Hans Sachs

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hans Sachs, woodcut by Michael Ostendorfer (1545)
Signature Hans Sachs.JPG

Hans Sachs (born November 5, 1494 in Nuremberg ; † January 19, 1576 ibid) was a Nuremberg shoemaker , poet , master singer and playwright .


The Wittembergian nightingale, which you can hear yetz everywhere (1523)

Hans Sachs was born on November 5, 1494 as the son of master tailor Jörg Sachs. After attending a Latin school , he completed an apprenticeship as a shoemaker from 1509 to 1511 . Then, as was customary at the time, he went on a journeyman hike for five years . During this time he served temporarily at the court of Emperor Maximilian I in Innsbruck and is there for the Study of Master Sang decided. In the same year he began to take lessons from master Lienhard Nunnenbeck in Munich . In 1516 Sachs finally settled in Nuremberg, in 1520 became a master shoemaker, an active member of the guild of the Meistersinger and at times its chairman (around 1555).

On September 1, 1519 he married Kunigunde Creutzer (* 1502). The marriage resulted in seven children, all of whom he survived. After Kunigunde died in 1560, he married the young widow Barbara Harscher on September 2, 1561.

Sachs sided with the Reformation early on and spread the teachings of Martin Luther , for example with his poem Die Wittenbergisch Nachtigall (1523). With this popular presentation of Luther's teachings, he achieved his first fame. As a result, Sachs produced more than 6000 works, many of them in Knittelversen (Merkvers: "The Hans Sachs, he was a shoe maker and poet too"), and became one of the most famous poets of the 16th century. Hans Sachs died on January 19, 1576 and was buried in the Nuremberg Johannisfriedhof .

Contemporary meaning

He owed his fame among contemporaries primarily to his work as a mastersinger. Even during his lifetime, Sachs was a read and, above all, a played author.

Sachs himself began to issue the Nuremberg folio edition of his works in 1558 and thus contributed significantly to the distribution of his carnival games, taunts, dramas, poems and prose dialogues in print.

In addition to these works, Hans Sachs was also widely known as a supporter and advocate of the Reformation movement. In the years from 1523 to 1526 he wrote Reformation dialogues and pamphlets critical of the times, as well as the Reformation song Wach auf , the original text of which Wagner set to music in the Meistersingers. This engagement was not without negative consequences for him. Sachs was banned from writing by the authorities at the time and had to limit himself to his work as a shoemaker. But the Reformation soon gained a foothold in Nuremberg, which declared itself Protestant in 1529; the restriction was lifted and Hans Sachs became a folk hero.

His eye-catching description of all the estates on earth , created together with the graphic artist Jost Amman in 1568, marks an early high point in the literature of the estates . With memorable and characterizing verses vertex tete Sachs known representations of worldly, spiritual and professional levels according to the former class order .

Historical meaning

Hans-Sachs-Monument on the Hans-Sachs-Platz in Nuremberg

Sachs' work is considered an important testimony to the imperial city bourgeois culture of the 16th century.

Hans Sachs is considered the most talented and famous of the Mastersingers . He is also the one most known about. The strict rules and artisanal approach to poetry used by the Mastersingers produced a type of poetry that did not find much favor with later generations.

The historical significance of the Meistersinger movement lies in the fact that it encouraged citizens to practice poetry only for their own pleasure and that of their own relatives. His carnival games are considered his best works and are still performed today. In this, and in some of his other works, he goes beyond the rules of a true mastersong.

Of the compositions by Hans Sachs, the silver way in particular , published in the Zwickau manuscript , is remembered. Parts of it are also used in the chorales Wachet, the voice calls us and A strong castle is our God quoted.

In the 17th century , Sachs was largely forgotten. It is all the more remarkable that it was mentioned several times by Grimmelshausen in the novel Der adventurliche Simplicissimus . He was only rediscovered through Goethe , Wieland , Lortzing (opera Hans Sachs ) and above all through Richard Wagner , who made Hans Sachs one of the main characters in his opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg .



Hans Sachs wrote over 6,000 pieces of various kinds, including more than 4,000 master songs. Exact details vary greatly depending on the secondary literature, mainly because it is not always clear whether it is a single work or a larger context. It is also difficult to compare the sources, as works by different authors are classified in different categories.

Although Sachs continued to work as a shoemaker, he nonetheless remained artistically productive. The shoemaker's profession was necessary because , as far as is known, Mastersingers did not write or sing for money. In addition to the Meistersang, Sachs mastered three other literary genres: the saying poem in the successor of Hans Rosenplüt and Hans Folz , the game and the prose dialogue.

The fabrics used in his numerous works are of different nature. So his songs are almost equally spiritual and secular in content; the proverbs have spiritual, historical, political and fluctuating content. He often worked on the same subject in several genres.

Among the works of Sachs that should be highlighted are his Schwänke and carnival games, which are in the Nuremberg tradition. In his comedies and tragedies, he mainly draws on biblical, classical and medieval ones. Adapted to the petty-bourgeois imagination, these usually have an educational satirical character.

In order to bring religious and secular education closer to the urban population, Sachs has fictional people discuss the problems of the Reformation and the right way of life in a prose dialogue. Sachs was often concerned with representing the interests of the trading bourgeoisie by promoting peace, order, honesty and reason.

The Meistersinger volumes previously belonged to the Zwickau Council School Library . Today you can find the largest part of the estate of master songs and poems in the city ​​archive of Zwickau . Of the twenty volumes that are still available worldwide, fourteen volumes and the general register are available here. Specifically, these are two quarto and six folio volumes Meistergesänge (MG 2,3,4,5,8,12,13 and 15), six folio volumes Spruchgedichte (SG 4,11,12,13,16 and 18) and the Sachs 'Catalog raisonné and his life review Summa of all my poems .

Postage stamp 1976 on the 400th anniversary of death

Other important works:

  • Venus's courtiers (carnival game, 1517)
  • The Wittenberg Nightingale (poem, 1523)
  • Dialogues (1524), new edition: Insel-Bücherei 579/2 (1976)
  • Land of milk and honey (Schwank, 1530)
  • The fool cutting (carnival game, 1534)
  • The Pregnant Farmer (Carnival Games, 1544)
  • The devil with the old woman (Carnival game, 1545)
  • From the dying rich man called Hekastus (1549)
  • The traveling schoolboy in the paradeis (carnival game, 1550)
  • The breeding of calves (carnival game, 1551)
  • The Unequal Children (Drama, 1553)
  • The grocer's basket (carnival game, 1554)
  • St. Peter with the Goat (Schwank, 1555)
  • Tragedia with 23 people of the strict love Mr. Tristrant with the beautiful Queen Isalden (1561)
  • Detailed description of all classes on earth . Frankfurt am Main 1568, online edition of the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library

Complete edition

Further editions

  • Hans Sachs: Carnival games and poems. Edited by Reinhard Barth, with an afterword by Rudolf Mirbt, Munich 1988 (from: Hans Sachsens selected works. , Leipzig 1923).
  • Hans Sachs: master songs, proverbs, carnival games. Edited by Hartmut Kugler, Reclam, Stuttgart 2002.
  • Mardi Gras games of the 15th and 16th centuries. Edited by Dieter Wuttke, Reclam, Stuttgart 2006 7 , pp. 131-261.
  • Hans Sachs, Jost Amman: The status book. Edited by Hans Blosen, Perærentzen and Harald Pors. 2 volumes. Aarhus 2009.

Artistic works about Hans Sachs


Special postage stamp for the 500th birthday


The Hans Sachs Festival was held in Nuremberg in 1894 and a commemorative sheet was designed as a color lithograph by the architect and painter Carl Hammer (1845–1897).

Sachs is the namesake of the Hans Sachs House , the town hall and town hall of Gelsenkirchen . Schools in Nuremberg ( Hans-Sachs-Gymnasium ), Oberhausen , Winterbach in Bavaria, Cologne, Schwaz (Austria) and previously also in Berlin (Hans-Sachs-Oberschule) bear his name, as well as several streets in Germany and Austria.

The Hans Sachs Prize was a literature prize awarded twice by the city of Nuremberg in the 1970s . After that, cuts in the culture budget prevented further awards. The two prizewinners were Fitzgerald Kusz for the one-act Feich in 1975 and Franz Hohler for short plays in 1976 .


All the fables and rascals. 1 (1893)

Historical research

  • Salomon Ranisch: Historically critical biography of Hanns Saxony's formerly famous master singer in Nuremberg , Altenburg 1765 online
  • Johann Heinrich Haesslein : Hanns Saxony's very wonderful, beautiful and true poem, fables and good Schwenck . In an excerpt from the 1st book with added word explanations by Johann Heinrich Hässlein. Raspe, Nuremberg 1791, XXIV, 415 pp.
  • Wolfgang Adolf Gerle: Histories and good cocks of the master: Hanns Sachs . Edited by Konrad Spät called Frühauf (d. I. Wolfgang Adolf Gerle). KA Hartleben, Pesth 1818, VI, 208 pp.
  • The folk poets Hans Sachs and Johann Konrad Grübel considered in connection with the historical development of German poetry . In celebration of Grübel's 100th birthday, June 3, 1836. Riegel and Wiessner, Nuremberg 1836, 51 pp.
  • A. Bomback: Hans Sachs as a dramatic poet . Rottweil, grammar school and secondary school, invitation to the birthday party for Wilhelm I and to the public exams. Uhl, Rottweil 1847, 30 pp.
  • Johann Leonhard Hoffmann: Hans Sachs. His life and work proven from his poetry . Bauer and Raspe (Julius Merz), Nuremberg 1847. Digitalized MDZ
  • Edmund Goetze: Hans Sachs . Buchnersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Bamberg 1890. Digitized MDZ
  • Ernst Mummenhoff : Hans Sachs. On the 400th anniversary of the poet's birth , Nuremberg 1894, 141 pp.
  • Emil Weller : The folk poet Hans Sachs and his poems. A bibliography . Jacob Sichling, Nuremberg 1868.
  • Hanns Holzschuher: Hans Sachs in his meaning for our time. In: Die Literatur Bd. 31 ed. Georg Brandes, Marquardt (ca.1900).

Current research

  • Eckard Bernstein: Hans Sachs with self-testimonies and photo documents. Reinbek near Hamburg 1993, ISBN 3-499-50428-6 .
  • Gabi Posniak (ed.): Hans Sachs, the shoemaker: 1494–1576. Special exhibition September 18–31. December 1994, German Leather Museum, German Shoe Museum, Offenbach am Main 1994.
  • Wilhelm Richard Berger : Hans Sachs: Shoemaker and Poet. Frankfurt am Main 1994.
  • Eli Sobel: Luther and Hans Sachs. In: Gerhard Dünnhaupt (Hrsg.): The Martin Luther Quincentennial. Detroit 1985, pp. 129-141.
  • History for All e. V. (Ed.): Hans Sachs and Nürnberg. A city tour for the 500th birthday in 1994. Nuremberg 1994.


Web links

Commons : Hans Sachs  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Hans Sachs  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Tauber: The vocabulary of Hans Sachs - Volume 1 - Investigations . Walter de Gruyter, 1983, ISBN 3-11-009554-8 , pp. 1-2.
  2. Die Wittembergisch nachtigal, which you can hear everywhere at zeno.org
  3. Ursula Schulze: Jost Amman. The Book of Status. Cologne 2006, pp. 248/249.
  4. Karl Aichele and Bernhard Binkowski (eds.): Our song book. Upper School Band. Music studies with examples. Metzler, Stuttgart 1958, p. 31.
  5. Zwickau and the surrounding area: Deutschland-Bildheft No. 186. Universum Verlagsanstalt, Berlin 1936.
  6. ^ Hans Sachs: Works. Edited by Adelbert von Keller (from vol. 13: and Edmund Goetze). 26 volumes. Tübingen 1870–1909 (= library of the Litterarian Society in Stuttgart ).
  7. Benny Dressel, Head of Security / Development, communication from the Zwickau City Archives from February 28, 2011.
  8. ^ Wilhelm Richard Berger (ed.): Hans Sachs . Schumacher and Poet . Sociäts-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1994, ISBN 3-7973-0577-X .
  9. Richard von Kralik: General history of the modern time from 1815 to the present. Fifth volume: 1900 to 1913. 1922, p. 768.
  10. ^ Lithograph ( Memento from December 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 9, 2012
  11. ^ Reprint Sendet, Wiesbaden 1966