Bondy, Max

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BONDY, MAX (1893–1951), U.S. educator. Bondy, who was born in Hamburg, Germany, was head of several schools in Germany and Switzerland before he emigrated to the United States in 1939. The following year he founded the Windsor School in Windsor, Vermont. This progressive, coeducational school was designed to implement Bondy's educational philosophy. The teaching was on a high level, with special emphasis on languages. The pupils were self-governing and had equal voting rights with the teachers on all important matters. They were also trained to take an active part in the activities of the community. In 1943 the school moved to Lenox, Massachusetts. After Bondy's death, the school was directed by his widow, Gertrud.

The Roeper School in Michigan and the Marienau School in Germany carry on the Bondy legacy and philosophy. The Roeper School was founded in Detroit in 1941 by German educators Annemarie Bondy Roeper, the Bondys' daughter, and her husband, George. It moved to Bloomfield Hills in 1946, and in 1956 was restructured as a coeducational day school for gifted children. The school had 640 students from 60 communities throughout the greater Detroit metropolitan area and 100 faculty members. From its inception, the student population has represented a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds. The Roeper School's philosophy centers on the importance of fulfilling the positive potential of each individual. The school recognizes that all people are unique and develop according to their own timetable and plan. Students strive to fulfill their distinct destiny, to express themselves sincerely, and to learn from the example of others.

The Marienau boarding school in Hamburg, Germany, ranges from grades 5 to 13. Created in 1929 by Max and Dr. Gertrud Bondy, the school's concept that children should grow up in a natural, healthy environment still applies. Situated in idyllic surroundings, Marienau is an ecologically oriented school with 286 pupils and 44 teachers.

The documentary film Across Time and Space: The World of Bondy Schools, produced and directed in 2002 by Kathryn Golden, tells the story of the Bondy family and their aspiration to teach children to succeed in life through tolerant, non-violent, workable school democracy. It explores the concept that democracy and tolerance begin within the institutions that educate the next generation. The tragic events of the Holocaust increased the Bondy family's dedication to their mission – that equal rights for all people, particularly children, should be a priority.

[Ernest Schwarcz /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]