Mannus Riedesel memorial stone
memorial stone near the church of Raumland
Mannus Riedesel

To this day, Mannus Riedesel (1662-1726) is revered in Wittgenstein as a master craftsman and builder of his era. Ten of his structures are still known to exist in Wittgenstein. There were once many more.
In April 2024, a memorial stone was dedicated to him at the centuries-old church in Raumland where he was baptized and buried. My colleague Joachim Völkel has shared the following pictures.

The memorial inscription
The memorial inscription
Mannus Riedesel – Vita
June 6, 1662-November 4, 1726
The most important master builder in Wittgenstein.
He was known for the artistic decorations of his half-timbered (Fachwerk) structures. Mannus Riedesel lived in the Melbach (now a part of the village of Balde associated with the town of Erndtebrück), and was buried on November 5, 1726 in the Raumland churchyard.

Typical representations
Typical are his representations of wine vines and unidentifiable fantasy fruits. They make his structures easily identifiable and serve as landmarks of the region.

Mannus Riedesel – A few important structures
A few important structures:

The school-chapel in Sassenhausen
Stoltz’sches house in Bad Laasphe
Ludwigsburg in Bad Berleburg
Hof Dambach near Girkhausen
Fuchs’sches house in Wunderthausen
The balcony of the Raumland church
                                  (his signature)

Frontpage of magazine 2 / 2023

Table of content, magazine 2 / 2023



Vorstand des WHV

Einladung zur Jahreshauptversammlung 2024

Vorstand des WHV

Aufruf an die Mitglieder des WHV

Wolfram Martin

Vogel des Jahres 2024. Einst ein Brutvogel in Wittgenstein: Der Kiebitz

Otto Marburger

Erinnerungen an Wolfgang Kreutter

Wolfgang Becker

Klassentreffen Abiturjahrgang 1960 am 28. und 29. Sept. 2023

Gisela Bottenberg

Anmerkungen zu einem „Kreutter-Kunstwerk

Dieter Bald

Wolfgang Kreutter ein Berleburger Bildhauer mit Schweizer Wurzeln?
Biografische Anmerkungen zum 100. Geburtstag

Wilfried Lerchstein

Unterwegs mit Räubern, Riesen, Hexen und dem Teufel.
Der Mythen- und Sagenweg in Bad Laasphe

Hans Wied

Wittgensteiner Alltagsleben im 16. und im 17. Jahrhundert unter
besonderer Berücksichtigung des Kirchspiels Feudingen (Teil I)

Wolfram Martin

Der Sperber. Ein tollkühner Draufgänger in Wittgensteins Gärten und Wäldern



Heinrich Imhof

Dieter Bald. Frieda Claudy Poesie aus Wittgenstein.
Gedichtsammlung und Anmerkungen zu ihrem Lebenswerk



Eine schreibende Hand
The Wittgensteiner Heimatverein invites the submission of materials to be considered for future publication in its periodical, „Wittgenstein: Blätter des Wittgensteiner Heimatvereins e.V.”
Manuscripts should be sent to and should adhere to these writing guidelines <Hinweise und Richtlinien>.
They must be written in German.
The Ludwigsburg in Bad Berleburg
The Ludwigsburg in Bad Berleburg
Foto: P. Riedesel, USA
The “School Chapel” in Sassenhausen
The “School Chapel” in Sassenhausen
Foto: P. Riedesel, USA
“Stoltz’sche” house in Bad Laasphe
“Stoltz’sche” house in Bad Laasphe
Foto: P. Riedesel, USA

The Master Builder, Mannus Riedesel


Relatively little is known about the life of the renowned builder, Hermann (Mannus) Riedesel. He was born in 1662 in the house known as “Herjes” in the hamlet of Melbach in Wittgenstein. His baptismal record gives his name as “Johann Mannus”, but it was customary to be known by one’s middle name, and Mannus is understood as a nickname for Hermann. He was married twice and had five known children. Riedesel died in 1726 and is buried in the churchyard at Raumland, though gravestones were not used in those days.


How he learned his craft as a carpenter and builder, or where he might have apprenticed is simply not known. There was no guild system in Wittgenstein, and skilled builders were usually brought in from the outside. It appears that he learned a great deal more during his training than basic carpentry. The carved figures and other decorations which feature in his work are something of a mystery yet today. How many projects he worked on is unknown and many are probably lost to time. Only a dozen or so are known to us today. His most impressive structures in Wittgenstein were built between 1691-1726, including the following:


  • The Ludwigsburg in Bad Berleburg (built for a side line of the ruling family)
  • The decorated balcony of the ancient church in Raumland
  • The “School Chapel” in Sassenhausen — built as a church, but to which space for a school was later added
  • “Stoltz’sche” house in Bad Laasphe, built for a wealthy brewer
  • Hof Dambach, built to house a forester in employ of the Count, now a popular Pension


Known literature about „Mannus Riedeselhere.



Hope for a better life

Hope for a better life

(in German)

The emigration from Wittgenstein to America in the 18th and 19th century

by Mr. Heinrich Imhof

560 pages and more than 5400 emigrants

Price 38,- Euro (plus shipping if necessary)

For further information please contact the author Mr. H. Imhof


Table of contents

  • Emigration to America and other destinations
  • Why did they try their luck abroad?
  • The first provable emigration
  • The mass emigration from Wittgenstein in 1724/25
  • America the promised country
  • How emigration proceeded
  • Obtaining a permission to emigrate
  • Coming into conflicts with the law
  • Sneaking away; secret emigration via Hessen
  • Farewell at home and travelling to the embarkation/harbour
  • The crossing
  • Arrival in America and choosing a place to settle
  • Living in the New World
  • What happened to their dreams?
  • Gifts, inheritances and support from America
  • Letters that tell about life in America
  • Visitors and people who returned home
  • List of about 5400 emigrants (sorted by year of emigration)

Dr. Paul Riedesel in Bad Berleburg

Dr. Paul Riedesel in Bad Berleburg, Germany

For more than 30 years, Dr. Paul Riedesel from Minneapolis/USA has been a member of the Wittgenstein Heimatverein. His ancestors left their home village of Wunderthausen in the 19th century. In 1992 he wrote his first article for our periodical on the “Wittgensteiner Riedesels in Amerika”, and it was followed by numerous subsequent publications.

In September 2021, his article “Der Tod ist Gast im Haus: Sterblichkeit im Altkreis Wittgenstein” (Death is a Guest in the House: Mortality in the Old District of Wittgenstein) appeared in our association magazine. Normally, Paul Riedesel’s copy would have been sent by mail to the United States. But the author took advantage of his stay in Germany this time to pick it up in person. On Saturday, October 16, 2021, he and his wife Joyce came from Berlin to Bad Berleburg, where Dieter Bald paid tribute to Dr. Riedesel’s many years of collaboration as an author and presented him with the current issue “Wittgenstein” while drinking coffee at the Bald home. Heinrich Imhof and his wife also joined the gathering. They presented the American guests with a rare old book (“Der Perner von Arfeld”) and a hand-sewn bag for Joyce’s knitting.

An Ahnentafel clipart of 4 generations

The Genealogical Wittgenstein Family Database

This genealogical database includes the former county of Wittgenstein / Germany.
It covers the time from the beginning of the written notes till 1875 and contains about 152000 data entries respectively people.
Download the GEDCOM-file here
The online-version of the database is here

Important information

How to write and publish articles in our magazine

„Wittgenstein. Blätter des Wittgensteiner Heimatvereins e.V.”

I. General informationen

If possible the text should be written with the wordprocessing program Word and sent to the editor electronically. more details here …