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3 in German History
February 3, 865
Death of St. Ansgar. St. Ansgar was born on
September 8, 801 in Corbie (in modern France). In 823 he became a teacher in the newly founded
monastery in Corvey, Westphalia (modern Germany). In 829 he founded the first
Christian church in Sweden. He returned to Germany in 831 and
became the first bishop of Hamburg. He continued his work of
christianization in Denmark and Sweden, but after attacks by
the Vikings not only was Christianity halted in those lands,
but Hamburg itself was destroyed (845). He was then made the
first bishop of Bremen. From there he continued his efforts
to bring Christianity to the Scandinavian countries. He died
in 865 in Bremen. Through his efforts he is known as the
Apostle of the North. He was canonized by Pope Nicholas I. He
is the patron saint of Denmark.
February 3 is the feast day of St. Ansgar.
February 3, 1468
Death of Johannes Gutenberg (1395-1468) in Mainz. He was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. His major work, the Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible), has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.
February 3, 1721
Birth of Friedrich Freiherr von Seydlitz (1721-1773) in
Kalkar, Germany. Von Seydlitz was the commander who built the
Prussian cavalry of Friedrich II into the best in Europe.
February 3, 1736
Birth of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger in
Klosterneuburg, Austria. An organist and composer,
Albrechtsberger was appointed court organist in Vienna in
1792 and music director at St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna
in 1793. His most noted student was Ludwig van Beethoven.
February 3, 1786
Birth of Wilhelm Gesenius in Nordhausen,
Germany. Gesenius was a professor of theology at the
University of Halle. As a theologian he was not remarkable,
but he made major contribution to the study of Semitic
languages, publishing several grammars and dictionaries.
February 3, 1809
Birth of Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847), known generally as Felix Mendelssohn, in
Hamburg, Germany. The composer, Mendelssohn, is one of the
outstanding figures in the history of music. Mendelssohn was
born to a Jewish family in Hamburg, but was baptized a
Lutheran. The name, Bartholdy, was taken from a wealthy uncle
and attached to the Mendelssohn name at the time the uncle's
properties passed to the family. A child prodigy, Mendelssohn
gave his first public concert at age 9 in Berlin. He wrote
one of his masterpieces, the Overture to A Midsummer
Night's Dream at age 17. In 1843 Mendelssohn founded a
conservatory of music in Leipzig where he and his friend
Robert Schumann taught composition.
February 3, 1859
Birth of Hugo Junkers (1859-1935) in Rheydt, Germany.
Junkers founded an aircraft factory in Dessau in 1910. His
J-1 Blechesel of 1915 was the world's first functional
all-metal airplane. The Junkers company supplied Germany in
World War II with the Ju 52 troop transport and the Ju 87
Stuka (a shortened form of Sturzkampfflugzeug). Junkers died
on his birthday in 1935.
February 3, 1870
Birth of Annette Kolb (1870-1967) in Munich, Germany.
The writer, Annette Kolb (pseudonym of Anne Mathilde Kolb),
emigrated to France in 1933 and later to the United States.
Among her works are Die Schaukel, Das Exemplar,
and Briefe einer Deutsch-Französin. She was awarded
the Literature Prize of the City of Munich on her 75th
February 3, 1887
Birth of Georg Trakl in Salzburg, Austria.
Trakl was an Expressionist poet, troubled with addiction to
drugs. His poetry is characterized by topics of decline and
death. The titles of a few of his poems are Verfall, Ein
Winterabend, Verklfärter Herbst, Trübsinn and Grodek.
Trakl died in 1914 of an overdose of cocaine.
February 3, 1890
Birth of Paul Scherrer in Sankt Gallen,
Switzerland. A physicist, Scherrer worked with Peter Debbie
on X-ray diffraction analysis. The Debbie-Scherrer method is
important in identifying materials which do not easily form
large crystals. Scherrer was professor of physics at the
University of Zürich.
February 3, 1917
The United States breaks off diplomatic
relations with Germany in reaction to German resumption of
unlimited submarine warfare. (President Wilson had just been
reelected with the campaign slogan, "He kept us out of
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