Friedrich Justus Knecht was born in 1839 in Bruchsal, near Karlsruhe, Germany. Baptized a Protestant, he was brought up Catholic at the request of his mother. He was ordained in 1862 and served in the Archdiocese of Freiburg. He enjoyed considerable success as a teacher and administrator in the school system there, and had an active role in the Catholic resistance to Bismarck’s Kulturkampf. Towards the end of his life he was auxiliary bishop of Freiburg. Knecht died in 1921 and was buried in Freiburg Cathedral.