Dr. Wolfgang Plenio, 89, north Germany's last great humanist and philosopher, lives near Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In 1973, Wolfgang was my Latin tutor in secondary school, and since then we have stayed in close touch. One of our most rewarding times together was in 1999, when he and my father flew from Germany to spend three weeks in Northfield. On that occasion he proved to be equally impressed by the Americans he met, by the excellent music programs at both St. Olaf and Carleton College, and by the "Deutsches Fest" at Carleton College, at which he presented awards to the student prizewinners in various categories.
While Germany and America both have roots in eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the "new" country of the United States has focused in its educational system more on the history of its own democratic development. By contrast, Wolfgang Plenio had the misfortune of growing up in a Germany in which the country's long classical humanistic tradition was threatened by the ideology of Nazism. In spite of this, Wolfgang never lost his faith in mankind. A few excerpts from his body of thought, drawn from our correspondence over the years, follow below.
Well, Plenio copied a part of his 2018 diary as a response, and was thankful about 'my tutroing' ... mailing him the Eichendorff text; which we first read in the QUALITY 'silvae blog' of Dr. Jay Becker, Kiel: