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Birth of Johann Jakob Froberger in Stuttgart, Germany. Froberger was an outstanding composer of the early Baroque period. He composed at the court of Vienna from 1641-1645 and from 1653-1657. He composed primarily for the harpsichord and organ.

Birth of Adolf von Lützow in Berlin, Germany. After Napoleon had defeated Prussia, Lützow organized a cavalry numbering over 3, 000 troops (the Lützowsche Freikorps) which operated in guerrilla fashion behind French lines. His corps continued activity until the final defeat of Napoleon.

Birth of Friedrich Augustus II, king of Saxony, in Dresden, Germany. Friedrich Augustus had granted a certain degree of democratic reform in Saxony prior to 1848. However, he felt that the constitution adopted by the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 went too far and refused to support it. As a result he experienced a revolt among his own people in 1849 which he was able to put down only with the help of Prussian troops.

Birth of Wilhelm Hofmeister in Leipzig, Germany. Hofmeister was a botanist who was a pioneer in comparative plant morphology. He was a professor at the University of Tübingen. His most important work is found in Vergleichende Untersuchungen (1851).

Opening of Germany’s first parliament at the Church of St. Paul in Frankfurt. The parliament is constituted to have 649 members but is never able to achieve the full number. On the average 400 to 450 delegates attend sessions. The parliament developed as a result of the revolutions in the winter of 1848.

Birth of Hermann Müller in Mannheim, Germany. Müller was a member of the SPD who served twice as chancellor during the Weimar Republic. He was able to negotiate the Young Plan which somewhat reduced the reparations demanded by the Versailles Treaty. He resigned as chancellor in 1930, unable to deal with the disastrous effects of the depression.

Birth of Walter Gropius (1883-1969) in Berlin, Germany. An architect who was director of the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau from 1919-1928 Gropius designed buildings at the Bauhaus complex in Dessau, The Harvard University Graduate Center ant the U. S. Embassy in Athens. Gropius studied in Munich and Berlin. He pioneered the prefabrication of building components. During World War I he served with the German cavalry. In 1915 he married Alma Schindler, who at various times also married several other European notables including Gustav Mahler and Franz Werfel. Gropius left Germany in 1934 and in 1937 accepted a position at Harvard University in the United States.

Birth of Rudolf Carnap in Ronsdorf, Germany. Carnap was a philosopher within the school of logical positivism. He studied at the universities of Jena and Freiburg. His academic career began at the University of Vienna where he was very influential in the “Vienna Circle” of philosophers. He became interested in the philosophy of science and in 1930 he founded, with Hans Reichenbach in Berlin, the journal “Erkenntnis”. Among his books are, Der logische Aufbau der Welt (1928), Logische Syntax der Sprache (1934), Meaning and Necessity (1947), and Logical Foundations of Probability (1950). In 1936 he immigrated to the United States and taught at the University of Chicago. In 1952 he joined the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and in 1954 the University of California at Los Angeles.

Death of Gustav Mahler in Vienna.

Death of Eduard Adolf Strasburger in Bonn. Strasburger, a plant cytologist, earned his doctorate at the University of Jena. He taught at the universities of Warsaw, Jena and Bonn. Strasburger developed an accurate understanding of the embryonic sac in gymnosperms and angiosperms. In his Über Zellbildung und Zelltheilung he developed the principles of mitosis and showed also that nuclei can arise only from the division of other nuclei. In 1882 he coined the terms “cytoplasm” and “nucleoplasm”. He discovered that the rise of sap is a physical rather than physiological process.

In the United States the Selective Service Act is passed to raise the army needed to participate in WWI.

Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII) undertakes his first trip to Germany as ambassador of the Vatican. He will take up a residence in Munich.

Death of Blessed Blandina (1883 – 1918) Blandina is the name chosen upon her entry into the Ursulan order by Maria Magdalena Merten. She was born in the village of Düppenweiler, Germany in 1833. She entered the Ursulan order in 1908 and took her final vows in 1913. She was active as a teacher in Saarbrücken and Trier. She contracted tuberculoses in 1916 and died of the disease in 1918 in the convent in Trier. During her lifetime she was noted for her great piety. During her illness she was noted for her deep faith and patience. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 1, 1987. Her day of remembrance in the Church is May 18.


Death of Otto von Guericke in Hamburg, Germany.  As a German scientist, inventor, and politician, Von Guericke invented a different kind of air pump in 1650.  It made vacuums. He was the first to learn that light travels through a vacuum, but sound does not. He was also the first to demonstrate that a vacuum can, in fact, exist. Through his demonstrations of vacuums he also demonstrated the effects of air pressure. In 1663 he built the world’s first electric generator.

Birth of Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen (Baron Münchhausen) in Bodenwerder, Germany. Münchausen had been a soldier in the Russian army fighting against the Turks. In 1760 he retired to his estates in Hannover and gained a wide-spread reputation as a story teller with his wildly exaggerated narrations of his adventures as a soldier. The first publication of his tales was in Vademecum für lustige Leute between 1781 and 1783. Rudolf Erich Raspe published a collection of stories based on the Münchhausen tales London in 1785, Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The first German color motion picture (at roughly the same time as the American Wizard of OZ ) was the story of Baron von Münchhausen.

Birth of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in Gotha, Germany. Blumenbach, a comparative anatomist, is the “father of physical anthropology”. He was a professor at the University of Göttingen. It was he who created the classification of “Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Ethiopian, and American.” He is the author of Collectionis suae Craniorum Diversarum Gentium Illustrateae Decades (1790-1828).

Death of Otto Nicolai in Berlin, the composer of Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (The Merry Wives of Windsor).

Birth of Ottmar Mergenthaler in Hachtel, Germany. Mergenthaler immigrated to the United States in 1872. In 1886 he invented the linotype machine.

Max Hödel attempts to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Death of Max Reger in Leipzig, Germany. Reger ,an organist and composer, composed and played in Munich from 1901-1907. In 1907 he became a professor of composition in Leipzig. He became the conductor of the orchestra of Meiningen in 1911. Noted compositions by Reger are Böcklin Suite, Variations and Fuge on a Theme by Mozart, Phantasie und Fuge über B-A-C-H, and Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme.

Adolf Eichmann is arrested by Israeli secret service agents near Buenos Aires. Eichmann had been born in Solingen, Germany. Eichmann joined the Nazi Party in 1932. He became a member of the SS (Schutzstaffel) in 1932. During the Nazi years he was in charge of eliminating Jews in Vienna, Prague and Berlin. He was present at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in 1942 when the “final solution” was concretized. He was to coordinate arrangements. At the end of the war Eichmann escaped Germany and lived in Argentina. He was discovered by the Israeli secrete service in 1960. He was then transported out of Argentina and taken to Israel, tried for crimes against humanity, found guilty, and hanged on May 31, 1962 in Tel Aviv.

Death of Hans Luther in Düsseldorf, Germany. A politician, Luther was the mayor of Essen before moving to national politics in the Weimar Republic. He was finance minister in the cabinet of Gustav Stresemann and was successful in stabilizing the currency after the great inflation. In 1925 and again in 1926 he was named chancellor. In 1930 he became the president of the Reichsbank (Germany’s central bank). From 1933 to 1937 he was the ambassador to the United States. In 1937 he retired from politics.

The reform of the West German postal system begins with a law passed on this day in the Bundestag which will divide the postal system into the telephone system (Deutsche Telekom), the post office (Deutsche Post), and the postal bank. Private competition will be allowed in telephone long distance service. Until this time all of the services mentioned above had been incorporated into one entity, Die Deutsche Post.


Feast Day of St. Florian. St. Florian was a Roman militar ry officer stationed in Lorch, Austria (at that time Lauriacum in the Roman Empire). Florian adopted the new Christian religion. He refused to give up his faith when arrested during the persecution of Diocletian. He was tortured and finally killed. A stone was tied around his neck and he was thrown into the river Enns where he drowned. The martyr, Florian, was regarded as a saint long prior to the practice of formal canonization by a pope. His feast day is May 4. A millstone, said to be the stone which was tied around Florian’s neck at his drowning, is kept in the crypt of the Church of St. Florian near Linz.

Death of St. Gotthard. St. Gotthard was born in Reichersdorf, Bavaria, Germany in 960. He was educated in school of the Benedictine monastery in Niederaltaich ( Bavaria). He continued his studies in Salzburg, Austria. He joined the Benedictine order at the monastery in Niederaltaich and became the Abbot in 996. He was a strong defender of the Cluny reforms and in that spirit took on the reform of the monastery in Hersfeld. He continued thereafter to reform several additional monasteries. He became the Bishop of Hildesheim in 1022. During his lifetime he built 30 churches. Legends tell that he awoke persons from the dead in order to hear their confessions and save their soles. He was canonized in 1131 by Pope Innocent II. He was the first Bavarian to be canonized. His feast day is May 4. His relics are preserved in the Benedictine monastery in Hildesheim. St. Gotthard died on 1038. The St. Gotthard pass in the Alps is named for him.

Birth of Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus in Dortmund, Germany. Brockhaus bought a bankrupt lexicon in 1808 and expanded it into a full encyclopedia, Der große Brockhaus. In 1818 Brockhaus moved his operations to Leipzig where he published, in addition to his encyclopedia, a variety of other reference works, criticism, histories and biographies. After World War II the publishing company, which is still in family hands, was moved to Wiesbaden.

Birth of the philosopher Johann Friedrich Herbart in Oldenburg, Germany. Herbart is one of the founders of the modern science of pedagogy. He studied under Fichte at the University of Jena and while working in Interlaken, Switzerland became a friend of Pestalozzi. In 1808 he was appointed to a chair of philosophy at the University of Königsberg as Kant’s successor. In philosophy he was interested in the philosophy of the mind. He developed a perception of the mind as a collection of a series of sensory units he called “Vorstellungen”. His two primary works on education are Pestalozzis Idee eines A B C der Anschauung (1802) and Allgemeine Puadogogik (1806). In the latter he developed a 5 step approach to learning.

Birth of Ferdinand Sommer in Trier, Germany. Sommer was an historical linguist who did significant work with the Hittite and classical languages. Sommer was sequentially a professor at the universities of Basel, Rostock, Jena, Bonn and Munich.

Birth of Fritz von Opel (1899-1971) in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Opel was of the automotive Opel family – the only child of Wilhelm von Opel, and a grandson of Adam Opel, founder of the Opel Company. With Max Valier and Friedrich Sander he did early experiments with rocket propulsion for automobiles and aircraft. He is remembered mostly for his spectacular demonstrations of rocket propulsion that earned him the nickname “Rocket Fritz”.


Feast day of St. Peter Canisius. Peter de Hondt (St. Peter Canisius) was born in Nimwegen (Germany at that time, now the Netherlands). In 1536 he began his studies at the University of Cologne. In 1543 he became the first German to enter the order of Jesuits. He founded the first Jesuit house in Germany in Cologne. During his lifetime he founded many other Jesuit centers in Germany including Ingolstadt and Prague. He taught at a number of universities and for a time was the rector (president) of the University of Ingolstadt. He was a prolific writer and preacher. He was active in several pivotal assemblies in the early struggles between Protestantism and Catholicism. He was an advisor to the Bishop of Augsburg at the Council of Trent. At that Council he met and was personally instructed by the founder of his order, Ignatius. He became a leader in the “counterreformation” in Germany. His most noted work of this period was his “German Catechism”. Canisius died in Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1597. Canisius was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI and named a Doctor of the Church. He is sometimes called the “Second Apostle of Germany” (Boniface being the first).

Birth of Josef Gottlieb Kölreuter (1733-1806) in Sulz, Germany. Kölreuter war a botanist who pioneered the study of plant hybrids. Kölreuter completed his doctorate in medicine at the University of Tübingen. He became a professor of natural history in Karlsruhe. In his work with plants he was the first to use artificial fertilization. He was also the first to cross plants of different species.

Birth of Johann Friedrich Cotta in Tübingen, Germany. Cotta was a publisher who founded the journal Die Horen with the classic writer Friedrich von Schiller in 1794. Cotta also published many of the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Christoph Martin Wieland, A. W. Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck, Jean Paul, Heinrich von Kleist, Wilhelm and Alexander Humboldt, Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Hegel.

Birth of the younger brother of “Mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria (Neuschwanstein Castle), Otto (1848-1916), in Munich. Otto had been insane since 1872. When his brother, the king, Ludwig II died in 1886, Otto became the king, despite his insanity, under the regency of his uncle, Luitpold. He remained king until his cousin Ludwig III declared himself king on November 5, 1913.

Death of Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, Germany. Husserl was the philosopher who founded phenomenology. Husserl studied at the Universities of Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna. Having earned his doctorate at the University of Vienna he studied further with the philosopher Franz Brentano. Husserl taught at the Universities of Halle and Göttingen. At Göttingen he worked with Max Scheler and Wilhelm Dilthey. In 1916 he accepted a position at the University of Freiburg. Among Husserl’s books are Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie (1913), and Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie (1936).

The U. S. Justice Department bars the President of Austria Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, because of his suspicious actions as a soldier in WWII.


Birth of Johann Agricola (1494-1566) (original name: Johann Schneider) in Eisleben, Germany (He was a friend and supporter of Martin Luther). Agricola became a strong proponent of the concept that Christian grace replaces the Ten Commandments, which would no longer, then, have force. These views led to a cooling of relations with Luther. In 1584 Agricola was called upon to draft the Augsburg agreement, which for a time settled difficulties between Protestants and Catholics.

Death of Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707) in Leipzig, Germany. Denner was a musical instrument maker who invented the clarinet.

Birth of Franz Xaver Winterhalter in Menzenschwand, Germany. Winterhalter was a portrait painter who did many portraits of royalty. He was active in France and England as well as Germany.

Death of Carl Loewe in Kiel, Germany. Loewe is remembered primarily for his Lieder (artistic songs). Noted among his Lieder are, “Erlkönig”, “Edward”, “Herr Oluf” and “Archibald Douglas”.

Birth of Willi Hennig (1913-1976) in Dürrhennersdorf, Germany. He was a leader of the cladistic school of phylogenetic systematics (a system of biological classification). Hennig worked at the German entomological Institute in East Berlin. He resigned in 1961 in protest at the construction of the Berlin Wall. He then moved immediately to West Germany and later found a research position at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart.

Death of Helmut Käutner in Castellina, Italy (born in Düsseldorf, Germany). Käutner was a film director who started his directing career in film during World War II. His first film Romanze in Moll (1943) had the distinction of being designated by Joseph Goebbels as “decadent and defeatist”. Subsequent films include In jenen Tagen (1947), Des Teufels General (1955), and two films he made in Hollywood The Wonderful Years (1957) and A Stranger in My Arms (1957).


Heinrich V is crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope in Rome. He ruled starting from 1111 till 1125 and was the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry’s reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor. By the settlement of the Concordat of Worms, he surrendered to the demands of the second generation of Gregorian reformers.

Händel‘s Messiah is performed for the first time (in Dublin). Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Händel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
Birth of Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966) in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. Binswanger was a psychiatrist who brought the principles of existentialist phenomenology into psychotherapy. He based his diagnoses on self-image. Works by Kreuzlingen include Erinnerung an Sigmund Freud (1956) and Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins (1962).


Death of Bl. Notker Babulus (der Stammler)(ca. 840 – 912). Blessed Notker was born near St. Gallen, Switzerland in about 840. He studied at the school of the Monastery of St. Gallen and became a monk there. He wrote a large number of works during his lifetime as a teacher at the monastery school. He was beatified in 1512 by Pope Julius II. The word “Babulus” in his name translates to “stutterer”, a , malady which was so pronounced as to become a part of his name. Notker’s remains lie in the basilica in St. Gallen, Switzerland. His feast day is May 7. (In the Lutheran tradition his day of remembrance is set as April 6.)

Death of Albrecht Dürer in Nürnberg, Germany. He was a friend of Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus. He was appointed court painter to the Holy Roman Emperors, Maximilian I and Charles V. Dürer is noted principally for his woodcuts and wood engravings. Some of his best known works are “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, “The Passion of Christ”, “Adam and Eve”, and “St. Jerome in his Study”. He was also a painter. His “Self Portrait” is well known as is his “Adoration of the Magi” Dürer is also noted for his water-color studies of natural history.

Birth of Johann Kuhnau in Geising, Germany. Kuhnau was a composer and the cantor at the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig from 1701 to 1722. He was succeeded in his position by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Birth of Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl in Grossvargula, Germany. Ritschl was a classicist specializing in the works of Plautus. He served as a professor at the universities of Halle, Breslau, Bonn and Leipzig. It was at Bonn that he worked with a promising freshman, Friedrich Nietzsche. When Ritschl moved to the University of Leipzig in 1865, Nietzsche followed him and ultimately received his doctorate from Leipzig under the tutelage of Ritschl. It was Ritschl who recommended Nietzsche for his position at the University of Basel. Later after the attacks on Nietzsche’s first book, Die Geburt der Tragödie, Ritschl distanced himself from his student.

Birth of Kurt Georg Kiesinger in Ebingen, Germany. Kiesinger (CDU) was the chancellor of West Germany from 1966-1969. His period of office was shared with foreign minister Willy Brand (SPD) during the “Grand Coalition”. In the next term Willy Brand was elected chancellor and the coalition with the CDU was ended.

Birth of Feodor Lynen (1911-1979) in Munich, Germany. Lynen was a chemist at the University of Munich who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964 for his research on the metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids.

The U. S. Congress approves a resolution of war against Germany. (The resolution of war on Austria-Hungary will not follow until December 7.)

Death of Hugo Gressmann in Chicago (born in Mölln, Germany). Gressmann was an old testament scholar who was educated at the University of Kiel and was a professor at the University of Berlin. He is noted for his religio-historic approach to old testament studies. Noted books by Gressmann include Der Ursprung der israelitisch-jüdischen Eschatologie (1905), Der Messias (1929) and Die älteste Geschichtsschreibung und Prophetie Israels (1910).

Birth of Andre Previn (original name: Andreas Ludwig Priwin) in Berlin, Germany. Previn was a pianist, composer and conductor. He won four Academy Awards for his music. He arranged music for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and MGM. He was the director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Previn immigrated to the United States in 1939.

`Death of Heinrich Lübke. Lübke was born on October 14, 1894 in Sundern, Germany. He would grow up to be the president of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany at that time). He studied economics and law at the universities in Berlin and Münster. He entered politics in 1931. In 1933 he was removed from all offices and sent to prison by the Nazis. In 1945 he reentered politics within the CDU party. He was very interested in agricultural policy and served in several posts with responsibility for that area. From 1959-1969 he served as President of the Federal Republic of Germany. (Remember that the President of Germany is a different office than that of the Chancellor. It is the Chancellor who is the head of government. During the time that Lübke was President, the chancellors were Konrad Adenauer, Ludwig Erhard and Kurt Georg Kiesinger.)


Birth of Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim in Windecken, Germany. Oppenheim, a jurist, immigrated to London in 1895 to teach at the London School of Economics. In 1908 he became a professor at Cambridge University. He specialized in international law. He based his concept of international law on adherence to specific agreements and customs between nations. His most significant book is International Law: A Treatise (2 vols. 1905-1906).

Birth of Bernhard Voldemar Schmidt (1879-1935) who was a German optician. In 1930 he invented the Schmidt telescope which corrected the optical errors of spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism, making possible for the first time the construction of very large, wide-angled reflective cameras of short exposure time for astronomical research.

Birth of Melanie Klein in Vienna, Austria. Klein specialized in the psychoanalysis of children using free play with toys as a method of analysis. She held a position at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute before immigrating to England in 1926. Klein wrote, The Psychoanalysis of Children (1932), Envy and Gratitude (1957) and Narrative of a Child Analysis (1961).

Birth of Erwin Panofsky in Hannover, Germany. Panofsky was an art historian, who made significant contributions to iconography. He was educated at the University of Freiburg and taught at the University of Hamburg. He immigrated to the United states in 1931. In America he taught at New York University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Among his works are, Studies in Iconology (1939), The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (1955), and Tomb Sculpture (1964). Panofsky died on March 14, 1968 in Princeton, NJ.

Death of Karl May in Radebeul, Germany. Since the turn of the century German youth have encountered the American frontier through the wild west novels of Karl May. The novels of Karl May are among the all time best-sellers as ever new generations read of Winnetou and the other adventurous May characters. Some of the best known of the novels are Der Schatz im Silbersee (1894), Durch die Wüste (1892) and Winnetou (1893).

Death of Friedrich Bergius (1884-1949) in Buenos Aires (born in Goldschmieden, Germany). Bergius was a German chemist who discovered how to convert coal dust and hydrogen into gasoline. For this work he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1931. He also did some work on the conversion of wood into sugar.

Death of Fritz Wolfgang London in Durham, North Carolina (born in Breslau, Germany (now in Poland). The physicist, London gained his education at the universities of Bonn, Frankfurt, Göttingen, Munich and Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1939 and was a professor of theoretical chemistry at Duke University. He introduced the quantum mechanical treatment of the hydrogen molecule. He developed the phenomenological theory of superconductivity and published two books on superfluids in 1950 and 1954.

Death of Erwin Piscator (1893-1966) in Starnberg, Germany. Piscator was a theater producer/director in Berlin during the period of the Weimar Republic. He introduced a variety of technological innovations into the theater. He was socially engaged and concerned about the situation of the worker. During WWII he went into exile in the United States, where he headed the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York City. He returned to Berlin after the war and continued to produce controversial works such as Rolf Hochhuth’s Der Stellvertreter and Die Ermittlung by Peter Weiss.

Death of Heinrich Brüning in Norwich, Vermont, U. S. A. (born in Münster, Germany). Brüning, a member of the Catholic Centre Party, became chancellor of the Weimar Republic in 1930. Although he was considered an economics expert, the world depression along with the reparation payments of the Versailles Treaty made economic stability in Germany impossible. Unemployment increased dramatically and there was a drastic fall in the standard of living. As the situation grew more and more chaotic, he made use of Article 48 in the constitution and governed by presidential emergency decree. Hoping to bring about a more workable situation, he dissolved parliament (Reichstag) and called for new elections in September, 1930. The plan was a disaster, for it was in that election that the Nazi party gained considerably in the new parliament. In 1932 Brüning resigned. He left Germany in 1934 and found his way to the United States where he taught political science at Harvard University from 1937 to 1952.

Death of Karl Rahner in Innsbruck, Austria (born in Freiburg, Germany). Rahner, a Jesuit priest, introduced existentialist elements into Thomistic philosophy. He was a professor of theology at the universities of Innsbruck, Munich and Münster. Noted books by Rahner include, Geist in Welt (1937), Sendung der Gnade (1966), Grundkurs des Glaubens (1976) and Über die Sakramente der Kirche (1974).


Death of St. Heribert von Köln. Heribert von Köln was born in Worms in ca. 970 and educated at the cathedral school in Worms. He was ordained a priest in 994. In 999 he was named Archbishop of Cologne by the emperor Otto III, and confirmed by the Pope Sylvester II.  In 1003 he founded a monastery in Deutz, having a vision to do so. During his lifetime miracles were attributed to him.  Heribert died on 1021, and buried in Deutz near the monastery he founded. His golden shrine is located today in the church of St. Heribert in Deutz (today a part of Cologne.) He was canonized in 1147 by Pope Gregory VII. His feast day is March 16. During his lifetime he was a close advisor to emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and made a number of trips to Rome.  He had been honored as a saint before his formal canonization.

Birth of Caroline Lucretia Herschel in Hannover, Germany. Herschel was the sister of the astronomer Sir William Herschel. Some years after William had emigrated to England, he sent for her. Her early assignment was to keep house and to grind and polish mirrors for her brother. She soon began, however, to do much of the mathematical calculation of her brother’s work. After she had begun to do her own telescopic observations she discovered three nebulae and eight comets. In 1798 she completed a catalog of 560 stars missing in the British Catalogue. By 1822 she had completed a catalog of 2,500 nebulae and star clusters. She was given a gold medal by the British Astronomical Society. After her brother’s death she returned to Germany and continued her work there.

Birth of Georg Ohm (1789-1854) in Erlangen, Germany. Ohm was a physicist at the Jesuits’ College in Cologne and the Polytechnic School of Nürnberg. He discovered Ohm’s Law, the flow of an electric current through a conductor is directly proportional to the voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance. In electricity, the unit of resistance is named for him.

Birth of Karl Brugmann in Wiesbaden, Germany. Brugmann, a Neogrammarian, was a professor of comparative linguistics at the University of Leipzig. His Outline of the comparative grammar of the Indo-European languages (Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen) (1893, and 1916) remains the authoritarian grammar of Indo-European.

Birth of Heinrich Kayser (1853-1940) in Bingen, Germany. Kayser was a physicist, who, through spectral analysis, discovered helium in the atmosphere of the earth (1895). Prior to that scientists had detected helium only in the sun and in some minerals.

Birth of Clemens Graf von Galen in Dinklage, Germany. Galen was the Bishop of Münster during the period of Nazi domination. From the beginning he publicly criticized the party and on occasion complained directly to Hitler. In the early years he had some successes with his protests. On one occasion he even ignited a public demonstration. Documents found after the war indicate that the party was about to have him done away with, but wanted to wait until their victory in the war. Of course, the Nazi victory was never achieved and at the end of the war, in 1946, Galen was made a cardinal. Cardinal Galen died on March 22, 1946.

Death of August von Wassermann in Bamberg, Germany. Wassermann was the bacteriologist who discovered the blood-serum test for syphilis, the Wassermann test. He worked at the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases in Berlin.

Winston Churchill suggests that Germany rearm and contribute to its own defense.


Death of St. Bruno von Querfurt (970 – 1009) Bruno was educated at the cathedral school in Magdeburg. He later entered a monastery and took his vows in 999. He was sent as a missionary to Poland. In 1008 he sought to found a mission among the Prussians. He and his companions were killed by the resentful pagans there. He was soon revered as a martyr.

Birth of Caroline Neuber (1697-1760) (born Friederike Caroline Weissenborn) in Reichenbach, Germany. “Die Neuberin” as her close associate, the critic Johann Gottsched, called her, was largely responsible as an actress and a theater director of moving German theater from loose slapstick productions to serious performance of quality plays. She and her husband, Johann Neuber, formed their first theater company in 1727 in Leipzig. The early collaboration with Gottsched turned to a bitter feud in later years. At one point she referred to him from the stage as a “bat-eared censor”. She is the model of the character Nelly in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister.

Birth of Franz Joseph Gall in Tiefenbronn, Germany. Gall concluded from his research that mental functions are located in given areas of the brain. This was considered contrary to religion at the time and laws were passed against his findings and he was forced to leave Austria, where he was working. History proved that he was correct in his conclusions. However he also concluded that one could determine personality and intelligence from examining the skull (phrenology). In the latter matter he was incorrect.

Death of Friedrich Klinger in Dorpat, Estonia (born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany). A dramatist (and later in life a general) Klinger gave the name to the Sturm und Drang movement in German literature with his play Der Wirrwarr, oder Sturm und Drang (1776). His play Die Zwillinge (1776) is also of historic significance as is his novel of 1791 Fausts Leben, Taten und Höllenfahrt.

Birth of Wilhelm Pfeffer in Grebenstein, Germany. Pfeffer was a pioneer in the study of osmotic pressure in plants and in the general physiology of plants. He was a professor of biology at the universities of Bonn, Basel, Tübingen and Leipzig. He died in Leipzig on January 31, 1920.

Birth of Josef Kohler in Offenburg, Germany. Kohler, a judge and, later, a professor of law at the University of Berlin, examined the purpose of law within the framework of the thought of Hegel. His most significant book was Lehrbuch der Rechtsphilosophie (1908). He also wrote a novel and poetry.

Death of Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig in Berlin. Wilhelm had become the first Emperor of the German Empire in 1871. Wilhelm became the king of Prussia on January 2, 1861. He appointed Otto von Bismarck chancellor in 1862. He led the victorious Seven Week’s War against Austria in 1866 and the war against France in 1870-71. Following the Franco-Prussian War on January 18, 1871 he became emperor of the new German Empire.

Death of Frank Wedekind in Munich, Germany. Wedekind was a dramatist in the transition period between Realism and Expressionism with a foretaste of the Theater of the Absurd. Noted dramas by Wedekind include Frühlings Erwachen, Erdgeist, and Die Büchse der Pandora. His Lulu dramas inspired Alban Berg’s opera, Lulu.

Death of Kurt Georg Kiesinger in Tübingen, Germany. Kiesinger (CDU) was the chancellor of West Germany from 1966-1969. His period of office was shared with foreign minister Willy Brand (SPD) during the “Grand Coalition”. In the next term Willy Brand was elected chancellor and the coalition with the CDU was ended.


Birth of Franz von Sickingen in Ebernburg, Germany. A character in Goethe’s play, Götz von Berlichingen, the historic Sickingen was a defender of the Protestant cause in Germany. His end came when he declared war on Richard of Greiffenclau, the archbishop of Trier and was defeated. After that defeat he gradually lost support and gradually all of his holdings.

Johann Sebastian Bach becomes Concertmaster in Weimar.

Death of Salomon Gessner in Zürich, Switzerland. Gessner was a writer known for his rococo style. His most noted works are Idyllen (1756-1772) and Der Tod Abels (1758). Sir Walter Scott, and Lord Byron expressed admiration for Gessner’s pastoral themes.

Birth of Carl Schurz in Liblar, Germany. Schurz, a liberal political thinker in his youth, took part in the revolution of 1848. He was imprisoned for that activity but escaped and immigrated to the United States. A resident of Wisconsin, he soon became strongly involved in the antislavery movement. He served as a general in the Civil War. After the war he worked for the dignity and rights of the former slaves. He was elected to the Senate from the state of Missouri in 1869. Under President Hayes he was secretary of the interior. After his retirement from government he edited the New York Evening Post and The Nation.

Birth of Theodor Nöldeke in Harburg, Germany. Nöldeke was a scholar who gained a reputation for his extensive Islamic studies. His most noted book is History of the Persians and Arabs during the Sasanian period     r Geschichte der Perser und Araber zur Zeit der Sasaniden (1879).

Death of Wilhelm Olbers in Bremen, Germany. Olbers, a physician and astronomer, identified the asteroids Pallas and Vesta and five comets. He created a method of determining the orbits of comets. It was he who developed the theory that the tail of a comet is directed away from the sun due to solar radiation.

Birth of Hans Lietzmann in Düsseldorf, Germany. Lietzmann, a church historian, was a professor of classical languages and church history at the universities of Jena and Berlin. He is noted for his insightful work on Christian origins.

Death of Eberhard Faber in New York (born in Stein, Germany). The brothers, Lothar and Eberhard Faber, built a small family pencil business into worldwide firms producing writing instruments and art supplies. The younger brother, Eberhard immigrated to the United States in 1849 to build a factory to supply the American market. The European branch of the company is no longer owned by the Faber family, but the American branch is.

Death of August Wilhelm Eichler in Berlin, Germany. Eichler was a botanist who developed one of the first systems of plant classification. He was a professor of botany at the Technical University of Graz and the University of Kiel. In 1878 he became the director of the herbarium at the University of Berlin.

Birth of the composer, Kurt Weill (1900-1950) in Dessau, Germany. Weill studied composition with Albert Bing, Engelbert Humperdinck and Ferruccio Busoni in Berlin. His first major successes were operas in collaboration with the writer Bertold Brecht. Brecht and Weill wrote Die Dreigrosschenoper (1928), Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1930), Der Jasager (1930) and Der Lindburghflug (1928) for which Brecht and Weill were joined by Paul Hindemith. When the Nazis came to power Weill joined the illustrious group of artists which were termed degenerate and banned. Weill immigrated to America where he wrote the music for Johnny Johnson (1936), Eternal Road (1937), Knickerbocker Holiday (1938), One Touch of Venus (1943) and Down in the Valley (1948)

Ludwig Erhard becomes the director of the Economic Management Administration for the combined American/British occupation zones. The Administration is located in Frankfurt am Main.


Birth of Johann Clauberg in Solingen, Germany. Clauberg was a philosopher who became the leading German follower of Rene Descartes. He was a professor at the University of Duisburg. Noted works by Clauberg include Defending Cartesianism (Defensio Cartesiana) (1652) and Etymological Teutonic Art from Philosophy (Ars Etymologica Teutonum e Philosophiae) (1663).

Birth of Siegfried Bernard Albinus (1697-1770) in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. An anatomist, Albinus was the first to understand the relationship of the circulatory systems of a mother and unborn child. Albinus is best known for his monumental Tables of the skeleton and muscles of the human body (Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani), first published in Leiden in 1747.

Birth of Johann Baptist Cramer in Mannheim, Germany. His family took him to England as an infant. Cramer became one of the leading pianists of his day. He founded the London music publishing company, Cramer and Company. Cramer died on April 16, 1858 in London.

Birth of Leo von Klenze (1784-1864) in Bockenem, Germany. The architect, Klenze worked primarily in Munich for Maximilian I and Ludwig I. He built the Glyptothek, the Propylaeon in Munich.

Birth of Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859) in Hanau, Germany. Along with his brother, Jakob he is known most for the Grimms’ fairy tales, published as Kinder- und Hausmärchen. (1812-1822). But the brothers did a huge amount of work which is equally important but less known. Between 1816-18 they published Deutsche Sagen, a collection of German legends. The most extensive work undertaken by the brothers was the complete German dictionary, Deutsches Wörterbuch. The work was so extensive that neither lived to see it completed. Scholars continued the work after the Grimms’ deaths and finally finished it about a century after they had started it. Wilhelm Grimm also published a collection of the stories of the heroic ancients from the 6th to the 16th centuries, Die deutsche Heldensage.

Der 24. Februar is the title of a very popular novel by Zacharias Werner in which murder and fate center around a single knife. The novel was published in 1809.

Birth of Edwin Freiherr von Manteufel in Dresden, Germany. Manteufel was a general in the Prussian army. He served as aide-de-camp to Friedrich Wilhelm during the uprisings of 1848. In 1861 he was made chief of the Prussian military cabinet. He served with noted success in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. From 1871-1873 he commanded the Prussian occupation forces in France. In addition to his military duties, he undertook a number of diplomatic missions.

Birth of Carl Gräbe in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. A chemist, Gräbe synthesized the dye, alizarin, from coal tar in 1868. His dye immediately replaced the natural orange-red dye in textiles. Gräbe was a professor at the Universities of Königsberg and Geneva. He introduced the prefixes ortho- meta- and para- to designate isomers. Graebe died on January 19, 1927 in Frankfurt am Main.

Death of Johann Jakob Bausch in New York (born in Groß Suessin, Germany). Bausch Moved to Bern, Switzerland in 1848 and found work in an optical shop. In 1849 he immigrated to the United States. In 1853 he opened an optical shop in Rochester, New York. Most of the products he sold, he imported from Germany. In 1855 another immigrant from Germany, Henry Lomb joined the business. Together they built one of America’s leading optical companies, Bausch and Lomb.


Birth of Rudolph Jacob Camerarius (1665-1721) in Tübingen, Germany. Camerarius was the botanist who proved the existence of sexes in plants, identified the reproductive parts, and demonstrated the role of pollen. He was a professor of medicine and director of the botanical gardens at Tübingen.

Birth of Adam Friedrich Oeser in Hungary. A painter, Oeser was educated in Vienna and spent his adult life working in Germany. He joined the art historian Johann Winckelmann in urging that art be based on Greek masterpieces. Oeser worked primarily in Dresden and Leipzig painting in oil and creating frescos in public buildings. Oeser died in Leipzig on March 18, 1799.

Birth of Johann Tobias Mayer (1752-1830) in Marbach, Germany. Mayer was the astronomer who worked out lunar tables sufficiently accurate to determine longitude at sea within a half a degree. He had developed a system of calculating longitude by measuring angular separation between the moon and fixed stars as well as a system of correcting for atmospheric refraction. Mayer published his first calculations while a cartographer in Nürnberg. He was later appointed professor at the University of Göttingen. Mayer died on February 20, 1762 in Göttingen.

Birth of Friedrich Klinger in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. A dramatist (and later in life a general), Klinger gave the name to the Sturm und Drang movement in German literature with his play Der Wirrwarr, oder Sturm und Drang (1776). His play Die Zwillinge (1776) is also of historic significance as is his novel of 1791, Fausts Leben, Taten und Höllenfahrt.

Birth of Friedrich Eduard Beneke in Berlin, Germany. An anti-Hegelian philosopher at the University of Berlin, Beneke argued that inductive psychology is the starting point of all philosophy.

Death of Johann Pestalozzi in Brugg, Switzerland. Pestalozzi was a philosopher of educational reform, whose ideas comprise much of the way we think of early education today. Such matters as his notion that the poor should also be educated, consideration of individual differences, group work, and formal training of teachers were revolutionary in his day. He was deeply influenced by the romantic philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Books by Pestalozzi include, Die Abendstunde eines Linsiedlers (1780), Meine Nachforschung über den Gang der Natur in der Entwicklung des Menschengeschlechts (1797) and Wie Gertrud ihre Kinder lehrt (1801).

Birth of Otto Liman von Sanders in Stolp, Germany. In 1913 Liman, a German general, was appointed head of the German military mission in Turkey with the purpose of reorganizing and building the Turkish army. His major victory was at the head of the Turkish 5th Army which forced the British and Australian troops out of the Dardanelles in World War I.

Death of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) in Paris (born in Düsseldorf, Germany). Heine studied at the University of Göttingen where he earned a degree in law. Although he converted from his Jewish roots to Christianity in 1825 with the specific purpose of opening the possibility of a career in law he never did practice. His true talents and interests lay in poetry. Although he was in many respects overshadowed by his contemporary, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, he was one of the greatest poets of the century. Inspired with the ideals of French democracy he left Germany for a life in Paris in 1831. Among Heine’s works are Buch der Lieder (1827), Ideen. Das Buch Le Grand (1827), Neue Gedichte (1844) and Romanzero (1851). The last years of Heine’s life were tormented with a decay of his nervous system.

Birth of Ernst Troeltsch in Haunstetten, Germany. Troeltsch was a theologian and philosopher who did extensive work in ethics, the sociology of religion and comparative religious studies. His primary academic appointments were at the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin. Often criticized for his relativism he insisted that the church rethink its claim to absolute truth. Troeltsch died on February 1, 1923 in Berlin.

Birth of Hans J. Morgenthau in Coburg, Germany. Morgenthau was educated in law in Germany. He became the chief of the German Labor Law Court in Frankfurt before accepting a temporary teaching position in Geneva. Hitler came to power while Morgenthau was in Switzerland. Not wishing to return to Hitler Germany, he immigrated to the United States. He taught at a number of American universities during the following 40 years. During that academic career he wrote several books on international politics.

Death of Graf Lexa von Aehrenthal in Vienna. He was the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister at the time of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908).

Birth of Rita Süssmuth in Wuppertal, Germany. Dr. Süssmuth studied Romance languages and history at the Universities of Münster, Tübingen and Paris. She was in turn a professor at the Ruhr University of Bochum. A member of the CDU party, she has been a member of the Bundestag since 1987. She has held several ministerial positions in the German government and was elected President of the Bundestag in 1988 and reelected in 1994.

Death of Bruno Walter in Beverly Hills, U.S.A. Walter was a leading orchestral conductor of his day. After establishing a reputation in Cologne, Berlin, Vienna and Leipzig he moved to the United States (1939) where he conducted in New York.

Death of Hans Hofmann in New York City (born in Weissenberg, Germany). Hofmann studied painting in Munich and Paris. He opened an art school in Munich in 1915. He developed Expressionist use of colors in his work. In 1930 he immigrated to the United States where he opened the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art in New York. That school became one of the leaders in the U.S. His thinking and work tended more and more to total abstraction in painting. He was one of the developers of the paint-dripping technique.

Death of the writer Ernst Jünger in Riedlingen, Germany.


Birth of Johann Eck (birth name Johann Maier) in Egg, Germany. Eck was ordained a Catholic priest in 1508 and attained the degree, Doctor of Theology in 1510. He then was appointed as professor of theology at the University of Ingolstadt. Eck was outraged at Luther’s 95 theses which he denounced as heresy in 1518. He debated directly with Luther in 1519. In 1520 he assisted in the writing of the papal bull condemning Luther’s theses and threatening excommunication. He continued, with papal authority, to struggle against the Reformation for the remainder of his life.

Birth of Leonty Leontyevich Graf von Bennigsen in Grunswick, Germany (original name Levin August Gottlieb von Benninsen). Bennigsen joined the Russian army in 1773 and fought the Turks in 1774 and 1778. He was a Russian officer crushing the Polish uprising in 1793. He participated in the Russian invasion of Persia in 1796. He became the Governor of Lithuania in 1801. He fought Napoleon in 1806, 1807, and 1812. He led a Russian force against Napoleon again at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. In 1818 he retired to his estate near Hildesheim, Germany.

Birth of Victor Hensen (1835-1924) in Schleswig, Germany. Hensen was a physiologist who created the term “plankton” for the tiny organisms in the sea. He was a professor at the University of Kiel. Hensen died in Kiel in 1924.

Birth of Victor Mordechai Goldschmidt in Mainz, Germany. Goldschmidt was a mineralogist specializing in crystallography. He indexed and cataloged all known crystals and established tables of crystal angles. From the number series in crystal symbols he developed a theory of number and harmony which subsequently was applied in several fields of study.

Birth of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) in Augsburg, Germany. Brecht was among the best of the German Marxist playwrights. His plays include Baal (1923), and Trommeln in der Nacht (1922). With musician, Kurt Weill, he wrote Die Dreigroschenoper (1928) and Aufstieg und fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1930). He fled the Nazis, living in Scandinavia and then the United States where he lived and worked in California. During the war he wrote Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (1941), Leben des Galilei (1943), and Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (1943). In 1947 he was required to appear before Joseph McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities to answer questions about his alleged communist affiliations. He left the United States immediately thereafter. He lived for a short time in Switzerland and then emigrated into East Germany where he founded his own theater, Der Berliner Ensemble. He wrote Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (1948) and Der Aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui (1957). In addition to his plays, Brecht was a preeminent theoretician, developing the concepts of alienation effects and epic theater.

Birth of Richard Brauer in Berlin, Germany. Brauer was a mathematician who followed up on Georg Frobenius’ work on group characters. Brauer developed a theory of modular characters, which was a step forward in algebra. In Germany he taught at the University of Königsberg. In 1935 he was appointed to a position at the University of Toronto and in 1948 a position at the University of Michigan.

Death of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) in Munich. Röntgen was the discoverer of X-rays. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery in 1901. Röntgen was professor of physics at the Universities of Strassburg, Giessen, Würzburg and Munich. The first X-ray picture he took of a human being was of his wife’s hand.


Death of St. Ansgar. St. Ansgar. In 823 he became a teacher in the newly founded monastery in Corvey, Westphalia (modern Germany). In 829 he founded the first Christian church in Sweden. He returned to Germany in 831 and became the first bishop of Hamburg. He continued his work of christianization in Denmark and Sweden, but after attacks by the Vikings not only was Christianity halted in those lands, but Hamburg itself was destroyed (845). He was then made the first bishop of Bremen. From there he continued his efforts to bring Christianity to the Scandinavian countries. He died in 865 in Bremen. Through his efforts he is known as the Apostle of the North. He was canonized by Pope Nicholas I. He is the patron saint of Denmark. February 3 is the feast day of St. Ansgar.

Death of Johannes Gutenberg (1395-1468) in Mainz. He was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. His major work, the Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible), has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.

Birth of Friedrich Freiherr von Seydlitz (1721-1773) in Kalkar, Germany. Von Seydlitz was the commander who built the Prussian cavalry of Friedrich II into the best in Europe.

Birth of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger in Klosterneuburg, Austria. An organist and composer, Albrechtsberger was appointed court organist in Vienna in 1792 and music director at St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna in 1793. His most noted student was Ludwig van Beethoven.

Birth of Wilhelm Gesenius in Nordhausen, Germany. Gesenius was a professor of theology at the University of Halle. As a theologian he was not remarkable, but he made major contribution to the study of Semitic languages, publishing several grammars and dictionaries.

Birth of Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847), known generally as Felix Mendelssohn, in Hamburg, Germany. The composer, Mendelssohn, is one of the outstanding figures in the history of music. Mendelssohn was born to a Jewish family in Hamburg, but was baptized a Lutheran. The name, Bartholdy, was taken from a wealthy uncle and attached to the Mendelssohn name at the time the uncle’s properties passed to the family. A child prodigy, Mendelssohn gave his first public concert at age 9 in Berlin. He wrote one of his masterpieces, the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at age 17. In 1843 Mendelssohn founded a conservatory of music in Leipzig where he and his friend Robert Schumann taught composition.

Birth of Hugo Junkers (1859-1935) in Rheydt, Germany. Junkers founded an aircraft factory in Dessau in 1910. His J-1 Blechesel of 1915 was the world’s first functional all-metal airplane. The Junkers company supplied Germany in World War II with the Ju 52 troop transport and the Ju 87 Stuka (a shortened form of Sturzkampfflugzeug). Junkers died on his birthday in 1935.

Birth of Annette Kolb (1870-1967) in Munich, Germany. The writer, Annette Kolb (pseudonym of Anne Mathilde Kolb), emigrated to France in 1933 and later to the United States. Among her works are Die Schaukel, Das Exemplar, and Briefe einer Deutsch-Französin. She was awarded the Literature Prize of the City of Munich on her 75th birthday.

The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany in reaction to German resumption of unlimited submarine warfare. (President Wilson had just been reelected with the campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war!”)


Birth of Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim (pseudonym: Justinus Febronius) in Trier, Germany. Hontheim, a Roman Catholic priest, was a historian and theologian. He was a professor at the University of Trier and in 1748 became an auxiliary bishop of Trier. In 1763 under the pseudonym, Justinus Febronius, he published a book, De Statu Ecclesiae et Legitima Potestate Romani Pontificis (Concerning the state of the Church and the Legitimate Power of the Roman Pope) in which he proposed the limitation of the power of the Pope in the Church. His intention was to draw Protestants back to the Church through the limitation of one of the factors which kept the division in Christianity. His book was condemned and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.

Birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) in Salzburg, Austria. He was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. In his youth Mozart toured and gave spectacular concerts in the major music centers of Europe. After early work at the court of Salzburg he achieved his apex of composition in Vienna. Mozart composed 14 masses, 2 oratorios, 15 operas, 56 symphonies, 71 pieces for piano, 88 pieces of chamber music, 54 concertos and over 250 ensembles as well as 131 vocal pieces. The circumstances of his early death at the age of 35 have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.

Birth of Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854) in Leonberg, Germany. Schelling was a philosopher. In his formative years he was highly impressed with the ideas of Kant, Fichte and Spinoza. In 1798 he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Jena. Not long after his marriage to one of the leading intellectual women of the age, Caroline Schlegel, he accepted a professorship at the University of Würzburg. It was at about this time that his relationship with Friedrich Hegel, which had been close, began to deteriorate and grow into antagonism. In 1841 he was appointed to a professorship at the University of Berlin. While in Berlin, he had contact with and began to influence the thinking of Friedrich Engels, Soren Kierkegaard and Jakob Burckhardt. Among Schelling’s important books are Über die Möglichkeit einer Form der Philosophie (1795), System des transzendentalen Idealismus (1800), and Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809).

Birth of David Friedrich Strauss in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Strauss was a highly controversial Protestant theologian, influenced in his thinking by the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel. His first major work Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet (1836) sought to prove the gospels to be simply “historical myth”. His last publication, Der alte und der neue Glaube (1872) was no less controversial, as he sought to replace Christianity with a form of Darwinism.

Death of the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte in Berlin.

Birth of Wilhelm II in Potsdam, Germany. Wilhelm was the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Germany from 1888 to the end of World War I. He was the grandson of Queen Victoria of England. In 1890 he removed 75-year-old Otto von Bismarck from the office of chancellor. Among many factors which led to declining relations with Great Britain was the buildup of the German navy under his secretary of the navy, Alfred von Tirpitz. Wilhelm’s ultimate undoing was precipitated by World War I. He supported Austria-Hungary in the initial conflicts which led to the war. In 1918, the war lost, he was forced to abdicate and seek asylum in the Netherlands.

Death of Leo von Klenze in Munich, Germany. The architect, Klenze, worked primarily in Munich for Maximilian I and Ludwig I. He built the Glyptothek and the Propylaeon in Munich.

Birth of Gottfied Feder in Würzburg, Germany. Feder was the developer and leader of National Socialist economic ideology in the early days of the party. Hitler referred to his book Der deutsche Staat auf nationaler und sozialer Grundlage (1923) as “the catechism of the movement”. Feder was the chairman of the Nazi Party’s economic council and the state secretary of the German Ministry of Economics in the early years of the rule of the Nazi Party. By 1936, however, he ceased to play any significant role.

Birth of Victor Goldschmidt (1888-1947) in Zürich, Switzerland. Goldschmidt is considered the founder of modern geochemistry. Goldschmidt became a professor at the University of Göttingen in 1929, but after the rise of the Nazi Party fled to Norway. When Norway was occupied he was arrested and confined to a concentration camp. He escaped and fled to Great Britain. After the war he returned to spend the remainder of his life in Oslo.

Death of Erich Heckel in Döbeln, Germany. Heckel was an artist who was one of the founders of the Expressionist artists’ group, Die Brücke.

Artur Fischer, a German inventor, dies in Waldachtal, Germany. He registered his first patent in 1949 for a Photo Flash Light, with synchronised trigger. From 1957 he concentrated more on fixing elements. He invented flash light photography as he saw an issue with the previously used magnesium flash. Stories say that he wanted to have pictures taken and the photographer refused as the magnesium could have burned the wooden roof.
Fischer’s most famous invention is the grey “S Plug” (Split-)Wallplug made from plastic materials (Polyamide) and is available in various shapes and sizes since 1958. He held over 1100 patents and overtook Thomas Alva Edison, who held 1093 patents. Fischer also held 5867 trade rights and invented fischertechnik.
Further inventions are (bone-)plugs for fixing bone fractures and – his latest idea – biodegradable and edible children’s toys from potato starch/corn starch.


Birth of Sebastian Münster (1488-1582) in Ingelheim, Germany. Münster was professor of Hebrew at the University of Basel after 1527. His major contribution to scholarship was his Cosmographia, published in 1544. That book, proceeding from the geography of Ptolemy, represented a revival of the science of geography in Germany, and was the earliest German description of the world.

Birth of Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630) in Grünhain, Germany. As a composer of sacred and secular music, he was one of the musicians of the period to introduce Italian Baroque style into German music. He became the cantor at the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig in 1616 (a position which Johann Sebastian Bach would hold after starting in 1723).

Death of Christoph Martin Wieland in Wiemar, Germany. His Geschichte des Agathon is considered the first of the genre of “Bildungsroman”. He was one of the luminaries at the court of Weimar.

Death of Bettina von Arnim (1785-1859) in Berlin. Born Elisabeth Brentano, she married the poet Achim von Arnim in 1811 and took his name. She bore seven children and was a devoted mother. She was, however, not satisfied with the purely domestic life. She is the author of the books, Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (1835), Die Günderode (1840), Dies Buch gehört dem König (1843), Clemens Brentanos Frühlingskranz (1844) and Gespräche mit Dämonen (1852). She was also a talented sculptor and musician. Her mother had been close friends with Goethe, and Bettina too became a good friend of his until 1811 when Goethe’s wife Christiane found the friendship inappropriate.

Death of Max Freiherr von Beck in Vienna, Austria. He became chancellor of Austria in 1906 and in that role established universal male suffrage in 1907.


Birth of Joachim II Hektor (1505-1571) in Cologne, Germany. Joachim II Hektor was the Elector of Brandenburg at the time of the Reformation. He remained true to the Catholic Church and to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but he tolerated Protestantism in the areas under his governance. On several occasions he served as a mediator between Catholic and Protestant factions in the empire. He played a significant role in the processes leading to the Peace of Augsburg (1555).

Birth of Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705), who founded German pietism.

Birth of Christoph Graupner (1683-1760) in Kirchberg, Germany. Graupner was one of the most highly regarded composers of his day. The position of cantor at the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig was offered to him before it was offered to Bach. It was only after Graupner had declined the position that it was offered to Johann Sebastian Bach. Graupner himself had studied at the Thomas school in Leipzig.

Birth of Joseph Hilarius Eckhel in Enzersfeld, Austria. Eckhel developed the system of classification of coins for numismatics which became the standard. He became a professor of numismatics at the University of Vienna and the curator of the Austrian imperial collection of coins. The published work in which he developed his system was Doctrina numorum veterum (1792-1798).

Birth of Friedrich Müller in Kreuznach, Germany. Müller was a painter, poet and dramatist. Titles of his Sturm und Drang plays include, Fausts Leben dramatisiert (1778), and Das Nusskernen (1811).

Birth of Eduard von Bauernfeld in Vienna, Austria. Bauernfeld was a very popular dramatist in Vienna for all of his adult life. He was a friend of Franz Schubert and Franz Grillparzer. Titles by Bauernfeld include, Bürgerlich und romantisch and Aus der Gesellschaft.

Birth of Friedrich Graf von Beust in Dresden, Germany. As the foreign minister of the Austrian Empire from 1867-1871, it was he who negotiated the agreements leading to the creation of the dual monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Birth of Wilhelm Wien (1864-1928) in Gaffken, Germany. Wien was a German physicist who, in 1893, used theories about heat and electromagnetism to deduce Wien’s displacement law, which calculates the emission of a blackbody at any temperature from the emission at any one reference temperature. He also formulated an expression for the black-body radiation which is correct in the photon-gas limit. His arguments were based on the notion of adiabatic invariance, and were instrumental for the formulation of quantum mechanics. Wien received the 1911 Nobel Prize for his work on heat radiation.

The Saarland votes to be a part of the German Reich.

German submarines harass shipping near the U.S. east coast.

Erich Honecker leaves Germany for Chile. Honecker had been the leader of East Germany. After the reunification there was the possibility of trying him for crimes against humanity, but due to his cancer he was allowed to leave Germany.


Three Kings Day (Dreikönigentag)

Birth of Martin Agricola (pseudonym of Martin Sore) in Schwiebus (now in Poland). He was a German music scholar and composer in Magdeburg. He was the first to give attention to the musical needs of the Reformation.

Birth of Jakob Frohschammer in Illkofen, Germany. Frohschammer was a Catholic priest, writer and philosopher. He was excommunicated in 1871 for his insistence that philosophy is independent of Church authority. He taught at the University of Munich. In 1889 he wrote a book, Philosophie des Thomas von Aquino kritisch gewurdigt, in which he disputed Thomas’ view that philosophy is subordinate to theology.

Heinrich Schliemann is born in Neubukow, Germany. He was a German businessman and a pioneer of field archaeology. He was an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Along with Arthur Evans, Schliemann was a pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age.

Death of Charlotte von Stein in Weimar. Von Stein was a very close friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. She inspired the characters Iphigenie in Iphigenie auf Tauris and Natalie in Wilhelm Meister. After 1788 when Goethe met and later married Christiane Vulpius, the “Seelenbund” with Frau von Stein weakened and dissolved.

Birth of Max Bruch in Cologne, Germany. Bruch was a violin virtuoso and composer. Among his works are the opera, Scherz, List und Rache (1858) and a concert for choir and orchestra, Odysseus (1872).

Birth of Gustav Bauer in Darkehmen, Germany (now in Russia). Bauer became German chancellor when Scheidemann resigned in protest against the terms demanded by the Treaty of Versailles. It was thus his responsibility to accept and implement the treaty.

Death of Gregor Mendel, Augustinian monk and the pioneer of the science of genetics. He died in Brunn, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic).

Communist uprising in Berlin (Spartacist Week).

The German airlines “Aero Lloyd and “Junkers Luftverkehr” unite to become “Deutssche Luft-Hansa AG”. In 1933 the name “Lufthansa” was applied to the company. After World War II the company was refounded with the same name.

Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann in Berlin announce the discovery of uranium fission. They had been working on this together with Lise Meitner. Hahn, Meitner, and Strassmann were not engaged in nuclear weapons research during World War II. At the end of the war Hahn was astonished to hear that he had won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944 and that nuclear bombs had been developed from his basic discovery. Later, as director of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (the postwar successor to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft), he spoke vigorously against the misuse of atomic energy. Meitner—who many thought should have received the Nobel Prize with Hahn—continued to do nuclear research in Sweden and then England. Strassmann nurtured the study of nuclear chemistry in Mainz, Germany.


This Day in German History: List
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