Johann Hinrich Wichern

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Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808–1881)
Johann Hinrich Wichern 1858, lithograph by Otto Speckter

Johann Hinrich Wichern (born April 21, 1808 in Hamburg ; † April 7, 1881 there ) was a German theologian , social pedagogue and prison reformer. He founded the Rauhe Haus in Hamburg and is considered to be the founder of the Evangelical Church's Inner Mission , one of the fathers of the German rescue house movement and the inventor of the Advent wreath .


Childhood, school

Johann Hinrich Wichern was the oldest child of eight children in a middle-class Christian family who lived in simple circumstances. His father had worked his way up from being a carter to being a sworn translator ( notary ). Wichern shared a love of music with his father. His mother, Caroline Maria Elisabeth b. Wittstock, also came from Hamburg and is described as energetic, practical and pious. Johann Hinrich Wichern attended a private school that taught according to Pestalozzi's pedagogy . In 1818 he moved to the Johanneum , a long-standing grammar school that had been founded in the 16th century by Johannes Bugenhagen , Martin Luther's comrade and reformer of northern Germany. When his father died in 1823, he had to take care of the family's livelihood by giving tutoring and piano lessons. In 1826 he left the Johanneum before graduating from high school and became an educator at a private boarding school.

He began to write a diary in which he describes the beginning of his spiritual life (1824). Accordingly, his confirmation class resulted in a conversion experience: “The breakthrough came in the evening when God's Spirit began to give birth to me again. The light of the Gospel also enlightened the sciences for me ... I made progress in everything. ”In addition, in 1826 there was an encounter with Johannes Claudius , the son of the poet Matthias Claudius , through which he came to the realization“ that we are one God who loves us unspeakably and wants to sanctify ”. In addition, he attended lectures at the Academic Gymnasium and made up for his Abitur. As a classmate there, he met one of his later colleagues for the interests of the Inner Mission, Clemens Theodor Perthes .


A scholarship, financed by friends from the awakening circles of Hamburg - Martin Hieronymus Hudtwalcker in the forefront - and an annual pension from Amalie Sieveking enabled Wichern to study theology in 1828 . First he attended the University of Göttingen , then he moved to Berlin .

During his time in Berlin he was particularly drawn to the depth of the revival theologian August Neander . Like Wichern, he had visited the Johanneum in Hamburg. Wichern joined the group of employees of Hans Ernst von Kottwitz , who took care of the poor in the city out of an aroused, determined piety of Christ, for example in the employment institution in the barracks on Alexanderplatz .

In Berlin he also met the Jewish, later Catholic doctor Nikolaus Heinrich Julius , who had written a paper on reforms in the prison system. Among the famous preachers in Berlin, Johannes Evangelista Goßner particularly impressed him because of the resoluteness of his preaching.

In 1832 he finished his studies with the theological exam.

Teaching, national missionary and social engagement

In 1832 Johann Hinrich Wichern took over a position as senior teacher at the Sunday school initiated by Johann Gerhard Oncken and the Evangelical Lutheran pastor Johann Wilhelm Rautenberg in the Evangelical parish of St. Georg ; of Saint George , just outside the city of Hamburg was a slum: here you had banished medieval plague victims and lepers, here stood the gallows. Wichern joined a visiting club that visited the parents of Sunday school children at home. Through this work Wichern got to know the screaming poverty, the housing shortage, the intellectual and moral neglect in Hamburg. He drew up reports in which he noted the family and health conditions of the children in the accounts books. In the Hamburg suburb of Horn , after a year, he founded an institution "for the rescue of neglected and difficult to raise children". He also described learning to read as the way to salvation.

The founding meeting took place in the stock exchange hall on September 12, 1833. The Hamburg lawyer Karl Sieveking , a relative of Amalie Sieveking , had given him a cottage, “Ruge's house”, along with the property. The vernacular made the “ Rauhe Haus ” out of “Ruge's house ”. On October 31, Wichern moved into the Rauhe Haus with his mother and sister. By November 12th, 6,500 marks had been raised. By the end of 1833, Wichern had accepted twelve boys into the house community. The number of boys grew, so new buildings had to be built. Together with his mentor, the Pöseldorfer headmaster Johann Ludwig Emanuel Pluns, he published the “Bergedorfer Bote”.

From 1835 girls were also accepted.

The children lived together in family-like structures, ten to twelve children each with a supervisor called “brother”. Wichern trained the brothers intensively from 1839 in an "assistant institute". Wichern was highlighted as one of the renewers of the New Testament deacon office , which the Geneva reformer Johannes Calvin had already rediscovered and established as an ecclesiastical office with equal rights alongside the office of pastors, teachers and elders (presbyters) in the practice of the "Church reformed according to God's word" . Wichern referred to "Jesus Christ as the first inner missionary". The true Christology is the way "down".

The men trained by Wichern also became teachers of the poor and elementary school or social workers.

In addition to the existing buildings, Wichern later also built workshops, namely a spinning mill, a shoemaker's shop and a farm, and a prayer room . In 1842 a printing press was set up to produce the Flying Leaves , in which the concerns of the Inner Mission were disseminated. In the Rauhen Haus also hung the Wichernkranz , the first Advent wreath that Wichern is considered to have invented.

His first employee, Amanda Böhme (1810–1888), daughter of a fire insurance director and descendant of Jakob Boehme , became his wife in 1835. The marriage resulted in nine children. Amanda Wichern's independence alongside Johann Hinrich and the couple biographical side of Wichern's organizational performance was not examined for a long time; Instead of the usual marginal notes, a look at surviving correspondence has only recently begun to look at them and other women who shape the welfare state and socio-educational (not only) “at the side of their husbands”.

Since 1842, the term “inner mission” has been used more and more often in Wichern's writings and letters. In addition to his own work in the Rauhe Haus, Wichern wanted to stimulate “works of saving love” throughout Germany. He saw in the revolution of 1848 the consequence of social misery, the failure of church preaching and pastoral care. However, he distanced himself from Karl Marx's thesis that circumstances (the order of exploitation) alone were mainly responsible for all misery.

On September 22, 1848, Wichern gave a keynote speech on the establishment of the "Central Committee for the Inner Mission of the German Evangelical Church", which was constituted on November 11, 1848, at the first Protestant Kirchentag 1848 in Wittenberg, a meeting to unite the regional churches. it is the forerunner organization of today's diaconal work . In the period that followed, “Associations for Inner Mission” were established in all regions of the German Protestant churches.

Also in 1848, Wichern founded the first German city mission in Hamburg, inspired by the city ​​missions in Glasgow and London. What the “Inner Mission” was for Wichern in general, he called “ City Mission ” in Hamburg .

In 1849 Wichern devoted himself exclusively to traveling to promote the "Inner Mission". In 1851 he received a doctorate in theology from the University of Halle . By 1855, over 100 rescue houses had been built in Germany .

For Wichern, belief in God and charity , mission and diakonia, renewal of the church and renewal of social conditions belong together. The word of God , the gospel of Jesus Christ, the call to faith were for him the source of strength and the salvation of men. It was important to him to proclaim the words freely in a popular missionary manner. He worked for a Protestant church in which, in the sense of the biblical “ general priesthood ” of the faithful, hearers of the word also become preachers and doers of the word, so that even inaction in the face of the misery of the poor is transformed into active help. Christianity should once again become a formative force in families, schools and companies. Wichern demanded an ecclesiastical proclamation that not only conveys right doctrine (Lutheran or Reformed) but is also a witness of faith. In addition to being scientifically trained, preachers should also be baptized "with spirit and fire." To this end, more and more predicants (“lay preachers”) should be trained and called. He also thought of the use of evangelists in places outside church buildings, in streets and squares, in barns and theaters. He criticized the fact that many capable people were sent to distant countries for “ mission to the Gentiles ”, while missionary work and evangelism were also necessary in German countries .

Wichern criticized the prevailing practice of confirmation : he named the “religious neglect of most parental homes”, the insincerity of the vows, the lack of interest in joining the communion of the Christian community; he saw and said that confirmation is viewed by most adolescents and their parents as the conclusion of childhood and the transition to unbound adulthood. He suggested receiving church instruction with a final “consecration”, but separating the public creed and vows as a prerequisite for admission to Holy Communion and reserving them for those who are serious about the Christian faith and life.

Wichern in the service of state and church

When the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV made a new attempt in the 1850s to reform the Prussian prison system in terms of solitary confinement , he turned to Wichern's help. Wichern had not only attracted the king's attention with the “Rauhen Haus” and the “Inner Mission”, but also explicitly addressed problems of the prison system in his Wittenberg speech. On behalf of the government, Wichern visited the Prussian prisons in 1852 and 1853 and, between 1854 and 1856, had significant influence on the reorganization of the Prussian model prison in Moabit , in which brothers from the "Rauhen Haus" were now mainly responsible for overseers. On January 11, 1857, he joined the Prussian civil service as a “lecturing council” with the department for the poor and prison system in the Ministry of the Interior. In the same year he was appointed as Oberkonsistorialrat member of the old Prussian Evangelical Supreme Ecclesiastical Council Berlin . In 1858 he founded the Johannesstift Brothers House, not least to train prison guards.

The employment of the “brother overseers” soon led to massive public attacks. Above all, the mixture of state and religious tasks and loyalties was criticized. In February 1861 Wichern gave up special supervision over Moabit, while the Prussian House of Representatives decided in 1862 to end the cooperation with the brotherhood. However, Wichern kept the leadership of the Prussian penal system of the Ministry of the Interior until 1873 strokes forced him to give up. He was officially dismissed from office on November 9, 1874.

During three wars, the German-Danish War , the German War and the German-French War , Wichern took care of the selection and training of field deacons . During the Franco-Prussian War, Johann Hinrich Wichern succeeded in ensuring that the exclusively male field deacons were allowed to wear the protection and identification symbol of the Red Cross for the first time .

Last years of Wicherns

Wichern's grave in the Old Hammer Cemetery ; in the background the mausoleum of the
Sieveking family
Commons : Wichern memorial stone from 1898 in Hamburg-Horn  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Despite his work in Berlin, Johann Hinrich Wichern never completely relinquished the management of the "Rauhen Haus" and returned to Hamburg in 1872. On April 1, 1873, due to illness, he handed over the management of the Rauhe Haus to his son Johannes . In 1874 he was released from civil service. A long period of suffering with weakness, pain and insomnia followed. On April 7, 1881, Wichern died in Hamburg-Hamm after several strokes and long suffering . He was buried in the Hammer Friedhof , which is now a historic place with graves of important socially committed Hamburg residents.

His final legacy was:

“When God has decided to take me home, you should know, my friends, that my only prayer is that I will be saved, that I will come to him and find peace in him. I have always confessed to him, but in great weakness. But he will forgive me my sins; all my hopes are based on this for the sake of his love and deeds of love, for the sake of his blood that has been shed for me. "

Wichern's image of man

Johann Hinrich Wichern saw man as a creature created by God . Every child is unique, so they are entitled to individual care and treatment. Humans have the ability to choose “good” or to live out their tendencies towards “bad”. Since the person was seen by Wichern as precisely this free personality, the children and young people were raised in freedom. According to Wichern, redemption for the “good” can only happen through Christian faith.

The educational concept at Johann Hinrich Wichern

The exact content and meaning of this “good” of the Christian faith, as Wichern understood it, becomes explicit when taking a closer look at his educational concept. Decisive for this is the theological development of Wichern, which was shaped by a " rebirth experience " that made him a convinced representative of the evangelical revival movement that was just gaining strength . This experience became a defining moment in his conception of upbringing and its content. Because Wichern was always concerned, and here he did not differ from August Hermann Francke , at least on the linguistic level , about breaking the godless self-will - the "corrupted nature", the "old Adam" - in the children and young people and making them one to bring new life.

From the first job after graduation, Wichern tried to get in touch with those wealthy families of the Hamburg upper class who could support him out of their Christian motivation. With their help, Wichern succeeded in founding the Rauhe Haus just one year later, in 1833, when he was now 25 years old. From the beginning it was in his interest to know that his institution was as independent as possible from government influences, i.e. from subsidies. So he was all the more able to remain true to his own convictions and to realize his concerns. In 1839 Wichern expanded the Rauhe Haus to include the "Brüderhaus" as a training center for the Ev. Association of the “Inner Mission”, thus also at the same time for the first, and one that still exists today, socio-educational training center in Germany.

Wichern and the people he wanted to care for

First and foremost, it was clear to Wichern, and this will be further documented below, that “internal ruin is also the cause of external ruin”. According to Wichern, the main cause of poverty was therefore the “increasing moral corruption of the people, which arises solely from the ruling irreligiousness, the contempt for true Christianity and ungodly unbelief”. Judging from his Christian, biblically based ideas of marriage and family, Wichern saw the broken family relationships of the proletariat as a cause of ruin.

“From these family relationships (the parents often have no household items) mostly emerges from the sex of the so-called neglected children, the number of which keeps increasing to several thousands. Here is the nursery school of the lazy proletariat, in whose dwelling the female prostitution is also her first care , the sum of all vices and irrepressible lust finds its rendezvous point and the numerous crimes its immediate preschool. "

Consequently, Wichern speaks of the "degeneration of the lower classes of the people". The explanatory approach for poverty at Wichern is therefore individualizing: the individual is responsible for what he makes of his situation. And on the other hand, moralizing: because even though being poor is not in itself a sin, it is morally reprehensible to behave completely immoral in this poverty. Wichern wanted to counter this immorality with his Rauhen Haus.

While Wichern made the individual responsible for the social question and wanted to mobilize his strength, the longer he saw the responsibility of politics. He emphatically demanded the "improvement of political legislation and the state's care for the social conditions of popular life as an essential prerequisite" for the successful work of the Inner Mission (1847). He called for the state to intervene in social conditions: "This is where the whole field of major political economic questions that relate to the intellectual and economic conditions of the population opens up". He called for an investigation into the causes of the mass shortage and proposals for eliminating the problems.

The individual elements of his educational concept

The greeting

Wichern said to every new child at the beginning:

“My child, everything is forgiven you. Look around you what kind of house you are housed in. Here is no wall, no ditch, no bolt, we only tie you here with a heavy chain, you may like it or not, you may tear it up if you can, this is called love and its measure is patience. That is what we offer you, and what we demand is at the same time what we want to help you to do, namely that you change your mind and from now on practice grateful love towards God and man! "

This welcoming sentence and the subsequent “cleaning of the boy”, which preceded the “necessary complete dressing”, is reminiscent of both a reception ritual in a monastery and a Christian baptism ritual and must be understood as an expression of Wichern's religious goals, who made his rebirth experience ( Death of the old and birth of a new identity) with his pupils hoped to share.

The novitiate

Individual development begins under “quarantine-like” conditions. All newcomers had to go through the novitiate first, isolated from everyone else. A facility in which Wichern could calmly take care of the pupil and his problems. A place for first anamnestic and diagnostic efforts. According to Wichern, the conditions of the novitiate were necessary in order, according to Wichern himself, to avoid “moral contagion”.

The family principle

The families were the center of the claim to promote individuality. This is made clear by the following quote, in which Wichern previously spoke of the need for small groups:

"If these smaller groups are not referred to in the house rules as school or moral classes or companies or as working groups, but rather families, then this is again based on the conviction that what is peculiar to the family, insofar as it can be reproduced at all, consists precisely in the fact that in it ... at the same time the individual and most individual life ... to its full rights and every single member of the family ... to the full rights of a most personal, loving, caring care of inner and outer life. "

A family group consisted of the educator, the so-called family head, and a maximum of twelve pupils. In total, no more than ten family groups and 120 pupils were accommodated in the Rauhe Haus. Only under these conditions could the particularly efficient control be established, which Wichern describes as follows:

"In such a smaller, easily and completely overlooked group of children, it must be possible, even if all efforts are made, to spread that individualizing love care evenly over all children in the house and, in particular, also over a newly admitted child that required, indispensably fine, to carry out tender guidance and supervision ”.

According to bourgeois family ideas, on which Wichern built his concept of upbringing, the separation of families from one another was very important to him. Therefore, the Rauhe Haus was not allowed to be a single large house, as was the case with a barracks or other welfare institutions of its time. Rather, Wichern wanted many small, simple houses:

“The individual houses are separated by small pleasure gardens, which are intended to make the children happy ... It is ... the greatest moral gain that has to grow out of this complex partly for the institution and partly for the individual children, not to hide the children (remain) now more in their natural relationships, and in this way the family consciousness can more easily be preserved in them and consistently ennobled in them again in purity ”.


In 1839, Wichern introduced a standardized supervisory report that contained 44 subsections to be completed by educators. Each subsection indicated the possibility of a particular disorder to be prevented. These data were suitable both to provide information about the specific group structure of each individual family or working group, as well as about the individual progress and regression of all pupils and educators with regard to the internalization of civic norms and values.

The weekly talk

This data, which was collected during the week, became an object of the so-called weekly talks, which are made compulsory for families. An educational dialogue took place here. The aim of these conversations was to transform the most incidental incidents and inconspicuous offenses as well as the most hidden intentions and most secret desires of the pupils into an informal pedagogical conversation, and thus bring them into the control and definition of the educator. Above all, in the weekly discussions in "Consideration of the internal moral status and course of families" under the direction of the head of the family:

“Everything that these 12 experienced among themselves, brought up. Important and unimportant, internal and external, experiences at work and in class, wishes and requests, present and future, hopes and fears. Experiences with one another and with adults are brought up here in a colorful series by the children themselves. Self-accusations, confessions, settlement of disputes, investigations into right and wrong bring to light everything that was previously hidden. The point of view of each individual becomes obvious by itself. "

If the job references of individual family members fell short of the requirements set, a control and discipline mechanism mediated by the forced competitive relationship became effective in the family groups of the Rauhe Haus. Wichern wrote about this:

“It is seen by the family as a great shame if one of its members belongs to the non-hardworking, and of the children who belong to a family, EVERYTHING is called up regardless of all the help of the assistants, and those who are only mediocre hardworking or even to induce the lazy to be diligent. They fear so much that the good name of their special family will be tainted by a lazy comrade that, for example, when a new boy from the novitiate is handed over to this family, the family will meet him with a warning and admonition to be diligent and hardworking . A porter, who was repeated by name, would very often have suffered punishment from the other family members for his laziness if adults had not intervened as mediators. And the fact that it has become a shame among our children not to want to work is certainly a result of the organization to be observed, and is all the more gratifying as it is definitely rooted in the mutual upbringing of the pupils; because the adults did not work in the least directly towards it. "

Mutual education

The hope that “primarily the mutual upbringing of the children will also be encouraged” was decisive for Wichern's interest in promoting the family relationship constellations of the small groups in the Rauhe Haus. It was Wichern's goal that “everything is supervised by everyone and everyone by everyone”.

Work education in the rough house

Work in the Rauhen Haus was as follows: in summer the daily working time was nine and a half hours and in winter six and a half hours. In addition, there were daily lesson times of two or three hours. The fact that the work took so much more time than the lesson was due not least to the fact that Wichern knew about the tiring and thus subversive forces function of work associated with competition and pressure to perform. He describes this circumstance as follows: “The work became the first diverter of the raw forces and led most of them to the fact that the raw, devastating forces were transformed into salutary ones.” For the goal was the production of “hardworking, honorable, loyal, skillful, quiet, conscientious workers for their daily bread "

There, in the presence of the pupils, a hard work grade was determined and recorded two to three times per day. The evaluation took place in the form of a slip of paper that was either not at all, torn once or twice, on which the name of the person assessed and the person giving the mark was noted. Once torn stood for hard-working, twice for mediocre and three times torn for sluggish. This measure was intended to avoid attempts at deception on the part of the pupils. This note had to be returned to the family, in which the situation described above then arose. The person who had lost his slip of paper did not get something to eat again "until he (or had) delivered what was lost, so that after no point it was possible to evade order". The success of these measures was inevitable, within ten months of 85 pupils 43084 such work references were issued. But these are no longer available.

On the relationship between discipline and individualization in Wichern's educational concept

With reference to Michel Foucault's understanding of discipline and against the background of a critical theory of society (cf. Karl Marx , Heinz Steinert ), Roland Anhorn noted in his dissertation a corresponding analysis of Wichern's educational work. Accordingly, this was a well-organized act that was able to reproduce the prevailing bourgeois relations “elegantly”. A similar discussion of the concept can be found in Ernst Köhler.

It was therefore Wichern's peculiarity to have made the needs of the individual pupil the fulcrum of his own discipline, i.e. to have made him useful for other purposes - based on insight and dialogue. Because of this ability, he can be described as one of the first modern social pedagogues. Modern in the sense that, in contrast to Francke in Halle, for example , he no longer relied on corporal punishment as the first means for the purpose of adapting to prevailing social conditions (without, however, completely excluding this), but instead on the pedagogical conversation (“weekly discussion “) And the insight of those to be educated. His concept stands at the interface of (also brutal) external discipline in Francke, for example, the self-discipline he demands, towards self-determination. All three, however, refer to the function required of the future citizen within the given conditions. As a functionary of these, he is master of his will. Wichern knew that too: "We forge our chains from the inside and disdain them if they are put on from the outside". Self-discipline instead of punches, with absolute adherence to the goals - that can therefore be considered Wichern's educational credo.

Numerous labels that degrade his clientele served Wichern as “legitimation for intervention” . Wichern described the children who should be entrusted to him. B. as follows: "The mass of children is the pole of the bad, the morally submerged, the rotten life in Christianity, the wild mass of sin, which is in need of salvation without having recognized it as necessary." He made clear statements about what he intended to do with these “rotten lives”, and in whose interest this was happening: “The institution seeks to promote the welfare of the state by reshaping those people who would have lived in it like cancer without this help to be without ever wanting to annoy him ”. In contrast to the usual practices of the time (sorting coffee, plucking horse hair ...) in other similar institutions, the children were offered training (mostly as farmers or in a craft), but the order itself, within which this happened, stood for Never wake up to debate. Rather, this has always been considered the necessary prerequisite for a successful “rebirth of children in Christ's name”. Wichern could therefore not allow possible contradictions on the part of the children, be it that they were referring to the ten-hour day, to being torn out of their previous social relationships, to the "fate" that was imminent for them as lower-class citizens .

The “freedom” and “beauty” in which his “cancer-like” pupils grew up due to his upbringing are put into perspective by such a background. Wichern is not just the creator of a more humane and friendly concept of upbringing. He is also a pioneer with regard to the invention of techniques still used in current pedagogy for a more subtle discipline of members of the younger generations.

Advent wreath by JH Wichern

Further authorship

  • Wichern is the founder of the Advent wreath custom (1839), initially with four white candles for the Advent Sundays and one red candle for each day in between.
  • Wichern founded a school in Hamburg, which was later named Wichern School .
The Mannheim pastoral ship Johann Hinrich Wichern


Wichern as namesake

Further honors

  • The 30-Pfennig postage stamp of the first set of welfare stamps issued in 1949 in the Federal Republic of Germany (as the prelude to the “ Helfer der Menschheit ” stamp series ) shows Johann Hinrich Wichern. On the occasion of his 200th birthday, the Deutsche Post honored him with another postage in 2008.
  • The Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg has been awarding the Johann-Hinrich-Wichern plaque (designed and manufactured in 1988 by the State Porcelain Manufactory Meißen) as the highest honor since 1998 . It stands for the advocacy of Wichern for the social responsibility of the church, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Inner Mission in 1848 .
  • The Evangelical Church in Germany has with April 7 a day of remembrance for Wichernhaus the Protestant calendar name furnished.


  • The causes of so many unsuccessful efforts in today's child-rearing. A lecture given in Berlin on February 9, 1863 ; Hamburg: Rauhes Haus, 1863.
  • Collected Writings. Edited by Johannes Wichern and Friedrich Mahling, six volumes Hamburg 1901–1908:
    • Vol. 1 (1901): Letters and diary sheets. 1848.
    • Vol. 2 (1901): Letters and diary sheets. 1849-1857.
    • Vol. 3 (1902): Principles of the inner mission. The most important essays, lectures and treatises on questions and tasks of the Inner Mission.
    • Vol. 4 (1905): On prison reform. Speeches, memoranda and reports.
    • Vol. 5 (1908): The Rough House.
    • Vol. 6 (1908): Articles on rescue institutions from the year 1833. Rescue institutions for children in the German-speaking area.
  • Complete Works. Edited by Peter Meinhold (volumes 1–8) and Günther Brakelmann (volumes 9–10), ten volumes; Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover 1958–1988:
    • Vol. I (1962): The Church and its Social Action (Fundamental and General).
    • Vol. II (1965): The Church and its Social Action (Fundamental and General).
    • Vol. III, Tl. 1 (1968): The Church and its social action (fundamental, general, practical).
    • Vol. III, Tl. 2 (1969): The Church and its social action (fundamental, general, practical).
    • Vol. IV, Part 1 (1958): Writings on social pedagogy (Rauhes Haus and Johannesstift ).
    • Vol. IV, Part 2 (1959): Writings on social pedagogy (Rauhes Haus and Johannesstift).
    • Vol. V (1971): Smaller articles - book reviews - obituaries - supplements.
    • Vol. VI (1973): The writings on prison reform.
    • Vol. VII (1975): The writings on pedagogy.
    • Vol. VIII (1980): The Correspondence (on the history of the brothers).
    • Vol. IX (1988): The exchange of letters with external parties.
    • Vol. X (1988): Register. - Concordance: Martin Michel: Wichern Concordance. A concordance on the issue.
  • The causes of the so often unsuccessful efforts in today's child-rearing: a lecture given in Berlin on February 9, 1863. ( online at the University and State Library in Düsseldorf ).
  • The inner mission of the German Protestant Church. A memorandum to the German nation . 3. Edition. Rauhen Haus agency, Hamburg 1889 ( online at


  • Iris Groschek: Wichern, Johann Hinrich . In: Franklin Kopitzsch, Dirk Brietzke (Hrsg.): Hamburgische Biographie . tape 1 . Christians, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-7672-1364-8 , pp. 345-346 .
  • Ferdinand Sander:  Wichern, Johann Hinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 42, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1897, pp. 775-780.
  • Werner RauppWICHERN, Johann Hinrich. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 15, Bautz, Herzberg 1999, ISBN 3-88309-077-8 , Sp. 1473-1503.
  • Jürgen Albert: Christianity and the way of acting with Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808–1881) . HVA, Heidelberg 1997, ISBN 3-8253-7057-7 .
  • Roland Anhorn: Social structure and disciplinary individual. On Johann Hinrich Wichern's welfare and upbringing concept of the Rauhe Haus . Hänsel-Hohenhausen, Egelsbach near Frankfurt / M. 1992, ISBN 3-89349-409-X .
  • Uwe Birnstein : Johann Hinrich Wichern: How the pious educator wanted to save children and the church . Wichern-Verlag, Berlin, 3rd edition, 2018, ISBN 978-3-88981-437-1 .
  • Hermann Friedrich Krummacher : Johann Hinrich Wichern. A picture of life from the present . Perthes, Gotha 1882 (first biography about Wichern).
  • Bettina Lindmeier: The pedagogy of the rough house. At the beginning of the upbringing of difficult children with Johann Hinrich Wichern . Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 1998, ISBN 3-7815-0935-4 .
  • Hansjörg Martin: A man fisherman. Johann Hinrich Wichern, his life, work and time . Rauhen Haus agency, Hamburg 1981, ISBN 3-7600-0336-2 .
  • Martin Pörksen : Johann Hinrich Wichern and the social issues . Sehrohr Verlag, Rendsburg 1932 (also dissertation University of Kiel).
  • Michael Klein : Fire of Charity: Johann Hinrich Wichern - the founder of the Inner Mission in texts and pictures . Sowing, Neukirchen-Vluyn. Verlag am Birnbach, Birnbach, 1998, ISBN 3-7615-3598-8 .
  • Hans Steinacker u. Oskar Schnetter (Ed.): Johann Hinrich Wichern. A human fisherman out of passion . Hänssler, Neuhausen 1998, ISBN 3-7751-2834-4 .
  • Stephan Sturm: Welfare State and Christian Social Thought. Johann Hinrich Wichern's social theology and its recent reception from a systems theoretical perspective . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-17-016879-4 .
  • Gerhard Wehr: Challenge of love. Johann Hinrich Wichern and the Inner Mission . Verlag Linea, Bad Wildbad 2007, ISBN 978-3-939075-12-7 .
  • Dietrich Sattler: Advocate for the poor - missionary of the church. Rauhen Haus agency, Hamburg, 2007.
  • Sigrid Schambach: Johann Hinrich Wichern . Ellert & Richter, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-8319-0298-4 .

Web links

Commons : Johann Hinrich Wichern  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. M. Gerhardt, Johann Hinrich Wichern, a life picture. Jugend und Aufstieg, 1808–1845 , Hamburg 1927, p. 112. Issues available at: .
  2. ^ Ferdinand Sander:  Wichern, Johann Hinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 42, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1897, pp. 775-780.
  3. S. Borée: Amanda Wichern ; P. 7.
  4. “Those who knew how things were, saw the threatening monster approach, and now the storm of the communist revolution has discharged. […] What the latest developments […] brought to light with the moral appendage, our lowest mob has had and exercised for many years. [...] This explains the revolution. These communist views, these contradicting all healthy political and moral, let alone Christian principles, cling to that [...] after-philosophy; and they were quickly understood as a motive for the revolution by those masses who rose up. ”Quoted from: Wichern, Johann Hinrich - speech at the Wittenberger Kirchentag .
  5. Cf. the relevant commented writings of Wichern: Wichern, Complete Works. Volume 7. See also Ferdinand Sander:  Wichern, Johann Hinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 42, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1897, pp. 775-780 .; Gustav von Rohden: JH Wichern and the Prussian prison reform. In: Journal for the entire field of criminal law. 26: 189-216 (1906); Hanns Wolff: The idea of ​​a penal reform at Wichern. Diss. Jur., Bonn 1952; Thomas Nutz: Prison as a reform machine. Reform discourse and prison science 1775–1848. Oldenbourg, Munich 2001; ISBN 3-486-56578-8 ; Pp. 364-366.
  6. Christine Auer: History of the nursing professions as a subject. The curricular development in nursing education and training. Dissertation Heidelberg. Eigenverlag, Heidelberg 2008, p. 128, quoted mainly from: Volker Herrmann (Ed.): Zur Diakonie im 19. Jahrhundert. Overviews, perspectives, insights , publications of the Diakoniewwissenschaftliches Institut of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , DWI Info, special edition, vol. 6, 2005, p. 130.
  7. a b Wichern, Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 119.
  8. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 205.
  9. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 17.
  10. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 1, p. 253.
  11. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 104.
  12. ^ Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 7, p. 48.
  13. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/2, p. 253.
  14. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 7, p. 433.
  15. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 103 f.
  16. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 105.
  17. Wichern, 3rd Annual Report , p. 35.
  18. Wichern, 12th Annual Report , p. 60.
  19. Wichern, 5th Annual Report , p. 21.
  20. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 140.
  21. Wichern, 14. – 17. Annual report , p. 58.
  22. Wichern, 3rd Annual Report , p. 55.
  23. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 7, p. 30.
  24. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 327.
  25. Wichern: Complete Works , Volume 4/1, p. 112.
  26. HassBild. (No longer available online.) Formerly in the original ; accessed November 30, 2016 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  27. ^ Johann Hinrich Wichern in the ecumenical dictionary of saints .
  28. Review on Wichern's 200th birthday: Matthias Gretzschel: He took Hamburg's poor children by the hand . In: Hamburger Abendblatt , April 17, 2008.