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Birth of Heinrich von Sybel in Düsseldorf, Germany. Sybel was a historian who had studied with Ranke in Berlin. His early books show the critical method of Ranke. He became deeply involved in politics, however, and came to view history as a means to educate for specific purposes. He came to be a firm believer in Prussia’s mission to unify and lead Germany. His views are clear in his later books.

Birth of Friedrich Daniel Recklinghausen in Gütersloh, Germany. Recklinghausen was a pathologist who diagnosed “Recklinghausen’s disease”, multiple neurofibromatosis and osteitis fibrosa cystica. He was a professor of pathology at the Universities of Königsberg, Würzburg and Strasbourg.

The aged and failing Ferdinand I, Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is replaced by 18 year old Franz Joseph I in the face of the attempted revolution. Events are largely controlled by Felix Fürst zu Schwarzenberg, the chancellor and prime minister.

Birth of Heinrich Georg Barkhausen (1881-1956) in Bremen, Germany. Barkhausen is known for the “Barkhausen effect” in physics, related to changes in magnetic properties of metal. Barkhausen was a professor at the Technical Academy in Dresden. In addition to magnetism he also did extensive research in acoustics, ultrahigh frequencies and shortwave radio transmission.

Austrian troops take Belgrade in WWI.

The first parliamentary elections take place after the reunification of Germany. The CDU-CSU-FDP coalition wins a 134 seat majority in the Bundestag. In the election the CDU/CSU gets 43.8% of the votes, the SPD 33.5%, the FDP 11%, the Greens, PDS and Bündnis90 all receive less than the required 5% for seating in the Bundestag. However with a special ruling for the East the PDS and Bündnis90 are allowed representatives in the Bundestag.

Pope John Paul II creates the archbishopric of Vaduz in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein had been a part of the archbishopric of Chur since the 5th century. The first archbishop of Vaduz is Wolfgang Haas.


Birth of Carl Benz in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1885 he built the world’s first working automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. He founded the motor company, Benz u. Companie in 1883. The first four wheeled cars began to be produced in 1893. Benz merged with the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1926. It was the Daimler-Benz company which started to produce a car called the Mercedes-Benz. (Siegfried Marcus of Munich had built an automobile as early as 1864 with a gasoline engine, but it was not fully functional.)

Death of Heinrich Barth in Berlin, Germany. Bart was an early explorer of Africa. He traveled over 10,000 miles in his explorations. He published his findings in Reisen und Entdeckungen in Nord- und Central-Afrika in den Jahren 1849 bis 1855. He became a professor of geography at the University of Berlin in 1863.

Birth of Georg Kaiser in Magdeburg, Germany. Kaiser was a dramatist who began his artistic career in the period of Expressionism. Noted plays by him are Die Burger von Calais (1914), Von Morgens bis Mitternachts (1916), Gas and Oktobertag (1928). He was banned by the Nazis because of his pacifism. At that time he fled to Switzerland and continued writing. He wrote over 60 plays.

Death of Theobald Boehm in Munich, Germany. Boehm was a concert flutist and instrument maker who developed the Boehm system of construction for the flute, clarinet and oboe. The system was further developed by the French instrument maker, Auguste Buffet.

Death of Joseph Rheinberger in Munich, Germany (born in Vaduz, Liechtenstein). Rheinberger studied music in Feldkirch and Munich. In 1867 he became a professor of music at the Munich Conservatory. His students included Engelbert Humperdinck and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Rheinberger composed 20 organ sonatas, four operas and church and chamber music.

End of the battle of Lodz. Russian forces had halted the German advance but the Russian army had lost an estimated 100,000 and the planed Russian offensive had again been disrupted. (WWI)

The requirement is introduced in East Germany that any visitors from the west must exchange a given amount of West German marks for East German marks (at an exchange rate set by East Germany).

wachsmann-modelDeath of Konrad Wachsmann in Los Angeles (born in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany). Wachsmann was an architect who was trained in Germany and worked in Germany and Italy before immigrating to the United States in 1941. In America he joined a partnership with Walter Gropius. In 1950 he became a professor at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. In a contract with the Air Force he designed a system of building large hangars with prefabricated components. In 1954 he accepted an assignment at the University of California. He designed the City Hall in California City in 1966.

The Bavarian Crescentia Höss is canonized by Pope John Paul II. Maria Crescentia Höss was the daughter of a poor weaver who at age 14 reported a vision in which angles urged her to become a Franciscan nun. She was taken into the order in 1703. During her time as a Franciscan she reported numerous additional visions. She was beatified in 1900 and in 1956 the process of canonization was initiated.


Birth of Carl Maria von Weber in Eutin, Germany. The composer is known primarily for his operas Der Freischütz (1821), Euryanthe (1823) and Oberon (1826). His operas greatly influenced the development of the Romantic opera in Germany. Der Freischütz came to be regarded as the first German “nationalist” opera, Euryanthe developed the Leitmotif technique to a hitherto-unprecedented degree, while Oberon anticipated Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, at the same time, revealed Weber’s lifelong interest in the music of non-Western cultures. Weber also wrote music journalism and was interested in folksong, and learned lithography to engrave his own works.

Birth of Lorenz von Stein in Eckernförde, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.  Stein was a German economist, sociologist, and public administration scholar from Eckernförde.
As an advisor to Meiji period Japan, his liberal political views influenced the wording of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan as well as major constitutional thinkers such as Rudolf von Gneist.According to Colin Gordon, Stein articulated a "vision of a liberal state as active historic partner in the making of civil society" and called for "a tabling of the question of class formation as part of the state's agenda." Stein advocated a combination of constitutional liberal state with a welfare state, and has been called the "intellectual father of the welfare state.   Stein and other Hegelian liberals, such as Robert von Mohl, also had a profound influence on American progressivism.

Birth of Franz Sigel, in Sinsheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  Profession: politician, military officer, journalist, revolutionary.  Sigel was a German American military officer, revolutionist, and immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the American Civil War.
His ability to recruit German-speaking immigrants to the Union armies received the approval of President Abraham Lincoln, but he was strongly disliked by General-in-Chief Henry Halleck.

Death of Wilhelm Hauff in Stuttgart, Germany. Hauff was a poet and novelist, but is probably remembered most for his fairy tales.

Birth of August Kundt in Schwerin, Germany.  A physicist, Kundt discovered how to measure the velocity of sound in gases and solids. In 1866, he developed a valuable method for the investigation of aerial waves within pipes, based on the fact that a finely divided powder, lycopodium for example, when dusted over the interior of a tube in which is established a vibrating column of air, tends to collect in heaps at the nodes, the distance between which can thus be ascertained. An extension of the method renders possible the determination of the velocity of sound in different gases. This experimental apparatus is called a Kundt’s Tube.

Birth of Richard Dehmel in Wendisch-Hermsdorf, Germany. Dehmel was a poet who explored themes on individualism, social injustice, sexuality and love. Works by Dehmel include Erlösungen (1891), Weib und Welt (1896), and Schöne wilde Welt (1913).

Death of Theodor Gustav Fechner in Leipzig, Germany. The physicist, Fechner was the principal founder of psychophysics (quantitative relations between sensations and stimuli), Elemente der Psychophysik (2 vols. 1860). He was a professor of physics at the University of Leipzig

Death of Walther Nernst in Muskau, Germany. He was a German physical chemist and physicist who is known for his theories behind the calculation of chemical affinity as embodied in the third law of thermodynamics, for which he won the 1920 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Nernst helped establish the modern field of physical chemistry and contributed to electrochemistry, thermodynamics, solid state chemistry and photochemistry. He is also known for developing the Nernst equation.

Death of Kurt von Schuschnigg in Riva del Garda, Austria-Hungary (now in Italy). Von Schuschnigg was the Austrian chancellor at the time of the annexation by Germany. He had struggled against the growing Nazi influence in Austria and the coming annexation, but ultimately failed. He was forced to resign on March 11, 1938 as Germany entered the country and was imprisoned until the end of WWII.


St. Martin’s Day (Martinstag)
This festival was originally celebrated in memory of St Martin of Tours (b. 316 AD) and marked the 40 day fasting period before Christmas. When the fasting period was made shorter and renamed Advent (see below), the tradition came to be associated with Martin Luther, who was born on this day in 1546. Nowadays, it’s seen more as a celebration of the goose, by making a wonderful roast goose.

Birth of Holy Roman emperor Heinrich IV in Saxony. Heinrich became the German King in 1054 (at the age of 4) and the Holy Roman Emperor in 1084. His reign was marked by a heated struggle with Pope Gregory VII on the question of lay investiture. Heinrich was at one point excommunicated and forced to do penance at Canossa (1077).

Birth of Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. Paracelsus was an alchemist and physician. He attended many universities seeking a great teacher, but in his words found mostly just “asses”. He took the name Paracelsus which means “beyond Celsus” in that he felt superior to the most famous Roman physician, Celsus. And indeed, he may have been correct. He became the most famous physician of his age with his wondrous cures and his university lectures. It seems Paracelsus had learned how to carry out cures with chemicals.

Birth of Albert VII in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II, Albert served his uncle King Philip II of Spain. He was appointed archbishop and cardinal of Toledo, Spain in 1577. He governed Portugal from 1581-1595. In 1595 he became the ruler of the Spanish Netherlands.

Birth of Johann Albert Fabricius in Leipzig, Germany. Fabricius was the leading bibliographer of his age, producing many volumes of bibliographies of the classics.

Birth of Johann Kaspar Lavater in Zurich, Switzerland. He founded “physiognomics” – a religious, anti-rational literary movement. He might well have been forgotten except that the genius of the age, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, worked with him on the four-volume Physiognomic fragments to promote knowledge and love of humanity (1775-1778), Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beforderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1775-1778).  

A major fire broke out in Immanuel Kant’s home town of Konigsberg. 369 houses, 49 warehouses and the Lobenicht church were destroyed. Professor Kant’s residence did not burn.

Birth of Alfred Hermann Fried in Vienna, Austria. A leading pacifist, Fried founded the periodical, Die Waffen Nieder, in 1891. In 1892 he founded the pacifist organization “Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft”. He fled to Switzerland at the start of WWI and worked for peace from there.

Birth of Elena Gerhardt in Leipzig, Germany. Trained at the Leipzig conservatory, she became the leading “Lieder” singer of her day. Her work with the music of Hugo Wolf was especially treasured.

Birth of Sam Spiegel in Jaroslau, Austria (now in Poland). Spiegel, after his studies at the University of Vienna, immigrated to the U.S.A. where he became a movie producer. Films by Spiegel include, On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Suddenly Last Summer, Lawrence of Arabia, and the African Queen. Spiegel had been sent to Universal Pictures to head their studio in Berlin in 1930, but left in 1933 when the Nazis came to power.

The battle of Lodz begins in WWI. German forces attack the Russian armies. By November 25 Russian forces have halted the German advance but the Russian army has lost an estimated 100,000 troops and the planned Russian offensive has again been disrupted.

rr The armistice to end WWI is signed. On this date in a train car in Compiègne agreement is reached between German civilian negotiator Matthias Erzberger and a French representative Marshal Ferdinand Foch at 5:00 AM. Hostilities cease at 11:00 AM. The actual terms, largely written by Foch, included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German troops to behind their own borders, the preservation of infrastructure, the exchange of prisoners, a promise of reparations, the disposition of German warships and submarines, and conditions for prolonging or terminating the armistice.

Karl I, the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire renounces participation in affairs of state, but not the title of Emperor. The Austrian parliament removed his title in 1919.

Death of Cardinal Felix von Hartmann of Cologne. The naming of a successor will be a test of the Vatican’s new canon law of 1917 which gave the Pope the direct authority to name a new archbishop whereas the naming of the archbishop of Cologne had traditionally been by election among the canons of the cathedral. Resisting instructions to wait, the canons of the cathedral select the bishop of Paderborn, Josef Schulte. Schulte will ultimately be accepted by the Vatican. He will later be named a cardinal.


Birth of Wilhelm Freiherr von Knyphausen in Luxembourg. In 1776 as a general with over 40 years of service, Knyphausen was appointed second in command to General Leopold von Heister commanding the Hessian troops fighting with the British against the colonial rebels in America. In 1777 Knyphausen assumed the command. He returned to Germany in 1782 and died in 1800.

Death of Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig, 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 Felix Braun, a writer, in Vienna, Austria. Braun was a Neo-Romantic, who wrote refined, cultivated poetry in multiple forms. His work centered around the themes of religion, classical antiquity, and his Austrian homeland. Braun edited and published a highly respected anthology of German lyric poetry, called Der Tausendjährige Rosenstrauch (The Thousand-Year Rose Bush), in 1937.

Birth of Klabund (pseudonym of Alfred Henschke) in Crossen, Germany. Klabund was an Expressionist writer who brought forms from East-Asia to Germany. In 1924 he presented Der Kreidekreis which Bert Brecht later adapted as Der kaukasische Kreidekreis. Other works by Klabund include Bracke (1918) and Borgia (1928).

Hostilities cease between Austria-Hungary and the western allies.

Mass demonstrations occur in East Germany.


Birth of the Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich III, called the Black or the Pious, who was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors. He was the eldest son of Conrad II of Germany and Gisela of Swabia. His father made him duke of Bavaria (as Heinrich VI) in 1026, after the death of Duke Heinrich V.  On Easter Day, 1028, after his father was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich was elected and crowned King of Germany in the cathedral of Aachen by Pilgrim, Archbishop of Cologne.  After the death of Herman IV, Duke of Swabia in 1038, his father gave him that duchy (as Henry I), as well as the kingdom of Burgundy, which Conrad had inherited in 1033. Upon the death of his father on 4 June 1039, he became sole ruler of the kingdom and was crowned emperor by Pope Clement II in Rome.

Birth of St. Ludwig IV von Thüringen (1200-1227). Ludwig IV has never been formally canonized but has been regarded locally as a saint since shortly after his death. He led a pious life and was a good duke in Thuringia. He is remembered primarily due to the holiness of his wife, the very popular St. Elisabeth von Thüringen. (She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1235.) Ludwig died during his participation in the 5th Crusade as a member of the Teutonic Knights (Deutscher Orden).

Death of Friedrich von Hagedorn in Hamburg, Germany. Hagedorn was an Anacreontic poet. His collections of poems include Versuch in poetischen Fabeln und Erzählungen (1738) and Oden und Lieder (3 vols. 1742-1752).

Death of Johann Karl August Musäus in Weimar, Germany. Musäus was a writer known for his satire and his fairy tales. His Volksmärchen der Deutschen (5 vols. 1782-86) was a vehicle for his satirical bent.

Birth of Hugo Preuß in Berlin, Germany. Preuß, a political theorist, was the primary author of the constitution of the Weimar Republic (Germany between WWI and WWII).

Death of Karl Ferdinand Buol-Schauenstein in Vienna, Austria (born in Regensburg, Germany). Buol Schauenstein became the foreign minister of the Austrian Empire from 1852-1859. He succeeded Felix Schwarzenber in that position. Buol-Schauenstein regarded the “Holy Alliance” with Prussia and Russia as unnatural. His policies broke down that alliance as he sought to replace it with understandings with France and England.

Birth of Hans Adolf Driesch in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. A philosopher and embryologist, Driesch was a leading voice against the view that life can be explained through purely physical or chemical processes. He was a professor at the universities of Heidelberg, Cologne and Leipzig. He was strongly influenced philosophically by Immanuel Kant.

Death of Ottmar Mergenthaler in Baltimore, OH (born in Hachtel, Germany). Mergenthaler immigrated to the United States in 1872. In 1886 he invented the linotype machine, the first device that could easily and quickly set complete lines of type for use in printing presses. This machine revolutionized the art of printing.

Death of Bernhard Fürst von Bülow in Rome, Italy (born in Altona, Germany). Von Bülow was the chancellor of the German Empire from October 17, 1900 through July 14, 1909.


October 21st

Birth of Georg Ernst Stahl in Ansbach, Germany. He was one of the first professors in the newly founded school of medicine in Halle in 1694. In the debates of the time Stahl opposed a purely mechanical view of the nature of life and adopted the philosophy of animism (an abstract principle of life). He hypothesized that all matter had a vital force, or a soul of sorts. He burned wood, and crediting the lower mass of the ashes compared to the original wood to the leaving of the vital force, because the wood had been killed in the process of burning. This theory was replaced by that of Antoine Lavoisier.

Birth of Johann Friedrich Schönemann in Crossen, Germany. He was an actor in Karoline Neuber’s troop after 1730. In 1740 he formed his own theater company. Although less than the influence of Neuber on the development of the German theater, Schönemann too led toward the development of serious theater in Germany.

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff visits Friedrich Nietzsche in Naumburg. He was a German Classical Philologist. Wilamowitz, as he is known in scholarly circles, was a renowned authority on Ancient Greece and its literature. Before he even gained a professorial title, Wilamowitz was a main protagonist in a scholarly dispute about Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy that attracted much attention. In 1872-73, he published two unusually aggressive polemics (“Zukunftsphilologie”, i.e. “Philology of the future”), which strongly attacked Nietzsche (then Professor at the University of Basel) and Professor Erwin Rohde (University of Kiel). Richard Wagner, whose views on art had influenced Nietzsche and Rohde, reacted by publishing an open letter and Rohde wrote a damning response. The issue at stake was the deprecation of Euripides, on whom Nietzsche blamed the destruction of Greek tragedy. Wilamowitz saw the methods of his adversaries as an attack on the basic tenets of scientific thought, unmasking them as enemies of the scientific method. His polemic was considered as Classical philology’s reply to Nietzsche’s challenge.

Birth of Georg von Dollmann in Ansbach, Germany. Dollmann was the architect employed by Ludwig II of Bavaria to build his (now very popular tourist attractions) palaces – Neuschwanstein, Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof.

Death of Johann Kaspar Bluntschli in Zürich, Switzerland. Bluntschli was a professor of law at the universities of Zürich, Munich and Heidelberg. He is one of the developers of the system of international law. In his book Das moderne Kriegsrecht (1866) he set out standards of law for war. His system was largely adopted at the Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907. He also wrote Das moderne Völkerrecht in 1868 and Lehre vom modernen Staat in 1876.

Birth of the Austrian composer/musicologist, Egon Wellesz in Vienna, Austria. He taught at the University of Vienna and Oxford University. He became a leading authority on Byzantine music.

The first American troops engage in WWI.

 Death of Arthur Schnitzler in Vienna, Austria. Schnitzler was a physician in Vienna, who had a strong interest in psychiatry. He is, however, remembered for his plays and novels. Among his noted works are Anatol (1893), Liebelei (1896), Leutnant Gustl (1901) and Der Weg ins Freie (1908).

Willy Brandt of the SPD is elected the fourth chancellor of West Germany. Germany has been divided into two states for 20 years at the time of his election. His time as chancellor will be characterized by “Ostpolitik”, an attempt to soften relations with the East. Walter Scheel (FDP) becomes the vice chancellor and foreign minister.


The Prussian army is crushed by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena.

Birth of Alexander Zemlinsky in Vienna, Austria. Zemlinsky was a composer and conductor. Arnold Schoenberg was his brother-in-law. He wrote 6 symphonies and 10 operas including, Eine florentinische Tragödie and Der Zwerg.

Birth of Hugo Erfurth in Halle, Germany. Erfurth was an innovator in photography in Germany from 1896 to 1948. He is noted for his portraits of artists, and intellectuals.

Birth of Heinrich Lübke in Enkhausen, 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 Kiessinger.)

Birth of Hannah Arendt in Hannover, Germany. Arendt earned her doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. In 1933 she fled the new Nazi government first to France and then to the U.S.A. In New York she became the director of the Conference on Jewish Relations, the chief editor of Schocken Books and the executive director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc. Later she became a professor at the University of Chicago and the New School for Social Research in New York. Her books include, Origins of Totalitarianism, Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Violence and On Revolution.

Edith Stein enters the Carmelite order in Cologne.

Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.

Death of Heinrich Kayser in Bonn, 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.

Death of Walther M. Elsasser in Baltimore, MD (born in Mannheim, Germany). Elsasser was a physicist who studied at the University of Göttingen. He then taught at the universities at Frankfurt and Paris before immigrating to the U. S. and taking a position at the California Institute of Technology. Subsequently he taught at the universities in Pennsylvania, Utah, California and Maryland and finally at Johns Hopkins University. Elsasser formulated the dynamo model of the earth’s structure to explain the earth’s magnetic field. Books by Elsasser include The Physical Foundation of Biology (1958), Atom and Organism (1966) and The Chief Abstractions of Biology (1975).


Birth of Wilhelm Müller in Dessau, Germany. Müller was a lyric poet who focused on Greek culture.

Birth of Rudolf Leuckart in Helmstedt, Germany. Leuckart pioneered the science of parasitology. He was a professor of biology at the Universities of Göttingen, Giessen and Leipzig.

Death of Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim in Cambridge, England (born 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). 

Death of Emil Kraepelin in Munich, Germany. A psychiatrist at the universities of Heidelberg and Munich, Kraepelin organized psychiatric disorders into a system usable by psychiatrists. The first publication of his Compendium der Psychiatrie was in 1883. His system was the starting point for contemporary classifications. He was the first to distinguish between schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis.

Establishment of East Germany. October 7 was the national holiday of the GDR until it ceased to exist in 1990.

Despite the mass exits of East Germans and the mass protests, East Germany continues to try to celebrate its 40th anniversary. On October 7 Soviet president Gorbatschov is a featured speaker in Berlin, but rather than encourage the Honecker government he says,”Whoever comes too late will be punished by events.”

Pope John-Paul II beatifies two Germans, Nikolaus Groß and Maria Euthymia Üffing.


Feast day of St. Ursus (? – ca. 303). St. Ursus was a Roman Legionnaire who had converted to Christianity. According to the legends of the saints he was tortured, trying to force him to worship pagan idols. Finally he was beheaded. He is associated with St. Maurice and Solothurn, Switzerland . The chapel of St. Peter stands at the place in Solothurn, Switzerland, where St. Ursus was put to death.

Johann Gutenberg prints his first book, the Bible, at his workshop in Mainz, Germany.

The first performance of Mozart’s Opera Die Zauberflöte is given in Vienna.

Birth of Maria Luise Augusta Katharina in Weimar, Germany. She became the empress of the German Reich in 1871 as the wife of Wilhelm I. Her son became Emperor Friedrich III.

    Birth of Hermann Sudermann in Matziken, East Prussia (now in Lithuania). Sudermann was one of the leading writers of the Naturalist period of literature. 
    Noted works by Sudermann include Frau Sorge, Die Ehre, Heimat, Es lebe das Leben and Der gute Ruf.

Birth of Hans Geiger in Neustadt an der Haardt, Germany. A physicist, he invented the Geiger counter, a type of particle detector that measures ionizing radiation. It detects the emission of nuclear radiation — alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays — by the ionization produced in a low-pressure gas in a Geiger–Müller tube, which gives its name to the instrument. In wide and prominent use as a hand-held radiation survey instrument, it is perhaps one of the world’s best-known radiation instruments. Hans Geiger studied at the University of Erlangen. He was later at the University of Manchester, England. In 1912 he accepted a position at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsarnstalt in Berlin where he did research on atomic structure. He then became then a professor at the University of Kiel, the University of Tübingen and the Technische Hochschule in Berlin.

    Birth of Johann Jakob Herzog in Erlangen, Germany. A Protestant theologian at the Universities of Halle and Erlangen, 
    he edited the standard work on Protestant theology, Real-Encyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche.

    Death of Ludwig Pastor in Innsbruck, Austria. Pastor who was a professor of history at the University of Innsbruck and later the Austrian ambassador to the Vatican.     Pastor’s major work was the 16 volume Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters (1886-1933).

September 29th and 30th, Adolf Hitler and Nevil Chamberlain sign the Munich Accord. In 1938, amid growing concern about Adolf Hitler’s aims, the British prime minister, Nevil Chamberlain traveled to Munich to try to make a deal with Hitler. Chamberlain returned to London with the accord, announcing that he had secured “Peace in our time” with the compromises made at Munich. Hitler viewed it as a green light to take over Czechoslovakia and prepare for his next conquest.

Birth of Johann Deisenhofer in Zusamaltheim, Germany. A biochemist, Deisenhofer won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988 for determining the structure of those proteins needed for photosynthesis. He did research at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried, Germany until 1987 and then went to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Dallas, Texas.

At the Nürnberg War Crimes Trials, von Ribbentrop and Goering are sentenced to death.

After 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The airlift was one of the greatest logistical feats in modern history and was one of the crucial events of the early Cold War. On 1949, the last plane–an American C-54–landed in Berlin and unloaded over two tons of coal. Even though the Soviet blockade officially ended in May 1949, it took several more months for the West Berlin economy to recover and the necessary stockpiles of food, medicine, and fuel to be replenished. The airlift had totaled over 277,000 flights.

Death of Ernst Reuter in Apenrade, Germany. Reuter was the Mayor of West Berlin during the Blockade (1948-1949), and until 1953.

Death of Herbert Bayer in Montecito, California (born in Haag, Austria). Bayer was an advertising designer. He trained and worked at the Bauhaus. He was an art director with Vogue magazine. He immigrated to the United States in 1938. In 1946 he became the chair of the department of design of the Container Corporation of America. He also worked as design consultant for Aspen Development.

6,000 East Germans who have sought asylum at the West German embassy in Prague are allowed to leave to West Germany.


The Concord of Worms is reached between Pope Callistus II and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Heinrich V. It is determined who has the right to invest clergy.

Birth of Peter von Cornelius in Düsseldorf, Germany. He was an artist who revived the art of fresco painting. He was a member of the artists group, the Lukasbund. He decorated the Glyptothek (an art museum in Munich) and in Munich painted the east wall of the Ludwigskirche.

The planet Neptune is observed for the first time by Johann Galle at the Berlin Observatory. He was a German astronomer and the first person ever to view the planet Neptune and know what he was looking at. Throughout his career he studied comets, and in 1894 (with the help of his son Andreas Galle) he published a list with 414 comets. He himself had previously discovered three comets in the short span from 2 December 1839 to 6 March 1840. Two craters, one on the Moon and the “happy face” one on Mars, the asteroid 2097 Galle, and a ring of Neptune have been named in his honor. He died in Potsdam at age 98.

Birth of Karl Krumbacher in Kempten, Germany. Krumbacher was a professor at the Universities of Leipzig and Munich. He pioneered the study of Byzantine culture.

Birth of Robert Bosch in Albeck near Ulm, Germany. Bosch, an inventor of the spark plug and magneto, and founder of Bosch GmbH), worked with Thomas Edison, for a time, in the USA. The Bosch corporation is one of the world’s largest electronic corporations.

Death of Friedrich Wöhler in Göttingen, Germany. It was Wöhler who discovered how to synthesize urea from an inorganic compound (ammonium cyanate). It was at about the same time (1828) that he developed a method for the preparation of metallic aluminum, later used in industry. At that time Wöhler was a teacher at the technical school in Berlin. From a position at the technical school in Kassel, he took up his collaboration with Justus von Liebigand and from their investigation of benzaldehyde, there grew the theory of radicals.

Birth of Friedrich Paulus in Breitenau, Germany (now in Austria). General Paulus was the field marshal who led the German forces in the siege of Stalingrad and was ultimately surrounded there and captured in 1943. This was a turning point in the war. 300,000 German soldiers were suddenly out of the war. After the war he lived in Dresden, East Germany until his death in 1957.

Death of Richard Zsigmondy in Göttingen, Germany (born in Vienna, Austria). Zsigmondy was a chemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1925 for his work on colloids. He earned his doctorate at the University of Munich and taught at the University of Graz and the University of Göttingen.


Death of Daniel Fahrenheit in The Hague, Netherlands.  Born in Danzig, Germany, now in Poland, Fahrenheit was a Polish-German-Dutch physicist, engineer, and glass blower who is best known for inventing the alcohol thermometer in 1709, and the mercury thermometer,  in 1714, and for developing a temperature scale, now named after him. Until the switch to the Celsius scale, the Fahrenheit scale was widely used in Europe. It is still used for everyday temperature measurements by the general population in the United States and Belize and, less so, in the UK and Canada.

Birth of Albrecht Kossel, in Rostock, Germany. Kossel was a German biochemist and pioneer in the study of genetics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1910 for his work in determining the chemical composition of nucleic acids, the genetic substance of biological cells.  Kossel isolated and described the five organic compounds that are present in nucleic acid: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. These compounds were later shown to be nucleobases, and are key in the formation of DNA and RNA, the genetic material found in all living cells.

Fritz Henkel, age 28 years old, founds Henkel & Cie in Aachen, Germany. Today Henkel AG & Company is a global company with brands and technologies for consumer and industrial businesses, and headquartered in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Historically, Henkel’s most famous brand is Persil, the first commercial laundry detergent. Before Persil, laundry soaps consisted of either soap flakes or actual bars of soap.

Birth of Karen Horney in Hamburg, Germany. She earned her M.D. from the University of Berlin. After several years of practice in psychiatry she immigrated to the US.  She challenged many of Freud’s ideas, holding that neuroses are caused by problems in interpersonal relationships. She was primarily disturbed by Freud’s concepts of libido, the death wish and penis envy. She founded the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.

Birth of Mercedes Jellinek in Austria. In Germany, Gottlieb Daimler had invented the automobile and was manufacturing and selling the Daimler. Emil Jellinek, an Austrian banker, was an enthusiastic Daimler owner and investor in the company. In a sweetheart deal he placed a large order for cars, obtained distribution rights and insisted that the car be named after his little girl, Mercedes. Today the car and the company are known more by that little girl’s names than the inventors of the automobile and founders of the company that makes the car, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz.

Birth of German Admiral, Karl Dönitz, in Grünau bei Berlin. Dönitz served as a submarine officer in WWI. In defiance of the Treaty of Versailles he rebuilt a submarine fleet after the war. In 1943 he was appointed commander of the German navy. After Hitler’s death, Dönitz assumed the leadership of the nation for a few days, long enough to surrender. The Nürnberg court sentenced him to 10 years in prison, a term which he actually served.

Birth of Hans Augusto Rey, in Hamburg, Germany.  Hans Augusto Reyersbach was a German-born American illustrator and author, known best for the series of children's picture books that he and his wife Margret Rey created about Curious George.  As German Jews, the couple first met in Hamburg, and met again in Brazil, where Hans was working as a salesman of bathtubs and Margret had gone to escape the rise of Nazism in Germany. They fled Paris in June 1940 on bicycles, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them.  Issued life-saving visas signed by Portuguese Vice-Consul Manuel Vieira Braga , they crossed the Spanish border, where they bought train tickets to Lisbon, and then  returned to Brazil, but this time they continued on to New York. 

Birth of Oskar Lafontaine in Saarlouis, Germany.  A German politician who served in the government of Germany as Minister of Finance from 1998 to 1999, he previously was Minister-President of the state of Saarland from 1985 to 1998,

The Austrian bodybuilding champion, movie actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, becomes a US citizen.


Death of Siegfried Bernard Albinus in Leiden, Netherlands (born 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 became a professor of anatomy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Birth of Max Reinhardt (Reinhardt was his stage name. His original name was Max Goldmann) in Baden, Austria. He became a highly successful theater director as head of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. He was one of the founders of the Salzburg Festival. The first festival was organized in 1920. As a theater director Reinhardt was abroad when the Nazis came to power. He remained away and in 1938 came to the United States. In the U.S. he opened a workshop in Hollywood. He remained in the United States until his death in 1943.

Death of Heinrich Karl Brugsch in Berlin, Germany. Brugsch was a noted Egyptologist who was one of the pioneers in demotic, an Egyptian script. He was director of the School of Egyptology in Cairo and a professor at the University of Göttingen.

Death of Andreas Schimper in Strasbourg, France. Schimper, a botanist, was the first to divide the continents into floral regions, Pflanzen-Geographie auf physiologischer Grundlage (1898). He completed his doctorate at the University of Strasbourg and taught at the universities of Bonn and Basel. Schimper determined the role of starch grains in chloroplasts, a term which he coined.

Birth of Hans Dehmelt in Görlitz, Germany. The physicist, Hans Dehmelt won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1989 for his development of the penning trap which can hold ions long enough to be studied. Dehmelt immigrated to the U. S. in 1952 and became a professor at the University of Washington.

Allied forces take Luxembourg in WWII.


Death of Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim (pseudonym: Justinus Febronius) in Montquentin, Duchy of Luxembourg, born in Trier, Germany.  Hontheim, a Roman Catholic priest, was an 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 "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. The pope, however, did not share his views. His book was condemned and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.

Birth of Heinz Harro Max Wilhelm Georg Schulze-Boysen in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.   Schulze-Boysen was a German publicist and Luftwaffe officer who would become a leading German resistance fighter as a member of the anti-fascist resistance group that was later called the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle) by the Gestapo, during World War II.  He was arrested and executed in 1942.

Birth of Ingeborg Rapoport in Kribi, South, Cameroon.  Rapoport was a German pediatrician who studied medicine in Hamburg in Nazi-Germany, but was denied a medical degree because her mother was of Jewish ancestry.  After fleeing Nazi persecution, she emigrated to the United States in 1938, and completed her education in medicine.  In the early 1950s, Rapoport and her husband were under investigation for un-American activities, and she moved to the GDR (East Germany) after staying in Vienna for a year.  As a pediatrician, she helped to considerably reduce infant mortality in East Germany, which was even lower than in West Germany.  She was a member of the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany.  In 2015, the Faculty of Medicine of Hamburg University corrected the injustice of the Nazi regime and awarded her a medical degree after an oral examination.  She became the oldest person to receive a Doctorate degree at the age of 102.

Birth of Hilla Becher in Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany.  A German conceptual photographer known for her industrial photographs, or typologies, with longtime collaborator and husband, Bernd Becher, received the Erasmus Prize and the Hasselblad Award.  The Bechers founded the Düsseldorf School of Photography in the mid-1970s. In 2015, she died from a stroke at age 81, in Düsseldorf.  
Her career spanned more than 50 years and included photographs from the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Italy.

Trial of the West German youth, Mathias Rust, starts in the Soviet Union.  Rust had flown a private plane from Germany to land in Red Square, Moscow. He was sentenced to four years in a general-regime labor camp for hooliganism, disregard of aviation laws and breaching of the Soviet border. He was never transferred to a labor camp and instead served his time at the high security Lefortovo temporary detention facility in Moscow. Two months later, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to sign a treaty to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe, and the Supreme Soviet ordered Rust to be released in August 1988 as a goodwill gesture to the West.

Death of Viktor Frankl in Vienna, Austria. A psychiatrist, Frankl studied at the University of Vienna. In 1938 he became chief of neurology at the Rothschild Hospital in Vienna. In 1942 he and his family were sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis. In his experience there he noted that those who saw meaning in their lives were more likely to survive. This observation became a core of his psychiatry which came to be known as “logotherapy”. He viewed the role of the psychiatrist as helping patients find meaning. After the war he wrote "Man’s Search for Meaning". He finished his career as a professor at the University of Vienna.

Other dates:
1763   Birth of Caroline Schelling, née Michaelis, widowed Böhmer, divorced Schlegel in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany.   Schelling was a noted German intellectual as writer, translator, salonnière, and literary critic.  She was one of the so-called Universitätsmamsellen, a group of five academically active women during the 18th and 19th centuries, daughters of academics at Göttingen University, alongside Meta Forkel-Liebeskind, Therese Huber, Philippine Engelhard, and Dorothea Schlözer.

1850   Birth of Woldemar Voigt in Leipzig, Leipzig District, Germany.  Voigt was a German physicist, who taught at the Georg August University of Göttingen.  Voigt eventually went on to head the Mathematical Physics Department at Göttingen and was succeeded in 1914 by Peter Debye, who took charge of the theoretical department of the Physical Institute.

1853   Brith of Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald in Riga, Latvia.  Ostwald was a Baltic German chemist and philosopher.  He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities.  Ostwald, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Walther Nernst, and Svante Arrhenius are usually credited with being the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry.

1884   Birth of Joachim Wilhelm Robert Feulgen in Werden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.  He was a German physician and chemist who, in 1914, developed a method for staining DNA (now known as the Feulgen stain) and who also discovered plant and animal nuclear DNA ("thymonucleic acid") congeniality.

1889  Birth of Ludwig Kübler in Thalkirchen-Obersendling-Forstenried-Fürstenried-Solln, Bavaria, Germany.  Kübler was a German General der Gebirgstruppe (Lieutenant General) who commanded the 1st Mountain Division, XXXXIX Mountain Corps, 4th Army and the Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral during World War II.  He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions commanding the 1st Mountain Division during the invasion of Poland in 1939.  He also commanded the division during the invasion of France and the Low Countries before being appointed to command XXXXIX Mountain Corps.  During his command of this corps it was involved in the invasion of Yugoslavia and the attack on the Soviet Union.  In December 1941 he was appointed to command the 4th Army, but was dismissed from this post in January of the following year, and placed in the Führerreserve des Heeres (senior officer reserve pool).  In September 1943 he was appointed as the commanding general of security troops for Army Group Centre on the Eastern Front, but the following month he was appointed to command the Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral, based at Trieste on the northern Adriatic coast.  After being captured by Yugoslav forces at the end of the war, he was tried and executed for war crimes. 

1900   Birth of Horst Freiherr Treusch von Buttlar-Brandenfels in Kassel, Hesse, Germany.  Treusch was a German general during World War II, commonly referred to as Treusch, but also as Buttlar-Brandenfels. In 1944, Treusch was Army Operations Chief (OKW Major-General); he played a major role in not releasing the Panzer reserves (Panzer Lehr and the 12th SS Division) which had been requested by Gerd von Rundstedt.  Rundstedt was Generalfeldmarschall of the German army during the initial Normandy landings by Allied troops.  He was briefly in command of the 11th Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht from April 1945 until the end of the war in May.

1911   Birth of Werner Döring in Berlin, Germany.  Döring was a German theoretical physicist.  From 1963 until his retirement in 1977, he was ordinary professor at the University of Hamburg.  His main interest was the theory of magnetism.  His textbooks on theoretical physics have influenced several generations of students. He is remembered today for the Becker–Döring theory of nucleation of liquid droplets in solids (in condensed matter physics), and for the Zel'dovich–von Neumann–Döring detonation model (in explosives engineering).

1953   Birth of Dr. Gerhard Paul Julius Thiele in Heidenheim an der Brenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  Thiele is a German physicist and a former ESA astronaut.


Birth of James Franck in Hamburg, Germany. Frank became a professor of physics at the University of Göttingen in 1920. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1925 for his work on the excitation and ionization of atoms by electron bombardment. He fled Germany in 1933. In 1935 he accepted a position at Johns Hopkins University and in 1938 at the University of Chicago.

Death of Johann Friedrich Miescher in Davos, Switzerland. Miescher was a biochemist at the Universities of Tübingen and Basel who discovered nucleic acids.
Beginning of the battle at Tannenberg, East Prussia (now Poland) where the German armies under Ludendorf and Hindenburg defeat the Russian armies.

Matthias Erzberger is fatally shot by right wing radicals. Erzberger, a member of the Catholic Center Party, worked toward the peace to end WWI and was a signatory of the Armistice in 1918. Later he was first berated by right extremist groups and in 1921 shot to death by right wing radicals while he was on vacation in the Black Forest.

Death of the novelist, Franz Werfel, in Hollywood, U.S.A. (Born in Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire.) He fled Germany as the Nazi movement grew stronger. Noted works by Werfel include Venti, Roman der Oper (1924), Die Vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh (1933) and Das Lied von Bernadette (1941).

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhauer visits West Germany. He renews the guarantee of the U.S. for the security and freedom of West Berlin.

The Olympic games begin in Munich. The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 10, 1972, the sporting nature of which was largely overshadowed by the Munich massacre in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches, a West German police officer, and five terrorists were killed. The Israeli team’s march during the Olympic’s opening ceremony has become a well-known yet eerie video as a result of the massacre.

Death of Lotte Lehmann in Santa Barbara, California (born in Perleberg, Germany). After musical study in Berlin, Lehmann began her operatic career in Hamburg. Later with the Vienna State Opera she developed a close working relationship with Richard Strauss. (The role of Arabella was created for her.) She immigrated to the United States and sang with the Metropolitan Opera.


NeumannDeath of the architect Balthasar Neumann in Würzburg. Neumann was clearly the master of Baroque architecture. He was born in Eger, Bohemia (then Austria, now in the Czech Republic) in 1687. He moved to Würzburg in 1711 and gained the patronage of the prince-bishop (Holy Roman Empire) of Würzburg. He eventually rose to be the chief designer. His masterwork is the palace of Würzburg which he started in 1719. Other noted buildings by Neumann include the Schoenborn Chapel in the Würzburg Cathedral, the Vierzehnheiligen pilgrimage church, the Paulinus church in Trier and the abbey church at Neresheim.

Death of Johann Kalb in Camden, South Carolina (born in Hüttendorf, Germany). Experienced as an officer in a German regiment of the French infantry he secured a commission in the American Continental Army and immigrated in 1777. He died fighting the British.

Death of Richard Adelbert Lipsius in Gera, Germany. Lipsius was a Protestant theologian who identified the authorship of early Christian literature. He also worked with the history of the early papacy.

Death of Wilhelm Streitberg in Leipzig, Germany. Streitberg was one of leaders in work on early Germanic languages. He wrote Urgermanische Grammatik (1896), Gotisches Elementarbuch (1897) and Die gotische Bibel (1910). Streitberg was a professor at the universities of Freiburg, Münster, Munich and Leipzig.

American vice-president, Lyndon Johnson, visits Bonn and Berlin. He reaffirms America’s commitment to the defense of West Berlin.

East Germans flee over the Hungarian border to Austria as a result of the “pan-European picnic.” By the end of August 4,000 will have fled to Austria through Hungary. On 1989, Hungarian dissidents organized a peace demonstration on the Austro-Hungarian border at Sopron, and had agreed that they would symbolically open the border for a few hours that day so that they could have a picnic together. But it became more than a merely symbolic act: whilst Hungarians were already allowed to travel freely at that time, about 600 citizens of East Germany, the GDR, used the opportunity to flee to the West. The episode went down in history as a “pan-European picnic.”

Laszlo Magas from Sopron, now retired, was one of the main organizers of the event back then and still remembers that historic day very clearly: “It was a stroke of luck or a twist of fate that the East Germans could flee in this way,” he says. “At that time we were threatened with prosecution but by the next day I already felt that we had set the world on fire. And a friend said to me: ‘We’ve made history!’


Birth of Heinrich Biber in Wartenberg, Bohemia (Austrian Empire, now Czech Republicr). Biber was a composer and violinist who worked as court musician for the Archbishop of Salzburg.

Birth of Johann Jakob Herzog in Basel, Switzerland. A Protestant theologian at the Universities of Halle and Erlangen, he edited the standard work on Protestant theology, Real-Encyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche.

Birth of Johann Karl Rodbertus in Greifswald, Germany. Rodbertus was an economist whose views on economics were sufficiently liberal to enable economic reform, but sufficiently conservative to be accepted by the powers of the times. He was thus a key figure in passing the economic/social reforms in Prussia. He recognized that the working poor could not earn enough to have a positive effect on the whole of the national economy and thus needed more to effect a general rise in the standard of living.

Birth of Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz near Labiau, East Prussia (now Russia). He was a Prussian field marshal who reorganized the Turkish army and was head of the Turkish army in Iraq during WWI.

Birth of Erwin Schrödinger in Vienna, Austria. Schrödinger was a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933 for his work on the wave theory of matter. He was on the faculty at the University of Berlin until 1933 when he resigned and left due to growing Nazi influence in Germany.

Birth of Hans Urs von Balthasar in Lucerne, Switzerland. He studied philosophy and German literature at the universities of Zurich, Vienna and Berlin. He became a Jesuit in 1929. He completed his theological studies with Henri de Lubac. He left the Jesuit order due to conflicts in views in 1950. Over time his work gained the admiration of such leaders in theology as Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Henri de Lubac and Bishop Karl Lehmann. In 1988 he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II but died two days before the ceremony (June 26, 1988). Important works by Balthasar include, Herrlichkeit (1961-1969), Cordula (1966), Theodramatik (1973-1983), Die antirömische Affekt (1974) and Theologik (1985). Von Balthasar died on June 26, 1988.

200,000 Austrian troops commanded by Austrian general, Oskar Potiorek attack Serbia. (They are driven back by August 16.)

Karl Friedrich Goerdeler is arrested in Poland where he has been hiding. Goerdeler was one of the leaders in the resistance movement against Hitler. The culmination of the efforts was the attempted assassination of Hitler on July 20, 1944. It is likely that if the attempt had succeeded, Goerdeler would have become the chancellor of a new government. The attempt failed, however, and Goerdeler went into hiding. He was found and arrested on sent to prison and hanged on February 2, 1945.

r Death of Thomas Mann in Zurich, Switzerland. Thomas Mann was certainly one of the greatest German novelists of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929. Novels which have gained him world wide recognition as a writer include, Der Zauberberg, Der Tod in Venedig, Lotte in Weimar, and Doktor Faustus. Mann acknowledged a strong influence of the philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as the composer, Richard Wagner. Early on he spoke out against the growing Nazi party. He was on vacation in Switzerland in 1933 when Hitler became chancellor. Mann refused to return to Germany. In 1936 his German citizenship was revoked. He stayed in Switzerland until 1938 when he immigrated to the United States. After the war he refused to return to Germany. In 1952 he returned to live in Switzerland.

The West German government under the leadership of Willy Brandt signs a non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union.


Death of Fanny Lewald in Dresden, Germany. Lewald was a writer of popular novels. Among her novels are Die Familie Darner (1888), Geschlecht zu Geschlecht (8 vols. 1863-1865), and Diogena (1847).

Death of Friedrich Engels in London (born in Barmen, Germany). Engels was the son of a wealthy industrialist who owned a textile factory in Barmen and was a partner in the firm of Ermen and Engels in Manchester. Friedrich Engels worked in his father’s business as a young man but developed radical ideas early on. He was strongly influenced by the “Young Hegelians”. He began writing radical essays under the name of Friedrich Oswald. He had met Karl Marx in Cologne and their friendship continued through Marx’s years in Paris and London. He worked closely with Marx on Das Manifest der kommunistischen Partei (1848), and on the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Engels completed Das Kapital from the incomplete manuscript and notes after Marx’s death. When Marx went to London, Engles took a position with Ermen and Engels in Manchester from which earnings he contributed to Marx’s income. By the time of Marx’s death he was giving him 350 pounds a year and incidentals. In addition to the materials he wrote with Marx, Engels wrote a great deal under his own name and that of Friedrich Oswald.

In World War I German troops take Warsaw and Russian defenses crumble along the entire front. It is primarily the mud from autumn rains which halt the advance.

Death of Wilhelm Marx in Bonn, Germany. Marx, a member of the Catholic Centrist Party, was chancellor of the Weimar Republic on two occasions. He was the founder and the first president of the Catholic Schools Organization.


Birth of Simon Dach in Memel, Prussia (now Lithuania). Dach was one of the outstanding German Baroque poets.

Birth of Ernst Reuter in Apenrade, Germany. Reuter was the Mayor of West Berlin during the time of Cold War (1948-1953). Memorable is Reuter’s speech in front of the burned-out Reichstag building on 9 September 1948, facing a crowd of 300,000 where he appealed to the world not to abandon Berlin. In the election that was conducted in the western part of Berlin two months later, his popularity gave the SPD the highest win with 64.5% ever achieved by any party in a free election in Germany. As mayor he formed a grand coalition government with the next two largest parties to demonstrate West Berlin’s unity. Reuter’s appeal to the West did not go unheard. The airlift saved the city from starvation, and Reuter became only the second German postwar politician (after Konrad Adenauer) to be placed on the cover of Time Magazine. He was titled “Herr Berlin”.

Birth of Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat in Breslau, Germany (now Poland). A chemist whose research led to an understanding of the structure of viruses, Fraenkel-Conrat immigrated to the U. S. in 1941 and after 1958 taught at the University of California in Berkeley.

Austria-Hungary, having declared war on Serbia on July 28, starts an artillery bombardment of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

Erich Kästner dies in Munich. Kästner was a popular humorist and satirist. He is primarily remembered, however, for his children’s books, the most durable of which is certainly Emil und die Detektive of 1929.

The only American president, Gerald Ford, to ever visit the concentration camp in Auschwitz.

Death of the political philosopher, Herbert Marcuse, in Starnberg, Germany. Marcuse is noted for his Marxist philosophy and Freudian analyses of 20th century Western society. Marcuse was particularly influential among the protesters of the 60’s and 70’s. Marcuse worked in the Frankfurt “Institut für Sozialforschung” until the Nazis came to power in 1933. He then fled to the United States. During the war he was an intelligence analyst for the U. S. Army. Beginning in 1951 he taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, Brandeis University and the University of California at San Diego.

The Bundestag votes to privatize the postal system. The postal service, the telephone service and the postal bank were to be privatized by January 1, 1995.


Birth of Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) in Minden, Germany. An astronomer, Bessel measured the position of 50,000 stars and developed the first system of measuring the distance of stars. The asteroid 1552 Bessel was named in his honor.

Birth of Ludwig Bamberger in Mainz, Germany. Bamberger was an economist with a specialization in currency problems. Working with Bismarck, he achieved the standardization of German coinage, the adoption of the gold standard and the founding of the Reichsbank.

Birth of Gustav Hertz (1887-1975) in Hamburg, Germany. Hertz was a nephew of Heinrich Hertz (after whom the unit of frequency is named). Gustav Hertz worked on ion energy exchange and gaseous ionization potentials. His studies of electron energy loss in collisions between electrons and atoms supported the quantum nature of Bohr’s model of the atomic structure. This work, done with James Franck, won him and Franck the 1925 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Death of Fritz Kortner (original name, Fritz Kohn) in Munich, Germany (born in Vienna, Austria). Kortner was a theater actor and director. Kortner established his reputation as a actor in Berlin on the stage and in films. He fled Germany when the Nazis came to power and spent the war years in the United States. He returned to Germany in 1949 and earned a reputation as an innovative theater director


Death of Rudolf I in Limburg-im-Breisgau, Germany. Rudolf was the first King of the Germans from the Habsburg dynasty. He was elected German king in Frankfurt am Main and crowned at Aachen on October 24, 1273. Pope Gregory X recognized the position only on the conditions that he would renounce any rights in Italy and lead a crusade.  Poland and Lithuania defeat the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Tannenberg. The Teutonic Knights was an order of Christian knights founded to spread and/or protect Christianity through military means. The full name of the order was, Haus der Ritter des Hospitals sankt Marien der Deutschen zu Jerusalem. They wore a white uniform with a black cross. In a very limited form the order still exists in Vienna, although the military aspect of the order has been gone for centuries.

Death of Bl. Bernhard von Baden (1428-1458). Bernhard von Baden was born near Baden-Baden, Germany in 1428. He was the margrave (Markgraf) of Baden but gave up his rights to lead a life dedicated to the church. He gave of his energy to initiate a crusade. A number of miracles were reported worked at his grave after his death. He was beatified in 1769 and the process of canonization was initiated in 1958.

Birth of August Gottlieb Spangenberg in Klettenberg-Hohenstein, Germany. A Pietist theologian. Rejected in Germany, he went to the United States and founded the North American branch of the religious movement, Unitas Fratrum.

Birth of Friedrich Henle in Fürth. Henle was an anatomist and pathologist, a teacher of Robert Koch. Henle published the theory that diseases were caused by living microscopic organisms. Henle was a professor at the University of Göttingen. One of Henle‘s most profound achievements was to establish microscopic anatomy into the curriculum of every medical student. His research focused on epithelium and its derivatives. He identified the endothelial layer in blood vessels, analysed the loop system in the kidney and described the root sheath of hair, which is important for its regeneration.

Death of Carl Czerny in Vienna, Austria. Czerny was a pianist, teacher and composer. His pedagogical works are still widely used in piano instruction. He composed over 1,000 works.

The assembly of abstaining Germans began in Altona. Out of this assembly grew the Allgemeine Deutsche Zentralverband zur Bekämpfung des Alkoholismus (General German Central Association for the Fight against Alcoholism.)

The library of the University of Göttingen buys the manuscript of Gottfried August Bürger’s Lenore for 5,000 marks. The manuscript was purchased from a book dealer in Prague.

Death of Hugo von Hofmannsthal in Vienna, Austria. Hofmannsthal was a poet and dramatist who gained his greatest international note through his collaborations with the composer, Richard Strauss. Hofmannsthal wrote the texts to Elektra (1903), Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Ariadne auf Naxos (1912), and Arabella (1933). Other works by Hofmannsthal include Der Tor und der Tod (1893), Jedermann (1911), and Dasw Salzburger grosse Welttheater (1922). Hofmannsthal died of a heart attack brought on by distress after the suicide of his son Franz.

Death of Eugen Bleuler in Zollikon, Switzerland. Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, introduced the term “schizophrenia” into the vocabulary of psychiatry (1908). He also introduced the concept of “autism”. He and his one-time assistant, Carl Jung, worked for a time with Sigmund Freud.

The Czech government announces that starting immediately 12,000 ethnic Germans per day will be removed to Germany.

Mainauer Kundgebung, meeting on an island in the Bodensee (Lake of Constance) takes place where 18 Nobel Prize winners including the Germans Otto Hahn and Werner Heisenberg sign an appeal to world governments, warning of the dangers of atomic war.

Death of Ernest Bloch in Portland, Oregon (born in Geneva, Switzerland). The musician immigrated to America. He is noted for post-romantic traditions and Jewish cultural and liturgical themes.


Feast Day of St. Kilian, who was born in about 640, possibly in Ireland. He undertook missionary work to Germany. He began his work near Würzburg. He was killed by the pagans in the area in about 689. He is entombed in Würzburg.

Death of Pepin, the son of Karl der Große (Charlemagne), in Italy.

Birth of Heinrich Albert in Lobenstein, Germany. Albert composed a series of 170 popular Baroque songs. He had studied composition with his cousin, Heinrich Schütz.

Birth of Karl Franz Chrysander in Lübtheen, Germany. Chrysander was a music critic and music historian. His historical note derives from his work of collecting the works of the musician Georg Händel.

Birth of Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917) in Konstanz, Germany. Zeppelin invented of the dirigible. His first flight was as a Prussian officer serving as an observer with the Union Army in America during the Civil War. He ascended in an observation balloon in 1863 from St. Paul, Minnesota. He then returned to Prussia and served in the Prussian army until 1890 when he retired and devoted the rest of his life to airships. He founded the Zeppelin Airship company.

Birth of Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) in Königsberg, Germany (now in Russia). A graphic artist and sculptor, Kollwitz was an advocate for the victims of social injustice and war.

Death of Franz Xavier Winterhalter in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Winterhalter was a portrait painter who did many portraits of royalty. He was active in France and England as well as Germany.

Publication of Friedrich Nietzsche‘s Morgenröthe.

Birth of Ernst Bloch, in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The Marxist philosopher, Bloch was at the University of Leipzig when Hitler came to power. He fled to Switzerland in 1933 and then to the United States. In America he wrote the first two books of his three volume, Das Prinzip Hoffnung. He returned to Leipzig in 1948. He proved to be too critical for the East German authorities, however, fell into disfavor, was prohibited from publication, and finally defected to the West in 1961. In West Germany he became a professor at the University of Tübingen.

Birth of Walter Scheel in Höhscheid, Germany. Walter Scheel was a President of West Germany.

Death of Max Hoffmann in Bad Reichenhall, Germany. Hoffmann was the developer of the military strategy which Hindenburg and Ludendorff used in the Battle of Tannenberg of 1914 which was the first major German victory on the Eastern Front in World War I. In 1918 he led the offensive against Russia which forced the final peace terms ending Russian participation in World War I.

In the soccer World Cup finals Germany defeats Argentina 1-0.


Birth of Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) in Leipzig. Leibniz was a German mathematician and philosopher. Leibniz developed the infinitesimal calculus independently of Isaac Newton, and Leibniz’s mathematical notation has been widely used ever since it was published. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal’s calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is at the foundation of virtually all digital computers.  In philosophy, Leibniz is most noted for his optimism, e.g., his conclusion that our Universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created. Leibniz, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th century advocates of rationalism.

Birth of the physician Karl von Vierordt (1818-1884) in Baden, Germany. Vierordt developed techniques and tools for the monitoring of blood circulation, he is credited for the construction of an early “hemotachometer”, an apparatus for monitoring the velocity of blood flow. In 1854, he created a device called a sphygmograph, a mechanism consisting of weights and levers used to estimate blood pressure, and considered to be a forerunner of the modern sphygmomanometer. One of his better known written works was a treatise on the arterial pulse, titled Die Lehre vom Arterienpuls im gesunden und kranken Zustände.

Death of Rudolf Lotze in Berlin, Germany. Lotze was a philosopher who developed the philosophy of Theistic Idealism. He studied at the University of Leipzig. He later taught at the Universities of Leipzig, Göttingen and Berlin. His noted books are “Logik” (1843), “Mikrokosmos” (3 vols. 1856-64) and “Metaphysik” (1879).

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin flies his first airship, the LZ-1. It was 126 m (420 ft) in overall length, 11.4 m (38 ft) in diameter and weighed 13 tons. It was constructed using a cylindrical framework covered with smooth surfaced cotton cloth. Inside was a row of 17 gas cells each covered in rubberized cloth. The hydrogen gas capacity totaled 12,000m3 (400,000 cubic ft).  The airship was steered by forward and aft rudders and propulsion was provided by two 15-hp Daimler internal-combustion engines, each rotating two propellers. The airship also employed a 130 kg weight suspended beneath the hull that could be slid forward or aft to control its attitude and about 300 kg ballast. Passengers and crew were carried in two 6.2 meter long aluminum gondolas suspended forward and aft.


Birth of the German composer Hans Werner Henze in Gütersloh, Germany. He began within the 12 tone style but then developed a variety of expressions.


Heinrich Lübke (CDU) is elected President of the Federal Republic of Germany. (West Germany)


Introduction of the West German Mark in East Germany preceding the full reunification.


Germany changes its system of postal codes, a change made necessary by the reunification.

On this day...

Roman Herzog, Johannes Rau, and Horst Köhler are elected as Germany’s President (Bundespräsident).


Graf Adolf von Nassau was crowned German King at Aachen. He was King of the Germans until deposed by the Habsburg, Albert I.

Death of Johann Julius Hecker in Berlin, Germany. It was he who developed the “Realschule”, the track of secondary schools stressing practical education to parallel the classic educational schools. He opened the first “Realschule” in 1747 in Berlin.

Birth of Ernst Weber in Wittenberg, Germany. Weber was an anatomist who made several important discoveries in the area of the sense of touch.

Treaty of Reichenbach between Austria, Prussia, and Russia by which Austria (Napoleon’s ally in the attach on Russia in 1812) agrees to join against France if peace is not concluded. (Austria would declare war on France in August.) (Arrangements by Metternich.)

Birth of Karl Rosenbusch in Einbeck, Germany. Rosenbusch initiated the science of microscopic petrography.

Birth of Friedrich August Löffler (1852-1915) in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany. In 1884 he and Edwin Klebs found the cause of diphtheria, the Klebs-Löffler bacillus.

Birth of Victor Francis Hess (1883-1964) in Waldstein, Austria. He was a physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1936 for his discovery of cosmic rays.

Assassination of Walther Rathenau in Berlin, Germany, by right wing radicals. It was Rathenau who directed the organization of the German economy to a war status during WWI. He was the son of Emil Rathenau, who had founded the Allgemeine-Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) (A company something like GE in the United States). As WWI started Walther Rathenau was the head of AEG. He was active in the development of workers rights (Mitbestimmung) during the days of the Weimar Republic. 

Death of Karl Aschoff in Freiburg. Aschoff was a pathologist who had studied at the University of Bonn and taught at the University of Freiburg. He discovered phagocytes (cells which ingest foreign substances) and Aschoff’s bodies (nodules in the heart related to the rheumatic process).

Start of the Berlin Blockade lasting until May 12, 1949. Supplied by air from the West through the Berlin Air Lift, the Berlin Blockade was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. The Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied control. Their aim was to force the western powers to allow the Soviet zone to start supplying Berlin with food, fuel, and aid, thereby giving the Soviets practical control over the entire city.  Aircrews from the Air Forces of the United States, Britain, the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4700 tons of daily necessities such as fuel and food to the Berliners.


Birth of the poet, Ferdinand Freiligrath, in Detmold, Germany. Freiligrath’s political/social engagement was reflected increasingly in his poetry to the extent that his work was banned and he was forced to leave Germany. Freiligrath died in 1876.

Death of Edwin Freiherr von Manteufel in Carlsbad, Austria-Hungary (born 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 Hermann Reutter in Stuttgart, Germany. Hermann Reutter was a German composer and pianist. The compositions of Hermann Reutter are not well known, though his musical career was one of great excellence and long duration.

The uprising of 1953 in East Germany.  After a rise in bread prices, demonstrations by striking workers in the streets of East Berlin were crushed by Soviet tanks.  It started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16. It turned into a widespread uprising against the German Democratic Republic government the next day. The uprising in Berlin was violently suppressed by tanks of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany and the Volkspolizei. In spite of the intervention of Soviet troops, the wave of strikes and protests was not easily brought under control. Even after there were demonstrations in more than 500 towns and villages.


Death of St. Bardo in Paderborn, Germany. Bardo was a Benedictine monk in Fulda. He later became the abbot at the monasteries in Kaiserswerth and Hersfeld. In 1031 he became the Archbishop of Mainz. He was known for his piety and gentle nature. It was he who constructed the present Cathedral of Mainz. He died on a visit to Paderborn on June 10th, 1051. He was entombed in the cathedral in Mainz. His grave became a pilgrimage site and many miracles were attributed to him.

Death of Friedrich I (Friedrich Barbarossa)  in Haguenau, Schwabia, now in France.   T he Holy Roman Empire's greatest medieval emperors, Friedrich Barbarossa combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political insight or shrewdness. His contributions to Central European society and culture include the reestablishment of the Corpus Juris Civilis, or the Roman rule of law.  Barbarossa received his surname while attempting to rule northern Italian cities.  Meaning red beard, this name was more popular than the German equivalent, Kaiser Rotbart "Emperor Redbeard."

Birth of Anton Fugger in Augsburg, Germany.  Anton was a third generation member of a German family that was historically a prominent group of European bankers, members of the mercantile noble order of Augsburg, international mercantile bankers, and venture capitalists. Alongside the Welser family, the Fugger family controlled much of the European economy in the sixteenth century and accumulated enormous wealth. The Fuggers held a near monopoly on the European copper market.

Birth of Nikolaus Otto in Holzhausen, Germany. Otto was the German inventor of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber. Though the concept of four strokes, with the vital compression of the mixture before ignition, had been invented and patented in 1861 by Alphonse Beau de Rochas, Otto was the first to make it practical.

Birth of Carl Hagenbeck (1844-1913) in Hamburg, Germany. He was a German merchant of wild animals who supplied many European zoos, as well as P.T. Barnum. He created the modern zoo with animal enclosures without bars that were closer to their natural habitat. The transformation of the zoo architecture initiated by him is known as the Hagenbeck revolution. Hagenbeck founded Germany’s most successful privately owned zoo, the Tierpark Hagenbeck, which moved to its present location in Hamburg’s Stellingen quarter in 1907. He was a pioneer in displaying primitive humans next to animals, called human zoos.

Archduke Maximilian of Austria becomes emperor of Mexico. His reign lasts until 1867 when he is assassinated by the left. He had been installed by France to rule their new colonial territory. (The French had already abandoned the “colony” when Maximilian was assassinated.)

Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde was first performed in Munich, Germany.

Birth of Frederick Loewe (Löwe) in Vienna, Austria. A composer, he moved to the USA in 1924 and joined efforts with Alan Lerner, a lyricist. Among his works are My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Gigi and Camelot.

Death of the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Munich, Germany.  Rainer was a German filmmaker, actor, and dramatist. He is widely regarded as one of the major figures and catalysts of the New German Cinema movement.


Birth of Pauline Mallinckrodt, in Minden, Germany. She directed the institution for the blind in Paderborn, Germany. She founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity on August 21, 1849. That order took charge of the school for the blind and established 20 additional houses in Germany. In 1873 sisters of the order came to the United States. Sr. Mallinckrodt came to the United States in 1873 and organized a Mother House in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania. She died in 1881 in Paderborn, Germany. She was beatified in 1985.

Birth of Detlev von Lilliencron, in Kiel, Germany. Lilliencron’s most known collection of poetry is Adjutantenritte. His collection of novellas, Kriegsnovellen are based on his own experiences in the military. He also worte an epic, Poggfred, ein kunter-buntes Epos. Von Lilliencron died in 1909.

Birth of Otto Erich Hartleben, in Clausthal, Germany. Hartleben was a writer of short stories and dramas. He is known for his social criticism and satire. Works by Hartleben include, Rosenmontag, Vom gastfreien Pastor and Meine Verse. Hartleben died in 1905 in Italy.

Birth of Otto Loewi (1873-1961), the physician/pharmacologist, in Frankfurt am Main. Loewi received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1936 for discoveries in the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. Loewi was Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Graz, Austria. In 1940 he came to the United States and became a professor at the School of Medicine at New York University. Loewi died in 1961 in New York City.

Death of Ludwig Ritter von Köchel in Vienna, Austria. Although he had earned a doctorate in Law, Köchel devoted his life and studies to music. in 1862 he published his Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichnis sämtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amade Mozarts. In that work he organized all of Morzart’s works into 23 categories and determined dates of composition of each work based on stylistic development and Mozart’s handwriting. Since then Mozart’s works are identified with the “K” or “Köchel” numbers.

Death of Johann Strauß (1825-1899) (the younger), in Vienna, Austria.  Growing up, Strauß father had not wanted him to go into music and Strauß started his life as a bank clerk, but behind his father’s back he started his own orchestra. It was after his father’s death that he devoted his career wholly to composition. He composed over 400 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet. In his lifetime, he was known as “The Waltz King”, and was largely then responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century.  Strauss had two younger brothers, Josef and Eduard Strauss, who became composers of light music as well, although they were never as well known as their elder brother.

Death of Franz Kafka, in Kierling, Austria. Franz Kafka was a German-language writer of novels and short stories, regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism.

Birth of Werner Aber, in Gränichen, Switzerlandr. A Swiss microbiologist, Aber won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or medicine for his work in molecular genetics in 1978.  Aber was Professor of Microbiology at the University of Basel.

Death of Arno Schmidt in Celle, Germany. Schmidt became a novelist after World War II. Among his works are, Die Gelehrtenrepublik (1957), Nobodaddys Kinder (1963), and Abend mit Goldrand (1975).

The worst train crash in European history near Eschede, Germany (between Hamburg and Hannover) causes the death of over 100 passengers. The train, ICE 884 “Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen”, was traveling at 200 kilometers per hour when it derailed and crashed into a bridge.


Death of Thomas Müntzer in Mühlhausen. Thomas Müntzer was born in 1489 in Stolberg, Germany and died on 1525 in Mühlhausen, Germany. He was a leading radical reformer during the Protestant reformation and the leader of the peasants’ revolt in Thuringia in 1524-25. Müntzer was a significant figure in the religious and social history of modern Europe. Marxists of the 20th century regard him as a model in the class struggle. Müntzer was convinced that full truth was to be found within the person, implanted by God, rather than in the Bible. His views were opposed to those of Luther. He thought that due to their poverty and uncorrupted innocence that the will of God was implanted in the simple people.

Birth of Maximilian I in Mannheim, Germany. Maximilian was the first Wittelsbach Elector of Bavaria and the first King of Bavaria (arranged by Napoleon).

Birth of Henry Kissinger in Fürth, Germany.

Death of Robert Koch (1843-1910) in Baden-Baden, Germany. Koch discovered the anthrax life cycle in 1876. He discovered the Tubercle bacillus (the cause of tuberculosis) in 1882 and the cholera bacillus in 1883. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1905.

The German battleship Bismarck is sunk by a British naval group.

East Germany cuts telephone service between East and West Berlin. West Berliners no longer allowed to enter East Germany.

Death of Ernst Ruska (1906-1988) in West Berlin, Germany. Ruska won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986 for his invention of the electron microscope. He built his first electron microscope in 1933. He was a researcher at Siemens AG.


Birth of Eduard Buchner (1917) in Munich, Bavaria. Buchner, the biochemist, was given the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1907 for demonstrating that the fermentation of carbohydrates results from the action of enzymes in yeast.

Birth of Emile Berliner (1851-1929) in Hannover, Germany. Berliner is best known for developing the disc record gramophone (phonograph in American English). He founded The Berliner Gramophone Company in 1895, The Gramophone Company in London, England, in 1897, Deutsche Grammophon in Hanover, Germany, in 1898 and Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada in Montreal in 1899.

Death of Clara Schumann in Frankfurt am Main. Schumann was a composer and the outstanding pianist of her century. Born Clara Wieck, she married the composer, Robert Schumann in 1840 and took his name. The couple had 8 children. Clara and Robert were close friends with Johannes Brahms.

Canonization of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (born John Hofbauer) in Tasswitz, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic). Hofbauer studied at the University of Vienna. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1785. He was canonized in 1909. He is the Roman Catholic patron Saint of Vienna.

Death of Ferdinand Hodler in Geneva, Switzerland. Hodler was one of the outstanding Swiss painters of the turn of the century. He is known for his landscapes and portraits as well as for his nudes which are remarkable for the transcendent symbolism of their ritualized gestures.

Birth of Wolfgang Borchert in Hamburg, Germany.   A German author and playwright, his work was strongly influenced by his experience of dictatorship and his service in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. 


Birth of Maria Theresa in Vienna, Austria. Maria was the daughter of the Holy Roman emperor, Karl VI. Since Karl had no sons, he sought to bring his daughter to the rule of the Habsburg empire through a new regulation, Die Pragmatische Sanktion, which changed the custom of excluding women from the succession. Thus Maria became in 1740 the archduchess (Erzherzogin) of Austria and the queen of Hungary and Bohemia. However since there were forces who did not accept the succession, she was forced to fight for her heritage in the War of Austrian Succession (Erbfolgekrieg) (1740-48). She further had to contend with Prussia’s claims on Silesia, the Seven Years’ war (1756-1763) and the war of Bavarian Succession (1778-1779). She was married to Franz Stephan von Lothringen and was the mother of 16 children, of whom Josef II succeeded her. She was a deeply committed Catholic both in her moral views and in her devotion to the Church.

Johann Sebastian Bach becomes cantor of the Thomasschule at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. (Bach was not the first choice. The post had been turned down by Georg Philipp Telemann and Christoph Graupner.)

Birth of Heinrich Wilhelm Stiegel near Cologne, Germany. Stiegel immigrated to Philadelphia in 1750. There he built an ironworks and soon expanded to a second ironworks in Lancaster. At the boycott of British imports he expanded his manufacture of window glass and bottles at a company he founded called the American Flint Glassworks. He was highly successful and became known for his mansions, servants and high life style. As economic conditions deteriorated with the approach of the war with England, however, his fortunes declined. By 1774 he was in debtors prison.

Birth of Friedrich Dahlmann (1785-1860) in Wismar, Germany. Dahlmann was a professor of history at the universities of Kiel, Bonn, and Göttingen. He assisted in the drafting of the constitution of Hannover in 1833. He was instrumental in the formulation of the Declaration of Basic Rights at the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 and was a member of the delegation sent to Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia offering him the position of Emperor of the new German Empire. (Friedrich Wilhelm refused.)

Death of the University of Göttingen anatomist, Friedrich Henle (teacher of Robert Koch).

Death of Hermann Collitz in Baltimore, Ohio. (born in Bleckede, Germany). A linguist, Collitz contributed to knowledge of Indo-European languages, the study of Sanskrit and sound changes in Germanic languages. He was a professor at the University of Halle until 1886 when he immigrated to the United States and became a professor at Bryn Mawr College. Later he was appointed to a position at Johns Hopkins University.


The battle of Prague takes place in the Seven Year’s War (1756-1763) (Siebenjähriger Krieg) between Prussia and Austria and their allies.

Birth of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) in Freiberg, Moravia (then part of the Austrian Empire). Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis remains influential within psychiatry  and across the humanities. As such it continues to generate extensive debate, notably over its scientific status and as to whether it advances or is detrimental to the feminist cause. Nonetheless Freud’s work has suffused contemporary thought and popular culture to the extent that in 1939 W. H. Auden wrote, in a poem dedicated to him:
“to us he is no more a person / now but a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives”.

Death of Alexander von Humboldt in Berlin, Germany. Humboldt was a naturalist who traveled the world doing geography and natural history. In his later years he shared the knowledge and insights he had gained in intellectual circles in Paris and Berlin. His major work Kosmos provided an overview of the structure of the universe as then known.

Birth of Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) in Munich, Germany. He was a German author and poet from Munich. Morgenstern’s poetry, much of which was inspired by English literary nonsense, is immensely popular, even though he enjoyed very little success during his lifetime. He made fun of scholasticism, e.g. literary criticism in “Drei Hasen”, grammar in “Der Werwolf”, narrow-mindedness in “Der Gaul”, and symbolism in “Der Wasseresel”. In “Scholastikerprobleme” he discussed how many angels could sit on a needle. Still many Germans know some of his poems and quotations by heart, e.g. the following line from “The Impossible Fact” (“Die unmögliche Tatsache”, 1910):

Weil, so schließt er messerscharf / Nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf.
“For, he reasons pointedly / That which must not, can not be.”

Death of Friedrich Bayer (not to be confused with Adolf Bayer, the professor of Chemistry at the University of Munich).

Birth of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Aschaffenberg, Germany. Kirchner was a painter in the Expressionist group, “Die Bruecke”. Notable influences on his painting were Albrecht Dürer, the “Jugendstil” movement and Edvard Munch.

Heinrich Brüning replaces Ludwig Kaas as head of the Center Party. (The party leadership had demanded Kaas’s resignation.)

The airship, Hindenburg, catches fire while landing on a Thursday.  The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers, 61 crew), there were 35 fatalities; there was also one death among the ground crew.
The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison’s recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. A variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the end of the airship era.

Willy Brandt resigns as German Chancellor.

Death of Marlene Dietrich (born Marie Magdalene Dietrich) in Paris (born in Berlin, Germany). “Ich bin, Gott sei Dank, Berlinerin” is the title of her autobiography. She had been a small time player in German films for seven years before she was suddenly a superstar with Der blaue Engel (1930). Director, Josef von Sternberg then brought her to America, where she continued to make pictures through the 70’s. During WWII she entertained Allied troops on over 500 occasions. Among her films are Shanghai Express, The Devil is a Woman, Witness for the Prosecution, and Judgement at Nuremberg.


Birth of Karl Philipp Fürst von Wrede in Heidelberg, Germany. Karl was a German general who, however, formed an alliance with Napoleon until 1813 (the year of the battle of Leipzig in which Napoleon was first defeated in battle). He then switched sides and joined the coalition of nations against France.

Birth of Karl Freiherr von Drais, a German forest official and significant inventor in the Biedermeier period. Drais invented the Laufmaschine (“running machine”), also later called the Velocipede, Draisine (English) or draisienne (French), also nicknamed “the hobby horse” or “dandy horse”. He also invented the earliest typewriter with a keyboard (1821). He later developed an early stenograph machine which used 16 characters (1827), a device to record piano music on paper (1812), the first meat grinder, and a wood-saving cooker including the earliest hay chest.

Birth of Fred Zinnemann in Vienna, Austria. Zinnemann studied law in Vienna but then developed an interest in making movies. He studied film making in Paris and in 1929 immigrated to the United States. In Hollywood he became a successful director. His films include High Noon (1952), From here to Eternity (1953), Oklahoma (1955), A Man for all Seasons (1966), The Day of the Jackal (1973) and Five Days one Summer (1982). Zinnemann died in 1997.

In WWI there is a mutiny in the French Army. General Nivelle is replaced with General Petain on May 15. German General Ludendorff does not learn of the mutiny in time to take advantage of it.

In Munich the Red Brigade under the leadership of a man named Seyler confiscates at gun point the automobile of the Papal Nuncio, Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII).

April 28/29, 1945
At about midnight Adolf Hitler marries Eva Braun in the bunker in Berlin.

Death of Ludwig Wittgenstein in Cambridge, England (born in Vienna, Austria, April 26, 1889). Wittgenstein studied in England and later in his career returned to England as a professor. He is noted for his linguistic philosophy.

The demolition of the Wall in Berlin begins near the Brandenburg Gate. So-called “wall peckers” broke off pieces as souvenirs. An increasing number of new border crossings were created, leaving behind large gaps in the Wall. Border soldiers began dismantling the signal fence and other elements of the border fortifications. Both the East German government and members of the border troops began considering ways to market the Wall. Pieces of the Wall were sold all over the world. In June 1990 the systematic dismantling of the border grounds began at Ackerstrasse, between the districts of Wedding und Mitte, and was for the most part complete by the end of the year. The first sections of the Wall were designated an historical monument in 1990.


Birth of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in Königsberg, Germany (now in Russia). Kant would become one of the most influential philosophers of all times. His Critiques are the best known of his works, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft. In ethics Kant is known for his categorical imperative.

The signing of the Peace of Füssen. By this agreement Maximilian III regained control of Bavaria and ruled there as the Elector of Bavaria in the Holy Roman Empire.

Birth of Georg Hermes in Dreierwalde, Germany. Hermes was a Roman Catholic theologian who was a follower of the systems of Immanuel Kant. He originated a theological system called Hermesianism by which he sought to prove the rational necessity of Christianity Einleitung in die christkatholische Theologie (1819-29). He was ordained a priest in 1799 and became a professor of dogmatic theology at the Universities of Münster and Bonn. After his death he fell out of favor and his writings were listed on the Roman Catholic Index of Forbidden books. Pope Gregory XVI and the first Vatican Council condemned his theology.

Birth of Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt in Peine, Germany. Bodenstedt was a professor of early English literature at the University of Munich. He produced many translations from English and Russian literature. In 1866 he became the director of the court theater in Meiningen. He died in Wiesbaden on April 18, 1892.

Birth of August Wilhelm Eichler in Neukirchen, 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 Hans von Seeckt in Schleswig, Germany. General von Seeckt was the head of the German army from 1920-1926 during the time of the Weimar Republic. Although the Versailles treaty forbade Germany an up to date army, through an agreement to train Russian troops, von Seeckt was able to have his own personnel experiment with up to date weapons. He resigned from the army in 1926 and became a member of the Parliament.

Birth of Robert Barany in Vienna, Austria. Barany won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1914 for his work on the balancing system of the inner ear. In his early career he worked in the ear clinic of the University of Vienna. From 1917 on he taught at Uppsala University.

Birth of Otto Rank (1884-1939) (original name Otto Rosenfeld) in Vienna, Austria. Rank was the psychologist to applied psychoanalysis to the analysis of legend, myth and art. Within this framework he wrote Der Künstler in 1907. He also wrote Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden (1909) and Das Inzest-Motiv in Dichtung und Sage (1912). In his book Das Trauma der Geburt und seine Bedeutung für die Psychoanalyse (1924) he linked the trauma of birth and various later neuroses.

Birth of Ludwig Renn (original name, Arnold Friedrich Vieth von Golssenau) in Dresden, Germany. Krieg (1928) is the best known of the novelist’s works. The 1928 novel was based on his horrific experiences in World War I. The sequel, Nachkrieg (1930) deals with the Weimar Republic. A liberal, he was arrested by the Nazis during the night of the fire at the Reichstag and spent 2 1/2 years in prison. Upon his release he fled to Switzerland. From Switzerland he moved to Mexico where he spent the war years. At war’s end he returned to a life in East Germany.

Chlorine gas is used for the first time in the West. It is released preceding a German attack at Ypres.

Birth of Theo Waigel in Oberrohr, Germany

Death of Käthe Kollwitz, German painter, near Dresden, Germany.

Death of the chemist Fritz Strassmann in Mainz, Germany. With his partners Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner he discovered nuclear fission in 1938. Their discovery set the U. S. into a frantic search for the technology of the atomic bomb, fearing that Germany was very close to it. After the war Strassmann became a professor of inorganic and nuclear chemistry at the University of Mainz.


Death of Simon Dach in Königsberg, Prussia (now Russia). Dach was one of the outstanding German Baroque poets.

Birth of Leonhard Euler in Basel, Switzerland. A mathematician of the Berlin Academy, Euler was one of the originators of pure mathematics. He made significant contributions to geometry, calculus, mechanics and number theory as well as observational astronomy. Euler wrote, Introductio in analysin infinitorum (1748), Institutiones calculi differentialis (1755), and calculi integralis (1770) as well as a host of articles in professional journals.

Birth of Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg in Vienna, Austria. Schwarzenberg was an Austrian field marshal in the wars against Napoleon. His troops actually joined with Napoleon in the 1812 war against Russia, but in he 1813 led his forces against the French. He was the allied commander in Chief at the Battle of Leipzig.

Birth of the philosopher Friedrich Bouterwek in Hannover, Germany. Bouterwek was a follower of Immanuel Kant in his earlier years, but drew away from Kant’s philosophy later. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Göttingen. Influential works by Bouterwek include, Geschichte der neueren Poesie und Beredsamkeit (12 vols. 1801-1819), Lehrbuch der philosophischen Wissenschaften (1813), and Religion und Vernunft (1824),

Birth of Hermann Günther Grassmann (1809-1877) in Settin, Germany (now in Poland). Grassmann was a mathematician who developed a general calculus of vectors. His work in this area is exposed in Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik (1844). He taught at a high school in Settin.

Birth of Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908) in Wiedensahl, Germany. Busch was a humorous writer, painter and poet. His best known works are “Max und Moritz” and “Die fromme Helene” (1872). His drawings with humorous poems are the forerunner to the comic strip. His Max und Moritz was imported to the United States in the form of The Katzenjammer Kids or later The Captain and the Kids.

Karl Marx receives his doctorate from the University of Jena.

Birth of Johannes Stark (1874-1957) in Schickenhof, Germany. Stark won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1919 for his for his work on the effects of electrical fields on light spectrum. The effect is now called the “Stark effect”. Stark was a professor of physics at the Universities of Greifswald and Würzburg. Stark was closely involved with the Deutsche Physik movement under the Nazi regime. In 1947, following the defeat of Germany in World War II, Stark was classified as a “Major Offender” and received a sentence of four years imprisonment by a denazification court.

Birth of Richard von Weizäcker in Stuttgart, Germany. Richard von Weizsäcker is a German politician. He served as Governing Mayor of West Berlin from 1981 to 1984, and as President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994.

Death of Robert Musil in Geneva, Switzerland. A novelist, Musil is known for Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Die Schwärmer, and Vinzenz und die Freundin bedeutender Männer. In the face of the German annexation of Austria, he fled to Switzerland.

The treasure of Primos found by Heinrich Schliemann in 1873 in Troy and taken from Berlin in 1945 by Russians is exhibited in Moscow for the first time. Prior to 1996 the Soviet Union had denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the artifacts. It is now known that Russia took from German museums and private collections: 63 paintings of masters of the 14th to 19th centuries, 74 Impressionist and Postimpressionist masterpieces, 364 water colors, drawings and graphics from the Bremen art museum, 80 ancient treasures of the Eberswalder Goldfund, 5,200 pieces from the East Asian collection of Berlin museums, 200,000 printed works from the Berlin State Library and 5,000 volumes of the Research Library in Gotha.


Death of Martin Chemnitz in Braunschweig, Germany. A leading Protestant theologian, Chemnitz did much to unify the Protestants in the early Lutheran church.

Birth of Johann Christian Günther in Striegau, Germany. Günther was one of the leading lyric poets of the age. He made the transition from the Baroque to expressions of genuine feelings.

Caroline of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1768-1821) (born in Braunschweig, Germany) marries the future King George IV of England. She and George separated in 1796. In 1820 when George was about to ascend to the throne, he offered her substantial sums of money to remain away from England. She returned to England, however. The government attempted unsuccessfully to dissolve the marriage and prevent the title of queen for her. George was crowned in 1821, but Caroline suddenly died 19 days later.

Birth of Hugo von Mohl (1805-1872) in Stuttgart, Germany. Von Mohl was a botanist who did work with the anatomy and physiology of plant cells. He was the first to realize that new cells are formed by cell division. Von Mohl was a professor at the University of Tübingen.

Birth of August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892) in Giessen, Germany. Hofmann, a chemist, studied under Justus von Liebig at the University of Giessen and completed his doctorate in 1841. He was the director of the Royal College of Chemistry in London from 1845-1864. In 1864 he became a professor at the University of Bonn and in 1865 at the University of Berlin. He produced 300 scientific papers. His work with aniline had the greatest impact, for that work made possible the aniline-dye industry in which Germany became a world leader. Von Hofmann was a cofounder of the German Chemical Society and was its president 14 times.

Death of Wilhelm von Humboldt in Tegel, Berlin. He was a key figure in the founding of the Friedrich Wilhelm University, now the Humboldt University, in Berlin.

Death of Robert Bárány in Uppsala, Sweden (born in Vienna, Austria). Barany won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1914 for his work on the balancing system of the inner ear. In his early career he worked in the ear clinic of the University of Vienna. From 1917 on he taught at Uppsala University.

Birth of Edmund Husserl in Prossnitz, Moravia (at that time part of the Austrian Empire). 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).

Birth of Richard Joseph Neutra in Vienna, Austria. Neutra studied architecture at the Technical Academy in Vienna and the University of Zürich. After establishing a reputation with the International Style of Architecture in Europe he immigrated to the United States in 1923. In the United States he continued his building in the International Style. Outstanding works by Neutra include the Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs and the Tremaine House in Santa Barbara.

Death of Fritz von Opel in Saint Moritz, Switzerland. Opel was of the automotive Opel family. He did early experiments with rocket propulsion for automobiles and aircraft together with Max Valier and Friedrich Sander.


Birth 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 Otto von Bismarck in Schönhausen, Germany. Bismarck was the Prussian Chancellor who in 1871, after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war, organized the German states into a new empire. (That empire would last until the end of World War I.) Bismarck still holds the record for the longest serving German chancellor. He served for 19 years.

Death of Jakob Steiner in Bern, Switzerland. Steiner discovered inversive geometry and is considered one of the greatest geometers of modern times. He discovered the “Steiner surface”, and developed the “Steiner theorem” and the “Poncelet-Steiner theorem”. His most noted work is Systematische Entwickelung der Abhängigkeit geometrischer Gestalten von Einander (Systematic Development of the Dependence of Geometric Shapes on Each Other,1832). The chair of geometry was established for him at the University of Berlin and he occupied that chair from 1834 until his death in 1863.

Birth of Richard Zsigmondy (1865-1929) in Vienna, Austria. Zsigmondy was a chemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1925 for his work on colloids. He earned his doctorate at the University of Munich and taught at the University of Graz and the University of Göttingen.

Death of Hugo von Mohl (1805-1872) in Stuttgart, Germany. Von Mohl was a botanist who worked on the anatomy and physiology of plant cells. He was the first to realize that new cells are formed by cell division. Von Mohl was a professor at the University of Tübingen.

Birth of Carl Sternheim in Leipzig, Germany. Sternheim was a satiric dramatist. He is generally categorized as an Expressionist, but he insisted that he was a Realist. Among Sternheim’s dramas are Die Hose (1911), Der Snob (1914) and Das Fossil (1925).

Death of Joseph Reinkens in Bonn, Germany. Reinkens, a Roman Catholic priest, was excommunicated from the church in debates concerning the matter of the infallibility of the Pope. He became a leader in the “Old Catholic” movement in Germany and became its first bishop.

Death of Cosima Wagner (1837-1930) (born, Liszt) in Bayreuth, Germany. She was the extra-marital daughter of the composer Franz Liszt and Countess Marie d’Agoult. In 1857 she married the conductor, Hans von Bülow. During visits with Richard Wagner, whose new music von Bülow conducted, Cosima and Richard fell in love. The first of their children were born while Cosima was still married to von Bülow. In 1870 Cosima and Richard married. Friedrich Nietzsche, who was also a frequent visitor at the Wagner household, felt at one time that he was in love with Cosima. After Richard’s death, Cosima managed the Bayreuth Festivals until 1908.

The president of the Berlin Treuhandanstalt (the organization responsible for the privatization of East German property), Detlev Karsten Rohwedder, is murdered by terrorists.

The German steel companies Krupp and Thyssen merge.


Birth of Konradin (Konrad der jüngere) in Wolfstein, Germany. The Swabian, Konradin, who held the title “king of the Romans” was the last of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. His downfall came in a conflict with the Frenchman, Charles of Anjou. After losing the battle and being captured, he was beheaded in the marketplace in Naples in 1268.

Birth of Johann Adolph Hasse in Bergedorf, Germany. Hasse was a composer, most noted for his operas. He was the music director of the Dresden Opera. He was very popular in his own times. His best known operas are Antioco and Seso strate.

Death of Friedrich I in Stockholm, Sweden (born in Kassel, Germany). Friedrich married Ulrika Eleonora, the sister of the king of Sweden in 1715. In 1708 she rose to the Swedish throne, but in 1718 abdicated in favor of her husband. Friedrich thus became the king of Sweden. He reigned for 31 years.

Death of Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg) in Weissenfels, Germany. Novalis was one of the leading poets and theorists of the Romantic movement in German literature. While a student at the University of Jena he met Friedrich Schiller. Later in Leipzig he became friends with Friedrich von Schlegel. He completed his university work in 1793 at the University of Wittenberg. Novalis’ works include Hymnen an die Nacht (1800), Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802) in which the blue flower (die blaue Blume) becomes a central symbol for the Romantics, and Die Christenheit oder Europa (1799) in which he seeks a new universal Christian church.

Birth of Albrecht Ritschl in Berlin, Germany. Ritschl was a Protestant theologian at the universities of Bonn and Göttingen. He was deeply influenced by Kant and sought to realize Kant’s ideals in theology. In religion he rejected original sin, the Trinity and the Incarnation. His most significant book was Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung (The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation) (3 vols., 1870-74). Ritschl died in Göttingen on March 20, 1889.

Birth of Max Schultze in Freiburg, Germany. Schultze was a cytologist at the University of Bonn who defined the cell as a body of protoplasm with a nucleus.

Birth of Adolf Engler (1844-1930) in Sagan, Germany (now in Poland). Engler was a botanist who gained fame through his extensive system of plant classification. He completed his doctorate at the University of Breslau and taught at the universities of Kiel and Breslau. He achieved his greatest fame as the director of the Berlin Botanical Garden, Dahlem, which became, under his leadership, one of the best in the world. His classification and nomenclature are to be found in Die natuurlichen Pflanzenfamilien (1887-1911), Das Pflanzenreich (1900-1937) and Syllabus der Pflanzennamen (1892).

Birth of Friedrich Naumann in Störmthal, Germany. Nauman was a liberal political and social thinker who founded and was involved in a number of liberal political parties of his day. He wrote the book Miitteleuropa (1915) expressing his democratic ideals.

Death of Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge (1795-1867) in Hamburg, Germany. The chemist, Runge was a professor at the University of Breslau before he accepted a position as an industrial chemist in Oranienburg in 1831. Runge conducted chemical experiments from a young age, serendipitously identifying the mydriatic effects of belladonna extract. He isolated and named carbolic acid, pyrrole, rosolic acid and cyanol. He originated the technique of paper chromatography and developed a process for extracting sugar from beets.

Birth of Bl. Otto Neururer in Piller, Austria. He became a priest and religion teacher. He was a Parish priest in Gotzens, Austria (near Innsbruck) when the Nazis came to power. He advised a young woman of his parish not to marry a divorced man. That man, however, turned out to be a well connected Nazi. Fr. Neururer was arrested for “slander against German marriage” in imprisoned in Dachau and later Buchenwald where he ministered to fellow prisoners. After he baptized a fellow prisoner in 1940 he was tortured to his death for doing so. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Birth of Helmut Käutner 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).

American and Soviet troops meet at the Elbe at the end of World War II.

Signing of the Treaty of Rome establishing the EEC and Euratom.

Death of Josef Albers in New Haven, Conn. (born in Bottrop, Germany). Albers was a painter and poet. He taught at the Bauhaus beginning in 1923. There he developed new painting styles. The Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933 and Albers moved to the U.S.A. There he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at Yale University. He continued innovations in Color Field and Op art.

The tobacco millionaire Jan Philipp Reemtsma is kidnapped in Hamburg-Blankenese.


Birth of Christian Goldbach (1690-1764) in Königsberg, Germany (now in Russia). A mathematician, Goldbach accomplished significant work in the theory of curves, infinite series and the integration of differential equations. But he is most known for the development of a number theory now called “Goldbach’s conjecture”.

Birth of Friedrich Nicolai in Berlin, Germany. Nicolai was one of the leaders of the Aufklärung (enlightenment) movement in Germany. By profession he was a book dealer and writer. He edited the influential journals, Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, and Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend. He worked with Gotthold Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn on the latter. His Briefe über den jetzigen Zustand der schönen Wissenschaften in Deutschland (1755) criticized Johann Gottsched, Johann Bodmer and Johann Breitinger. Nicolai also wrote novels. Among them was a satire on Goethe’s novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers which he titled Die Freuden des Jungen Werthers (1755).

Birth of Jakob Steiner in Utzenstorf, Switzerland. Steiner discovered inversive geometry and is considered one of the greatest geometers of modern times. He discovered the “Steiner surface”, and developed the “Steiner theorem” and the “Poncelet-Steiner theorem”. His most noted work is Systematische Entwicklung der Abhängigkeit geometrischer Gestalten von Einander (1832). The chair of geometry was established for him at the University of Berlin and he occupied that chair from 1834 until his death in 1863.

Birth of Franz (changed to Francis) Lieber in Berlin. Lieber was a political philosopher who studied at the University of Jena. He encountered political difficulties in Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1827. In America he undertook the first edition of Encyclopedia Americana. He was a professor at the University of South Carolina and Columbia College. Seeing a need for a code for the conduct of soldiers for the protection of civilians he wrote Code for the Government of Armies in the Field (1863) for the Union army. Many of his ideas were later adapted to international agreements regulating conduct in war.

Birth of Friedrich Hebbel in Wesselburen, Germany. Friedrich Hebbel was a dramatist, who brought Hegelian ideas of morality, process and development into his plays. Among his noted plays are Judith (1840), Genoveva (1841), Maria Magdalena (1843), Herodes und Mariamne (1850), Agnes Bernauer (1852) and Gyges und sein Ring (1854).

Birth of Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913) in Paris, France. He was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the Diesel engine. Rudolf Diesel was educated at Munich Polytechnic. After graduation he was employed as a refrigerator engineer. However, he true love lay in engine design. Rudolf Diesel designed many heat engines, including a solar-powered air engine. In 1893, he published a paper describing an engine with combustion within a cylinder, the internal combustion engine. In 1894, he filed for a patent for his new invention, dubbed the diesel engine. Rudolf Diesel was almost killed by his engine when it exploded. However, his engine was the first that proved that fuel could be ignited without a spark. He operated his first successful engine in 1897. In 1898, Rudolf Diesel was granted patent #608,845 for an “internal combustion engine” the Diesel engine.
The diesel engines of today are refined and improved versions of Rudolf Diesel’s original concept. They are often used in submarines, ships, locomotives, and large trucks and in electric generating plants.

Birth of Kurt Koffka (1886-1941) in Berlin, Germany. Koffka worked with Wolfgang Köhler and Max Wertheimer at the University of Giessen to develop a holistic approach to psychology which is known as “gestalt psychology”. In 1927 Koffka accepted an appointment at Smith College in the United States, where he remained for the rest of his life, teaching and promoting his concept of holistic psychology.

Birth of Leopold Zunz in Detmold, Germany. Zunz was a historian of Jewish literature and led in bringing scientific rigor to the field. In his Zur Geschichte und Literatur he integrated Jewish literature with European literature and politics.

Birth of Christa Wolf in Landsberg, Germany. She was a German literary critic, novelist, and essayist. She was one of the best-known writers to have emerged from the former East Germany.

The West German Bundestag ratifies the war reparations agreement with Israel.

Franz Josef Strauß becomes the head of the conservative Bavarian political party, CSU. He was a key figure in German national politics until his death in 1988.

Death of Erich Fromm in Muralto, Switzerland (born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Fromm earned his doctorate at the University of Heidelberg and trained in Psychoanalysis at the University of Munich. In 1933 he immigrated to the United States where he taught at Columbia University, Bennington College and New York University. Fromm started as a Freudian but gradually concluded that social factors outweigh many of Freud’s concepts of drives. Books by Fromm include Man for Himself (1947), Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950), The Art of Loving (1956) and The Crisis of Psychoanalysis (1970).


This Day in German History
March 11th

Birth of August Leopold Crelle (1780-1855) in Eichwerder, Germany. Crelle was a mathematician who founded the prestigious journal, Crelle’s Journal (original name: Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik) in 1826.


A constitution is adopted in Prussia.

Birth of Otto Grotewohl (1894-1964) in Braunschweig, Germany. He was a German politician and prime minister of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 until his death in 1964. According to Roth (2010), “He was a figurehead who led various economic commissions, lobbied the Soviets for increased aid, and conducted foreign policy tours in the attempt to break the country’s diplomatic isolation.”  He was awarded the Order of Karl Marx, the GDR’s highest decoration, in 1952 and also the Soviet Union’s Order of Lenin, the GDR’s Order of Merit for the Fatherland in gold and he was a freeman of the city of Dresden. After his death, the Wilhelmstrasse in East Berlin was renamed Otto-Grotewohl-Straße in his honor; the street retained this name until 1991, following German reunification. On 15 April 1986, the present-day Mohrenstraße U-Bahn station in eastern Berlin, then known as the Thälmannplatz station, was also renamed Otto-Grotewohl-Straße. The Third German School in Chapayesky Lane, Moscow, was named Otto Grotewohl School.

Birth of Helmuth James Graf von Moltke in Kreisau, Prussia, now Krzyżowa (kr-shi-zo-va), Poland.  He  was a German jurist who, as a draftee in the German Abwehr, acted to subvert German human-rights abuses of people in territories occupied by Germany during World War II.  He was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle opposition group, whose members opposed the government of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, and discussed prospects for a Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Hitler.  The Nazi government executed von Moltke for treason for his participation in these discussions. Moltke was the great-grandnephew of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, the victorious commander in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars, from whom he inherited the Kreisau Estate in Prussian Silesia, now Krzyzowa in Poland, and the grandnephew of Helmuth von Moltke the Younger.

Death of F. W. Murnau (born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe) in Hollywood (born in Bielefeld, Germany). Murnau was one of the giants of early German film-making. Films by Murnau include Nosferatu (1922), Tartüff (1925), Faust (1926) and Tabu (1931).

Birth of Catharina "Nina" Hagen in East Berlin, German Democratic Republic. She is a German singer, songwriter, and actress.  She is known for her theatrical vocals and rose to prominence during the punk and new wave movements in the late 1970s and early 1980s.   Hagen began her career as an actress when she appeared in several German films alongside her mother Eva-Maria Hagen.  Around that same time, she joined the band Automobil and released the single "Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen".  After her stepfather Wolf Biermann's East German citizenship was withdrawn in 1976, Hagen followed him to Hamburg.  Shortly afterwards, she was offered a record deal from CBS Records and formed Nina Hagen Band.  Their self-titled debut album was released in 1978 to critical acclaim and was a commercial success selling over 250,000 copies.  The band released one more album, Unbehagen,  before their break-up in 1979. In 1982, Hagen signed a new contract with CBS and released her debut solo album NunSexMonkRock, which became her first record to chart in the United States.
She followed it with two more albums: Fearless (1983) and Nina Hagen in Ekstasy (1985), before her contract with CBS expired and was not renewed.  In 1989, she was offered a record deal from Mercury Records.  She released three albums on the label: Nina Hagen (1989), Street (1991), and Revolution Ballroom (1993).  However, none of the albums achieved notable commercial success.  Hagen made her musical comeback with the release of her album Return of the Mother (2000). Besides her musical career, Hagen is also a voice-over actress.  She wrote three autobiographies: Ich bin ein Berliner (1988), Nina Hagen: That's Why the Lady Is a Punk (2003), and Bekenntnisse (2010).  She is also noted for her human and animal rights activism.

Marion Gräfin Dönhof dies. She had worked with the newspaper, Die Zeit, (Hamburg) since 1946.


Friedrich I (Barbarossa) is elected German King in Frankfurt. (He then became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.)

Birth of Johann Rudolf Wyss in Bern, Switzerland. Wyss edited and published a book his father had written with his four sons, Der schweizerische Robinson (1827). The book was translated into nearly all languages and is one of the top international best sellers of all times. The English translation is The Swiss Family Robinson. Wyss also made a major collection of Swiss stories and folklore published as Idyllen, Volkssagen, Legenden und Erzählungen aus der Schweiz (1815). He is the author of the text of the Swiss national anthem, Rufst du, mein Vaterland (1811).

Death of Leopold Freiherr von Buch in Berlin, Germany. Buch’s travels and reports were instrumental in the development of the study of geography in the 19th century. He studied at the Freiberg School of Mining. For a short time he was the inspector of mines, but soon turned full time to his researches in geology.

Birth of Robert Emden in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Emden became a professor of physics at the Technical University of Munich. His most significant contribution to astrophysics was developed in his book Gaskugeln (1907) in which he detailed gas theories of stellar structure.

Birth of Robert Fritz Graebner in Berlin, Germany. The ethnologist, Graebner advanced a theory of diffusion of culture (Kulturkreise) which became the basis of a culture-historical approach to ethnology. His theories had influence for a time in the field of ethnology.

Birth of Bernhard Kellermann in Fürth, Germany. Kellermann was a journalist and novelist. Among his novels are, Das blaue Band (1938) which tells the story of the Titanic, Der 9. November (1921) which narrates the insurrection of 1918 and his best known novel, a novel of a technological utopia, Der Tunnel (1913).

Death of Franz Marc at Verdun (born in Munich, Germany). An Expressionist painter, Marc was a founding member of the artists group “Der blaue Reiter”. He also edited the journal, Der blaue Reiter with Wassily Kandinsky. Noted paintings by Marc are “Tiger”, “Blue Horses” and “The Yellow Cow”.

Death of Walter Schottky (1886-1976) in Pretzfeld, Germany. A physicist at the Universities of Würzburg and Rostock, his research in solid state physics and electronics led to a number of discoveries which are named after him. The Schottky effect, the Schottky defect and the Schottky barrier are examples.


Feast Day of St. Walpurgis.  St. Walpurgis was the daughter of St. Boniface’s sister. In about 748 she was called by St. Boniface to assist in the missionary effort in Germany. In 761 she became the abbess of the Benedictine monastery in Heidenheim. She is entombed in Eichstätt in the Church of St. Walburga. She was canonized by Pope Adrian II. Despite the similarity of the name, there is nothing to relate her to the “Walpurgisnacht” (April 30-May 1) except that in some records her canonization is indicated as on May 1.

Birth of Friedrich von Spee in Kaiserwerth, Germany. Spee was a leading German poet of the 16th century.

Assassination of Albrecht Wallenstein in Hermanice, Bohema (now in the Czech Republic).  Wallenstein was the commanding general of the Holy Roman Empire in the Thirty Years’ War.  The classic dramatist Friedrich Schiller wrote a three part play about the life of Wallenstein.

Birth of Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) in Nürnberg, Germany. The composer, Johann Krieger, was the court organist at Bayreuth from 1670 and the music director at Halle and Weissenfels after 1680. He is known for his cantatas and fugues. Krieger died in Weissenfels, Germany on February 7, 1725.

Birth of Karl May in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, 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).

Birth of Mathias Zdarsky (1856-1940) in Trebitsch, Austrian Empire (now in the Czech Republic). Zdarsky was the inventor of Alpine skiing. He had learned something of Nordic cross country skiing and determined to adapt it to mountainous application. He started by using one pole, but determined that two work better. He became a ski instructor and wrote the first book on the sport, Die alpine Lilienfelder Skifahrtechnik (1897).

Death of Paul Freiherr von Reuter (1816-1899) (born in Kassel, Germany). He was the founder of a news agency, Reuters, which is still in a leading position globally. Born of Jewish heritage, Israel Beer Josaphat, he changed his name in 1844 when he became a Christian.

The four occupation powers in Germany make the decision to liquidate the state of Prussia.


Death of Johann Ludwig Gleim (1719-1803) in Halberstadt, Germany. Gleim was a German poet.He wrote a large number of imitations of Anacreon, Horace and the minnesingers, a didactic poem entitled Halladat oder das rote Buch (1774), and collections of fables and romances. Of higher merit are his Preussische Kriegslieder von einem Grenadier (1758).

Death of Sophie von La Roche (1730-1807) (born Gutermann) in Offenbach, Germany. La Roche’s novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim (1771) was the first German novel written by a woman. La Roche was the cousin of Christoph Martin Wieland and the grandmother of Bettina von Arnim and Clemens Brentano.

Birth of Heinrich Karl Brugsch in Berlin, Germany. Brugsch was a noted Egyptologist who was one of the pioneers in demotic, an Egyptian script. He was director of the School of Egyptology in Cairo and a professor at the University of Göttingen.

Birth of Ernst Mach (1838-1916) in Brno, now Czech Republic. He is the developer of the “Mach number” – the ratio of the speed of an object as related to the speed of sound, and “Mach’s principle” redefining the concept of inertia. His work led to and was cited by Einstein as leading to his theory of relativity. Mach died on the day after his birthday in 1916 in Haar, Germany.

Birth of George Henschel in Breslau, Germany (now in Poland). The musician, George Henschel studied in Leipzig and Berlin. He immigrated to England in 1877 where he became a leading orchestra conductor. He was the first conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1881-1884).

Birth of Marita Koch in Wismar, Germany, a former German sprint track and field athlete. Competing for East German teams, Koch set 16 individual and team world records in outdoor sprints and 14 world records in indoor competition. She retired in 1987.


Birth of Otto Ludwig in Eisfeld, Germany. Ludwig was a novelist and playwright of the period of Poetic Realism, a term which he coined. Among his works are Die Erbförster (1850), and Zwischen Himmel und Erde (1855). Ludwig died in Dresden, Germany on February 25, 1865.

Birth of Else Lasker-Schüler (1869-1945) in Elberfeld, Germany. Laske-Schüler was a writer in Berlin until the rise of the Nazis. In 1933 she fled to Switzerland. In 1940 she moved to Jerusalem. Among her works are Styx (1902), Meine Wunder (1911), Hebräische Balladen (1913), and Der Wunderrabbiner von Barcelona (1921).

Birth of Hans-Georg Gadamer in Marburg, Germany. Gadamer, a philosopher, is considered one of the leading figures of the 20th century in philosophical hermeneutical theory. He was a professor at the universities of Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Heidelberg.

Friedrich Ebert elected President of the Weimar Republic.

Death of the biologist Jacques Loeb in Hamilton, Bermuda (born in Mayen, Germany). Loeb completed his M.D. at the university of Strasburg. He taught at the Universities of Würzburg and Strassburg. He moved to the United States in 1891 where he taught at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. Loeb is most noted for his studies of reproduction without fertilization (parthenogenesis). He was able to cause the development of sea urchin larvae from unfertilized eggs through environmental manipulation and later repeated the process with frogs.

Death of the German nuclear physicist Hans D. Jensen (1907-1973) . During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, known as the Uranium Club, in which he made contributions to the separation of uranium isotopes. After the war Jensen was a professor at the University of Heidelberg. He was a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University, and the California Institute of Technology. Jensen shared half of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Physics with Maria Göppert-Mayer for their proposal of the nuclear shell model.

Death of Alexander Lippisch (1894-1976) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (born in Munich, Germany). Lippisch was a German pioneer of aerodynamics. He made important contributions to the understanding of flying wings, delta wings and the ground effect. His most famous design is the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor. His ideas became important in the later design of jet and rocket aircraft. He designed the world’s first rocket airplane which used solid fuel and first flew in 1928. He immigrated to the United States in 1965 and founded the Lippisch Research Corporation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


The feast day of Hrabanus Maurus is celebrated on February 4 in Fulda, Mainz and Limburg. He entered the monastery at Fulda (Germany) at age 10. In 801 he began study with Alcuin at the monastery in Tours (France). He then returned to Fulda and became the headmaster of the school there. He was ordained a priest in 814. In 822 he became the abbot of the Fulda monastery. As abbot he led Fulda to become one of the outstanding educational institutions of the times. In 845 he became the Archbishop of Mainz. During his lifetime he alternated periods of intense practical activity with periods of reflection and writing. Hrabanus died on  856. (Hrabanus Maurus predates the formal practice of beatification and canonization but is referred to as “blessed” by many.)

The first German Pope, Gregory V, died on this date. (There had been an earlier Gothic Pope, Boniface II, who had reigned from 530-532. Gregory V was the first Pope with West Germanic origins.) Gregory V’s name was Brun von Kärnten. We are not certain of the exact date and specific location of his birth. Like his East Germanic predecessor, Boniface II, Gregory too struggled with an anti-pope who was elected by an opposing faction. Gregory V’s benefactor and protector, the Emperor Otto, had the anti-pope captured and deported. Gregory V in his role of Pope had crowned Otto Emperor on May 21, 996.

Death of Conradus Celtis in Vienna, Austria. Celtis gained the title, “Erzhumanist”. He was born on February 1, 1459.

Birth of Hermann Collitz (1855-1935) in Bleckede, Germany. A linguist, Collitz contributed to knowledge of Indo-European languages, the study of Sanskrit and sound changes in Germanic languages. He was a professor at the University of Halle until 1886 when he immigrated to the United States and became a professor at Bryn Mawr College. Later he was appointed to a position at John Hopkins University.

Birth of Friedrich Ebert in Heidelberg, Germany. Ebert was a Social Democratic politician who worked on the constitution of the Weimar Republic and became the president of the republic from 1919 to 1925.

Birth of Ludwig Prandtl (1875-1953) in Freising, Germany. Prandtl was the physicist who developed the field of aerodynamics. He was a professor of physics at the universities of Hannover, and Göttingen. It was in Göttingen that he established a school of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. He discovered the boundary layer of surfaces moving in air or water. He did extensive work on wing theory. He worked on the theory of what became known as the Prandtl-Glaubert rule for subsonic airflow.


Birth of Friedrich Hund in Karlsruhe, Germany. Hund was a physicist, a professor at the universities of Rostock, Leipzig, Jena, Frankfurt, and Göttingen. He worked in the field of the electronic structure of atoms and molecules. He was one of those who introduced the technique of using molecular orbitals to determine the electronic structure of molecules and chemical bond formation.

Birth of Ludwig Erhard (1897-1977) in Fürth, Germany. Erhard, the “Father of the Economic Miracle”, was active in German economic redevelopment beginning as early as 1945. In 1949 he became the minister of economics during the chancellorship of Konrad Adenauer. In that position he developed his vision of the “social market economy”. Erhard became the chancellor of West Germany in 1963.

Birth of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Breslau, Germany (now Poland). Bonhoeffer was a Protestant theologian strongly supportive of ecumenism. Bonhoeffer studied at the universities of Tübingen and Berlin. In his development he was strongly influenced by the writings of Karl Barth. In 1931 he was appointed lecturer in systematic theology at the University of Berlin. From the beginning Bonhoeffer was opposed to the Nazi Party and actively resisted. Bonhoeffer was arrested on April 5, 1943 for his activities in resistance. In 1944 when the attempt was made to assassinate Hitler, the following investigation showed direct links between Bonhoeffer and the conspiracy. He was executed on April 9, 1945 in Flossenburg Prison. Noted works by Bonhoeffer were published posthumously, Ethik (1949), andWiderstand und Ergebung (1951).

Birth of Erich Leinsdorf in Vienna, Austria. Leinsdorf was a concert pianist and conductor. After establishing a reputation in Europe, he became the director of the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1939. In 1943 he was appointed to the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1957 he returned to the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 1962 he returned to Europe as the conductor of the Radio Symphony of West Berlin.

Death of Robert Koldewey in Berlin, Germany. Koldewey was an archeologist who found the remains of the city of Babylon in southern Iraq.

Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin begin their meeting in Yalta. At that conference they agree to the division of Germany into four zones of occupation at the end of the War.


814 – Feast Day of St. Karl der Große (Charlemagne) (ca. 742-814)
Karl der Große or Charlemagne  was the king of the Franks.  On Christmas day of the year 800 he was crowned emperor of an empire which would become known as the Holy Roman Empire at some periods in history and as the German Empire at other periods. He established his capital at Aachen. He spread Christianity and developed efficient educational and political systems in his empire. He built many churches and was a devout Christian. He was declared a saint by Friedrich Barbarossa. Relics of Karl may be viewed in the Cathedral of Aachen.

Birth of Richard Rothe in Posen, Germany (now in Poland). A student of Friedrich Hegel, Rothe became a professor at the University of Heidelberg in theology. An idealist, he proposed the view that the state would continue a process of perfection until such time that church and state would merge into one and the Christian state would replace the traditional church.

Birth of Moritz Schiff (1823-1896) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Schiff’s proved that the thyroid gland is essential to life and then to discover that the thyroid gland could be replaced by thyroid grafts or injections of thyroid extracts. He was the first to note the influence of the cerebral cortex on blood circulation, the role of the vagus nerve in heart function and the return to the liver of bile salts from the intestine.

Birth of Jean-Felix Piccard in Basel, Switzerland. Educated in Switzerland in chemical engineering, Piccard taught at the universities of Munich and Lausanne before coming to the United States to teach at the University of Chicago in 1916. Piccard’s reputation was made as a pioneering balloonist. He had made his first balloon flight in 1913 and made stratospheric flights reaching heights of 11 miles. He ended his career as a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he taught from 1936-1952.

Birth of Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin, Germany. In his early career Lubitsch had acted in the company of Max Reinhardt and started to make one-reel film comedies in Germany. Some of his early films, which gained international note were Madame Du Barry (1919), Das Weib des Pharao (1921) and Sumurun (1920). In 1923 he was called to Hollywood to direct Mary Pickford in Rosita. He continued as a major director in Hollywood with such films as Forbidden Paradise, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Kiss Me Again, So this is Paris, The Merry Widow, Heaven Can Wait, and That Lady in Ermine, his last film, completed in 1948.

Death of Franz Mehring in Berlin, Germany. Mehring became the head of the Berlin leftist newspaper, the Berliner Volkszeitung in 1883. He joined the Social Democratic Party in 1890 and edited the Leipziger Volkszeitung and the SPD’s Neue Zeit. He opposed World War I and in 1916 became active in the Spartacusbund. He is noted for his biography of Karl Marx, Karl Marx.

The first party congress of the SED of the Soviet Zone of Germany closes. It has set up a Politburo of which Pieck, Grotewohl and Ulbricht are members. Pieck would become the first head of East Germany (DDR) and Ulbricht the second.

Death of Jean-Felix Piccard in Minneapolis, MN (born in Basel, Switzerland). Piccard was born this same day on 1884.

Death of Klaus Fuchs (1911-1988) in Dresden, East Germany. The physicist, Fuchs had joined the German communist party in 1930. In 1933 when the Nazis rose to power he fled to Great Britain. There he joined a team at the University of Birmingham working on the development of an atomic bomb. He soon began passing information to the Soviet Union. In 1943 he was sent to Los Alamos to work on the American bomb project. He continued to keep the Soviet Union informed. At the end of the war he returned to Great Britain as head of the physics department of the British nuclear research center at Harwell. In 1950 he was arrested and admitted giving classified information to the Soviet Union. He was sent to prison. He was released in 1959 and fled to East Germany where he became deputy director of the Central Institute for Nuclear Research at Rossendorf. He received many honors and awards.


Martin Luther excommunicated by Roman Catholic Church.

Birth of Adolf Ludwig Follen (1794-1855) in Giessen, Germany. Follen was a romantic poet. Involved politically during his student years, he was expelled from the University of Giessen in 1815. In Heidelberg he became one of the founders of the fraternity, Teutonia. Banished from Germany for his political activities, he moved to Switzerland. 

Death of Matthias Claudius in Hamburg, Germany. Claudius was a significant poet noted for his simplicity and religiosity.

Death of Achim von Arnim in Wiepersdorf, Germany. Von Arnim was one of the outstanding writers of the Romantic period of German literature. He studied at the University of Heidelberg. His best known work is a collection of folk poetry, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1808).

Ludwig Thoma born in Oberammergau, Germany. Thoma wrote novellas, novels and plays. He is noted for his social criticism and humor. Among Thoma’s works are, Lausbubengeschichten (1905), Andreas Vöst (1905), Moral (1909) and Magdalena (1912).

Birth of Konrad Emil Bloch (1912-2000) in Neisse, Germany. Bloch came to America in 1934. He taught at Columbia University, the University of Chicago and Harvard University. He won the 1964 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine based on his work on the natural synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids. He also developed a method for using radioisotopes (radioactive atoms) to trace the path of molecules in cells and living organisms, and later studied each of the 27 carbon atoms in the cholesterol molecule. Bloch’s research showed that all natural steroid-related substances in humans are derived from cholesterol, and established many of the steps involved in converting acetate into cholesterol.

The East German party, the SED, changes its name to the PDS. The SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) was the name of the communist party of East Germany until 1990. In preparation for unification, the party, wishing to continue as a political party in the unified state, but realizing the negative implications of its identity with East Germany, changed its name to the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism). In 2005, the PDS, renamed The Left Party.PDS (Die Linkspartei.PDS) entered an electoral alliance with the Western Germany-based Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). In 2007, the two groupings merged to form a new party called The Left (Die Linke), and had many socially progressive policies, including support for legalisation of same-sex marriage and greater social welfare for immigrants.


Birth of Gottfried Silbermann (1683-1753) in Kleinbobritzsch, Germany. Silbermann’s company was the leading builder of spinets, clavichords, harpsichords and organs in the age of Bach.

Birth of Ludwig Ritter von Köchel in Stein, Austria. Although he had earned a doctorate in law, Köchel devoted his life and studies to music. In 1862 he published his "chronological-thematic list of all of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical works". In that work he organized all of Mozart’s works into 23 categories and determined dates of composition of each work based on stylistic development and Mozart’s handwriting. Since then Mozart’s works are identified with the “K” or “Köchel” numbers.

Birth of Johann Strauß (the elder) in Vienna, Austria. This Johann Strauß was the father of the more famous “Waltz King”. Like his son, he too was very popular in Vienna as a composer of waltzes, polkas, and marches. He tried to discourage his son, Johann the younger, from a career in music. Today Johann the elder is probably best known for his “Radetzky March”. His other sons, Josef and Eduard became conductors and Josef also composed waltzes.

Birth of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) in Kayersberg, Elsaß, Germany (now France). Schweitzer established a reputation in the areas of philosophy, theology, and music but is remembered mostly today as one of the world’s great humanitarians. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1952 for his work at his hospital mission in Africa. Schweizer completed a doctorate in philosophy in 1899 at the University of Strasbourg and a doctorate in theology in 1900. After establishing his reputation as a world class theologian and a musician with great respect, he decided that he had to devote his life more directly to the service of humanity. He returned to school and earned a doctorate in medicine in 1913. He then went to Africa and spent the remainder of his life in medical and theological service to the people there. Although periodically criticized in the later 20th century, his thinking has continued to have wide ranging impact in the contemporary world. His book Kulturphilosophie, 1923, contains the basis of his philosophical views, including his basic sense of “reverence for life”.

Birth of Martin Niemöller in Lippstadt, Germany. Niemöller served as a commander of a submarine in World War I. He undertook studies in theology after the war and became a pastor in Berlin. He was a leader in the resistance against Hitler. He was arrested in 1937 and sent to the camp in Dachau. After the war he returned to his work in the church. His experiences in the war and his conscience led him to very active pacifism during the “Cold War”. He was given the Lenin Peace Prize in 1967 and the German “Grand Cross of Merit” in 1971.

Birth of Hasso Freiherr von Manteuffel in Potsdam, Germany. Manteuffel was a German tank commander in World War II. He was involved in developing battle strategies from the early days of the war in North Africa through the Battle of the Bulge at the end of the war. He was tried for war crimes and sentenced to 18 months in prison of which he served 4.

Death of Ernst Abbe (1840-1905) in Jena, Germany. Abbe was a physicist who made significant progress in optical theory and thus in microscope design. He discovered the optical formula called the Abbe sine condition. He taught at the University of Jena. In 1866 he became the research director of the Zeiss optical company. While with Zeiss he invented the apochromatic lens system. In 1891 he established the Carl Zeiss Foundation for research in science and social improvement.


Birth of the enlightenment philosopher, Christian Garve. Garve was a professor at the University of Leipzig. He was noted as a moral philosopher and the translator to German of Cicero’s De Officiis (dee - o - fee - chis) and the works of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith.

Birth of Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) in Solingen, Germany. Bierstadt immigrated to the U.S.A. and became a very popular painter with grandiose scenes of the American West. He was a part of the “Hudson River School”.

Death of Maria Luise Augusta Katharina in Berlin, Germany. She was the Empress of the German Reich after 1871 as the wife of Wilhelm I. Her son became Emperor Friedrich III.

Death of Josef Stefan in Vienna, Austria. Stefan was a physicist at the University of Vienna. He concluded a law of physics through empirical studies, the Stefan-Boltzmann law. According to that law a blackbody has a radiant energy proportional to the fourth power of its temperature. The Boltzmann in the Stefan-Boltzmann law was another Austrian who proved the law theoretically.

Death of Julius Wellhausen in Gottingen, Germany. Wellhausen was a Biblical scholar who was a professor of Old Testament at the University of Greifswald. He is most known for his work on the Pentateuch.

Birth of the actor, Uwe Ochsenknecht. He played in Die Straße, Derrick, Tatort, Das Boot, Manner and Schtonk.


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