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April 27 in German History

April 27

Feast day of St. Peter Canisius. Peter de Hondt (St. Peter Canisius) was born in Nimwegen (Germany at that time, now the Netherlands). In 1536 he began his studies at the University of Cologne. In 1543 he became the first German to enter the order of Jesuits. He founded the first Jesuit house in Germany in Cologne. During his lifetime he founded many other Jesuit centers in Germany including Ingolstadt and Prague. He taught at a number of universities and for a time was the rector (president) of the University of Ingolstadt. He was a prolific writer and preacher. He was active in several pivotal assemblies in the early struggles between Protestantism and Catholicism. He was an advisor to the Bishop of Augsburg at the Council of Trent. At that Council he met and was personally instructed by the founder of his order, Ignatius. He became a leader in the “counterreformation” in Germany. His most noted work of this period was his “German Catechism”. Canisius died in Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1597. Canisius was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI and named a Doctor of the Church. He is sometimes called the “Second Apostle of Germany” (Boniface being the first).

April 27, 1733

Birth of Josef Gottlieb Kölreuter (1733-1806) in Sulz, Germany. Kölreuter war a botanist who pioneered the study of plant hybrids. Kölreuter completed his doctorate in medicine at the University of Tübingen. He became a professor of natural history in Karlsruhe. In his work with plants he was the first to use artificial fertilization. He was also the first to cross plants of different species.

April 27, 1764

Birth of Johann Friedrich Cotta in Tübingen, Germany. Cotta was a publisher who founded the journal Die Horen with the classic writer Friedrich von Schiller in 1794. Cotta also published many of the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Christoph Martin Wieland, A. W. Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck, Jean Paul, Heinrich von Kleist, Wilhelm and Alexander Humboldt, Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Hegel.

April 27, 1848

Birth of the younger brother of “Mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria (Neuschwanstein Castle), Otto (1848-1916), in Munich. Otto had been insane since 1872. When his brother, the king, Ludwig II died in 1886, Otto became the king, despite his insanity, under the regency of his uncle, Luitpold. He remained king until his cousin Ludwig III declared himself king on November 5, 1913.

April 27, 1938

Death of Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, Germany. Husserl was the philosopher who founded phenomenology. Husserl studied at the Universities of Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna. Having earned his doctorate at the University of Vienna he studied further with the philosopher Franz Brentano. Husserl taught at the Universities of Halle and Göttingen. At Göttingen he worked with Max Scheler and Wilhelm Dilthey. In 1916 he accepted a position at the University of Freiburg. Among Husserl’s books are Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie (1913), and Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie: Eine Einleitung in die phänomenologische Philosophie (1936).

April 27, 1987

The U. S. Justice Department bars the President of Austria Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, because of his suspicious actions as a soldier in WWII.

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