In the footsteps of the von Gagern family in Kelkheim


When the revolution 175 years ago is commemorated next year, the Hornau district of Kelkheim can be sure of increased attention. No other place is so closely linked to the work of those from Gagern. They have long been part of the local identity, despite the rather coincidental relationship thanks to the acquisition of a large estate by the Nassau diplomat Hans Christoph von Gagern in 1818. To be precise, it took a while before the baronial rank was symbolically and publicly corresponded to. It would probably no longer be permitted today to give up the property sold in 1866 after changing uses, for example as a “spa house”, which was demolished in 1907, and to sell the property as a plot. In the end, only the servants’ wing, which was later rededicated as a vicarage, remained. At least the buffalo horns that Friedrich von Gagern received as a gift in 1845 as a military inspector in the Dutch service on Java are still hanging on the outside.

A “Gagernweg” through Hornau knows this, which connects authentic sites, such as the graves of 22 members of the Gagerns in the mountain cemetery, with memorial sites such as twelve granite boulders in a small complex. For the 150th anniversary of the National Assembly created the city Kelkheim Here is a special memorial for the entire Gagern family – father Hans Christoph and his wife Charlotte and their ten children. The fact that some stones are larger is intended to emphasize the importance of three of the offspring: In addition to Maximilian, 1848/49 Undersecretary of State in the Reich Foreign Ministry and later Austrian diplomat, and Friedrich, who died as a general in April 1848 against the Hecker rebels, this naturally means Heinrich, President of the Frankfurter parliament.

Comparatively young is also a visible memory of the legendary “Staufen oath” of the three when walking together on Kelkheim’s local mountain, the 450 meter high Staufen. Since the fall of 1838 was only vaguely recorded in her memoirs, a bronze plate was attached 15 years ago to mark October 3rd. The inscription confirms the brothers’ solemn pledge to “loyally support one another and to dedicate their strength to the unity and freedom of Germany”.

The location of her promise will have contributed to the solemn atmosphere. They were standing on the Großer Mannstein, a group of rocks just below the summit, whose grandiose view over the Taunus hills, lined with castles, to the top of the Frankfurt cathedral overwhelms even less heroic natures.



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