Andreas Niedermayer

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Andreas Niedermayer, Administrator of the Teutonic Order Committee in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen ; Portrait of the painter Eduard von Steinle .
Andreas Niedermayer, title page of one of his publications.

Andreas Niedermayer (born October 11, 1835 in Niederviehbach , Lower Bavaria; † January 17, 1872 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German Catholic priest from the diocese of Regensburg , administrator of the Teutonic Order - Coming to Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen , well-known Catholic writer and historian.


Origin and career

Andreas Niedermayer was born in Niederviehbach near Landshut , Lower Bavaria, in 1835 as the son of simple farmers. In 1836 the family moved to the Thalhamerhof, then part of Großthalham, near Niederaichbach . In 1843 Andreas had to see his uncle, pastor and school inspector at Gottfrieding , a strict, spiritual disciplinarian. He clearly recognized the boy's rich natural resources, encouraged them to the best of his ability and prepared him privately for late entry into grammar school. The boy ran away several times, driven by homesickness for his mother, he wanted to be a farmer's boy in Thalham again. In 1846 Andreas Niedermayer came to the Benedictine high school in Metten . Here he experienced a lasting revival of his Catholic consciousness and felt permeated with missionary zeal when he left this educational establishment. He was known everywhere for his erudition and courage. In 1851 Andreas Niedermayer moved to the Lyceum in Regensburg . He had to learn Latin, English, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian and thereby developed great skills that would benefit him in his later academic career. In 1854 the young man embarked on a trip to the Rhine, financed and planned by his pastor uncle Niedermayer, to get to know Catholic Germany. There he met the journeyman's father Adolph Kolping and the poet Ludwig Uhland . In 1855 Andreas Niedermayer turned to literary work and published a series of articles in the Augsburger Postzeitung entitled: From the diary of a traveling schoolboy (about his trip to the Rhine). 1856 his small, consistently new material emerged from Neglected sources bidding book to art history of the Diocese of Regensburg , where in 1857 the description of the Dominican church in Regensburg and working artists and works of art of the city of Regensburg followed. The Regensburg seminar rain, Johann Baptist Dirschedl and Bishop Valentin von Riedel , held the seminarist Andreas Niedermayer in high esteem and strongly encouraged him to become a Catholic historian. Historical research was a central concern of the humanities at the time. All leading church circles agreed that there was an opportunity in the field of research to regain lost, spiritual territory for the church.

Act as a priest

On May 22, 1858, Andreas Niedermayer was ordained a priest in Regensburg and on June 16, 1858, the home parish of Niederviehbach - which was also responsible for Niederaichbach - was celebrated. In 1859 Niedermeier traveled again to the Rhineland, from Freiburg i. B. to Aachen. In the same year, the young priest was allowed to start studying church and art history in Munich and at the same time wrote the book The Monastery of Bajuwarien , published by Thoma in Landshut. The famous professor Johann Friedrich Böhmer noticed him and wanted to bring him to the university in Frankfurt. In 1860, Niedermayer first went to Würzburg for a year and studied the same subjects there as in Munich. He left behind a doctoral thesis: The art history of the city of Wirzburg . In 1861 he followed Professor Böhmer's call to Frankfurt to devote himself intensively to historical research under his aegis. Here he also worked for a while under his guidance as a librarian in the city library. He sent his parish uncle to Gottfrieding a kind of autobiography called Generalbeicht . From this general confession one learns a lot about the life and work of Niedermayer. His uncle was very disappointed when he left for Frankfurt because he wanted to see him work in Bavaria.

In 1861, Prof. Böhmer commissioned Andreas Niedermayer to write a characterization of the historical sources of Bavaria . Niedermeier was in contact with Benjamin Herder in Freiburg , the Princes Thurn and Taxis , with Antonie von Brentano , Prof. Ignaz von Döllinger , Eduard von Steinle , Ludwig Uhland and other celebrities. In Freiburg, he anonymously wrote the widely acclaimed publication Die Katholische Presse Deutschlands . Then he traveled to Belgium, England, Ireland and France, where he studied the mass misery of the workers that the Industrial Revolution had brought about and reported to Germany in poignant accounts. The direct fruit of this is his work “Pauperism and the means to control it” (1862). Abroad, however, he also made friends with local Catholic intellectuals such as John Henry Newman , Paul Cullen , Henry Edward Manning and Charles de Montalembert . He wrote the brochure The Germans in Paris (1862). In spring 1862 he traveled to Italy and visited the Vatican, in summer he was appointed chaplain at the Deutschherrenkirche in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen . He can be found there in all high-ranking social and literary circles. In that year he also wrote the 210-page book The Feast of Pentecost in Rome, a reflection of the recently experienced splendor of the liturgical ceremonies in the capital of Christianity. In 1863 he founded a journeyman's association based on the Kolping model. Andreas Niedermayer published his work Mecheln und Würzburg, sketches and pictures of the Catholic assemblies in Belgium and Germany in 1865. It contains rich autobiographical memories of the many Catholic days in which the author took part and characterizations of personalities he got to know. (The book is completely scanned in the web and can be called up and viewed below in the sub-section web links .) In 1867, Niedermayer became inspector of the Ballei (branch) of the Teutonic Order in Sachsenhausen-Frankfurt. His journeyman association could be accommodated in the religious house. During this time he published the following writings: The Concilium in Baltimore, a picture of church life from America (1867); The fighters for the apostolic chair in 1867 (1867) and the graceful life picture of the noble " Frau Schöff Brentano " (1869).

In 1868, Niedermayer single-handedly and at his own expense founded the magazine Catholic Movement in Germany . Because of his fame he was able to collect a lot of money for the missions in Paris and London. It is reported that Niedermayer devoted himself so intensively to the poor that his sister, who ran the household for him, often no longer knew where and how to find suitable clothes for her brother, as he gave away a lot, even household items. In 1868 he finally retired from scientific work and, with his own vehemence, threw himself on the press apostolate and active charity. In 1869, Father Andreas Niedermayer visited the Eternal City again. At the personal request and suggestion of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Archduke Wilhelm of Austria , the priest decided to conduct archival research again to draw up a documented history of the Frankfurt commander of the Teutonic Order. Most of the work could still be done by Niedermayer, but the work was no longer ready for printing. The maintenance of his magazine and the work for his growing journeyman association were too busy for him. The book was published by the Frankfurt legal advisor Dr. Euler completed and appeared in 1874 under the title: “The German Order Commende Frankfurt am Main. A contribution to their history, from the estate of Inspector A. Niedermayer, published on behalf of the Association for History and Antiquity in Frankfurt am Main by its Director Justizrath Dr. Ludwig Heinrich Euler “ At that time, Niedermayer was already dead. In 1872 (37 years old) he traveled to Rome for the last time and suffered a stroke that led to death. He was transferred to Frankfurt and buried there. He bequeathed his literary estate to the city of Frankfurt; The poor labor had completely devoured his material assets. Andreas Niedermeier's original estate was lost in the hail of bombs in Frankfurt during the Second World War.

Andreas Niedermayer, laid out as dead, 1872

His portrait drawn by Eduard von Steinle has been reproduced photographically and is probably the only one that exists of him; besides, there is only one photo that shows him on his deathbed. One of Niedermayer's main merits, in addition to his literary work, was to stimulate and promote Catholic life in and around Frankfurt. He was a polyhistor in the priestly garb who cultivated friendships and contacts with many great intellectuals of his time.

One of his mottos was: “Let anger over the need of the fatherland and the Church be our food. The fire of enthusiasm is our drink. Once each of us has got the thunder of words and the lightning of thoughts, then we want to break loose and clean the arena. " What he had in mind as an ideal, he expressed in the words: " Whoever Wittmann's piety, Görres' Combining science and Goethe's formal power would be a Bonifatius of the 19th century, he would have to succeed in unifying the torn Germany. "


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