Help through the cultural heritage protection organization „Blue Shield“
A bus full of archivists and conservators left Den Haag on April 26, 2009 morning to support the recovery and rescue of material at the collapsed Cologne Historical Archive (CHA). 75 experts from France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and America will help for a week.
On May 5, 2009 it was reported that in four days nearly 2 (shelf)km were processed. Besides compliments, some supportes at the scene also express critical points (extract from Archivalia May 4, 2009):
“I noticed that German archivists see their job mainly as administration not tradition (store and prepare heritage)…
Double or not relevant material is not separated from the inventory, so the collections are unorganized and confus. In Germany not much of the material is assorted and rearranged, many documents are in original packages (as they came) and rivets and clips are not removed systematically.
The German colleagues did a good job on organizing transport and accommodation for 80 people from abroad.
More supervision during the work was needed. Some of the volunteers had no experiences in archival work and were confused by the registration of the documents. Nobody checked our work, it seemed that the organization focuses on speed. This was successful in any case, in four days, nearly 2 (shelf)km processed!”
Archival collections recoverd from the intact archive cellar on April 21, 2009
The fire department recovered 850 (shelf) m of inventory from the intact archive cellar of the collapsed building – mostly newspapers but also parts of private papers and collections.
Among others the personal collections of Wallraf and Schneider-Wessling were recovered intactly from archive cellar:
” …. The rescued material is in proper condition, the speaker of the fire department Daniel Leupold announced. The ceiling of the room was able to bear the weight while other parts collapsed. The fire department recovered the material through the back of the building with the help of a seven meter ramp and rolling containers.
The complete collections of the architect Prof. Erich Schneider-Wessling and the author Günter Wallraf were stored in this cellar. Wallraf received the message that his 200 boxes with material were recovered while arguing with lawyers. ‘Today, I celebrate my second birthday’ Wallraf announced. Wallraf calls it lucky because he just needed a part of his material for a current project.
Schneider-Wessling is also happy that his work from the last 50 years is accessible again, originals of plans, competition papers, sketches and much more…” (Koelner Stadtanzeiger, April 21, 2009)