No tour of the historic Bach sites of Germany is complete without a visit to Wechmar. Wechmar is where the “Bach story” began. Veit Bach, great-great grandfather of the now most famous of the dozens of Bach musicians, Johann Sebastian Bach, was a baker and a player of the cittern who settled in Wechmar sometime between 1590 and 1600. Veit Bach is seen by most as the “founding father” of the Bach musical family. Johann Sebastian’s grandfather Christoph Bach also grew up in Wechmar before taking a position as city musician in Erfurt. Based on these facts, the Village of Wechmar proudly calls itself “Home of the founding fathers of the Bach musical family” (Urväterheimat der Musikerfamilie Bach). As of 2006, there are once again some descendants of the Bach family living in Wechmar.
We traveled to Wechmar with Bach enthusiasts and scholars, Rosemarie and Juergen Frey for a personal tour of the Veit Bach bakery. The history of the Bach family came alive with the most comprehensive and world’s largest Bach family tree hanging in the courtyard of this site of the famous Veit Bach bakery.
Our excursion continued to the town of Ohrdruf where the 10 year-old orphaned Johann Sebastian Bach was sent by foot from Eisenach to live with his older brother, Johann Christoph. The church where Christoph was organist and the family home were destroyed in World War II, however, a unique sculpture and monument to Bach’s sojourn in Ohrdruf are worthy of a visit.
(Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and with David Jordan, creator and performer of the organ and media event, Bach and Sons.)