The Historical Archive of the City of Cologne is the municipal archive of Cologne, Germany.
It is one of the largest communal archives in Europe. A municipal archive has been taking custody of records in Cologne since the Middle Ages.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 3 March, the building of the Historic Archive of the city of Cologne in Germany collapsed along with two neighboring buildings. Two residents of neighboring buildings died. All archive staff and visiting archive users survived, as they could escape after a warning by construction workers
The building dated from the 1970s and contained some 65,000 original charters as well as valuable collections of maps, images, posters and files. In the collapsed stacks building, the main holdings of the archive were stored, including the medieval manuscripts of the Wallraf collection. Around 90% of archival records were buried by the collapsing building. Other holdings, mainly those stored in the ground floor extension with the reading room, such as the film and photograph collection and ca. 40,000 charters could be evacuated.
Quickly after the collapse, firefighters started to carry achival material by hand very carefully and according to established techniques from the areas of the site that were ready to be cleared.
As soon as offers of personnel were welcomed by Historical Archive of the City of Cologne Blue Shield organized two international Blue Shield missions to support rescue work on the valuable collection of the City Archive. Both mission teams consisted of over 70 volunteers from all nationalities and professional backgrounds.
Read all Blue Shield statements on Cologne.