Nancy K Sandars

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Date By   Place Notes
Re: 1930 - 1934 NKS   Die Klause Jugenheim, Darmstadt, Germany, Memories of Die Klause

Memories of Die Klause

My first visit to Die Klause was in the autumn of l930 when I was sixteen. My sister had been there before with two friends who were reading History at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford. When reading History it was considered helpful to be able to read German and one of them, Cicely Prichard went there to work, I think, for a time, but the others were just visiting and as I had just left my school it was suggested that I should go on a visit to Die Klause too, though I was younger than the students were generally. My mother came with me for a short visit too and I adored it from the begining.

I don't know how long Die Klause had been in existence, I think for quite a time with Helene Koch teaching and Ada Brodnitz running the house. Fraulein Koch had many friends among the University people in Oxford and through them the individual students, (undergraduates, men and women, but mostly girls) were recommended to come and visit. Frau Brodnitz had been married I think to an army officer - the maids referred to her as Frau Oberin. The Brodnitz house in the village was where her brother and his wife lived. He was a doctor and being Jewish they disappeared at the beginning of the war. We did not see a lot of them but sometimes they came in for a game of bridge.

Helena Koch was a wonderful teacher. She started me with an empty exercise book in which she wrote rules of grammar each lesson, so one learnt it bit by bit. Nothing but German was spoken even when we learners were alone together, so we went for walks with little dictionaries hanging from our belts and as we stopped to look up every word we did not know walks were very slow to begin with! Later of course we progressed to reading plays, though I did not till my second visit in l931 when I stayed several months. We started I remember with Minna von Barnhelm and went on to Goethe and Schiller, taking different parts, which we all enjoyed very much, while much about the plays and their history was explained to us. One learnt a lot from mealtime conversations for both friends had a wonderful fund of stories.

 

 

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