The Modern Foreign Languages Department is delighted to announce that Pearl Young, who has just completed Year 13, has recently won the Runner-Up Award in the prestigious national Oxford German Olympiad competition. Here is Pearl’s short report on her experience:
Having already come to terms with the fact that my German A-Level exams were cancelled, during quarantine I decided that I really wanted to keep going with my German learning. Something I’d wanted to do in previous years but had never got around to was the Oxford German Olympiad. One of this year’s competitions was the question, “What else can we learn from the White Rose today?”.
The White Rose, a German anti-Nazi group formed in Munich in 1942, advocated non-violent resistance as a means of opposing the Nazi regime. Some of its key members were Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl und Christoph Prost, and these courageous students published their beliefs in a series of leaflets under the name “the White Rose” (and later as “Leaflets of the Resistance”). In order to answer this question I spent time reading through, and researching, some of the original resistance leaflets the movement published. It was interesting to see how the students used their knowledge of German literature, religious teachings and also major philosophical questions to evoke emotion in the readers in the hope of sparking change. From a psychological perspective it was also fascinating to examine how the students managed to weaponise German identity in order to call the German people to action with such questions as, “”Why do people behave so apathetically in the face of these most heinous crimes?” I also wrote about how the sad execution of Hans, Sophie and Christoph reflects the fragility of totalitarian regimes and how any threat, no matter how small and peaceful, cannot be tolerated.
A few weeks ago I found out that I’d won a runner up prize in this competition which, given the standard of entries, was a great achievement, and I’m really looking forward to the Awards Ceremony scheduled for April 2021.
We send our congratulations to Pearl on her achievement, whose entry for the competition, written in German, testified to her great skills both as a linguist and as a deep thinker.
Mr A. Handley