Johanna Odebrecht

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Johanna Odebrecht (born September 11, 1794 in Greifswald ; † April 14, 1856 in Kraschnitz , Silesia ; full name: Marianna Philippina Johanna Odebrecht ) was the founder and director of a school for the poor in Greifswald. She set up charitable foundations that still exist today as the " Johanna Odebrecht Foundation ".


Johanna Odebrecht was a daughter of the councilor and later Greifswald mayor Johann Hermann Odebrecht (1757-1821). Her mother Christina Ilsabe Carolina Weißenborn died early. As a result of a fall in early childhood, Johanna Odebrecht had a severe curvature of the spine and remained hunched and overgrown all her life. She lost an eye in another accident.

After the death of her father, she inherited a considerable sum that was estimated at more than 90,000 thalers. She devoted herself to poor relief and nursing in her hometown. With the interest income from her capital, she founded and maintained a school for the poor in her house on Wollweberstrasse from 1828, which was converted into an educational institution around 1833. At first she took in 20 girls from working-class families who were trained in housekeeping and handicrafts so that they could later work as good servants . School books, clothing and the material for the handicrafts, as well as the food for the girls housed in her house, were paid for by Johanna Odebrecht. She also paid for the wages of the teaching staff. In times of falling interest income, she was dependent on private grants. In 1839 the girls from the city orphanage were assigned to her, for which she received 100 thalers from the city. In 1840 there were 48 girls in her educational institution, of whom she had fully accepted ten.

In her school she led a "dictatorial regiment". In addition to fines for being late, in which the girls were deprived of money acquired through manual labor, dishonorable badges, corporal punishment , starvation and being locked up in a dark room or basement were also part of their education measures. If parents took their children out of school, they had to return the clothing provided. The school commission initiated an investigation into complaints from parents and Superintendent Finelius . Johanna Odebrecht, however, refused their admonition to refrain from locking them up, and she did not have any instructions. The school commission, city council and mayor saw no reason for further sanctions.

Her request to have the girls in her institution confirmed only by the consistorial councilor Vogt led to a two-year dispute. This was ultimately decided in their favor by the government.

She was also criticized for her pietistic attitude. Originally, after a year-long stay in Düsseldorf, she had planned to participate in the rescue house of Count Adalbert von der Recke-Volmerstein in Düsseltal . When he moved to Silesia , she committed to setting up a home for morally neglected children in Kraschnitz , which she dealt with in the last years of her life. She died there in 1856.


In her will of July 7, 1848, she determined that a capital of 4825 thalers and the income from her two houses on Wollweberstrasse should serve to keep her educational institution going. Furthermore, she ordered 4600 thalers to set up a “rescue facility for poor girls”, 4000 thalers for an arm foundation and 400 thalers each as a bonus fund to support girls who have left school and their sponsored children when they get married or in need of help. Her four siblings were compensated with 1,500 thalers each. She appointed her brother-in-law Hermann Theodor Hoefer to be the administrator and executor, but he died a month after her. These tasks were therefore assigned to a committee of four men from the city of Greifswald under the leadership of the future mayor Daniel Joachim Christian Teßmann .

She revoked the 8,000 thalers envisaged in the will for the Graf Recke-Volmerstein rescue facility in Düsseltal in a codicil of April 25, 1850. Because of the agreements she had meanwhile concluded for the rescue facility in Kraschnitz, a dispute arose between the executors and the will after the will was opened Recke-Volmersteins Foundation. The dispute was finally decided in 1862 by the Prussian Higher Tribunal in favor of Recke-Volmerstein. A total of 5232 thalers were paid to his foundation.

In 1886 the Odebrecht School was abolished in accordance with the will, as the lower social classes were now also promoted in the municipal free schools. The entire school foundation and all premium funds were added to the rescue house fund. In the years 1902 to 1904 several buildings for the rescue house were completed on Gützkower Landstrasse. The Johanna Odebrecht Foundation now includes a specialist hospital for psychiatry, an elderly care center, an addiction counseling and treatment center and a Protestant school.


  • Willi Griebenow : Johanna Odebrecht and her foundations. Greifswald 1978.
  • Heinrich Berghaus : Land book of the Duchy of Pomerania and the Principality of Rügen. Part 4, Vol. 1, W. Dietze, Anklam 1866, school: p. 335f ( digitized version), foundations: p. 424f ( digitized version ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Willi Griebenow. Johanna Odebrecht and her foundations. Greifswald 1978