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School CP - November/December 1901
The Times, London, 20 November 1901
The Prussian Poles.
(From our own correspondent.)
Berlin, Nov. 19.
The evening papers report the sentences passed on a number of the inhabitants of the town of Wreschen, in Posen, in connexion with what have become known as the "Wreschen school scandals." The trial has been proceeding since Thursday last and has excited considerable interest throughout the whole of Germany.
The disturbances originated in the behaviour of some refractory children in the Government school who obstinately refused to pay any attention to religious instruction imparted in the German language. The teacher, finding himself powerless to induce them to listen to him, appealed to the district school inspector, who soon had an opportunity of convincing himself that the master's report was not exaggerated. When taken to task the children replied simply, "We are Poles, not Germans, and do not wish to know anything about the German religion (sic)."
The inspector then ordered the children, some 20 in number, to be detained, and, on their still proving obdurate, to receive corporal punishment. This severity led to a great uproar among the parents and friends of the children, some of whom succeeded in forcing their way into the school while the punishment was being administered, and were only expelled by the aid of the police.
For the violence then displayed and for opprobrious and seditious language towards the inspector and the other school authorities 26 persons have been tried, of whom all except one have been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
Some of the evidence was remarkable as evincing the strong feeling which the case had aroused and the religious and political animosities which underlay what might at first sight appear to be a mere piece of childish insubordination.
The counsel for the prisoners, Herr Karpinski, who persisted, in spite of frequent admonitions, in speaking of the punishment inflicted on the children as "thrashings," was sentenced to a fine of 50 marks.
The Times, London, 10 December 1901
The Prussian Poles.
(From our own correspondents.)
Berlin, Dec. 9.
The recent disturbances at Wreschen are the subject of an article which is published this evening in the North-German Gazette. In view of the many "false and garbled accounts" of these occurrences which have appeared in foreign journals, the semi-official organ of the Government considers it necessary to give a brief sketch of the actual facts and of the circumstances which led up to them.
Since the expression "wholesale thrashings" had frequently been used in regard to what followed, it is well that the exact facts should be known. Of these 26 children 14 of the most insubordinate received corporal punishment to the following extent:--
"Three girls received four strokes of the cane on each hand, three girls and one boy received three strokes on each hand, one boy and five girls each two strokes, and one boy two strokes" on another portion of his body.
It should be noted further, in view of the wild statements to which some journals had committed themselves, that no child of the persons afterwards sentenced for riotous behaviour was among whose who were thus punished. It is maintained that a candid and impartial examination of the above facts will inevitably lead to the conclusion that if the Prussian Government is determined to enforce a rule which has been observed for 30 years in thousands of Catholic schools such action cannot be considered as affording any excuse or justification for tumultuous outbreaks such as those which took place at Wreschen.
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