For example, Germans occupied Poland, then Ukraine as a part of USSR. And this occupation went on for several years. Did universities keep on working? Schools? How did the curriculum change? I understand that there was no need to change maths. But what about history? Economics? Literature?

Were new textbooks written? Or were those lessons and faculties just abolished? Maybe someone knows concrete examples of how Germans dealt with those issues?

Was it very different in Ukraine and France for example? Maybe Germans thought that Slavs didn't need schools and colleges at all?

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    No, universities were closed. Slavs were not granted access to educations anymore as they were supposed to becomes either exterminated (in urban areas) or slaves for the great german aryan race (in rural areas).
    – Bregalad
    Aug 1, 2015 at 16:30
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    It was different in France, as they were not considered to be "untermenschen" by the Nazi, not supposed to become slaves for German people.
    – Bregalad
    Aug 1, 2015 at 16:31
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    In Poland at the beginning of German occupation Cracow professors were sent to concentration camps in the frame of Sonderaktion Krakau. All Universities were closed and only primary and lower technical schools were allowed.
    – helcim
    Aug 1, 2015 at 18:15
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    @Bregalad additionally, most of France was not ruled directly by Germany but by Vichy France, which was the "legal" authority (of course, as long as it did not antagonize Germans occupiers). Given the political similitudes to Nazi Germany, I would expect that they follow the same steps (expulsion of Jews of any teaching position and as university students, including racist POV in books, etc.)
    – SJuan76
    Aug 1, 2015 at 19:46
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    I disagree with those voted to close this interesting question.
    – Alex
    Aug 2, 2015 at 12:37

4 Answers 4


Depends on the country. In occupied Norway there were several factors. Many schools became barracs for german soldiers or used for other purposes by the occupiers.

There were attempts to "nazify" the schools (as well as the church and the organizations for various sports), which ended with the arrest and deportation of many teachers. These were replaced by more "suitable" people, which perhaps had less experience as teachers. Some parents took their children out of schools and home-schooled them.

In Oslo students at the University went on strike and demonstrated. This resulted in mass-arrest and the closing of the University. It's worth mentioning, that the resistance movement also flourished among youth in high-school and college age, and that several resistance-groups had universities as their base (for example the Norways technical university in Trondheim).

So this combined -- closed schools, bad teachers, and joining various resistance movement -- made educations (especially higher education, but primary too) somewhat "scetchy" in Norway during the five years the occupation lasted.


In the places that I know, universities were working: in Lvov, Kiev, Kharkov. Certainly universities were working in Paris. Schools were also working. Of course, in Soviet Union, students were not indoctrinated in Communist ideology under the occupation. Whether they were indoctrinated in any other ideology, and how, it is hard to tell: the teachers were the same, after all. Germans did not send teachers to teach in Ukraine. Enrollment to the universities sharply decreased, of course, and many teachers had to leave. Others were fired. In Lvov, the Germans shot 25 university professors soon after the occupation. Many courses were cancelled. But those universities that I mentioned were not completely closed.

I found it difficult to learn more detail about the occupied Soviet Union, because the whole subject of German occupation was somewhat taboo in the Soviet Union. I have not seen textbooks published under occupation, but this very informative article cited by Anixx and translated into English by Google, details how the Germans printed Russian language textbooks, for use in formerly Soviet schools beginning in the school year that started on October 1, 1942.

  • This article says that immediately after occupation everybody should hand over all Soviet school textbooks: almavest.ru/ru/favorite/2011/03/29/194
    – Anixx
    Aug 2, 2015 at 8:59
  • @Anixx: This is an interesting article, containing a lot of information on the question. I suppose many of this site readers are not fluent in Russian, so I propose you to write an abstract of this article in English as an answer to this question.
    – Alex
    Aug 2, 2015 at 12:31
  • This question is closed. And... Who is supposed not to know Russian here? The topic starter definitely does.
    – Anixx
    Aug 2, 2015 at 12:59
  • I voted to re-open. If there is enough interest among the participants they will re-open it. Myself, I have no problems with reading Russian:-)
    – Alex
    Aug 2, 2015 at 13:01

In the first year of the war in the West, life went on as usual, schools would open for the new school year, Universities opened their gates, heck even football season continued in the Netherlands (and other Western countries) up until 1944. Universities were rapidly closed as the outrage about dismissal and ban of Jewish professors and other legislation caused resistance; they closed in late 1940/early 1941. As for other types of schools, at first the only difference was that the new bosses interfered much more with the ongoings of the schools and were trying to nazify the Dutch youth. However, unlike in Eastern Europe, the population in Western Europe was on a much and much bigger scale concerned about what was happening to their fellow Jewish countrymen, leading to one school in my own home area calling upon their students to all wear yellow stars of David in response to the Jewish inhabitants of their town being forced to. All the students adhered and this was the ONLY example in the West, de facto the whole of occupied Europe, that all the students of a school showed their disgust of the new measures. This incident, as well as the "Dokwerker" strike in Amsterdam of February 1941 (the first ever done during WW2 and the only one of it's kind in the West) and other incidents made it happen that school life was severely interrupted by the end of school year 1940-41 and that schools would close down for increasingly longer periods of time until they were definitively shut down in school year 1944-45.

  • the main reason schools were shut down in the Netherlands during the winter 44/45 was the complete disruption of society due to the famine caused by Hitler's insistence that the Dutch population be starved rather than let them be liberated by the allies (something so cruel even Seys Inquart opposed it and eventually negotiated the allied food drops in the spring of 1945 with the allied high command in direct opposition to his orders).
    – jwenting
    Jun 6, 2018 at 8:08

The rest of pre-war Czechoslovakia (without Sudetenland) was occupied by German forces on March 15, 1939 (creation of Protektorat Bohmen und Mahredn) and at the same time a Slovak state was formed.

In October 1939, while celebrating anniversary of formation of Czechoslovakia (1918), a Czech university student Jan Opletal was shot, and later died. His funeral became a pretext for suppression of Czech university students, many were executed or sent to concentration camps. ALL universities closed. High school remained opened and operational. The German language became compulsory as the second language at schools.

All other "normal life" in an occupied country continued: football league, movies were shot as well as 250.000 Jews who has been living in Czech.

  • 1
    Sources would improve this answer and make it more likely that people will upvote :) Jun 5, 2018 at 12:35

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