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Famous people

Konrad Duden - promoter of the standardised German spelling

Porträt von Konrad Duden

Dr. Konrad Duden, today known as the most important reformer of the German spelling, was summoned to Schleiz in order to reform the local Gymnasium RUTHENEUM (Grammar School) in the late 19th century. And: he did it successfully. He introduced a new class schedule called Regulativ which became a role model for all Grammar Schools in Prussia in 1882. Useless subjects were abolished and new emphasis was put on education in natural sciences.

There are two reasons why Dr. Konrad Duden took charge of the German spelling here in Schleiz: Firstly, every teacher taught according to his own spelling rules. And secondly: Schleiz was situated just between two speaking and dialect borders. The students of the RUTHENEUM came from not less than seven states and created a babble of dialects that could hardly be found at any other school in Germany.

The first spelling rules that Duden and his colleagues developed were only published in the annual report of the Grammar School in 1871. A more sophisticated collection of spelling rules and lists of words were published one year later under the title “To The German Spelling”, a book that nowadays is known as “Schleizer Duden”.

More information about Dr. Konrad Duden and his work can be found in the permanent exhibition in the RUTHENEUM, Kirchplatz 4 in Schleiz. Telephone: +49 3663 421649


Heinrich Albert – a composer and song writer of the baroque period


Heinrich Albert, also Heinrich Alberti, (* 28. June 1604 in Lobenstein; † 6. October 1651 in Königsberg) was a composer and song writer of the baroque period. He was an important representative of the Königsberger poet circle and songwriter following Heinrich Schütz.

Heinrich Albert was born in Lobenstein in the Principality of Reuss (Thuringia). From 1619 to 1621 he attended the Latin school in Gera and in 1622 he studied music under his cousin Heinrich Schütz in Dresden who introduced him to the basis of composition techniques. From 1623 Albert was forced to study law following the request of his parents. It is to be assumed that he continued to study music there with the Thomas cantor Joh. Hermann Schein who was a friend of Schütz.

In 1626 he avoided the oncoming danger of the Thirty Years War and went to Königsberg with his friend Simon Dach. In 1627, on the way from Königsberg to Warschau as part of a Dutch peace delegation, he was taken prisoner by the Swedish and only managed to return to Königsberg one year later. Afterwards he initially studied the science of fortification but eventually turned to the study of music fully. From 1st April 1631 until his untimely death at only 47 years of age Heinrich Albert was permanently employed as organist at the cathedral. The university arranged the funeral and the in Latin held memorial address became the most important source for his biography.

Albert was student of the cathedral and court conductor Johann Stobäus (†1646). Stobäus represented the Königsberger audio school, which can be estimated roughly from Johannes Eccard to Johann Sebastiani (around 1590 – 1690). Here the polyphonic choral movement in five parts dominated, which was also maintained by Albert. However, Heinrich Albert became popular with his monophonic basso continuo songs out of which many were created through a reduction of own polyphonic movements.

Albert was a member of the Königsberger poet circle to which among others Simon Dach, Robert Roberthin, Georg Mylius and temporarily Martin Opitz belonged. The group met at the “Kürbshütte” (pumpkin hut), a cabin in Heinrich Albert’s garden. The garden was the “Schwedenschanze” (Swedes redoubt) at the mouth of the Lindengraben into the Pregel river.

The “Kneiphöfsche Rat” (Kneiphöfer Council) bestowed it upon its organist in 1630. At the hut Albert grew pumpkins. His friends carved their shepherd’s names into the paring. Here, in 1638, Martin Opitz visited his friend Simon Dach. Both the garden and the hut grew victim to the urban planning at the time as it scheduled construction of the “Weidendamm” (willow bank).

At the grove in Bad Lobenstein there is a Heinrich Albert memorial stone.

Heinrich Albert set poems of his friends and his own to music. From 1638 he published his work mostly in eight booklets in total “arias and melodeys” as scores. Albert attached the booklets with self-written preambles in which he gave extensive and detailed playing instructions. Alongside many instance prints were published, which so far are bibliographically not fully determined.
The “Ännchen von Tharau” (“Anna of Tharau”) may well be Albert’s most popular song. The lyrics were for a long time credited to Simon Dach. However, Joseph Müller-Blattau made it probably, that Albert himself may be the author of the poem in flawed Sambian Low German. Today the song is mostly sung after the High German lyrics version of Herder and the newer melody of Friedrich Schiller.


Johann Friedrich Böttger - inventor of the European porcelain (Meißner Porzellan)

Porträt von Johann Friedrich Böttger

Johann Friedrich Böttger, today known as the inventor of the first European porcelain, was born in Schleiz on 4th February 1682.
Böttger started his professional career as an apprentice pharmacist in Berlin in 1696. During his training his interest for alchemy was sparked. It became a clandestine hobby in the laboratory of his pharmacist teacher. Contacts to other chemists like Johannes Kunckel strengthened his ambition to find the philosopher`s stone that could enable him to change base metal into noble metal.

His trainer was sceptical about those experiments. To change his mind, Johann Friedrich Böttger pretended to change silver coins into golden coins in a public demonstration in 1701.
The lore about this alchemist masterpiece rapidly spread and different monarchs started to get interested in the man behind the “making of gold”.
Eventually August the Strong heard about the young pharmacist trainee. He made him come to Dresden to repeat his experiments under the critical eyes of the monarch.

Thereupon Böttger was given his own laboratory in order to produce gold in bigger amounts. In 1704 Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and Gottfried Pabst von Ohain were consulted additionally to promote the goldmaking project. Tschirnhaus, who originally conducted experiments for making porcelain for several years at that time, persuaded Böttger successfully to cooperate with him in this project.

After first successes with ceramic experiments the three of them succeeded in producing the so called Jaspis-porcelain, a kind of brick-red pottery in 1706, later known as Böttger-porcelain.
In the summer of 1707 Böttger and Tschirnhaus tried again to produce porcelain in a newly erected laboratory in Dresden. Following a proposal of Ohain to take white earth Böttger succeeded with the help of Tschirnhaus in December 1707 to produce a simple pot from hard porcelain for the first time.
August the Strong now insistently pushed the perfection of the manufacturing method with the aim of mass production in a factory. Tschirnhaus died during the conclusion of his work in October 1708 and could not experience the completion and commissioning of the porcelain manufactury Meißen (Porzellanmanufaktur Meißen).
After his death Johann Friedrich Böttger took on control of the research as well as the factory which started operating in 1710.

On 13th March 1719 Johann Friedrich Böttger died in Dresden as a result of his experiments with toxic substances.


Franz Huth – one of the most important pastelists of the 20th century


The artists professor Franz Huth (* 9. November 1876 in Pößneck; † 7. June 1970 in Weimar) is considered in Thuringia and beyond to be one of the most important pastelists of the 20th century. His range was mostly landscapes and interiors.

Franz Huth was the second son of the porcelain painter Louis Huth. He learned the techniques of porcelain and glass painting of his father. Even as a 12-year-old he worked at his father’s workshop. After finishing a porcelain painter apprenticeship (from 1892) in Volkstedt near Rudolstadt he began a glass painter apprenticeship in the Giant Mountains (Czech Republic/Poland) in 1894. Here he met his longtime friend and fellow painter Arthur Julius Barth.

Then he began studying at the School of Applied Arts in Dresden. However, between 1895 and 1897 he only endured three semesters there. After a long stint in Switzerland, southern France and northern Italy from 1897 to 1898, he attended the Royal Porcelain Manufacture in Berlin in 1900.

From 1903 he worked for several years in Heidelberg for the local branch of his father’s factory. From 1911 to 1918 he lived and worked as a freelance artist in various cities: Cuxhaven, Heidelberg, Rome, Darmstadt. Pastel painting came to the fore more and more. In 1918 he took up residence in Bensheim an der Bergstraße (Bensheim on the mountain road).

In 1922 he moved with his family to Weimar, where he worked with brief interruptions until 1961. During the last 9 years of his life an eye complaint ended his creative work. Franz Huth died, honored in Thuringia and honorary citizen of his hometown Pößneck, at the age of 93 in Weimar, where he was buried at the Historic Cemetery.


Christian Gottlieb Reichard – a German cartographer

Gottlieb Reichardt

Christian Gottlieb Reichard (* 26. June 1758 in Schleiz; † 11. September 1837 in Bad Lobenstein) was a German cartographer. He studied law in Leipzig and in 1783 became town clerk in Bad Lobenstein. In 1805 he received the title of general council.

In addition to his professional work Reichard’s main interests were geography and cartography. In 1797 he constructed his first globe. Together with Adolf Stieler (1775 – 1836) he worked on the first edition of “Stieler’s Hand Atlas”, which was published between 1817 and 1823 at Justus Perthes and contained 50 maps.


Nicolaus Schmidt-Künzel

Es ist der gelehrte Bauer zu sehen, wie er mit einer Karre vollbeladen mit Büchern durch das Land zieht

Nicolaus Schmidt-Künzel is called "The Scholar Farmer" of Rothenacker. He lived from 1606 to 1676 in this little community near the towns Tanna and Schleiz.
He was known to speak and understand 15 languages, to be experienced in Geography, Music, Medicine, Astrology, and even in writing Poetry. That drew the academics and the prince`s attention to his person. They let him visit them to assure themselves of his knowledge. Nicolaus Schmidt-Künzel was given lots of precious books as presents and ultimately obtained a considerable library. Unfortunately, this library was burned down completely when soldiers laid fire in 1643.

Nowadays the birthplace of The Scholar Farmer is a museum and shows the living and working of this scholarly man.

Appointments / information
Tel.: +49 36646 22697
Contact person: Ms Zapf, Mr Buchmann


Hans Conon v. d. Gabelentz - a great scientist and politician

Gabelentz, ein Wissenschaftler und Politiker in Thüringen

Hans Conon v. d. Gabelentz was born in Altenburg in 1807 and died in Lemnitz in 1874. He was a linguist who spoke 24 foreign languages but also did research on 83 languages, especially Finno-Ugrian languages (Turkish, Finnish, Asian etc.).
He translated fragments of the Gothic Bible of bishop Ulfilas together with the priest Dr. Löbe from Altenburg. The Gothic translation “Ufilias” was published in 1846. A reprint was made in 1980 by the publishing house Gerstenberg in Hildesheim. Hans Conon von der Gabelentz was awarded with the honorary doctorate of the University of Leipzig in 1846. His scientific library consisted of 10.000 books (today they are stored in the All-Russian Library in Moscow) and was visited by many scholars from many different countries. At his time he was considered as the greatest scientist of Thuringia. He also played an important role as a politician. As the grand marshal of Weimar (similar like today’s president of the parliament) he was a representative at the Frankfurt national assembly. He belonged to those people who worked out the new constitution.


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