The collapse of the Historical Archive of Cologne as reported here yesterday buried more than a millenium's worth of documents under tons of rubble. Archivists and historians hope something can be salvaged, but the future of the city's past is grim.
The building housing Cologne's Historical Archive suddenly collapsed. According to city officials, two people are officially missing and believed dead. And hundreds of firefighters were on the scene Wednesday looking for survivors as Cologne historians and archivists mourned the apparent destruction of Germany's largest municipal archive.
"It's an inconceivable loss," Eberhard Illner, a former archivist for the city, told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper. "It's a catastrophe, not just for the city of Cologne but for the history of Europe." Cologne's archives are one of the only collections in Germany to have survived World War II completely intact. Because of Cologne's long history, much of its heritage was stored locally rather than in a state archive.
You can read more at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,611311,00.html.