Wolffheim, Nelly (1879-1965): Account of a Kindergarten Seminar, Berlin

Scope and Content

Typescript, annotated, incomplete, account of Nelly Wolffheim's experience running the last remaining Jewish Kindergarten school in Berlin, 1934-1939.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nelly (Elenore) Wolffheim, born 29 March 1879, the second and youngest child from a relatively well to do Jewish family in Berlin; mainly taught privately on account of serious childhood illness; at the end of the 19th century she graduated from 'Pestalozzi-Fröbelhaus', a kindergarten teacher-training school and went on to work in a number of other training schools. Renewed illness meant that she had to spend the following several years in various sanatoriums. In 1914 she opened a private kindergarten in Hallensee, Berlin, which was run according to the philosophy of the Fröbel school, the central idea of which was to treat the school like a large family. In 1921 Nelly Wolffheim suffered another serious set back regarding her health; thereafter she commenced psychoanalysis and after several years of training, she began running the first kindergarten in Germany on the lines of depth psychology; developed an interest in the study of infant sexuality, and was disappointed by the lack of interest shown by anyone else in the field on the subject. She had to stop running the kindergarten again in 1930 on account of her health, but also because she felt too old to work with small children; gives up her publishing activities and discontinues her lecture tours after the Nazi seizure of power, 1933; ran the only remaining Jewish Kindergårtnerinnenseminar, 1934-1939, of which the document in this collection is an account. Emigrated to England, 1939, and lived in Oxford and London; published works again in Germany after the war, in particular her book Kinder aus Konzentrationslagern was well received; died in London, 2 April 1965.



Access Information


Acquisition Information

Nelly Wolffheim

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.