My boarding school: BEA Liebenau, today HIB Liebenau Graz, Austria
History and owners:
ça 1250 first manor house
1620 abbey of Vorau
1649 Count Herberstein
1670 new renaissance manor
1681 Countess Purgstall
1735 Count Colloredo
1756 Count Gaisruck
1765 baroque gate
1790 Count Trautmannsdorf
1829 Earl of Kottowitz
1852 K.u.K. Military
1854 K.u.K. Artillery Cadet School
1919 Bundeserziehungsanstalt BEA
1935 State Military High School
1945 military hospital
1945 British occupation of Styria
1947 Bundeserziehungsanstalt BEA
1976 Höhere Internatsschule des Bundes
I beg the reader to be forgiving if these pages seem to be slightly irreverent to an institution which, over decades, has earned the generally accepted verdict of an "elite school".
Indeed, of the eighty pupils who entered the school in the fall of 1953, only 10 managed to pass all eight years, including myself. My first school years still belonged to the harsh post-war period which ended symbolically with the new Austrian State Treaty and the departure of all Allied troups in 1955. Some of the tongue-in-cheek stories of the earlier years described herein could not, or would no longer, happen today. At a recent visit I realised how much the school has shared in the tremendous re-emergence of a prospering Austria, not only economically but also culturally. Previously the school, with students primarily from all four courners of the country, had played the role of a local enclave. Today, by going co-ed and and increasing the portion of non-boarders, it has opened itself up to the populace of the second largest Austrian city and become embedded in its fabric much more than during my own school years.
What made the school outstanding, were its teachers and its innovative added curricula such as a six-week stay at a private school in central Paris, in addition the the annual hiking week in all other years. The school's main sport was handball rather than soccer, achieving first place in Styria's youth league. The trophy for the annual relay race around the Grazer Schloßberg was also won several years in a row. Student Heinzl was national youth champion in the 100m dash and long jump. Student Dallinger composed an opera (The Seven Raven) which found much acclaim in the Austrian media etc. Surely there were other top achievers after my graduation and this list could become subject of a whole new page.
Even though I have seemingly assigned each of the following little sketches to a particular year (accessed through the links at the top or bottom), they nowhere nearly explore the full fan of experiences and anecdotes lodged in my memory. The restrictions are self-imposed, merely for not letting the volume of this web site get out of hand. Please read on - and chuckle.
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