For a lively Franconian home

As the “Association for Franconian regional studies and cultural maintenance”, the Franconian Federation focuses on the traditionally fragmented Franconia as a unit. The association was founded on October 11, 1920. The celebration of the 100th anniversary did not take place until now, a year later. The corona crisis had prevented the already planned ceremony. After all, a memorial plaque was able to be placed at the place where it was founded, the Hotel Franziskaner in downtown Würzburg. The ceremony and the subsequent state reception of the Bavarian State Government took place on Saturday in the Museum for Franconia on the Marienberg Fortress.

Not all of the approximately 7,000 club members came to the ceremony; some also watched the broadcast via live stream on the Internet. The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder also had to cancel. He was represented by the Bavarian Digital Minister Judith Gerlach. The woman from Aschaffenburg emphasized the importance of the federal government, which promotes “regional identity” and makes “an important contribution to social stability in our country”. The club does not see itself as a “bulwark of defense”. Rather, he offers assistance to those who want to feel at home in Franconia.

1920 was a year of uncertainty. The collapse of the old order of the monarchy at the end of the war was followed by revolutionary turmoil. On October 11th, citizens came together and founded the Frankenbund. Paul Beinhofer, chairman of the Frankenbund, described their drive by strengthening regional awareness. From the beginning, the association saw itself as non-partisan and non-denominational. Frankish separatism was just as little part of the self-image as “dull slogans of demarcation”.

The aim is to maintain the Franconian cultural heritage

The concept was a success: it succeeded in connecting regions as diverse as the Lutheran-industrial imperial city of Nuremberg with the Catholic prince-bishop’s Würzburg. Today the Frankenbund consists of 27 local groups, which also include Tauberfranken and southern Thuringia beyond the Bavarian borders.

Then as now, the Frankenbund is committed to preserving Franconian culture and history in a scientifically sound manner, yet formulated in a generally understandable manner. In a “Europe of the Regions” the Frankenbund has today the task of “opening up the people their homeland and keeping it self-confidently”, said Beinhofer.

Dealing with your own history

And: The Frankenbund also deals with its own history in a differentiated manner. In his celebratory speech, Professor Werner K. Blessing, 2nd Federal Chairman, placed the establishment in the homeland security movement around 1900. The initiator of the Frankenbund, the Bamberg high school teacher Dr. Peter Schneider (1882-1958), contrasted the “myth of the Franconian tribe” as one of the “most powerful roots” of Germany. Blessing described him as “a mission-conscious man obsessed with his mission”.

When members of the National Socialist Kampfbund stormed the Bundestag in May 1933, Schneider was “shocked”. With its tribal concept, the Frankenbund had nonetheless proven to be compatible with ethnic thinking and could continue to exist if tolerated. The story of the Frankenbund up to Schneider’s death in 1958 is therefore also a story of “repressed seduction”, according to Blessing.

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