A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
The Business and Trade School
~Furnishing the School with Teaching Agents
by Peter Lang
Translated by Brad Schwebler

Apprentice School

          The craftsmen of Beschka asserted that a trade school would be built in the village as recently as the turn of the century. When Georg Mahler was apprentice he slowly hugged a fellow married student on the apprentice school bench, and played a joke on their teacher Spaniel.  It drove him crazy.  It was in the school at No. 69 Reiter Square, which as already mentioned, was formally the city hall and had a vault from that time.  In this vault teacher Spaniel wanted to lock up a sinner during the instruction.  The apprentice followed him without resistance, but as the teacher locked up the kitchen, the apprentice pushed him into the vault, closed the door, and calmly went home.  First, after a while the remaining apprentices freed their teacher from his misery.  From then on teacher Spaniel received police protection during the lessons.  However, the next time nothing more happened.  On the contrary, there were apprentices who were very eager and far exceeded the quota in mathematics.  Architect Beck had, for example, an apprentice by the same name from Bulkes, who I asked such difficult questions for the examination that the principal Jovanovic wanted to intervene against it, for which I assured him that the apprentice was competent and it should be felt as an honor to receive a difficult problem which he also solves.  Another 18 year old amazed me with his honest character.  During one hour I had to write something I instructed Prpic to pay attention to the others.  But he said to me he did not want to betray his comrades because of a prank.  The class waited tensely for what was coming next.  But I only praised Prpic and no longer used an observer.  The apprentice and trade schools were divided for 3 years.  Each student nine hours each week.  Twice for 3 hours on weekday evenings and unfortunately also for three hours at a time on Sunday afternoons.  There was still no youth protection at the time.  The political community paid very well for these hours.  An uneducated worker was rewarded with a full days wage for one hour.  The instruction was also a worthwhile spare-time occupation for the teacher.  Each teacher took part in it and each one chose the specialty that he mastered the best.  Business and trade laws were taught by Starcevic, drafting was taught by Stojadinovic, handwriting was taught by Bächer, Serbian language was taught by Buta, and mathematics with geometry as well as physics and chemistry were taught by me – Peter Lang.  The instruction was supervised by the principal and the chamber of commerce.  In 1941 the trade school was also German.  German instruction was now given by Vikar Poglitsch.  But because many master craftsmen were inducted by the Nazi SS, the number of apprentices fell sharply, which is why the school was temporarily closed in the fall of 1943.

Equipping the School with Teaching Aids

          Thanks to the generous furnishing of the trade school as well as the public school with the necessary teaching material such as land maps, apparatus for physics, chemistry, geometry and so forth it was not worse equipped than the schools in Germany.  Only blackboards should have been bigger.  One Siemens narrow gauge film projector – my old dream – I could purchase in 1942.  For the principal’s office I bought a typewriter.  The local school council approved both large acquisitions, after which I showed them teaching films with the projector.  Foreseeing the structural changes at the school and service apartment I could no longer acquire anything because of the material shortages in the war.

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr, 2005]