November 11th, 2019:
We had a really special morning talk today. Matt and Charlie gave the students and staff a real insight in to our own school’s history as they commemorated Remembrance Day on Monday.
As well as observing a two-minute silence and hearing the Last Post played beautifully by Cael, we learnt a little about what was happening in 1939 around the world – and at Frensham.
We learned how Frensham had air raid shelters in the grounds and the cellars were also used for safety. In the run up to the outbreak of war, we welcomed numerous German Jewish refugees – amongst them the teenage Lord Moser. Claus Moser – who died in 2015 – was a leading academic who championed the arts and sciences in Britain during the second half of the 20th Century. His description of arriving at the school in 1936 was fascinating and familiar:
‘At no time did I find my complete ignorance of the English language to be the slightest handicap to making friends or being accepted into the general community,’ wrote Lord Moser some time before he died.
‘The secret of Frensham’s unquestioned success as a school lay in the peculiarly happy association between staff and pupils, the essence of which was co-operation rather than mere obedience and which consequently created real respect.
‘The thing that counted at the school was not whether you were a Jew or a Gentile, a German or an Englishman; but whether you were a good member of the community.’
Rick said how vital it is that our students understand the importance of Remembrance Day and what generations before them had sacrificed. “Hearing again the words of Lord Moser is humbling. We continue to strive here at Frensham to keep those same values alive which enabled Lord Moser to feel happy and secure as he began his new life in England.”
As well as discussing the causes of the Second World War, we were introduced to other events which had happened the year war broke out.
The film, Gone With The Wind, was released that year and John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath and the guillotine was used publicly for the last time in France.
And finally students looked at the causes of the second world war before the theatre was plunged in to darkness with the sound of an air raid alarm.