Franz Gerhard Wegeler

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Franz Gerhard Wegeler (1765–1848)

Franz Gerhard Wegeler (born August 2, 1765 in Bonn , † May 7, 1848 in Koblenz ) was a German doctor and childhood friend of Ludwig van Beethoven .


Wegeler attended elementary school in Bonn and, from 1776, the Jesuit grammar school there. After studying medicine at the Academy in Bonn (since 1786 as the Electoral Cologne University of Bonn ), he received from Elector Maximilian Franz , like Beethoven, a scholarship for further education at the kk Josefsakademie in Vienna, where he studied from 1787 to 1789. Wegeler introduced Beethoven, a friend of his, to the family of the widow Helene von Breuning as early as 1785 through a recommendation, thus paving the way for the young virtuoso for his further social advancement. Even Stephan von Breuning was later a friend of the two.

After his final exams in Vienna and his return to Bonn, Bonn University completed his doctorate on September 1, 1789 and in the same year made him a professor of obstetrics and forensic medicine. In 1793 he was rector of the university for one year before he had to cease his activities after the invasion of French troops in 1794 and fled for two years to Vienna, where Beethoven had also lived since 1792. During his time in Vienna, Franz Gerhard Wegeler, who continued to receive the salary of his professorship, mainly wrote medical documents. Beethoven and Wegeler saw each other for the last time in Vienna in 1796, but remained closely connected through an exchange of letters until Beethoven's death in 1827.

After returning to Bonn in 1796, he resumed his work until the university was closed in 1798. After a short phase in which Wegeler earned his living as a practicing doctor, he got a job as a maternity teacher at the central school in Bonn at the end of 1798.

In 1802 Franz Gerhard Wegeler and Eleonore von Breuning , a former piano student of Beethoven, married. The marriage has four children. The descendants include Helena Josepha Theresia (1803–1832) and Julius Stephan Wegeler (1807–1883).

In 1804 Franz Gerhard Wegeler took over the management of the midwifery school in Bonn, in the same year he was appointed a member of the district committee for smallpox vaccination in the Bonn arrondissement . In 1807 he became a member of the central committee for smallpox vaccination for the entire Rhine-Moselle department and director of the Bonn Freemason Lodge.

In 1807 he left Bonn and entered French service in Koblenz and was from 1808 to 1814 head of the medical police of the Rhine-Moselle department there. In 1810 Franz Gerhard Wegeler's doctorate was also recognized under French rule and he received the title: Docteur en médicine and Docteur en chirurgie .

In 1812 he received the gold and in 1813 the silver merit pin from Napoleon . In 1817 Wegeler received the Iron Cross, second class on a white ribbon, and in 1818 the large gold medal. In 1831 the Red Eagle Order, third class, was added. In 1830 Franz Gerhard Wegeler joined the wine trading company Deinhard & Tesche as a silent partner , and his grandson Julius Wegeler was able to take over the management of the company. From 1816 to 1842 Wegeler was a government and medical councilor in Koblenz and a member of the Rhenish Medical College.

Tomb of Franz Gerhard Wegeler, his wife Eleonore and their daughter Helena

Franz Gerhard Wegeler achieved special significance as a friend and biographer of Beethoven: Together with Ferdinand Ries , he worked from 1837 to 1838 on the book Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven , which was published in 1838 by the Koblenz publishing house Karl Baedeker.

An infection in April 1848 is seen as the cause of his death in May 1848. His grave is in the main cemetery in Koblenz .

In 1906, Wegelergasse in Vienna- Währing (18th district) was named after him. In Bonn-Poppelsdorf , Wegelerstraße is the seat of numerous university institutes (physical and theoretical chemistry, computing center, mathematics) as well as the deanery of the mathematics and natural sciences faculty.


Literature (selection)

  • Norbert Flörken (Ed.): Franz Gerhard Wegeler. A friend of Beethoven. Speeches and writings 1786–1845. Bonn BuchVerlag, Bonn 2020, ISBN 978-3-9818821-7-9
  • Julius PagelWegeler, Franz Gerhard . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 41, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1896, p. 421 f.
  • Stephan Ley : Beethoven as a friend of the Wegeler family - v. Breuning. Bonn 1927
  • Berthold Prößler: Franz Gerhard Wegeler: a Rhenish doctor, university professor, medical officer and friend of Beethoven. Verlag Beethoven-Haus, Bonn 2000 (= annual edition of the Beethoven-Haus association , issue 17)
  • Friederike Grigat: The Wegeler Collection in the Beethoven House Bonn. Critical catalog. Verlag Beethoven-Haus, Bonn 2008, ISBN 978-3-881-881111
  • Klaus Martin Kopitz , Rainer Cadenbach (Eds.) A. a .: Beethoven from the point of view of his contemporaries in diaries, letters, poems and memories. Volume 2: Lachner - Zmeskall. Edited by the Beethoven Research Center at the Berlin University of the Arts. Henle, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-87328-120-2 , No. 648-650.
  • Andreas Mettenleiter : Testimonials, memories, diaries and letters from German-speaking doctors. Supplements and supplements III (I – Z). In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 22, 2003, pp. 269-305, here: p. 299.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wegelerstraße in the Bonn street cadastre