Cologne City Archives Disaster
On March 3, 2009 the Cologne City Archives collapsed, burying thousands of precious historical
documents under layers of muck and rubble.. The Archives building was destroyed as well as two apartment buildings
next door and two lives were lost.
The collections held at the Archives dated back to 922 AD. It held 65,000 documents, 104,000 maps and a half-million
The manuscripts and letters of Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll and Jacques Offenbach, a 19th century cellist and
opera composer, were stored at the Archives as well as those of Weimar Republic politician Wilhelm Marx and German-Jewish
composer Ferdinand Hiller.
At the end of April 2009 Vicki Lee, the head conservator at the Archives traveled to Cologne to assist in the recovery
accompanying a group of Blue Shield
participants, primarily from The Netherlands.
report from Der Spiegel about the collapse of the Archives.
of the disaster site
immediately after the collapse.
Photos of the beginning
of the rescue effort a few days after the collapse, with some overhead shots of the whole site.
More photos of rescue efforts, a few weeks after the collapse.
April 2009: A month after
Three months after the collapse.
Four months after the collapse.
about the Archives at wikipedia.org
Updates on the recovery process from June 2009.