Heinrich Bischoff (Germanist)

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Heinrich Bischoff (born June 17, 1867 in Montzen , † June 24, 1940 in Aachen ) was a Belgian German scholar and literary critic .

Live and act

Although Heinrich Bischoff was born and raised in the French-speaking area of ​​Belgium, the son of Johann Bischoff and Josefine Coenen was primarily raised in German at home. After leaving school, he studied German at the University of Liège , where he was influenced by the historian Godefroid Kurth , who taught there and who founded the "Association for the Care and Improvement of the German Mother Tongue in German-speaking Belgium" in Arlon in 1893 .

Then from 1887 to 1895, Bischoff taught language and literature for prospective high school teachers at the École Normale Supérieure and at the University of Liège and at the municipal high school in Nivelles . In 1895 he was taken on as associate professor and from 1905 as full professor of German language and literature at the University of Liège and retired in 1920 for health reasons.

Outside of his official teaching activities, Bischoff continued to support the dissemination and maintenance of the German language outside the German-speaking areas of Ostbelgien in the spirit of Godefroid Kurth and had the goal of reviving it in the districts of Verviers , Bastogne and the Areler Land , among others . To this end, in 1905 he founded the “German Association for the Province of Liège” with its headquarters in Montzen and the Schiller Society in Liège.

After the First World War , when the Eupen and Malmedy districts had been assigned to the state of Belgium according to the Versailles Treaty and later groups such as the Heimattreue Front (Heimattreueue Front) developed out of protest from the association of the "Neighboring Greed" , which sought to reintegrate into the German Reich , With his commitment to the German language, Bischoff met with increasing criticism, especially from the "Altbelgiern". In particular, his demand to reintroduce German as the main language in school lessons outside the German-speaking cantons of East Belgium both in the old Belgian and Luxembourgish communities with former German influence, caused for example in the communities Gemmenich , Plombieres , Welkenraedt , Baelen and Areler Land and many other communities faced considerable resistance, and Bischoff was placed under the control of having open sympathy for the German Reich. This opinion was also strengthened when Bischoff, together with the socialist MP Marc Somerhausen (1899–1992) and the pastor Frédéric Schaul, founded the “Bund der Deutsch-Belgier” in the Luxembourg community of Tüntingen in 1931 , which was the successor organization to the First World War The dissolved "Association for the maintenance and uplifting of the German mother tongue in German-speaking Belgium" was intended by its teacher and mentor Godefroid Kurth and should counteract the decline of "Germanness". However, since the population in these communities was firmly established in their Belgian-national attitude and was in a certain way deterred by the incipient nationalist currents in Germany, the federation founded by Bischoff met with increasing unacceptance as early as 1933 and later became meaningless.

In Germany, Bischoff was honored in 1938 for his commitment to the German language with the Joseph von Görres Prize of the FVS Foundation by the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn . Two years later he died in Aachen and was buried in the forest cemetery there. In memory of him, a street was later named after him at his last Belgian residence in the Hauset district .

Fonts (selection)

Bischoff published several publications that documented his commitment to the German language, including:

  • Ludwig Tieck as dramaturge , 1897 ISBN 978-3743342767
  • Das deutsche Volkslied , Verlag Alphonse Willems, Aubel, 1898
  • The German language poetry , Verlag Alphonse Willems, Aubel, 1900
  • Heinrich Hansjakob , Verlag Alfons Siffer, Gent, 1901 ISBN 978-1168377043
  • Richard Bredenbrücker, the South Tyrolean village poet . A literary study, Alfons Siffer Verlag, Ghent, 1902.
  • Our third national language, its history and its rights , Ghent, 1907
  • Nikolaus Lenau , Poems , Strecker and Schröder, Stuttgart, 1924
  • The German language in Belgium. Your history and your rights , Esch & Cie, Eupen, 1931
  • History of ethnic Germans in Belgium , Ed. Georg Scherdin, Heimat-Verlag, Aachen, 1941


  • Heinz Warny: Heinrich Bischoff - and the Bund der Deutschbelgier . In: Lebensbilder aus Ostbelgien , Volume 2, Grenz-Echo Verlag, Eupen 2019, pp. 25-26 ISBN 978-3-86712-146-0
  • Lutz Hagestedt: Das Deutsche Literaturlexikon , Walter de Gruyther, 2011, p. 702 ( digitized )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Honoring an old German Belgian scholar , in: St. Vither Volkszeitung of February 8, 1939