Heinrich II. (Reuss-Gera)

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Heinrich II. Reuss

Heinrich (II.) Posthumus Reuss (younger line) (* June 10, 1572 in Gera ; † December 3, July / December 13,  1635 greg. Ibid) was Herr zu Gera, Herr zu Lobenstein and Herr zu Ober-Kranichfeld .


Heinrich (II.) Was the only and later born - hence " Posthumus " - son of Heinrich XVI. ((I.)) Reuss zu Gera (1530–1572), the founder of the younger Reuss line , and his second wife, Countess Dorothea von Solms-Sonnenwalde (1547–1595).

Heinrich strove successfully in his country to promote the economy and the school system. In 1608 he founded the Rutheneum grammar school in Gera. Against the advice of his Lutheran theologians, he brought Calvinist religious refugees from Flanders into the country and settled them in his residence in Gera. This led to an upswing in wool production and an initial economic boom. During his reign, Gera also developed into a cultural center of the Russian territories. Heinrich was the councilor of three emperors and a frequent guest at the courts in Vienna and Dresden.

Funeral and memorial

Title page of the Musicalische Exequien

Heinrich Posthumus was buried in the Reussen crypt under the old Johanniskirche in Gera.

Heinrich Schütz composed the Musical Exequies for his funeral on February 4, 1636 . During his lifetime, the prince had written down biblical texts and chorale verses from the Reformation period, with which his coffin was inscribed. These became the basis of the first part of the exequies. The copper sarcophagus that has been handed down, the coffin of Heinrich Posthumus Reuss, is one of the first, if not the first of its kind, an outstanding testimony to early modern burial culture and a national cultural monument of European standing.

Monument in Gera, erected in 1863, destroyed in 1958

In 1863 a monument to Heinrich Posthumus with a larger than life statue was erected on Johannisplatz in Gera. It was eliminated in 1958 by the SED administration against the will of the population.

In 1922 the coffins of the Reussians from the original crypt on the Geraer Johannisplatz were reburied in available depots in the Geraer St. Salvator Church . In 1995 the sarcophagus of Heinrich Posthumus was recovered from the Salvator Church for conservation reasons and transferred to the new St. John's Church in Gera. In 2007, the entire set of Reuss sarcophagi was again moved to the old celebration hall of the East Cemetery in Gera for conservation reasons. This interim solution, which has not yet been clarified in perspective, means that this unique baroque testimony in its historical and musical historical significance is not accessible to the public.

The importance of the sarcophagus was recognized in solo exhibitions: it welcomed visitors as a showpiece in the entrance hall during the 2004 Thuringian State Exhibition at Sondershausen Castle. Then it was temporarily exhibited in the Heinrich Schütz House in Bad Köstritz, the birthplace of Heinrich Schütz and the neighboring town of Gera. Finally, in 2010 and 2011, it was presented as part of the exhibition With Fried and Freud I go there. Protestant burial culture of the early modern times shown in the Museum for Sepulchral Culture in Kassel and in the City Museum Gera .

Recently there are plans to uncover the crypt again, to re-erect Heinrich's and nine other Reuss sarcophagi there and to make the place accessible to the public. The excavation work began in August 2017.

Marriages and offspring

Heinrich (II.) Was married twice. First in 1594 with Magdalena (1572–1596), daughter of Count Wolfgang von Hohenlohe-Weikersheim-Langenburg, with whom he had a daughter:

  • Dorothea Magdalene (1595–1640), married Burgrave Georg von Kirchberg in 1620

In his second marriage in 1597 he married Magdalene (1580–1652), daughter of Count Albrecht VII of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt , with whom he had the following 17 children:

  • Juliane Marie (1598–1650), married Count David von Mansfeld-Schraplau in 1614
  • Heinrich I (* / † 1599)
  • Agnes (1600–1642), married Count Ernst Ludwig von Mansfeld-Heldrungen in 1627
  • Elisabeth Magdalene (1601–1641)
  • Heinrich II. (1602–1670), Lord of Gera and Saalburg
  • Henry III. (1603-1640)
  • Henry IV (1604–1628)
  • Heinrich V (* / † 1606)
  • Henry VI. (* / † 1606)
  • Sophie Hedwig (1608-1653)
  • Dorothea Sibylle (1609–1631), married Christian Freiherr Schenk von Tautenburg in 1627 († August 3, 1640)
  • Henry VII (1610-1611)
  • Henry VIII (* / † 1613)
  • Anna Katharina (1615–1682)
  • Henry IX. (1616–1666), Lord of Schleiz
  • Ernestine (1618–1650), married Otto Albrecht von Schönburg-Hartenstein in 1639
  • Heinrich X. (1621–1671), Lord of Lobenstein and Ebersdorf


A Gera tram locomotive has been named in his honor since 2008 .

See also


  • Literature by and about Heinrich II in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Ferdinand Hahn:  Heinrich the Younger Postumus . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, pp. 579-583.
  • Heike Karg (ed.): The memory of the deaths of Heinrich Posthumus Reuss (1572-1635). Conception of his corpse trial. File volume Cb No. 4 in the holdings of the Gera Community Government of the Thuringian State Archives in Greiz (= research and memorial site Heinrich Schütz House Bad Köstritz. Special series of monographs. Vol. 5). (Transcription / critical report). Quartus-Verlag, Jena 1997, ISBN 3-931505-28-6 .
  • Hagen Enke: Dissertationis de Henrici Posthumi Rutheni vita et regno historicae commentatio. Preparatory considerations for a monograph on the life and reign of Heinrich Posthumus Reuss (1572 / 95–1635). In: Yearbook of the Reichenfels-Hohenleuben Museum. Issue 44 ZDB -ID 507686-9 = 159th annual report of the Vogtland antiquity research association in Hohenleuben eV, 2000, pp. 17–34.
  • Hagen Enke: Heinrich Posthumus Reuss (1572 / 95–1635) and the Fruitful Society. In: Klaus Manger (Hrsg.): Die Fruchtbringer - a Teutschhertzige society (= Jena German Research. NF Vol. 10). Winter, Heidelberg 2001, ISBN 3-8253-1148-1 , pp. 39-60.
  • Thomas Gehrlein: The Reuss House. Older and younger line (= German Princely Houses. Vol. 19). 2nd, revised edition. Börde-Verlag, Werl 2006, ISBN 3-9810315-3-9 .
  • Heike Karg: The funeral of Heinrich Posthumus Reuss 1636. A high point of the Protestant funus (= Kassel studies on Sepulchral Culture. Vol. 17). Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal, Kassel 2010, ISBN 978-3-924447-46-5 (also: Jena, University, dissertation, 2009).

Web links

Commons : Heinrich Posthumus Reuß  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Breig : Heinrich Schütz '"Musical Exequien": reflections on the history of the work and the textual-musical conception . In: Schütz-Jahrbuch 11, 1989, pp. 53-68
  2. gera-chronik.de
  3. Reussen crypt in Gera should be returned to its historical location (welt.de, August 29, 2017)