Anna Borchers

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Anna Borchers (born June 11, 1870 in Königshütte / Silesia ; † October 6, 1918 in Grünberg / Silesia) was a German kindergarten teacher who significantly influenced the Protestant kindergarten (toddler school) and after-school care system.

Anna Borchers; archived in the Ida-Seele archive
Anna Borchers with kindergarten children; archived in the Ida-Seele archive

Live and act

She came from a little wealthy miner's family with many children. Despite financial difficulties, the musically gifted girl received singing and piano lessons. At the age of 15 Anna Borchers suffered a severe blow of fate, she lost her eyesight. After attending an institution for the blind, she completed her teacher training in Wroclaw . At the age of 23 she took over the position of a nurse teacher in the “Adalbert Deaconess Mother House” in Kraschnitz / Silesia. There Anna Borchers trained the deaconesses theoretically and practically for their work in Protestant kindergartens (toddler schools).

In 1901 she went to Grünberg in Silesia, where a new deaconess institution called "Bethesda" was built, and there, too, took over the training of young deaconesses. Under her leadership, the Grünberger Diakonissenanstalt developed into an all-encompassing center of youth welfare, which enjoyed a good reputation far beyond Silesia. Anna Borchers set up a kindergarten (toddler school), a day care center and a training center for kindergarten teachers (toddler school teachers) and after-school care workers. She was particularly interested in the kindergarten (toddler school) as an institution, which she clearly interpreted as a "place of education":

“Like every nursery, the kindergarten must be a place of education. Educating means: to develop all the innate powers of the child, this goal must also be striven for in kindergarten. The physical, mental and moral strength of the child should be developed in every way in kindergarten ”(Borchers 1912, p. 50).

Anna Borchers also founded a nursery school and an infant home, and finally in 1911 the specialist magazine “Der Kinderhort”, which she herself edited for many years. In addition, she wrote many specialist books, which were widely recognized at the time. Shortly before her death, she published a specialist book, one of the first ever, on daycare education, which quickly advanced to become a standard work: “Guide to practical work in day care centers”. In it the author demanded:

“The after-school care center, like the family, should form a domestic community. That is why children should be brought up to all kinds of domestic chores under the guidance of their mother, just like at home. Just as in the family when bringing up schoolchildren in particular, attention should always be paid to the later activities of the children in life. The children are therefore to be encouraged to do all sorts of manual activities which give them the opportunity to practice themselves in order to recognize their special tasks. They should be made aware of their choice of profession and the tasks after leaving school ”(Borchers 1918, p. 9).

Anna Borchers is (also) a vivid example of the political instrumentalization of education, as the following quote shows. When the First World War broke out , she wrote under the heading "War and Education":

“As an educator, war does not only show itself in external people, its deepest effects go into internal life: it leads the hearts of many thousands of people back to God and thus carries out the highest educational work on our people. If it has always been our highest endeavor to bring up the children entrusted to us in a truly religious way, to lead them into a conscious relationship with God and the Savior, we now have a powerful ally in the war ”(Borchers 1915, p. 2).

In memory of the Protestant pedagogue, the “Anna Borchers Archive” was founded in 1992, with its seat in the “Elisabethenstift” in Darmstadt .

Obituary notice; archived in the Ida-Seele archive

Works (selection)

  • Festive hours with our little ones. Poems and songs for schools for small children and after-school care centers, Dresden 1905.
  • Handout for educational work in families and institutions, Dresden 1907.
  • From the nursery into the world. Paths that you can go with the little ones, Dresden 1910.
  • Guide for practical work in kindergarten and toddler room, Dresden 1912.
  • What every woman needs to know about public life. Brief introduction to civic education, Dresden 1914.
  • War and upbringing, in: The day care center 1915 / H. 4, p. 1 ff.
  • Guide to practical work in the day care center, Dresden 1918.


  • Manfred Berger : Forgotten women of social education. Bielefeld 1992, p. 21 ff.
  • Manfred Berger: Women in the history of kindergarten. A manual. Frankfurt / Main 1995, p. 19 ff.
  • Manfred Berger: Borchers, Anna. In: Hugo Maier (Ed.): Who is who of social work. Freiburg / Brsg. 1998, p. 99 ff.
  • Johanna Ernst: Anna Borchers. Memories from her life. Grünberg 1919.
  • Manfred Berger:  Borchers, Anna. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 20, Bautz, Nordhausen 2002, ISBN 3-88309-091-3 , Sp. 244-250.
  • Manfred Berger: The Kindergarten from 1840 to the Present, Saarbrücken 2015, p. 48 ff.
  • Andreas Neumann-Nochten: Anna Borchers. The important Silesian pedagogue died 95 years ago, in: Schlesischer Gottesfreund 2012 / N. 11, pp. 154-155

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