Hermann Iseke

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Hermann Iseke as military pastor of the "East Asia Expedition"
Hermann Iseke
Grave of Hermann Iseke (left) in Holungen
Memorial stone for Iseke on the Sonnenstein near Holungen
Hermann Iseke monument near Sonnenstein.

Hermann Iseke (born March 9, 1856 in Holungen , † January 14, 1907 in Kalkfontein , German South West Africa ) was one of the most important poets of the Eichsfeldes and is the creator of the Eichsfeldlied , the unofficial hymn of the Eichsfeld. In addition to his romantic homeland poems, the doctor of law and military chaplain published numerous, mostly edifying writings.


Hermann Iseke received his first Latin lessons from the then chaplain Andreas Raabe in Holungen, a well-known linguist. From 1867 to 1873 he attended grammar schools in Heiligenstadt and Mühlhausen , where he successfully passed the Abitur examination in 1874 . He then studied law at the universities of Würzburg (1874), Leipzig (1874-75), Göttingen (1876-78) and Greifswald (1878). Here he completed the first state examination, doctorate in 1879 in Jena to the Dr. jur. and worked as a trainee lawyer in Duderstadt and Künzelsau . During this time he was looking for a new way of life, went to Münster and studied philosophy and German literature there (1879 - 1880).

In 1880 he decided to become a priest and studied theology in Freiburg , Breslau and Münster . Iseke was an enthusiastic member of the Cartel Association of Catholic German Student Associations (KV) and an active member of a KV association at each of his study locations ; the Walhalla in Würzburg, the Teutonia in Leipzig, the Normannia in Greifswald, the Winfridia in Göttingen, the Germania in Münster, the Brisgovia in Freiburg and the Unitas in Breslau. Several KV connections owe Iseke their federal songs. Iseke also published numerous articles in the KV's Academic Monthly Journal. A memorial today commemorates him in the garden of the Winfridia student union in Göttingen.

In the middle of the Kulturkampf , Iseke was ordained a priest on July 15, 1883 in Eichstätt, Bavaria . He then worked as a chaplain for a year in Dingelstädt and for a further eight years (1884 - 1892) as a pastor in waxedt . There he used his poetic skills for a good cause, writing serious and cheerful begging letters in verse and mailing them in thousands. The money raised was used for churches, hospitals and monasteries as well as for the education of young people.

In 1892 he signed up for military welfare and initially worked as a military pastor in Metz and Hanover . In 1897 he was called to Mulhouse in Alsace and was already considering a return to Eichsfeld. When he heard about the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion in the summer of 1900 , however, he signed up for the German expeditionary corps and was the only Catholic military pastor to take part in the so-called "East Asia Expedition" to the German Empire . He then visited the western states of North America (1900 - 1902) and after his return worked again as a military pastor in Kassel and Saarbrücken .

In 1905 he went to Keetmanshoop in German South West Africa, today's Namibia , as a chaplain to the German Schutztruppe . Hermann Iseke died of malaria on January 14, 1907 in the field hospital in Kalkfontein and was buried there. On June 20, he was exhumed, transferred to Germany and reburied in the Holungen cemetery with great sympathy from the population. In order to avoid doubts, the coffin was opened before the burial and the deceased was "well recognized", reported the Eichsfelder Tageblatt on July 24, 1907.

Poetic work

In parallel to his work as a priest and pastor, Iseke worked as a poet. In addition to the "Eichsfelder Sang", which became the Eichsfeld's unofficial hymn as the " Eichsfeldlied ", he published other homely and edifying works, using the pseudonyms "Bernardus Americanus", "Emanuel Bimstein" and "Heinrich Pechpflaster", among others. He wrote, among other things, a romantic verse epic about the Eichsfeld, a rhyming story of the Augustinian canon Thomas von Kempen and a story also written in verse about the life of St. Elisabeth .


A memorial stone was erected in his place of birth in Holungen and the local history association bears his name. The city of Heiligenstadt named a street after him. In November 2006, the former Clara Zetkin School was renamed Bischofferode and is now called Isekes.


Some of his works have been published under a pseudonym.

  • Hermann Iseke: The godly Thomas von Kempen following Christ in German rhymes. Heiligenstadt 1893.
  • Heinrich Pechpflaster: A Scholar and Warrior . Heiligenstadt 1894.
  • Hermann Iseke: The godly Thomas von Kempen Rosengärtlein and Lilienthal in German verse. Heiligenstadt 1895.
  • Hermann Iseke: The dear holy Elisabeth of Thuringia godly life and suffering. A rhyming story. Heiligenstadt 1895.
  • Emanuel Bimstein: Gottfried the student. A moral academic epic. Leipzig 1895, Reprint Heiligenstadt [1996].
  • Bernardus Americanus: From Eichsfeld's prehistory in history and legend. Heiligenstadt 1897, new edition Heiligenstadt 2007.


  1. Who is really lying in the cool grave at Holungen? Local historian rejects assumptions about the mix-up of the remains of Hermann Iseke.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Eichsfelder Tageblatt of September 19, 2007@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.kurth-bremen.de  


  • Georg H. Daub: Hermann Iseke, his life and his works. Using his estate. Cordier, Heiligenstadt 1920.
  • K. Hartung: Hermann Iseke. In: Festival book for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Eichsfelder Landsmannschaft. Düsseldorf 1956.
  • Karl Hoeber: Hermann Iseke. In: Central German Life Pictures. Volume 2, Life Pictures of the 19th Century, Magdeburg 1927, pp. 462–468.
  • Josef Keppler: "Didn't you see my Eichsfeld ..." Hermann Iseke's "Eichsfelder Sang". In: Eichsfeld-Jahrbuch 14 (2006), pp. 179–201.
  • Siegfried Koß, Wolfgang Löhr (Hrsg.): Biographical Lexicon of KV. 1st part (= Revocatio historiae. Volume 2). SH-Verlag, Schernfeld 1991, ISBN 3-923621-55-8 , p. 52 ff.
  • Bernhard Sacrificial Man : Designing the Eichsfeld. A biographical lexicon. 2nd expanded and revised edition, Verlag FW Cordier, Heiligenstadt 1999, p. 174, ISBN 3-929413-37-X .

Web links

Commons : Hermann Iseke  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files