Gymnastics father, gymnastics rascal, reformer, nationalist, Napoleon hater, gymnastics "daddy", chauvinist, national hero, anti-Semite, Democrat eater, sportsman ...

"The gymnastics father had something for everyone, and what just fits posterity with its opposing views is exploited and Jahn is presented as the model of it."

(Workers' gymnastics leader Karl Frey, 1906)


All political systems of the 19th and 20th centuries have made use of the historical person. Jahn and the reception associated with him are in a certain sense symbolic of the biography of the Germans. His work is connected with questions that still reach into the present and whose answers are constantly being renegotiated. However, Jahn's topicality results not only from the social need for historical lines of impact, but also from the attractiveness of this dazzling, legendary, often contradictory and therefore controversial personality, in whose writings everyone can find a quotable sentence that proves their own interpretation and ideological position.

Jahn polarizes! Often, however, it is not the content at all that stimulates interest in Jahn, but rather the imagery of this association-laden personality that enables an emotionally charged contemplation. The Jahn image is therefore more often "image" than content.





Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was born on 11.8.1778 in Lanz (Prignitz). was born the son of a village priest, attended grammar schools in Salzwedel and Berlin, and studied mainly history and linguistics in Halle, Greifswald and other universities. From 1803 to 1805 he worked as a tutor in Mecklenburg.


The memorial gymnasium with crypt was consecrated in 1894.


For the establishment of gymnastics and the construction of the first public gymnastics area, Jahn is still honored today.


Jahndenkmal in the hall of honour. Created around 1903