St. Thomas School, Leipzig

Coordinates: 51°20′13″N 12°21′36″E / 51.33694°N 12.36000°E / 51.33694; 12.36000
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St. Thomas School of Leipzig
Thomasschule zu Leipzig

Schola Thomana Lipsiensis
Hillerstraße 7
04109 Leipzig

Coordinates51°20′13″N 12°21′36″E / 51.33694°N 12.36000°E / 51.33694; 12.36000
TypePublic Boarding School
Religious affiliation(s)Lutheran. (From 1212 to 1539 Catholic; Lutheran since the Protestant Reformation)
Patron saint(s)Thomas the Apostle
Established1212; 811 years ago (1212)
SuperintendentBurgomaster Prof. Dr. phil. Thomas Fabian (University of Applied Sciences), Alderman for Youth, Social, Health and School
PrincipalKathleen C. Kormann
ChaplainChristian Wolff [de]
Grades5 to 12
Gendercoed, Boys' choir
Age10 to 18
Number of students485
CampusForum Thomanum
Campus typeUrban
Green and white
NewspaperKasten Journal
Graduates (2007)87
AlumniOld Thomaner
ChairChristoph M. Haufe
CantorAndreas Reize

St. Thomas School, Leipzig (German: Thomasschule zu Leipzig; Latin: Schola Thomana Lipsiensis) is a co-educational and public boarding school in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. It was founded by the Augustinians in 1212 and is one of the oldest schools in the world.

St. Thomas is known for its art, language and music education. Johann Sebastian Bach held the position of Thomaskantor from 1723 until his death in 1750. His responsibilities included providing young musicians for church services in Leipzig. The Humanistic Gymnasium has a very long list of distinguished former students, including Richard Wagner (1813–1883) and many members of the Bach family, including Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788).

From the 800-Year Anniversary Celebration in 2012 the Thomanerchor and St. Thomas School has been part of Forum Thomanum, an internationally oriented educational campus.


St. Thomas School was founded in 1212 by Margrave Dietrich von Meißen (1162–1221) making it among the oldest schools in Europe. It was run as schola pauperum, meaning a free school intended to benefit the poor, by the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. The St. Thomas Church was founded with the school. The St. Thomas School is first mentioned in documents dating to 1254.

In 1539 the city of Leipzig took over ownership of the school. All members (Thomaner) of the boys choir (Thomanerchor) attend the school along with other pupils. The Thomaner live in the school's own boarding school, Thomasalumnat.

The school's first building was in the present courtyard of the St. Thomas Church. In 1553 an outbuilding was built there. During Johann Sebastian Bach's time as Thomaskantor these buildings were extended; in 1829 they were reconstructed. In 1877 a new building was erected in the Schreberstraße to meet a shortage of space. In 1881 a new building for the boarding school was finished.

The school was used as a barracks by a Freikorps unit during the Kapp Putsch. The staff had little sympathy for Friedrich Ebert's government.[1]

During the Nazi era the school continued its normal curricula. The school endured the bombings of the night of 3 December 1943 with only the gym and the buildings across from the boarding school being destroyed. The then-rector, Günther Ramin, decided to move the choir boys to the Königlich Sächsische Fürsten- und Landesschule Sankt Augustin school in Grimma. Because of this, and because most of the older students were enlisted, the University of Leipzig was allowed to use the school's building for its own purposes. The rector's decision to move the choir boys was proved right during the bombings of 20 February 1944 when the school's buildings were destroyed. After that, the remaining pupils attended 41. Volksschule on the Hillerstraße. At some stage, the choir boys rejoined these pupils at Hillerstraße.

In 1973 the school moved into a new building in the Pestalozzistraße (now Telemannstraße), but the boarding school remained in the Hillerstraße. The new communist regime in East Germany tried to make an exemplar atheist school out of St. Thomas school, but the church's influence was immense.[citation needed]

After the German reunification in 1990 the pupil's numbers increased. Since 2008 the school offers its students mathematics, natural sciences, music, and linguistic courses.

In September 2000 the school moved into the restored original building on the Hillerstraße. In 2008, there were 485 pupils and 67 teachers. Prior to 1973, all the Thomaskantors were also teachers at the school and the president of the choir was also the school's rector. Since 1973 those roles have been separated.

Foreign languages[edit]

Cultivating classical languages is an old tradition at St. Thomas School. All students study Latin as their first or second foreign language, including the Qualification in Latin (Latinum). Combined with the modern language English the pupils learn fundamental foreign language skills. Although there are offered advanced courses (Leistungskurse) in those subjects. Interested students are welcome to take the First Certificate in English (FCE). The tradition of the school and its roots in European culture are the motive for providing Ancient Greek classes from 8th grade as well as a Qualification in Greek (Graecum). Also St. Thomas offers Romance languages, like French and Italian.

Student exchange programs and stays in Europe and in Anglo-America are possible.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable former teachers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Games, Stephen (2010). Pevsner: The Early Life: Germany and Art. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4411-4386-0.

External links[edit]