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The Five Principal Teachers at Stoatley Rough
Dr. Hilde Lion (1893-1970)
Principal of Stoatley Rough School 1934-1960.

From 1917 Hilde Lion studied at the Social-Pedagogical Institute, Hamburg and gained qualifications to teach and train social workers. She studied economics and pedagogics in Freiburg, Hamburg, Berlin and Koln. She was awarded her doctorate in 1924. From 1925 she taught at the Youth Leaders’ Academy of the Association of Jugendheim, Berlin-Charlottenburg. She became very active in the German women’s movement.

Dr. Lion had been dismissed on the 9th May 1933, from her position as Director of Deutschen Akademie for Soziale and Padogogik Frauenarbeit, Berlin (The German Academy for Social and Pedagogical Women’s Studies).

The board of governors decided to disband the Academy at the request of Dr Alice Salomon (founder and president) because following the victory of the Nazis, the Academy could no longer be guaranteed to receive future funding in order to maintain the independence of the educational and research programmes.

Dr. Lion left Germany in November 1933. She arrived in England on the 17th November 1933 with the intention of doing some research on comparative pedagogics. She was already in contact with the German Emergency Committee of the Society of Friends and began working for the Quaker committee as an advisor helping German refugee students find accommodation, sponsorship and places in courses at educational institutions.
Eleonore (Nore) Astfalk (1900-1990), who herself was not Jewish left Germany in December 1933, because of her own anti-Nazi convictions and as her name was on a Nazi blacklist.

Nore Astfalck left Berlin and travelled to Switzerland as companion to a Jewish family. Whilst there, Nore received a letter on 1st March 1934 from Hilde Lion in England, inviting Nore to join her in setting up a school for German refugee children. She arrived at Stoatley Rough on 19th March 1934. Nore was in charge of the domestic duties for the house, as well as managing and teaching the ‘Household’ course. She also took on the role of housemother / matron to the younger children and is fondly remembered in that capacity by many Stoatley Roughians.

Nore had trained as a Youth Leader and Kindergarten teacher. She was at the forefront of progressive pedagogical work at the “Freie Schulgemeinde Wickersdorf” a well-known very progressive children’s home. She taught in the social-pedagogical programme at the “Jugendheim”, Finkenkrug, near Berlin from 1928-33 and during 1932-33 she looked after unemployed youths, mainly from communist backgrounds at the “Jugendheim Charlottenburg” which put her on the Nazi blacklist.

Nore Astfalck left Stoatley Rough School in 1946 to return to Germany to help with the work of reconstruction. At first she collaborated with Minna Specht at the Odenwaldschule (a famous progressive school of the 1920s and 30s, suppressed by the Nazis). Since 1950, with Hanna Nacken, she established and ran the “Immenhof” a educational / rest home for children, youths and mothers, under the auspices of the “Arbeiterwohlfahrt” (workers welfare organisation). After retirement in 1970 she taught at a college for women’s studies in Celle.
Johanna (Hanna) Nacken (1896-1963) life long friend and colleague of Nore Astfalck, joined Hilde Lion at Stoatley Rough School at the request of Nore. She was the daughter of a protestant preacher but did not herself care for religious dogma. As a young girl she joined the free youth movement (Jugendbewegung). Hanna played the guitar and dressed in the new style dresses of the 1920s. During the inflation of the early 1920s she worked in a bank and went to Canada to take care of an ill friend.

Hanna arrived at Stoatley Rough on 2nd April 1934. She was responsible for training and teaching the practical and handicraft subjects. She dealt with actual practical problems which arose from time to time at the school and she was also the school’s book-keeper until 1945.

Hanna went to the Art College in Kassel, where she studied Art History, drawing, applied art and handicrafts. She was employed as a teacher of handicrafts for Kingergarten teachers and Youth leaders in Anna von Gierke’s “Jugendheim”, Berlin Charlottenburg. During a one year sabbatical she completed her handicrafts training at the Pestalozzi-Froebel House. She then took charge of the Youth Leaders course at the “Jugendheim”. Hanna also taught Alice Salomon’s girl’s and women’s course for social work at the German Academy for social and pedagogical women’s studies. Many nurses and youth workers owe much to her incentives and knowledge – she was very gifted in many ways, as her photographs show.

Hanna returned to Germany with Nore Astfalck in 1946. She taught first at the Odenwaldschule until 1950 and then helped to re-establish the “Immenhof” in the Luneburger Heide.
Dr. Emmy Wolff (1890-1969), friend and former colleague of Dr. Hilde Lion, left Germany in 1935 to join the staff at Stoatley Rough School to teach German language and German literature. She became second in command at the school in 1937.

From 1915-1918 she studied at the High School for Women in Leipzig in the social and legal science department. Henriette Goldschmidt was the founder of this school. After this she studied social and civil service administration at the Universities in Munich and Frankfurt / Main. Emmy obtained her doctorate in 1924, analysing a girl’s hostel in Frankfurt which had been founded by Bertha Pappenheim, leader of the German Jewish Women’s Association.

At the end of 1924 Emmy Wolff moved to Berlin. There she became the assistant to Gertrud Baumer, Isa Gruner and Edith Koehn. From 1925 Emmy became a teacher at the “Jugendheim”, Berlin, and later lecturer at the German Academy for social and pedagogical women’s studies where Dr. Hilde Lion was director.

From 1927, Emmy co-edited “Die Frau” the leading women’s journal of the Union of German Women’s Associations (Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine) and was co-worker of "Die Hilfe" ( a news sheet of the DDP), edited by Theodor Heuss, who later became the first president of West Germany in 1950.

Dr. Luise Leven (1899-1983), emigrated to England in March 1939 with the support of Dr. Hilde Lion who got her a permit to work at the school through the Jewish Aid Committee.

From 1920-26, Luise Leven studied at Frankfurt University and in Berlin. She completed her musical training obtaining her doctorate (Dr.phil) at the conservatories of Krefeld and Frankfurt.

Dr. Leven taught at the National Music Teacher’s Institute in Krefeld and was the chair of the women’s group of the music teacher’s association, 1934-38. After 1933 she was the organist and leader of the choir at Krefeld Synagogue. After 1938 she was excluded from the National Musicians Association.

Hilde Lion had known Luise Leven since 1934 when she came to the first Stoatley Rough ‘summer school’. She became the school’s music teacher and took charge of musical education at Stoatley Rough. Later Dr. Leven became deputy head and the school’s book-keeper. Her career in England included a temporary period of teaching at the girl’s school in Farnham and as musicologist, reporting for local papers.


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