Development of monument protection in Saxony

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Marking of monuments in the GDR and also today in Saxony

The monument in Saxony now been developed for almost 200 years, from its beginnings in the UK over the period between the wars , the years of centralized DDR legislating to today's Saxony .

Privately organized monument protection between 1819 and 1908

Prince Johann, 1831
Richard Steche, around 1890

At the beginning of the 19th century, monument protection began as a private movement to protect existing architectural and art monuments as witnesses to the past. One of the goals was also to organize the authority of the state to the extent that it should issue ordinances and laws for the protection of monuments.

Founding of private associations from 1819

In November 1819, the "Association for the Study of Patriotic History and Antiquities", founded on Sunday, October 3rd, 1819 at Saaleck Castle , and the "Association for the Study of Patriotic Antiquity in Art and History", founded around the same time in Bilzingsleben , merged in Naumburg to form the Thuringian Saxon History Association , which moved its headquarters to Halle in 1823 for reasons of expediency and was affiliated with the university there . The main impetus for these activities was the question of regional and national identity, which was triggered by the Prussian province of Saxony , created in 1815 . In 1824, the Royal Saxon Society for the research and preservation of patriotic antiquities, which was still active in the Kingdom of Saxony, was founded . The reason for this establishment was the sale of historically valuable glass paintings from the St. Mary's Church in Zwickau . In 1834 the Association of Saxon Friends of Antiquity was founded with the aim of

"Search, preservation, explanation and illustration of historically or artistically important monuments of the patriotic prehistory."

Both associations merged in February 1837, from March 1837 they had the common name of the Royal Saxon Antiquities Association . A member of the royal family took over the chairmanship of the association until 1902. Prince Johann was chairman until 1855, then followed by Prince Georg until he too became king in 1902.

(The Royal Saxon Antiquities Association was dissolved in 1946 and re-established as the Association for Saxon State History in Dresden in 1992. )

First draft of a monument protection law from 1830

In 1830 the Antiquities Association drafted a bill against the removal or the arbitrary destruction of existing antiquities. This draft was based on the Hessian ordinance of January 22, 1818 ( very high ordinance of Grand Duke Ludwig I of Hesse-Darmstadt ). Like this regulation, it also provided for a right of expropriation. However, in contrast to Hessen, private monuments should also be able to be protected. It should not be possible to make any further changes to the property without the permission of the responsible authority, not even "beautification".

The draft was presented to the king together with a memorandum by the association and Prince Johann in March 1830. The government raised concerns about property restrictions as early as April. The implementation of the draft law was subsequently rejected.

Ordinance on the creation of the inventory of architectural and art monuments , 1881

The antiquities association began in the 19th century with the fundamental inventory of Saxon antiquities, until this task was taken over by the Commission for the Preservation of Art Monuments after it was founded in 1894 . Before that, however, in March 1881 the Ministry of the Interior entrusted the association with the task of drawing up the inventory of the architectural and artistic monuments of Pirna as a sample inventory of the following inventory (for the Pirna Office , 1882.)

Cornelius Gurlitt as rector of the TH Dresden in 1905 in his study.

The architect and art historian Richard Steche (1837-1893), from 1878 the second director of the antiquity association, wrote the first 15 volumes of the descriptive description of the older architectural and art monuments of the Kingdom of Saxony . After Steche's death, Cornelius Gurlitt (1850–1938) took over this task, for which he also took over the professorship for the history of technical arts at the Royal Saxon Technical University in Dresden, which had been founded three years earlier . Gurlitt created the following volumes up to number 41 until 1923. However, the inclusion of objects in this inventory did not result in any official monument protection as in France ( Monument historique ), it only served as a basis for assessing a possible protection and was an indication to the Owner or manager of the objects in question.

Foundation of the Commission for the Preservation of Art Monuments , 1894

In June 1894 the Commission for the Preservation of Art Monuments was established by ordinance . The commission, which was merely advisory and had no legal power, consisted of five members: a council from the Ministry of the Interior was chaired. There were also two members named by the Evangelical Lutheran State Consistory, a member of the Saxon Antiquities Association and the named inventor , i.e. Cornelius Gurlitt.

This commission did not even have the temporary right to object to the alteration, sale or even demolition of monuments, as other countries have given their conservators. Only building regulations and general police law were applicable in Saxony. When the application of these legal remedies was also decisively restricted by the case law of the Higher Administrative Court, the Saxon legislature was forced to act.

Before that, however, two events that influenced monument protection happened:

In 1899, the art historian Georg Dehio had the idea for a handbook of German monuments as a quick inventory . He wrote a “program for a handbook of German monuments” and presented it to the first day for monument preservation , which met in Dresden in 1900 . After a positive vote there, Dehio was commissioned by a commission consisting of Gurlitt, Hugo Loersch and Adolf von Oechelhaeuser to compile a handbook of German art monuments , the first volume of which (I: Central Germany from 1905) also included Saxony and with funds from the imperial government Disposition fund was promoted.

In 1908 the folklorist and chief building officer Karl Schmidt (1853-1922) and the folklorist Oskar Seyffert (1862-1940) founded the Saxon Heritage Protection Association as the successor organization to the committee for local nature, art and architecture that had existed since 1903 . The regional association in particular had a decisive influence on the resulting defacement law.

Law against Defacement of Town and Country (Defectification Act) of 1909

On March 10, 1909, the first monument protection law was passed in Saxony, the law against disfigurement of town and country (VuG). It came into force on April 15, 1909 and received an executive order on September 15 of that year .

The aim of the law was to protect the historical image of cities and towns. Cases such as the disgrace of the Albrechtsburg (today a protected cultural asset under the Hague Convention ), which was explicitly listed as an example in the draft law, should be avoided in future. It was expressly not the implementation of a certain architectural style that was meant, but the existing one

"Familiar home image [should be protected from adverse changes such as] increasing urban sprawl , large buildings, traffic route construction or excessive advertising."

In the period that followed, based on the authorization of the law, many municipalities created local laws to protect buildings, streets and squares. This was often suggested by some of the 20,000 members of the State Association of Saxon Homeland Security, who actively took care of implementation. The so-called Albrechtsschlösser in Dresden were protected by statutes of February 23, 1912, and in 1915 a local law against disfigurement of the Hoflößnitz property was passed in order to protect the further subdivision of the former royal Hoflößnitz winery against sprawl .

Conversion of the commission to the Royal State Office for the Preservation of Monuments , 1917

In October 1917, the Commission for the Preservation of Art Monuments was transformed into the Royal State Office for Monument Preservation , the forerunner of today's State Office for Monument Preservation in Saxony . However, the state office initially received no more extensive enforcement funds than the commission.

Weimar Republic

After the end of the First World War and the subsequent turbulence, work was carried out on the basis of the still valid Defacing Act to ensure that it could be implemented. After the Reichstag election in 1920 and during the discussions on the adoption of a new Saxon constitution , the Saxon Ministry of the Interior passed an ordinance on August 10, 1920, with which the state office was reorganized and a full-time state monument curator was appointed: Walter Bachmann (1883-1958) received this Assigned a task that he had exercised since September 1919 and was to hold until the end of January 1949.

Together with the Monument Council , the state monument conservationist formed the state office. It had to watch over art monuments, educate the population about their importance and take part in their maintenance and repair. To this end, it also had to carry out further inventory, write reports and publish activity reports. However, it was also not given official powers to enforce the legislative goals.

In 1923, after 41 years, the Saxon inventory was completed with the 41st issue on the Meißen-Land administration .

Draft law on the protection of monuments and nature from 1926

In January 1926, the Ministry of the Interior introduced the draft of a new monument protection law to parliament. The draft failed, the defacement law of 1909 continued to apply.

In the following eight years interested circles developed the ideas for a future Saxon monument protection law. The aim should be to preserve monuments and to raise the population's awareness of its cultural assets.

The State Association of Saxon Homeland Protection continued to be involved as an expert in questions of monuments or in the design of new buildings, both by the responsible authorities and by builders.

Law for the protection of art, cultural and natural monuments (Heimatschutzgesetz) of 1934

On January 16, 1934, the law for the protection of art, cultural and natural monuments (Heimatschutzgesetz, HSG) was promulgated, and the corresponding statutory ordinance (VO-HSG) followed on the following day. The content of the law largely followed the draft of 1926 and was based on the rule of law of the Weimar Republic. Monuments were

"... immovable and movable objects, the preservation of which is in the public interest because of their artistic, scientific (historical, cultural or natural history) or domestic value."

The corrective public interest introduced by the law was intended to prevent excessive monument protection. Despite the means of coercion stipulated in the law, the parties involved should be spared as much as possible, especially when it comes to business concerns, according to Section 9 of the Ordinance (VO-HSG), in accordance with the Defect Act of 1909. In the case of monuments that threatened to go into neglect, the owners could be obliged to take remedial action under the new law by setting a deadline. After an unsuccessful amicable agreement, it was now possible for the first time at the request of the highest monument protection authority to order the confiscation or restriction of property under the Expropriation Act, if this appeared necessary to preserve the cultural or art monument.

Saxony, which existed as a free state in the Weimar Republic , lost its sovereign rights, but remained as a state. The interior ministry itself became the state monument office as the highest supervisory authority, the former district chiefs became the local supervisory authority as administrative districts . The state monument conservationist as well as the state conservationist for soil antiquities were placed at the side of the supervisory authorities, as were the voluntary shop stewards. This path of the monument protection organization, which is only followed in Saxony, was strongly criticized by the state monument conservator Bachmann.

The Saxon Heritage Protection Act explicitly did not apply to the monuments of the Reich or the Saxon state, the University of Leipzig and the cultural foundation located on Saxon territory .

In practice, however, for the National Socialist rulers, purposes such as propaganda , clan studies or job creation were often the main reasons for a protection, whereby the law in the true sense failed. After the beginning of the Second World War, the main task of the official conservationists was to protect the remaining monuments as much as possible from destruction or to document them.

Centralized monument protection organized nationwide in the GDR

The founding of the German Democratic Republic also represented a legal turning point for monument protection in Saxony : After the monument protection legislation of the Saxon Heritage Protection Act of 1934 still applied during the Soviet Zone , the new political system organized monument protection centrally; from 1952 there was no Saxon monument protection legislation more. The People's Chamber in East Berlin issued the laws or ordinances, the implementing ordinance of which was issued by the Minister of Culture .

The newly cut state of Saxony as part of the Soviet occupation zone emerged from the area of ​​the former Free State (minus an area east of the Neisse near Zittau) and from parts of the Prussian province of Silesia west of the Neisse. In this way, Saxony became one of five countries of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) founded on October 7, 1949 . Walter Bachmann retired as the Saxon state monument curator in 1949, followed by the building historian and architect Hans Nadler (1910–2005).

Ordinance on the preservation and care of national cultural monuments (monument protection) from 1952

With the ordinance on the preservation and care of national cultural monuments (monument protection) of June 26, 1952, the Berlin legislature abolished the idea of ​​a regional significance for monuments.

The state of Saxony transferred its executive and legislative powers to the Dresden district , the Karl-Marx-Stadt district (Chemnitz until 1953) and the Leipzig district . The north-eastern areas around Hoyerswerda and Weißwasser were assigned to the Cottbus district as newly created districts .

Hans Nadler lost due to the centralization of monument protection in the GDR, the painted position as public curator, but received in return as chief curator the newly created post of Head of workplace Dresden Institute for Conservation, which he held until the 1,982th

Ordinance on the maintenance and protection of monuments of 1961

On September 28, 1961, the month after the wall was built , the next ordinance followed, concerning the monuments of the republic. The previous concept of cultural monuments was replaced by the concept of monuments .

Law for the Preservation of Monuments in the GDR (Monument Preservation Act) of 1975

The Monument Preservation Act (DPflG) of June 19, 1975 follows a different concept of the preservation of monuments than, for example, the Heimatschutzgesetz , which was still based on the ideas of the Weimar Republic . It defines the monument as a testimony to the emerging socialist society, it follows the concept of “socialist national culture” as one of the “foundations of socialist society” as laid down in Article 18 of the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic . The § 3 DPflG describes monuments as

"... objective evidence of the political, cultural and economic development, which has been declared a monument by the responsible state organs in accordance with § 9 DPflG because of its historical, artistic or scientific importance in the interests of socialist society."

Objects that testified to anything other than the development of socialist society were, by law, of no interest. However, what was important for the development of socialist society changed. If the rulers destroyed castles first, the state authorities were later given the task of restoring existing castles. The determination of the testimony value for the socialist society was a process that was led by the competent state organs and ended with the declaration of monuments .

The Minister of Culture drew up the Central List of Monuments for monuments of particular national or international importance. To this end, the Institute for Monument Preservation in Berlin was at his side as a scientific institution , the structure and mode of operation of which was laid down in detail in the 1st implementation regulation of September 24, 1976. The institute was headed by the Conservator General , who were subordinate to the workplaces in East Berlin , Dresden , Erfurt , Halle and Schwerin . The employees of the institute supported the district and district councils in drawing up their district and district monument lists; the district monument lists were intended for monuments of national importance. Monuments of local importance were allowed on the district monuments list. For this purpose, the monuments were classified according to their value (value groups, WG I – IV), with value group I corresponding to the most valuable level. In addition, the monuments were also divided into different departments: There were, for example, the monuments of political history , in which Soviet war cemeteries were or also memorial plaques for the founding of the KPD, attached to the former establishment. In the section of the monuments of cultural history , for example, there was a sub-section for the monuments of architecture , which today is generally understood as a monument . Then there were, for example, monuments to events and personalities in art and science , monuments to craft and industrial history and monuments to rural construction .

The work of the republic-wide preservation of monuments could only be done on site with the support of many volunteer officers. These local citizens were proposed by the regionally responsible chief conservators and appointed by the respective council of the district for five years. The organization of the volunteers on site was then carried out, for example, by the Active for Monument Preservation , whose chairman made the suggestions together with the city architect and the city council for culture. This organization through the Kulturbund der DDR in 1977 led to the fact that the Society for Monument Preservation in the Kulturbund of the GDR was founded on June 3, 1977 in Berlin .

The person authorized to dispose of it was responsible for the monument itself: he had to ensure that damaging influences were averted from the monument and had to refrain from such actions himself. Preservation had to be done under expert guidance or, according to the law, even had to be restored through restoration, for which financial support from the monument preservation fund could be granted. All active measures on a monument were subject to permission. Approval could only be granted by the district council if a monument preservation objective was presented by the Institute for Monument Preservation . The councils of the districts could impose conditions on those authorized to dispose of them, in the event of violations the approval expired.

Gerhard Glaser 2011

The previous head of the Dresden office of the Institute for Monument Preservation, Hans Nadler, handed over his duties as chief curator to the architect Gerhard Glaser (* 1937), who remained entrusted with this task even after the fall of the Wall.

A conclusion can be drawn for the period towards the end of the GDR: In theory, inclusion in a list of monuments put the state in the position of having to take responsibility for the protection and maintenance of monuments. However, the citizen and the individual honorary monument conservationists lacked the opportunity to enforce this. In return, the state had numerous legal measures available to issue orders. However, as in the case of many demolitions that have already been approved, a side effect of the mismanagement of the last few years was that many things simply came to a standstill. This and the sometimes enormous commitment of individuals on site, often against the will of the state, saved many witnesses of human cultural history in the area of ​​the GDR, especially those of low socialist value, from disappearing. The Dresden office of the Institute for Monument Preservation found in 1990 that between 9% and 17% of the older buildings in the cities of Altenberg , Bautzen , Görlitz , Meißen , Pirna and Zittau were lost between 1950 and 1987, but that in particular in the following five to seven years, cities would lose an average of 40% of their old buildings.

Continuation of the Monument Preservation Act after reunification in the area of ​​Saxony

After the fall of 1989/90 , the Monument Preservation Act in accordance with Article 9, Paragraph 1 of the Unification Treaty continued to exist in the Free State of Saxony with restrictions as state law .

The Saxon Homeland Security Regional Association, founded in 1908, brought into line during the Nazi era and robbed of its assets during the GDR era , held its first general meeting after 1945 on April 7, 1990. According to the statutes for the maintenance of natural monuments, nature reserves and cultural monuments , the Saxon association based in Dresden has also been recognized as a nature conservation association since 1991 .

Law on the protection and maintenance of cultural monuments in the Free State of Saxony (Saxon Monument Protection Act) from 1993

State curator since 2002: Rosemarie Pohlack

Saxony received its new constitution on May 27, 1992 . Today's state border is a compromise between the state borders that existed from 1815 to 1952 and the district borders formed in the GDR afterwards. So Altenburg came back to Thuringia, while more of the Leipzig area today belongs to Saxony than before. The cultural assets in this area were placed under the protection and maintenance of the country in Article 11, Paragraph 3 of the constitution.

In 1993 the law for the protection and maintenance of cultural monuments in the Free State of Saxony (SächsDSchG) was passed; it was valid from March 17, 1993. According to § 2 SächsDschG are cultural monuments

"... man-made things, aggregates, parts and traces of things including their natural foundations, the preservation of which is in the public interest because of their historical, artistic, scientific, urban or landscape-shaping significance."

According to a decision of the Higher Administrative Court in 1997, only monument protection concerns apply to the assessment, private interests are left out.

The second section of the Monument Protection Act regulates the organization of monument protection. The highest monument protection authority is the State Ministry of the Interior , to which the State Office for Monument Preservation is assigned as a specialist authority . The other specialized authority that exists next to it, the State Office for Archeology , is subordinate to the State Ministry for Science and Art . The State Office of Saxony with its three locations in Chemnitz, Dresden and Leipzig is the upper monument protection authority, while the lower monument protection authorities are usually located in the districts and urban districts.

The Saxon state curator was Gerhard Glaser from 1993 to 2002, accompanied by the art historian Heinrich Magirius (* 1934) from 1994 to 1999 . The architect and monument conservator Rosemarie Pohlack (* 1953) has been performing this task since 2002 .

In the 1990s, a so-called quick entry list was drawn up in order to be able to record as many things as possible with the "inherent special values ​​[n]" after the fall of the Wall. A separate Saxon route was followed: All objects were recorded "house number specific" and each object was counted individually. "This allows a very precise processing in the registration and in the monument protection procedure, but leads to apparently exaggerated monument numbers, which are not comparable with the much more complex counting method of other federal states". Saxony's approximately 105,000 entries (as of mid-2011) are currently being checked using a “value scale that is now recognized throughout Germany”: “What is broken or too impaired” is deleted from the list, “Newly recognized” is added to it.

Inventory works


  • Christian Schreiber: The development of the Saxon monument protection legislation. In: Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz (Hrsg.): Messages. 1/2010, pp. 36-43.
  • Heinrich Magirius : History of the preservation of monuments in Saxony 1945–1989. Workbook 16 of the State Office for Monument Preservation. Dresden 2010.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Letter from Carl Peter Lepsius to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dated Monday, October 4th, 1819: " Yesterday the first meeting of the same took place here - benefiting from the excellent, beautiful autumn weather in the great outdoors, in highly romantic surroundings, at the old Saalek Castle, where the basic lines for the constitution of the association were drawn and recorded. "
  2. In Bilzingsleben, Ernst Friedrich von Schlotheim probably made one of the earliest known finds of a fossil human being and mentioned it in 1818 in "Leonhard's mineralogical pocket book". The lime-coated human skull, which was later documented several times, is unfortunately no longer there today.
  3. ^ First annual report on the negotiations of the Thuringian-Saxon Association for Research into Patriotic Antiquity. 1821. Second annual report. 1822. Wild publishing house, Naumburg 1822, digitized version
  4. ^ Franz Xaver von WegeleLepsius, Karl Peter . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1883, p. 418 f.
  5. a b Rosemarie Pohlack: Diversity and values ​​of the Saxon monument landscape .
  6. ^ Website of the Association for Saxon State History . (accessed November 25, 2018).
  7. Königlich Sächsischer Altertumsverein ( Memento from December 27, 2012 in the web archive ) (accessed on November 25, 2018).
  8. ^ Fritz-Rudolf Herrmann: On the history of the archaeological preservation of monuments in Hessen.
  9. Gabriele Dolff-Bonekämper: The discovery of the Middle Ages: Studies on the history of the registration of monuments and the protection of monuments in Hessen-Kassel and Kurhessen in the 18th and 19th centuries. Darmstadt and Marburg: Self-published by the Hessian Historical Commission Darmstadt and the Historical Commission for Hesse; 1985. (Sources and research on Hessian history; Vol. 61). (Revised version of the Diss. Phil. Marburg 1983). ISBN 3-88443-149-8 .
  10. digitized version
  11. a b Georg Dehio : Handbook of German Art Monuments . Volume I. Central Germany . Berlin 1905, p. III.
  12. The history of the state association (with photos by Schmidt and Seyffert)
  13. Protected cultural property in Germany ( Memento of the original from May 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. § 1 HSG.
  15. ^ Heinrich Magirius: History of the preservation of monuments in Saxony, from the beginnings to the new beginning in 1945. Berlin 1989.
  16. ^ Christian Schreiber: The development of the Saxon monument protection legislation. In: Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz (Hrsg.): Messages. 1/2010, p. 39.
  17. Peter Goralczyk: Does categorization hinder the preservation of monuments? Experience from the GDR. (PDF; 79 kB) Berlin, April 2, 2005.
  18. ^ A b Brian Campbell: Preservation for the Masses: The Idea of ​​Heimat and the Gesellschaft für Denkmalpflege in the GDR. (PDF; 141 kB)