Centenary Celebration of George Roeper

Reintroducing the school's co-founder

Original Publication Date: August 2010

George Roeper died in 1992, so many current community members had no personal memory of him.  The school used the centenary of his birth as an occasion to have a year-long celebration of George to reintroduce him.  The school calendar featured his image and quotations, and classes of all ages focused on the ethical issues that were a primary concern of his, as well as his celebration of nature. The Roeper Theatre Company performed productions of Cabaret, to honor the Roepers’ experiences as refugees with an essay by Annemarie in the program, and of Slaughterhouse-5, to honor their anti-war convictions. There was a keynote event held with outside speakers Adele Diamond of the University of British Columbia and Tom Roeper of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, eldest son of George and Annemarie.

George had had to flee Germany in 1938, just as he was on the verge of defending his dissertation for his doctorate in economics. For the centenary, we helped prepare a case to his former university, the University of Griefswald, to award his doctorate posthumously.  They weren’t able to do that, but on April 19, 2011, the University held a conference on the alternative education tradition in Germany and abroad in George’s honor.  Tom Roeper was one of the speakers.



Centenary Keynote Event

A celebration of George's intellectual curiosity

Original Publication Date: March 4, 2011

A keynote event was held on March 4, 2011, as the highlight of the year-long celebration of the centenary of George Roeper’s birth. The event honored George and Annemarie’s tradition of regularly bringing speakers to the school to speak on cutting-edge topics in education, psychology and other areas. Adele Diamond (on right) of the Psychiatry Department of the University of British Columbia spoke on “Teaching and Raising Children for Creativity and Fulfillment.”  The Roepers’ oldest son, Tom (on left), who is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, spoke on “Modern Cognitive Science and the Roeper Philosophy.” The program for the event included an article by School Historian Marcia Ruff describing George’s educational vision.  Roeper alumna Brittani Holsey performed original dances to celebrate George’s particular appreciation for dance. The three Roeper children, a grandson, and George’s niece attended the event. 

Karen Roeper wearing her father’s wool tuxedo that he brought from Germany for his marriage to Annemarie in New York City when they arrived as refugees in 1939.




Across Time and Space

A film about the Bondy and Roeper schools

In 2002, filmmaker Kathryn Golden released “Across Time and Space,” an hour-long documentary about Annemarie Roeper’s parents, Max and Gertrud Bondy, who were progressive, humanistic Jewish educators who established Marienau, a boarding school in Germany where children were taught self-awareness, tolerance and democracy.  Annemarie met George when he came as a student in 1924. George was a student leader and helped developed the school’s democratic decision-making structures.

This film features a number of interviews with Annemarie, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 93, and includes archival footage from Windsor Mountain School, as well as new footage from Roeper and Marienau in the 1990s, plus interviews with family members and alumni of the schools.  It explains the roots of George and Annemarie’s educational philosophy and how the trauma they suffered in Germany strengthened their belief that democracy, tolerance and non-violence are the only paths to a humane world.

Two clips from the film are available online. The first covers the rise of the Nazi Party and its impact on the Bondy family.  The second explores the education at The Roeper School.

The rise of the Nazi Party:


Education at Roeper: