The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 63, #1, 1994 - Erwin Weber


Martin Luther came to Magdeburg, located in central Germany, on several occasions. In 1497, his father, Hans Luther, wanted his son to become a lawyer and marry into an affluent family, have children, and earn a living with his head, rather than his hands. For this reason, he sent Martin to the famous Latin school in Magdeburg to learn Latin, the language of the scholars. Hans knew, the only road to a successful career was through education. In 1516, Luther inspected the Augustinian monastery in Magdeburg and asked for revisions and reforms. On June 24, 1524, Luther was invited by the townspeople to speak at St. John's Church erected a century earlier. As a result every church in Magdeburg became Protestant.

This article deals with the 1000-year-old history of Magdeburg, from its beginning in 805 AD as a tiny fishing village on the banks of the Elbe River in Saxony, to its fortification by Charlemagne, a bastion under king Heinrich I, the erection of a cathedral begun in 1008 and completed 300 years later. Following the Reformation, the terrible destruction of Magdeburg occured during the 30-Year's War, when the city was burned to the ground on March 7, 1531, and 20,000 of its 30,000 inhabitants lost their lives. On January 16, 1945, Allied planes destroyed 80% of the city; and in 1945 Magdeburg came under the Communist regime and 17,000,000 Germans were locked up behind the Iron Curtain. The fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1989 brought Magdeburg into the free world.