Notable natives

Kristan von Mühlhausen

† 3. September 1295

Kristan descended from a wealthy family of high-ranking imperial civil servants. In 1271 he joined the German Order (Deutscher Orden). From 1272 he served as a pastor in the Altstadtkirche St. Blasii. In the German Order he became Komtur (commander) of the regional administrative district of the Order around Mühlhausen called Altstadtkommende. He rose to be the Bishop of Samland (Königsberg) in 1276. However, he kept Thuringia and Mühlhausen as his favoured residences. He was a suffragan bishop (Weihbischof) of the Diocese of Mainz. He is regarded to have initiated the building of a new Church and of the Annenkapelle (St. Ann’s Chapel) in Mühlhausen.

His preserved tombstone can be found in the chancel of the Church of St. Blasius. A square in Mühlhausen is named after him.

Thomas Müntzer

vor 1490 - † 27. Mai 1525 (executed)

Thomas Müntzer came to Mühlhausen from Allstedt in 1524.

Before that, he had studied in Leipzig and Frankfurt/Oder and had been engaged in pastoral activity in several places. In September 1524 attempts to change the political situation in Mühlhausen failed and Müntzer was expelled from the imperial free-city. In February 1525 he was back in Mühlhausen and at St. Mary's Church he preached for the return to "The Law of God". Müntzer became the spiritual leader of the radical reformist wing in the Peasants' War. After the military defeat of the rebelling peasants near Frankenhausen he was captured, tortured and finally executed outside Mühlhausen.

A street and a school are named after him. The memorial plaque at his house in Bei der Marienkirche 9, two monuments and the "Thomas-Müntzer-Gesellschaft e.V." commemorate him.

Heinrich Pfeiffer

† 27. Mai 1525 (executed)

Inspired by reformation ideas, Heinrich Pfeiffer fled the monastery of Reifenstein in 1521. His preaching in his hometown Mühlhausen intensified the ongoing political tensions in the city. He was expelled from Mühlhausen but returned soon. He became Thomas Müntzer's associate in August 1524. Having been expelled again, he attempted to have his reformist ideas printed in Nuremburg but was denied. In spring 1525, he and Müntzer became the leaders of the revolts in Mühlhausen and Thuringia. He was captured and beheaded next to Müntzer.
 
There is a Pfeiffer monument in Mühlhausen. A street is named after him.

Johann Rudolf und Johann Georg Ahle

* 24. Dezember 1625 - † 9. Juli 1673 / * 12. Juni 1651 - † 2. Dezember 1706

After studies in Göttingen and Erfurt Johann Rudolf Ahle became cantor (Kantor) at St. Andreas in Erfurt. In 1654 he was appointed organist in his home town of Mühlhausen. Starting in 1655 he served as a member of the town council and as early as in 1673 he was elected their mayor.

Johann Georg Ahle became the organist at the Divi Blasii Church, thus becoming his father's successor. In 1680 he was declared poet laureate by the Emperor.

As recognised organists and composers, father and son solidified Mühlhausen's reputation as a city of church music. Johann Sebastian Bach felt attracted by this reputation and succeeded them to the post of organist.
A street is named after them.

Johann Sebastian Bach

* 21. März 1685 - † 18. Juli 1750

Following his organ recital in Mühlhausen on 24 April 1707, Johann Sebastian Bach was appointed organist at St Blasius’ on 15 June of that same year. In Mühlhausen he composed well-known cantatas such as "Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr zu Dir" (I call you from the depth, My Lord; BWV 131) and "Gott ist mein König" (God is my King; BWV 71). These are typical for his time in Mühlhausen often referred to as the period of his "early masterpieces". In 1959 the organ builder Schuke revived Bach's ideas and built a new organ for Mühlhausen.
 
On 25 June 1708 Bach wrote a petition to be relieved of his duties for a number of reasons. However, he remained a friend of the town all his life.

A square at the Divi Blasii Church bears his name. A memorial plaque at its west porch commemorates his work in Mühlhausen. A Bach sculpture was raised in front of the church in 2001.

Wilhelm Gottlieb Tilesius von Tilenau

* 17. Juli 1769 - † 17. Mai 1857

After studies of medicine, natural sciences and philosophy Tilesius was appointed professor of natural history at Moscow University in 1802. He took part in the first Russian world sailing tour and documented its findings. His work was honoured by admission to the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. In 1814 he returned to his birthplace Mühlhausen. By illustrating the "Chronicle" of his uncle Christian Gottlieb Altenburg he ensured an enduring reputation for himself.

A school (Gymnasium) is named after him and a street in Mühlhausen is named after his family dynasty.

 

Carl Theodor Gier

 * 9. November 1796 - † 10. November 1856

Gier studied medicine and law and joined the German student association Burschenschaft dedicated to liberation from Napoleonic rule. In 1821 his hometown Mühlhausen appointed him a member of the Magistrat (municipal council). Although he was its youngest member, he was elected mayor in 1829.
Consistently advocating bourgeois-liberal ideas, he joined the Frankfurt National Assembly (Frankfurter Nationalversammlung) and opposed Prussian reactionary forces. Because of this, he was suspended as mayor by the king in 1849. However, he was eventually restored to his post of mayor. When he was re-elected in 1856, the king did not approve. Gier died soon after.
A street is named after him. In 1996 the citizens of Mühlhausen donated a gravestone that was put up at the Alter Friedhof in front of St. Mary’s Church.

Friedrich August Stüler

* 28. Januar 1800 - † 18. März 1865

After technical training and construction work Stüler passed his exam for the title of Master Builder (Baumeister) with distinction. Promoted by the famous Prussian architect and designer Karl Friedrich Schinkel he completed his studies to become an architect. His outstanding skills as well as his contacts to Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, were the basis of a successful career: 1829 building supervisor at the court, 1831 Court Building Counsellor and director of the committee in charge of the construction of the royal palace, 1842 "Court Architect". In Stüler's architectural style he always situated his buildings - castles and churches etc. in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg - naturally in the surrounding landscape. Among his masterworks are the buildings of the Academy of Science in Budapest and in Berlin the New Museum (Neues Museum), the National Gallery

Johann August Roebling

* 12. Juni 1806 - † 22. Juni 1869

Roebling had studied engineering and architecture and had close contacts to Friedrich August Slüter, his fellow countryman from Mühlhausen. He attended lectures given by the philosopher Hegel before he went to work as a civil servant for the Prussian state authorities for a couple of years. Not seeing any career advancement for himself he emigrated to the USA in 1831.
There he could successfully use his special skills in the rapidly growing field of public engineering and transport projects. His invention of the wire rope suspension bridge made it possible to build connections and spans stronger than any seen up to that time. The bridge across the Niagara Falls (1855; 458 m span) and finally Brooklyn Bridge (1883, 487 m span) in New York City - his most famous success - are but two examples. He died in 1869 after an accident. His son Washington finished the bridge.
One street in Mühlhausen is named after J. A. Roebling, and the house where he was born (today Röblingstr. 5) carries a memorial plaque.

Erika Riemann

* 25.12.1930

The author Erika Riemann - born in Mühlhausen in 1930 - describes in her book "Die Schleife an Stalins Bart" (Hamburg, Hoffmann und Campe Verlag, 2002) eight agonising years of her youth between 1945 and 1954 when she was imprisoned behind thick walls.
Her crime: She defaced a big portrait of Stalin that had hung in the newly opened school in Brückenstraße in Mühlhauen (today Johann-August-Röbling-Schule für Gesundheitswesen) by drawing a bow on his moustache..
For many years Erika Riemann was reluctant to share her experiences in the prisons of Sachsenhausen, Bautzen and Hoheneck publically - but eventually she felt compelled to tell her story.

Lange Jahre hat Erika Riemann die schlimmen Erlebnisse in den Gefängnissen Sachsenhausen, Bautzen und Hoheneck für sich behalten - damit sollte Schluss sein.

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