Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow

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Portrait of FE v. Rochow from the Reckahn School Museum

Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow (born October 11, 1734 in Berlin ; † May 16, 1805 at Reckahn Castle , Mark Brandenburg ) was a Prussian landowner and educator at the time of the Enlightenment , best known for his school reform in the spirit of philanthropism .


Coat of arms of the von Rochow family

Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow came from a Brandenburg nobility sex, originally in Switzerland was located, was first documented in the year 927 and in the 11th century in the direction of Brandenburg moved to the resident turning to war. This is how the aristocratic family got their first property in the Mark, the place Rochow (today: Rochau , district of Stendal , Saxony-Anhalt ) - see also the von Rochow family .

Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow was the son of the Prussian State Minister Friedrich Wilhelm III. von Rochow (1690–1764) and his wife Friedericke Eberhardine, born von Görne (1700–1760).


Family property at Reckahn Castle (around 1920)

Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow joined the royal cavalry after home schooling and a two-year visit to the Knight's Academy in Dom Brandenburg and took part in the first campaigns of the Seven Years' War as a lieutenant in the Garde du Corps . In the Battle of Lobositz in 1756 on the left hand, later seriously wounded in the duel on the right hand, he gave up his military career. In 1759 he married Christiane Louise von Bose (1734-1808). From 1760 he devoted himself to agriculture and scientific occupation on his estates, from 1762 as Canon of Halberstadt also to the care of charitable interests in the monastery area.

As a landowner, he wanted to make agricultural production more profitable through reforms. He found that the level of education of the farmers and farm workers was insufficient to introduce reforms and make them effective. For him it followed that the social and economic situation of the rural population could be improved through schooling. In 1773 Rochow founded a village school on his estate in Reckahn , south of Brandenburg an der Havel , which was given its own school building in 1774 and soon became a model school for similar institutions. Already in 1775 a school followed on his Gut Göttin , in 1799 another school in Krahne , where Rochow also owned a manor. He found essential support in Heinrich Julius Bruns , who served him as scribe and musician from 1765 to 1771 and to whom he gave the vacant position of cantor and teacher in 1773 . The fruitful collaboration ended in 1794 with Bruns' death, to whom he wrote the memorial inscription: "He was a teacher!". Numerous educators visited Reckahn and were inspired by the lessons practiced there.

In his attempt at a school book for children of the country people (1772) Rochow had already presented and recommended a better teaching method. He showed himself to be a successful folk and youth writer in the sense of philanthropic enlightenment in his often published and imitated reading and non-fiction book Der Kinderfreund (first part 1776, second part 1779), which served as a textbook in his school.

Rochow was familiar with the social celebrities of his time, u. a. with Prince Leopold III. Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau, with the Prussian minister for church and school matters Karl Abraham Freiherr von Zedlitz , with the founder of the Dessau Philanthropinum Johann Bernhard Basedow , with Christian Gotthilf Salzmann , Christian Fürchtegott Gellert , Anton Friedrich Büsching and Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim . He was also a member of the Halberstadt Literary Society, which existed from 1785 to 1810 .

In 1791 he was a co-founder of the Märkische Ökonomische Gesellschaft zu Potsdam and became its first director (later directors were Count Ewald Friedrich von Hertzberg and Budget Minister Otto Karl Friedrich von Voss). In accordance with its statutes, the society dealt with all contemporary issues relating to the raising of agricultural and commercial production.

Hereditary burial place of the von Rochow family in Reckahn
Memorial stone in the hereditary burial site

Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow died in 1805 and was the first to be buried in the new cemetery he had created. His grave and those of other family members can still be found today.

The Rochow country school reform was further developed by Bernhard Christoph Ludwig Natorp (1774–1846), Wilhelm von Türk and Friedrich Wilhelm Gotthilf Frosch .

A Rochow Museum has been set up in the restored New Reckahn Castle since 2001, reflecting the achievements of the educator and the history of his famous family. There is also a school museum in the former village school in Reckahn.


Works (selection)

  • Letter from a farmer to the farmers about the abolition of meanness . Stendal 1769.
  • Attempt of a school book, for children of the country folk, or for use in village schools Nicolai, Berlin 1772. ( digitized and full text in the German text archive )
  • The peasant friend of Brandenburg 1773.
  • Material for thinking about important human affairs . Brunswick 1775.
  • The child friend. A reading book for use in country schools . Brothers Halle, Brandenburg and Leipzig 1776.
  • From the national character through elementary schools . 1779.
  • The child friend. Second part . Frankfurt 1779.
  • Attempt to draft a German code of law based on Christian principles to improve the administration of justice . Berlin 1780.
  • Hand-book in catechetical form for teachers who want and are allowed to educate . Orphanage, Halle 1783.
  • Catechism of Common Reason. Or try, in comprehensible explanations of important words, according to their most non-profitable meanings, and accompanied by some examples . Nicolai, Berlin 1786.
  • An attempt on institutions for the poor and the abolition of all begging . Berlin 1789.
  • Honoré-Gabriel de Riquetti Mirabeau, Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow (translator) Mr. Mirabeau of the older discourse on national education. Printed and translated after his death, accompanied by a few notes and a preliminary report . Nicolai, Berlin and Stettin 1792.
  • Corrections. First try . School bookshop, Braunschweig 1792.
  • Corrections. Second attempt . Brunswick 1794.
  • History of my schools . Röhß, Schleswig 1795.
  • Summarium or people catechism . Röhß, Schleswig 1796.
  • Additions to the summary or human catechism . Röhß, Schleswig 1796.
  • Materials for early education in civil and industrial schools . Berlin / Stettin 1797.
  • Literary correspondence with deceased scholars . Nicolai, Berlin / Stettin 1798 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow's all educational writings . 4 volumes. Reimer, Berlin 1907-1910.


Web links

Wikisource: Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Karl-Heinz Günther u. a .: History of education . VEB People and Knowledge, Berlin, 12th edition. 1976, p. 181.
  2. Karl-Heinz Günther u. a .: History of education . VEB People and Knowledge, Berlin, 12th edition. 1976, p. 182.
  3. Rochow hiking trail on the website of the municipality of Kloster Lehnin