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In Memoriam: Solveig Rozner

Solveig Rozner
(1934-2018)

It is with great sorrow that we have heard of the passing of Solvejg Rozner in Hamburg, Germany, on December 28, 2018, at the age of 84. Solvejg was a mathematics and German-language teacher at the German School (DSW) from 1972 to 1997.

In 1972, she emigrated from Germany and became a teacher at the DSW when Erich Kleinschmidt was principal and when classes were still held in rooms of the Presbyterian Church on River Road in Potomac. During her 25 years at the DSW, Solvejg earned a reputation as a very caring, gracious, patient teacher, who loved working with elementary and middle-school students (grades 1-10).

Her leadership as coordinator for the Realschulzweig had a major impact on the curricular and instructional goals of the School. Moreover, for many years, she was elected to the position of student advocate (Vertrauenslehrer). In this role, she especially addressed the needs and concerns of Realschüler, bringing out the best in all of them.

Solvejg served as assistant principal in the elementary school and as a member of the Employee Trustee Council, helping to resolve difficult, often controversial, issues. She was a modest but very effective advocate of teachers' concerns. Her role in forming the Teachers Association was invaluable. She also gained a reputation for her very thoughtful, gracious, and humorous words whenever colleagues left the school to retire or to go back to Germany. Always eager to learn more herself, she continued to take graduate courses at the University of Maryland. And upon her retirement in 1997, she reflected on some of her experiences in an article for the DSW Festschrift (2001).

Perhaps her greatest satisfaction came from the numerous theater productions she organized in the middle school. Her 1991 production of Die Welle, for example, illustrated her serious commitment to teaching social awareness and moral values.

After retirement, Solvejg volunteered as a docent at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and then moved back to her hometown, Hamburg, to be closer to her family and friends. There she became a member of the Volksdorfer Museumsverein, teaching courses in conversation and literature in her native German dialect, Plattdeutsch. Solvejg organized discussion groups at the museum and also became the center of an informal group of former DSW teachers and students who came to Hamburg to join for yearly reunions around Thanksgiving. The gatherings offered a time to exchange tales about the DSW and former students, whom she all remembered by name.

The 1997 DSW Yearbook begins with the sentence: “1972 should be a stellar year in the history of the German School: Solvejg Rozner arrived from Hamburg in Potomac.” Clearly, Solvejg’s dedication and commitment to education leaves a meaningful legacy. She is remembered with great fondness and love by her former students and colleagues. Many more people than we can name will miss her greatly.

Dr. Peter Dreher

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