History of Schule Schloss Salem.


Schule Schloss Salem was founded in April 1920 by Prince Max von Baden, his advisor Kurt Hahn, and the well-known educator Karl Reinhardt in Salem.

From the beginning the founders gave their co-educational school a decidedly reformist profile which, despite some necessary modernizing of educational precepts and teaching methods, still guides its course and principles today.

Challenging learning situations, age-appropriate experiential education, and the concept of learning to take on responsibility through service to the community and active participation in the school community were and are the core elements of a Salem education.

Also visit our YouTube channel


In the years of the Nazi regime Salem went through the most difficult period in its history. Kurt Hahn, a Jew, was arrested in March 1933 and in the July of the same year he had to emigrate to England. There he participated in the founding of Gordonstoun, the renowned Scottish boarding school.

Under the prudent direction of Dr. Heinrich Blendinger Salem was able to avoid coming under the influence of the Nazis at first. But in August 1941 the Salem schools came to be supervised by the inspectorate of German boarding schools, and the SS took over the school's management. In July 1945 Schule Schloss Salem was dissolved.



In November 1945 Salem was reopened by Marina Ewald, a former staff member and confidante of Kurt Hahn. Salem was able to take up where it had left off in 1941 under the leadership of a series of heads of school - Prince Georg Wilhelm von Hannover, Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche, Horst Freiherr von Gersdorff and Hartwig Graf von Bernstorff - and consolidate its position in the German educational landscape. In 1950 the Altsalemer Vereinigung (ASV), the alumni association, was re-established.

In 1962, Kurt Hahn founded the first United World College, the UWC of the Atlantic. Staff members of that College, in turn, helped in 1968 to initiate the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB ) which incorporates a program of extracurricular pedagogy as envisioned by Kurt Hahn.
During Kurt Hahn's 80th birthday celebrations in June 1966 one of his first pupils and later pedagogical companions, Jocelin Winthrop-Young,  suggested the founding of an international network among schools which follow Hahn's pedagogical philosophy.  Named after a round barn within the round courtyard of Gordonstoun, it became known as the Round Square. This association of boarding schools all over the world laid an important foundation stone for Salem's internationality, which since the 1990s has found expression in the International Baccalaureate track, in its community of pupils and teachers from over 40 nations, and in the program of 1:1 pupil exchanges with over 50 partner schools on five continents.


1970 – 2000

In the early seventies under the headship of Prof. Ilse Lichtenstein-Rother and, from 1974, under Dr. Bernhard Bueb, Salem continued to develop its school structures and pedagogical philosophy. More scholarships were awarded and the number of pupils steadily increased. In the mid-1980s Salem's future was threatened by the termination of the right of use of Salem castle. In 1996 the family of the Margrave of Baden and the school agreed on a long-term right of use contract. In 1992 the International Baccalaureate was introduced. In September 2000 the school opened Salem International College in nearby Überlingen. Through investments and with generous donations from alumni amounting  to around 35 million Euros, the College has brought new life to the educational principles of the founding fathers and the idea of internationality. 

Also visit our YouTube channel

2000 – 2016

At the end of the school years 2004/05, Dr Bernhard Bueb -- who had served for 30 years as Head of Schule Schloss Salem -- together with Dieter Plate, long-time Director of Studies and Deputy Head, stepped down. The occasion was marked by a grand farewell ceremony organized by the board of trustees and alumni association (ASV).

Ingrid Sund, Director of Studies at the Deutsche Schule Paris, assumed the overall headship of the Salem schools until the end of the academic year 2005/06.

From 1 January 2007 to 31 August 2011 Prof. Dr. Dr. Eva Marie Haberfellner served as head of school.

Since August  1, 2012, Bernd Westermeyer, formerly Rector of Schulpforta, a state-run school founded in 1543 in today's Saxony-Anhalt, has held the position of Headmaster of Schule Schloss Salem.

Together into the future.