Augusta Victoria College, in Bexhill-on-Sea, was made for the children of high-ranking Nazi officials
Few would have ever thought that during WW2, the Nazi party chose a detached house in Bexhill-on-Sea as the location to send their daughters when it came time to attend finishing school.
Augusta Victoria College was the name of the school. It would take in the daughter of high-ranking Nazi officials and mold them into respectable wives for the British ruling class.
Augusta Victoria College taught the daughter of Germany's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, SS chief Heinrich Himmler’s teenage god-daughter, Isa von Bergen, the daughter of Hitler's ambassador to the Vatican, and Countess Haldenberg, a niece of leading Nazi diplomat Herbert von Dirksen. Quite the assortment!
The school's badge had a Swastika on the right, a German imperial flag on the left, and a Union Jack in the middle.
Founded around 1934, the school took in up to 24 girls at any one time, aged 16 to 21.
The school's badge had a Swastika on one side, the German imperial flag on the other and a Union Jack in the middle pic.twitter.com/QVVaQAgMMw— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 16, 2021
Speaking to The Telegraph, the curator of the Bexhill Museum, Julian Porter had this to say on the school. "The girls were of marriageable age, they could speak good English and would be in high society finding husbands who were decision-makers, so they could later say, ‘Look here, dear, Hitler isn't so bad'. Whether the girls actually had any success marrying English men is not clear. Hitler wanted to run Europe, and the British Empire would continue working for him. It was an idea that he would strike a deal with the empire then there wouldn't be a war. This is one of the subtexts of the college: it's infiltrating British society."
The story of the Nazi school has been turned into a film called 'Six Minutes to Midnight' which will star Bexhill-born Eddie Izzard, and Dame Judi Dench.
Despite the tensions of the war the girls were largely welcomed in the town. Many believed that due to the girl's presence in the town, the Nazis would not attack the area at all.
Even as anti-German sentiment grew elsewhere in Britain, the girls were welcomed in Bexhill: Germany would not go to war with Britain, the thinking went, when its high-ranking daughters could be at risk pic.twitter.com/rhcv8xRISc— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 16, 2021
Speaking of Hitler's motivation for starting the school, Porter said "Hitler wanted to run Europe, and the British Empire...It was an idea that he would strike a deal with the empire then there wouldn’t be a war. This is one of the subtexts of the college: it’s infiltrating British society."
Following the outbreak of war in 1939, the school was swiftly closed. As we know, Hitler attempted to go on a rampage through Europe, so any idea that the school would help relations between the two countries was quickly squashed.