Important Visits and Strong Words

Two centuries of political speeches at Hambach Castle

Parade to the Hambach Castle (1832) by unknownOriginal Source: Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer

Speeches at the Hambach Festival on May 27, 1832

A central part of the Hambach Festival on May 27, 1832 were the speeches held there. There were over 20 speakers altogether who sometimes held their speeches in different locations to reach as many people as possible in the festival hustle and bustle. After all, loudspeakers didn't exist back then!

Hambach Festival programHambach Castle

List of speeches, addresses, and songs given and sung at Hambach Festival.

Johann Georg August Wirth (1838)Original Source: Theodor-Zink-Museum | Wadgasserhof Kaiserslautern

Johann Georg August Wirth (November 20, 1798 – July 26, 1848)


Johann Georg August Wirth was the publisher and editor of the "Deutsche Tribüne" as well as numerous liberal papers. He was the co-founder of the "Deutscher Vaterlandsverein zur Unterstützung der Freien Presse" (German Fatherland Union in Support of the Free Press), known as the "Preßverein," and an organizer and speaker at the Hambach Festival of 1832. After the festival, he became editor of the official permanent description "Das Nationalfest der Deutschen zu Hambach" (The National Festival of Germans in Hambach).

Die Rede von Johann Georg August Wirth auf dem Hambacher Fest 1832 (Auszug)
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Wirth calls freedom and enlightenment the most valuable possessions of the people, and pronounces that these should also be granted to our brothers in Poland, Hungary, Italy, and Spain.

One of the highlights of Wirth's speech is probably the final sentence:
"Hoch! Dreimal hoch leben die vereinigten Freistaaten Deutschlands! Hoch! Dreimal hoch das conföderierte republikanische Europa!" (Cheers! Three cheers for the existence of the United Free States of Germany! Cheers! Three cheers for the Confederate Republic of Europe!(1832).

You want to hear more? Here is a longer excerpt from Wirth's speech
Dr. Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer, Original Source: Siebenpfeiffer-Stiftung, Homburg / Saarpfalz
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Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer (November 12, 1789 – May 14, 1845)

Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer was a lawyer and, until 1830, a land commissioner in Homburg. He also worked as a journalist and publisher of the magazines "Rheinbayern," "Der Bote aus dem Westen," or "Westbote" (The Messenger from the West), and other short-lived publications. Siebenpfeiffer was the writer of various songs, articles (including the invitation to the Hambach Festival), and liberal papers. In 1832 he was one of the co-founders of the "Deutscher Vaterlandsverein zur Unterstützung der Freien Presse" ("Preßverein") and an organizer and speaker at the Hambach Festival.

Siebenpfeiffer als Redner auf dem Hambacher Fest – eine Illustration von Jonas Greulich by Jonas GreulichHambach Castle

Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer at the lectern at the Hambacher Fest.

An illustration by Jonas Greulich.

To look around, click the video and swipe.

Dr. Philipp Jakob SiebenpfeifferOriginal Source: Siebenpfeiffer-Stiftung, Homburg / Saarpfalz

Speech by Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer at the 1832 Hambach Festival (Excerpt)
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Siebenpfeiffer ended his speech with the 3 main goals of participants of the Hambach Festival:

"Long live the free, united Germany! Long live the Poles, the allies of Germany! Long live the French, the brothers of Germany; Who honor our nationality and independence! Long live every man who breaks his chains And with us pledges his allegiance to freedom!

Long live the Fatherland, People's Sovereignty, and the League of Nations!"

You want to hear more? Here is a longer excerpt from Siebenpfeiffer's speech

Karl Heinrich BrüggemannOriginal Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

Die Rede von Karl Heinrich Brüggemann auf dem Hambacher Fest 1832 (Auszug)
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Karl Heinrich Brüggemann (August 29, 1810 – July 1, 1887). Brüggemann was a lawyer, fraternity member, member of the "Westbote" magazine, speaker at the Hambach Festival, and editor of the "Kölnischen Zeitung" (Cologne Newspaper). In 1848 he failed to be elected to the German National Assembly.

You want to hear more? Here is a longer excerpt from Brüggemann's speech

Hambach dirndl apron (1832)Hambach Castle

Ein (fiktiver) zeitgenössischer Student spricht über die unterschiedlichen gesellschaftspolitischen Ziele der Festteilnehmer.
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Participants dining at the Hambach Festival (1832)Original Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

Another speaker was Lucien Rey. Rey was one of many festival participants from neighboring France and gave his speech in French.


In addition to France, many of the festival participants came from Poland, for example. Some of them were also speakers, such as Oranski.

Hambach Castle (2017)Hambach Castle

Political Speeches and Important Visits in the
20th and 21st Centuries

Hambach Castle was not just a venue for political festivals, rallies, and other celebrations in the 19th century—regular political events are still held here to this day. The castle has always been a meeting place for many politicians and often hosts important visits.

Poster for the 100th anniversary of the Hambach Festival, 1932 (1932)Original Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

1932: 100th Anniversary of the Hambach Festival

On May 28, 1932, Hambach Castle hosted celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Hambach Festival. The anniversary was organized by the Palatinate Press Association. Speakers at the festival included the current Reichstag deputy and the future Federal President Theodor Heuss. The original intention to celebrate the anniversary as a show of solidarity for all democrats in the face of the strengthened National Socialist movement fell through.

Guests of Honor at the Hambach Anniversary (1832)Original Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

Former Chancellor Joseph Wirth, Dr. Wirth (grandson of Johann Georg August Wirth) and Theodor Heuss as the guests of honor at the 1932 Hambach anniversary

Ernst Lemmer (1957)Original Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

1957: 125th Anniversary of the Hambach Festival

A celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Hambach Festival took place in May 1957. After the end of the Nazi dictatorship, the Hambach Festival was considered the "cradle of German democracy." The loss of unity through the existence of 2 German states and the reconciliation of the European people gave new meaning to the memory of the festival. The key speaker was Federal Minister Ernst Lemmer.

Peter AltmeierOriginal Source: Staatskanzlei RLP

Excerpt from the Speech by Peter Altmeier
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The then governor of Rhineland-Palatinate, Peter Altmeier, and Bundestag member Max Becker also gave speeches at the state ceremony at Hambach Castle on May 26.

125th anniversary celebration of the Hambach Festival in 1957 (1957)Original Source: Stadtarchiv Neustadt a.d.W.

Ein weiterer Ausschnitt aus der Rede von Peter Altmeier
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Ronald Reagan Campaign (1970-10) by Ralph CraneLIFE Photo Collection

1985: Ronald Reagan at Hambach Castle

On May 6, 1985 US President Ronald Reagan gave this speech at Hambach Castle. Reagan was visiting Germany to mark 40 years since the end of the war, and visited the castle with Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Prime Minister Bernhard Vogel. Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th president of the United States of America from 1981 to 1989.

President Reagan’s Arrival and Departure and Cuts of his Remarks at Hambach Castle on May 6, 1985Hambach Castle

1985: US President Reagan at Hambach Castle

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Hambach Castle (2017)Hambach Castle

2007: 175th Anniversary of the Hambach Festival

The 175th anniversary of the Hambach Festival in May 2007 took place under the banner of a reunified Germany. The key speaker, former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker, responded to the demands for "freedom, equality, Europe" of the Hambach Festival and showed the way to achieve these through a free confederacy of Europe.

Richard von WeizsäckerOriginal Source: Bundesarchiv

Report with Original Excerpts from the Speech by Richard von Weizsäcker
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Hambach Castle (2017)Hambach Castle

2018: Tour of Germany by Federal President
Frank-Walter Steinmeier

At the end of his tour of Germany and inaugural trip, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also visited Rhineland-Palatinate on March 19 and 20, 2018. The tour's theme was "places of democracy," so of course Hambach Castle couldn't be left out.

Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier im Hambacher SchlossHambach Castle

2018: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Hambach Castle

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Credits: Story

Special thanks go to all companies, institutions and people who have provided pictures or material.


We have made every effort to obtain the permission to print all illustrations. Should further claims exist, please contact us.

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Exhibition Curator:
Sarah Traub, Institut für Geschichtliche Landeskunde an der Universität Mainz e.V. (IGL)

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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