Johannes Barop

Portrait of Johannes Arnold Barop, 1846-1848 by August Lieber

Barop married Emilie Dorothea Froebel, daughter of Johann Christian Ludwig Froebel on 11 Jul 1831 at Keilhau. Emilie Dorothea Froebel was born on 11 Jul 1804 at Osterode and died on 18 Aug 1860 at Keilhau

Barop was a nephew of William Middendorf.

Source: Portrait of Johannes Arnold Barop, Director of the Kindergarten in Keilhau

Why Grow Up?

Thinking for oneself is a difficult and lifelong undertaking.

In her new book, Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age the philosopher Susan Neiman takes on the predicament of maturity, that dates back to the 18th century.

Source: ‘Why Grow Up?’ by Susan Neiman

An American born philosopher who lives in Berlin, Neiman wants you to think for yourself.

The “infantile age” she has in mind goes back to the 18th century, and its most important figures are Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. “Coming of age is an Enlightenment problem,” she writes, “and nothing shows so clearly that we are the Enlightenment’s heirs” than that we understand it as a topic for argument and analysis, as opposed to something that happens to everyone in more or less the same way. Before Kant and Rousseau, Neiman suggests, Western philosophy had little to say about the life cycle of individuals. As traditional religious and political modes of authority weakened, “the right form of human development became a philosophical problem, incorporating both psychological and political questions and giving them a normative thrust.”

How are we supposed to become free, happy and decent people?

Rousseau’s “Emile” supplies Neiman with some plausible answers, and also with some cautionary lessons. A wonderfully problematic book — among other things a work of Utopian political thought, a manual for child-rearing, a foundational text of Romanticism and a sentimental novel — it serves here as a repository of ideas about the moral progress from infancy to adulthood. And also, more important, as a precursor and foil for Kant’s more systematic inquiries into human development.

The Geneva born Rousseau traveled across Europe on foot, fathering and abandoning at least five children. Kant rarely left his native Königsberg and never married. Between them, they mapped out what Neiman takes to be the essential predicament of maturity, namely the endless navigation of the gulf between the world as we encounter it and the way we believe it should be.

In infancy, we have no choice but to accept the world as it is.

In adolescence, we rebel against the discrepancy between the “is” and the “ought.”

Adulthood, for Kant and for Neiman, “requires facing squarely the fact that you will never get the world you want, while refusing to talk yourself out of wanting it.” It is a state of neither easy cynicism nor naïve idealism, but of engaged reasonableness.


Friedrich Froebel took on his share in solving social problems, because of his understanding of Christian responsibility.

He described the development of each person as the unification of existence.

Each individual is created in the image of God, and is responsible for consciously expressing this inner nature.

Froebel created a “living memorial” for the 300th anniversary of the Reformation by educating two descendants of Martin Luther in his school at Keilhau.

Georg Luther went on to study theology. Ernst Luther made the sphere, cylinder and cube as the gravestone for Frobel, designed by Wilhelm Middendorf.

Made in 1852 by Ernst Luther

As a devout man and a philanthropist, Friedrich Froebel created ways for individuals to live together in peace and harmony with each other and nature.

living together makes our life “a sacred pilgrimage”

As we relate to persons from different cultures, how can we enable each person to say freely what he or she thinks, to be accepted with his or her particular gifts, and to become fully co-responsible?

Lützow Free Corps

Students and academics flocked to join this unit of volunteers founded in February 1813 as Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow (Royal Prussian Free Corps of Lützow), which was mostly composed of craftsmen and laborers.

Inspired with the Romantic nationalism of the times and irresistibly attracted towards a body consisting of volunteers drawn from all social classes, many of them made a vow to neither cut their hair nor their beards until they had liberated Europe. In their distinctive black uniforms, members of the Lützow Free Corps were remarkable for superior activity, energy, and enterprise.

When the summons “To my People” called the German youth to war, Froebel had already entered his thirty first year, but this did not prevent his being one of the first to take up arms. It was in the Lützow Free Corps that Friedrich Froebel formed life long friendships with Wilhelm Middendorf and Heinrich Langethal. Sitting around camp fires they shared their vision for building a better world, where everyone lived together in peace and harmony.

After the Peace of Paris, the young friends parted. They vowed eternal fidelity, and each solemnly promised to obey the other’s summons, should it ever come. As soon as Froebel took off the dark uniform of the black Jagers he received a position as curator of the museum of mineralogy in the Berlin University, which he filled so admirably that the position of Professor of Mineralogy was offered to him from Sweden. But he declined, for another vocation summoned him which duty and inclination forbade him to refuse. His three nephews were in need of an instructor, after their father died in 1813, during the typhus epidemic after the Battle of Leipzig. There was great joy in the village of Griesheim, when Middendorf saw here the realization of the ideal which Froebel’s kindling words had impressed upon his soul beside many a watch fire.

Heinrich Hartmann, law student (smoking a pipe), Theodor Körner, poet and dramatist (behind Hartmann) and Friedrich Friesen, co-founder of the gymnastics movement (Turnbewegung) – three fellow volunteers in the Lützow Free Corps who had died in service in 1813 and 1814

Theodor Körner wrote songs and poems to celebrate and encourage his fellows, often accompanying himself on the guitar. Many of these poems were later published by his father in the collection Leyer und Schwerdt (modern Leier und Schwert, “Lyre and Sword”) (Berlin, 1814).

The Lutzow in the gift of God. Theodor Körner playing his sword song for his comrades on the night before his death
The Lutzow in the gift of God. Theodor Körner playing his sword song for his comrades on the night before his death

On August 26 an engagement took place at the forest of Rosenow near Gadebusch, in which Körner fell. Theodor Körner died at the age of twenty-one, and was buried under an oak in the village of Wöbbelin, about a mile from Ludwigslust.

Albertine Froebel

Albertine Froebel 1801-1880 was a daughter Friedrich Froebel’s older brother, Christian.

Albertine married Wilhelm Middendorf

Albertine Froebel and Wilhelm Middendorf
Albertine Froebel and Wilhelm Middendorf

Beautiful family festivals cast a beneficent light, from time to time, like brilliant sparks of illumination, over the whole lives of the united friends of education. Such irradiation shone out on the 16th of September, 1825.

On that day were betrothed the two friends of Froebel, Heinrich Langenthal and the foster daughter of Frau Froebel, Ernestine Crispine, and William Middendorf and Albertine, daughter of Froebel’s eldest brother.

The pupils of the Institute had made a path on the celebration of this festival, for the ascent of the encircling mountain, that the happy couples, in the beginning of this most important era of their lives, might be able to look down from that height on the result of many years of effort. There was inward and many-sided joy on that day in the quiet, peaceful valley in the Thuringian forest.

This happy day was followed by a second, an ascension day in 1826, the day of marriages.