Student Journals

The BBF possesses roughly 7,000 copies of student journals, i.e. one of the largest collections of German student journals from the first post-war decades, and the collection is growing continually. The journals inform about daily life at school, youth and school culture and its change in the course of time.

After 1945, student journals were introduced to many schools in the Federal Republic of Germany following a recommendation of the western allied forces, to support the establishment of a democratic school culture, also adhering to the reform pedagogical tradition of working on school journals as an educational task. Regarding the post-war period, student journals serve a better purpose than many other sources regarding the inspection of daily life at school and the change of school cultures during the “long 1950s”. By studying student journals, it is possible to analyze school-related and external topics the students wrote about. Moreover, the journals can be studied to investigate how authoritarian relationships gradually changed at schools in West Germany, even before 1968 – and how the students contributed to a liberalization of school cultures because of their participative ideas.

Between 2012 and 2016, the collection of student journals was subjected to a first-time analysis and assessment, in the DFG-funded project “PAUSE”. A large part of the more than 7,000 individual copies (1,100 titles) of the BBF originate from grammar schools, but also from other types of general and vocational secondary school in the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, covering approximately two thirds of all student journals published in the area until 1970. The core stock consists of copies that boards of student journal editors who were organized in an alliance of young writers - the “Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Junge Presse” – had to deliver to the head office of the organization. Following the dissolution of the young writers’ archive, the comprehensive corpus was handed to the BBF in 2002. It is complemented by regional collections (Baden-Württemberg, Berlin).

A part of the collection has been digitized. For copyright reasons, the digitized copies can only be used on the computers provided in the BBF library.