Bernhard Rust was born in Hannover 1883). He was awarded a doctorate in German philology and philosophy. Even so he failed the state teaching examination (1908). He became a secondary school teacher at Hannover's Ratsgymnasium. He served in the Army during World War I (1914-18). He wa primoted to lieutenant and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. He was an early adherent to the NAZI Party (1922). By this time, Hitler was in firm control pf the Parry. Hitler was apparently impressed with him, presunably because of his loyalty. He appointed him Gauleiter for Süd-Hannover-Braunschweig. Rust was elected to the Reichstag as the NAZI Party scorced huge advances in the Depressuion election (1930). Hitler after becoming Chancellor, Hitler appointed Rust Prussian Minister for Cultural Affairs (1933). The next year he turned German education over to Rust, appointing him Rust Reichserziehungsminister (Minister of Science, Education and National Culture) (1933). Rust held the post throughout the subsequent NAZI era. He thus became both a school administrator and fervebnt NAZI. He issued decrees with little vetting. Many wre considered bizarre by professional educators, especially in the early years before the teaching professiin was thoroughly NAZIfied. It was Rust who ordered that students should greet teachers with the Heil Hutler salutation asnd salute. Hitler fid not trust the schools when he seized power. Rust set out to NAZIfy the educatiion sysrem so it could be used to completely immerse German youth in National Socialist philosophy. Besides NAZI ideology, Rustr had aassiion for orthography (spelling, capitaluization, punctustion, and other elemebts). He doggedly pursued spelling and other orthographic reforms. He met considerable resistance in the academic community, but many of his reforms were adopted after the War. The day after the NAZI surrender, Rust shot himself (May 8, 1945).
Bernhard Rust was born in Hannover 1883).
Rust pursued university studies in Munich and Berlin. He was awarded a doctorate in German philology and philosophy.
Even so he failed the state teaching examination (1908). He became a secondary school teacher at Hannover's Ratsgymnasium.
Rust served in the Army during World War I (1914-18). He wa primoted to lieutenant and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. He was wiunded in thec head. Some claim that it affected his mental stability.
Rust was an early adherent to the NAZI Party (1922). By this time, Hitler was in firm control of the Parry. Hitler was apparently impressed with him, presunably because of his loyalty. As a fully qualified teacher with aioctorate degree, Hitler gave him thec task of oversseing an educational program to train upcoming NAZI leaders.
Rust rose through the NAZI Party ranks. Hitler chise him to be Gauleiter for Süd-Hannover-Braunschweig (1925). The NAZIsere still a minor party and Rust had cintinued to teach to earn a living. He was accused of interfering with a schoolgirl. He was not charged, however, with the offence because he was determined to suffer from "instability of mind" resulting from his First World War injury. He was dismissed from his teaching post (1930). Soon after, he was elected to the Reichstag when the NAZI Party scorced huge advances in the Depression election (1930). A total of 143 NAZI deputies were elected.
Hitler after becoming Chancellor, Hitler appointed Rust Prussian Minister for Cultural Affairs (1933). The next year he turned German education (universities and public schools) over to Rust, appointing him Rust Reichserziehungsminister (Minister of Science, Education and National Culture) (1933). The post also gave him control of German science. Rust held the post throughout the subsequent NAZI era.
Rust as a fervebnt NAZI thus became the top German school administrator. He controlled what at the time was
arguably the finest education systenm in the world, He proceeded to issued decrees with little vetting. Many wre considered bizarre by professional educators, especially in the early years before the teaching profession was thoroughly NAZIfied. He was also known for issuing, changing, and repealing ciontraductory policies all within very short periods.
An example was an effort change the traditional 6-day school week. Hecattempted to establishba 5-day week ending with a ‘Reich’s Youth Day’ on a Saturday. hen heccame up with a rolling 8-day week. It soon became clear that this would be complicated to implement and could result chaos. Rust finally went back to the traditional 6-day week.
It was Rust who ordered that students should greet teachers with the Heil Hitler salutation asnd salute. Htler fid not trust the schools when he seized power. Rust set out to NAZIfy the educatiion sysrem so it could be used to completely immerse German youth in National Socialist philosophy. New courses were intriduced on the NAZI Party and racial hygene. Religious instruction was deemphasized and prayers written by Hitler Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach praising Hitler were introduced. An example is, "
Fuehrer, my Fuehrer given me by God,
Protect and preserve my life for long.
You rescued Germany from its deepest need.
I thank you for my daily bread.
Stay for a long time with me, leave me not.
Fuehrer, my Fuehrer, my faith, my light
Hail my Fuehrer."
Rust described his efforts, "The systematic reform of Germany's education system was started immediately after the coming into power of National Socialism. If these far-reaching changes were to materialize, teachers had first to be made capable of introducing them. Numerous courses, camps and working communities have been arranged to provide the necessary instruction, which includes the teaching of the philosophy of National Socialism in addition to the strictly educational subjects." [Rust]
Teachers who had criticized the NAZI Party were dismissed. Those that were retained were sent off to be indoctrinated in National Socialist ideology. Textbooks werec reviewed for afherencev to NAZI ideology. As a result, there was a severe shortagec in text books until new texts could be approved and publisged. .
Rust told associates, "The whole function of education is to create NAZIs." He delivered diatribes to the teachers he now controlled that their purpose was to educate ethnically aware Germans. [Koonz, p. 134.]
A teacher wrote after 4 years of Rust's administration in aprivate letter to a friens, "In the schools it is not the teacher, but the pupils, who exercise authority. Party functionaries train their children to be spies and agent provocateurs. The youth organizations, particularly the Hitler Youth, have been accorded powers of control which enable every boy and girl to exercise authority backed up by threats. Children have been deliberately taken away from parents who refused to acknowledge their belief in National Socialism. The refusal of parents to 'allow their children to join the youth organization' is regarded as an adequate reason for taking the children away.".
Rust helped establish the élite NAZI Party secondary boarding schools, the Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten (NPEA or NAPOLA). They were subsequently taken over by Himmler and the SS.
Rust was a firm believer in NAZI racial doctrine. He was convinced that non-Aryan science, meaning scientific work done by Jews was baseless. He particularly objected to Albert Einstein's 'Jewish physics'. He had in his mind a rational explanation for his scientific assessments. He told German scientists, "The problems of science do not present themselves in the same way to all men. The Negro or the Jew will view the same world in a different light from the German investigator." Rust diligently pursued the effort to purge German universities, most notably the respected University of Göttingen, of Jews as well as leftits and NAZI cruitics. Some of these Jews purged included Nobel Prize winners such as Albert Einstein, Fritz Haber, and Otto Warburg.
Ironicaly it was nuclear physics, which Rust and others called 'Jewish physics', that provided the NAZIs the best chance of winning the War that Hitler was planning. Famed pysicist Max Planck warned the new Chancellor that his policy of perscecuting Jews was essenhtuially disarming Germany in physics which sent Hitker of on one of his diatribes. Hitler was obstinate and refused to accept any of Planck's points. Towards the end of the meeting Adolf started to fidget around and mumbled 'You know what people say about me? They say I suffer from weak nerves.' Hitler then started shouting, 'Slander!' Hitler finally launched into one of his trade-mark rants against Jews and the Jewish menace. , "Our national policies will not be revoked or modified. Even for scientists. If the dismissal of Jewish scientists means the annihilation of contemporary German science, then we shall do without science for a few years!" This essentially ended any semblence of a discussion. And in not only ruined the future German atomic bomb project, but provide the Americans and British many of the physicists needed to actually build the bomb. Had the NAZIs not surendered (May 1945), the bomb might well have been used on the Germans rather than the Jaopanese.
Besides NAZI racial and science ideology, Rust had a passiion for orthography (spelling, capitalization, punctustion, and other elemebts). He doggedly pursued spelling and other orthographic reforms. He met considerable resistance in the academic community. He had millions of copies of his orthography reform printed (1944). Hitler ordered its implementatiion be postponed as it was 'not important fir the war effirt." Many of his reforms were, however, adopted many years after the War.
Rust could noy be pubicallybcriticised in Germany as long as Hitler supported him. From the safety of the United States, some dis address Rust's educational vision. Erika Mann, the daughter of famed novelist Thomas Mann, wrote an exposé of the Rust system. [Mann] An American educator who lived in Germany before the War and served as the headmaster of the American School in Berlin also wrote about Rust. [Ziemer]
He was accused of being involved in his position as head of German sciebnce in human experimentation on concentration camp prisoners.
The day after the NAZI surrender, Rust shot himself (May 8, 1945).
Koonz, Claudia. The Nazi Conscience.
Mann, Erika. School for Barbarians (1938).
Rust, Berhard. Education in the Third Reich (1938)
Ziemer, Gregor. Education for Death (1941).
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