High school of the Hebrew community of Frankfort-on-the-Main. The institution, which has been in existence since Jan. 1, 1804, was founded by Siegmund Geisenheimer conjointly with a number of friends as a place of instruction and education for those in whoma desire for learning had been awakened by the movement inaugurated by Moses Mendelssohn. Before a special school was opened voluntary contributors had defrayed the cost of the education of a number of poor children who were sent to the newly founded model school in Frankfort. The Philanthropin became an independent school on Jan. 1, 1806, since which date pupils who have been able to pay for instruction have also been admitted, and the attendance has rapidly increased.
In the days of Primate (later Grand Duke) Carl Dalberg (1806-13) the young school was subventioned by the state, besides receiving the income from various legacies bequeathed to the Jewish community. A girls' school was added in 1810; in 1813 there were five classes for boys and four for girls, and the Philanthropin was included among the public schools of the grand duchy of Frankfort as "Bürger- und Realschule," attached to which was an elementary school. In 1854 the elementary school was abandoned; but the institution continued to be known until 1889 as "Real- und Volksschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde." In 1813 the Jewish community acquired the former electoral "Compostell" and presented it for a schoolhouse to the Philanthropin.
When the Vienna Congress restored Frankfort's independence the school got into financial difficulties because the subvention and the income from legacies were withdrawn from it. The latter were restored to the school by a resolution of the Senate on Feb. 13, 1819.
On Nov. 13, 1845, the school took possession of the imposing building which had been erected at the expense of the community, and which it still occupies. In 1860 a hall was built, containing a gymnasium. This was replaced in 1881-82 by a new one with two additional floors containing class-rooms and apartments for the director.
When Frankfort became a part of Prussia the school system of the city changed. By a ministerial rescript dated June 25, 1867, the Philanthropin was recognized as a "Realschule" of the second class, entitling its graduates to perform their military service in one year.
The boys' school comprises to-day (1904) three preparatory classes and six high-school classes. The girls' school consists of ten classes.
The principals of the school have been: Michael Hess (1806-55); Sigismund Stern (1855-67); Hermann Baerwald (1868-99); and Salo Adler, the present principal (since 1900). Of the prominent teachers who have labored at the Philanthropin may be mentioned: Joseph Johlson (1813-30), Michael Creizenach (1825-42), I. M. Jost (1835-60), Jacob Auerbach (1843-79), Lazarus Geiger (1861-70), andthe three mathematicians Gustav Wertheim, Emil Strauss, and Hermann Dobriner.
When founded, the Philanthropin was independent of the Jewish community, but since March 18, 1843, it has been under communal supervision. According to an agreement between the institution and the board of education, the school is "an institution of the Jewish community, and is supported at the community's expense."
A number of bequests and gifts for the provision of scholarships, etc., have been made. The school celebrated its centenary on April 15, 1904, on which occasion former pupils presented it with an endowment of more than 100,000 marks.
- M. Hess, Die Bürger- und Realschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt a. M. Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1857;
- H. Baerwald, Zur Gesch. der Schule, part i., 1869; part ii., 1875;
- L. Wiese, Das Höhere Schulwesen in Preussen, ii. 488 et seq.;
- Festschrift zur Jahrhundertfeier der Realschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde (Philanthropin) zu Frankfurt am Main, 1804-1904, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1904.