The Town School

Alt-Stralau 34
Today’s Thalia Primary School was once the Stralau town school. The first school in the town of Stralau existed from 1845 to 1852 for fewer than 20 children at what is today Alt-Stralau 19. On 1 April 1894, the new school was opened after three years of construction.

The walls of the building were clad in tiles and embellished with decorative molding. The school was heated by 25 stoves. In the beginning, the teachers lived in apartments on the ground floor and first floor, and classes were held in rooms on the second floor. Later the teachers’ apartments became classrooms. The school reached its greatest number of pupils with 600 girls and boys just before the First World War. At first, the children attended school for a period of six, then seven years. With the official incorporation of Stralau into Berlin in 1920, the school became the 35th school in the district, and the period of attendance was extended to eight years.

In 1928, the school received a gymnasium. Head of construction was the senior engineer Franz Meurer, who also managed renovations to the Friedrichshain city hospital. The “little brick building” – an example of expressionist architecture of the 1920s – contained two large facilities, one on the ground floor and one on the first floor: Below was the gymnasium, above the auditorium. A sign of the times and new approaches to physical health was a rooftop garden used for exercise in the fresh air. At the time, around 300 pupils in boy, girl, and co-ed classes attended the school. Seven male teachers and six women teachers made up the staff. The principal, until the mid-1930s, was Max Adam.

In the GDR, the school was used from 1952 to 1989 as transitional and group housing for the GDR’s child protective services. A memorial created in 2016 remembers the children and youth who were sent there. After the completion of a thorough modernization in 1999, the former town and district school was turned into the Thalia primary school in 2000, as it remains today. The school and gymnasium are now protected historical landmarks.

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