Johann David Rostimpfel (1744 – 1816)

A hatter in the eternal east

If one walks along the northern wall of the oldest cemetery area, a tombstone catches the eye, which clearly towers above the neighboring tomb complexes and is striking in its design. The triangular pediment of the tombstone shows a globe flanked by two sphinxes, in between angles and compasses. Above the angel of death with lowered torch of life seven stars can be seen. A symbolism typical for the high degrees of Freemasonry.
At the foot of the imposing tomb rest the married couple Johann David Rostimpfel and Eva Maria Dorothea née Grellmann. The marriage, contracted on January 14, 1787, in the Jena City Church, produced a total of 13 children, eight of whom reached adulthood.
Eva Maria Dorothea Rostimpfel was born in Jena on November 21, 1764, the daughter of Georg Martin Grellmann, a white baker, and Eva Magdalena Linde. She died of debilitation on October 28, 1830, at the age of 65, leaving behind eight children. She had outlived her husband by 14 years.
Johann David Rostimpfel saw the light of day on January 8, 1744 in Pößneck. His parents were Christian Georg Roßtümpfel and Catharina Margaretha Vogt. As the sixth-born child, he later followed in the footsteps of his paternal ancestors. Old father Hanß Roßtümpfel came from Langenschade to Pößneck in the times of the Thirty Years' War and founded a branch of the family there, many of whose male descendants worked as hatters for generations.
Johann David became a resident of Jena in 1783 at the latest. In January of that year, he was granted a concession to establish a hat factory. Just three months later, he was appointed Saxony-Weimar court hat manufacturer. As such he successfully gained a foothold in the city on the Saale, for in the following decades the Rostimpfel hat factory was mentioned time and again. In 1798, the privileged hat manufacturer was named in a trade and factory address book of Germany and related provinces as one of 14 Jena entrepreneurs who were otherwise predominantly active in the book and publishing business.
The factory's production capacity does not seem to have met the demand for Rostimpel's hats for long. In 1791, the court hat maker asked the mayor and council of the city for the transfer of part of the Zwinger below the Pulverturm in order to expand his factory property.
In 1810 Johann David Rostimpfel handed over the business to his sons David Leonhardt, Carl Friedrich, Adolph and Ferdinand, who from then on traded as the Rostimpfel brothers and were among the most successful entrepreneurs in the city.
On March 22, 1816, Johann David Rostimpfel died in Jena, where he was buried three days later in the Johannis Cemetery. He had, as it is said in the symbolic language of the Freemasons, entered the eternal East. His work in this secretive alliance is one of the mysteries, the solution of which has been kept from us until now.
D. Pflechter


Carl Theil (1886-1945)

Pedagogue - Socialist - University Trustee


Carl August Theil was born in Gdansk on December 17, 1886, the son of the Royal Prussian music director Carl Christian Hugo Theil (1853-1909) and his wife Natalie (1866-1946). After attending school and obtaining his school-leaving certificate, he studied shipbuilding at the Technical University of Gdansk in 1904/06 and then classical antiquity, history, philosophy and education at the universities of Berlin, Munich and Jena until 1912.

He received his doctorate in 1912/13 in Jena, and in 1919 he passed the Gymnasium state examination in Latin, Greek, history and philosophical propaedeutics.

In 1912 he married Elisabeth Eigenbrodt, the adopted daughter of the Jena Swedish editor Wolrad and his Swedish-born wife Helfried, née Freiin Rappe. The marriage produced five children, two daughters and three sons.

From 1912 to 1914 Carl Theil worked as a teacher at the Odenwald School. For Theil, the two years at the Odenwald School, founded in 1910 by the reform pedagogue Paul Geheeb (1870-1961) according to the principles of the Landeserziehungsheim movement, must have been profoundly formative.

Carl Theil was drafted into the military in 1914. Until the end of the war, he was deployed as a naval officer, mainly on minesweepers in the Black Sea. Theil returned from military service as a convinced pacifist and found a political home in Social Democracy, the founding and supporting party of Weimar democracy, which also provided political support for the school and education movement. From 1919 to 1920 he found a new job in Jena at the newly founded "Volkshoch-schule Thüringen". Through this activity he became acquainted with Martin Buber (1878-1965), with whom he was on friendly terms.


In 1920 Theil moved to the school in the garden city of Hellerau near Dresden, which he built up along the lines of the Odenwald School. Due to financial difficulties at the school and internal conflicts within the teaching staff, Theil resigned as principal in April 1922. Other members of the school board also left the school, which was dissolved in 1925.

From October 1922, Theil was a Studienrat at the new Aufbauschule in Weimar, and from April 1923 he was appointed as Studien- und Gymnasialdirektor at the Wilhelm-Ernst-Gymnasium in Weimar. Here, too, he had problems, the "liberal part" on the one hand, and the German-national, mostly still monarchist-minded teachers and parents on the other.


In January 1924, when the socialist state government was replaced by völkisch-national-socialist state parliamentary factions and the reforms introduced were revised, the teachers' college demanded Theil's immediate removal from office. Theil was removed as principal and transferred to Jena as a teacher.


There, Theil taught Greek, Latin, German, history, and gymnastics at the Carl Alexander Gymnasium in Jena in 1924-33.

He sent his children to the university school where Peter Petersen developed the "Jenaplan" pedagogy.

In June 1933, Theil was dismissed from the Thuringian civil service on the basis of the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service". Only the mothers' house and property secured the family's economic existence.

From 1941 to 1944 Theil was given the opportunity to work as a Greek and Latin teacher at the private school in Salem. In 1944, an SS-Obersturmführer became provisional principal and Theil, ill due to strokes of fate - two of his sons had been killed in action - returned to Jena. Officially, he retired from teaching in 1945. In March 1945, the third son was killed.  Theil was now active in the ministry.

In July 1945 he took over the office of university curator at the University of Jena until his death in August 1945.

 © J. John, gekürzt: Ch.Apfel


Carl Christian Ludwig Timler (1836–1905)


Master mason and stonemason, architect, artist, town planner, local politician, book author and teacher

Carl Christian Ludwig Timler was born in Jena on July 10, 1836, the son of Johann Christoph Carl Timler (1799-1870), a master mason, and his wife Johanna Sophie Christiane EWrnestine, née Grellmann, widowed Nürnberger (1801-1853). He spent his school years in Jena and learned the mason's trade from his father, who was considered a strict teacher. His father recognized his son's special artistic abilities and enabled him to attend the Royal School of Building Trades in Munich from 1853 to 1855.
He then went on the road to many parts of Germany.
In 1856, Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach appointed him construction foreman for the restoration of Wartburg Castle, which was led by the well-known architect and university lecturer Hugo von Ritgen (1811-1889). Timler worked on this project until the fall of 1857, when he passed his examinations as a master mason and stonecutter and continued his studies in Berlin. This was followed by an eighteen-month study trip through Italy and Greece, during which he intensively studied classical architecture and culture and filled numerous traveling and sketchbooks.
After returning to his hometown, Carl Timler published his studies under the title "The Renaissance in Italy. Architectural Sketchbook."
After his years of wandering, Timler returned to Jena and supported his father in the Timler property with a brickyard, kiln factory and plaster mill.
In 1861 he married Friederike Habermas (1840-1922). She came from Eisenach, where he had probably met her while working on the wartburg. The marriage produced 11 children.
Carl Timler settled in Jena as a private architect and was the city's only architect from 1862 and 1865.
After his father's death in 1870, he sold the factory and devoted himself increasingly to planning tasks.
One of Timler's oldest architectural works in Jena was the pavilion on Fürstengraben. Among his works is the imposing house of the Parisian reindeer August Sellier (1815-1896) on Westbahnhofstraße.... He designed five houses, located in today's Rathenaustrasse, for wealthy citizens, mainly university professors.

The imposing building in Apolda's Bahnhofstrasse, the so-called Zimmermannbau, was completed in 1881.
In Jena, the Sparkassenverein (Savings Bank Association) commissioned the construction of a new savings bank building, which, after several alterations and extensions, is now used by the AOK in Ludwig-Weimar-Gasse 4.
He provided the plans for the new building of the mortuary at the northern cemetery, which was later used as an administration building. An expression of Timler's multi-layered work is his fraternity house for the Corps Saxonia Jena at Knebelstraße 2. For the building, he chose a castle-like architecture with a limestone-faced facade and tower. The bearded face of the architect can still be seen on the columned altar of the eastern flight of steps.
He worked for more than 20 years in the city council and had an influence on the city's development by participating in the preparation of a development plan for Jena, on the basis of which the medieval city structure was broken up and overcome.
Timler was one of the founding members of the Jena Art Association in 1903 and was active in the Beautification Association.
Carl Timler died on February 10, 1905, and the Jena sculptor and master stonemason Otto Späte (1852-1925) created the tomb in the form of an obelisk.
© Katrin Fügener, abridged: Ch. Apfel