Berlin Wall Affects German Teachers

Annie Roske

August 31st, 1961, the Berlin wall was built. It divided Germany into East and West territory nearly 60 years ago, and resulted in an unexpected aspect of diversity and culture in our Seattle Prep community.

The German program at Prep is led by Frau Reichl and Frau Khouri. As expected, both teachers have strong German roots and connections to the country. Having both grown up in Germany and moving to America somewhat recently, they both lived very different lives in Germany due to the physical and cultural split the Berlin Wall created.

Frau Reichl grew up in Rostock, a small city near the Baltic Sea in East Germany. Having moved to Seattle only six years ago with her family, much of her life was spent in Germany. Of that time, less than half was spent under in the effect of the Berlin Wall.

“In East Germany every student had to take Russian at school, starting in 5th grade and continuing until 12th grade” says Reichl “The communist influence was very strong when I grew up.” Reichl’s childhood was greatly influenced by the Communist ideology within the government. These ideas oppose Frau Khouri’s upbringing and education from her childhood. Frau Khouri grew up learning not only English, but also Latin and French in school. In addition to languages learned in school, Khouri learned Russian on her own time for two years. Khouri grew up in Keil, in North Germany between the North and Baltic Sea.

“I moved to Seattle in 2005. I met my husband in Hamburg and decided to live with him in the US.” Says Khouri. Although both teachers have different reasons for moving to Seattle and grew up under different influences and governmental ideals, both bring a diverse learning experience to Prep.

When comparing America to Germany, both Reichl and Khouri have positive things to say about both countries. Khouri feels in America “People are very polite and think positively” however remembers that in Germany, education is free. The pros and cons of each country are what allows for a personal connection to each,

“Both are great nations and beautiful countries” says Reichl. The remembrance of Germany and appreciation of America are what makes these two teachers a valuable part of Prep, and help to show the more cultural side of Germany the students.