Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

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Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. Lithograph by Georg Engelbach , around 1852.

Johann Friedrich Ludwig Christoph Jahn , known as gymnastics father Jahn (born August 11, 1778 in Lanz (Prignitz) , † October 15, 1852 in Freyburg (Unstrut) ) was a German educator , nationalist publicist and politician. He initiated the German gymnastics movement, which was linked to the early national movement, to prepare German youth for the struggle against the Napoleonic occupation . From the gymnastics he founded , u. a. today's sport of apparatus gymnastics emerges. Numerous gymnastics equipment such as the horizontal bar and parallel bars were introduced by him. In 1848 Jahn became a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly . Jahn was one of the initiators for founding the original fraternity .


Youth and student days

Memorial plaque on the residential building in Salzwedel
Monument in Jahn's birthplace Lanz

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, son of the Protestant pastor Alexander Friedrich Jahn (1742–1811) and his wife, the pastor's daughter Dorothea Sofia, born. Schultze (* 1751), was first taught by his father. In 1791 he attended the grammar school in Salzwedel ( Altmark ), which was named after him in 1931 (Jahngymnasium Salzwedel), from 1794 the grammar school in the gray monastery in Berlin, which he left two years later without a degree.

Without the Abitur he enrolled at the University of Halle to study theology in 1796 . Around 1800, Jahn often hid himself in a cave in a rock on the Saale in Halle, known today as the Jahn cave . Jahn stood up for the purity of the German language and wrote the text Patriotism in Prussia , after which he had to leave Halle and went to Breslau . In 1800 he was tried in Leipzig and a ban imposed on all German universities. From July 1801 to January 1802 he stayed at the Brandenburg University of Frankfurt without matriculating .

In total, Jahn spent seven years at various universities, including the University of Greifswald , where he met Ernst Moritz Arndt in 1802 and where the patriotic idea of ​​"United Germany" was born. After a few years as a private tutor in Mecklenburg , Jahn, who meanwhile studied the German language and history intensively, continued his studies at the University of Göttingen from 1805 to 1806 . During this time he became engaged to Helene Kollhof, whom he finally married in 1814. The couple had three children. Jahn belonged to the student order of the Unitists .

Development of his worldview

Jahn memorial in Neubrandenburg (Mecklenburg)

Greifswald had also left Jahn again without a degree and first went to Neubrandenburg , where he taught the children of Baron Friedrich Heinrich (Gottlieb) von le Fort (1762–1833) as a private tutor from 1803–1804 and went on excursions with students from the upper classes of the scholarly school the surrounding area introduced gymnastics in Neubrandenburg. Then he went to the Sophienthal glassworks near Waren (Müritz) and finally to Jena as a private teacher . In 1807 he met Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths in Schnepfenthal , to whom he owed impulses for gymnastics in Germany. During the war ( Battle of Jena and Auerstedt ) Jahn acted as a courier on behalf of the government. In 1810 he worked at the Plamann School of Education in Berlin, but then failed an examination for the senior teaching position in Königsberg . He became an assistant teacher in Berlin and devoted himself to gymnastics.

At first, Jahn was still Borussian-minded: in 1800 he published a pseudonymous pamphlet promoting patriotism in the Prussian Empire . Under the influence of the Napoleonic Wars , he became a German nationalist. In his 1808 essay Deutsches Volksthum , published in Lübeck in 1810 , he outlined his determined nationalism for the first time . The concept of Volkstum , which he introduced into political discourse with this pamphlet, describes characteristics that are supposed to be inherent in all members of a nation and by which they would differ from other nations. He directed his anger against France in particular:

“Unhappy Germany! The contempt for your mother tongue has taken terrible revenge. For a long time you had been ignorantly defeated by a foreign language, impotent by foreign addiction, degraded by the idolatry of foreign countries. Your conqueror would never have triumphed so many times in another country where the idolatry of his language was not fought […] This language has beguiled your men, seduced your young men, dishonored your women. - - - Germans, feel again with masculine arrogance the value of your noble, living language, draw from their never-ending Urborn, dig up the old sources, and leave Lutetien's standing laugh in peace! "

Jahn was also directed against the old German estates . Instead, he advocated equal civil rights for all Germans, national education, opportunities for advancement also for children from the lower classes and for national unity. He combined these seemingly modern demands with furious attacks on everything that he perceived to be non-German: “Hate everything foreign is a German duty”. He racially polemicized against “mixture of peoples”, “Blendling peoples” he denied any “folk survival”. The work also contains isolated anti-Jewish statements. Jahn was of the opinion that Germany was superior to all other nations and that it was therefore his task to " bless the earth as a savior and to plant the germs of human development". Germany must and could take on a bigger role in Europe if one thinks about the unity of the "Germans". He had a “ Greater Germany ” in mind, which would also include Switzerland , Holland and Denmark . The capital should be the new city "Teutona", which should be founded in Thuringia , where the highways from the then "German" border towns Geneva , Memel , Fiume , Copenhagen , Dunkirk and Sandomir would meet.

Gymnastics and national movement

Dedications on the Jahndenkmal in Berlin's Hasenheide
Jahnstein on Travemünder Allee in memory of the first sports field in Lübeck
Jahn monument on the Jahnklippen near Scharzfeld
Jahn memorial in Senftenberg

Jahn and eleven friends founded the secret German Confederation for the liberation and unification of Germany on November 13, 1810 in the Hasenheide near Berlin . It was only open to men of “German descent”; Jews , even if they had converted to Christianity, were excluded from membership. From the extensive hikes that Jahn undertook with his students, regular gymnastics eventually developed. On June 19, 1811, he began public gymnastics at the meeting point for the group of students and friends. This is considered to be the birth of the gymnastics movement. The Hasenheide was the first German gymnasium to be equipped with equipment based on the GutsMuths model . The physical exercises that Jahn called gymnastics also came from GutsMuths' model, but by gymnastics Jahn meant the entirety of all physical exercises: equipment exercises were further developed and supplemented by games, swimming , fencing and hiking . In 1811 Jahn founded the Berlin gymnastics club, which grew to 778 members by 1815. Based on this example, gymnastics clubs were founded in 150 cities in Germany, which in 1818 united a total of 12,000 gymnasts.

The purpose of the gymnastics movement was only apparently sport. On the one hand , it was more important to develop a nationalist will, and on the other hand to train gymnasts to be paramilitary in order to defeat the “enemies of freedom”. These enemies were the French and the German princes, whom he accused of hindering the unity and freedom of the German nation. Jahn was against small states and for a unified Germany. He turned his attention to the youth and wanted to prepare them for a possible fight. He invented gymnastics as a physical activity for everyone with a military policy benefit. Jahn developed gymnastics further into "patriotic education in preparation for the war of liberation". He saw gymnastics in close connection with political goals: the liberation of Germany from Napoleonic rule, the idea of ​​a future German empire under Prussian leadership and the participation of individual citizens in the weal and woe of the whole. For this purpose, the gymnasts were supposed to work as guerrilla fighters (who had been invented shortly before in Spain in the fight against Napoleon). Jahn tried to make clear to the Prussian royal court the necessity of the uprising . Apparently, he arranged with Gerhard von Scharnhorst and Karl August von Hardenberg , the establishment of a volunteer corps , because he already came to the assembly point before the king Friedrich Wilhelm III. The ministers asked for the establishment of the Lützow Freikorps . With a few gymnasts from Berlin he also came to Breslau, and he was able to win many other friends and acquaintances from study days for the corps. On arrival in Frankfurt (Oder) he suggested the establishment of the first gymnasium on the Laudonsberg in Frankfurt's Dammvorstadt .

In the Freikorps, he performed special services in the administration, encouragement and encouragement of the volunteers, as well as through his local knowledge of central and northern Germany. He was also temporarily used as the leader of a battalion.

With the defeat of Napoleon in 1813, the prerequisites for the national liberation of Germany were created. With the victory in the Battle of Nations near Leipzig , Jahn's wish became in a certain sense a reality.

In 1813, at the time of the Battle of Leipzig, Jahn demanded: "... free speech, constitution, unity of the fatherland ..." In the same year, Jahn took back the gymnastics business, which had meanwhile been run by Ernst Wilhelm Bernhard Eiselen , in Berlin . He helped to spread gymnastics wherever possible: He sent instructors and visited various gyms himself on his gymnastics trips.

On June 12, 1815, the original fraternity was founded in Jena. In 1816 Jahn's book Die Deutsche Turnkunst (with Ernst Eiselen) was published. In this book, Jahn describes the following points:

  1. Goals, content and forms
  2. Behavior and dress code
  3. General rules of conduct

This book was created out of practice for practice. For the gymnasts and followers of Jahn it was a kind of bible for a new popular education about the body. The book is divided into several sections:

  1. In a preliminary report, the creation of the book is described as the result of teamwork.
  2. The actual gymnastics exercises are dealt with: walking, running, jumping, swinging, floating, stretching exercises, parallel bars, throwing, pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, stretching, wrestling.
  3. Gymnastics games
  4. Sample description of a gymnasium and gymnastics equipment
  5. Gymnastics rules, gymnastics laws, the behavior and clothing of gymnasts and teachers

The climax and turning point of the early gymnastics movement could be noted in the years 1817/18. After the Wars of Liberation, the conservative political forces in Prussia regained influence. Thus the reform spring was over.

Start of the restoration

Monument on Leopoldsberg in Vienna by Georg Leisek (1928)

The Congress of Vienna disappointed Jahn because a policy of European equilibrium had prevailed there. The German Confederation suppressed the liberal constitutional movements in the individual states. Of the real goals of Jahn, only the liberation of France was fulfilled. But neither German unity nor an egalitarian “people's state”, as he hoped for according to the Turner song “Everyone is equal in rank and position”, was realized. Now Jahn dreamed of a renewed armed conflict against France: “Germany needs a war on its own [...] in order to develop to the fullest of its popular character. [...] Germany over French-speaking countries ! "

In 1817 he began a series of lectures on German nationality, in which he denounced the abuses in the Prussian army and regretted the restriction of civil rights in the state. In doing so, he created enemies like State Chancellor Hardenberg , who wanted to take over gymnastics under state supervision at schools. In addition, he repeatedly expressed his patriotism and nationalism in coarse words. Audiences were often uncomfortably affected by his harshness, for example when Jahn still demonized the French language and its learning after defeating Napoleon .

The movement of the fraternities was also closely related to gymnastics . You and the gymnasts had basically the same political goals. However, there were also small groups that differed from these objectives. German liberalism was split into a democratic and a national liberal direction.

At the height of the gymnastics movement in Germany (with over 100 gymnastics places in Prussia alone) took place on 18./19. October 1817 the Wartburg Festival took place. At Jahn's initiative, the first modern book burning occurred in the German-speaking area. In addition to the civil code , Saul Ascher's Germanomania , in which the author made fun of Jahn, was burned. Jahn was not present at the party, but had compiled the list of books , and his student Hans Ferdinand Maßmann played a key role in the action. However, the fact that Ascher was Jewish was less of a priority; Jahn was much more indignant about his “Francoism”. The book burning aroused the suspicion of the Austrian State Chancellor Metternichs . After Jahn had thrown a cheer for the students of the Wartburg Festival at an evening party - with only mixed success - he became increasingly unpopular at the Prussian Ministry. He was no longer officially allowed to give his lecture on German Folklore at the university in the winter semester.

Ban on gymnastics and imprisonment

The murder of the writer and Russian Consul General August von Kotzebue , whose works had also been burned at the Wartburg, by the student and gymnast Karl Ludwig Sand in March 1819 triggered the ban on gymnastics . In the course of the so-called demagogue persecution , Jahn was prohibited from resuming gymnastics on the Hasenheide because the gymnastics exercises took place as part of the lessons and should be subordinate to the school authorities. In the summer of 1819 there was a gymnastics feud in Berlin and Breslau , in which criticism was voiced against gymnastics or its religious-patriotic tendencies.

The effects of the Karlovy Vary resolutions of August / September 1819 hit the gymnastics movement hard. The fraternities were banned, universities were placed under state supervision, and many student gymnasts and fraternities were placed under police supervision. Several gymnasts from Jahn's environment were arrested or were banned from working, so that they emigrated abroad (especially America). A gymnastics ban was issued in all of Prussia and other German states. Thus, gymnastics was officially stopped in Prussia in 1820, but physical exercises continued to take place in many places despite this ban.

Jahn was arrested on July 13, 1819, and two of his children died in the same year. He spent the next five years in custody in Spandau , Küstrin and Kolberg . In 1823 his wife died too. Jahn was not allowed to attend her funeral. The poet and judge E. T. A. Hoffmann led the investigation into the Jahns case and those around him. Jahn played down his role in the past decade, which was covered by his friends who were also interrogated. Hoffmann passed a mild verdict in 1820, despite accusations from government councilor Johann Ernst Theodor Janke , a former member of the secret German Confederation . Jahn should be released because no highly treasonable tendencies had become visible in him. However, despite the verdict, Jahn was held in political captivity for five years “on higher orders” , as he was still suspected of revolutionary activities. In addition to Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Ernst Moritz Arndt, Jahn was considered the spiritual father of the student freedom and unity movement. But while most of the leading men in the German national movement came to terms with the German Confederation under Metternich's leadership after the Congress of Vienna, Jahn stuck to his ideas undeterred. He was released on March 15, 1825, on condition that he did not live in any university or high school town.


Jahndenkmal at the memorial gym in Freyburg (Unstrut), built in 1894

In 1825 he married his second wife, Emilie, 25 years his junior, who was pregnant by him. In the same year he moved with her to Freyburg an der Unstrut (today in Saxony-Anhalt ), where he lived as a pensioner under police supervision. The oldest gym in Germany, which Jahn initiated after political rehabilitation, still stands here today. In September 1828 he was expelled to Kölleda until 1835 because of the contact with students and teachers , where he lived largely isolated until 1836. That year he returned to Freyburg. There he worked on a history of the Thirty Years' War and a representation of pre-Christian Germanism . However, all relevant records fell victim to the fire that completely destroyed the house in which he lived for rent on August 5, 1838. With the help of government support and private donations, he was able to move into a new building in 1839. Over the years regulations were relaxed and doctors and educators helped revitalize exercise. In 1837 physical exercises were permitted in grammar schools.

Jahn remained sharp in his nationalist polemics. In 1832 he published Merke zum Deutschen Volksthum , in which he dealt critically with the political movement of the Vormärz and especially the Junge Deutschland . Their enthusiasm for the French July Revolution and the Polish November Uprising of 1830 disgusted him: "shame, misery, curse, destruction and death over every German who expects from abroad the Savior." In 1833, he fulminated in his letters to emigrants against German emigrants: "Your Ohio screechers and Missouri knives make the Germans everywhere and nowhere, to the top and nowhere, and keep their true calling for the fact that he gypsies the world through Jew and through Negro and heartlessly gypsy with head, hand and foot ." various dislikes in a derogatory remark about Karl August Varnhagen von Ense's memorial book for his wife Rahel : “The violet-like corpse scent of modern world citizenship wafts from the whole thick-arched book. It is the corpse stage (Lustrum doloris) of the new population-less , Jewish and junkering cosmopolitanism. ”He also directed harsh words against Heinrich Heine , whom he described as a runner who, through his mocking attacks on the conditions in Germany and the gymnastics itself,“ goggles himself " have. Heine's Jewish origin does not seem to have played a role in this polemic.

In 1840 Jahn was given amnesty and complete rehabilitation by Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Police supervision was lifted. Jahn received the Iron Cross from the Wars of Liberation , which had been withdrawn from him . In 1842, Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Repealed his father's decree and officially ended the gymnastics ban. In addition, Jahn was reimbursed the 1,500 thalers that he had invested in the Hasenheide gymnasium. In addition, he repeatedly received donations from gymnastics clubs, which were now legal again and in which he was revered as the "gymnastics father". With that, Jahn was finally free of his financial worries.

In 1848 Jahn was appointed to the pre-parliament . Shortly afterwards, Jahn was elected to the Frankfurt National Assembly in the Paulskirche . He was now committed to peace and order and advocated the idea of ​​a Prussian hereditary empire. He had no understanding for the Turner movement, which was increasingly democratic , and turned away from it. With this he lost a large part of his popularity, but in the following period he achieved full recognition as a pioneer in physical education.

At the age of 74, Jahn died on October 15, 1852 in Freyburg an der Unstrut. There he was buried at the front of the first German gymnasium. On the occasion of the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 , his bones were reburied. They found their final resting place in the courtyard of his house, which he had built in 1838/39. This building now houses the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Museum .

Fresh, pious, happy, free

Turnerkreuz (FFFF) on the gable of a sports home in Eisenberg

The gymnast's motto goes back to a rhyme of the 16th century ( Fresh, frey, cheerful, frumb - Are the students rich humb! ) , Which Jahn raised to the moral and moral maxim of gymnasts in 1816 in the gymnastics textbook Die deutsche Turnkunst ( Fresh, free, cheerful and pious - is the gymnast's wealth ).

At the end of 1843, Jahn explained to the Frankfurt gymnastics community the meaning of the motto that he had affixed to the gable of his house in Freyburg, today's Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Museum :

  • “Strive freshly for what is right and attainable, do what is good, consider what is better, and choose the best”;
  • “Keeping oneself free from the urge of passion, from the pressure of prejudice, and from the fears of existence”;
  • "Joyfully enjoy the gifts of life, do not pass dreamily over the inevitable, do not freeze in pain when the duty is done, and take the greatest courage to rise above the failure of the best cause";
  • “To fulfill one's duties piously, with people and people, and finally the last one, going home. For this they will be blessed with health of body and soul, with contentment so that all riches are balanced, with refreshing slumber after the burden of the day, and with life tired through gentle sleep. "

The Darmstadt copper engraver Heinrich Felsing formed the Turner's Cross from the first letters of the Turner motto, the four Fs .

The socialist workers' gymnastics union, founded in 1893, converted Jahn's motto into a new motto ( Fresh - Free - Strong - Treu ).


Caspar David Friedrich: Two men contemplating the moon

Art history

The painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) depicts in his 1819 painting Two Men Contemplating the Moon Jahn together with the Neubrandenburg pastor Franz Christian Boll (1776–1818). This is one of the memorial pictures for the deceased Boll , to which one can assign the somewhat squat figure with a cape. The other, sporty figure can be identified from the historical circumstances as Friedrich Ludwig Jahn at a young age, during his time as tutor in Neubrandenburg.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Society V.

The association for the preservation of tradition and preservation of the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn memorials (founded in 1992) renamed itself in 2008 by changing the statutes and is now continuing its activities as the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Gesellschaft based in Freyburg (Unstrut). The tasks of the association are now broader and formulate a higher claim: The company dedicates its activities to the goal of researching the life and work of the founder of the gymnastics movement in Germany and his environment, interpreting his significance in the past and present, his legacy preserve and spread. To this end, the company maintains relationships with the German Gymnastics Federation and the regional gymnastics associations, universities, schools, museums and organizations that are committed to the cause. As one of the great Germans, Jahn should be brought into the focus of a wider public.

The Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Library in Freyburg (Unstrut), an institution of the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Society , is also dedicated to the work of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn .

Controversies about Jahn's nationalism and anti-Semitism

Jahn's repeated anti-Jewish and anti-French expressions repeatedly gave rise to controversy. The Jahn biographer Carl Philipp Euler protested in 1891 against ethnic -nationalistische and anti-Semitic Turner of the Empire with the assertion Jahn did not understand the Jews among the "enemies of the Germans." Another biographer was the Hamburg gymnastics teacher and volunteer Wolfgang Meyer, who published Jahn's letters in 1913 and was one of the authors who later published about Jahn under National Socialism . One of them was the Dresden senior teacher Fritz Eckardt, who worked with the letter edition, carried out a comprehensive glorification of Jahn and was "one of the most cited biographers of Jahn under National Socialism ". In 1937, Eckardt described Jahn as the "forerunner of National Socialism". His rhetorical amalgamation with Heinrich von Treitschke's style meant that the sentence “Poles, French, priests, Junkers and Jews are Germany's misfortune” was taken up as an alleged quote from German folklore in literature and the press, but neither in Jahn's publications nor in Eckardt it occurs itself. Similar stereotypical expressions can be found in Jahn's letters, for example on August 24, 1816 to Theodor Müller :

"And you can rely on it: The Prussian Landwehr will never have knocked like this before, as in God's judgment against Junkers, Jews, crooks, jugglers and guards. God does not leave a German. "

In a letter dated January 18, 1839, referring to Friedrich von Raumer's book about Poland's fall : "The world sees what is in the trinity of Junkers, priests and Jews."

Hans-Ulrich Wehler describes the book burning initiated by Jahn as a “confused mixture of anti-conservative protest, German cult, Francophobia and hatred of Jews”. According to Werner Bergmann , Jahn's “premonitions” of anti-Semitism critical of modernization, his exaggerated ethnic nationalism and the equation of Germanism and Christianity proved to be powerful for the further development of anti-Semitism.

In historical research on anti-Semitism , however, it is pointed out that Jahn made “only marginally”, “relatively tolerant”, “not clearly anti-Semitic” etc. about “the Jews”. Jews and Judaism seemed alien to Jahn and could not be integrated into the German nation. Nevertheless, he can be, according to Hans-Joachim Bartmuß and Josef Ulfkotte not be described as representative of anti-Semitism in the modern sense, as this was relevant only in the second half of the century and Jahn mostly in the discourse tracks of the premodern, religiously based anti-Judaism have moved . Significantly, he never made any public statements on the civil equality of Jews , which was highly controversial among his contemporaries .

Whether and which personal contacts he had with Jews, apart from the fact that in the early days he kept the gymnasium in the Hasenheide open to young, patriotic Jews, is only known for one case. It is known that he revived the loose relationship that had existed since 1811 with the Jewish student Salomon Friedrich Stiebel from Frankfurt - a later doctor who converted in 1828 - in 1848 as a member of the Paulskirchen. If he turned out to be a friend here personally, then, as Werner Bergmann sums up, Jahn was not a friend of the Jews, even if one cannot speak of an outspoken hatred of Jews or early anti-Semitism in Jahn, especially in his publications. In German Volksthum , Jahn took up the biological rhetoric of earlier racial theories and the emerging natural sciences in order to make them usable in his sense for the description of “cultural differences”.

The gymnastics functionary Theobald Scholem wrote in the Jüdische Turnzeitung in 1902 : "He never spoke well to us Jews, everything that wasn't entirely German, apart from a few ancient examples that he liked to refer to, was repugnant to his soul." acknowledged Scholem Jahn's importance for German gymnastics and this achievement is also a must for Jewish gymnasts.


5-mark commemorative coin of the GDR for the 125th anniversary of death (1977)
Commemorative stamp of the Deutsche Post of the GDR for the 200th birthday
200 years of the gymnasium in Volkspark Hasenheide : German postage stamp from 2011

The German Gymnastics Federation awards the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn plaque as the highest distinction.


Jahn had lived and worked in many German cities in the course of his life. In very many of them monuments were erected after his death. The statue of F. L. Jahn's was also unveiled on August 10, 1872 at the founding site of the gymnastics movement, in Berlin's Hasenheide .

Jahn as the namesake

Sports clubs were named after Jahn:

Sports facilities:


After the decision of the school conference and with the approval of the Pankow district office, the Turnvater-Jahn-Schule in Prenzlauer Berg was renamed the Bötzow-Grundschule in 2015, among other things on the grounds that Jahn's personality was "perceived ambiguously" and was "difficult to communicate" for primary school children, apparently it was overlooked that parts of the new namesake family were staunch National Socialists.

The Jahn-Bergturnfest on the Bückeberg in the district of Schaumburg (Lower Saxony) and the Jahn cave in Halle (Saale) are also named after Jahn.

In numerous German cities streets were named after Jahn, for example in Halle and in Langenhagen at the former sports facilities. In Bielefeld , the centrally located Jahnplatz got its name. Critics reject such honors, referring to Jahn's nationalist and anti-Semitic attitudes. In several cities there are initiatives to rename places named after Jahn. In Graz (Styria) there have been campaigns since 2006 to rename Jahngasse at the state sports institute, where there is also a Jahn memorial. In Berlin, the “Sport without Turnfathers” initiative advocates the renaming of the Jahnsportpark in Prenzlauer Berg . On the other hand, the sociologist and sports historian Sieghard Below is of the opinion that Jahn's nationalism and “radical hatred of the French and Jews” must be understood as an “overreaction of his time”. A critical discussion by Jahn is important, but Below considers an ideological “iconoclasm” to be unbalanced. Ultimately, Jahn had been appropriated as an ambivalent historical personality from the Prussian-German Empire via the Nazi regime to the GDR . But also in the Weimar Republic as well as in the Federal Republic of Germany Jahn was honored as namesake and commemorative personality.

A motor training ship of the GST naval school "August Lütgens" in Greifswald-Wieck, the "FL Jahn" , also bore his name . The former fishing vessel was stationed in the port of Greifswald-Wieck from 1958 to 1972 as a training ship for the Society for Sport and Technology and was then relocated to the city ​​port of Rostock .

On April 27, 2002, the asteroid (30830) Jahn, discovered on October 14, 1990, was named after him.

On May 31, 2013, Jahn was inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Sports .


  • Eduard Ferdinand Angerstein:  Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 13, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1881, pp. 662-664.
  • Hans-Joachim Bartmuß : 15 years under police supervision, yet active, honored and protected by his fellow citizens - Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in Freyburg and Kölleda. In: Landesheimatbund Sachsen-Anhalt and support association for the maintenance of tradition and preservation of the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn memorials (ed.): Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and the Turner societies - fields of activity, interrelationships, group politics. Contributions to the regional and state culture of Saxony-Anhalt. Issue 33, Halle 2004, pp. 87–110. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Library .
  • Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Eberhard Kunze, Josef Ulfkotte (eds.): “Turnvater” Jahn and his patriotic environment: letters and documents 1806–1812. Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna, 2008, ISBN 978-3-412-20190-6 .
  • Werner Bergmann : Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Volume 2/1, people A – K. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-24072-0 , pp. 403-406.
  • Carl Philipp Euler : Friedrich Ludwig Jahn - his life and work. Krabbe, Stuttgart 1889.
  • Heinrich Gerstenberg: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. In: Central German Life Pictures . Volume 1: Pictures of the 19th Century. Magdeburg 1926, pp. 54-64.
  • Karen Hagemann : Germanness, manhood, freedom . In: Die Zeit , No. 42/2004.
  • Eberhard Jeran: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in Greifswald 1802/03. Presentation of his work and legacy together with an appendix with sources that have not yet been printed. House work. (Univ. Greifswald, Phil. Fak., Febr. 1962). [2] Bl., 92, 163 pp.
  • Günter Jahn: The student days of the unitist FL Jahn and their significance for the prehistory and early history of the fraternity 1796-1819. In: Representations and sources on the history of the German unity movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. Christian Hünemörder, Günter Cerwinka (Ed.): 15. Heidelberg 1995, pp. 1–129.
  • Erwin Mehl : Jahn as a language teacher. For the 200th birthday of the gymnast's father (born August 11, 1778 in Lanz) (= scientific series of publications in mother tongue ; Issue 9. Wiener Sprachblätter ; 7). Mother tongue association, Klosterneuburg-Weidling 1978, DNB 790549409 .
  • Oliver Ohmann: gymnastics father Jahn and the German sports festivals. Sutton, Erfurt 2008, ISBN 978-3-86680-264-3 .
  • Oliver Ohmann: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. Sutton, Erfurt 2009.
  • Paul Piechowski: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. From gymnastics father to public educator. With a portrait board. Leopold Klotz, Gotha 1928, DNB 577927612 .
  • Lothar Skorning : Friedrich Ludwig Jahn - A patriot of our people. (Co-authors Robert Schulz , Günter Erbach , Paul Marschner), Sportverlag Berlin, Berlin 1953.
  • von Schulze: Defense writing for the doctor of philosophy Friederich Ludwig Jahn. Freuler, Glarus 1823 ( full text online in the reader, free of charge, 36 pages - Bayerische Staatsbibliothek , including the date of his arrest, 1819, not 1820).
  • Horst UeberhorstJahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 10, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-428-00191-5 , pp. 301-303 ( digitized version ).
  • Hainer Weißpflug: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn - patriot and founder of the German gymnastics movement. In: The Mark Brandenburg. Issue 71, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-910134-15-7 .
  • Karl-Friedrich Werner: Christianity and physical exercise in the beginnings of the German gymnastics movement: the example of Ernst Moritz Arndt. Dissertation at the Theological Faculty of Heidelberg University, 1981, DNB 811012670 .
  • Heinrich Pröhle : Friedrich Ludwig Jahn's life: together with communications from his literary estate. Publication by Franz Duncker, Berlin 1855. Digitization: Central and State Library Berlin, 2011 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Friedrich Ludwig Jahn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fraternities. On Jena on the fir tree , by Peter-Philipp Schmitt, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 13, 2015.
  2. ^ Fraternities: Rebellion in black-red-gold , by Jörg Schweigard, in: Die Zeit . 23rd July 2015.
  3. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß , Eberhard Kunze, Josef Ulfkotte: "Turnvater" Jahn and his patriotic environment. Letters and Documents 1806–1812. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar 2008, p. 19.
  4. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 51.
  5. ^ Günther Jahn: The student days of the unitist FL Jahn. Representations and sources on the history of the German unity movement in the 19th and 20th centuries . Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg 1995, ISBN 3-8253-0205-9 , p. 1 ff .
  6. Irmgard Unger-Brückner: About the learned school Neubrandenburg. [Part] V. In: Das Carolinum. Volume 30 (1964/1965) 41, p. 86.
  7. ^ Heinrich August Winkler : The long way to the west . Volume 1: German history from the end of the Old Reich to the fall of the Weimar Republic. CH Beck, Munich 2000, p. 62.
  8. ^ Jahn: Deutsches Volksthum digitized version of the Bavarian State Library.
  9. Christian Jansen with Henning Borggräfe: Nation - Nationality - nationalism. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 47.
  10. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn: Deutsches Volksthum , p. 199 f. , Digitized version of the Bavarian State Library, quoted from Heinrich August Winkler: The long way to the west. Volume 1: German history from the end of the Old Reich to the fall of the Weimar Republic. CH Beck, Munich 2000, p. 63.
  11. ^ A b Werner Bergmann : Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Volume 2: People. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 404.
  12. ^ Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society 1700-1815. Volume 1: From Feudalism of the Old Empire to the Defensive Modernization of the Reform Era. CH Beck, Munich 1987, p. 518.
  13. ^ Marco Puschner: Anti-Semitism in the context of political romanticism. Constructions of the "German" and the "Jewish" in Arnim, Brentano and Saul Ascher. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2008, p. 92. See also: Hans-Ulrich Wehler: Nationalismus. History - forms - consequences. CH Beck, Munich 2001, p. 67.
  14. Christian Jansen with Henning Borggräfe: Nation - Nationality - nationalism. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 44.
  15. ^ Arnd Krüger : Sport and Politics. From gymnastics father Jahn to state amateur. Torch bearer, Hanover 1975, number of pages missing; Christian Jansen with Henning Borggräfe: Nation - Nationality - Nationalism. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 44.
  16. Hans-Eberhard Fehland, Hans-Jürgen Losensky: Sports City Frankfurt (Oder). Association of Sports History of the City of Frankfurt (Oder) e. V., 2005, p. 7.
  17. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, Ernst Wilhelm Bernhard Eiselen: The German gymnastics art, presented for the establishment of the gymnasiums. Self-published, Berlin 1816. ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  18. ^ Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society 1700-1815. Volume 1: From Feudalism of the Old Empire to the Defensive Modernization of the Reform Era. CH Beck, Munich 1987, p. 523 and 527.
  19. ^ Werner Bergmann: Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 405.
  20. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: “Turnvater” Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Köln / Wien / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , pp. 35–51.
  21. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 32.
  22. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: “Turnvater” Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , pp. 54–70.
  23. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Wien / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 78 ff.
  24. Both quotations after Dieter Langewiesche : Nation, Nationalism, Nationstaat in Deutschland und Europa. Munich 2000, p. 122 f.
  25. ^ Werner Bergmann: Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 405 f .; Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 81 f.
  26. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Wien / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , pp. 70-74 and 141.
  27. Federal Archives: Members of the Pre-Parliament and the Fifties Committee (PDF; 79 kB).
  28. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 32.
  29. Allgemeine Zeitung , No. 295, October 21, 1844, p. 2360 ( ).
  30. Detlef Stapf: Caspar David Friedrichs hidden landscapes. The Neubrandenburg contexts . Greifswald 2014, p. 152 ff., P-Book .
  31. ^ Dietrich Grünwald: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and gymnastics in Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In: Neubrandenburg Mosaic. Local history yearbook of the Regional Museum Neubrandenburg , No. 17, 1993, pp. 15–46.
  32. a b c d Werner Bergmann: Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 406.
  33. Karoline Weller: The "gymnastics father" in motion. The reception of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn between 1933 and 1990 , (Diss. Munich), Dachau 2008, p. 15, p. 21; online .
  34. Cf. Fritz Eckardt: The gymnastics movement from 1848/49 , Frankfurt 1925, p. 63 f.
  35. Wellner, p. 25.
  36. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß , Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: “Turnvater” Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Wien / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 257; see. Wellner, p. 24.
  37. ^ Werner Bergmann: Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Volume 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 404; The quote can be found for the first time in Eleonore Sterling : He is like you. From the early history of anti-Semitism in Germany (1815–1850). Munich 1956, p. 164, and p. 217, note 66. Sterling referred to Eckardt 1925, p. 63 f. and without a page number on Jahn's Deutsches Volksthum . Literally, note the punctuation marks, she wrote: "'Poles, French, priests, Junkers and Jews', claims gymnastics father Jahn, are Germany's misfortune."
  38. Quoted from Marco Puschner: Anti-Semitism in the context of political romanticism. Constructions of the "German" and the "Jewish" in Arnim, Brentano and Saul Ascher . Niemeyer, Tübingen 2008, p. 221.
  39. Horst Ueberhorst : Back to Jahn? Was there no better way forward? Bochum 1969, p. 23. See Puschner, p. 189, note 161.
  40. Hans-Ulrich Wehler: German history of society , Volume 2: From the reform era to the industrial and political "German double revolution" . CH Beck, Munich 1987, p. 335.
  41. Hans-Joachim Bartmuß, Josef Ulfkotte: After the gymnastics ban: "Turnvater" Jahn between 1819 and 1852. Böhlau, Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-21405-0 , p. 24 f. and 33.
  42. ^ Salomon Stiebel: Memories from the German Wars of Liberation of 1813 and 1814. Frankfurt a. M. 1847. See Hans-Joachim Bartmuß on ( Memento from May 19, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  43. Nils Hegewisch: Purity in Diversity. Elements of racist theory formation in the journalism of early German nationalism. In: Birgit Aschmann , Thomas Stamm-Kuhlmann (Ed.): 1813 in a European context. Stuttgart 2015, pp. 89-92.
  44. Hartmut Becker: Was Jahn an “anti-Semite”? In: Stadium. Journal of the history of sport and physical culture. Volume 4 (1978), p. 133.
  45. Daniel Wildmann: The changeable body. Jewish gymnasts, masculinity and regaining history in Germany around 1900. Tübingen 2009, p. 243.
  46. Sights . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1875, part 4, p. 170. "F. L. Jahn's statue in the Hasenhaide".
  47. Archive link ( Memento from July 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  48. A primary school no longer wants to be called gymnastics father Jahn . In: Berliner Zeitung , February 25, 2015.
  49. Street sign exchanged . In: Small newspaper . December 14, 2012.
  50. Dennis Drögemüller: Turn father's right thoughts . In: The daily newspaper . October 9, 2011.
  51. Willy Bogner receives Golden Sports Pyramid . ( Memento of April 13, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) sid article on Zeit Online , May 31, 2013, accessed on June 6, 2013.