Aachen History Association

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Historical logo of the Aachen History Association (1879)

The Aachener Geschichtsverein e. V. ( AGV ) is a non-profit association founded in Aachen in 1879 , which deals with the research, evaluation, archiving and publication of the history of the city of Aachen, including the Euregional territorial history and the history of the empire, as well as the fields of art and building history . The AGV currently has around 750 members and is based in the Aachen City Archives , Reichsweg 30 in Aachen. He is a member of the general association of the German history and antiquity associations .

The organs of the association are formed from a six-member board elected for five years as well as the advisory board, the scientific committee and the general assembly. The advisory board consists of the executive board and up to twenty other members, the scientific committee the executive board and at least three members with scientific competence.

It is the aim of the AGV to bring its research results and analyzes closer to interested citizens by means of broad public relations work and a variety of publications and thereby also to recruit new members. These include both regular annual excursions to historically significant locations and special series of lectures.


The beginnings

In the middle of the 19th century, there was a growing interest in the Prussian Rhine Province to research and work through German history, but also the respective local history. For example, the Society of Friends of Antiquity in the Rhineland was founded in Bonn in 1841 and the Historical Society for the Lower Rhine in Cologne in 1854 . In Aachen, too, historians and historically knowledgeable personalities endeavored to organize themselves as associations. In 1865 the Archaeological Association was founded, which dealt with the research and preservation of art monuments and local history. Its members included the canon and art historian Franz Bock , the architect Carl Rhoen , the philologist Laurenz Lersch , the archivist Josef Laurent , the painter Friedrich Thomas , as well as the privy councilor and later mayor Ludwig Pelzer .

Before that, the Society for Useful Sciences existed in Aachen from 1835 to 1853 and from 1847 the Karlsverein for the restoration of the Aachen Minster , both of which had only dealt with historical issues to a limited extent. At that time, publications on topics from Aachen's history could only be done through the Bonn or Cologne association.

Ultimately, 22 personalities from the group of members of the Archaeological Association came together under the leadership of the philologist Martin Joseph Savelsberg , who planned the establishment of a general history association in the winter of 1878 with the support of the incumbent District President Otto von Hoffmann and the Mayor of Aachen, Ludwig von Weise . At the same time they brought the Archaeological Association to dissolution. After a first call for founding on March 20, 1879 to the citizens of Aachen, the constituent meeting could already be held on May 27th. J. to found the Aachen History Association. The historian Alfred von Reumont became the first president of the association . By the end of the year, the number of members had grown to over 700.

Association for customers of the Aachen prehistory

Only six years later, after the election of Hugo Loersch as the new president, there were considerable differences both about the content and design of the association's own publication Zeitschrift des Aachener Geschichtsverein (ZAGV) and the manner in which the scientific lectures were given, which led to that the AGV split. About 40 members resigned and on October 15, 1885, together with other interested parties, founded the Association for Customers of Aachen Prehistory . This quickly grew to more than 100 and in later years to around 500 members, which included a large number of scientists as well as many manufacturers, master craftsmen and clergy. In contrast to the AGV, which in those years saw itself more in the form of an exclusive scientific circle of scholars, the new association campaigned in particular to open up to all classes of the bourgeoisie and its publications and lecture series were aimed at all those interested in history with understandable texts.

Only after Hugo Loersch's death in 1907 were the two historical societies reunited under the old name under his successor Ludwig Schmitz on December 10 of the same year and most of the existing board members were integrated into the newly merged board of the Aachen history society.

Among the best-known members of the Association for Customers from Aachen's Prehistoric Times were: the historian and genealogist Hermann Friedrich Macco , the city archivist Richard Pick , the school councilor Franz Oppenhoff senior, father of the later Lord Mayor Franz Oppenhoff , the bookseller Ferdinand Kremer, the doctor Bernhard Maximilian Lersch , the cathedral builder Joseph Buchkremer , the church music director Heinrich Böckeler , the sculptor Wilhelm Pohl , Franz Johann Joseph Bock, Carl Rhoen and many others. Quite a few members, such as Macco, Rhoen, Oppenhoff or Buchkremer, had belonged to both associations or published in the journals of both associations.

During the 22nd year of existence the following chairmen were elected:

  • 1885–1885: Carl Eugen Zimmermann , master builder and deputy mayor, resigned after a few weeks for health reasons.
  • 1885–1886: HJ Gross, vicar from Laurensberg , was transferred after just a few months.
  • 1886-1897: Karl Wacker, high school teacher, was in 1897 as a seminar director at the royal teachers seminar to Saarburg, today. School Saarburg offset
  • 1897–1901: Fritz Joseph Kelleter, director of the teachers' seminar in Aachen, today's St. Leonhard Gymnasium
  • 1901–1907: Heinrich Savelsberg, professor at Kaiser-Karls-Gymnasium

As a separate series of publications, the association for customers from Aachener Vorzeit published 20 volumes of the magazine “ Aus Aachens Vorzeit ” (AAV), the contents of which can now be read in fully digitized form. After the merger, the publication of the magazine was stopped.

After the merger

In the meantime, despite the increasing competition from the rapidly growing Aachener Verein for customers of the Aachen prehistoric era, the Aachen History Association was able to keep the number of its members constant due to the prevailing interest in history in the population, which rose to over 1200 through the merger of the two associations in 1907. After the merger, in accordance with the agreements, the AGV finally advocated more openness and closeness to the citizen in its working method, as already mentioned above. As a result, despite the First World War, the next few years passed in a factual routine and without any special incidents.

Only with the seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933 also occurred in the AGV certain changes, which many members did not support and therefore leaked from the association. For example, the incumbent president was now referred to as the “ club leader ” and Albert Huyskens , a man who took up this office in 1934, who, on the basis of the National Socialist conception of history, also proclaimed the now decreed tasks of the history association and expressly referred to Hitler's “ Mein Kampf ”related. With his involvement in the field of race research in the West German Society for Family Studies, he adapted to the new zeitgeist. However, the association as a whole did not always take into account political opportunity, but also dealt publicly with issues that the National Socialists did not necessarily approve of, whereupon the relationship with the local rulers became increasingly distant. Due to his entanglement with the power apparatus, Huyskens had to resign after the war, but was able to take over the presidency again in 1948 after a corresponding denazification process .

In the meantime, the AGV saw itself obliged to analyze the more recent and the most recent history in addition to the standard topics and to deal more intensively with archeology as well as the history of art and construction due to the massive destruction caused by the war. In 1979, the statutes, which are still valid today, were updated and the purpose of the association was “ researching the history of Aachen, embedding it in the territorial history and general history as well as maintaining historical awareness ”.


Honorary Chairwoman

  • Alfred von Reumont
  • Heinrich Savelsberg
  • Erich Stephany
  • Herbert Lepper

Honorary members (selection)


A special focus is the publication of numerous specialist publications, above all the " Zeitschrift des Aachener Geschichtsverein ", which has been published since 1879 , as well as the supplementary supplements and articles on building history and local art as sporadic reprints.

In order to be able to distribute their fonts nationwide and to close any gaps in their inventory, the AGV is currently in contact with around 140 exchange partners with whom it maintains a lively exchange of fonts. He integrates a large part of the publications made available to the association as well as his own editions into the holdings of the Aachen City Archives, the Aachen City Library , the library of the Historical Institute of the RWTH Aachen , the library network of the Diocese of Aachen and many other archives and academic libraries, in order to make them more accessible to the public.

In addition, older editions of the published publications have now been fully digitized and can be accessed online, as can selected current articles. In addition, the association's writings can be purchased from local or online bookshops.

In addition, the AGV has an extensive collection " Aquensien ", which contains a large part of the general literature relating to the city of Aachen and is not published by the association itself.

Journal of the Aachen History Association (ZAGV)

The journal of the Aachener Geschichtsverein ( ISSN  0065-0137 ) has been published annually since the association was founded in 1879, although a two-year cycle has also been adopted in some recent times. Only in the years 1941 to 1948, 1953, 1969, 1973 to 1975, 1990 and 1994 did the magazine not appear, which is why the consecutive volume number 113/114 for the current year 2011/2012 does not correspond to the age of the association.

In these several hundred-page magazines, the activities carried out and planned by the association, elections, annual reports and personal details, as well as scientific contributions by its members are published. In addition, separate registers have been set up which can be called up online, sorted by year of publication or author. Issues 1 (1879) to 31 (1909) have also been digitized and also put online.

Supplement to the Aachen History Association magazine (selection)

  • Helene Koss: Sources on the history of the old diocese of Aachen. Aachen 1932.
  • Heinrich Kaspers: Comitatus nemoris. Aachen 1957.
  • Claudia Rotthoff-Kraus: The political role of the peace agreements between the Meuse and the Rhine in the second half of the 14th century. Aachen 1990.
  • Thomas R. Kraus: On the way to the modern age - Aachen in the French time 1792/93. 1794-1814, Aachen 1994.
  • Thomas R. Kraus: Europe sees the day shine. The Aachen Peace of 1748 . Aachen 1998.
  • Rüdiger Haude: Imperial idea or community of fate. 7. Accompanying volume for the coronation exhibition Aachen 2000.

Aachen contributions to building history and local art (selection)

  • Hans E. Bisegger: The Krämviertel in Aachen. Aachen 1920.
  • Eduard Philipp Arnold : The Altaachen residential building. Aachen 1930.
  • Albert Huyskens, Bernhard Poll (ed.): The old Aachen - its destruction and its reconstruction. Aachen 1953.
  • Heinrich Hellebrandt, Otto Eugen Mayer: Raeren stoneware. Aachen 1967.
  • Herbert Philipp Schmitz: Robert Ferdinand Cremer 1826 - 1882, builder of the technical university and restorer of the cathedral in Aachen. Aachen 1969.
  • Rudolf Dünnwald: Aachen architecture in the 19th century - Friedrich Joseph Ark city ​​architect 1839 - 1876. Aachen 1974.
  • Ingeborg Schild , Elisabeth Janssen: The Aachen East Cemetery . Aachen 1991.
  • Ingeborg Schild (ed.); Johann Crumbach: The Burtscheider Hauptstrasse. Aachen 2001.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Aachener Geschichtsverein e. V. (No longer available online.) In: Member associations. General Association of the German History and Antiquity Associations , archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; accessed on March 1, 2015 .
  2. ^ Christiane Chmel: You maintain Aachen's consciousness , in Aachener Zeitung from April 20, 2015
  3. ^ Publications of the AGV
  4. chronological archive of the online contributions
  5. Aquensia