The New International Encyclopædia/Wichern, Johann Heinrich

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WICHERN, K′ẽrn, Johann Heinrich (1808-81). The founder of home missions in Germany. He was born at Hamburg, studied theology at Göttingen and Berlin, and, settling in his native city, devoted himself to missionary work among the poor. He started a Sunday-school which proved very successful, and in 1833 opened his Rauhes Haus (q.v.). Wichern traveled through Germany, preaching and establishing hospitals, schools, homes, and rescue stations. Through his exertions the Protestant synod at Wittenberg in 1848 appointed a central committee for home missions. In 1851 the Prussian Government made him inspector of prisons and houses of correction, and in 1858 general superintendent. In 1872 disease forced him to retire from office. He published: Die innere Mission der deutschen evangelischen Kirche (1849); Die Behandlung der Verbrecher und entlassenen Sträflinge (1853); Der Dienst der Frauen in der Kirche (1858).