Regine Julie Zimmern Neustetel Jolberg 1800-1870
Regine Julie was born at Frankfort-on-Main in 1801, the third eldest of eleven children born to David and Sara Zimmern. Her father was a wealthy man, and after she outgrew private tutors, ws able to send her at the age of thirteen to a Christian boarding school at Heidelberg.There she first heard the Gospel. In 1821 she married a Jewish lawyer, named Dr Leopold Joseph Neustetel, a close friend of her brother Sigmund, and they settled at Hanau. There the seed sown in her heart at school, began to spring forth, her husband too was influenced by her and by an evangelical pastor who visited him in his sickness, and he wished to be baptised, but died before he could realise his wish. She gave him a Christian burial. Regine’s brother, Sigmund, also became a Christian and joined the Lutheran church in 1821. This may also have contributed to her faith. In any event, at the young age of 21 Regine was left alone with two young daughters, Emma (1822) and Mathilda (1824), and the care of her aging father.
Two years after Neustetel’s death, Regine met Salomon Jolberg, the former domestic tutor of her younger siblings with whom she had fallen in love even before her mariage to Neustetel. They were married on 16 November, 1826. Two months before their marriage, they were baptised together, with her small daughters, and she received the name “Juliane”, or “Julie”. This marriage was blessed with two children, but these died shortly after birth. Salomon, her second husband, died three years later in 1829. Regine was only 29 years old, and her two little girls were seven and five. Her brother, Sigmund, died the next year after a short illness, at the age of 34. One can only imagine the sense of loss that may easily have overwhelmed her.
Regine left the city and travelled to the village of Berg, near Stuttgart, in 1831, with the two children of her first husband.There her Christian faith was strengthened and deepened by the circle of Christian friends around her. She supported the local pastor of the Lutheran church in his Christian-social care of youth, and later continued the work independently.
She exerted a great influence on Protestant education of children in nineteenth-century Germany. The writings of the great educators of their time as Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, but also Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean Paul impressed her deeply. Nevertheless, it was directed at the education of their children “all the way to what they have learned with all their soul and mind,” she reported in a letter to her father. Her motto in child rearing shows what a special mother and teacher Regine was: “The whole essence of child care is love. When we deal with children we do not yet know well, we must neither forbid them nor plead with them. Simply show them love. Don’t command, just ask when you want something of them. Before we deny a child something, we must first get to know him. The child prefers to hear a “yes” to a “no”. Common words like “be good”, “listen closely” are not enough. Their attention should be captured with a beautiful song, a funny story, or a game. Above all, let a spirit of peace, order and kindness emanate from you, it will soon spread among the children.”
In 1841 she took a house at Leutsheim, where she instructed children in knitting. This school became later an asylum for poor children. This was four years after enlarged to admit a banch of the education of teachers. Six years later, in 1851, she hired a small castle in Nonnenwier, with garden and woods, from Baron Bueckline, because she had already eighty nurses under her instruction and supervision. This institution prospered and became well known, so that her example was followed in different parts of Germany and other countries.
After 25 years labour there were 300 Nonnenwier sisters in Germany and abroad, and 260 nurses for children. She became known in Germany as Mutter Jolberg, and rightly so, for indeed she was a mother in Israel.
Berger, Manfred: Führende Frauen in sozialer Verantwortung: Mutter Jolberg, in: Christ und Bildung 1997/H. 7
Bernstein, A. Some Jewish Witnesses for Christ, pp 299-300; 1999 edition, Keren Ahvah Meshichit, Jerusalem
Brandt, M. G. W.: Mutter Jolberg. Gründerin und Vorsteherin des Mutterhauses in Nonnenweier. 2 Bde., Barmen 1871
Brandt, Käte. Regine Jolberg. Ein Leben zu Gottes Verfügung, Holzgerlingen 1999
Gmelin, M.: Regine (Julie) Jolberg, geb. Zimmern, in: Weech, F. v.: Badische Biograhieen, Heidelberg 1875
Gehring, J.: Die evangelische Kinderpflege. Denkschrift zu ihrem 150jährigen Jubiläum, Berlin/Leipzig 1929
Hauff, A.M. v.: Regine Jolberg (1800-1870). Leben, Werk und Pädagogik, Heidelberg 2000
Haug-Zapp, E.: Zwischen Frauenbewegung und Erweckungsbewegung. Erinnerungen an Regine Jolberg, in: Theorie und Praxis der Sozialpädagogik 2000/H. 6
Hübener, J.: Die christliche Kleinkinderschule, ihre Geschichte und ihr gegenwärtiger Stand, Gotha 1888
Merkl, A.: Mutter Julie Jolberg und ihr sozial-caritatives Werk, München 1996 (unveröffentl. Diplomarbeit)
Mohrmann, A.: 150 Jahre evangelische Kinderpflege, Grünberg 1929 (Sonderdruck)Heidelberg. Jahrbuch zur Geschichte der Stadt, herausgegeben vom Heidelberger Geschichtsverein, Nr. V/2000, 171ff., 179
- Roland Böhm: Regine Jolberg. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL)
- Manfred Berger: Regine Jolberg. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL)
- Seite des Regine-Jolberg-Kindergartens in Brühl
- Literatur von und über Regine Jolberg im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek