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Frankfurt an der Oder

 

The city of Frankfurt (Oder), which is over 750 years old, also spelled Frankfurt an der Oder or Frankfurt / Oder, is the fourth largest city in the state of Brandenburg with around 60,000 inhabitants; it is a border town in the eastern part of the country with neighboring Poland.

Frankfurt was once a Hanseatic and trade fair city on the middle Oder, which flows into the Baltic Sea below Stettin (Polish: Szczecin) behind the Oderhaff. The city was already settled in 1226 and was granted city rights in 1253. Heinrich von Kleist, born on October 18, 1777, is one of the most famous people in Frankfurt (Oder). The Brandenburg State University Viadrina in Frankfurt was opened in 1506. Among other things, Ulrich von Hutten, C. Ph. E. Bach, the Humboldt brothers, Michael Prätorius, Heinrich v. Kleist u. v. a. more.

Due to the fighting of the Red Army and the retreating German army units around April 22, 1945, Frankfurt (Oder) was very badly destroyed (almost 93%). After the Potsdam Agreement, Frankfurt became a border town and the former Dammvorstadt became the Polish neighboring town of Słubice. The Oder (Polish: Odra) had become a border river for long stretches. Since 1990 the two cities on the river, which are connected by a city bridge, have been growing together again in many ways. In the former district town of the GDR, a brisk residential construction activity began in the 1950s, so that post-war and new buildings dominate the cityscape today. But there are still historic buildings and neighborhoods. The city territory has been further expanded through the incorporation of surrounding places. Today, for example, the local recreation area with leisure and camping park on the Helenesee, the "small Baltic Sea", about 12 km away, belongs to Frankfurt.

 

History

middle age
After 1200 a merchant settlement developed on a valley sand island on a narrow part of the Oder. It was at the crossroads of several long-distance trade routes. Duke Heinrich I of Silesia granted her market and settlement rights in 1225. The influx of wealthy long-distance traders from northwest Germany and Flanders increased.

The mayor Gottfried von Herzberg negotiated with Margrave Johann I at Spandau Castle about granting city rights. On Saturday, July 12th, 1253, Margrave Johann I issued the document for the foundation of the city. The Berlin city law, which was derived from Magdeburg city law, should apply. On July 14, 1253, the following Monday, a supplementary certificate was issued. This document assured the future city of "Vrankenvorde" the sole right of residence in its area and more land to the right of the Oder.

Frankfurt was named as a participant in the files of the Lübeck day trip of 1430. Only members of the Hanseatic League were allowed to take part in the day trips - as a result, Frankfurt had been a member of the Hanse by this year at the latest.

The Hussites burned down the Guben suburb on April 6, 1432. The Carthusian monastery was also reduced to rubble that day. An attack on the city itself on April 13, 1432 failed.

The fish above the southern decorative gable of the town hall, which probably symbolizes the right to “elevate” in the herring barrels, is dated to the year 1454.

Early modern age
At the end of January 1506, teaching began at the Brandenburg University of Frankfurt with the humanistic lecture given by the first “appointed” teacher, Axungia. The opening ceremony took place on April 26th in the presence of Elector Joachim I and his brother Albrecht. 950 academics, among them the young Ulrich von Hutten, came in the first year, more than at any other German university until then. The first rector was the Leipzig theologian Konrad Wimpina.

Martin Luther published his theses in Wittenberg in 1517, which were also directed against Albrecht von Brandenburg, now Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mainz. The Brandenburg University responded with a disputation on January 20, 1518 in front of 300 friars. The answer theses submitted by the Dominican and later indulgence preacher Johannes Tetzel, however, had been written by Konrad Wimpina. They were approved by the congregation and Luther was thus considered refuted. In the following, many students turned away from Frankfurt and moved to Wittenberg. In the same year, at the request of Elector Joachim I. Frankfurt formally left the Hanseatic League.

In 1535 Jodocus Willich founded Germany's first civil music community, convivium musicum, in Frankfurt. In it twelve people dealt with secular music and discussed musical questions.

In October 1536 the Hohenzollern held a family day in Frankfurt, at which plans were concretized to establish family connections with the Silesian line of the Piasts.

In 1548 the oldest city view of Frankfurt (Oder) appeared in Sebastian Munster's "Cosmographia".

The Thirty Years' War first reached the city in April 1626, when the army of Peter Ernst II von Mansfeld, defeated by Wallenstein near Dessau, fled eastwards through the city. Thereupon, Elector Georg Wilhelm called on the Brandenburg estates to set up a standing army. Colonel Hillebrand von Kracht was commissioned with the formation of 3,000 foot soldiers. On May 1st, nine companies were called up on foot for this purpose “at the bird bars near the Carthaus” (today's Anger). This event was considered to be the foundation of the 4th Grenadiers and is viewed as the foundation of the Prussian army in general.

After the Swedish King Gustav Adolf landed with an army on the Pomeranian coast in July 1630, he attacked Frankfurt in the summer of 1631 in order to force the Brandenburg Elector Georg Wilhelm into an alliance with him. The city was besieged for a few days and then in the battle of Frankfurt the storming and sacking of the city followed with great losses for the defenders.

In the course of the Thirty Years War, the population had decreased from around 12,000 to 2,366. Economically, the city could no longer recover from the extorted war contributions. But after the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, the university regained importance, 250 students were enrolled that year.

Matthäus Gottfried Purmann carried out the first successful blood transfusion on German soil from lamb to human in Frankfurt in 1668.

 

During the Seven Years' War, a Russian vanguard under General de Villebois occupied the dam suburb at the end of July 1759. The small garrison under Major von Arnim withdrew after a short bombardment. General de Villebois demanded 600,000 thalers contributions from the city. The Austrians who arrived later made the same request. Thanks to the negotiating skills of Mayor Ungnad, the total claim was reduced to 100,000 thalers. On August 12, 1759, Friedrich II suffered his worst defeat in the battle of Kunersdorf on the eastern side of the Odra not far from Frankfurt. The Prussian army was subject to the united Russians and Austrians. 19,000 men were killed; among them Ewald Christian von Kleist.

On April 28, 1785, the dam broke during the spring flood and the entire dam suburb was flooded. The only casualty was garrison commander Leopold von Braunschweig, whose boat turned over on the way to the rescue work.

Frankfurt was temporarily of considerable importance for the trade between Eastern Europe and Germany and not only for the fur trade mentioned by Krünitz. Krünitz wrote around 1800: “The local [German] furriers buy the foreign furs at the fairs in Leipzig and in Frankfurth on the Oder. [...] At the fair in Frankfurth on the Oder, there are especially Polnian Jews who trade in Ukrainian sheepskins, and also sometimes Gdansk, but generally Leipzig smokers' dealers ”.

19th century
At the beginning of February 1811, the Frankfurter received the final news that the university had been relocated to Breslau. The reason was the University of Berlin, which Wilhelm von Humboldt opened last year. The farewell party for the students took place on August 10th.

As a replacement for the relocation of the university to Breslau, Frankfurt became the seat of the government of the new administrative district of Frankfurt and a higher regional court on January 1, 1816.

The Frankfurt district, formed in 1816, was made up of the city of Frankfurt and areas that had previously belonged to the Lebus district and the Sternberg district, including the suburbs Carthaus, Kliestow, Boossen, Buschmühle, Lossow, Rosengarten, Schiffersruh, Tschetschnow and Ziegelei. The district office for the Lebus district was also located in Frankfurt.

On January 1, 1827, the Frankfurt district was dissolved again. The city of Frankfurt was independent again in 1827, but remained the capital of the Lebus district.

On October 22, 1842, the Berlin-Frankfurt (Oder) line of the Berlin-Frankfurt Railway Company was inaugurated. In 1870 the railway line to Poznan was opened with the 444 meter long railway bridge over the Oder.

In 1895 the first stone bridge over the Oder was inaugurated. At the end of the 19th century, Frankfurt an der Oder had five Protestant churches, a Catholic church and a synagogue.

20th century
The first aircraft landed in Frankfurt on August 19, 1911 at the Kunersdorf parade ground, which had not been used since the beginning of the century.

Between 1919 and 1926, 8,254 refugees came to Frankfurt from areas of Germany that fell to Poland after the First World War. The loss of the eastern territories through the formation of Poland meant an enormous loss for the Frankfurt economy due to the loss of sales and reference markets. Traffic was also affected. Compared to 1913, in 1928 40% less passenger transport and over a third less freight transport were recorded on the Frankfurt – Posen railway line.

From June 16 to 24, 1924, the Ostmarkschau for trade and agriculture (“Ogela”) took place in Frankfurt and was attended by almost 100,000 people. The city hoped that this would stimulate the settlement of industry and founded a GmbH for the project. This prepared 250,000 m² of space in Dammvorstadt, on which the four main areas of the trade show, agricultural machinery show, small animal show and animal show were to take place. The organizers were satisfied with the event despite a loss of 100,000 Reichsmarks. Industrial companies were not attracted by this.

On April 1, 1930, the new building of the state building trade school (Higher Technical State College for Civil Engineering) was inaugurated.

A new building was also built from 1931 for the new Pedagogical Academy in Frankfurt (Oder), which was closed again in 1932 for reasons of economy, but reopened as a college for teacher training in 1934. The new building in Bismarckstr. 51/52 was inaugurated in 1935.

Time of the national socialism
The National Socialists locked their political opponents (including the later mayor Willy Jentsch) in the historic judicial prison on Collegienstraße, which was a Gestapo prison from 1933 to 1945.

 

In 1937 the motorway to Berlin was inaugurated.

During the November pogroms in 1938, the interior of the synagogue, built in 1822 by the then large Jewish community, was destroyed by the National Socialists.

With the exception of an attack by the British Air Force in early 1944, the city was largely spared from the warfare of World War II until 1945, as there were hardly any important industrial or military facilities. With the beginning of the Vistula-Oder operation by the Soviet armed forces, a large wave of German refugees began, which also passed through Frankfurt (Oder). The total number of refugees passing through was between 264,000 and 300,000 people. The city was declared a fortress on January 26, 1945. On April 19 at 5:29 in the morning, the Oder Bridge was blown up by the Wehrmacht. Russian air raids began on April 20. On the afternoon of April 21st, the fortress status was lifted and the fortress troops began to withdraw one day later. On April 22nd and 23rd, Soviet bombers flew further attacks. This resulted in numerous fires, especially in the center of Frankfurt. On the morning of April 23, 1945, the first Soviet units reached Frankfurt. 93% of the inner city was destroyed by the previous bombardment and arson, which started in the following days. On the evening of April 24th, the tower of St. Mary's Church burned down, the vault of the church collapsed months later.

Between 1933 and 1945, thousands of Frankfurters were killed by the Nazis. By 2018, a stumbling block had been set for more than 170 of them.

SBZ / GDR
As early as May 1945, the connection to the Dammvorstadt was restored by a temporary bridge. According to the Potsdam Agreement, Frankfurt (Oder) - Ffo for short - became a border town. The Dammvorstadt was separated, completely cleared within two days and placed under Polish administration. This resulted in today's Polish neighboring city of Frankfurt, Słubice. In 1951 the treaty to mark the state border between the GDR and Poland was signed in Frankfurt [22] (after the Görlitz Agreement in 1950). The Federal Republic did not recognize this border until 1970 (Warsaw Treaty), and finally only in 1990.

With the dissolution of the states, including Brandenburg, by the GDR, Frankfurt (Oder) became a district town in 1952. In 1957 the motorway bridge over the Oder was completed. The city center was rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s, largely abandoning the old town plan. Few historical buildings, such as the town hall, have been restored. In the 1970s and 1980s, several large new building areas were built using slab construction, including Hansa Nord, Südring and Neuberesinchen.

Peaceful revolution and German unity
On November 1, 1989, 35,000 people responded to the New Forum's call to protest against the SED: The central rally took place on Brunnenplatz, and a memorial reminds us of this with words from the speech by doctor Karl-Ludwig von Klitzing: “We need a perfect one Democratization, freedom of travel, freedom of speech and the press, equal opportunities, perspectives for each individual, a better education system. And we need effective controls. The peaceful demonstration is supposed to announce that we are all here for the turnaround, work on it, support it, urgently demand it. "

With the restoration of the states still in the GDR in 1990, the city came back to the state of Brandenburg. On July 15, 1991 the official (re) establishment of the European University Viadrina was completed. In September 1994, the last occupation soldier in the Soviet army left the city. In 2001, the larger demolition of houses, mainly prefabricated buildings, from the GDR era began. Up to and including 2005, the city lost 3,500 largely vacant apartments.

Jewish life in the city
From 1294 at the latest, Jews lived in the city. The Jewish cemetery was first mentioned in 1399. In a pogrom in 1491/1492 all Jews were killed. A new synagogue was built in 1561 and the Talmud was first printed in Germany in 1697–1699.

In 1933 around 800 Jews lived in the city, most of whom had immigrated from Posen and West Prussia after the First World War, because they felt as Germans and did not want to live in Poland. On the night of the pogrom in 1938, the synagogue was set on fire and burned down. Jewish shops were looted and destroyed, Jewish fathers arrested and deported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The synagogue building was later used as a storage room and was demolished in the 1950s to create living space. A memorial plaque and brass strips embedded in the roadway remind of them.

In 1944 only 62 Jews lived in Frankfurt (Oder) after they were forced to leave the country and were deported to their death. In the Soviet Zone / GDR, Jewish history hardly played a role.

 

Since 1998, after the immigration of Jews from the areas of the former Soviet Union to Frankfurt (Oder), there has been a Jewish community again, which had more than 240 members in 2017 and a community center in the Halbe Stadt area, but no synagogue. The new Jewish cemetery was inaugurated on June 27, 2011 in the Südring district of Frankfurt.

 

Demographics

The population of Frankfurt (Oder) rose only slowly in the Middle Ages and early modern times and fell again and again due to the numerous wars, epidemics and famine. The city lost 82% of its inhabitants as a result of the Thirty Years' War. The population sank from 13,000 in 1625 to only 2,366 in 1653. Only with the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century did population growth accelerate. In 1816 15,600 people lived in the city, in 1900 there were already 62,000.

The halving of the population from 83,000 in 1939 to 42,000 in December 1945 is due to the effects of World War II and the separation of the Dammvorstadt district - today's Polish city of Słubice. In 1980 there were 1,471 births in the city, 766 of them boys, and 80,414 inhabitants, of which 42,241 were women. The population grew by 1,461 people compared to 1979. In 1988 the population of the city of Frankfurt (Oder) reached its historical high of 88,000. During the GDR era, Frankfurt benefited from the fact that the supply and housing situation in the district towns was significantly better than in the other regions. In the meantime, however, the population has fallen sharply again.

On June 30, 2005, the "official population" for Frankfurt (Oder) was 64,429 (only main residences and after comparison with the other state offices) according to updates by the State Office for Data Processing and Statistics Brandenburg, on December 31, 2005, according to the same source, only 63,748 inhabitants (30,877 male, 32,871 female). In contrast, according to the city administration, there were 63,210 people on that day. Of these, 30,389 were male and 32,731 were female. 2,488 foreign citizens were registered as having their main residence in the city. Since the turning point and peaceful revolution in the GDR in 1989, the city has lost almost 30 percent of its residents (28,000 people) due to high unemployment and the decline in the birth rate.

Estimates published in 2009 assumed that Frankfurt would lose around 28 to 30 percent of its population by 2025, bringing the population to below 44,000, which would mean more than halving since 1988. A population forecast prepared on behalf of the city (based on data from 2005 to 2008), on the other hand, forecast a more moderate population decline. According to this study, the population should be less than 54,000 in 2020, a little over 51,000 in 2025 and around 48,500 in 2030. In fact, according to statistics from Berlin-Brandenburg, around 58,200 people lived in Frankfurt (Oder) in December 2017.

In January 2006, 46 people were counted as homeless in Frankfurt, in January 2007 there were 49.

 

Geography

Frankfurt is located in eastern Germany, in the south of the Lebus countryside. In the north it borders on the district of Märkisch-Oderland, in the south and west on the district of Oder-Spree.

The Oder forms the eastern city limit and at the same time the German state border with Poland. On the other bank of the river is Słubice, which emerged from the former Frankfurt district of Dammvorstadt.

The city is located in the Brandenburg meadow, forest and lake landscape at 22–56 m above sea level; the city center is about 27 m above sea level. The highest point is the Hirschberge at 135 m above sea level. The 250 hectare and 56.63 m deep Helenesee is located in the middle of the Brandenburg pine forests and is a popular leisure area. Because of the interesting nature of the bottom, this lake is very popular with divers. The Helenesee emerged from an earlier lignite mine, the so-called Helene shaft. Adjacent to it was the Katja shaft. Both shafts were flooded in the 1960s and are now connected by a canal.

Geomorphology
Frankfurt lies in the basement moraine area of ​​the Warsaw-Berlin glacial valley.