Carl Hugo Hahn

Hugo Hahn (Carl Hugo Hahn ) ( born October 18, 1818 Good Aahof in Riga, † November 24, 1895 in Cape Town) was a Lutheran theologian and missionary in German South-West Africa.

Life and work

Carl Hugo Hahn was the son of the farmer of good Aahof ( later owners of Good Vegesacksholm ) and cash born director Carl Peter Hahn and Helene born Majus the nobles Banking in Riga. After attending high school in Riga, he was in 1834 in Saint Petersburg the entrance examination into the Imperial Russian Corps of Engineers. Before joining matured his decision to become a missionary.

Hugo Hahn went to Barmen to the Rhenish Missionary Society, where he was recording in 1838 Missionsseminar after a trial period on 10 October. In the meantime, he attended the University of Bonn. In 1841 he was expanding with the order, the Rhenish Mission from Cape over the Orange River up to the Herero land, sent to South West Africa.

In 1842, Hugo Hahn arrived with Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt in Windhoek, where he met Jonker Afrikaner, the Kaptein of Orlam in the border area between Nama and Herero.

From there, Hahn moved in October 1844 to Okahandja and toured the Herero country. In Otjikango at Swakop he built the mission station Neu- Barmen on the first mission station in German South West Africa, and settled down here in 1844. He learned and explored the Herero language and preached on January 24, 1847 for the first time in this language. In 1849 he built the second station in Otjimbingwe, which was occupied by John Rath, and 1850, the third in Okahandja, where Frederick Kolbe service did.

During his stay in Africa, he also toured the Amboland and came in 1866 to the Kunene.

1850, between the Nama and the Herero, due to severe drought, to struggle for pasture, during which it came to the total destruction of the missionary work.

1853 of the callback cock to Barmen purpose of considering further missionary work in West Africa. From 1854 to 1855 Hugo Hahn traveled to Russia and to England to campaign for the continuation of missionary work. In 1856 he was able to return to South West Africa and bring about the reconstruction of the mission station in Otjikango. But in 1859 he was again summoned to the home where he was employed as a traveling preacher. He passionately campaigned again for the work under "his" Herero.

Back in Hereroland back, met Hugo Hahn 1866 in Otjimbingwe, where he is now becoming increasingly more popular for his work and found the training center ' Augustineum " founded in 1867 and had built the mission church; it was under the protectorate of a patroness, the Princess Elisabeth of Lippe- Detmold, wife of Prince Leopold III .. In 1870, Hugo Hahn was involved in the " conclusion of the 10-year peace" of 23 September 1870 in Okahandja for the settlement of the 7- year struggle of the Herero led against the Nama and underscored the growing supremacy of the Hereros.

In 1873, there were problems with the Rhenish Missionary Society: these called for the strict separation of trading and mission, while vehemently cock was just the opposite. Hahn took the consequences and entered the service of the Missionary Society, for which he had now built thirteen missions in West Africa, from.

Hahn took over in 1874, the parish of German St. Martini church in Cape Town, which he held for ten years. He was assisted by his son Hugo as an adjunct. When he traveled to the Herero land as a peace broker in 1882, it gave him an enthusiastic reception there.

In 1884 Hahn retired, whose last years were spent in South Africa with his son, who was pastor from 1881 to 1921 at St. Peter's Church in Paarl near Cape Town. Hahn oversaw our Retail Outlet in Worcester community. In 1890 he witnessed the beginning of the work of the Rhenish Missionary Society in Ovamboland and nursed lively exchange of ideas with the first Ovambo and Herero missionaries.

During a trip to Cape Town, he fell ill and died at the age of 77 years. His final resting place he found in Paarl.

Hugo Hahn was with Emma Sarah Hone, a daughter of the English writer William Hone (1780-1842), who died, married in 1880.

Hahn's life's work is considered an important basis for the research of Georg Hartmann, Leonhard Schultze and Siegfried Passarge.


  • In 1873, the University of Berlin Hugo Hahn awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contributions to the study of Ovahererosprache.


  • Grammar and lexicon of the Herero language, 1875; Translation of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament and the Catechism of Martin Luther in the Herero language; Paraphrase and Neudichtung many hymns