Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 92° Clear
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Teaching of German faces pushback from nation at war

 (Nathanael Massey / The Spokesman-Review)
(Nathanael Massey / The Spokesman-Review)

Normally, a request to teach a foreign language in the city’s schools was not controversial.

Except if the language was German, and the nation was at war.

Spokane’s German-American Central Verein had been using a room at Horace Mann School for the past five years to teach free German lessons on weekends.

When the school board was asked to continue this arrangement, the formerly routine request proved contentious. The board chairman said he believed that there should be “no teaching of German by private interests in the public school buildings.”

Adolph Munter, the president of the local Central Verein, said, “I have too much respect for my fellow citizens to believe that they would show ill-will against us of German blood in any such manner.”

Munter argued that German was a language of science. He also disputed the notion that learning a little German makes any American less patriotic. He noted that his own son had been drafted and would fight for the U.S.

The rest of the school board was apparently convinced, and they voted to allow the German classes to continue.

From the divorce beat: Gertrude Alexander told a judge that her husband struck her repeatedly, threatened to kill her, and once “tore my clothes off” and left her nude in a hotel. The hotel subsequently “almost threw us out of the hotel as questionable characters,” she testified.

The judge granted the divorce.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.