Freiburger Zeitung – digital

The Freiburger Zeitung newspaper was published between 1784 and 1943. Users can access the digital texts of this key source of local and regional history here.

More than 150 years of Freiburg’s history at the click of a mouse

In circulation for more than 150 years, the Freiburger Zeitung is a valuable source of Freiburg’s everyday, local and regional history. Fortunately, almost every copy of this publication, which was only meant to be a short-term news source, has survived. Most of the back issues have been collected and held in the University Library, but the oldest copies are kept in the Stadtarchiv Freiburg archives.

As the Freiburger Zeitung is an important historical source, the back issues have always been enormously popular with library users. However, the frequent use and the deterioration of the paper increasingly posed the threat of permanent damage to the originals. In the 1980s, we therefore decided to transfer every issue of the newspaper to microfilm so as to protect the collection of originals, as they could now be withdrawn from use.

As the University Library was in sole possession of the 150+ years’ worth of Freiburger Zeitung newspapers, we took it upon ourselves to make it easier for historians to access this fundamental and rich resource, which is so closely associated with the city, region and university. Not only that: digitising the Freiburger Zeitung newspaper and uploading it online means it can be viewed worldwide. This allows historians who live in remote locations and local researchers who are based here to search the articles, bulletins, ads and other contributions in the online version of the Freiburger Zeitung.

The newspaper has been digitised on microfilm using a microform scanner. Each and every page has been generated as a black and white TIFF file in a resolution of 600 dpi and then processed for publication online.

As the quality of the paper and printed image varies, the legibility of the digitised newspaper pages is poor in places. During the digitisation and post-processing process, we always tried to achieve the best result, but we had to accept the fact that certain passages in some of the back issues are difficult to read.

The history of the newspaper

Among the many – mostly shorter-lived – periodicals, the Freiburger Zeitung is the most important in the history of Freiburg’s media landscape. When it ceased publication in 1943, it could look back at more than 150 years of history.

The newspaper was first printed in 1784 under the title “Freyburgerzeitung”. Over the decades that followed, the newspaper changed printer and publisher several times, and the title, appearance and orientation of the content changed in reaction to political, economic and social developments. The “Freyburgerzeitung” was succeeded by the “Vorderösterreichische Provinzialnachrichten” (1788–1792); then the “Allgemeines Intelligenz- oder Wochenblatt für das Land Breisgau und die Ortenau” (1804–1807) became the “Großherzoglich-badische privilegierte Freyburger Zeitung” (1808–1810), which was then renamed the “Freyburger Wochenblatt” (1810–1820).

After many years in municipal ownership, the newspaper was taken over by the company Poppen & Sohn – later Poppen & Ortmann – in 1863/66. This company led the newspaper through decisive epochs of Baden and German history, through the Empire and the Weimar Republic. A few years after the beginning of the Third Reich, political pressure forced the newspaper to be sold to the Vera Verlagsgesellschaft on 1 January 1936. The newspaper was then published by the subsidiary "Freiburger Zeitung GmbH". The Vera-Verlagsgesellschaft in turn belonged to the NSDAP party-owned Eher-Verlag, whose head, Max Amann, was also president of the Reichspressekammer. From then on, Poppen & Ortmann acted as a contract printer until the newspaper was discontinued. After the end of the Second World War in the early Federal Republic, Poppen & Ortmann was able to regain the rights to the name of the "Freiburger Zeitung" and, as a partner in the Badischer Verlag, brought this name into the "Badische Zeitung".

University of Freiburg