Birth of Johann Krieger

28th December, 1651

In the Bavarian City of Nuremberg, the inspirational German keyboard composer Johann Krieger was born on this day three hundred and sixty-one years ago.
Contempories Johann Mattheson and George Frideric Handel praised his published collections Sechs musicalische Partien and Anmuthige Clavier-Übung for the rich variety of their harpsichord suites, organ toccatas, fugues and ricercars. Hundreds more were lost when Zittau was destroyed by fire in 1757, during the Seven Years' War. 

But fortunately for us some works survive, and we -like the composer of the Messiah - can still experience the fierce joy of his incredible organ music. And he shall reign for ever and ever, Hallelujah!

Release of the Weibertreu Castle

December 21, 1140

Eight hundred and seventy-two years ago today, the army of Welf VI released the Weibertreu castle thereby ending the long siege of Weinsberg (a town in Southern Germany). The womenfolk of the castle were granted free departure and allowed to take what they could carry on their backs. They carried down their men, and so saved their lives, becoming known as treue Weiber ("loyal women").
The merciful victor was none other than Welf's own brother Conrad Hohenstaufen (pictured). And the siege was best understood as a climatic event in the long struggle between the Staufers and the Welfs which was brought to a diplomatic conclusion in a peace agreement signed in Frankfurt in May 1142. But the conflict eventually resumed and a decision was forced at the Battle of Flochberg in 1150. 

 Although Conrad III was the first King of Germany of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, he was never crowned emperor and he continued to style himself "King of the Romans" until his death in 1152.

King Väinö renounces the Finnish throne

14 December 1918

Today, ninety-four years ago, King Väinö I renounced the Finnish throne after just two months. It was the end to an abortive attempt by the Royal House of Hohenzollern to establish a monarchy following Finland's independence from the former Russian Empire.

Because Väinö was in fact a German Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse (actually the brother-in-law of Kaiser William II) who had been elected by the Parliament of Finland prior to the collapse of the Second Reich. He took the regnal name of Väinö to show his support to cause of Finnish independence from foreign rule. 

However after the ending of the monarchies in Imperial Germany the arrangement was quickly considered untenable by influential Finns of the time and indeed by Frederick himself. All three countries would endure civil war before they finally became Republicans.

Death of Wolfgang Paul

7th December, 1993 

"The undersigned nuclear researchers are deeply concerned with the plans to equip the Bundeswehr with nuclear weapons" 

One of the notable signatories of the 1957 Göttingen Manifesto was the Nobel Peace Prize winning German Physicist Wolfgang Paul who died on this day in 1993.

During World War II, he researched isotope separation, which is necessary to produce fissionable material for use in making nuclear weapons. For several years he was private lecturer at the University of Göttingen with Hans Kopfermann. 

He became professor for Experimental Physics at the University of Bonn and stayed there from 1952 until his death in 1993. For two years from 1965 until 1967 he was director of the Division of Nuclear Physics at CERN.