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He was born the son of the caretaker of the Colmar town hall and joined the French army in 1788. Rapp distinguished himself during the Revolutionary Wars in Egypt and Germany and made a steep career due to his bravery and straightforwardness. Initially a simple soldier, after his outstanding performance in the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805 he rose to the rank of Général de division and Adjutant to Napoleon Bonaparte . In 1809 he was raised to the rank of count as "Jean Comte de Rapp".
As governor of Gdansk , he defended the city for almost a year after Napoleon's troops withdrew from Russia . After surrendering at the end of November 1813, he was taken to Russia as a prisoner and did not return to Paris until July 1814.
After Napoleon's return from exile on Elba , he supported the emperor during the Hundred Days . During the restoration, however, Rapp offered his services to the French royal family and became treasurer of King Louis XVIII.
He died on November 8, 1821 in Rheinweiler (today part of the Bad Bellingen community ) in Baden - where he had settled in 1817 - of stomach cancer. His hometown Colmar had a monument erected on the Champ de Mars in 1856 . The inscription reads “Ma parole est sacrée” (My word of honor is sacred).
Rapp's heart is kept in a shrine in the Colmar church of Saint-Matthieu (formerly Franciscan church).
In 1805 Napoleon Bonaparte arranged Rapp's marriage to the eldest daughter of Ignace-Joseph Vanlerberghe , Josepha Barbe Rosalie. However, this marriage was not happy and lasted only from March 28, 1805 to July 1, 1811, the couple divorced childless.
The relationship with his Danzig lover, Juliane Böttcher, had two children:
- Adèle Julie Jeanne von Rapp (1812–1880) ∞ Eduard Anselm von Rotberg , Bavarian lieutenant general
- Jean (Hans) Böttcher-Rapp (1814–1846), killed as a French officer in Djidjelli , Algeria
Rapp married Albertine Charlotte Freifrau von Rotberg on January 22, 1816 (* September 2, 1797, † June 1, 1842) with whom he had two children. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dedicated two poems to Countess Rapp. Albertine married Georg Drummond the 14th Earl of Perth on May 19, 1831 .
Children from the marriage with Albertine von Rotberg:
- Maximilian Karl (1816–1828)
- Emilie Mélanie Mathilde (1817–1899) ∞ Adrian John Hope (English banker)
His name is entered on the triumphal arch in Paris in the 14th column. In 1813 he received the Grand Cross of the Ordre de la Réunion . On August 29, 1814, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor . In 1821 he became Commandeur des Ordre royal et militaire de Saint-Louis .
Fort Rapp is originally called the Fort des Hautes Perches in Belfort, which was built between 1874 and 1877 and later colloquially known .
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- The memoirs of General Rapp's adjutant to Napoleon I. Written by himself . Transferred from Oskar Marschall von Bieberstein. Verlag Schmidt and Günther, Leipzig 1902 English version in the internet archive
- Fritz Schülin: Napoleon's General Count J. Rapp and his family ties to the family of the Barons von Rotberg in Rheinweiler. in: The Markgräflerland. Issue 1/2 1977, pp. 79–102 Digitized version of the Freiburg University Library
- Andreas Fankhauser: Rapp, Jean. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Discover image on regional studies online - leobw
- Entry on geneanet.org
- parents of the Bavarians. Rotberg-Rheinweiler line, family tree online
- September 6, 1846 
- Sister of General Eduard von Rotberg
- A six-line on the occasion of a trip (July 1827, online in the Internet Archive ) and a four-line on the death of the son (May 1828, online in the Internet Archive )
- The godparents were King Maximilian I of Bavaria and Grand Duke Karl von Baden
- appointment online
- Extract from the list of members online
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||French lieutenant general, adjutant to Napoléon Bonaparte|
|DATE OF BIRTH||April 27, 1771|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Colmar|
|DATE OF DEATH||November 8, 1821|
|Place of death||Rheinweiler|