The Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) grounds during the Weimar Republic
The years between the two world wars were characterised on the one hand by the desire to revive the previously existing Lebensreform (life-reform) movement projects in the garden city. For example, the architect Heinrich Tessenow founded the Hellerau artisan community modelled on medieval artisan settlements, and three people trained in Hellerau by Jaques-Dalcroze opened the Neue Schule für Rhythmik, Musik und Körperbildung (New School for Rhythm, Music and Physical Education). All projects suffered as a result of the global economic crisis or had to yield to increasing political pressure from the National Socialists.
Revival of the Lebensreform (life-reform) movement projects
Shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, Wolf Dohrn had died in a skiing accident in February 1914. His brother Harald Dohrn (1886-1945) then took over as the director of the educational institution. After the end of the war, he tried to revive the previously existing Lebensreform (life-reform) movement projects in the garden city together with the architect Heinrich Tessenow and the publisher Jakob Hegner.
The Hellerau artisan community
Heinrich Tessenow returned from Vienna to the garden city for good in the summer of 1918 and immediately founded the Hellerau artisan community, which attracted great public attention and existed until 1926. The community consciously distanced itself from any machine production of arts and crafts products and thus intrinsically contradicted the practice of the Deutsche Werkstätten (German Workshops). Tessenow saw the ideal for an organically grown human coexistence in the medieval artisan settlements with master, journeyman and apprentice under one roof and in hierarchical order. From Hellerau, he called for the nationwide establishment of such small town settlements, but this social experiment did not catch on.
The Neue Schule für Rhythmik, Musik und Körperbildung (New School for Rhythm, Music and Physical Education)
After his stay in Switzerland, Emile Jaques-Dalcroze did not return to Hellerau. Christine Baer-Frisell (1887-1932), Valeria Kratina (1892-1983), and Ernst Ferand-Freund (1887-1972) had once taken lessons from Dalcroze. In 1919 they founded the Neue Schule für Rhythmik, Musik und Körperbildung (New School for Rhythm, Music and Physical Education), which existed in Hellerau until 1923. Although it failed to achieve the great international success of the first school for rhythm, it laid the foundation for a revival of the reform spirit in the garden city. In addition, the school for rhythm, together with the artisan community and the reform schools founded in the first post-war years, took responsibility for the education of children living in the garden city.
Global economic crisis and political upheaval
All reform projects suffered as a result of the global economic crisis and had to cease operations by the mid-twenties for financial reasons. This was compounded by increasing political pressure from the National Socialists at the beginning of the 1930s. For example, the State Welfare School, opened in 1929, had to close its doors, and a stop was also put to the Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) being used as a rehearsal stage for the Dresden State Opera. The buildings were repeatedly empty or used for storage until Harald Dohrn finally sold his shares in the Hellerau educational institution in 1935 and moved away. In 1938, the state bought the site and set up a police school there.