Historical Commission of Berlin
The Historical Commission of Berlin e. V. is a scientific association for the research of the state history of Berlin-Brandenburg and Brandenburg-Prussia as well as the city history of Berlin . It stands in the tradition of the "Historical Commission for the Province of Brandenburg and the Imperial Capital Berlin ".
The oldest predecessor organization of today's Historical Commission was the “Märkische Geschichtsverein”, founded in 1837 and, under the influence of Gustav Schmoller, in 1899 with renewed statutes. In 1925, the Brandenburg Provincial Association and the City of Berlin's Magistrate, at the suggestion of the Association of Brandenburg History Associations, set up the "Historical Commission for the Province of Brandenburg and the Reich Capital Berlin". The aim was the development of sources and the publication of historical accounts. The chairman of the commission was Ulrich Stutz , while the actual scientific work was carried out by Johannes Schulze from the Secret State Archives . In the first few years a historical atlas of the province of Brandenburg , the Acta Brandenburgica and the Landbuch der Mark Brandenburg were published.
In 1939 the representatives of the city of Berlin left the commission. To this end, two new historical commissions were established in 1943. One was responsible for the province of Brandenburg and the other for Berlin, the latter initially operating under the title “State Office of the Reich Capital for History, Local Research and Folklore”. This also had the source indexing as its main task, but this was due to the war events and the consequences of the war could not be realized.
In 1959 a Berlin Historical Commission was founded as an association based on the Friedrich Meinecke Institute of the Free University of Berlin . As before, the focus was on exploring the city of Berlin and its surroundings. The spectrum was broad and encompassed intellectual, social, economic and party history. There was also an investigation into the relationship between Germans and Slavs in the region. The yearbook for the history of Central and Eastern Germany became the organ of the historical commission. In 1960, a section on the history of the labor movement was added under the direction of Henryk Skrzypczak , which was also supervised by the August Bebel Institute. In the same year, the first publications of the Historical Commission appeared in the Walter de Gruyter publishing house . At the same time, the preparatory work for the historical hand atlas of Berlin and Brandenburg began , the first deliveries appeared in 1961. In the same year the economic historian Otto Büsch made contact with the archive of the Siemens group . The commission received budget funds from the city of Berlin since 1962 and was able to intensify its work.
In 1963 the Berlin Historical Commission was renamed "Historical Commission of Berlin". Associated with this was the expansion of the organization's work areas. Since 1964, cooperation with foreign, especially American, scientists has intensified. Research into the history of the Jews in Berlin was also intensified. In 1965, in addition to the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Historischer Handatlas” and the department for the “History of the Labor Movement”, a “Working Committee for Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Letters ” and the “Working Group for the History of Industrialization ” were founded. In the same year, the first edition of the International Scientific Correspondence on the History of the German Labor Movement (IWK) appeared. A new series of publications began to appear in 1968 under the heading Individual Publications of the Historical Commission in Berlin . With financial support from the Volkswagenwerk Foundation , the collaboration with foreign historians has been expanded.
Consolidation and expansion
Since 1970, in addition to the relationship with the Friedrich Meinecke Institute, there has been cooperation with other scientific institutions in Berlin. At the same time, the collaboration with Stanford University , for example with Gordon A. Craig , was intensified. In the following years international contacts, especially to Eastern Europe, were further expanded.
In 1973 the "Department for the History of German-Polish Relations" was founded as a further area of work. With financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation, the "Mittelhof" was purchased in 1976 as the headquarters of the organization. Since 1977 research into the history of Prussia has become a further focus. In 1979 the commission took over the coordination of the long-term project to research "Inflation and Reconstruction 1914 to 1924."
At the beginning of the 1980s, the Berlin Senate intensified the commission's inclusion in joint federal-state funding. At the same time, the budget was increased. The five research departments were replaced by eight sections and two advisory boards for overall coordination.
In the years that followed, the commission organized numerous scientific conferences on a wide variety of topics from early modern times to contemporary history. The commission also took part in the 1987 city anniversary of Berlin with events and publications. Among them were the anthologies Berlin Democracy and Little Berlin History . In addition, the commission oversaw the “ Berlin memorial plaques ” program initiated by the Berlin Senate ; by 2014, more than 400 plaques had been installed in this program in all districts of Berlin.
Realignment and crisis
The commission expanded its international contacts in the following years. After the end of the GDR , the problem of dealing with its historical studies was more immediate than before. A fundamental reorientation of the Commission began in 1991 against the backdrop of German reunification . In terms of content, one dealt with the redesign of the center of Berlin.
In 1992 an evaluation commission proposed conceptually to concentrate the work on two main areas. One would have been the history of the city and the country, the other research into Prussia. The main focus was on researching the holdings in the archives in the area of the former GDR. One of the first results of the expansion of the research area beyond the borders of Berlin was the publication of Brandenburg History in 1994 .
Due to the planned reorientation, previous areas of work were outsourced and connected to other scientific institutions. This included the area of Germania Slavica, the history of German-Jewish relations and the publication of the IWK.
In 1996 all Commission staff were dismissed due to a lack of funds. Publications like the yearbook for the history of Central and Eastern Germany have been discontinued. At the same time, the association officially decided to focus its tasks on research into the historical regional studies of Berlin-Brandenburg and Brandenburg-Prussia.
In the following years a number of conferences were held and various publications were published. From 1999 onwards there was an intensified search for sponsors and an intensification of public relations work. The organization began with the publication of the small series of the Historical Commission in Berlin. The yearbook for the history of Central and Eastern Germany was continued with the subtitle Yearbook for Comparative and Prussian State History . Another part of the Handbook of Prussian History was published in 2000.
In addition to numerous other publications, the publication of a multi-volume Brandenburg history in individual representations began in 2001 . In 2006 the sections for the fields of work in Berlin, Brandenburg and Prussia were newly founded.
Chair of the Historical Commission
- 1959–1978: Hans Herzfeld
- 1979–1981: Otto Büsch
- 1982–1986: Wolfgang Treue
- 1986–1990: Klaus Zernack
- 1990–1996: Wolfram Fischer
- 1996-2009: Wolfgang Ribbe
- 2009–2013: Uwe Schaper
- since 2013: Michael Wildt
- Publications of the Historical Commission in Berlin
- Individual publications by the Historical Commission in Berlin
- Writings of the Historical Commission in Berlin
- Small series of publications by the Historical Commission in Berlin
- Library of Brandenburg and Prussian History
- Yearbook for the history of Central and Eastern Germany
- Brandenburg history in individual representations
- Berlin research, new series
- Historical landscape of Berlin
- History of the Berlin administrative districts
- Berlin pictures of life
- Commission homepage
- Literature by and about the Berlin Historical Commission in the catalog of the German National Library (1963–1970)
- Literature by and about the Berlin Historical Commission in the catalog of the German National Library (since 1970)
- The Mittelhof is a country house in Berlin-Nikolassee , built 1914–15 by Hermann Muthesius , for the building and its history see: Mathias Hopp, Heinrich Kaak : Der Mittelhof von Hermann Muthesius in Berlin-Nikolassee. A building and garden monument in the course of time , Lukas-Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, Berlin 2005. See also: Historical Commission of Berlin (ed.): Der Mittelhof in Berlin-Nikolassee. History of an architectural monument (= information , supplement No. 15) , Berlin 1992.