Sunday, September 9, 2012

Basler Hof

The Basler Hof today viewed from Kaiser-Joseph-Straße.
The second guided tour organized by the Badische Zeitung last week concerned the Basler Hof. More than 140 people wanted to listen to the explanations of a former resident Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg who had been district president of southern Baden from 1998 to 2007.

Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg welcoming the crowd (Photo BZ).
The Basler Hof is one of Freiburg's historical landmarks. From 1480 on Kaiser Maximilian's chancellor Konrad Stürtzel had bought seven plots of land at the Große Gaß (today's Kaiser-Joseph-Straße) and had his city residence built there in the years 1494 to 1496. These plots had the original size of 100 times 50 feet as defined by the Dukes of Zähringen and been issued to the first settlers in Freiburg against a yearly rent of 12 Pfennig due at St. Martin's (11 November). Stürzel could afford to build the palace for he was a rich man lending - like the Fuggers in Augsburg - money to the Habsburgs.

Emperor Maximilian always in quest for money watching the visitors.
At the end of the 16th century the building became the home of the chapter of the Basel cathedral. Already in 1529 the capitulars had fled the Reformation in Basel into Catholic Freiburg but only in 1587 acquired the Basler Hof. When Louis XVI's troops occupied Freiburg in 1677 and made it a French city they deprived the chapter of their financial resources such that the capitulars moved to Switzerland (Arlesheim). Following Freiburg's restitution to the Habsburgs in 1697 the Austrian administration used the building.

German double eagle with Austrian Bindenschild red-white-red
and Order of the Golden Fleece.
Stucco at the ceiling of the district president's office.
Later when Habsburg's most western territories became the province Further Austria (Vorderösterreich) the Vienna governors resided in the Basler Hof until 1806, the year when Napoleon gave the Breisgau to the Grand Duke of Baden.

Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg telling the building's history (Photo BZ).
Since then the Basler Hof has always been used by administration and services mirroring the trials and tribulations of German history:

1806 - 1918: Grand Duchy of Baden (Court House, Post Office)
20 March, 1849: Grand jury trying Gustav Struve and Karl Blind for their participation in the uprising against  the government of the Grand Duchy in September 1848
June/July 1849: During the Baden Revolution seat of the revolutionary Government of Baden
1919 - 1933: Weimar Republic (Tax Administration, Police Station)
1933 - 1944: Third Reich officials
From 1933 to 1941 the Gestapo had their head quarters in the Basler Hof
November 27, 1944: Air raid Operation Tigerfish destroying the building

Kaiser-Joseph-Straße and Basler Hof in 1946.
1948 - 1950: Reconstruction
1950 - 1952: Departement of Interior of the State of South Baden (More details)
1953 to today: Seat of the district president (Regierungspräsident) for southern Baden of the State of Baden-Württemberg

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