“THE ARCHIVE WAS OUR LIFE” – notes from an interview with Bettina Schmidt-Czaia (Head of the Cologne Historical Archive)
From the Summary IV at
UPDATE 3: After the meeting of the Kulturausschuss der Landschaftsversammlung Rheinland in Cologne, the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) ensured and substantiated its help and support for the rescue of the Cologne Historical Archive inventory, once again. The LVR will provide its spatial, material and personnel resources as needed. The concrete support at the scene is one team consisting of five conservators of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland Archivberatungs- und Fortbildungszentrum. This team uses its knowledge in an unbureaucratical way to rescue and secure the inventory. The LVR also makes transport boxes, masks, wrapping foil, moveable pallets and other needed things available.
Ulrich Soénius, director of the Rheinische Wirtschaftsarchiv, and Jürgen Wilhelm, chairman of the LVR suggest an aid fund which should bundle up financial resources of insurances, German federal and state governments as well as other public and private institutions. (das Jülicht 11.03.2009 12:30 via Archivalia)
UPDATE 2:“Besides the handwritings of Albertus Magnus, scientists bewail big losses for research on political catholicism. The Cologne Historical Archive coffered among others the bequest of Carl Bachem (1858-1945), the journalist and politician of the catholic Zentrum-party. Bachem belonged to the leadership of catholic politicians in the Kaiserreich and the Weimarer Republik.” (Radio Vatikan 10.03.2009 16:27 via Archivalia)
UPDATE 1: The state government North Rhine-Westphalia supports the Cologne Historical Archive with 300,000 Euro for immediate aid. (Koelner Stadtanzeiger 11.03.2009 08:33 via Archivalia)
The Konferenz der Archivreferenten des Bundes und der Laender [German federal and state archive administrations conference] (ARK) give following statements on the collapse of the Cologne Historical Archive’s (CHA) building in Muenster-Coerde on March 10th 2009 (ARK statements [German] via Archivalia):
The German federal and state archive administrations are deeply shocked by the collapse of the CHA building and the loss of human lifes. They feel sympathy for the persons affected and their families.
The Bundesarchiv and German state archives offer their assistance to the Cologne fellows. They offer their solidly united support on the actual rescue and recovery of the archival material. The CHA will coordinate this support.
Furthermore help is needed by all German archives to restore the (damaged) rescued archival material. The German federal and state archives will make every endeavor to assist the CHA at this.
The catastrophe in Cologne showed the special meaning of appropriate emergency plans. These plans have to be obligatory nationwide. They have to be implemented area-wide. They should not fail by limits of adminstrative structure.
The archives, whose value for the basis of our polity became clear after the catastrophy, need more support, in the fields of preventing catastrophies, by the government and the society in future times, f.e. by security filmings [digitizations]
The standards for archive buildings (existing or in future to be built) need to be examined carefully, especially when the constructional parameters in the surrounding of the archives could change. The responsible bodies are asked to do so.
The German federal and state archive administrations are confident that the CHA will continue to be a cultural institution of national and European distinction, despite the considerable loss. It is also convinced that the city of Cologne will face the responsibility to rebuild and preserve the archive.
Edited by Frank Schloeffel