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Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH
Am Alten Theater 6
39104 Magdeburg
Pho: +49 391 / 567 7080
Fax: +49 391 / 567 7081

  • From General von Steuben to Bauhaus Architecture
Baron Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben was the Inspector General of the American Army during the War of Independence. Steuben had formerly served as a Prussian captain and temporary adjutant of Frederick the Great. He was born on September 17th, 1730 in Magdeburg, the present-day capital of Saxony-Anhalt. Benjamin Franklin suggested that he come to America in an effort to support George Washington's troops. He agreed to Franklin's wish and landed at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on December 1st, 1777.   Historians credit Steuben for his professionalism as an officer and for his ability to effectively blend Prussian discipline together with the enthusiasm of a revolutionary army. Steuben became a dedicated democrat and in many writings celebrated America as a fortunate country without kings and idle barons. 

It seems somewhat ironic that just 2 hours from Magdeburg, Friedrich August, the ruling monarch of the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, sold 1,311 mercenaries to fight for the English Crown . Of those 1,311 mercenaries, 129 lost their lives in battle. 

Despite the rich and outstanding heritage of Magdeburg and the 72 other locations along the Romantic Road, Saxony-Anhalt's most popular historic site, especially for American visitors, is undoubtedly Martin Luther's Wittenberg. The town was home, not only to Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchton, but also to many other German thinkers throughout history. 

Some other famous names to have come from Saxony-Anhalt were Kurt Weill, the composer of the "Three Penny Opera". He was born in Dessau and later made his way via Berlin to Broadway. Dessau also happens to be the birthplace of Walter Gropius, the founder of the world-famous Bauhaus School in Weimar. He was responsible for moving the school to Dessau in 1919. It is interesting to note that Gropius and his genial colleague, who later succeeded him in Dessau, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, never passed a single academic examination. Gropius taught at Harvard University and served as its Dean for many years. Mies van der Rohe became head of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Many of their creations, whether they stand in America or in Germany, are still considered by critics, even till this day, to be some of the most outstanding examples of innovative architecture.

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Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, born 1730 in Magdeburg/ Saxony - Anhalt, died in Oneida/ New York in 1794.