Paul Wentzcke

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Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Paul Wentzcke (born September 4, 1879 in Koblenz , † November 25, 1960 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German historian , archivist and museum director .

life and work

Wentzcke came from a Prussian civil servant family. His father was a private office director who was frequently transferred. Paul Wentzcke grew up in Wesel , Verden an der Aller and Strasbourg . He went to the Protestant grammar school in Strasbourg and the grammar school in Rastatt , which he graduated from high school in 1899. He studied history , German, geography and political science in Strasbourg , among others with Harry Bresslau and Friedrich Meinecke . He was a member of the Alemannia Strasbourg-Hamburg fraternities (1899), Marchia Cologne and Germania Würzburg.

In 1904 he did his doctorate under Friedrich Meinecke on the Alsatian journalist Johann Frischmann . For the historical journal (HZ) published by Meinecke, he then edited the index of volumes 57–96, which covered the twenty years before the index was published in 1906. From 1907 to 1912 Wentzcke held his first position as archivist in Strasbourg. In the First World War he was a soldier from 1914 to 1918 and fought on the Western Front , among other things ; at last he was major in the reserve.

Wentzcke mainly dealt with the German-French border area on the Rhine and with the German unity movement of the 19th century. Wentzcke's main work is Der Deutschen Einheit Schicksalsland , published in 1921 , in which he deals with the realm of Alsace-Lorraine ; also in Der Rheinkampf (1925) he deals with French politics in relation to the Rhineland.

In 1912 he married Erna von Fiedler, with whom he had a daughter. When he moved to Düsseldorf in 1912, Wentzcke became head of the city archive there, and in 1926 also of the historical museum . At that time he concentrated in his publications on contemporary problems in the Rhineland and the Ruhr area , especially under Allied occupation and in the "Ruhr War" . In addition, he has been researching the life of Heinrich von Gagern since 1910 and edited parts of his estate (vol. 1: German Liberalism in Vormärz , 1959). He dealt with the Vormärz , the revolution of 1848 and the Frankfurt National Assembly in a few other publications. In this context, his research on the fraternity movement is of particular importance . In 1930, Wentzcke took over the chairmanship of the Society for Fraternity Research from Herman Haupt . In 1927 Wentzcke took over the chairmanship of the Düsseldorf History Association ; under his chairmanship, which lasted until 1935, the association was brought into line without contradiction.

Wentzcke worked as an honorary professor of history at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main from 1935 , where he returned to the subjects of Strasbourg and Alsace. In Frankfurt he was also director of the Institute of the Alsatians and Lorraine in the Reich . In 1945 he became temporary director of the Frankfurt City Archives for a short time .

Between 1918 and 1933 Wentzcke was a member of the German People's Party . The historian Christoph Cornelißen attested Wentzcke's work an unmistakable "anti-socialist, anti-union and anti-republican basic line".

Flag was proposed but never officially adopted? Paul Wentzcke's proposal for a German flag: "Republican Tricolor" (1948)

Wentzcke viewed National Socialism positively; he found the following words about the swastika flag in the emblems and colors of the empire : “With the introduction of the swastika flag, there was an urgent call for a truly large, generally recognized army symbol, which the honorable tradition of past times with the victorious idea of ​​a species-specific future could connect, final fulfillment. At the same hour in which the development of many centuries found its visible conclusion, the newly created emblems and colors took on a brilliant tradition: Ancient Germanic, the red tone of the swastika banner, ancient custom, in this red field the purposeful symbol of the current world - and state beliefs. In a different way from the history of earlier times, but again in hard struggle against internal and external enemies, an army raised leaders and flags. "

In 1948, Wentzcke spoke out in favor of a "Republican tricolor" as the flag of Germany , which, like the French tricolor , should be divided vertically. In 1949 he was denazified as completely unencumbered .

Paul Wentzcke died in Frankfurt am Main in 1960 at the age of 81. He was buried in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Cemetery in Charlottenburg - Westend . The grave is preserved.



  • Regests of the Bishops of Strasbourg until 1202 . Wagner, Innsbruck 1908.
  • History of the city of Schlettstadt . Laupp, Tübingen 1910.
  • Justus Gruner, the founder of Prussian rule in the Bergisches Land . Winter, Heidelberg 1913.
  • Critical bibliography of the pamphlets on the German constitutional question 1848–1851 . Niemeyer, Halle 1911.
  • The fate of German unity. Alsace-Lorraine and the Empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. Historical and political research on the great Rhenish question . Three masks, Munich 1921.
  • In the new empire 1871–1890. Political letters from the estate of liberal party leaders . Outs. And arr. Paul Wentzcke. Schroeder, Bonn 1926 (= German Liberalism in the Age of Bismarck , 2).
  • History of the Ruhr War as a task and an experience . Lecture on December 9, 1928 in Frankfurt am Main and February 18, 1929 in Essen, Düsseldorf o. J.
  • The hero of the Ruhr struggle . Writings of the Historical Museum and the Archives of the City of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf 1931.
  • Ruhr struggle. Burglary and defense in the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area . Berlin 1932.
  • The German colors. Their development and interpretation as well as their position in German history . Winter, Heidelberg 1955.
  • 1848. The unfinished German revolution . Bruckmann Verlag , Munich 1958.
  • Ideals and errors of the first German parliament 1848–1849 . Winter, Heidelberg 1959.
  • as editor with Wolfgang Klötzer : Heinrich von Gagern. German liberalism in the pre-March period. Letters and speeches 1815–1848. Musterschmidt, Göttingen, Berlin, Frankfurt 1959.
  • Erlangen fraternity member in the decisive months of the Paulskirche (September 1848 to May 1849). Contributions to the party history of the first German parliament , edited and edited by Harald Lönnecker (= GfbG: annual edition of the Society for Burschenschaftliche Geschichtsforschung ), GfbG, Lupburg-Degerndorf 2006, ISBN 978-3-9807164-4-4 .


  • Wolfgang Klötzer: Paul Wentzcke † . In: Historische Zeitschrift 192, 1961, issue 3, p. 791 f.
  • Stephan Laux , Sven Woelke: Paul Wentzcke. In: Michael Fahlbusch , Ingo Haar (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Völkischen Wissenschaften. People - institutions - research programs - foundations. Munich 2008, pp. 740-743.
  • Harald Lönnecker : The student fraternity lists, “one of the most important tools for knowledge of German political and intellectual history” - A complete directory of German fraternity members for the origin and development . In: Peter Bahl , Eckart Henning (ed.): Herold-Jahrbuch , NF, Volume 14, 2009, pp. 153–170. ( Online at ; PDF; 521 kB).
  • Obituaries in Der Archivar 14, 1961, and Düsseldorfer Jahrbuch 50, 1960.
  • Wolfgang Klötzer: Paul Wentzcke. Three levels of German consciousness: Strasbourg - Düsseldorf - Frankfurt a. M. (with a list of publications) . In: Kurt Stephenson, Alexander Scharff , Wolfgang Klötzer (Ed.): Representations and sources on the history of the German unity movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries . Vol. 4: In memoriam Paul Wentzcke . Heidelberg 1963, pp. 9-64.
  • Wentzcke, Friedrich Wilhelm Paul . In: Friedhelm Golücke : Author's lexicon for student and university history. SH-Verlag, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-89498-130-X , pp. 348-351.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b History of the fraternity (PDF; 170 kB).
  2. Dissertation: Johann Frischmann - A Publicist of the 17th Century .
  3. ^ Paul Wentzcke (arr.): Historical magazine. Register for volume LVII – XCVI . Oldenbourg, Munich / Berlin 1906.
  4. City Archive State Capital Düsseldorf: Legacies / Collections 4-38-0 Dr. phil. Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Paul Wentzcke , p. 1.
  5. Christoph Cornelißen: From the " Ruhrkampf " to the Ruhr crisis: The historiography of the occupation of the Ruhr . In: Gerd Krumeich , Joachim Schröder (ed.): The shadow of the world war. The Ruhr occupation in 1923 . Essen 2004, pp. 25–45, here p. 39.
  6. ^ Paul Wentzcke: Emblem and colors of the empire . Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1939, p. 123.
  7. Flags of the World - Proposals 1944–1949 (Germany) .
  8. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende : Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 , p. 481.