A short history of Leipzig, focusing on human rights.
"I'm coming to Leipzig, to a place where one can see the whole world in miniature." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) This statement is still true today, as can be seen by anybody who takes a walk downtown.
Leipzig, population approx half million, is a city of commerce which lies on two ancient Roman trans-European roads. The east-west road is the old Via Imperii (Imperial Road) and runs from Flanders to Nishniy Novgorod. The north-south road runs from Rostock to Venice (Via Regia / Royal Road). It is recorded that the city was given a siliar-sounding name, Lipsk, in the 7th century by the Sorbisch Slavs.
200 years later, a fortification was established there to secure the eastern expansion of the empire of the Christian Franks (Regnum Francorum). In 1165, the Margrave of Meissen (where they make the porcelain), known as "Otto the Rich" (he made a fortune in silver), granted the village of 500 a charter as a city and as a market.
In 1409, refugees from Prague founded the university at Leipzig (today has 24,000 students; it is in the downtown area). In 1481, the first book was printed there, at which time the population was 9,000. In 1632, 1/5 of the 20,000 people in Leipzig died from war and the plague. In 1687, one of the first European stock markets was opened up (That is where Bob Minton received the Alternative Charlemagne Award), and in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach became the cantor at Thomas Church in Leipzig.
In 1826, Friedrich Brockhaus started the first steam-powered press. That is when some trouble started. The people is Leipzig who ran the press supported a democratic system (a worker's party) and they were persecuted by pro-monarchy censors, as were many other anti-monarchists in Europe at the time.
Woman's Emancipation got a head start in Leipzig in 1865 with the founding of the German Women's Association
After WWI, in 1923, Leipzig was the only large German city to have established mass trade with the USA. A few years later, the Leipzig fair was the largest of its kind (Leipzig now has about 20 fairs a year with a huge, multi-building fair grounds.)
Depression hit in 1929, and in 1933, the structure of the democratic workers party was destroyed by the Nazis; hundreds of party functionaries were sent to prison and to concentration camps. Leipzig was a center of resistance against the Nazis. Mayor Carl Goerdeler was supposed to have become Reich's Chancellor in the new regime after Hitler's assassination. The assassination failed. Goerdeler was arrested and executed in February 1945, several days after George Schumann, the leading functionary of the communist resistance in Leipzig, was executed.
By 1945, only 200 Jews were left in Leipzig of the 19,500 who had lived there in 1933. 1944-1945, about 11,000 bombs killed about 6,000 residents and destroyed about 1/6 of the buildings. On July 2, 1945, the Americans withdrew from Leipzig, taking patents and scientists with them. The Russians did pretty much the same after that.
The Nicholas Church was named for St. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of commerce (also of sailors). The church became famous as the birth place of civil rights in former East Germany. Father Fuehrer (his real name) held Monday night services there at which more and more people attended, demonstrating for freedom. Eventually hundreds of thousands people joined the rallies which led to serious demoralization of the Stasi regime. The walls of the church include parts of the walls of a chapel built a thousand years before when the area was first fortified.
Leipzig is a boom town of Saxony. It is sometimes called "LE" (sounds like "LA" - Los Angeles) and has a wide range of people and cultures.
Joe Cisar: http://cisar.org/rfs0100.htm
Award site: http://alt-charlemagne-award.de
Why would Gottfried Helnwein, one of the world's leading Scientologists, lie? See http://members.tripod.com/German_Scn_News/has00.htm