In 1963, an immigrant couple from Germany began teaching the German language to a class of eight students -- their children and a few friends. They understood what a gift language is to communication, exploration, and understanding other cultures. What Alfred and Anna Marie Kaufmann appreciated was how language can be a link to the past and to the future. They also realized that a large part of their past and much of the quality of their future would be lost if they didn’t pass on the gift of language to their children.
Only four months after these simple beginnings in the living room of the Kaufmann home, the German School of Fremont was founded by the Kaufmanns and four dedicated German teachers. Logan Junior High in Fremont was the first home of the German School and Culture Club.
Flyers distributed at Fremont delis and word of mouth brought in an equal number of children of German parents and American children. Many American parents were reminded of their German, Austrian, or Swiss heritage and they recognized an opportunity to recapture a part of their lives. Initially, the school was thought of for children but as interest and the need grew, it was clear adults were equally interested in improving their skills.
"What better way to study German than with our children." the parents thought. It quickly became clear that new adult classes were needed. Within months, in those early years, the school could boast of a student body of 130 ranging in age from three to 84.
Over the years the student body changed. There are now few immigrants arriving from German-speaking countries, and the school is comprised of Americans. More than half of all students at our school are adults. The school has gone through many changes, constantly striving to stay current and always endeavoring to provide relevant language instruction and have fun at the same time. It is a fact of life that people change and tastes change. One can expect things to be different. What counts is the German School’s commitment to offering a bridge to a richer life. The atmosphere and the spirit of the German School of Fremont remain the same as in its early days: to have a sense of community and to provide students with a better understanding of the customs, the history, and the culture of the German speaking countries.
It is safe to say, that Alfred and Anna Marie Kaufmann would never have imagined that a school they started in their home more than 45 years ago would still be offering the gift of language to the community today.
The German School of Fremont is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1963. Our mission is to teach the German language to interested students of all ages through a variety of instructional methods.