Friday, October 1, 2021

Friedrich David Heinrich Zimmer 1862 - 1931

Friedrich David Heinrich Zimmer
(born July 14, 1862 in Graben ; † February 17, 1931 in Leipzig ) was a German ancient orientalist and Semiticist and one of the founders of ancient oriental studies in Germany. 

Zimmer grew up near Karlsruhe , but then attended in Saarbrücken secondary school . From 1881 to 1883 he studied Protestant theology , especially the Old Testament, at the University of Leipzig with Franz Delitzsch . From his second semester he also studied with his son Friedrich Delitzsch Assyriology . In 1883 he studied for a semester at the University of Berlin with Eberhard Schrader . He then studied at the University of Erlangen , where he completed his theology studies in 1885 with the ecclesiastical examination. In 1885 he was awarded Dr. phil. PhD. In 1885 he began his vicariate in Auenheim near Kehl , which he briefly interrupted in mid-1886 to work as a repetitionist at the theological faculty in Erlangen. In 1887 he got a position at the University Library of Strasbourg where he also studied with Theodor Nöldeke . In 1889 he completed his habilitation at the University of Königsberg for Semitic languages ​​with a thesis on nominal formation in Assyrian.

From 1890 Zimmer worked as a private lecturer at the University of Halle , from 1894 as an associate professor for Assyriology at the Ancient Near Eastern Institute of the University of Leipzig, succeeding Friedrich Delitzsch. In 1899 he became a at the University of Breslau regular associate professor for Semitic languages , again as the successor to Delitzsch, before he became a full professor for oriental languages ​​at the in 1900 University of Leipzig . It was here that the Leipzig Semitic Institute was founded . In 1929 he retired. Since 1900 he was a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences . In 1918 he was elected a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . [1]

Heinrich Zimmer was the first German ancient orientalist who offered his students an introduction to Hittite - shortly after it was deciphered by Bedřich Hrozný . In addition, he particularly promoted the later Hittite scientist Johannes Friedrich and worked with Emil Forrer .(


Documents related to Friedrich David Heinrich Zimmern:


Friederich David Heinrich Zimmern birth 1862 film 102550540 page 663


Ulrich Neitzel:


No. 20: Im Jahr 1862 den 14 Juli Abends halb eilf Uhr wurde dahier geboren und den 6. August Morgens eilf Uhr durch Emil Frommel, Pfarrer in Carlsruhe, dahier getauft: Friedrich David Heinrich, ein ehelicher Sohn des Heinrich Conr: Joh: Zimmern, evangel. Pfarrer dahier und der Ida geb: Reichard. Pathen: 1. Friedrich Emil Reichard, Kaufmann in Gubweiler im Elsaß. 2. Wilhelm Merten, ev. Pfarrer in Friedrichsthal. 3. Frau Dr. Regina Julia Jolberg, Wittwe und Hausmutter der Kleinkinderlehrerin-Anstalt in Nonnenweier. 4. Fräulein Maria Härter, ledige Tochter des Pfarrers Härter in Straßburg. 5. Pfarrer Carl Wilhelmi in Hochstetten. Zeugen: die Pathen Wilhelmi und Merten

Graben den 6 Aug. 1862  Zimmern, Pfarrer

(rechte Spalte:) 40, 12. Juli, Zimmern, Friedrich David Heinrich


No. 20: In the year1862, 14th of July 10:30 p.m. in the evening was born here and the 6th of August 11 a.m. in the morning baptized here by Emil Frommel, pastor in Carlsruhe: Friedrich David Heinrich, a legitimate son of Heinrich Conrad Johann Zimmern, lutheran pastor here and of Ida née Reichard. Baptismal sponsors: 1. Friedrich Emil Reichard, merchant in Gubweiler in Alsace. 2. Wilhelm Merten, Lutheran pastor in Friedrichsthal. 3. Dr. Regina Julia Jolberg, widow and matron of the infant nurse school in Nonnenweier. 4. Miss Maria Härter, unmarried daughter of the pastor Härter in Straßburg. 5. pastor Carl Wilhelmi in Hochstetten. Witnesses: the godparents Wilhelmi and Merten.

Graben den 6 Aug. 1862 Zimmern, pastor

(right column:) 40, July 12, Zimmern, Friedrich David Heinrich

My Comments:

The baptizing pastor Emil Frommel was a friend of Heinrich Zimmern from his study time in Heidelberg. In the Zimmern eulogy we find this passage:

Thus he [Heinrich Zimmern] entered the seminary in Heidelberg in the fall of 1849. On his very first day there, he felt particularly drawn to a highly gifted, amiable student with whom he soon entered into a closer relationship and remained intimately connected for the rest of his life. It was Emil Frommel, with whom he was later even more closely united by family ties. The two friends prepared together for their theological examination, which took place in Karlsruhe in December 1850.

The sponsor Regina Julia Jolberg was born Zimmern; she was the sister of Heinrich Zimmern's father. There is a German Wikipedia entry about her: It says that the Zimmern family was originally jewish and belonged to the wealthy bourgeoisie of Heidelberg. She as well as her younger brother Sigmund, Heinrichs father, converted to christianity as adults (Wikipedia entry for Sigmund Zimmern: Regina Jolberg founded several nursing schools and deaconess houses (see, where also her nephew Heinrich was involved:

For decades, however, he devoted himself with special love and devotion to the affairs of the institution for the care of small children in Nonnenweier. His close relationship to the founder of this blessed institution, the venerable Mother Jolberg, prompted him to turn his warm interest to it. 

(from Heinrichs Zimmern's eulogy)

This institution still exists:

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