October 31, 994
Death of St. Wolfgang (924 – 994) St. Wolfgang was born in Pfullingen, Germany (in the modern state of Baden-Württemberg) in 924 to a noble family. He studied at the monastic school of Reichenau and the cathedral school of Würzburg. In 956 he became a teacher at the cathedral school of Trier. He entered the Benedictine order in and was ordained a priest in 968. He was then sent as an missionary to the Magyars (modern Hungary). In 972 he was made the Bishop of Regensburg. In his capacity as Bishop in Regensburg he counseled and taught the man who would become Emperor Heinrich II (Holy Roman Empire—Heinrich was emperor from 1014 – 1024). He was very active in the development and reformation of a number of monasteries. It is reported that during his lifetime he worked miracles of healing.
Later in life St. Wolfgang became a hermit for a period of 7 years on the Lake now called the Lake of St. Wolfgang (modern Austria) (Wolfgangsee). He died in 994 at Pupping, Austria He was entombed in Regensburg at the monastery of St. Emmeram. His tomb was regarded early on as a holy place and miracles were reported worked there. He was canonized in 1052 by Pope Leo IX.
In German folklore rain on St. Wolfgang’s day (October 31) is regarded as promising a good year. (An St. Wolfgang Regen verspricht ein Jahr voll Segen.)
October 31, 1517
Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the wooden doors of the Hofkirche in Wittenberg. The church still stands, though the original doors are gone. The doors have been replaced with bronze doors with the 95 theses embossed onto them.
October 31, 1815
Birth of Karl Weierstrass in Ostenfelde, Germany. While working in essential isolation from other mathematicians, as a high school teacher from 1842-1854, Weierstrass spent his lonely evenings working on the theory of mathematical functions. Suddenly in 1854 he was able to publish an article on Abelian functions which shook the world of mathematicians noticeably. He was given an honorary doctorate and an appointment at the Royal Polytechnic in Berlin. He had essentially worked out the modern theory of functions. Today he is even called the “father of modern analysis”.
October 31, 1817
Birth of Heinrich Graetz in Xions, Germany. Graetz wrote the first standard work on the history of the Jews. Graetz taught at the seminary in Breslau (now in Poland). The title of his 11 volume history is Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart.
October 31, 1831
Birth of Carl von Voit in Amberg, Germany. Voit was a physiologist who made significant contributions to the understanding of human and animal metabolism. His 11 years of experiments determined the basic structure of metabolism. He was a professor at the University of Munich.
October 31, 1835
Birth of Adolf von Baeyer in Berlin, Germany. Baeyer was a chemist who synthesized indigo ad phenolphtalein. He won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1905. He succeeded Justus von Liebig in the chair of chemistry at the University of Munich in 1875. Among his many discoveries was barbituric acid, the generative compound of barbiturates.
October 31, 1939
Death of Otto Rank (original name Otto Rosenfeld) in New York City (born in Vienna, Austria). Rank was the psychologist who applied psychoanalysis to the analysis of legend, myth and art. Within this framework he wrote Der Künstler in 1907. He also wrote Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden (1909) and Das Inzest-Motiv in Dichtung und Sage (1912). In his book Das Trauma der Geburt und seine Bedeutung für die Psychoanalyse (1924) he linked the trauma of birth and various later neuroses.
October 31, 1943
Death of Max Reinhardt (originally Max Goldmann) in New York. He was one of the founders of the Salzburg Festival. As a theater director Reinhardt was abroad when the Nazis came to power. He remained away and in 1938 came to the United States.
October 31, 1949
The Federal Republic of Germany becomes a member of the OEEC.
October 31, 1979
The expanded Lomé Agreement is signed between the European Community (EG, Europäische Gemeinschaft, now called the Europäische Union) and 58 developing nations.