Susanne Charlotte Engelmann was born in Berlin, Germany, to a Protestant family Jewish descent. In 1905, she earned her Abitur at the private secondary school established by Helene Lange. She attended the universities of Berlin and Heidelberg, where she studied a range of subjects including German, English studies, psychology, and education. In 1910 she passed the German teaching accreditation exam, and in 1912 received a license to teach secondary school in Prussia. She spent the academic year 1913-14 at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she made contact with American academics and developed her knowledge of English that served her well later. Back in Germany, she worked as a teacher for 12 years before becoming the director of a secondary school. In 1928, she was named the director of the Viktoria-Oberlyzeum, the first all-girls school in Berlin to offer the Abitur. She was well-known in the field of female education during the Weimar Republic, publishing numerous scholarly articles and books, including Die Krise der heutigen Maedchenerziehung (The Crisis of Education of Today's Girls, 1929) and Methodik des deutschen Unterrichts (Methodology of German Teaching, 1929). With the rise to power of the Nazi regime in Germany in 1933, she was forced to quit teaching. She and her mother fled Germany for Turkey, where she worked for the American Social Service Center. After her mother died in 1940, she traveled through Russia, Manchuria, and Japan, reaching the USA in 1941. She became a guest scholar at Wilson College in Pennsylvania in 1942-1943, and held several other academic positions over the next several years. In 1947, she was named a professor at Mary Washington College in Virginia, where she worked until her retirement in 1952. Her book German Education and Re-Education (1945) established her as an expert on the Nazi methods of indoctrination. In 1952, she returned to live and work in Berlin, where she eventually received the pension due her as a teacher.