The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics is a revolutionary system for calculating and teaching basic math. Children, who had repeatedly failed in arithmetic until their parents sent them to learn this method, were able to perform amazing calculations within seconds. In one demonstration, a ten year old child, when asked to multiply 5132437201 times 452736502785, simply wrote on the blackboard the answer, 2323641669144374104785, in seventy seconds. He never set up the basic and familiar line by line chart, multiplying and adding each row of numbers. Instead, he just wrote down the answer without any of the intermediate steps. To demonstrate his method, Trachtenberg chose children who were doing poorly in their school work. These were children used to failure, shy and withdrawn; or at the other extreme, rebellious and unmanageable. The children's responses to the new, easy way of doing arithmetic was immediate. They found it delightfully like a game. The feeling of accomplishment soon made them lose their disagreeable traits. Equally important were the by-products the pupils attained while learning this new system. As these youngsters became proficient in handling numbers, they began to spurt ahead in all their studies. Their IQs went up as well! Not only did the child learn to compute, but his IQ also went up. Since all problems were worked out in his head, he developed an excellent memory and his ability to concentrate was increased. The Trachtenberg system, once learned, can take the drudgery out of the arithmetic that is part of everyone's daily stint. Experts believe that the Trachtenberg system could have far-reaching effects on education and science.
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Jakow Trachtenberg (1888-1953) developed this system during the seven years he spent in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He had been born in Odessa, Russia on June 17, 1888 and was recognized as a genius at an early age. When the First World War broke out, he was a Pacifist, opposed to the war, and wrote published articles attacking the war. When the Czar of Russia was overthrown, he had to flee to Germany. When Hitler came to power, he did the same thing again, writing magazine articles and books attacking the policies of the Soviet and German governments. His books included “Das Land das blutet. Bilder aus dem heutigen Russland” meaning “The country bleeds. Pictures from today's Russia” in 1928. In 1931, he wrote, “Das Problem der UdSSR”. In 1933, he wrote “Die Greuelpropaganda ist eine Lügenpropaganda sagen die deutschen Juden selbst” meaning “Atrocity propaganda is a Lügenpropaganda says the German Jews themselves” which stated “Some Jewish circles in Germany, who favored German nationalism, felt that the anti-Nazi reactions outside Germany had been exaggerated or distorted. They were afraid, that anti-Nazism would endanger the position of the Jews”. “Die Greuelpropaganda ist eine Lügenpropaganda sagen die deutschen Juden selbst. Atrocity Propaganda is based on Lies say the Jews of Germany themselves. La propagande d'atrocites n'est que mensonges declarent les juifs allemands eux-memes.” Nachdruck der Jakow Trachtenberg Verlag Ausgabe von 1933. Here he is defending the German government from attacks by Jews outside of Germany, calling it “Atrocity Propaganda”. This may explain why he did not flee to the United States as did so many Jewish intellectuals during this period. The immediate prewar years found Professor Trachtenberg living in Vienna and Yugoslavia - almost always as a fugitive. In Vienna in 1936 he wrote “Der russische Bauer heult unter dem Bolschewismus” meaning “The Russian farmer howls under the Bolshevism”. The police state finally caught up with him, and he spent a total of seven years in various concentration camps. It was during these years that Professor Trachtenberg developed his system of speed mathematics. Most of this was done without pencil and paper, since none were available. Thus the majority of the steps are performed mentally.
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