„Nur durch das freie Wort wird die Teilnahme des Volkes an den öffentlichen Angelegenheiten erweckt.“ (Wirth)
Which translates to: The people’s interest in public affairs is aroused only by the free word.
Dr. Johann Georg August Wirth was born in Hof on November 20 1798 and died on July 26 1848 in Frankfurt am Main. Wirth was a publicist, publisher, historian, lawyer and politician and all his life he fought for the freedom of the press, for public trials, for the separation of administration and legal authorities, for a common representative body of the people, for a head of state elected by the people and a united Germany.
Together with Dr. Philipp Jakob, he drew up an appeal to create the biggest people’s assembly on German soil, the Hambacher Fest of 1832. There, he also held the keynote speech. Celebrated as a freedom hero, persecuted as a subversive and accused of treason, imprisoned for four years and finally forced to escape into exile; Wirth stayed – as Heinrich Heine put it – „a brave knight of liberty“ all his life.
In order to be able to hold their heads up high, Wirth and his wife Regina consciously accepted persecution, separation, economic hardship and exile. He lived to see the revolution in Germany and had a seat in the National Assembly in the Frankfurt Paulskirche just before his death in 1848. Before he was even able to start his work he died, not yet fifty, in Frankfurt.