Welcome Back To School
Images of 'Schultüten', sometimes also referred to as 'Zuckertüten' bring back fond memories to anyone who started primary school in Germany and Austria at about the age of six. This tradition dates back to the early 1800s and is still going strong. To celebrate the first day of school, parents or grand-parents present children with beautifully decorated cardboard cones filled with toys, chocolates, sweets, school supplies and other surprises.
This year, 2020, is different to other years. Children are returning to their schools after a five-month break (due to Covid-19) and they will have to get used to a new kind of school life. The ‘Schultüte’ tradition reminds us that we can celebrate going back to school, while acknowledging the anxieties and worries which pupils and their parents will be facing.
LB: First day of school, 1931. "This picture was taken in 1931, when I was very nearly six years old, showing me going to the school for the first time. The Germans have this rather endearing custom of giving children on their first school day a huge cone full of goodies of one kind or another, including sweets and biscuits and that sort of thing. And it makes the first day of school something rather special."
FB: First day at school (Jewish Reform Gemeindeschule in Joachimsthaler street), Berlin, 1935. "The - sort of cardboard tube was filled with sweets, which was meant to make the first day at school sweeter. I don’t know why, because I rather liked the idea. I didn’t need it to be made sweeter, but I probably had the sweets after all. I would be six-and-a-half years old."
HC: First day of school, Chemnitz, ca 1936. "This is me aged 5 when I started school in Chemnitz and the cone I am carrying was called Zuckertutte. It was filled with sweets and other things used for school, pencil cases etc."
GF: Gisela (right) and sister Sonja Knepel, first day of school, Berlin, ca. 1930. "I’m on the right and on the first day at school our mothers met us with this little sort of witches’ hat full of sweets. And it was taken in Berlin."
RK: With Schultüte, first day of school, 1930. "This is a photograph of me on my first day at school with the traditional Zuckertüte – a dunce’s hat full of sweets - standing in the playground just outside our flat."