My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Three Emperors in One Year

BETWEEN the ages of six and nine I attended the Preparatory School of the Teachers' Training College in ABC Street, about half-way between Alstereck and Holstenwall. As my parents at that time lived in the Eimsbütteler-Chaussee, North St. Pauli, I had to cover quite a tidy distance which did not grow any less when, at nine years old I passed the entrance examination for the "Johanneum", a grammar school, famous throughout Germany, founded by Johann Bugenhagen in 1529, when German humanism was at its zenith.

The school was situated at Speersort, opposite St. Peter's Church. St. Pauli was at the extreme west of Hamburg; the Old Town and Speersort were at the east end. Every morning, therefore, I had to trudge the entire length of the Eimsbütteler-Chaussee as far as the Miller Gate, then right across the New Town, over the Fleete to the Old Town and finally along the Rathaus Street to the Speersort. Even a good walker would need the best part of an hour.

In other words, I came from the fields of St. Paul, traversed the preserves of St. Michael and studied under the protection of St. Peter.

The entrance examination at the Johanneum took place at Easter 1886, just after my ninth birthday. My parents, of course, took me to the venerable building escorted by brother Eddy, proudly sporting his school cap and overflowing with good advice. In the big entrance hall we met other parents with their children, all looking very serious and whispering softly as if they were at a funeral or an execution.

At last a master appeared and conducted us--without our parents--into a large room where we were examined on every possible subject for four long hours. Admittance to the Johanneum was no trifling matter.

My biographer, Dr. Franz Reuter, describes my method of passing the entrance examination: "in the Arithmetic test for the Sixth (lowest) Form Schacht distinguished himself by arriving at a different result from all his fellow-candidates . . ." And Norbert Mühlen (of whom more later) in his book Schacht theMagician

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