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Sample text

When the prison warden, Ku¨gler, a member of Wichern’s brotherhood, shot and killed the inmate Jacobi in August 1859, liberals got the scandal they wanted. The event became a flashpoint, because now liberals had a concrete instance of Wichern’s misuse of power. The news made a great splash in the liberal press, which lambasted the Brotherhood for its abuse of prisoners. To liberals, the event proved the unchecked nature of Wichern’s power within the state system and further demonstrated the problem of unchecked monarchical expansion.

Johann Hinrich Wichern, “Die Behandlung der Verbrecher in den Gefa¨ngnissen und der entlassenen Stra¨fline,” in Sa¨mtliche Werke 6, 32. 46 Wichern, “Die Behandlung,” in Sa¨mtliche Werke 6, 32–33. 47 Gerhardt, Johann Hinrich Wichern, 2:283–284. 48 Wolfgang Scha¨che and Norbert Szymanski, Das Zellengefa¨ngnis Moabit: Zur Geschichte einer Preussischen Anstalt (Berlin: Transit Buchverlag, 1992), 15. For a history of the Pentonville Prison, see Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Punishment. 44 45 THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF PRUSSIAN PRISONS 293 Frankfurt.

Wichern’s religion was pietistic and evangelical, a far cry from the cultural Protestantism that Mittermaier and Holtzendorff supported. Moreover, they were particularly offended by Wichern’s undemocratic and anti-liberal politics. The tightly disciplined, patriarchal, highly secretive character of the Brotherhood seemed particularly worrisome to Mittermaier and Holtzendorff, and they feared that the Brotherhood, if left unchecked by legal regulations, would be able to wield its power without oversight and accountability.

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