Joseph von Laßberg

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Joseph von Laßberg

Joseph Maria Christoph Freiherr von Laßberg (born April 10, 1770 in Donaueschingen , † March 15, 1855 in Meersburg ) was a German forester , Germanist and writer .

Live and act

Coat of arms on Laßberg's grave

Laßberg came from an old Austrian noble family that had lived in southern Germany since around 1665. His father Joseph Maria von Laßberg († 1813) was the Princely Fürstenberg Privy Councilor and Chief Hunter . His mother Anna Freiin von Maltzahn also came from an old noble family. Through his second marriage, Laßberg became the brother-in-law of the writer Annette von Droste-Hülshoff .

After Laßberg had completed his school days at Salem Abbey and at the Donaueschingen grammar school , he studied law and politics in Strasbourg and Freiburg im Breisgau . At the age of sixteen (Midsummer Night 1786 in the castle chapel on the Trifels ), in his opinion the last person in the old empire , he received the knighthood while still at school . He was a member of the Order of Malta .

Principality of Fürstenberg

After completing his studies, he joined the forest and camera administration of the Principality of Fürstenberg and became Prince in 1792 . Forester . In 1804 he was appointed his father's successor and, as such, was appointed regional forest master in 1807 . From 1813 Laßberg headed the senior management of the entire forest and hunting sector in Fürstenberg. During these years Laßberg was also with Princess Elisabeth zu Fürstenberg , nee. Thurn and Taxis (1767–1822), was in a relationship and had a son with her who grew up in a foster family in Lucerne as Hermann von Liebenau (1807–1874) and became a doctor and historian. He claimed that he was married to the princess " on the left hand " and made a pilgrimage - as Annette von Droste-Hülshoff describes - every year on the day of her death to Heiligenberg Castle , where he had lived with her. With the help of the Princely House, he was able to build up his extensive collections.

Helmsdorf Castle near Immenstaad

He had previously been married to Maria Anna Ursula Ebinger von der Burg (1771–1823) from 1795 and had four sons with her. He and his family lived in Schloss Helmsdorf near Immenstaad . He acquired the castle in 1798 and thereby also became a member of the Swabian Imperial Knighthood . As such, Laßberg tried in vain at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to regain sovereignty for Fürstenberg.

In 1815, members of the imperial knighthood founded the aristocratic association The Chain during the congress in Vienna at which he supported Princess Elisabeth . Until its dissolution in 1817, Laßberg was the initiator and driving force of this association. Their political goal was to restore the old imperial nobility with all its rights. At the same time, Laßberg belonged to the Wollzeiler Society in Vienna, which Jacob Grimm had founded on January 4, 1815 in Vienna, the “Zum Strobelkopf” inn on the “Wollzeile” street. The friendship with Joseph Albrecht von Ittner dates from this time .

Eppishausen Castle

Eppishausen Castle, property and residence of Laßberg 1813–1838

In 1817 Prince Karl Egon II. Zu Fürstenberg took over the government and Laßberg withdrew to the possession of Schloss Eppishausen in Erlen in Thurgau , which he had acquired in 1813 . After his possession in Thurgau he also chose his pseudonym: Master Sepp von Eppishusen . In addition to cultivating his estate, Laßberg began to collect literature on a large scale. So he acquired among other important works also from the Palace Hohenems originating Manuscript C of the Nibelungenlied. During this time, the Swiss historian and Protestant clergyman Johann Adam Pupikofer became a close friend . An extensive correspondence with Jacob Grimm , Ludwig Uhland , Gustav Schwab , Johann Caspar Zellweger and Karl Lachmann has also been preserved from his Thurgau years .

The July Revolution of 1830 meant that the Eppishausen population no longer respected the property of the meadows, fields and the forest of Eppishausen Castle, but used them themselves. In 1834 Laßberg married Maria Anna Freiin von Droste zu Hülshoff (called Jenny , * 1795 † 1859), the sister of the writer Annette von Droste-Hülshoff , whom he met through his friend Werner von Haxthausen , also a founding member of the aristocratic association "The Chain" and an uncle of the two Droste sisters. Although Laßberg and Annette lived in "different worlds", after the poet had lived in Eppishausen for about a year, they held each other in high esteem. With his second wife, he had twin daughters, Hildegard (1836–1914) and Hildegunde (1836–1909), who were born in Eppishausen. In a car accident after the twins were born on May 9, 1836, one of his legs was paralyzed. Since political developments in Switzerland ran counter to his conservative attitude, von Laßberg no longer felt comfortable at Eppishausen Castle and wanted to change.

Old castle in Meersburg

Meersburg Castle, property and residence of Laßberg from 1838 until his death

From June 1837, von Laßberg tried to buy the old castle in Meersburg, which had only been poorly used after the secularization since 1802. First he made a purchase bid for 10,000  guilders (fl), which was 2,000 guilders below the estimated price, to the Badische Domainverwaltung in Meersburg. Thereupon the court domain chamber in Karlsruhe offered the building in public auction on November 20, 1837. Von Laßberg, as the only interested party, again made a bid of 10,000 guilders and was awarded the castle on February 1, 1838. The purchase contract was entered in the "Guarantee Book of the City of Meersburg" on March 2, 1838. On September 7, 1838, Laßberg and his family moved to the old castle in Meersburg on Lake Constance and thus saved it from deterioration. He turned the vaulted, bright hall into a library for the books and manuscripts he had collected, and the adjoining round room into his study and writing room. His sister-in-law chose this castle in 1846. a. for health reasons, to her permanent residence and died there in 1848, under the medical care of Laßberg's son Hermann von Liebenau.

From here, too, a lively correspondence is attested; u. a. with Ildefons von Arx , Georg Friedrich Benecke , Sulpiz Boisserée and Justinus Kerner . Justinus Kerner visited von Laßberg on the Meersburg in mid-July 1854 for two to three weeks and was inspired and supported by him in his research on Franz Anton Mesmer , so that Kerner wrote a book about Mesmer that appeared in 1856.

In 1845 Laßberg was awarded the title of Dr. phil. hc honored. In 1849 he was made an honorary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .

Laßberg also bred parrots on the Meersburg with great success. The old bird house is now part of the museum tour. In addition, you can also see Laßberg's old parrot cage in the Dagobertsturm while climbing the tower.

Joseph von Laßberg died at the age of 85 on March 15, 1855 at ten to twelve minutes to eleven o'clock in the morning, his head resting on his left hand, at Meersburg Castle on Lake Constance . Before that, he addressed his daughters with the words: "God give you the strength to defend virtue, and courage and pride to attack evil." It is located in the Meersburg cemetery in the Laßberg- Droste family grave in Hülshoff, which he founded to bury. He bequeathed the Meersburg to his daughters.

Lassberg's library

Nibelungen manuscript C, sheet 1r, 1815–1855 in the possession of Laßberg, with his coat of arms exlibris

Laßberg's private library, which he had cataloged through her literary friend Levin Schücking on the mediation of his sister-in-law Annette , contained well over 10,000 books, manuscripts and manuscripts, including the manuscript of the Nibelungenlied when he sold it to the Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek . This also includes documents from the time of the Prince-Bishops of Konstanz and the Bishopric of Konstanz , which von Laßberg saved from the archive rooms of the Old and New Castle in Meersburg.

Marriages and offspring

In 1795 Laßberg married Maria Anna Ebinger von der Burg († 1823) with whom he had four sons:

  • Karl; Austrian officer
  • Friedrich (born May 13, 1798; † June 30, 1838); Court and government councilor of the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • Leonhard
  • Erasmus

With Elisabeth zu Fürstenberg , born von Thurn und Taxis (born November 30, 1767 - July 21, 1822), the widow of Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg , Laßberg was in a relationship between 1805 and 1822 and had an illegitimate son:

In 1834 Laßberg married Anna Maria, called Jenny von Droste zu Hülshoff , the sister of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff

  • Hildegard (* 1836; † 1909)
  • Hildegunde (* 1836; † 1914)


Portrait from 1853 in Meersburg Castle
Enclosed area with the graves of Joseph von Laßberg and his relatives from the Droste zu Hülshoff family
The Laßberg figure by Peter Lenk

On the occasion of his (last) birthday on April 10, 1854, von Laßberg invited the dignitaries and officials from Meersburg to his castle for wine and dinner and adored a lithograph with his portrait (elongated nose, thoughtful look, bushy eyebrows, shoulder-length hair) as a farewell to each , two-part beard, black velvet cap, hunter's skirt with two rows of buttons). This portrait was drawn by the artist Lauchert on October 30, 1853. It was engraved by C. Deis in Stuttgart and printed by the lithographer Niederbühl.

Von Laßberg rests in the Meersburg cemetery of Meersburg. His twin daughters, their girlfriend Amalie Hassenpflug , his sister-in-law Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and their nephew Carl Caspar von Droste zu Hülshoff are also buried in the fenced-in area with his second wife.

The artist Peter Lenk created a monument for him in a figure in his Magic Column in Meersburg. Here Laßberg rides a hobby horse in knight armor - an allusion to the expression Nibelungen-Steckenreiter , with which his sister-in-law liked to dub him and his like-minded people. A figure of Cupid hovers above the Laßberg statue, a reference to Laßberg's women.

A street is named after him in the Waldsee district of Freiburg . (Until the end of 2016 still written "Lassbergstrasse".)


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adolf Kastner: Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg saves the old Meersburg (1837/1838). In: Badische Heimat , 1955, issue 1, pp. 1–2.
  2. ^ Adolf Kastner: Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg saves the old Meersburg (1837/1838). In: Badische Heimat , 1955, issue 1, pp. 2–7.
  3. ^ Letter from Laßberg to Justinus Kerner dated 5th Hornung (February) 1855 with documents (baptismal certificate, apartment Meersburg-Riedetsweiler) for Kerner's biographical work on Franz Anton Mesmer. The letter is printed by Karl Bittel: The famous Mr. Doct. Mesmer. 1734-1815. Aug. Feyel, Buchdruckerei and Verlagbuchhandlung, Überlingen 1939, pp. 35–36.
  4. ^ Justinus Kerner : Franz Anton Mesmer from Swabia, discoverer of animal magnetism. Memories of the same, along with news from the last years of his life in Meersburg on Lake Constance. Frankfurt am Main, Literarisches Anstalt 1856. Digitized by Google
  5. ^ Wilhelm Zentner: Joseph von Laßberg and Justinus Kerner. In: Badische Heimat , 1955, No. 1, pp. 11–15.
  6. Hubert Naeßl: The Meersburg . Regensburg 1977, p. 15.
  7. ^ Wilhelm Zentner: Joseph von Laßberg and Justinus Kerner. In: Badische Heimat , 1955, No. 1, pp. 11–15.
  8. Brigitte grams, Thomas Warnsdorf: magnet for artists and scientists. In: Festmagazin 1000 years of Meersburg . Frank Siegfried Verlag, Konstanz 1988, pp. 22-24.
  9. Otto Dörflinger: History of a picture. In: Badische Heimat , 1955, issue 1, p. 74 as well as a title page with a portrait of Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg.
  10. ^ Simone Höhl: Freiburg: Correction: Lassbergstrasse is now called Laßbergstrasse. Badische Zeitung, December 27, 2016, accessed on December 28, 2016 .


  • Karl Siegfried Bader (Ed.): Joseph Laßberg, mediator and collector . Bader, Stuttgart 1955.
  • Max Binder: Joseph von Laßberg and his Swabian friends . Stadler, Constance 1934.
  • Heinz Bothien (ed.): Joseph von Laßberg, the last knight's library . Huber, Frauenfeld 2001, ISBN 3-7193-1237-2 .
  • Wilderich von Droste zu Hülshoff : Annette von Droste-Hülshoff in the field of tension of her family , CA Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 1997, ISBN 3-7980-0683-0
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels , Adelslexikon , Volume VII, Volume 97 of the complete series. CA Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 1989, S, 195 f.
  • Adolf Kastner : Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg saves the old Meersburg (1837/1838). In: Badische Heimat , 1955, Issue 1, pp. 1-10.
  • Franz Muncker:  Laßberg, Joseph Freiherr von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 17, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1883, pp. 780-784.
  • W. [ilhelm] Scherer: Josef Freiherr von Laßberg . In: Friedrich von Weech (Ed.): Badische Biographien 2. Part, Heidelberg 1875, pp. 8–11 ( digitized version )
  • Volker Schupp:  Laßberg, Joseph. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 13, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-428-00194-X , pp. 670-672 ( digitized version ).
  • Volker Schupp : Wollzeilergesellschaft and chain . Elwert, Marburg 1983, ISBN 3-7708-0772-3 .
  • Alexander Thon: … the light falls through a round opening in the vault, over which green bushes swayed downwards, moved by the wind. Joseph von Laßberg (1770–1855) and the alleged double chapel at Trifels Castle . In: Vestigiis Historiae Palatinae. Festschrift for Karl Scherer . In: Jürgen Keddigkeit (ed.): Contributions to the history of the Palatinate . No. 20, 2002, pp. 123-134, ISSN  0936-7640 .
  • Gothaisches genealogical pocket book of baronial houses 1890. Fortieth year, p.448
  • Ute Obhof: To give his last shirt for the Nibelung manuscript from one who moved out. Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg acquired the famous manuscript C of the Nibelungenlied at the beginning of the 19th century. In: State Gazette for Baden-Württemberg. Volume 53, No. 2, 2004, p. 16.
  • [Catalog] "Lovers and protectors of music": The newly acquired music collection of the Princes zu Fürstenberg in the Badische Landesbibliothek [exhibition in the Badische Landesbibliothek from September 20 to November 25, 2000], revised. v. Matthias Miller, Red .: Martina Rebmann, Berlin: Kulturstiftung der Länder, 2000, 296 pp.

Web links

Commons : Joseph von Laßberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Joseph von Lassberg  - Sources and full texts