Rudolf Lill

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Rudolf Lill (2010)

Rudolf Lill (born October 12, 1934 in Cologne ; † July 18, 2020 ) was a German modern historian and church historian . His life and work were closely related to Italy . After a long period of academic activity at the German Historical Institute in Rome , he became professor of modern history at the University of Cologne , and later in Passau and Karlsruhe .

Live and act

Rudolf Lill in 1962 at the University of Cologne with a theme on the settlement of Cologne turmoil 1840-1842 doctorate . His academic teachers were Hubert Jedin , Theodor Schieder and Hans Martin Klinkenberg . In 1961, Schieder, who was a member of the institute's advisory board, put him in charge with a very positive letter to the German Historical Institute in Rome. Until 1974 Lill held the newly established position of research assistant in the field of modern history. Lill protested together with Rosario Romeo , Giuseppe Galasso , Dieter Albrecht and Peter Herde when the former National Socialist Hellmuth Rössler published a review in the historical magazine and was covered by Schieder.

From 1974 to 1979 Lill was scientific advisor and professor in Cologne. From 1979 to 1983 he taught as a full professor at the University of Passau . From 1983 to 1993 he was a full professor at the University of Karlsruhe . From 1993 to 1996 Lill was Secretary General of the German-Italian Center Villa Vigoni . From 1996 to 2000 he taught again as a full professor for modern and contemporary history in Karlsruhe. In Karlsruhe he headed the research center "Resistance against National Socialism in the German Southwest". Lill taught as a visiting professor at the universities of Rome I , Florence , Pavia and Dresden . From 1996 to 2006 he was a lecturer in Italian history at the University of Bonn .

His main research interests were German and Italian history as well as German-Italian relations since the 18th century, the history of the papacy and the relations between church and state. The History of Italy from the 16th Century to the Beginnings of Fascism , published by him in 1980, is considered a standard German-language work on the modern history of Italy despite its Catholic-conservative orientation. His contribution to Italy in the Age of Risorgimento in Theodor Schieder's 1981 Handbook of European History is also considered fundamental . In addition, Lill is considered one of the best connoisseurs of recent papal history. His overview of the history of the popes, The Power of the Popes over the Papacy of Modernity to the Present, was published in 2006 and a new edition was presented in 2011.

Another focus of my work was the resistance against National Socialism . In 1984, together with Heinrich Oberreuter , he co-authored a book of portraits on those involved in the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 ; In 1993 the series Portraits of Resistance was followed by an anthology with research on the White Rose . In 1995 he made contributions to the German resistance in the study volume Resistance in Europe edited by Michael Kißener , Harm-Hinrich Brandt and Wolfgang Altgeld . In 2002 he published a study about South Tyrol under National Socialism. His interest in the resistance against Hitler was stimulated by his friendship with Alexander Groß and his family, the son of the resistance fighter Nikolaus Groß who, like Lill, came from Cologne's Agnesviertel , who was executed in 1945 .

Lill was president of the German-Italian societies in Cologne from 1985 to 1993 and in Karlsruhe from 1997 to 2000. In interviews Lill often spoke about the political situation in Italy and the situation of the Catholic Church. In 2013 he was one of a group of six prominent Cologne Catholics who, after Cardinal Joachim Meisner , who was sharply criticized by Lill, sent an open letter to Pope Francis asking for a less authoritarian successor to resign as Archbishop of Cologne .

Lill was awarded the Tyrolean Eagle Order in Silver and the Commendatore in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Commendatore). Since 2016 he has lived in a senior citizens' residence An den Dominikanern in the shadow of Cologne Cathedral . He died in July 2020 at the age of 85.


A list of publications appeared in: Wolfgang Altgeld , Michael Pillower , Joachim Scholtyseck (eds.): People, Ideas, Events in Central Europe. Festschrift for Rudolf Lill for his 65th birthday. UVK Universitäts-Verlag, Konstanz 1999, ISBN 3-87940-683-9 , p. 331 ff.


  • The power of the popes. New edition, Butzon & Bercker, Kevelaer 2011, ISBN 978-3-7666-1543-5 (Review by Jörg Ernesti in: Historische Zeitschrift , Volume 295 (2012), Issue 3, p. 720).
  • South Tyrol in the time of nationalism. UVK-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Konstanz 2002, ISBN 3-89669-927-X .
  • History of Italy from the 16th century to the beginnings of fascism. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1980, ISBN 3-534-06746-0 (from the 3rd edition as: History of Italy in Modern Times. 3rd, improved and expanded edition. Ibid 1986, ISBN 3-534-06746-0 ; 4th edition . , revised edition, ibid. 1988).
  • The settlement of the Cologne turmoil, 1840–1842. Predominantly based on files in the Vatican Secret Archives (= Studies on Cologne Church History. Vol. 6, ZDB -ID 530617-6 ). Schwann, Düsseldorf 1962 (at the same time: Cologne, University, phil. Dissertation of May 18, 1962).


Lectures and articles

  • About the beginnings of the CDU in Cologne 1945–1948. In: Historisch-Politische Mitteilungen 12 (2005), Issue 1, pp. 157–172 (lecture at the ceremony “60 Years of the CDU” on March 8, 2005 in Gürzenich in Cologne).


  • Wolfgang Altgeld, Michael pillower, Joachim Scholtyseck (eds.): People, ideas, events in the middle of Europe. Festschrift for Rudolf Lill for his 65th birthday. UVK Universitäts-Verlag, Konstanz 1999, ISBN 3-87940-683-9 .

Web links


  1. ↑ Obituary notice
  2. Jens Petersen : The work of the DHI Rome in the field of recent history. In: Reinhard Elze , Arnold Esch (ed.): The German Historical Institute in Rome 1888–1988 (= library of the German Historical Institute in Rome. Vol. 70). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1990, ISBN 3-484-82070-5 , pp. 211-237, here p. 216.
  3. Jens Späth: Wolfgang Schieder 80 Years - 40 Years Working Group for the Modern History of Italy: a balance sheet . In: H-Soz-Kult , November 17, 2015.
  4. Werner Daum, Christian Jansen , Ulrich Wyrwa : German historiography about Italy in the "long 19th century" (1796-1915). Research trends and perspectives 1995–2006. In: Archive for Social History 47 (2007), pp. 455–484, here p. 456 ( digitized version ).
  5. ^ Rudolf Lill: Italy in the Age of Risorgimento. In: Theodor Schieder (Hrsg.): Handbook of European history. Vol. 5, Stuttgart 1981, pp. 827-885.
  6. ^ Munster Forum for Theology and Church: Dossier on the death of Rudolf Lill. July 26, 2020.
  7. Michael Kißener , Harm-Hinrich Brandt , Wolfgang Altgeld (ed.): Resistance in Europe. Contemporary memories and studies. UVK Universitäts-Verlag, Konstanz 1995, ISBN 3-87940-523-9 .
  8. Rudolf Lill died . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung July 23, 2020. Book publications since 1990 on Rudolf Lill's homepage , accessed in July 2020.
  9. ^ Munster Forum for Theology and Church: Dossier on the death of Rudolf Lill. July 26, 2020; Rudolf Lill died . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung July 23, 2020.
  10. Cologne Catholics call for a progressive successor for Meisner. In: Kölnische Rundschau , November 13, 2013, accessed on July 27, 2020.
  11. Interview with the historian Rudolf Lill on his resignation. In: WDR 5 , March 9, 2014 ( ARD Mediathek , available until March 6, 3015).