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Carl Louis Albert Pretzel (1864–1935) | English translation

Carl Louis Albert Pretzel (1864–1935), English translation

Stele: Carl Louis Albert Pretzel (1864–1935), English translation

PDF-Dokument (5.4 MB) Dokument: Museum Pankow / Grafik: Kerstin John

Stele: Carl Louis Albert Pretzel (1864–1935), English translation

JPG-Dokument (1.5 MB) Bild: Museum Pankow / Grafik: Kerstin John

“He used to go for walks every afternoon after school for an hour or an hour and a half, and he liked to be accompanied by one of his children. (…) I actually owe the basis of all my historical knowledge and views to my father.”
Sebastian Haffner on his father Carl Louis Albert Pretzel | Interview with Walter Bittermann on 31 July 1981 at Südwestfunk (SWF)
BArch N2523/184

The elementary school teacher, ministerial official and reform pedagogue Carl Louis Albert Pretzel was rector of the 105th Municipal School for Boys on Prenzlauer Allee from 1908 to 1919. Until 1924 he lived with his wife and four children in the rector’s house on the schoolgrounds.

Pretzel was born in 1864 in Groß-Tychow (Pomerania) as the son of a country teacher. His father came from a family of farmers and craftsmen. As a child he developed a keen interest in literature. He chose his father’s profession and was first employed as a teacher in Lauenburg (Pomerania) before his appointment to the 172nd Municipal School in Berlin-Moabit in 1893.

Pretzel’s work as a teacher in Berlin marked the beginning of his close involvement with the German Teachers’ Association. He advocated for elementary school and teacher training reforms, as well as the suppression of church influence on the school system.

After the November Revolution, Pretzel was appointed to the Prussian Ministry of Culture in December 1919 and tasked with revising the elementary school curriculum. Following Georg Kerschensteiner’s (1854-1932) educational reform concept of the “work school”, Pretzel demanded that a child’s natural development be given greater freedom. Didactic games, handicrafts or the observation of natural phenomena should lead to internally experienced and independently acquired knowledge.

Up until his retirement in 1929, Pretzel spent seven years as head of the school supervising authority of the Berlin Provincial Schools Council. According to his son, Sebastian Haffner, the “last years of his life” were “darkened by the Nazis”, who destroyed his life’s work.

My father was “a good Prussian, a good liberal, a strong reformer, a very critical man, who always regarded everything with a skeptical eye”.
Sebastian Haffner on his father, Carl Louis Albert Pretzel | Interview with Walter Bittermann on 31 July 1981 at Südwestfunk (SWF)
BArch N2523/184