Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Mansfeld-Suedharz’

Mansfeld: Martin Luther’s childhood home

Above: View of the town from Mansfeld Castle; numbered labels are described below.

I approach the ledge, and what appears is a typical yet modest German town: red roofs, a church steeple, green pastures, and endless hills rolling to the horizon. But this is no typical town. Five centuries ago, a young lad grew up in this town and ran through these streets. Though the area was dominated by mining activity, Dad was grooming the boy to become a lawyer, but the latter would make a life-changing decision. How was the boy to know his decision and subsequent work would eventually change religion, governance, literature, and culture in Europe.

Mansfeld is a town of about 9000 people in the southwest corner of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The town is dominated by the Mansfeld Castle situated on a rock spur above town. With origins to regional nobles, first mention of the town in official documents occurred in the late-10th century, erection of the castle’s foundations began in the 11th-century, and full charter rights of a city were granted to Mansfeld in the early 15th-century.

In 1484 one year after he was born and baptized in Eisleben, Martin Luder’s parents, Hans and Margarethe (née Lindemann), moved the family to Mansfeld, 10 kilometres to the northwest of Eisleben. Hans Luder earned good wages in a region rich with mineral ore and covered with mines. Hans first worked in the quarries, and worked up to managing smelting furnaces, and eventually, to owning individual mine shafts and smelters. Martin wandered these streets until he was 13 years of age when he departed in 1497 for further education. His parents stayed in Mansfeld for the rest of their lives, whereas Martin moved to Magdeburg, Eisenach, Erfurt, and settling in Wittenberg.

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Petrikirche, Taufkirche, Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Tracing Martin Luther’s steps in 16 German cities

Above/featured: “Luther war hier. // Luther was here.” Eisleben, Germany (HL, 27 Oct 2016).

In pre-teen years, I attended a Catholic elementary school by weekday, and a missions-oriented Protestant church by weekend. I already had multiple questions running around my pre-scientist brain, like electrons appearing and dissipating in a fuzzy halo. When various disparate elements began to settle with few satisfying answers, I left behind the churches and their respective religions. But one thing that’s remained is my love of history. History has never been boring, because I carry the past (as offspring of immigrants), and I’m determined to bring history’s lessons into the present.

Even in youth, I had to ask: why was one set of churches called “Protestant”? What was under protest? How did one man help spark a movement that would help merge and create a version of a language that continues today, that would bring accessible means to literacy for the public, and that would begin to change rule by religion to rule by law?

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Museum Luthers Elternhaus, Martin Luther, Luther Country, Luther 2017, Reformation 2017, Reformation 500, Mansfeld, Mansfeld-Suedharz, Mansfelder Land, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Luther’s parents house in Mansfeld

In 1484 one year after Martin was born and baptized in Eisleben, his parents, Hans Luder and Margarethe (née Lindemann) Luder, moved the entire family to the town of Mansfeld, 10 kilometres to the northwest of Eisleben. The family moved into a region rich with mineral ore and extensively covered with mines. Martin roamed these streets until he was 13 years of age when he departed for Magdeburg to further his education. His parents stayed in Mansfeld for the rest of their lives; Martin Luther1 moved onto Eisenach, Erfurt, and eventually to Wittenberg.

To provide an account of Martin’s childhood and his parents’ lives in Mansfeld, a museum was built across the street from his parents’ house, and the Museum Luthers Elternhaus opened on 14 June 2014. Both Mansfeld and Eisleben are located in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.

•   More in English: The Luther Connection (Visit Luther)Mansfeld (Germany Tourism)
•   Museum Luthers Elternhaus (in German): Stiftung LuthergedenkstättenLutherstädte Eisleben Mansfeld
•   Public transport: bus 420 Eisleben-Mansfeld-Hettstedt (VGS Südharzlinie), from “Eisleben Bahnhof” to “Mansfeld, Oberstadt”

1 In his thirties, Martin changed his surname from “Luder” to “Luther”, because the noun “Luder” had unsavory meanings and “Luther” was similar to the Greek word “Eleutherius“; see also Deutschlandfunk interview with Dr. Jürgen Udolph on 9 May 2016 in German.

Museum Luthers Elternhaus, Luther Parents House Museum, Mansfeld, Mansfeld-Lutherstadt, Mansfeld-Suedharz, Mansfelder Land, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Museum Luthers Elternhaus (Luther’s Parents House Museum): Illuminated busts of “Dad” and “Mom” (Hans and Margarethe Luder) are in the background.


My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the town of Mansfeld, and Anja Ulrich (Tourist-Information Lutherstadt Eisleben und Stadt Mansfeld e.V.) for her time as guide in both Eisleben and Mansfeld. I made the photos above on 27 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-989. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale).

Wittenberger Marktplatz, Rathaus, Lutherdenkmal, Stadtkirche Sankt Marien, Marktplatz, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Inside Saxony-Anhalt for Luther 2017 and Bauhaus 2019

I continued a consecutive annual streak going back to 2001.

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once every year since 2001. I’d already claimed another consecutive year with a short stint in the spring, but autumn “at home” in Germany* solidly confirmed a 16th consecutive year in the country.

As motivation to trace Martin Luther’s footsteps for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 and to learn more about the impact of the Bauhaus art and design movement for the centenary in 2019, I embarked on a press-trip in autumn 2016 to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt to visit these five cities:

•   Dessau – Bauhaus headquarters from 1925-1932;
•   Eisleben – where Luther was born and where he died;
•   Halle an der Saale – Luther’s death mask and hands;
•   Mansfeld (Südharz) – Luther’s formative years in his parents’ house; and
•   Wittenberg – where Luther spent a large part of his career.

The following glimpses offer a preview of my upcoming coverage for each of the five towns.

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