Georg Wilhelm Pentecost

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Georg Wilhelm Pentecost
Grave slab in the old cemetery in Schleswig-Friedrichsberg

Georg Wilhelm Pfingsten (born March 5, 1746 in Kiel , † November 26, 1827 in Schleswig ) was a German teacher of the deaf and dumb .


Whitsun grew up as the son of an army musician after the death of his birth mother, later also of his stepmother, with many foster families in Holstein in very simple circumstances. He later gave indications that in this way he had already met deaf and dumb children as playmates. In 1760, when Duke Karl Peter Ulrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf was about to become tsar, Whitsun followed his father to Petersburg . After the assassination of Tsar Peter III. in 1762 all Germans were forcibly returned from Russia. Whitsun did an apprenticeship as a wig maker and initially worked in this profession in Hamburg. In 1773 he became a hairdresser and wig maker in Lübeck , where he acquired citizenship so that he could become a master. However, at the end of the 18th century, wigs went out of fashion. The artistically creative Whitsun had developed a drum and signal language as part of self-didactic training, which did not attract the interest of military clients as users, but enlightened fellow citizens became aware of it. The doctor and co-founder of the Society for the Promotion of Charitable Activities , Johann Julius Walbaum , brought him together with a 15-year-old deaf-mute boy who, after six months of work at Whitsun, was able to speak, read and write. Because of this success, Whitsun founded a school for the deaf and mute in Lübeck, in which he soon tried to help seven students using his sign language . However, his economic circumstances only improved when, in 1791, through the mediation of a friend and enlightened colleague of Walbaum in the non-profit organization, the syndic of the cathedral chapter Christian Adolph Overbeck , he took over the position of sexton and organist at the Hamberge village church, which belongs to the cathedral chapter, about 8 kilometers southwest of Lübeck in the Travetal received. Here, in addition to his work for the parish, he successfully continued teaching deaf and mute people, which led to a dispute with the local pastor about responsibilities and remuneration. In 1799, on the basis of a proposal by Count Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg-Stolberg and Count Cay Friedrich von Reventlow , then President of the German Chancellery, he was appointed by King Christian VII of Denmark to head a new school for the deaf and mute in Kiel . In 1809 this school already had 35 students who were taught in several classes. In 1810 the school for the deaf and mute moved to Schleswig because the space in Kiel had become too cramped. When Pentecost retired in 1825, his deaf-mute institute was not only firmly established in the duchies, but also secured its existence for the future through foundation funds. His son-in-law Hans Hensen continued the successful work at Pentecost. The Schleswig-Holstein State Support Center Hören , which exists today , is named after him as the Georg Wilhelm Whitsun School and is still located in Schleswig.

Pentecost was a knight of the Dannebrog Order from 1809 and titular professor from 1812 .


  • To use many years of experience about the hearing defects of the deaf and mute as a hint when electroplating. Kiel 1802. ( digitized version )
  • Hearing knife for examining the hearing ability of galvanized deaf-mutes with special consideration for the learning of the articulated tonal language. Daf. 1804.
  • Remarks and observations on hearing, feeling, deafness, their deviations from one another, and on some causes and remedies of the latter. 1811.
  • On the effects of galvanism on the deaf and mute. In: Eunomia , 3rd volume, September issue, p. 215.
  • About the condition of the deaf and mute of old and new times. Schleswig 1817.
  • Selection of biblical stories. First of all for the pupils of the Deaf-Mute Institute. Schleswig 1820–23, 2 volumes.
  • Auxiliary book for the deaf and dumb for the correct understanding and differentiation of ambiguous words, which consist of the same sounds and letters but contain very different meanings. In alphabet. Order. Schleswig 1825.


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