from Witnesses of the 20th Century

This page is dedicated to the memories of people who have experienced and moved the century. They give a personal impression from the events of this time and save a living piece of history for future generations.

This page is still under construction since we are further contacting witnesses of the 20th century. The international project has been started some weeks after our German version, where you will find more memories. Several comments are currently in preparation / translation. All will be available later this summer.

Sample memories from prominent witnesses of the 20th Century
(Please click on the name to see the complete text)

Gräfin Maria Theresia from Arco-Zinneberg
Granddaughter of the last Bavarian King
"...The world has become much smaller through this progress, but not more peaceful...."

Dr. Ernst Albrecht
former Prime Minister of  Lower Saxony
(Book excerpt - only available in German)
Teddy Kollek
Teddy Kollek
Mayor of Jerusalem
from 1965 to 1993 
"...The Jewish people spent 2000 years in exile. The 20th Century brought them back to their homeland and their first political independence in many centuries...."
Franz Alt
Franz Alt

"...the 20th century has been the most brutal in human history..."

Dr. Klaus von Dohnanyi
Former Mayor of Hamburg
"The most important thing may be that the 20th century has created confusing certainties out of mankinds presentiments: Our scientific-technical potential has revealed itself as nearly unlimited..."

Björn Engholm
former Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein   
"...Since the beginning of modern times each turn of a century has been an extraordinary creative period in which - through human spirit and will - new and sign posting perspectives were discovered with fantasy...."
Rainer Eppelmann
Rainer Eppelmann
former Minister

"Our past catches us again and again. It is strong and vivid, and we are witnesses for it to catch us up again every day..."
Miep Gies Miep Gies
Helper of Anne Frank
"Looking back at the twentieth century is in many ways like awakening from a nightmare..."
Otto von Habsburg
Dr. Otto von Habsburg
President of the Paneuropa-Union and
son of the last Austrian Emperor
"One who knows history may learn from it that Bismarck´s word, that one can do everything with bayonets but sit on them, means the expression of a fundamental truth in politics."

Anderl Heckmair
Mountain climber
First Ascender of the Eiger North Face
(Book excerpt - only available in German)

Hans-Olaf Henkel
former BDI president
(Book excerpt - only available in German)
Prof. Dr. Guido Knopp
Prof. Dr. Guido Knopp
ZDF - Contemporary History

"The 20th century was as fascinating as terrible —  a century which burdened more good than evil to the people and gave more than any other century before..."

Hans Küng
Prof. Dr. Hans Küng
Founder of the "Project World Ethos"

"...Who could guess in 1899 during the heigth of believe in progress ... what one might expect in the 20th century? For only one thing we all hope in 1999: The 21st century nay become better than the 20th with its gigantic progress and its gigantic wars and crimes, archipelago Gulag and holocaust..."
Wolf von Lojewski
"...With in deed zwo world wars the last century has set up a horrifying record...."
Graf Montgelas
Graf Montgelas
Descendant of former Bavarian Minister Maximilian Graf v. Montgelas
"A completely new mission was handed over to me by my family, when I had to take over our families property in 1969, more or less surprisingly. There it was my duty to transfer a completely conservative company into the 20th century, nearly in piecework"

Manfred Müller
Bishop em.

"...From a global view the 20th century has been a century of two huge wars, which reached their destructive climax with the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For Europe it was a century of two dictatorships..."

Singer and Grand-Prix Winner
"After 27 years Germany has finally managed to take the victory home..."

Pettersson Brigitte
Secretary and close friend of Zarah Leander
"When I saw her for the first time “live” in Düsseldorf on stage I was overwhelmed. ZARAH became my idol. In Berlin a “Zarah-Leander-Club“ was founded and I became a member."

Will Quadflieg
"...On the brink of German history, and under the burden of the million murdered..."

Marcel Reich-Ranicki
Prof. Dr. Marcel Reich-Ranicki
Author, Journalist
"A moment later I turned my gun to the blue and sunny, the merciless and cruel sky, and I shot. I was my first and last shot during the Second World War, the first and last in my life."
Rudolf Seiters
Dr. h.c. Rudolf Seiters
former German Interior Minister
Parlaments former Vice President

"For me the most impressing aspect of the past is that the people at the end of the 20th century have learned from the mistakes of the first half of the century.
Prof. Dr. Heinz Sielmann
Animal film maker
"When I think about the past century I certainly remember the world shattering events: the wars, the technological progress. But I also think about a period of massive destruction of nature!"
Hugo Strasser
Hugo Strasser
"King of Swing"

" incredible technical development in all areas. From the gas lights to the laser beam. From gramophone to the super stereo system. From the two-stroke-engine over the jet aircraft to the landing on the moon."
Theo Waigel
Dr. Theo Waigel
former German Finance Minister
"...Behind us lays a century with ups and downs. With two world wars and the resulting separation, Germany has been especially affected..."

Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
Member of the German Parliament
"...first, the 20th century has become the one of the breakthrough, the dominance of economic thinking, and second, this dominance of economic thinking won´t last longer than about a hundred years."

Impressions from visitors to our project:

Jens Andresen
"The 20th century´s most incisive change for humanity was television. Events which took place somewhere in the world became real and appreciable through moving pictures."

"...For me the most important development of the 20th century was the quantum physics and the philosophical consequences related to it. ("Kopenhagen Interpretation" from Bohr and Heisenberg). In this I see the core of a new view of the world, which, as I hope, bring a new era to mankind ..."

Send us your thoughts!

We thank Steffi Graf for her support though personal autographs!

Click to enlarge!

We will continue to contact some important living persons of the past century and hope to present their view on this site soon. Other comments will be cited from literature, along with further information about these witnesses of the 20th century. In addition we would like to encourage our visitors - prominent and non-prominent alike - to share their views and impressions about the unique 20th Century with us. Our project strongly depends on individual contributions and reflections.
[This page in German language]