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May 12 in German History
May 12, 1237
The crusading order "The
Sword Brothers" is incorporated into the order, "The
Teutonic Knights" by decree of Pope Gregory. Both orders
had been involved in the crusade against the pagan Prussians.
It was due to defeats and weakening of the Sword Brothers that
they were merged with the Teutonic Knights.
May 12, 1670
Birth of Augustus II (August der Starke) in
Dresden, Germany. Augustus held the titles, Elector of Saxony
(after 1694) and King of Poland (after 1696).
May 12, 1856
Birth of Andreas Schimper in Strasbourg,
France. Schimper, a German botanist, was the first to divide the
continents into floral regions, Pflanzen-Geographie auf
physiologischer Grundlage (1898). He completed his
doctorate at the University of Strasbourg and taught at the
universities of Bonn and Basel. Schimper determined the role
of starch grains in chloroplasts, a term which he coined.
May 12, 1857
Birth of Oskar Bolza in Bergzabern,
Germany. Bolza was a mathematician who contributed to the
calculus of variations, Lectures on the Calculus of
Variations (1904), he developed the "problem of
Bolza". Bolza was educated at the University of
Göttingen. From 1893 to 1910 he taught at the University of
Chicago. In 1910 he returned to Germany and taught at the
University of Freiburg.
May 12, 1803
Birth of the chemist, Justus von Liebig, in
Darmstadt, Germany. Von Liebig studied with Karl Wilhelm
Gottlob Kastner at the universities of Bonn and Erlangen. Von
Liebig became a teacher at the University of Giessen, where
he established the first laboratory to teach the methods of
chemical research. That laboratory became the model for
chemical education worldwide. In 1852 von Liebig took a
position at the University of Munich. His greatest
contributions to chemistry were in the areas of organic
chemistry and agricultural chemistry. He founded and
published in the journal Annalen der Pharmacie which
later changed its name to Annalen der Chemie.
May 12, 1845
Death of August Wilhem von Schlegel in
Bonn, Germany. Schlegel was a scholar and a critic. He was a
translator of the dramas of William Shakespeare. He was a
leading intellectual of the Romantic movement in Germany. He
was a professor of literature at the University of Bonn.
May 12, 1874
Birth of Clemens von Pirquet in Vienna,
Austria. A physician, Pirquet originated a skin test for
tuberculosis, the Pirquet test. He gained his medical degree
from the University of Graz.
May 12, 1892
Birth of Fritz Kortner (original name
Fritz Kohn) in Vienna, Austria. Kortner was a theater actor
and director. Kortner established his reputation as a actor
in Berlin on the stage and in films. He fled Germany when the
Nazis came to power and spent the war years in the United
States. He returned to Germany in 1949 and earned a
reputation as an innovative theater director.
May 12, 1949
End of the Berlin Blockade. The Berlin blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under allied control. Their aim was to force the western powers to allow the Soviet zone to start supplying Berlin with food, fuel, and aid, thereby giving the Soviets practical control over the entire city.
In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in West Berlin. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4700 tons of necessities daily, such as fuel and food, to the Berliners.
May 12, 1957
Death of Erich von Stroheim in Paris,
France. Von Stroheim was a film director and actor. He moved
to the United States in 1914. His first film was Blind
Husbands. Other notable films are Greed, The Merry
Widow, and Queen Kelly. He ultimately gave up
directing and returned to Europe as an actor.
May 12, 1965
The Federal Republic of Germany (West
Germany) announces the beginning of diplomatic relations with
Israel. Ambassadors are exchanged starting on August 11.)
May 12, 1970
Death of Nelly (Leonie) Sachs in Stockholm,
Sweden (born in Berlin, Germany). Sach's poetry and drama
convey the suffering and pain of German Jews. She lived in
Berlin until 1940, when she learned that she was soon to be
taken to a concentration camp and was able to escape to
Sweden. It was at that time that she began to write poetry in
serious fashion. She was awarded the German Publishers' Peace
Prize in 1965 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966. On
the occasion of the receipt of the Nobel Prize she commented
"I represent the tragedy of the Jewish People." Her
most noted play is, Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden
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