Max von Schenkendorf

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Original steel engraving, before 1818

Maximilian von Schenkendorf (born December 11, 1783 in Tilsit in East Prussia , † December 11, 1817 in Koblenz ; full name Gottlob Ferdinand Maximilian Gottfried von Schenkendorf , also Schenckendorff ) was a German poet .


He comes from the Lower Lusatian noble family Schenkendorf . His father was the war and domain councilor and heir to Lenkonischken George Heinrich von Schenkendorf (1744-1813) and his wife Luise von Karrius (1761-1830). His brother Karl (1785–1813) died in the war in the battle of Bautzen . He also had a sister Caroline Ludovica Euphrosyne (born November 5, 1789).


Max von Schenkendorf studied camera science at the Albertus University in Königsberg from 1798 to 1806 . During this time he was friends with the medical student and poet David Assing (1787–1842). Then he was there in the civil service. From 1807 he was co-editor of the magazine Vesta . In 1809 he was injured in a duel and could no longer move his right hand.

In 1812 he was friends with Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling (1740-1817) in Karlsruhe . In the same year he married Henriette Elisabeth Barckley (1774-1840) in Baden, nine years his senior. In 1813 he volunteered in the wars of liberation . In May 1813 he went to Schweidnitz to the Prussian headquarters and although he was not fit for war, he was accepted into the Röder brigade, in which many important men, including Fouqué , met. Most of his war songs were composed in the camp and during the campaign that followed, which were handwritten and circulated in the army and sung everywhere. He also took part in the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig . From 1815 he worked for the military government in Aachen and Cologne . He then settled in Koblenz as a councilor at the end of 1815. The grave of Schenkendorf and his wife is in the main cemetery in Koblenz .

Schenkendorf was presumably accepted into the Freemason Lodge Carl for Unity in Karlsruhe in 1812 , possibly influenced by Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling. In 1817 he became a co-founder of the Friedrich zur Vaterlandsliebe Lodge in Koblenz , which grew out of a field lodge .

Max von Schenkendorf is considered to be one of the most important poets of the Wars of Liberation. He wrote the lyrics of the songs Das Lied vom Rhein (1814), Freiheit, die ich mir (Melody: Karl August Groos (1789–1861)) and When all are unfaithful .

His poem Death Sinews became particularly well-known through the setting by Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) in the Six Songs for a Deep Voice, op. 86.


Streets and schools in several German cities are named after Schenkendorf and monuments have been erected for him.


Web links

Commons : Max von Schenkendorf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Max von Schenkendorf  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Text from the journal Vesta from Max von Schenkendorf here and text from the journal Studies from Max von Schenkendorf here
  2. See Erich Mertens: The offended honor. A contribution to the duel of the poet Max v. Schenkendorf with Major General Hans Stephan v. Rouquette . In: Peter Wörster (Ed.): Festschrift for Karl-Heinz Weber, the first chairman of the JG Herder-Bibliothek Siegerland e. V. Siegen: JG Herder-Bibliothek Siegerland e. V., Siegen 1989 (= writings of the JG Herder-Bibliothek Siegerland e.V. vol. 21), pp. 65–121.
  3. Horst Johannes Tümmers: The Rhine. A European river and its history . 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 220 .