Place:Saarbrücken, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany

Alt namesSaarbrückensource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Sarrabruccasource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) X, 275
Sarrebrucksource: Rand McNally Atlas (1991) I-157
Coordinates49.25°N 6.967°E
Located inRheinland, Preußen, Germany
Also located inSaarbrücken, Saarland, Germany    
Contained Places
Sankt Johann
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Saarbrücken (;  ; Rhine Franconian: Saarbrigge ;  ; ) is the capital and largest city of the state of Saarland, Germany. Saarbrücken is Saarland's administrative, commercial and cultural centre and is next to the French border.

The modern city of Saarbrücken was created in 1909 by the merger of three towns, Saarbrücken, St. Johann, and Malstatt-Burbach. It was the industrial and transport centre of the Saar coal basin. Products included iron and steel, sugar, beer, pottery, optical instruments, machinery, and construction materials.

Historic landmarks in the city include the stone bridge across the Saar (1546), the Gothic church of St. Arnual, the 18th-century Saarbrücken Castle, and the old part of the town, the Sankt Johanner Markt (Market of St. Johann).

In the 20th century, Saarbrücken was twice separated from Germany: from 1920 to 1935 as capital of the Territory of the Saar Basin and from 1947 to 1956 as capital of the Saar Protectorate.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Roman Empire

In the last centuries BC, the Mediomatrici settled in the Saarbrücken area. When Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in the first century BC, the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

From the first century AD to the fifth century, there was the Gallo-Roman settlement called vicus Saravus west of Saarbrücken's Halberg hill, on the roads from Metz to Worms and from Trier to Strasbourg.[1] Since the first or second century AD,[1] a wooden bridge, later upgraded to stone,[2] connected vicus Saravus with the south-western bank of the Saar, today's St Arnual, where at least one Roman villa was located. In the third century AD, a Mithras shrine was built in a cave in Halberg hill, on the eastern bank of the Saar river, next to today's old "Osthafen" harbor, and a small Roman camp was constructed at the foot of Halberg hill[3] next to the river.[4]

Toward the end of the fourth century, the Alemanni destroyed the castra and vicus Saravus, removing permanent human presence from the Saarbrücken area for almost a century.[1]

Middle Ages to 18th century

The Saar area came under the control of the Franks towards the end of the fifth century. In the sixth century, the Merovingians gave the village Merkingen, which had formed on the ruins of the villa on the south-western end of the (in those times still usable) Roman bridge, to the Bishopric of Metz. Between 601 and 609, Bishop Arnual founded a community of clerics, a Stift, there. Centuries later the Stift, and in 1046 Merkingen, took on his name, giving birth to St Arnual.[1]

The oldest documentary reference to Saarbrücken is a deed of donation from 999, which documents that Emperor Otto III gave the "castellum Sarabrucca" (Saarbrücken castle) to the Bishops of Metz. The Bishops gave the area to the Counts of Saargau as a fief.[1] By 1120, the county of Saarbrücken had been formed and a small settlement around the castle developed. In 1168, Emperor Barbarossa ordered the slighting of Saarbrücken because of a feud with Count Simon I. The damage cannot have been grave, as the castle continued to exist.

In 1321/1322[2] Count Johann I of Saarbrücken-Commercy gave city status to the settlement of Saarbrücken and the fishing village of St Johann on the opposite bank of the Saar, introducing a joint administration and emancipating the inhabitants from serfdom.[5]

From 1381 to 1793 the counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken were the main local rulers. In 1549, Emperor Charles V prompted the construction of the Alte Brücke (old bridge) connecting Saarbrücken and St Johann. At the beginning of the 17th century, Count Ludwig II ordered the construction of a new Renaissance-style castle on the site of the old castle, and founded Saarbrücken's oldest secondary school, the Ludwigsgymnasium. During the Thirty Years' War, the population of Saarbrücken was reduced to just 70 by 1637, down from 4500 in 1628. During the Franco-Dutch War, King Louis XIV's troops burned down Saarbrücken in 1677, almost completely destroying the city such that just 8 houses remained standing.[5] The area was incorporated into France for the first time in the 1680s. In 1697 France was forced to relinquish the Saar province, but from 1793 to 1815 regained control of the region.

During the reign of Prince William Henry from 1741 to 1768, the coal mines were nationalized and his policies created a proto-industrialized economy, laying the foundation for Saarland's later highly industrialized economy. Saarbrücken was booming, and Prince William Henry spent on building and on infrastructure like the Saarkran river crane (1761), far beyond his financial means. However, the famous baroque architect Friedrich Joachim Stengel created not only the Saarkran, but many iconic buildings that still shape Saarbrücken's face today, like the Friedenskirche (Peace Church), which was finished in 1745, the Old City Hall (1750), the catholic St. John's Basilica (1754), and the famous Ludwigskirche (1775), Saarbrücken's landmark.[5]

19th century

In 1793, Saarbrücken was captured by French Revolutionary troops and in the treaties of Campo Formio and Lunéville, the county of Saarbrücken was ceded to France.[5]

After 1815 Saarbrücken became part of the Prussian Rhine Province. The office of the mayor of Saarbrücken administered the urban municipalities Saarbrücken and St Johann, and the rural municipalities Malstatt, Burbach, Brebach, and Rußhütte. The coal and iron resources of the region were developed: in 1852, a railway connecting the Palatine Ludwig Railway with the French Eastern Railway was constructed, the Burbach ironworks started production in 1856, beginning in 1860 the Saar up to Ensdorf was channeled, and Saarbrücken was connected to the French canal network.[5]

At the start of the Franco-Prussian War, Saarbrücken was the first target of the French invasion force which drove off the Prussian vanguard and occupied Alt-Saarbrücken on 2 August 1870. Oral tradition has it that 14-year-old French Prince Napoléon Eugène Louis Bonaparte fired his first cannon in this battle, an event commemorated by the Lulustein memorial in Alt-Saarbrücken. On 4 August 1870 the French left Saarbrücken, driven away towards Metz in the Battle of Spicheren on 6 August 1870.

20th century

In 1909 the cities of Saarbrücken, St Johann and Malstatt-Burbach merged and formed the major city of Saarbrücken with a population of over 100,000.

During World War I, factories and railways in Saarbrücken were bombed by British forces. The Royal Naval Air Service raided Saarbrücken with 11 DH4s on 17 October 1917, and a week later with 9 HP11s. The Royal Air Force raided Saarbrücken's railway station with 5 DH9s on 31 July 1918, on which occasion one DH9 crashed near the town centre.

Saarbrücken became capital of the Saar territory established in 1920. Under the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the Saar coal mines were made the exclusive property of France for a period of 15 years as compensation for the destruction of French mines during the First World War. The treaty also provided for a plebiscite, at the end of the 15-year period, to determine the territory's future status, and in 1935 more than 90% of the electorate voted for reunification with Germany, while only 0.8% voted for unification with France. The remainder wanted to rejoin Germany but not while the Nazis were in power. This "status quo" group voted for maintenance of the League of Nations' administration. In 1935, the Saar territory rejoined Germany and formed a district under the name Saarland.

World War II

Saarbrücken was heavily bombed in World War II. In total 1,234 people (1.1 percent of the population) in Saarbrücken were killed in bombing raids 1942–45. 11,000 homes were destroyed and 75 percent of the city left in ruins.

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) raided Saarbrücken at least 10 times. Often employing area bombing, the RAF used total of at least 1,495 planes to attack Saarbrücken, killing a minimum of 635 people and heavily damaging more than 8,400 buildings, of which more than 7,700 were completely destroyed, thus dehousing more than 50,000 people.[6] The first major raid on Saarbrücken was undertaken by 291 aircraft of the RAF on 29 July 1942, targeting industrial facilities. Losing nine aircraft, the bombers destroyed almost 400 buildings, damaging more than 300 others, and killed more than 150 people.[7] On 28 August 1942, 113 RAF planes raided Saarbrücken doing comparatively little damage due to widely scattered bombing.[7] After the RAF mistakenly bombed Saarlouis instead of Saarbrücken on 1 September 1942, it raided Saarbrücken with 118 planes on 19 September 1942, causing comparatively little damage as the bombing scattered to the west of Saarbrücken due to ground haze.[7] There were small raids with 28 Mosquitos[7] on 30 April 1944, with 33 Mosquitos[7] on 29 June 1944, and with just 2 Mosquitos[7] on 26 July 1944. At the request of the American Third Army, the RAF massively raided Saarbrücken on 5 October 1944, to destroy supply lines, especially the railway. The 531 Lancasters and 20 Mosquitos achieved these goals, but lost 3 Lancasters and destroyed large parts of Malstatt and nearly all of Alt-Saarbrücken.[7] From 13 to 14 January, the RAF raided Saarbrücken three times, targeting the railway yard. The attacks with 158, 274, and 134 planes, respectively, were very effective.[7]

The 8th US Air Force raided Saarbrücken at least 16 times, from 4 October 1943, to 9 November 1944. Targeting mostly the marshalling yards, a total of at least 2,387 planes of the 8th. USAF killed a minimum of 543 people and heavily damaged more than 4,400 buildings, of which more than 700 were completely destroyed, thus depriving more than 2,300 people of shelter.[6] Donald J. Gott and William E. Metzger, Jr. were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the bombing run on 9 November 1944.

On the ground, Saarbrücken was defended by the 347th Infantry Division commanded by Wolf-Günther Trierenberg in 1945. The US 70th Infantry Division was tasked with punching through the Siegfried Line and taking Saarbrücken. As the fortifications were unusually strong, it first had to take the Siegfried Line fortifications on the French heights near Spicheren overlooking Saarbrücken. This Spichern-Stellung had been constructed in 1940 after the French had fallen back on the Maginot Line during the Phoney War. The 276th Infantry Regiment attacked Forbach on 19 February 1945, and a fierce battle ensued, halting the American advance at the rail-road tracks cutting through Forbach on 22 February 1945. The 274th and 275th Infantry Regiments took Spicheren on 20 February 1945.[8] When the 274th Infantry Regiment captured the Spicheren Heights[8] on 23 February 1945, after a heavy battle on the previous day, the Germans counter-attacked for days, but by 27 February 1945, the heights were fully under American control. A renewed attack on 3 March 1945, allowed units of the 70th Infantry Division to enter Stiring-Wendel and the remainder of Forbach. By 5 March 1945, all of Forbach and major parts of Stiring-Wendel had been taken. However, fighting for Stiring-Wendel, especially for the Simon mine, continued for days.[8] After the German defenders of Stiring-Wendel fell back to Saarbrücken on 12 and 13 March 1945, the 70th Infantry Division still faced a strong segment of the Siegfried Line, which had been reinforced around Saarbrücken as late as 1940. After having the German troops south of the Saar fall back across the Saar at night, the German defenders of Saarbrücken retreated early on 20 March 1945. The 70th Infantry Division flanked Saarbrücken by crossing the Saar north-west of Saarbrücken. The 274th Infantry Regiment entered Saarbrücken on 20 March 1945, fully occupying it the following day, thus ending the war for Saarbrücken.[9]

After World War II

In 1945, Saarbrücken temporarily became part of the French Zone of Occupation. In 1947, France created the nominally politically independent Saar Protectorate and merged it economically with France to exploit the area's vast coal reserves. Saarbrücken became capital of the new Saar state. A referendum in 1955 came out with over two-thirds of the voters rejecting an independent Saar state. The area rejoined the Federal Republic of Germany on 1 January 1957, sometimes called Kleine Wiedervereinigung (little reunification). Economic reintegration would, however, take many more years. Saarbrücken became capital of the Bundesland (federal state) Saarland. After the administrative reform of 1974, the city had a population of more than 200,000.

From 1990 to 1993, students and an arts professor from the town first secretly, then officially, created an invisible memorial to Jewish cemeteries. It is located on the fore-court of the Saarbrücken Castle.

On 9 March 1999 at 4:40 am, there was a bomb attack on the controversial Wehrmachtsausstellung exhibition next to Saarbrücken Castle, resulting in minor damage to the Volkshochschule building housing the exhibition and the adjoining Schlosskirche church; this attack did not cause any injuries.

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