Westminster-Austausch 2019

Beethoven-Schüler aus der 10c in London

Der November ist nicht gerade dafür bekannt, ein guter Reisemonat für England zu sein. Aber in diesem Jahr zeigte sich London von seiner sonnigen Seite und so konnte die 10c den Norden, Osten, Süden und Westen dieser groß(artig)en Stadt ohne den typischen Regen „erwandern“.

Aber der November 2019 ist nicht nur irgend ein Monat, er gibt Anlass zum Gedenken und für Feierlichkeiten sowohl in London als auch in Berlin. Während in Berlin „30 Jahre Mauerfall“ im Mittelpunkt des Gedenkens stand, zierten in England viele rote „Poppies“ (Mohnblumen) die Revers von Politikern, älteren Herren, schick gekleideten Business-Frauen, der Queen (Sie trug sogar 5!) und … der Beethoven-Schülerinnen und Schülern.

Um der Gefallenen der Weltkriege zu gedenken, tragen viele Menschen bereits an den Tagen vor dem Remembrance Day, dem 11. November, eine rote Mohnblume aus Papier oder als Metallanstecker.

Unsere Austauschschüler von der Westminster School in London gehen mit ihren Klassen regelmäßig in den Gottesdienst in der berühmten Krönungskirche Westminster Abbey, die direkt neben der Schule liegt. Um den Remembrance Day gibt es Erinnerungsgottesdienste, in denen auch für die Westminster-Schüler gebetet wird, die in den Kriegen gefallen sind.

In diesem Jahr durfte zum ersten Mal ein Beethoven-Schüler eine  Rede in der Westminster Abbey halten. Fabian Leithäuser (10c) beeindruckte mit seiner Rede von der Kanzel (siehe unten) die Schulgemeinschaft.  „A remarkable speech“, lobte ihn nicht nur der Direktor der altehrwürdigen Westminster School. Für die ganze Austauschgruppe war die Reise nach London und der Aufenthalt an dieser Schule, die z.B. auch Andrew Lloyd Webber und Peter Ustinov, aber auch der Architekt der St. Paul‘s Cathedral Christopher Wren besucht haben, eine wirklich beeindruckende Erfahrung.

Thank you, Mr. Hopwood and the German Department of Westminster School for this wonderful cooperation. We are looking forward to our Beethoven-Westminster-Exchange 2020!


Westminster Abbey, November 9th, 2019 - Speech by Fabian Leithäuser, 10c

When I was attending primary school in western London for 2 years, many years ago, I was given a poppy to wear in November by my class teacher. I did not understand too clearly what this was meant for, and even less did I  question, whether I, as a German, would be entitled to wear this symbol at all.

Now, being back in Britain, I am experiencing how present the grief for the fallen of WW I still is in this country, and I notice the difference: In the German historic memory, the first World War ended 2 days before the armistice. On November 9th the Kaiser went into exile in the Netherlands, in Berlin politicians of the social democratic and the communist party proclaimed Germany to be a republic, a revolution started. And this date, the 9th of November, turned out to be a fateful mark for my country for the whole century. Five years later this date saw the first attempt of Adolf Hitler to stage a coup to rise to power. Another fifteen years later, when Hitler had already destroyed the first democracy in Germany, on the 9th of November 1938, the Nazis organized widespread attacks on Jewish shops, synagogues, people. Many buildings were destroyed, many German Jews were beaten up, dragged into concentration camps, many were killed. This is the darkest of the 9ths of Novembers we commemorate in German history. It was the day when the prosecution of Jews became a public indication of what the inhuman ambition of Hitler and his Nazis would be in the end: the holocaust.

And then - in 1989 the 9th of November marked the happiest day for Germans in the 20th century: After the total defeat and destruction at the end of World War II, after occupation and partition and confrontation during the Cold War the communist Eastern Germany finally collapsed and opened the wall that had divided our country for nearly 30 years. Looking back at all these turns of history happening at this special date it is not surprising, that from a German perspective November 1918 is pushed into the background a little.

But although by now more than 100 years have passed since November 1918, since the end of World War I, there is a way to pull this first mass catastrophe of modern time back into our life. The youngest Soldiers that gave their lives in this war for the Countries they belonged to, Britain and Germany, were 15 years old, they were of our age. There was a boy named John Condon, serving in the Royal Irish Regiment, who died in 1915 from a German gas-attack near Ypres. There was boy named Paul Mauk, who served in the Badische Infanterie Regiment 113, killed during a battle in the North of France near Arras in the spring of 1915. And it is them, boys of our age, that we should feel very close to. They died before they could grow up, before they could vote, could influence the course of their country. They were killed before they could prevent the rise of Nazi-dictatorship in Germany, or the policy of appeasement in Britain. They could not have children or grandchildren that would fight the causes of our time, be it Brexit or climate change. And it is for them that I would never hesitate to wear a poppy.

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