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The bad old days

Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2015-10-23 09:11

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We forget just how bad things were in the so-called 'good old days'. Here's a reminder.

These pictures are taken from a German school book from 1931. The book was shown to me many years ago now. It was printed in colour, but at the time I was only able to make some poor quality black and white copies.

When I rediscovered the copies recently I have to say that I was really shocked at what I saw. I hadn't realized just how bad things had been all those years ago. These are pictures that were used in teaching reading and writing and so will have had an enormous impact on young minds. The titles of the scenes are in the tooltips you will see when you hover the mouse above the images.

The most striking thing is that the people in the pictures are uniformly, hideously white. There is no sign of ethnic diversity at all. We are not shown any migrants being integrated into the local population.

Gender stereotyping is everywhere: girls play with dolls and practise cooking and washing clothes; boys and men wear trousers, girls and women wear skirts. No one seems to ask them to which gender they assign themselves. There is no sex education at all: children are only taught to read and write, meaning that they are bound to grow up confused about appropriate gender interactions.

They spend their free-time playing outside completely unsupervised, at risk from every passing paedophile and murderer. Children are frequently left alone with men without any background checks, clearance or first aid training, men who even smoke in front of them, not only setting them a very bad example but also exposing them to the dangers of passive smoking. There is no regard for health and safety. Children even ride on the top of haycarts. Children play without supervision in completely unregulated areas. Some children don't even wear shoes. There is no religious diversity at all. The only forms of prayer and religious buildings are Christian.

When you look at all the terrible things children had to endure then I'm sure that you will, like me, realise how grateful we should be for the cultural and educational progress that has been made since those terrible times.

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Rudi in school. Bedtime. Morning prayers. Hobby time. On the way home from school. Greeting the Zeppelin. Playing on the building site in the evening. Work and play by lamplight. Prayers at bedtime.
Playing games on the way home from school. Punch and Judy at the roadside. A quick dog walk in the rain before night falls. Writing practice in the farmyard. Playing in the road. Small argument in the afternoon. Feeding the doves around midday. The little dove's burial.
Working in the garden. The little cook and the clothes washers. Riding games. The small builders in the sand pile. At Grandmother's house. Heini's birthday party. Heini's first school day. Holiday trip: getting ready and feeding the pets.
Holiday trip: taking the Post coach. Holiday trip: walking alongside the stream. Holiday trip: the story teller in the woods. Holiday trip: arriving in the village at midday. Holiday trip: feeding the rabbits. Holiday trip: Excitement on the evening walk. Holiday trip: going to church on Sunday morning. Holiday trip: watching the train on the way home from church.
Holiday trip: Sunday lunch at the Aunt and Uncle's house. Holiday trip: watching the monkey theatre in the afternoon. Holiday trip: playing with dolls by the barn. Holiday trip: collecting berries at the edge of the wood. Holiday trip: riding the donkey. Holiday trip: in the chicken house at the mill. Holiday trip: at the village stream. Holiday trip: a sudden thunderstorm.
Holiday trip: in the orchard. Holiday trip: the wanderer in the village and the polite boys. Holiday trip: greeting the hunters. Holiday trip: walking past the duck meadow. Holiday trip: farewell to the shepherd. Saint Nickolaus' Day: Rudi at the bakers. Saint Nicholas' Day: Rudi leaving for school. Saint Nicholas' Day: Nicholas visits the family in the evening.