Kotzebue, August von

BORN 3 May 1761, Weimar, Thüringen - DIED 23 Mar 1819, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg
CAUSE OF DEATH murdered by stabbing
GRAVE LOCATION Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg: Hauptfriedhof, Röntgenstrasse (Abteilung II.2 (Grab 138))

August von Kotzebue was born in Weimar into a family of merchants and councillors. He studied law in Jena and Duisburg and from 1781 until 1790 he held official posts in St. Petersburg and Estland. After travels to Mainz, Mannheim and Paris he lived for several more years in Russia.

In 1798 he went to Vienna to work as a theatre poet, but in 1800 he returned to Russia once more. There he was suspected of being a Jacobin and he was sent to Siberia. After four months he was pardoned and he became director of the Deutschen Hofschauspiel in St. Petersburg.

After the czar was murdered in 1801 he moved to Weimar. There he quarreled with Goethe and he left to Paris and then to Berlin. He published the magazine "Der Freimütighe" in which he agitated against Goethe and the Schlegel brothers. when Napoleon invaded Germany he fled to Estland. After Napoleon's defeat in 1813 he became the manager of the theatre in Königsberg.

In 1817 he returned to Weimar where he founded the Litterarische Wochenblatt in which he spoke against democracy and freedom of the press. He was hated for his reactionary writings and after he ridiculed the young Germans he was stabbed to death by the student Karl Ludwig Sand in 1819 (Sand was executed in 1820). This led to the Carlsbad Decrees in which the German student movements were suppressed.

Von Kotzebue wrote over 200 plays. Beethoven, Schubert and Von Weber all set his libretto's to music and some of his work remained popular throughout the nineteenth century.

• Son: Kotzebue, Alexander von

Related persons
• was opponent of Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
• was painted by Kügelgen, Gerhard von
• was murdered by Sand, Karl Ludwig
• quarreled with Schlegel, August Wilhelm von


The grave of August von Kotzebue at the Hauptfriedhof, Mannheim.
Picture by Androom (27 feb 2000)


Literatur - Kultur - DER SPIEGEL
Kotzebue, August von | Infoplease

Kowa, Victor de

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022