Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig, 1778-1852, German patriot. A high school teacher in Berlin, he was active in efforts to free Germany from Napoleonic rule. He organized the Turnverein, a gymnastic association, to build strength and fellowship among young people of all classes. The gymnastic groups Jahn fostered became centers for nationalism and for the movement to unify Germany. After serving (1813-15) in the war against Napoleon, Jahn continued his work until his political agitation caused his imprisonment (1819-25). Jahn, who was influential in the organization of the Burschenschaft movement, which promoted nationalistic ideals among German university students, was also a delegate to the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848.

(born Aug. 11, 1778, Lanz, Brandenburg, Prussia—died Oct. 15, 1852, Freyburg an der Unstrut, Prussian Saxony) German educator who founded the Turnverein (gymnastic club) movement in Germany. As a teacher in Berlin from 1809, he began a program of outdoor exercise for students. He invented the parallel bars, rings, balance beam, horse, and horizontal bar, all of which have become standard equipment for gymnastics. In 1819 he came under suspicion for his fervent nationalism and strong influence on youth. He was arrested and imprisoned for almost a year; his gymnastic club closed, and a national ban was placed on gymnastics (lifted in 1842). He was awarded the Iron Cross for military bravery (1840) and served in the national parliament (1848–49).

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