Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fritz Reuter


Fritz Reuter, 1893
Franz Engelsman
Humboldt Park
East of North Humboldt Drive and north of West Division Street

            This nine-foot tall bronze statue depicts Fritz Reuter (1810-1874), a German writer who was arrested and sentenced to death by the Prussian government for his purported participation in a student-activist group. Although his sentence was eventually commuted he did spend seven years in prison. Despite suffering from poor health after this experience, Reuter became a popular novelist who contributed to the development of regional dialect literature, as he wrote in Plattdeutsch, the Low German vernacular of northern Germany.
            The artist, Franz Engelsman, was a native German living in Chicago when he won the competition to create this memorial. More than 50,000 people attended the dedication on May 14, 1893. The granite column originally featured bronze bas-relief scenes from Reuter’s stories but they were stolen during the 1930s and never recovered.

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