The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig
JAHN, Friedrich Ludwig, German patriot: b. Lanz, 11 Aug. 1778; d. Freyburg, 15 Oct. 1852. He was educated at Halle, Göttingen and Greifswald, paying special attention to theology and philology. He served for a time in the Prussian army and in 1809 removed to Berlin, where he became a teacher. To restore the morale of his young countrymen, then at its lowest ebb after the Napoleonic conquest, he hit upon the idea of practising gymnastics. The result was the first Turnplatz, opened in 1811, and which was soon attended by 1,000 of the youth of the German capital. Branches were soon formed in other cities, but the reactionary policy of the rulers in that day soon put an end to the movement, it being feared that it had a political or revolutionary significance. Jahn was arrested in 1819 and the Turnplatz suppressed. He was liberated in 1825, but was never after fully free and his remaining years were spent in comparative obscurity. The Turnvereine of present-day Germany is modeled closely on the designs of Jahn. In 1859 a monument was erected to his memory at Freyburg.