Hahn, Kurt

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HAHN, KURT (1886–1974), German-British educator. Hahn was born in Berlin and educated at both German universities and Oxford. While in Germany he conceived the idea of a coeducational boarding school which would emphasise self-discipline, enterprise, and physical fitness. In the 1920s Hahn founded Salem school, in Germany near Lake Constance, to put his ideas into practice. Hahn was a conservative close to monarchist circles in Weimar Germany; through them, Hahn met relatives of the boy who would later become Britain's Prince Philip. Arrested by the Nazis just after they came to power, as a Jew Hahn quickly emigrated to Britain and, with influential backing, founded Gordonstoun school in Scotland, run along lines similar to Salem school. Prince Philip (b. 1923) and, later, Prince Charles (b. 1948) and his two brothers received parts of their education at Gordonstoun. Hahn's influence on British public (i.e., exclusive private) schools was considerable. After 1953 Hahn returned to Germany, where he died.


odnb online; D.A. Byatt (ed.), Kurt Hahn, 18861974, An Appreciation of His Life and Work (1976).

[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]