Hugo Treffner

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Portrait of Treffner, oil painting by Johann Köler , 1886
Hugo Hermann Fürchtegott Treffner

Hugo Hermann Fürchtegott Treffner (born July 17, 1845 in Kanepi , † March 13, 1912 in Tartu ) was an Estonian publicist and educator. He was the founder of the renowned Hugo-Treffner-Gymnasium in Tartu (German Dorpat ).


Hugo Treffner was born as the son of the sexton Ludwig Treffner. At first he received home lessons before attending the grammar school in Tartu and the boys' school in Võru . He passed his Abitur as an external student. From 1868 to 1872 he studied philology and from 1872 to 1880 theology at the University of Tartu . He also worked as a private tutor.


Treffner strongly supported the awakening Estonian national consciousness. This is probably why he did not succeed in finding a pastor's position after graduating from university. In 1882 he therefore applied for the establishment of a private school, which was granted by the tsarist authorities the following year. On January 1, 1884, the later Hugo-Treffner-Gymnasium in Tartu started its work, of which he remained director until his death. He also taught religion at a girls' high school in Tartu.


In addition to his educational commitment, Hugo Treffner was strongly committed to promoting one's own Estonian identity and self-confidence. In 1875 he became chairman of the “ Association of Estonian Students ”, which he co-founded in 1870 (Estonian: Eesti Üliõpilaste Selts ). He was one of the organizers of Estonian song festivals . From 1886 to 1891 he was editor and co-editor of the Estonian magazine Oma Maa , in 1887 of the magazine Linda and in 1887/88 co-owner of the newspaper Postimees . As a well-known publicist, he was one of the most outstanding representatives of the Estonian national consciousness.

Elsa Ermas

From 1888, Treffner was married to Elsa Ermas, who took over the management of the Hugo-Treffner-Gymnasium after his death in 1912.

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