War in the Classroom: The Development of Catholic School Culture during the Second World War in Belgium
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On 16 October 1940, the Principal of the Institut Saint-Louis in Brussels requested Archbishop Van Roey to give some directions about the organisation of schooling during the war because the occupation complicated school life. The German occupation of Belgium had created a new context in which schools needed to operate, and the establishment of a new political regime gave rise to new questions that local school administrations needed to answer. This chapter specifically deals with the question as to how the war affected daily school life. Was the German education policy really implemented in Catholic private schools, and how did teachers and pupils deal with the war on a daily basis? Historiography has dealt with specific aspects of schooling in the context of National Socialism and German occupation, but there are few ‘chalk face’ studies about how the war penetrated the classroom, how German measures were received locally and how teachers and pupils experienced the occupation.