What was the order from Berlin and what changes did it cause in the school?

The order from Berlin was to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. As this was going to be his last day at the school M. Hamel had put on his best clothes, which he wore only on special occasions, The whole school seemed so strange and solemn. On the back benches that were always empty, the elderly village people were sitting quietly with a sad visage. Some of them were even crying. The students paid a great deal of attention during their last French lesson, even the little ones. Most affected was M. Hamel. Although he taught every lesson with dedication, he looked sombre and pensive with tears in his eyes.

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