Abitur is a qualification granted by university-preparatory schools in Germany and Estonia. It is conferred on students who pass their final exams at the end of their secondary education after twelve or thirteen years of schooling. In German, the term Abitur has roots in the archaic word Abiturium, which in turn was derived from the Latin abiturus; as a matriculation examination, Abitur can be compared to A levels, the Matura or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which are all ranked as level 4 in the European Qualifications Framework. The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife referred to as Abiturzeugnis, issued after candidates have passed their final exams and have had appropriate grades in both the last and second last school year, is the document which contains their grades and formally enables them to attend university. Thus, it encompasses the functions of both a school graduation certificate and a college entrance exam; the official term in Germany for this certificate of education is Allgemeine Hochschulreife.

In 2005, a total of 231,465 students passed the Abitur exam in Germany. The numbers have risen and in 2012, a total of 305,172 students obtained the Allgemeine Hochschulreife; this number, reflecting those who pass the traditional Abitur at their high school, is, lower than the total count. Adding the 51,912 students who obtained the Hochschulreife at vocational training schools, that total number increases to 357,084. If those who obtain the Fachhochschulreife are added the total of those who obtained the right to study at a university or a Fachhochschule is 501,483; until the 18th century, every German university had its own entrance examination. In 1788 Prussia introduced the Abiturreglement, a law, for the first time within Germany, establishing the Abitur as an official qualification, it was also established in the other German states. In 1834, it became the only university entrance exam in Prussia, it remained so in all states of Germany until 2004. Since the German state of Hesse allows students with Fachhochschulreife to study at the universities within that state.

The academic level of the Abitur is comparable to the International Baccalaureate, the GCE Advanced Level and the Advanced Placement tests. Indeed, the study requirements for the International Baccalaureate differ little from the German exam requirements, it is the only school-leaving certificate in all states of Germany that allows the graduate to move directly to university. The other school leaving certificates, the Hauptschulabschluss and the Realschulabschluss, do not allow their holders to matriculate at a university; those granted certificates of Hauptschulabschluss or Realschulabschluss can gain a specialized Fachabitur or an Abitur if they graduate from a Berufsschule and attend Berufsoberschule or graduate from a Fachoberschule. However, the Abitur is not the only path to university studies, as some universities set up their own entrance examinations. Students who passed a "Begabtenprüfung" are eligible. Students from other countries who hold a high school leaving certificate, not counted as being equivalent to the Abitur and who do well enough on the ACT or SAT test, may enter German universities.

A person who does not hold the Abitur and did not take an aptitude test may still be admitted to university by completing at least the 10th grade and doing well on an IQ test. In German, the European Baccalaureate is called europäisches Abitur, the International Baccalaureate is called internationales Abitur, both not to be confused with the German Abitur; the term Fachabitur was used in all of Western Germany for a variation of the Abitur until the 1990s. This qualification includes only one foreign language; the Abitur, in contrast requires two foreign languages. The Fachabitur allows the graduate to start studying at a university but is limited to a specified range of majors, depending on the specific subjects covered in his Fachabitur examinations, but the graduate is allowed to study for all majors at a Fachhochschule. Today, the school leaving certificate is called fachgebundenes Abitur. Now the term Fachabitur is used in most parts of Germany for the Fachhochschulreife, it was introduced in West Germany in the 1970s together with the Fachhochschulen.

It enables the graduate to start studying at a Fachhochschule and, in Hesse at a university within that state. In the Gymnasiums of some states it is awarded in the year. However, the normal way to obtain Fachhochschulreife is graduation from a German Fachoberschule, a vocational high school introduced in the 1970s; the term Notabitur describes a qualification used only during World War I and World War II. It was granted to male German Gymnasium students who voluntarily enlisted for military service before graduation as well as young women who were evacuated from the major cities before they could complete their Gymnasium education as planned; the Notabitur during World War I included an examination equivalent to the A

Hans G. Adler

Hans Georg Adler was a musicologist and classical music promoter in South Africa. He was born in Germany, into a family involved in classical music, his mother, Johanna Nathan was a professional soprano, performed for noted composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Julius Stockhausen. He studied music under Eduard Jung and left Nazi Germany for South Africa in 1933. There he was employed by a hardware Wholesaler Corporation, performed keyboard works on air with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, his passion for classical music grew as he matured, fed his desire to offer South African music lovers the highest quality of international concert presence. He was Chairman of the Johannesburg Music Society from 1954 through till 1969, when he became honorary chairman; the Society was among the first to invite many international artists and groups to perform in South Africa, expanded. Johannesburg soon became the centre of performers' broad African tours, that included the large cities of South Africa as well as visits to Kenya, the former Northern and Southern Rhodesia, the Islands of Mauritius and Reunion, the former South West Africa and sometimes the former Belgian Congo.

The quality and variety of concert life and classical music appreciation in Southern Africa improved vastly. For this achievement and the musical museum he had built up, a PhD degree from the University of the Witwatersrand was conferred on him in 1978; this passion for, love of music consumed most of his spare time, after World War II, he began expanding on the small library inherited from his father with classical music dictionaries, manuscripts, complete composer compendiums, etc. in many languages, volumes of music scores. In addition, he acquired ancient and early keyboard instruments -a 1589 Clavicytherium, Clavichords, a Glasschord, Harpsichords, a Hammerklavier and early pianos - depicting the development of the piano, his library grew comprehensive in keyboard compositions and productions, together with the instrument collection, evolved into a museum housed in his Johannesburg home. Tours for University students were sometimes conducted, the SABC periodically aired early composers' works which he would perform there, on authentic Harpsichord or a Clavichord or Hammerklavier.

Most of the musicians and groups touring Southern Africa through his invitation, between 1954 and 1978 were invited to browse in the Library and or try out the instruments. A number discovered little-known works; the Fine Arts Departments of South African Universities were interested in the Museum, it was willed to the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, who opened a "Hans Adler Memorial Museum" in their Arts Building in 1980. At one time he donated to the British Museum, who did not possess this, one of his two rare copies of Frontispice by Ravel, music, unknown, as Ravel had violated his publisher's sole publishing rights when it appeared in the popular Paris magazine "Feuillets d'art" in 1919 Are there just 5 Beethoven piano concertos? H. A. has collection evidence of a 6th piano concerto of Beethoven's, two other piano concertos that may be regarded as Beethoven's works A violin & piano sonata with two movements by Robert Schumann, one by Brahms and one by Albert Dietrich, in honour of Joachim A Schumann quartet for 4 horns and piano A Schumann andante and variations for two pianos, two cellos and French Horn long out of print, as Schumann rearranged it for two pianos alone Variations on a Russian theme, written by Artciboucheff, Liadov, Rimsky-Korsakoff and Alexander Glazunov An original Josef Suk string orchestra serenade Leopold Mozart's 1st edition of a Violin Tutor book A 1492 Incunabula by Boetius.

Treatise: Arithmetica Geometria et Musica Boetii Borodin's forgotten piano quintet A signed, numbered copy of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Skizzen und Manuskripte" and one of Detlef Kieffer's "3 Pieces Breves" donated to him when they toured S. A. A composition for him by John Ogdon and another by Julian Dawson-Lyell. Information and some photographs of the above examples can be seen on the H. A. "showcase of rare and unusual works" site. He donated, to South African Composer/Conductor/SABC Head of Music Gideon Fagan, a rare copy of Vol 1 of "The Edwin Fleischer Music Collection" for which Mr. Fagan had been searching for a decade. Discoveries of unusual Cello Works by local cello enthusiast/journalist, Joe Sack, which he passed on to other professionals, works such as:Theme and Variations on a Purcell Motif by von Weber The Rheinberger Cello Sonatas a little-known Concerto by Alcan Over one hundred and twenty five Touring musicians' dedicated photographs, recital programs and music-room comments during their Southern Africa tours.(Just a few examples: Elly Ameling, Paul Badura-Skoda and Eva Badura-Skoda, Malcolm Binns, Enrica Cavallo/Franco Gulli (Italian Violin-Piano Duo

Birger Eriksen

Birger Kristian Eriksen was a Norwegian officer, instrumental in stopping the first wave of Gruppe 5 of the German invasion force outside Oslo. Eriksen was the commander of Oscarsborg Fortress when Nazi Germany attacked Norway in the early hours of 9 April 1940, he gained lasting recognition for ordering the fortress under his command to open fire on the vanguard forces of Operation Weserübung, sinking the 16,000 ton heavy cruiser Blücher. Born on 17 November 1875 to merchant and ship captain Caspar Edvard Eriksen and his wife Jensine Petrine Arentzen in Flakstad in present-day Moskenes in Lofoten, Birger Eriksen left home early, at age 12, to go to Kristiania to study. Nonetheless, he would return home to Moskenes every summer to visit his mother until she died in 1936, having been a widow for fifty years. On 21 November 1903 in Vang, Eriksen married Christiane Sæhlie; the married couple had one son and two daughters by 1930. After Eriksen graduated from high school in 1893, he attended a technical college in Charlottenburg in Berlin, Germany for three months before returning home.

In 1896 he started his military career by graduating from the Norwegian Military Academy. By 1901 he had reached the rank of Kaptein in the Norwegian coastal artillery, by 1915 the rank of Major. In 1915, Eriksen was made commander of Agdenes Fortress off Trondheim. In 1931 he reached the rank of Oberst and two years he obtained the position of commander of Oscarsborg Fortress, a position he would hold until that fateful morning of the Battle of Drøbak Sound on 9 April 1940. By the time of the battle, Eriksen was six months from retirement. Before his Oscarsborg command Eriksen had commanded the fortresses of Tønsberg and Bergen. Eriksen was present when Oscarsborg Fortress was returned to the Norwegian military on 12 May 1945, more than five years after it had been surrendered to the Germans, following the battle. Eriksen delivered a speech about Flag of Norway as the symbol of the fatherland, as the flag that had flown over the fortress until April 1940 was again raised over Oscarsborg. Although Eriksen was honoured for his efforts after the war, he came under criticism by governmental investigators who felt he had surrendered his fortress sooner than had been necessary.

Eriksen defended himself and stated that he had been acting under enormous pressure and that he had in fact opened fire against the German invaders contrary to standing Norwegian military orders to first fire warning shots at intruders. In the investigations by both the Investigative Commission of 1945 and the Military Investigative Commission of 1946 Eriksen was confirmed to have carried out his duties to the full during the German invasion. Birger Eriksen died as a celebrated war hero on 16 July 1958; the funeral service took place at Oslo New Crematorium and the urn with Eriksen's ashes was buried at Drøbak Church. Following a private initiative and the formation of a committee to honour him, Eriksen's ashes were exhumed on 4 October 1977 and moved to the Vår Frelsers gravlund cemetery in Oslo, it is a great honour for a Norwegian to be buried in the Æreslunden there. The final recognition of Eriksen's efforts, rebuttal of the early post-war criticisms of some of his actions, took place during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

On 6 May 1995 King Harald V unveiled a statue of Eriksen on the Borggården square at Oscarsborg's Main Fort, cementing the Colonel's position amongst the foremost Norwegian leaders of the Second World War. Eriksen is portrayed by Erik Hivju in the 2016 film The King's Choice, in which the scenes recreating the Battle of Drøbak Sound were filmed on location at Oscarsborg Fortress. Either I will be decorated. Fire! It's not hard to fire guns, but it's immensely hard to make the decision to fire. Damn right we're firing live ammunition. War Cross with Sword – 16 November 1945 French Légion d'honneur – May 1946 French Croix de guerre – May 1946