The surgeon Johann Andreas Eisenbarth (1663-1727)

Germany is rich in celebrities. Apart from those who have acquired religious or military merit, it is a surprising fact that of the well-known representatives of the people only a few have remained really popular after their death.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Till Eulenspiegel, Baron von Münchausen, Störtebecker and ... Eisenbarth are among the few who are loved by the people, the few which writers, poets, composers and visual artists deal with. In the line of these big, really popular Germans Eisenbarth, who was born inOberviechtach, is the only Upper Palatinate. Who does not know the song "I'm Doctor Eisenbarth ..."? The song has kept alive the memory of Eisenbarth throughout the centuries and contributed much to his popularity.

Doktor Eisenbarth

The travelling surgeon from Oberviechtach in the Oberpfalz in Bavaria was a specialist in cataract, fracture and calculus operations. His contemporaries praised his skilfulness. He invented surgical instruments (cataract needle and polypus hook among others).Numerous princes and kings bestowed on him privileges and high titles.

More than seventy years after Dr. Eisenbarth´s death, was composed, the song “My name is Doctor Eisenbarth“ "Ich bin der Doktor Eisenbarth" reviling him and his cures, but, at the same time, making him popular all over the world.

After the song Eisenbarth was a quack whose harsh cures led to many patients' untimely death, an avaricious braggart who ought to have been behind bars because of his incapability. Therefore for a long time the people believed that Eisenbarth had never lived but rather was a poetic legendary figure. However Dr. Eisenbarth was converted back into a historical personality, as in 1837 Eisenbarth's gravestone was found in the cemetery in Hannoversch Münden. On it two putti hold the coat of arms which Eisenbarth had designed for himself and which he also used in his seal. It is a speaking coat of arms, expressing the etymology of the name, as the average people would see it. Thus the shield figure, an ostrich, holds a horseshoe in its beak, the horseshoe hanging down on both sides like a beard; out of the iron shield helmet grows a bearded man with a crown. Below the coat of armes the following inscription can be read on his gravestone:

"Here rests in God the formerly highly noble, apt world famous noble man, Joh. Andreas Eisenbart [Now the numerous titles he was gived by the King and Earls are stated:] Königl. Grosbritannischer und Churfürstl. Braunschw. Lüneb. ·brivilegirte Landarzt wie auch Königl. Breussischer Raht und Hofoculiste, von Magdeborg, born 1661 AD died 1727, 11 November aged 66"

The many honorary titles and privileges, of which the grave stone reports were supposed to be enough to eliminate the bad reputation Eisenbarths after mocking song. Only towards the end of the 19th century approaches showed a scientific source research Eisenbarth. She brought the finding that Eisenbarth was a particularly clever surgeon who has helped many sufferers. Many facts of his life were not yet known. There even was still Doctor Eisenbarth uncertainty about his birthplace.

Already his father and his grandfather had dedicated themselves to this art.With his brother-in-law he learned the handicraft. He was married in first marriage with a colleague's daughter, in second marriage with a colleague's widow.

Based on the text of the grave marker is first suspected Magdeburg, later, after finding leaflets Eisenbarths where Viechtach (Fichtag) was given as a hometown, Viechtach (Lower Bavaria) as the birthplace. 1927 appeared on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his death, a newspaper article, was named in the Oberviechtach as the birthplace Eisenbarths. In Oberviechtach that was known, but the source of the documents, which the could not be proved. The baptismal register, in which the baptism was notarized, was no longer available.

The genealogist Joseph Wopper willow finally found the right track, an uncertified copy of Eisenbarths baptismal in the files of the National Archives Altenburg in Thuringia. He wrote about it in the, Upper Palatinate "(1959, p 12 to 16; 35 to 37) for the city Oberviechtach the then 1st Mayor Neuber procured photocopies of the baptismal certificate, and the entire contents of Altenburger files that were created. had applied as Eisenbarth when Duke Friedrich I in Altenburg a privilege to exercise the self-employed as a surgeon in Altenburg.

The baptismal certificate reads as follows: Eisenbarth. Daß Hannß Andreas von ehrl. Christl. Catholischen Eltern, dem Ehrenvesten und Kunstreichen, Herrn Mathia Eisenbarthen, Bürgern, Oculist, Stein- und Bruchschneidern alhier., zu Obern Vietach, Dann auch seiner ehel. Haußfrauen, Maria Magdalena, Gebohrene.. und von dem Wohl Ehrenvesten und wohlgelehrten, Herrn Johann Spengler, damahligen Pfarrer unter außgelegter Hand der 3. Herrn Gevattern, alß des Wohl Edel Gebohrnen und Gestrengen, Herrn Andresen Wilhelmen von Satzenhoff auf Mießbach und Guetenfürst, des Ehrenvesten und Wohlweisen, Herrn Andreas Schnabels, Raths Bürgern alhier, dann auch des Ehrenvesten und Wohlvornehmen, Herrn Johann Schwertführers, Richters zu Tiefenbach Anno 1663, im Monat Martij den 27. nach Christl. Cathol. Brauch in alhiesiger Pfarrkirchen S. Johannis Baptistae alda zu besagten Obern Viehtach ·getaufft worden, wird Crafft dieß von eichen unterschriebener Handschrift und aufgedrückter gewöhnlichen Petschafft hiermit attestiret und bezeiget. Geben Obern Vietach, am 11. Aug. 1678. M. Johann Wollher Pfarrer."

The Episcopal Ordinariate in Regensburg confirmed in a formal instrument of 27 March 1963 that set out in the copy of the baptismal certificate pastor Spengerwirt and Wolherr who held office during the years shown in Oberviechtach. Eisenbarth was born on 27 March 1663 therefore Oberviechtach. The year of birth indicated on the grave stone is false; Eisenbarth was 1663, not, born in 1661.

Father Matthias Eisenbarth was oculist (eye doctor), breakage and Steinschneider, ie surgeon, in Oberviechtach. He had to exercise his profession as a traveling doctor, to earn enough. The young Eisenbarth remained 10 years in Oberviechtach and visited also the school. Then he came to his brother-Biller in Bamberg and learned with him his father's craft.

These facts result from the application Eisenbarths a privilege. This entry contains his detailed CV. He was married in first marriage with a fellow subsidiary, in second marriage with a fellow widow from Arendsee, where one remembered with a plaque on his work in 2009. Eisenbarths oldest son studied medicine, but was not very capable, while the youngest son as his father learned the surgery as a craft in his profession.

The surgeons were then professionally about halfway between craftsmen and doctors were studying. Academic physicians themselves took no intervention on the human body. In this field, surgeons were operating. After completion of artisanal teaching future surgeons submitted guild masters from the final examination. For self-employed exercise of the profession is a privilege of the sovereign was still necessary. As a rule, which was granted only after an examination of the applicant by a Medical College studied doctors. The report of 29 July 1686 to the academic doctors had created over Eisenbarths examination in Altenburg is obtained. In him is to certify that Eisenbarth was "from top Viechta bürtig".

The doctors tried even then by all means to thwart Eisenbarths privilege because they feared a reduction of their income. In Altenburg was how the initiated by the princes surveys showed a proficient surgeon requires. Since Eisenbarth proved adept and knowledgeable, was able to demonstrate a number of successful treatments, and also the information on the complainant denominated low, he received his privilege.

In order for a career started without same as not colorful and moving could have invented the boldest imagination of a poet, started an adventurous life, the Eisenbarth made popular during his travels throughout Germany, him fame, honor and election booth wore a; he became the most famous and distinguished doctor who ever pulled on the German roads.

Today his work in more than 100 locations is detectable. So far, 11 privileges are detected which have been granted to him. As a rule, Eisenbarth had to undergo before any other privilege of a re-examination in front of a medical college. Of secular and ecclesiastical princes, he was showered with awards, titles and honors. Again and again he was able to point to letters of appreciation of dignitaries and a surprisingly high number of successful operations.

In order to assert itself in the struggle for survival, he had to outdo by exaggerated, boastful promotions and an exaggerated appearance of its competitors. In this field, he was unsurpassed master, a German king of advertising. In his heyday, he led 120 uniformed staff and the required number of vehicles with them. He traveled with princely splendor. His coming, he announced in leaflets and newspaper advertisements. Crier praised his unprecedented and successful operations, cures and remedies, read aloud Recognition and writing privileges letters. Drum roll and trumpets sounded, leaving the people converge on the markets. If the expectation at the peak was Eisenbarth appeared in sumptuous body, clad precious, long-bottomed wig, in his hand the medical staff, and stood before the waiting crowd: "I am the famous Eisenbarth".

Then began a great show. He let Feuerspeier, sword swallowers, snake charmers, beautiful women, but also blacks occur which amused the people with their jokes. He drew the general attention and brought his competitors, which the people had run away, in anger and despair. Most of all she resented him well that he really could do anything at all bragging that he was an excellent surgeon. He worked skillfully and quickly, so that expert witnesses were stunned.

With simple but expedient means he scored good results. He operated in the ambulance or in a tent, without anesthesia, as we know it today. Loud music distracted by the impending intervention and drowned out any cries of pain of patients. Arms he treated in vain. For this he took from rich patients as much as possible.

The roots of mockery song are probably to be found in envy of his less successful colleagues. Among the many operations of financial success was inevitable. In 1703 he acquired for 12 Taler the civil rights of the city of Magdeburg and bought there for 3100 Taler the big house "to Güldnen apple" in the Apple Road and made it his head-quarters.

Eisenbarth`s first son studied medicine. He was, however, not very capable of his occupation, Eisenbarth´s youngest son learned surgery as a handicraft like his father.

The song was created in 1800 as a student song and is now widespread in Europe, USA and Japan. 1716 was the King of Prussia Eisenbarth call to Stargard, there to operate its Lieutenant Colonel v. Grävenitz on the eye. The King of Prussia, who was not to speak particularly good in general the doctors will have certainly brought no bungler but the most efficient in his opinion surgeons of his time for his valued officer. And that was Eisenbarth. E. was then royal Prussian Council.

In late autumn 1727 E. undertook another journey into the Western Germany and came up to the town Hannoversch Münden. There he took the "Wild Man" when master baker and innkeeper Schepeler in the so-called "little room" Quartier and drove his business for a while. Since he was seized on November 6, a disease from which he was, 66 years old, gathered on November 11th then.

The inn now bears the name "German Hof", the old building has been torn down, but in 1900, and bought again in a larger new building. Ironbeard's death chamber was received in the old building to last and was the stranger demonstrated as an attraction. A recent inscription in the hallway had Ironbeard's stay there and celebrated the Wanderaesculap, wol no particular historical basis, as a friend of the beer.

The funeral Ironbeard's happened on the place of death to the Aegidienkirchhofe, the registration of his death in the parish register of the church Blasi. The gravestone Eisenbarths the let him put the survivors was completely overgrown on the ground during a century of scrub. Around 1825 it was discovered again; Since then he has erected on the north outside of Aegidienkirche and is one of the attractions Mündens.

On top of the grave stone is his coat of arms, a bearded, crowned man looks out from behind a shield. The sign an ostrich is depicted with a horseshoe in its beak. The ostrich in the coat of arms could be found on his home, the "Vohenstraußer country", which lies close to his hometown of Oberviechtach, point.

In other crest figures of bearded man holding a polyp hooks and a cataract needle up in his hands, these instruments are regarded as the invention Eisenbarths viewed. On the stone are its title, but the name is no "H", which could be a mistake (as the year of birth) at the end. A plaster cast is in the Germanisches Museum in Nuremberg. The grave, as well as J.A. Eisenbarth is displayed in a variety of ways on postcards.

The satirical song and his boastful demeanor had Eisenbarth the reputation of a quack. His name was undeservedly an allegory for rough cures with bad output. The handed down to us but facts tell a different story. Eisenbarth was a rounder in his profession, a doctor who was ahead of his time and has helped many sufferers. His daring operations caused a stir among his contemporaries. But he was also a wag who sent the favor of the crowd knew how to win.

In Oberviechtach the 300th anniversary of his birth in 1963 and one time more in 2013 the 350 anniversary celebrated and established on this occasion in the presence of many prominent guests from all over Germany, the German doctor Eisenbarth Working Group with its headquarters in Oberviechtach. The Working Group includes to almost all writers and scholars who have dealt with the authoritative person Eisenbarths. In cooperation with the Eisenbarth Collection of the City Archives Oberviechtach the Working Group examined the spiritual heritage Eisenbarths to uphold and restore his reputation. Today the Eisenbarth Working Group has a new Name Heimatkundliche Arbeitskreis Oberviechtach.

The Working Group is also concerned with the Genealogy of the Eisenbarth and the homeland history. Going back to the 11th century, hundreds of bearers of the name Eisenbarth could be determined at home abroad. Approximately 20 Eisenbarth families live, for example, in Berg / Wolfsthal, places in Lower Austria and in neighboring Hungary, according to the current state of research, it looks as if many carriers of the name belong to a large family; because it can be attributed to lines Tree of families that start in the Swabian region and their ancestors down to the part with a "Ulmer Schachtel" Donau, have emigrated.

In Saarland-Rhineland-Palatinate and North-France, Alsace also live many Eisenbarth families, historical roots going among others a "son of Isenbart" of Iwilre, a miller to 1314 and a Ysinbardus back from one hamlet in Merzig in 1380.

Dating back Arzheim / Koblenz Eisenbarth families can be traced back to about 1600, including my pedigree counts.

Eisenbarth families are i.a. as German emigrants who called the czar in 1813 as settlers into the country, emigrated to Bessarabia and have lived there 1814-1940. After that, many are back voluntarily or forcibly relocated in 1944 to Germany and other countries. In the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Africa, Australia and other countries, so the world emigrated Eisenbärthe can be found.

1978, the established in Oberviechtach by Dr. Paul Edel and Dr. Erich Mathieu. About 30 meetings of the clan found already in Oberviechtach and in many other places in Germany and abroad in which Eisenbärthe live instead in order to exchange ideas and to learn new results from archives, about family relations, or about the great surgeon from Oberviechtach.

The meeting came Eisenbärthe not only from Germany, among others also from Canada, Luxembourg Austria and Hungary, so internationally. Oberviechtach has become all by itself to new, spiritual family home of great Eisenbarth family. The city and all Eisenbarth friends will do everything possible so that everyone feels truly at home Eisenbarth and as a member of a large family in Oberviechtach.

Eisenbarth is considered the "King of Advertisement". He was one of the first manufacturers of medicine who made and sold his remedies on a large scale in his house "Zum goldenen Apfel" ("To the Golden Apple") in Magdeburg. Today there is an "Eisenbarth fountain" commemorating his work.

That he was different from his reputation, as a commemorative tablet at his house of death in Hannoversch Münden (near Kassel, Germany) reads, is also proven by numerous contemporary source material.

Text: Dr. Erich Mathieu, added: FW Eisenbarth

In Oberviechtach, his Place of birth, there are also many Things named after him.

Some exemple:

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