History of the city of Kaiserslautern

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The history of the city of Kaiserslautern begins with the first settlements in the early 5th millennium BC. In the year 830 Kaiserslautern was mentioned for the first time as "villa Luthra".


At the beginning of the 1990s, during excavations in the area of ​​the Rittersberg in preparation for the new theater building, remnants from the Neolithic ceramic band culture (approx. 5500-5000 BC) were found, which indicate a developed peasantry with arable and horticultural, plant use and livestock farming . In addition to characteristic shards and stone tools, residential warehouses can also be identified. Traces of settlement from the younger Rössen culture (4th millennium BC) had already been found thirty years earlier when the new town hall was being built . Other sites are near the lime kiln, the Bahnheim and in the ditch.

During excavations from around 1900, Bronze Age sickles, hatchets and jewelry (Urnfield Age , approx. 1300–800 BC) were found near the tin hammer . Since the Hallstatt period (since the 8th century BC) the Kaiserslautern area was probably inhabited throughout. Several Celtic burial mounds in the city area date from this time, for example near the former lime kiln, in the ditch valley (excavations in the 1930s) and north of today's A6 motorway (excavations in 2003/2004).

Roman times

Remnants have also been preserved from Roman times (for example under the collegiate church and the associated monastery), but they do not allow the character of a settlement to be clarified; the location on a lowland allows the conclusion to be drawn from a villa rustica as well as a street station.

Roman road embankments have been found south of Kaiserslautern between the grounds of the Technical University and the northeast slope of the Dansenberg, and remnants of the "via regalis" have been preserved, the military road from Metz to Mainz, which runs roughly parallel to today's Bundesstraße 40 and has been closed since prehistoric times is occupied.

middle Ages

There is no evidence of the time after the Roman retreat at the beginning of the 5th century.

In the Carolingian period (from the 7th century), the increase in population led to the expansion of the settlement area from the Rhine plain into the forest areas and to develop them with new traffic routes, economic and administrative centers. The Kaiserslautern area also belonged to these newly developed areas.

Following the Frankish royal court , which was probably established in the Merovingian era, a settlement developed on the rocky plateaus above the Lauter; its core was probably the four commercial courtyards at Altenhof, in the area of ​​today's town hall and in the areas around the collegiate church and around St. Martin. Together with a burial ground and a chapel presumably in the castle area, they form the royal court "villa Luthra", which is first mentioned in writing around 830 in the Lorsch Reichsurbar. According to a document from the year 882, "Lutra" also has to pay taxes to the Salvatorkirche in Frankfurt / Main. The deed of donation from 985, in which Emperor Otto III. hands over the royal court to the Salian Duke Otto of Carinthia, already mentions a market and customs law of the settlement. From the market law one can already deduce a certain, supra-regional importance for Lutra in the 10th century.

Around 1100 Salian rulers had a castle built on the site of today's town hall. Between 1152 and 1158, the Hohenstaufen emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa had this castle expanded into a palace later named after him "of no small magnificence" and made Lautern the center of the Hohenstaufen territory. This marked the beginning of the settlement's heyday.

There is an often-told legend about Barbarossa's time in Kaiserslautern :

“Quite a few want Emperor Friedrich, when he was freed from captivity by the Turks, to come to Kaiserslautern and have his apartment there for a long time. He built the castle there, along with a beautiful lake or pond, still called the Kaisersee, in which he is said to have once caught a large carp and to have hung a gold ring from his finger on one ear as a memorial. The same fish is said to remain untrapped in the pond until the future of Kaiser Friedrich. At a time when the pond was being fished, two carps were caught, which were locked around their necks with gold chains, which are still carved in stone at the Metzlerpforte in Kaiserslautern. A beautiful zoo was built not far from the castle so that the emperor could see all the wonderful animals from the castle, but from that time a pond and a shooting pit had been made. Also in this castle the emperor's bed hangs on four iron chains, and when it is said that if the bed is made well in the evening, it was broken again in the morning, so that someone clearly seemed to have been lying in it overnight. "

- Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm : Deutsche Sagen, Kassel 1816/1818, No. 295.

The imperial palace was first mentioned in 1172 as "castrum domini imperatoris". In 1176 Barbarossa founds a hospital; Premonstratensians are called to Lautern to lead. Only the foundations of the late Romanesque parish church built at the time have survived; construction of the early Gothic choir of today's collegiate church began around 1260.

In 1215 the place was first referred to as "burgus" (Burgflecken), in 1237 as "Lutra imperialis", and in 1253 as "oppidum" (ie a fortified place). The name "civitas regia" (royal city) comes from the year 1260. And Lautern must indeed have been a royal town, splendid enough that King Richard of Cornwall celebrated his wedding to Beatrix von Falkenburg here on his last stay in Germany in 1269. When the Roman-German King Rudolf von Habsburg was elevated to the status of a Free Imperial City in 1276, the city's development reached an early climax. Shortly afterwards (1284) the Franciscans built a monastery north of the Lauter, the complex of which was crowned around 1300 with the construction of today's St. Martin's Church. During this time the first city wall was built.

The three city fires from the 13th century, the last of which is recorded in 1288, are serious setbacks.

The status of a Free Imperial City and the rights associated with it cannot be maintained for long. As early as 1313 or 1314, the city was pledged to Count Georg von Veldenz and Gottfried von Leiningen , and in 1322 by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian to King John of Bohemia . The name "Keyserslutern" appears for the first time in this deed of attachment. After further pledging, the city was ceded to Elector Ruprecht I of the Palatinate as an imperial pledge in 1357 and then passed to the Electoral Palatinate. Since 1375, Kaiserslautern has been the seat of an Electoral Palatinate Office or Upper Office.

Early modern age

When Count Palatine Johann Kasimir (the “ hunter from the Electoral Palatinate ” and brother of Elector Ludwig VI. ) Married Elisabeth of Saxony in 1570 , he was given the offices of Lautern and Neustadt in the Electoral Palatinate. At first he resided in the old imperial palace, but initiated a new building that was completed around 1578. From here he rules his principality Lautern . After the death of Johann Kasimir in 1592, the principality reverted to the Electoral Palatinate, but without being incorporated into the Electoral Palatinate, and in 1611 it was transferred to Count Palatine Ludwig Philipp together with the Principality of Simmern .

After the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1619, the Elector Palatine captain Adam Stapf was commissioned to re-fortify the city according to the baroque pattern. Despite the construction of bastions , courtines and moats , the Spanish moved into the city in 1621. When Swedish troops approached in 1632, the Spaniards did not defend the city; it passed to the Swedes. After the economic setback of 1621, the city began to flourish again.

The most decisive event of the Thirty Years' War was the siege of the city in 1635 by the imperial army with an army of 7,000 men - Germans, Poles, Hungarians and Croats. On July 17th, 1635 the Croatian storm breaks out . The soldiers cut a breach in the city wall by the castle, penetrate the city and get drunk on the wine from the castle cellar. Then they cause a bloodbath among the population and burn some of the city down. Around 1500 people are said to have died. The survivors escape to the woods around the city. Some of the refugees are discovered in the Reichswald near Dansenberg and massacred; the northeast slope of the Dansenberg is still called “Jammerhalde” (see also legends about Kaiserslautern). It will take almost 150 years to return to pre-Thirty Years War population. After the storm, the imperial family moved further west to the Saar. Almost six months later, at the beginning of November 1635, the troops come back to Kaiserslautern on their way to the Rhine, plunder and murder again. This time the castle built by Barbarossa is also partly burned down.

In 1644 the French drive out the imperial army and the administration goes back to the Electoral Palatinate. After the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in 1648, the Upper Office in Lautern was not finally freed until 1652, when the Spaniards withdrew from the Electoral Palatinate.

During the Palatinate War of Succession (1688–1697), the city was occupied by the French, who stayed in the city until the Peace of Rijswijk , i.e. until 1697. During the War of the Spanish Succession , the city was reoccupied by the French in 1703. They grind down the Barbarossaburg and destroy the castle of Johann Casimir except for a few remains. Only with the conclusion of peace in Rastatt in 1714 did the armed conflicts rest for a long time.

During the long reign of Elector Carl Theodor (1743–1799), the city flourished again. The Casimir Castle is being rebuilt. In 1768 the "Physikalisch-Ökonomische Gesellschaft" (Physikalisch-Ökonomische Gesellschaft) was founded, from which in 1779 the High School of Camera emerged. With the chair for agriculture, art science [= technology, production science], action science and cattle medicine art, Johann Heinrich Jung , called Jung-Stilling, receives a professorship for practical economics (= camera science ). His efforts bear the first fruits, the first industrial establishments are established, but the school is moved to Heidelberg as early as 1784 .

In 1792, Kaiserslautern was drawn into the turmoil of the French Revolutionary Wars and fought over from 1793. At the battle of Morlautern (today a district of Kaiserslautern) on November 28, 29 and 30, 1793, the French revolutionary troops, led by General Lazare Hoche, are defeated by Saxon and Prussian horsemen. Blücher wrote about this battle: "I can say that I almost never attended a more complicated battle." In 1796, however, the city was taken by the French and became the seat of one of four sub-prefectures in the "Département du Mont-Tonnerre" created in 1798 ( Donnersberg Department ). In 1800 the pharmacist Johann Goswin Müllinghoff becomes the first mayor ("Maire") under modern French administrative law. In 1804 Napoleon visited the city to see the battlefield near Morlautern. During this visit, Müllinghoff asks (and receives) Napoleon's permission to demolish the dilapidated Richardis Chapel at the collegiate church. In 1809 he set up his pharmacy here and affixed the imperial eagle as a token of thanks; The pharmacy still bears the name "Adler-Apotheke" today.

With the invasion of the Prussians and Russians in 1814, the French period in Kaiserslautern ended. For a transitional period, the city came under Bavarian-Austrian administration and in 1816 fell with the entire Palatinate to the Kingdom of Bavaria .

The Bavarian time

The general synod on the union of Lutherans and Reformed people takes place in 1818. On the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone for the fruit hall , King Ludwig I spoke of the "Barbarossastadt" of Kaiserslautern for the first time in 1843. The first section of the Ludwigsbahn to Bexbach opened in 1848, and in 1849 the line to the Rheinschanze (later Ludwigshafen am Rhein ) was completed. In 1848 a revolution takes place; the provisional government sits in the fruit hall. Foundation of 1. FC Kaiserslautern in 1900.

Weimar Republic and National Socialism

During the November Revolution of 1918, a soldiers' council was formed in Kaiserslautern . After the end of the First World War , Kaiserslautern was occupied by French troops until 1930 as part of the Saar area .

In November 1923 the Autonomous Palatinate was proclaimed in the Association of the Rhenish Republic . The separatist uprising ends in February 1924.

From 1933 the city has a National Socialist city administration. In 1934 the construction of the Reichsautobahn (today A6 motorway ) from Saarbrücken to Mannheim begins , in 1937 the Waschmühltal bridge is completed .

In 1939 Kaiserslautern becomes the capital of the Gaus Pfalz. Allied air raids begin in 1940 . The air raids will destroy more than two thirds of the city over the next few years. The Americans marched into Kaiserslautern on March 20, 1945.

In March 1933 the city had 648 Jewish inhabitants, in 1932 there were 765. Because of the harassment and economic boycott measures that began in 1933, many Jews left Kaiserslautern. The synagogue was demolished in August 1938. Most of the Germans of Jewish faith still living in Kaiserslautern were deported to Camp de Gurs on October 22, 1940 ( Wagner-Bürckel campaign ). Only a few managed to escape from there. Many died of hunger and disease. In August 1942, transports to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Lublin-Majdanek were arranged. Of the 90 Jews who still lived in Kaiserslautern in 1939, at least 78 were murdered after their deportation.

post war period

Pageant welcome the German soccer champions 1. FCK 1951 with a beer truck from the Bender brewery and a bus with the city's heraldic animal

The French military government took over the exercising power in 1945. In 1946 the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate was founded, to which Kaiserslautern has belonged ever since. With the "Bastion Pfalz", Kaiserslautern became the largest US garrison in Europe between 1951 and 1955. FCK became German football champions in 1951 and 1953. In 1969, Kaiserslautern was short of 400 inhabitants in order to exceed the “sound barrier” of 100,000 inhabitants. With the incorporation of the surrounding towns on February 14, 1969 and April 10, 1969, as well as an administrative action by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, only secondarily through local political decisions, Kaiserslautern then became a major city on June 7, 1969. The University of Kaiserslautern was founded on November 21, 1969; she started teaching in 1970. The French troops left Kaiserslautern in 1992. As a result of the downsizing in industry and the partial withdrawal of US armed forces, the unemployment rate rose massively - the Kaiserslautern employment office registered 11.4 percent unemployed in the main district. In 2002, Kaiserslautern was chosen to host the 2006 World Cup.

Industrial history of Kaiserslautern

Overview of the economic development of Kaiserslautern: ore preparation (ore smelters), iron hammer, iron smelting; Breweries; Cloth maker (see Otterberg), railway construction, heavy industry, Pfaff, cigar and tobacco industry; Textile industry (worsted spinning); Industrial exhibitions (1860, 1872, 1905), exhibition hall (1925)


Formerly independent communities and districts that were incorporated into the city of Kaiserslautern.

year places Increase in ha
1932 Einsiedlerhof ?
February 14, 1969 Dansenberg ?
February 14, 1969 Erlenbach ?
February 14, 1969 Hohenecken ?
February 14, 1969 Mölschbach ?
February 14, 1969 Morlautern ?
February 14, 1969 Siegelbach ?
April 10, 1969 Erfenbach with Stockborn, which was incorporated in 1937 ?

See also

Web links


  • Johann Seobaldus Fabricius: Hist. PP Manhemium et Lutrea Caesarea sive de utriusque urbis originibus, incrementis et instauratione nova . Browne, Heidelberg 1656 (History of Mannheim and Kaiserslautern, digitized version )
  • Friday, Willy: The development of the Kaiserslautern textile industry since the 18th century . (= Publications by the Institute for Regional Studies in Saarland, Vol. 8), Saarbrücken 1963, ISBN 978-3-923877-08-9 .
  • Heinz Friedel u. Ernst Christmann: Kaiserslautern then and now. Contributions to the history of the city of Kaiserslautern from the prehistory and early history to the current field and street names. Arbogast, Otterbach-Kaiserslautern 1976
  • Heinz Friedel: The seizure of power in Kaiserslautern and its prehistory. City Archives Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern 1979
  • Heinz Friedel: Kaiserslautern 1914 - 1940. Heard and experience. Arbogast, Otterbach-Kaiserslautern 1980
  • Heinz Friedel: The seizure of power in Kaiserslautern, its prehistory and a comparison with Neustadt / Weinstrasse . Ed .: Stadtarchiv, Kaiserslautern 1980
  • Heinz Friedel: Kaiserslautern under construction. 1946 - 1966. Reports and meetings. Arbogast, Otterbach-Kaiserslautern 1981
  • Heinz Friedel: Kaiserslautern 1866 - 1913. A look back at the good old days. Arbogast, Otterbach-Kaiserslautern 1982
  • Heinz Friedel: The seizure of power in 1933 in Kaiserslautern. A contribution to the development of National Socialism in the West Palatinate with the cities of Landstuhl , Pirmasens and Zweibrücken as well as a comparison to Neustadt / Weinstrasse. Arbogast, Otterbach-Kaiserslautern 1983

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from: Kaiser Friedrich zu Kaiserslautern. Sagen.at, accessed on December 29, 2018 .
  2. Chronicle. In: City of Kaiserslautern. Retrieved June 9, 2019 .
  3. On the history of the Barbarossa city of Kaiserslautern and the Palatinate. In: regionalgeschichte.net. Retrieved June 9, 2019 .