An independent Preschool through Grade 12 school for gifted students.

Origins of The Roeper School

George Roeper and Annemarie Bondy arrived in the United States on the eve of World War II, grateful to be alive. Annemarie, only 20 years old, was a German girl of Jewish heritage who had twice escaped the Nazis, thanks largely to George’s courage and astuteness in reading political conditions. George, a 28-year-old German graduate student, was not Jewish but because he helped the Bondys acquire the papers they needed to leave the country, he had had to flee on a moment’s notice to escape summary execution by the Nazi authorities.

When Annemarie arrived in New York, rising before dawn on a chilly April morning in 1939 to watch as her ship passed by the Statue of Liberty, a feeling of safety washed over her for the first time in years. George, who was her fiancé, had come to America in November 1938 to find a property where Annemarie’s parents, Max and Gertrud Bondy, could establish a school and the family could begin to build a new life in America. After years of losses and fear, the family could finally glimpse a secure future.
Education was the logical choice for this idealistic, scholarly family. Max and Gertrud had founded a successful boarding school in Germany in 1920 that was a radical alternative to the rigid, authoritarian schools that made up the German educational mainstream. George and Annemarie had both been educated in this idyllic setting.

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  • Early Educational Philosophy

    But if education was the family’s most practical choice for making a living, it was also a passionately held mission, for they had all been rocked to the core by the speed and ferocity of the transformation of Germany under Adolf Hitler. How could a people of such intellectual and cultural attainments as the Germans embrace the Nazi agenda so quickly and so completely? The Germans were willing to upend their civic and judicial institutions, accept censorship and propaganda, demonize Jews and other minorities, and surrender their own rights of free speech and assembly and movement. It’s a question that baffles us still, but in 1939 it was a soul-shaking conundrum for the Bondys and George Roeper.

    The family was determined to educate children so they would not grow up to become Nazis, or to acquiesce to other tyrants. It seems an almost absurd goal: who would educate people to become Nazis? But the truth is that an education that fails to teach children to think and speak for themselves, to recognize the humanity of those about them, and to be able to analyze and interpret events and policies clearly and compassionately leaves them vulnerable to demagogues and mass movements. At Marienau, their school in Germany, Max and Gertrud had been able to teach children these skills and they were committed to continuing their work in the United States.
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Lower School and Administrative Offices
41190 Woodward Ave
Bloomfield Hills MI 48304

PHONE 248 203 7300
Middle School and Upper School
1051 Oakland Avenue
Birmingham MI 48009

PHONE 248 203 7300