuremberg Christ-child (Christmas) Market (Christkindlmarkt).  There were good chances to shop here and I bought some presents, along with some food and drink, especially Glühwein (mulled wine).  There were some amateur musical groups, especially brass bands.  Again, it was quite cold, and I had to warm up in a grocery store for a while.  Should have bought some boots.

Along with some of my travels to other places, you can see some of my photos from that day here.