It is in a picture-postcard setting and it is one of Germany’s most celebrated places of learning. But the elite Odenwald boarding school is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
While today’s youngsters are educated in safety, child sex abuse claims from the past have sparked a major scandal. With reports that up to 100 children are involved, headteacher Margarita Kaufmann has said sorry on behalf of the school.
“Today I am sending a letter to our former pupils from 1970 to 1985 and in it I present my apologies to the victims in the name of the Odenwald school,” she said.
“And I want to repeat these apologies here. We cannot make good the suffering but what we can say is: we acknowledge that there was suffering.”
The secular school, south of Frankfurt, is highly reputed as a modern and progressive educational establishment.
The scandal comes in the wake of revelations of abuse at Jesuit schools in Germany. Seeking more clarity from the Catholic Church, the government has demanded a zero tolerance approach to child abuse.