Karl Linke

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Karl Linke (* 3 March 1889 in Bennungen; † 26 January 1962 in Berlin) was a German educator.


After attending the Merseburg Preparatory School from 1906 to 1909, he graduated from the seminary in Weißenfels. Later he became a teacher at a village school in the Mansfelder Land. His brother Oskar Linke[1] found him a teaching position at the Fermersleber School in the Fermersleben district of Magdeburg after the end of the First World War.

Linke was one of the founding members of the Magdeburg Arbeitsgemeinschaft sozialdemokratischer Lehrer (ASL), founded in 1919/20, and became one of its leading contributors. He was also active in the Bund freier Schulgesellschaften Deutschlands[2]which was founded in Elberfeld in 1920. Linke was close to Social Democratic ideas on reforming school education, advocated a separation of church and school, and was friends with Adolf Grimme and Kurt Löwenstein, a well-known school reformer from Berlin-Neukölln. In 1924 he became principal at the Altstädter Sammelschule in Magdeburg.

In 1927, Linke, appointed by Fritz Karsen, took over the management of the eight-grade elementary school, which was incorporated into the Neukölln school complex around the “Kaiser-Friedrich-Realgymnasium”, which was called Karl-Marx-Schule from 1929/1930. Linke thus became an important ally for Karsen in the conversion of the “Kaiser-Friedrich-Realgymnasium” into a unified school, which could be advanced in terms of school organization and didactics through this step.[3]

After the National Socialists seized power, the Bund freier Schulgesellschaften was dissolved and Linke was dismissed from the school service. Still in 1933 he fled with part of the cash assets of the Federation to France, where Löwenstein and Karsen had also gone into exile. Like his former Neukölln colleague Walter Damus, he was active at the École nouvelle de Boulogne founded by Karsen in Paris, which, however, was closed again in 1937. In Paris, he was also a member of the Association of German Teacher Emigrants.[4]

After the failure of the École nouvelle de Boulogne, Linke returned to Berlin and worked as a school supply salesman and bookseller. In 1942/43, he lost his apartment in a bombing raid during World War II and was evacuated with his family to the Harz Mountains.

After the end of the war, he became a senior government councillor and was appointed head of the school department of the Magdeburg district administration. From 1946 to 1948 he headed the same department in the Ministry of Education of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, led by Minister Ernst Thape and based in Halle (Saale). He ensured that various reform pedagogues were able to work in responsible positions. As early as 1950, however, he was relieved of his function at the instigation of the Soviet military administration and appointed professor at the University of Education in Halle.[5] He fled to West Berlin as early as March 1950. At first he worked as a teacher. In 1951 he became principal at a school in Wilmersdorf. He was involved in initiatives aimed at school reform and founded a working group of socialist teachers.


  • Obituary for Fritz Karsen. In: Berliner Lehrerzeitung 1951, page 284 ff.


  • Reinhard Bergner: Linke, Karl. In: Guido Heinrich, Gunter Schandera (eds.): Magdeburger Biographisches Lexikon 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Biographical encyclopedia for the state capital Magdeburg and the districts Bördekreis, Jerichower Land, Ohrekreis and Schönebeck. Scriptum, Magdeburg 2002, ISBN 3-933046-49-1, p. 425(article online).
  • Gerd Radde, Werner Korthaase, Rudolf Rogler, Udo Gößwald (eds.): Schulreform, Kontinuitäten und Brüche: das Versuchsfeld Berlin-Neukölln. Leske und Budrich, Opladen 1993, ISBN 3-8100-1129-0.

Individual references

  1. The reform pedagogue Oskar Linke worked as a principal in Magdeburg before 1933 and was a city school board member there after 1945. The Oskar Linke School in Magdeburg, a community and evening school with a scientific and technical profile, is named after him.
  2. Brief historical overview of the Federation of Independent School Societies
  3. Gerd Radde: Fritz Karsens Reformwerk in Berlin Neukölln. In: Gerd Radde, Werner Korthaase, Rudolf Rogler, Udo Gößwald (eds.): Schulreform, Kontinuitäten und Brüche: das Versuchsfeld Berlin-Neukölln, pp. 178-179
  4. Hildegard Feidel-Mertz/Hermann Schnorbach: Lehrer in der Emigration. Der Verband deutscher Lehreremigranten (1933-39) im Traditionszusammenhang der demokratischen Lehrerbewegung, Beltz Verlag, Weinheim und Basel, 1981, ISBN 3-407-54114-7, p. 232
  5. Reinhard Bergner, MBL, page 425