Römerberg (Frankfurt am Main)
|Place in Frankfurt am Main|
Römerberg and Saturday mountain, view from the old Nikolaikirche
|place||Frankfurt am Main|
|Newly designed||After 1945|
|Confluent streets||Paulsplatz , Neue Kräme , Braubachstraße , Markt , Flößergasse, Bendergasse , Saalgasse , Fahrtor , Limpurger Gasse|
|Buildings||Römer , Frauenstein , Salzhaus , Big and Small Angels , Old Nikolaikirche , Lichtenstein House (historical)|
|User groups||Pedestrian zone|
|Space design||Fountain of Justice , Minerva Fountain|
|Square area||approx. 4000 square meters|
The Römerberg is the town hall square of Frankfurt am Main and has been the center of the old town since the High Middle Ages . The name comes from the house Zum Römer , which has been Frankfurt's town hall since the 15th century. Since then, the square has been the location of numerous events, for example the coronation of the emperors , the Frankfurt trade fairs and the Frankfurt Christmas market .
The eastern part of the Römerberg is also called Saturday Mountain . Since the reconstruction of the historic half-timbered houses on the east side of the square at the beginning of the 1980s, the Römerberg has been a popular destination for Frankfurters and tourists.
The Römerberg is located roughly in the center of Frankfurt's old town between the so-called Cathedral Island in the east and the Carmelite Hill in the west. At its highest point, the Saturday Mountain, it rises about four meters above the depressions between the neighboring elevations, which in the early Middle Ages were still swampy or crossed by small watercourses. On the northern edge of the Römerberg along today's Braubachstrasse , a Main arm , the so-called Braubach , which silted up in the Middle Ages, originally ran . To the south of the Römerberg, the River Main, which used to be much wider, flows, whose north bank was roughly on today's Saalgasse in the early Middle Ages . Access from the square to the Main and the port area to modern times located there made until the 19th century directly to the Staufer Saalhof bordering Fahrtor , nothing to do, despite its name to the east of the cathedral from the Old Bridge to the Zeil leading tramline which, together with the Große Friedberger and the Alte Gasse, formed the most important north-south axis of the old town.
From the Römerberg to the north, the Neue Kräme leads as one of the main shopping streets to the Liebfrauenberg , the second large square in the medieval old town. Due to the lack of the building block that was not rebuilt after 1945, in which the old Frankfurt stock exchange was located, the Römerberg today borders directly on Paulsplatz, which has more than doubled .
While the Römerberg in the west is surrounded by an almost closed perimeter block development, dominated by the five gables of the town hall, interrupted only by the narrow Limpurger Gasse , several alleys from the east opened up from the medieval old town center until it was destroyed during the air raids on Frankfurt am Main on the Römerberg. The street at the northernmost point, named the market , leads over to the cathedral and was reconstructed as a street as part of the Dom-Römer project . Because of its role in the context of the imperial coronations , it is now often referred to as the coronation path. To the south of the Nikolaikirche the Bendergasse flows , which today leads a little further north between the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and the town house, which has meanwhile been built over the medieval excavations of the Carolingian imperial palace, to the south side of the cathedral. A whole row of tiny alleys led south of the rebuilt Ostzeile into the maze of old town, such as the Schwertfegergäßchen or the narrow Flößergasse , which led from the Haus zum Schwarzen Stern to the small five-finger cookie . The southern edge of the Römerberg is formed by the street consisting of Saalgasse to the east and Alte Mainzer Gasse to the west.
The historical development of the Römerberg, consisting of partly Gothic and partly Baroque houses, was largely destroyed in the air raids on Frankfurt in 1944. Today's square is the result of externally true to original reconstructions and new buildings from the 1950s and 1980s.
On the west side of the square is the historic town hall and symbol of Frankfurt, the Römer . The Haus zum Römer , first mentioned in 1322, is the middle of the three houses with the characteristic Gothic stepped gable ; the southern one is called Alt-Limpurg (formerly the Laderam house owned by Hartrad with the Francofurtia , the “female embodiment” of the city), the northern Löwenstein . To the north, the two houses Frauenstein and Salzhaus adjoin Paulsplatz . The houses south of Limpurger Gasse are new buildings from the 1950s, replacing the Lichtenstein , Strahlberg, Drachenfels and Schönstein houses that were destroyed in the war .
The south side of the square is dominated by the early Gothic Old Nikolaikirche . The new building of the Historical Museum , also located on the south side at the entrance to Saalgasse, was opened in October 2017.
The row of houses on the east side of the square, the Saturday Mountain , is a reconstruction of the historical models built from 1981 to 1984, which was decided after a long discussion. The names of these buildings are from north to south: Großer and Kleiner Engel , Goldener Greif, Wilder Mann, Kleiner Dachsberg, Großer Laubenberg, Kleiner Laubenberg, Schwarzer Stern . A development from the 1950s in the simple style of the reconstruction period had already been demolished in 1969 as part of the underground construction .
Originally located on the north side of the Römerberg homes Crane , Peter Weil , Golden Wheel , White Pigeon and English Castorhut were 1,904 demolished until 1906 for the breakthrough Braubachstrasse, as well as the east of it already on the market , the Haus Golden Sheep . In place of these six partly Gothic, partly Baroque houses, four new buildings were built in neo -Gothic , neo-renaissance and neo-baroque styles . The corner house Römerberg 36 and the neighboring house Römerberg 34 took over the old names Kranich and Goldenes Rad . The house Römerberg 30 received the new name To the twelve heavenly signs . The current houses were built during the reconstruction in 1952.
The Fountain of Justice has stood on the square since 1543 .
Archaeological finds show that the Saturday Mountain was already surrounded by a wall in the Carolingian era, the southern edge of which ran along Bendergasse and the former Goldhutgasse to the market. The wall protected a small settlement that probably stretched west of the Königspfalz Frankfurt to the swampy lowland on today's western edge of the Römerberg. At that time the Braubach , a tributary of the Main, still flowed to the north of the settlement .
The Carolingian Palatinate lost its importance in the 11th century. While it often served as a temporary residence for the Carolingian and Ottonian kings, only three visits to the rulers are documented between 1027 and 1140. It was not until 1140 that the Hohenstaufen king Konrad III appointed. a Reichstag in Frankfurt, which was followed by six further visits by 1152. In 1147, after a sermon by Bernhard von Clairvaux, he left here for the Second Crusade to the Holy Land .
In the second half of the 12th century the Saalhof , a Hohenstaufen royal castle, was built around 200 meters southwest of the Carolingian Palatinate on the banks of the Main. The castle also had a small chapel for the court and the castle crew, the predecessor of the Old Nikolaikirche because the Salvatorkirche had already become dilapidated at that time. During this time, the square to the north of the castle already served as a public meeting place for the imperial court and the Reichstag. Tournaments were held in the square and courts were held in the open air.
In 1942 a huge ring-shaped foundation with a wall thickness of 6.20 meters and a diameter of 21.75 meters was discovered during the construction of a fire fighting pond on the Römerberg . It belonged to keep the hall court which, although never reached its planned height of 45 meters, but in 1240 the highest tower in Germany to have been. Today a stone ring embedded in the paving of the Römerberg reminds of the Staufer defense tower.
The first houses were built on the east side of the square around 1200, the houses on the other sides only a few decades later. The square now marked the border between the upper town in the east, which was mainly inhabited by craftsmen, and the lower town and was initially only called Berg or Auf dem Berg . The name Saturday mountain for the high eastern part of the square, a reference to the weekly market that takes place here, is already documented in the topography of Baldemar von Petterweil around 1350 . The network of streets and squares in the old town, which was built over 150 years, remained largely unchanged for over 500 years until the road breaks at the end of the 19th century.
The square has been the stage for important events since the Middle Ages . With a total of 10 imperial coronations between 1562 and 1792, a large folk festival took place on the square , while the new emperor was sitting at the coronation meal in the Roman's imperial hall . On these occasions, an ox kitchen was set up on the square. Goethe describes in poetry and truth the coronation celebration of Emperor Joseph II (1764), the third from last before the end of the empire . According to the accounts received, the imperial coronations were extremely lucrative for the owners of the houses on the Römerberg. At the coronation of Leopold II on October 9, 1790, the owner of the Schwarzer Stern house rented out his numerous windows to onlookers, and even had a few additional hatches broken in the roof. In total, he received 2211 guilders . The canvas dealer Scheidler even received over 6,000 guilders for renting the windows and the grandstand in front of his Schieferstein house (today the Golden Greif ).
The Frankfurt trade fairs were even more important from an economic point of view than the elaborate but rare imperial coronations . In addition to the autumn mass attested since 1240 from mid-August to the beginning of September, there was also a spring mass during Lent since 1330 . The fairs lasted 14 days each and attracted thousands of merchants from across the empire and across Europe, as well as countless carters and armed escorts, because the fairs were under the protection of the emperor. While the Frankfurt citizens rented their living space to the guests, their shops and cellars served as exhibition halls. Many merchants also lived in the Messenhöfe near the Römerberg, for example the Nürnberger Hof and the Goldenes Lammchen . The Roman halls served as an exclusive trading center for gold and silversmiths and diamond dealers . Numerous stalls where wholesalers and retailers traded their goods were built on the square itself.
In addition to the fairs, there was also the Frankfurt Christmas market from 1393 so that the citizens could stock up on what they needed before the hardest time of winter began. In contrast to the trade fairs, no foreign merchants were allowed to sell their goods at the Christmas market. Only Frankfurt citizens could set up a stand.
With the end of the Holy Roman Empire, the Römerberg lost its role as a scene of glamorous festivals and lively trade. The Frankfurt trade fairs had become mere annual fairs that only served the retail trade. In the 19th century, wealthy citizens moved from the old town to the new residential areas along the ramparts and to the newly emerging suburbs in the Westend and Nordend . The city center moved to the new town . With its numerous classicist new buildings, Frankfurt was considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, while the medieval-looking old town was seen as backward and outdated. Eduard Beurmann wrote in his Frankfurt pictures in 1835 :
"The houses there, as black as they are smoked, as gloomy as they look down on the street, so bowed their heads they lean towards one another that hardly a ray of sun can fall between their rows, are like old old men who have been through a lot, who have long since passed be able to report past times (...). The alleys adjoining the Römerberg, Saturday Mountain and Markt thus face us; they form the oldest part of the old Frankfurt. The Römer, the Limburg and Frauenstein houses, the stone house, the Saalhof, the Bartholomäuskirche protrude as the chiefs from under those buildings, and look down gloomily, and at night even eerily, down to one. They came over to us from a time that has long been in the grave; like the eternal Jew they look down on living time and seem unable to find their way into it. "
The painter Carl Theodor Reiffenstein and the photographer Carl Friedrich Mylius documented the picturesque and beautiful sides of the Römerberg, but also its gradual decline. It was only with the renovation of the Fountain of Justice in 1887 and the redesign of the Roman from 1896 to 1900 that the square began to flourish. From 1904 to 1906, the old houses on the north side were demolished to break through Braubachstrasse and replaced by historicizing new buildings.
In the 20th century, the Römerberg was again the scene of numerous major events. From 1932 to 1939, the internationally renowned Römerberg Festival was held here every summer , at which around 350 theater performances took place in the open air over eight years.
On May 10, 1933, the book burning nationwide organized by the German Student Union took place at Römerberg . A bronze memorial plaque by Willi Schmidt between the old Nikolaikirche and the Fountain of Justice, unveiled on May 10, 2001, reminds us of this today with the text “At this point, on May 10, 1933, National Socialist students burned the books of writers, scientists, journalists and philosophers. 2001 ” and the quote from Heinrich Heines Almansor “ That was just a prelude, where you burn books, you end up burning people. Heinrich Heine 1820 ” . Stylized books contain the names of 52 persecuted authors.
During the first major air raid on Frankfurt on October 4, 1943, the Römer in particular was badly damaged. On March 22, 1944, the entire old town was drowned in the firestorm. On the Römerberg and in the entire district between the cathedral and the Römer, all the houses burned down, but many people were able to save themselves. The medieval vaulted cellars of most of the buildings had withstood the bombs. They had been connected to one another by an underground network since 1940 and opened up an escape route for over 800 people to the emergency exit next to the extinguishing water basin at the justice fountain.
In 1952, the reconstruction of the buildings around the Römerberg began. In the 1960s, the Dippemess had to move from the Römerberg to the fairground on Ratsweg, as the fairground rides for the showmen no longer had a place in the old town. On June 25, 1963, American President Kennedy addressed 150,000 people. He remembered his visit as a young member of the Congress in 1948 in the destroyed Frankfurt and paid tribute to the work of the citizens in the reconstruction of their city.
In 1956 and 1975 the opening services of the 7th and 16th Evangelical Church Congress were held on the Römerberg. Since the 1970s, large demonstrations and victory celebrations of successful selection teams of the German Football Association , which is based in Frankfurt, have also taken place on the Römerberg . For example, the men's national soccer team celebrated its successes at the 1990 World Cup , the 1996 European Championship and the 2002 World Cup , while the women's national soccer team celebrated its victories at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and the 2009 and 2013 European Championships . On March 4, 2006, the Römerberg was the backdrop for the city bet by Wetten, dass ..? .
In addition to Pariser Platz in Berlin , the Rathausmarkt in Hamburg and Marienplatz in Munich , the Römerberg is one of the most important German city squares, as the “parlor” of the city and, occasionally, of the entire republic.
Since 2002, Ironman Germany has been taking place on changing dates in the summer months of June, July or August, one of the largest triathlon events in Germany in and Frankfurt am Main. The target area of this sporting event is on the Römerberg.
The eastern part of the Römerberg is also called the Saturday Mountain. This name possibly comes from the fact that court was held here every Saturday in the open air during the Carolingian era , when the Königspfalz Frankfurt was east of the square . The Frankfurt Jews were only allowed to enter the Römerberg during the fair, otherwise they had to go to the Saturday market. The current building names and locations have been documented since the 13th century.
In October 1454 the Franciscan Johannes Capistranus held a series of penitential sermons from a scaffold on Saturday Mountain, the fiery words of which are said to have brought repentance and contemplation among the citizens of the city. A fresco in the cathedral showing this scene was destroyed during World War II.
Weekly markets were later held on the Saturday market. A fountain is documented there as early as 1481 in a document about the house "zum Ullner". A red flag with a white eagle was put on the fountain at the weekly markets as a symbol of the free market. More recently, a figure of Minerva , the goddess of wisdom , stood on the pump column . In ancient times, the common people are said to have celebrated Walpurgis Night at this Minerva fountain on the night of May 1st , while the city council held a feast across from the Römer. The fountain created by Friedrich Schierholz was destroyed in 1944. The reconstruction took place in 1983 after a historically accurate copy.
Until the destruction in 1944 culminated on Saturday Mountain between houses Little Laubberg and Black Star the rafters alley . It led only a few meters to the east to the Fünffingerplatz , one of the most picturesque places in Frankfurt's old town. The Haus zum Fleischer (house address at the time: Römerberg 14) at the entrance to the alley was demolished in 1873 because it was in disrepair . During the air raid on March 22, 1944, the buildings on Saturday Mountain burned down except for parts of the stone ground floors.
After the rubble had been cleared, the reconstruction of the old town began in 1952. Two buildings in the modern style were initially built on the Ostzeile. In contrast to the destroyed predecessor buildings, the decision was made to use an eaves construction. The further development of the approximately 6000 square meter area between the cathedral and the Römer was postponed. Several architectural competitions were unsuccessful because there were no clear ideas about future use. In 1963 another international Dom-Römer competition was announced. The winning design by Bartsch, Thürwächter and Weber envisaged the exhibition center Frankfurt and the world as the eastern end of the Römerberg . However, the design could not be realized, mainly because of the critical financial situation of the city as a result of the 1966–1968 recession. In 1970 the two houses, barely 20 years old, had to be demolished again for the construction of the B underground line and the Dom / Römer underground station .
The concrete pillars of the two-storey underground car park erected during the construction of the subway were raised about one meter above the ground level so that the planned exhibition building could later be placed on this pillar grid. This created the so-called "hump zone" made of concrete blocks between the Römerberg and the archaeological garden west of the cathedral. The building was not continued, however, as there was no real need for the planned hall and accordingly only unclear ideas about its possible use. In 1975, Lord Mayor Arndt considered in a brochure, which actually served to explain the results of the competition from 1963, "to rebuild the front to the Römerberg based on historical examples." This started a public discussion in which there was approval from both the citizens and the city council as well as sharp criticism for the reconstruction of the Ostzeile. A planning group set up by the magistrate in 1976 should explicitly examine two variants: the construction of the competition designs from 1962/63 as well as criteria "under which technical conditions a reconstruction of the east line on the Römerberg, which was destroyed in the war, would be possible". It was only after another architectural competition in 1980 that the decision was made to rebuild the building, which was carried out by the architect Ernst Schirmacher from 1981 to 1983 .
Difficult technical solutions had to be found during the reconstruction. Only the Großer and Kleiner Engel houses were reasonably well documented due to their architectural significance; the rest of the buildings were mainly based on drawings, photos and aerial photographs. Sinks and deformations of the timber framework, in some cases also clear inclinations from the perpendicular, were corrected, previously separate interiors were merged and different storey heights were harmonized in order to gain more space. Behind the reconstructed east line, two more modern building blocks were built with living and business rooms, but also central technical systems such as stairwells and heating.
The reconstructions were very well received by citizens and visitors, and fundamental criticism of the reconstruction can hardly be heard. The most frequent criticism is that the facades are mostly not plastered or slated , as is the Frankfurt tradition and the destroyed model . The half-timbered houses of the houses Kleiner Dachsberg / Schlüssel , Großer Laubenberg and Kleiner Laubenberg that are visible today are free, creative reconstructions without a historical model. Nevertheless, the row of houses is one of the most popular photo motifs in Frankfurt today.
According to the siege plan ( Faber, 1552 )
Southern half of Saturday Mountain ( Mylius , 1869)
From the tower of the Paulskirche (abbot, 1918)
The Great and Small Angel and Black Star buildings are considered outstanding reconstructions . But also the houses Goldener Greif , Wilder Mann , Kleiner Dachsberg / Schlüssel , Großer Laubenberg and Kleiner Laubenberg were rebuilt with great attention to detail, but only roughly historically due to lack of information. During the reconstruction, some 200 year old beams were used, some of them made of freshly cut wood, as the contracted craft businesses had little experience with the reconstruction of half-timbered buildings. After just a few years, drying cracks and settlement damage occurred, which in 1989 required extensive restoration. The row of houses is characterized by diverse architectural styles from Gothic to Baroque and richly decorated building elements. It is also noticeable that the houses have a particularly large number of windows. This is attributed to the fact that at large events such as coronation ceremonies, the window seats were rented to spectators for a lot of money.
Big and Little Angel
The Großer and Kleiner Engel house at Römerberg No. 28 was built in 1562. From the 16th to the 19th century it was also called Die Wechsel or Zum Wechsel, after an exchange office located there . It stands free on three sides on a floor area of 47 m². During a reconstruction in 1905, the big angel and little angel , originally constructed as a semi-detached house, were merged and the richly decorated half-timbering on the first floor was exposed. The half-timbering of the two upper full storeys and the two attic storeys, which was exposed during the reconstruction from 1981 to 1983, is a new creation, as the exact construction of the facade that was previously slated is not documented. There is currently a café and souvenir shop on the ground floor.
The house with the number 26 is called the Golden Griffin . It was built in 1562 and formerly housed a pharmacy. In the 18th century it was rebuilt and from 1981 rebuilt as historically as possible. The building was plastered and the gable is clad with slate.
The name of the number 24 is Wild Man . The building was built in the 16th century as a Gothic house with a ground floor hall. Around 1800 it was either significantly rebuilt or completely rebuilt. It is plastered and is the only one with an eaves roof with four mansards , which gives it a baroque, classicist character. There are exposed beam ceilings on the upper floors. The windows are arranged regularly. The half-timbering of the previous building was probably plastered in the 18th century.
Small badger mountain and key
Numbers 20 and 22 are called Kleiner Dachsberg and Schlüssel . In the Brunnenrolle 1541 they are mentioned as a semi-detached house under one roof. The former division is also modeled on today's building. You can recognize them by the arrangement of the windows, especially in the gable and on the ground floor. It has also been made visible by doubling the central post. The building, which was sold until 1944, has a visible framework in a historically unproven construction, which has been artificially aged. It was not executed with clay or brick infills like historical models, but with strips, dowels, plates and cavities. On the ground floor there is a ground floor hall in which a restaurant is set up.
The house with the address Römerberg No. 18 is called Großer Laubenberg . It is the oldest house on Saturday Mountain and was built before 1500. The ground floor and the first floor were rebuilt in the 18th century. The building has low storeys and a half-hip roof. The half-timbered structure contains crossed, curved corner struts and quarter-circle footbands, typical features of this period, but cannot be historically proven because the house was slated up until 1944. The top of the gable is slated.
The name of number 16 is Kleiner Laubenberg . It was first mentioned in 1381 and in the course of time it was also called the Altes Backhaus , Blumenstein and Kleine Garküche . The framework is plastered flush with the beams and is noticeable due to its thin beam cross-sections. It is curious that the Kleine Laubenberg is much larger than the Große Laubenberg . This is probably due to the fact that the Kleine Laubenberg originally only comprised the front half of the house facing the Römerberg and was merged with the rear building on the Rapunzelgäßchen between 1544 and 1581.
The Black Star was built in 1610 in the Renaissance style. In the 18th / 19th It was plastered in the 19th century and exposed again in 1920. In 1944 only the stone ground floor was left, but due to its good documentation it could be reconstructed true to the original. On each floor 12 windows are lined up without gaps. The half-timbered decoration differs from storey to storey. Originally the half-timbered beams were probably provided with painted bosses and diamond bosses in order to emphasize the light and shadow side and thus create a higher contrast. Today there is a restaurant in the building.
Reconstruction of the half-timbered house Kleiner Dachsberg / Schlüssel 1983
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- The Römerberg. altfrankfurt.com
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