Ernst Elias Niebergall

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Niebergall's tomb in the old cemetery in Darmstadt

Ernst Elias Niebergall (born January 13, 1815 in Darmstadt ; † April 19, 1843 there ) was a German writer .


Niebergall is the seventh child of a musician from Thuringia and his wife from Darmstadt. His father initially worked as a permanent oboist for the military, then at the Darmstadt court. At the age of 11, Ernst Elias became an orphan, but not destitute.

He studied theology at the University of Giessen from 1832–1835 , where he was a member of the Old Giessener Burschenschaft Germania in 1832/33 and of the Corps Palatia in 1833 . Since that corps at the time "forbidden because of conspiratorial activities" and he was involved in investigations, his exam was delayed. Without a qualification, he initially worked as a private tutor in Dieburg and later, from 1840, with an exam in Darmstadt, as a teacher of Latin , Greek and history .

Whether he knew Georg Büchner , who was much more famous and who lived in the same region at the same time , is disputed. When Büchner fled from the authorities to Strasbourg, Niebergall drew a Jacobin sitting on a donkey. While the rider holds up a paper with the Marseillaise on it , his mount pees, a clear comment by the draftsman.

In the years 1837–1841 Niebergall published short stories under the pseudonyms Ernst Streff , E. Streff or E. St. , especially in the Didaskalia , the entertainment supplement of the Frankfurter Journal .

His play Datterich (1841), written in the South Hessian dialect , is still popular today as the Darmstadt posse . The best known is a TV version with Joseph Offenbach in the lead role. Niebergall did not live to see the premiere of his play; because it only took place in Bessungen in 1862 .

Niebergall died of pneumonia at the age of only 28 and was buried in the old cemetery in Darmstadt (grave site: IH 58).


Niebergall monument on Wilhelminenplatz in Darmstadt

The city of Darmstadt named a small street in the Paulus district after him, the Niebergallweg; In front of the city library there is now a Datterich fountain with moving figures of the main characters of the play, the Niebergall fountain was built in 1930. On the 150th anniversary of the death of the famous son, the city issued a gold commemorative coin in 1993. The Darmstadt tram museum train was named "Datterich-Express". Since 2006, the journalists' prize “Der Niebergall” has been awarded every two years by the “Darmstadt Press Club”. There is an all-day school called Ernst-Elias-Niebergall-Schule in Darmstadt.

For the 200th birthday of Niebergall, the Dieburg homeland association donated a memorial plaque for EE Niebergall at the former inn “Zum Goldenen Engel”, Zuckerstraße 6 (today's health food store). In the FoyerGalerie in Stadthaus III, the Lord Mayor opened an exhibition on Niebergall as “Der Datterich”, which ran from January 13th to February 6th, 2015.

The “Datterological Society” organized a “Datterich” festival in cooperation with the Darmstadt State Theater from June 4th to 14th, 2015. The costs of around 300,000 euros were covered by public funding, sponsors and donations. The highlight was the Long Night of Datterich , where independent theater groups, associations and Darmstadt citizens played individual episodes of the drama. By bike, on foot and with the shuttle bus, it went from scene to scene in over 50 different locations in Darmstadt and the surrounding area.

A bronze sculpture created by Thomas Duttenhoefer has been standing on Darmstadt's Wilhelminenplatz since October 24, 2015 . The initiative came from the "Datterological Society". The sculpture was financed by the "Kurt and Lilo Werner RC Darmstadt Foundation" and handed over to the City of Darmstadt during a festive ceremony. Since November 24, 2015, a bronze relief created by the artist Bärbel Dieckmann on the old pedagogue has been commemorating Niebergall. Dieckmann designed the relief after a portrait of the painter Adolf Beyer , who in turn drew it from the death mask .



  • Rudolf Becker: Ernst Elias Niebergall. Pictures from an inconspicuous life . Eduard Roether Verlag, Darmstadt 1998. 219 pp.
  • Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume I: Politicians. Sub-Volume 4: M-Q. Winter, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-8253-1118-X , pp. 207-208.
  • Eckhart G. FranzNiebergall, Ernst Elias. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-00200-8 , p. 216 ( digitized version ).
  • Gösta Gantner, Silke Peters and Peter Engels (eds.): Ernst Elias Niebergall. A search for clues . Justus von Liebig Verlag, Darmstadt 2015.
  • Georg Hensel (ed.): Ernst Elias Niebergall: The Datterich in Darmstadt Biedermeier . Eduard Roether Verlag, Darmstadt 1975.
  • Niebergall, Ernst Elias , in: Friedhelm Golücke : Author's lexicon for student and university history. SH-Verlag, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-89498-130-X . P. 249.

Web links

Commons : Ernst Elias Niebergall  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b 200th birthday "He writes himself Niebergall" , Judith von Sternburg in the Frankfurter Rundschau from January 13, 2015
  2. ^ Kösener corps lists 1910, 55 , 7.
  3. ^ DJV Landesverband Hessen eV: Journalist Awards
  5. Unveiling of a memorial plaque for EE Niebergall , Heimatverein Dieburg January 13, 2015
  6. Der Datterich - Exhibition in the FoyerGalerie , City of Darmstadt, accessed January 13, 2015
  8. Datterich Festival in Darmstadt: Dates, locations, tickets , Darmstädter Echo from June 2, 2015, accessed January 17, 2017
  9. Niebergall returns to the city Darmstädter Echo from October 15, 2015, accessed October 24, 2015
  10. [1] , accessed January 12, 2017
  11. Darmstädter Echo , Tuesday, November 24, 2015, p. 15
  12. The boy's homecoming or: The great dog in the Gutenberg-DE project