Sunday, 17 May 2015

Difficulties of a German Teacher

Monday 17th May 1915: The increase in bad feeling against anyone of German nationality that produced yesterday’s violent demonstrations in Bedford has also caused people in the town to turn against the German teacher at Bedford Modern School. Although Dr M. L. de la Motte Tischbrock was born in Germany he is now a naturalised British subject. Writing to Mr. Cecil Kaye he says:  
“I have again heard that some people in our town have expressed doubt as to my loyalty, one person has gone even so far as to say I belonged to the German Secret Service. This is utterly untrue. I do not belong now nor have I ever belonged to any Secret Service at all, German or otherwise..”  
Dr. Tischbrock also wrote a letter to the Times declaring:
“Naturalized Germans are asked on platforms and in papers to state, whether they side with Great Britain or against her in this war and to prove their loyalty. I state at once that I side whole-heartedly with Great Gritain. I could not wish to see the downfall of this country, where I have lived as a guest for over 20 years, and where I hope to live for the rest of my life. And though born in Germany I should not like to see an army triumph which has burned Louvain, used asphyxiating gas and employed methods, which fill a decent man’s soul with horror and shame.”
 Mr. F. Palmer, the head of the school tried to ascertain the truth of the matter by consulting Dr. Tischbrock’s pupils and has today written the following statement:
“I called together the whole of Dr. Tischbrock’s senior German class on Saturday (May 15th) , and asked questions on two points. First, I found that Dr. Tischbrock has certainly never attempted to force “pro-German” views upon the class. He has indeed rarely spoken of the War at all; he expressed great shame when Reims Cathedral was bombarded, and condemned it as a wicked crime; he has said that the War is one of his greatest sorrows. I can hear of no further references.
 The second point was the attitude of the class towards Dr.Tischbrock. If anyone had hostile feelings, he hid them very well on Saturday, for the class was unanimous in hoping that Dr. Tischbrock should stay with us, and apparently resented all suggestion of ill-feeling towards him.”
 Source: Records of Bedford Modern School, BMS/CWK/82/2-4

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