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article imageCologne's Historical Archive lives again in Berlin Special

By Riccardo Valsecchi     Apr 7, 2010 in Entertainment
Berlin - The six-story archive building of the City of Cologne, collapsed on March 3, 2009, but it is revived at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum.
The six-story archive building collapsed last year, along with two neighboring apartment buildings. The actual degree of damage to the historical treasures kept in the building is still unknown. A substantial part of the written records of the city's history is believed to have been destroyed.
On March 3, 2009, the six-story archive building of the City of Cologne collapsed, along with two neighboring apartment buildings. All archive staff and visiting archive users survived, because they escaped after a warning by construction workers, but two residents of neighboring buildings were found dead.
When the Historical Archive caved, there was an outcry in the country. Human lives had been lost, and 90 percent of the valuable contents of the archive was buried beneath the ruins.
The six-story archive building of the City of Cologne  collapsed on 3 March 2009  comes to life agai...
The six-story archive building of the City of Cologne, collapsed on 3 March 2009, comes to life again at the Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum.
Archives are the memory of a community, and the Cologne Archive had long been considered the flagship of German municipal archives. The earliest mention of it dates from 1322, at a time when the whole archive could fit inside a single chest. Written records covering a period of 800 years were kept, restored and studied there. They include the minutes of town council meetings since 1320, papers from the estates of composers like Jacques Offenbach and Max Bruch, the Fluxus artist Mary Bauermeister, the painter Wilhelm Leibl, and the novelist Heinrich Böll, to name but a few.
The Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum has assembled about 100 loans to afford us an initial glimpse of the archive’s treasures, such as a 1258 manuscript of the important work by Albertus Magnus “Liber de animalibus”; the score of “Les cinq soeurs” by Jacques Offenbach; a music manuscript by Hans Werner Henze; documents from the period when Konrad Adenauer was mayor of Cologne; and early manuscripts by the writer and Nobel Literary Laureate Heinrich Böll. The exhibition also documents the collapse of the archive caused by construction work on the city’s underground system.
The six-story archive building of the City of Cologne  collapsed on 3 March 2009  comes to life agai...
The six-story archive building of the City of Cologne, collapsed on 3 March 2009, comes to life again at the Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum.
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