Christian Wilhelm Schneider (clergyman, 1678)

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Christian Wilhelm Schneider (born June 18, 1678 in Herbsleben , † June 4, 1725 in Esens ) was a German Lutheran pastor and founder of an orphanage in Esens.

life and work

Schneider was born in Thuringia as the son of a Saxon judge. After attending grammar school in Gotha , he studied Protestant theology and oriental languages in Halle from 1698 . After a study trip through Italy he was appointed pastor in Teschen in Silesia and in 1711, on the recommendation of August Hermann Francke , was appointed the first pastor of Esens. Here he stayed until his death.

The great poverty and the emotional distress of the poor in his new community, which municipal and church funds were insufficient to remedy, caused him to first set up a "school for the poor" and finally come up with the plan to build an orphanage. In 1713 the foundation stone for the construction of the orphanage followed, the capital at the beginning was around 300 thalers and 100,000 bricks from the demolished permanent house in Leerort , which Prince Georg Albrecht gave him along with some beams and wood. By 1715, 2800 thalers were collected for the construction. which is reflected in the saying above the door of the orphanage: "How dear is your kindness that human children have refuge under the shadow of your wings" (The style of the orphanage is very similar to today's town hall on the market, but on each side by a window width is shorter.).

In addition to the rooms for the children, the finished system also included a large hall with an organ , the classrooms, a cloth factory, bakery, brewery and a mill, along with garden and land. In an “invoice book” carefully kept by Christian Wilhelm Schneider for the period from 1711 to 1719, in addition to drawings of buildings, furniture, equipment, etc. a. more, the detailed billing of the house.

The orphanage had an eventful history. In 1860 it fell victim to the great city fire in which 109 houses and barns were totally destroyed. After 1864 the foundation stone was laid for the construction of a “poor and workers house” on the site of the burned down orphanage. On September 27, 1943, the “poor and workers house” was completely destroyed in a bomb attack on Esens, in which 165 people were killed, including two complete school classes who had taken shelter in the basement of the house. The "Waisenhausstraße" still reminds of the former orphanage.

In 1981 he gave the Christian Wilhelm Schneider School its name in Esens.


  • Christian Gottlieb Jöcher: General scholars lexicon , 4th edition, 4 volumes, Leipzig 1751–1752 ( Google Books )
  • Udo Sträter : Wilhelm Christian Schneider and the orphanage in Esens (East Frisia) . In: Orphanages in the Early Modern Age . Edited by Udo Sträter and Josef N. Neumann in connection with Renate Wilson, Tübingen, 2003

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Anzeiger für Harlingerland: Poor institution as a life's work , accessed on February 25, 2016 (PDF file).