Samuel Heinicke

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Samuel Heinicke

Samuel Heinicke (born April 10, 1727 in Nautschütz near Zschorgula , Weißenfels district ( Kursachsen ), † April 29, 1790 in Leipzig ) was a German educator. He became known as the "inventor" of the German method of deaf education .

Military service and studies

Birthplace in Nautschütz

Samuel Heinicke was the son of the trainer and judge Samuel Heinicke (1697–1752) and Maria Rosina, born. Thieme († 1770). At the age of 23, Heinicke left his parents' house, being denied a degree as the intended heir, and went to Dresden , where he entered the service of the bodyguard of Elector Friedrich August II of Saxony . In 1754 he married Johanna Maria Elisabeth Kracht.

Heinicke continued his autodidactic training in Dresden and tried his hand at work as a musician and as a teacher of writing and music. Among other children, he also had a deaf boy for lessons, whom he taught in spoken language according to the textbook published in 1692 by the Dutch doctor Johann Konrad Ammann , who came from Schaffhausen . Heinicke's endeavors to devote himself entirely to teaching was thwarted by the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, as he was refused to leave the military.

The defeat of the Saxon army at Pirna brought Heinicke into Prussian captivity . Since he threatened the collection to the Prussian military, he fled to Jena and studied philosophy , mathematics and natural philosophy at the local university . In 1758 he moved to Hamburg with his wife and son . From 1760 to 1768 Heinicke served the Pomeranian merchant, royal Danish financial advisor and slave trader Heinrich Carl von Schimmelmann as court master and private secretary.

Plaque on Samuel Heinicke's grave in Leipzig's southern cemetery

Successful schoolmaster

In 1768 Heinicke became a schoolmaster and cantor at the St. Johannis Church in Eppendorf near Hamburg. Heinicke soon also taught the deaf son of the tenant miller there in the village school. He taught this child the language in its written form, and as a result of Heinicke's efforts, the boy was able to take confirmation in writing . After this success, Heinicke already had five deaf students in 1774 who lived with him in the Küsterei . The success of Baroness Dorothea von Vietinghoff (1761–1839), sister of the legendary Juliane von Krüdener and daughter of one of the richest men in Russia , who stood out for her quick comprehension and intelligence, caused a wide public stir . With this, the Heinickesche Schule received more attention and Heinicke used this with publications on his teaching method.

The aim of the lesson should therefore not be the spelling and memorization of difficult texts such as the catechism , which was customary at the time , but rather the recognition of syllables and words and the understanding of simple texts first. Heinicke tried to make the concepts associated with the words accessible to the children through direct visualization, images and gestures . He saw signs only as a low-class tool that shouldn't be used too often by his students. Since training in pronunciation required a lot of time, the subject matter could only be limited to the bare essentials. Another disadvantage of a more comprehensive training course was that the students usually only stayed at the school for a short time, around two to four years. Nevertheless, Heinicke's method found imitators and had an impact.

20 Pf - special stamp of the GDR Post 1978 with a portrait of Samuel Heinicke

From 1777 Heinicke worked exclusively as a deaf and dumb teacher. He then wished to return to Electoral Saxony . In a petition he turned to the Elector Friedrich August III. who allowed him to move with his institute to Leipzig. In 1778 he moved with his family and nine students to Leipzig and founded the “Chursächsisches Institut for the dumb and other linguistically afflicted people” in the house “Weißes Roß” on Roßplatz , which was supported and supervised by the state. This first school for the deaf and mute in Germany has existed to this day as the Saxon State School for the Hearing Impaired, the Samuel Heinicke Support Center .

Professional successor from the family

Samuel Heinicke's daughter from his first marriage, Julia Karolina, married Ernst Adolf Eschke (1766–1811) who later became a senior school officer and director of the first “deaf and dumb institute” in Berlin, today's Ernst Adolf Eschke School.

In 1778 Heinicke married Anna Catharina Elisabeth Kludt, widowed Morin (1757-1840), whose two deaf-mute brothers he had taught in Hamburg . After his death she continued to run the institute in Leipzig. With her he had a son and two daughters, one of whom, Amalie Regina, was married to Carl Gottlob Reich (1782-1852), who later became the director of the “Deaf-Mute Institute” in Leipzig.


In 1881 a monument with his bust was erected in Leipzig near the school he had founded. It fell victim to the metal donation of the German people during World War II in 1942 . In 1907, Heinickestrasse in Leipzig was named after him.

On the occasion of his 200th birthday in 1927 a memorial stone was placed in his place of birth in his honor, and a plaque on the house where he was born commemorates the teacher.

In the St. Johannis Church in Eppendorf there is a painting with his portrait that Anton Kaulbach painted in 1890. Heinicke's bronze bust, erected in 1896 on a red-brown granite base, was placed in the Seelemannpark next to the church in 1969. The street leading from the Johannis Church to Eppendorfer Marktplatz bears his name.

Also in Munich are the Samuel-Heinicke-Realschule and the Samuel-Heinicke-Fachoberschule, since 1894 in Vienna Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (15th district) the Heinickegasse and in Frankenthal (Palatinate) the Samuel-Heinicke-Straße near the Pfalzinstitut für Hearing and communication named after him. In Nuremberg district Eberhardshof as the wear Heinicke place and Heinickestraße his name.


Web links

Commons : Samuel Heinicke  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Samuel Heinicke  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c New German Biography (NDB): Heinicke, Samuel
  2. a b Irene Müller, Eppendorf historical - Samuel Heinicke , in: Der Eppendorfer , issue April 2011, p. 8.
  3. LVZ of May 25, 2016, p. 23
  4. ^ Konrad Schwager: Christian von Deuster - career of a phoniatrist. In: Würzburger medical historical reports 23, 2004, pp. 585–588; here: p. 586.
  5. ^ Website of the Saxon State School for the Hearing Impaired
  6. ^ Ernst Adolf Eschke
  7. Ernst Adolf Eschke School
  8. NDB: Carl Gottlob Reich
  9. Illustrirte Welt , forty-fourth year (1896), 5th issue - illustration on the title page and P. 119
  10. ^ Memorial Hamburg: Samuel Heinicke