* 05. Januar 1876 in Cologne
† 19. April 1967 in Rhöndorf
A Lord Mayor with strict standards.
Cologne’s heroes are diligent and meticulous in everything they do. Like the legendary politician Konrad Adenauer, a longtime Lord Mayor of Cologne who years later became a longtime Chancellor of Germany. He was anything but easy to work for. He would not tolerate neglectfulness on the part of his civil servants. Errors and insuffi ciencies were pointed out with devastating precision, and ministers and department heads were often pilloried for their perceived shortcomings. But this character trait also had its positive side: Adenauer demanded the same scrupulousness of himself, and held himself to the same exacting standards – to the benefi t of Cologne and its citizens.
* 06. November, 15. or 16. A.D. Oppodium Uborium, now Cologne
† im March 59 n.Chr. in Kampanien
A loyal mother, even in the face of death.
Cologne’s heroes (and especially heroines!) are forever true to their hometown. Agrippina the Younger even went a step further and had the city of her birth declared an offi cial Roman colony (Colonia) and the provincial capital of the Roman Empire. The city thrived, and Colonia became Cologne. Agrippina’s personal fate was not as rosy; although she helped her son Nero ascend to the throne as emperor, he subsequently had her murdered.
* um 1200 in Lauingen on the Danube
† 15. November 1280 in Cologne
A scholar with fantastic inventions
Live and let live – this was one of the important principles taught by Cologne hero Albertus Magnus. And in his case “let live” might be understood as “bring to life”. According to legend, he built a servant made of leather, wood and metal – an ancestor of today’s robots, perhaps – that was able to make its own decisions, e.g. which visitors to admit and which to turn away. While there is reason to question the veracity of this story, there is no doubt that Albertus Magnus was Germany’s greatest philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages.
* 26. Juli 1900 in Cologne
† November 1977 in Cologne
A singer with a courageous voice.
Cologne’s heroes are frequently known to express their opinions even when it is not opportune to do so. This was certainly true of Karl Berbuer, one of the city’s many popular composers and singers. Following the Second World War, when the British occupying forces banned Karneval celebrations, Berbuer appeared at one anyway to sing his protest song Se krijjen uns nit kapott (“They’ll Never Get Us Down”). In 1948 he wrote a hit called Wir sind die Eingeborenen von Trizonesien (“We’re the Native Sons of Three-Zone-esia”) that poked fun at the occupational government that had divided Germany into three zones. That year, the tune was even played in place of the verboten German national anthem.
* 21. Dezember 1917 in Cologne
† 16. Juli 1985 in Kreuzau-Langenbroich
A Nobel prize winner with inconvenient views.
Cologne heroes stand up for the rights of others. Like the honorary citizen of Cologne who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1972, Heinrich Böll. This is evidenced in his vocal opposition to the institution of the Church, the manipulation of public opinion by the press, and political monopolization of any kind. He earned a reputation as an authoritative social critic, and many looked up to him as a shining example. But cultural leaders and opinion-makers often found him inconvenient. Still he let his voice be heard, tempered with subtle humor, and continually defended those who were oppressed and mistreated by the self-proclaimed elites.
Farina, Johann Maria
* 06. Dezember 1685 in Santa Maria Maggiore
† 20.11.1766 in Cologne
A salesman with a nose for success.
When Cologne heroes smell a rat, they do something about it. Like Johann Maria Farina. Three hundred years ago, he had quite enough of the stench of Cologne. So he concocted a liquid made of highly distilled alcohol and aromatic essences. His remedy was quite effective: To this day, the Eau de Cologne (French for “water of cologne”) he invented and named in honor of his adopted hometown is famous around the world.
Kardinal Frings, Joseph
* 06. Februar 1887 in Neuss
† 17. Dezember 1978 in Cologne
A clergyman with unbelievable ideas.
Ideas are something you either have, or you don’t. Cologne heroes have ideas. Cardinal Josef Frings, archbishop of Cologne from 1942 to 1969, was known and loved for his nonconformist demeanor. For example, in his 1946 New Year’s sermon he virtually absolved the townspeople of thievery by pronouncing it not a sin for people to steal coal nuggets if they were truly in need. Since then, the word fringsen in the local dialect has meant, “to steal something inconsequential for personal use.” The people of Cologne conveniently overheared the Cardinal’s simultaneous admonition to “return goods wrongly acquired.”
A dancing girl who is doubly admired.
Cologne heroes are diplomatic, and that goes double for Cologne heroines. Attractive, always smiling and cheered by the masses, the Funkenmariechen is a role many young girls dream to play someday. But the Funkenmariechen is also a pioneer of the women’s emancipation movement – after all, as the “daughter of the regiment” she holds one of the few positions available to women in the Karneval celebrations.
* 29. August 1939 in Haiger
† 20. September 2004 in Cologne
A collector with an extravagant air.
Cologne heroes love their hometown – as a whole, but also in detail. Very small details, in the case of Hermann Götting. He was fascinated by everyday objects from the 1920s to the 1970s, and collected more than 100,000 artifacts that bear witness to the life and lives of our city and its people. With his extravagant clothing and his beloved pet dogs, he was a familiar sight on Cologne’s streets and was a living monument to the personal freedom and tolerance Cologne is famous for.
A city councilman with the courage of a lion.
Cologne heroes never give up. And never give themselves in. Especially not when it comes to the eternal battle between freedom-loving citizens and would-be rulers. According to legend, the archbishop’s capitularies once invited the obstreperous mayor of Cologne Hermann Gryn to breakfast. What they neglected to mention was that he was intended to be the breakfast for their lion. But Gryn, Cologne hero that he was, daringly fl ung his cape over his arm and plunged his sword deep into the heart of the pouncing feline, thereby saving Cologne from falling into the hands of the archbishop. By the way, after breakfast the two capitularies were hung to death from an old Roman city gate since then known as the Pfaffenpforte (Parson’s Gate).
A merchant with honorable views.
Cologne heroes stand up against social injustice. Even when the injustice is the beloved Klüngel – the kind of institutionalized “one-hand-washes-the-other” politicking Cologne has been known for since the end of the 17th century. At that time the practice was so widespread that the people of Cologne rose up against it. One of them was Nikolaus Gülich, who organized protests against corruption and misuse of authority, and even stormed City Hall in 1680. Successfully – for a short time, at least. Five years later Nikolaus Gülich was arrested for engaging in Klüngel, and beheaded.
* zwischen 1570 und 1580
† 19. Mai 1627 in Cologne
A postmistress with an iron will.
Stand your ground, even under diffi cult conditions – this is a virtue that is de rigueur for heroes. And a woman who stands her ground even when tortured can rightly be called a Cologne heroine. Not that it ultimately did postmistress Katharina Henot any good. In spite of being tortured, she refused to confess to being responsible for the plague of caterpillars that was said to be the cause of illness and death of several inhabitants of the St. Clara Cloister. They burned her as a witch anyway. Which greatly benefi ted her adversary, Count Leonhard II of Taxis. While Henot was postmistress of Cologne, the Count had tried to no avail to expand his postal monopoly to include the city on the Rhine.
* 04. Mai 1927 in Cologne
† 16. März 1991 in Lauris bei Aix-en-Provence
An actress with a plump sense of humor.
The people of Cologne have a sense of humor – it’s part of their nature. But only authentic Cologne heroes are able to laugh heartily at themselves. This was certainly an outstanding characteristic of Trude Herr. She was only 156 centimeters (5”11”) tall and a “full-fi gure girl” who had the courage not to take herself too seriously, and proved it by wearing skin-tight, lace-up, brocade dresses. She was very popular as an actress and comedienne – in movies and on television, on the stage of her theater in Cologne, and as a performer at Karneval events.
Herstatt, Iwan David
* 16. Dezember 1913 in Cologne
† 09. Juni 1995 in Cologne
A banker with a trusting nature.
Trust your neighbor – that’s something Cologne Heroes do as a matter of course. But a positive character trait can sometimes have negative consequences. Banker Iwan David Herstatt learned that the hard way. The son of a banking family, he rebuilt the family business after the Second World War, making the Herstatt bank the second-largest private bank in Germany and a major player on the global fi nance market – until the big crash of 1974. Iwan D. Herstatt saw himself as the victim of a deceitful conspiracy carried out by a small group of his employees. He is still known to many Cologne residents as a sparkling personality, exemplary banker and generous patron of Cologne customs and traditions.
* 06. Februar 1905 in Berlin
† 05. Mai 1982 in Cologne
An author with New Objectivity.
Tall tales also have a kernel of truth. In this case, let’s say it’s a very big, heavy kernel. According to the story said to have taken place around 200 years ago, a tax assessor named Johann Arnold Klütsch received a big wheel of cheese in payment for helping unload a merchant ship. When told he would have to pay a duty on the cheese, he preferred to consume the entire wheel immediately, which earned him the somewhat uncomplimentary nickname Fressklötsch (fressen means “to eat like a pig”) – and made him immortal.
Klütsch, Johann Arnold (Fressklötsch)
Ein Original mit großem Appetit
In jeder Heldensage steckt immer auch ein Staubkorn Wahrheit. Bei kölschen Heldensagen dürfen es gerne ein paar (Kilo-)Gramm mehr sein. Zumindest im Falle des Taxators Johann Arnold Klütsch. Der Sage nach habe dieser vor rund 200 Jahren anstatt Zollgebühren zu entrichten für einen Käselaib, den er als Dank für seine Mithilfe beim Entladen eines Handelsschiffes bekommen habe, das gelbe Schwergewicht einfach komplett verspeist.Was ihm den Titel „Fressklötsch“ einbrachte – und zur Legende machte.
A populist form of government with a popular following.
Cologne heroes preserve traditional virtues. The Dreigestirn trio that “rules” Cologne during the Karneval celebration stands for three of them. The Prince represents the heroic sovereign – for many years he was referred to as the “Hero” and later the “Prince” – while the Virgin protects the fortress of the city, and the Farmer symbolizes the courageous mettle of the citizens of Cologne. No wonder the Dreigestirn (thee crowns) is the only form of government the people of Cologne have ever truly accepted. And no wonder it’s the heart’s dream of many boys and men in Cologne to one day play the role of Prince, Farmer or Virgin.
* 08. Dezember 1813 in Kerpen
† 04. Dezember 1865 in Cologne
A priest with a big family.
Cologne heroes take care of their families – even if they’re not biological families. Adolph Kolping founded an organization that provided a family environment for traveling journeymen, who in those days suffered a miserable existence. The idea came to him while he was serving as a chaplain in the city of Elberfeld – but it was from Cologne that the movement came into existence and was exported to all parts of the world. By he time of his death, the organization had 400 chapters and more than 24,000 members.
* 30. Juli 1905 in Cologne
† 11. November 1967 in Cologne
A strong personality with a strong will.
Being the “boss” is not enough to make someone a Cologne hero. Unless, of course, you’re the “boss” who not only founded the fi rst football club of Cologne but also led it to win the German championship in 1962. When he took offi ce in 1948, Franz Kremer uttered the legendary words, “Do you want to become the German champions with me?” He was one of the most revolutionary, and most high-profi le, sports offi cials of his day. Without his untiring efforts, the Bundesliga wouldn’t have come into existence until much later – if at all.
* 09. Oktober 1833 in Cologne
† 02. Oktober 1895 bei Elsdorf
An engineer with ideas that moved people.
Cologne heroes not only have good ideas, they also recognize them as such. Eugen Langen did so on multiple occasions. For example, he recognized the potential of a machine developed by Nikolaus August Otto, paid off the inventor’s debts and enabled him to perfect his four-stroke spark-ignition engine for mass production. He was instrumental in the development of the suspended railways in Wuppertal and Dresden, and came up with new production methods for his sugar factory, which is still in existence. At the Paris World’s Fair of 1867, his so-called “fl ying piston motor,” an enhanced gasoline motor, won a gold medal.
* 17. September 1930
† 28. Juni 2005 in Südtirol
A barkeeper with unfl appable stoicism.
Cologne heroes don’t just have occupations, they have vocations. Barkeeper Hans Lommerzheim – known to all as “Lommi” – did more than just serve beer, he also felt called to facilitate social interaction. He treated everyone the same, whether they were highpaid businessmen, lowly students, housewives or retirees. He didn’t discriminate – except when he did. He remained calm and collected, even when his establishment was fi lled to overfl owing with noisy guests. Which it nearly always was. So full, in fact, that even President Bill Clinton couldn’t get a table during his visit to Cologne in 1999.
* 16. August 1934 in Cologne
† 06. März 2005 in Cologne
A football patron with an impulsive nature.
Cologne heroes are often benefactors, and sometimes their generosity is excessive. That was especially true of Jean “Schäng” Löring, longtime president and fi nancial patron of the Fortune Cologne football team. Insiders estimate that he invested 30 to 40 million marks of his own money in the organization. Among his accomplishments: He presided over the club’s ascent into the Bundesliga. But he also took the liberty of fi ring legendary Cologne footballer and team coach Toni Schumacher during half-time at a game, explaining, “I am the club, and I had to take action.”
um 70 n. Chr.
A military captain with a bag of clever tricks.
Cologne heroes are wily and resourceful. Like Capt. Marsilius, who legend has it saved Cologne from a Roman siege with the help of an elaborate ruse. How? By dressing the city’s womenfolk in full military regalia and sending them to gather wood outside the city walls. The Romans, believing the women to be the city’s standing army, launched an attack. Which gave the “real men” under Marsilius’ command the opportunity to slip out through another city gate and attack the Roman army from behind. The soldiers later pressed for additional benefi ts, which were granted.
Martin, Maria Clementine
* 05. Mai 1775 in Brüssel
† 09. August 1843 in Cologne
A cloistered nun with a refreshing spirit.
You don’t become a revered Cologne hero by adhering to “business as usual.” And you defi nitely have to think outside the box to become a Cologne heroine. Like Maria Clementine Martin. Prior to the French Revolution, she was a cloistered nun and cared for the poor, ill and wounded. She later became famous as an entrepreneur and the inventor of Klosterfrau-Melissengeist, a tonic based on 13 herbs. It is still to this day the mainstay of the company she founded.
† 1260 in Cologne
A master builder with a fatal sense of pride.
Cologne heroes possess virtually indestructible self-confi dence. Occasionally, that selfassurance can even prove fatal. The fi rst master builder of the Cologne Cathedral, Gerhard von Ryle, was so convinced of his own skill that he made a wager with the devil. If he succeeded in building an aqueduct from the distant Eifel region of Germany to the city before Master Gerhard completed the Cologne Cathedral, he would own the builder’s immortal soul. The devil won the bet, and in desperation Master Gerhard threw himself from the parapet of the unfi nished cathedral.
* 24. Februar 1927 in Cologne
† 22. Juni 1992 in Cologne
A boxer with a wrong right hook.
Cologne heroes are energetic, and act quickly while others are still weighing their alternatives. Sometimes that haste can be detrimental. As it was for Peter Müller, a boxer whose crouching posture and beaming smile earned him the nickname de Aap, “the ape.” During a fi ght for the German middleweight title on 8 June 1952, he felt insulted and unfairly treated by the referee, Max Pippow. So he abruptly ended the match by knocking out the ref with a right hook.
* 25. Juni 1980 in Rosenheim
† 21. Mai 2009 in Rosenheim
An ice hockey goalie with an iron will.
Cologne heroes learn from experience to master new challenges. Robert Mülller, the goalkeeper for the Cologne Sharks as well as the German national team, defeated most of his opponents, but lost his battle against cancer at the age of just 28. Before his death, he played a fi nal game – thousands of fans cheered as he defeated at least for a few minutes his most formidable adversary. His jersey number 80 was retired upon his death, and will never again be assigned in the German ice hockey league.
* 13. Juli 1925 in Mülheim an der Ruhr
† 20. Juli 1970 in Cologne
A singer with a flippant sense of humor.
Cologne heroes have a sense of humor – one that sometimes exceeds the boundaries of good taste. The jokes and Karneval performances of Horst Muys were very funny – but not everyone could laugh at them. They were often too risqué for the morals and mores of the 1950s and 60s. The lord mayor of Cologne walked out of the theater in protest during a show in 1968, and the Karneval organizing committee banned Muys from performing at any more events. That didn’t stop 7000 mourners from attending his funeral in 1970 to pay their respects.
Ostermann, Wilhelm · „Willi“
* 1. Oktober 1876 in Mülheim am Rhein
† 6. August 1936 in Cologne
A poet with a gift for emotion.
A Cologne hero doesn’t have to be big and strong. On the contrary, some people become Cologne heroes because of their willingness to show their feelings. Wilhelm “Willi” Ostermann was never afraid to express heartfelt emotions in his popular Karneval songs – and audiences appreciated his humorous yet moving compositions. The last song he wrote before his death, a lovely melancholy tune called Heimweh noh Kölle (“Homesick for Cologne”), is revered by many as the “unoffi cial anthem” of Cologne.
Otto, Nicolaus August
* 10. Juni 1832 in Holzhausen (Haide/Taunus)
† 26. Januar 1891 in Cologne
An inventor with little aptitude for business.
When Cologne heroes are enthusiastic about something, they give it their all. Which often means there are other things they tend to neglect. Nikolaus August Otto was fascinated with the mechanics of gasoline engines. He was so captivated, in fact, that he took a long time perfecting his fi rst invention. Shortly thereafter he founded his fi rst engine factory, which we know today as Deutz AG. He was so busy inventing, he failed to notice that others had already fi led for patents on the four-stroke engine. After 1884 Otto had to relinquish one patent after another, as other inventors claimed to have been there fi rst. Still, the Otto engine is one of the most important engines used in cars today, and is named after a Cologne hero.
* 01. April 1810 in Cologne
† 13. September 1851 Laeken bei Brüssel
A Karneval enthusiast with political motives.
Cologne heroes dedicate themselves to a cause. Commitment and selfl essness characterized the life of Franz Raveaux, one of Cologne’s fi rst proponents of parliamentary democracy. He founded the city’s fi rst grassroots political movement, and became a sought-after speaker and Karneval performer. And he fulfi lled these two roles not consecutively but simultaneously. His political activities were an important component of his shows. He also founded a Karneval club with the motto, “Freedom and Equality and Tomfoolery.”
Schäfer, Heinrich · „Naas“
An underworld boss with a not-entirely-dark soul.
Cologne heroes know they have an immortal soul – even if they must admit their soul is not without blemish. When Cardinal Meissner’s favorite crucifi x was stolen from the Cologne Cathedral in 1995, church offi cials and the police contacted Heinrich Schäfer, an underworld boss known as “The Nose” because of his large olfactory organ. The uncrowned king of Cologne’s criminals pulled some strings, and the crucifi x soon reappeared in the Cathedral treasury undamaged. Schäfer turned down a fi nancial reward, but happily agreed to the reading of a mass in his honor, saying it would “do his dark soul good.”
* 31. Dezember 1932 in Cologne
† 13. Mai 1985 in Bonn
A first lady with a big heart.
Cologne heroes don’t think exclusively of themselves – they also care about others. The role of First Lady is a largely ceremonial. But Mildred Scheel, the wife of the former president of the Federal Republic, saw her position as an opportunity to call attention to a cause that was close to her heart. A physician by profession, she founded the German Cancer Aid organization, and advocated for it even during state visits. At the time, cancer was a taboo subject, and her efforts went far toward raising awareness for victims of the disease.
* 24. März 1911 in Cologne
† 03. Januar 1998 in Cologne
A businessman with a dictate for purity.
Giving up is not something Cologne heroes are known for. After near-total destruction of the city during the Second World War, Hans Sion worked tirelessly to restore Cologne to its former glory. He was particularly instrumental in promoting the glorious golden beer that has become so typical of (and ubiquitous in) Cologne. He was the fi rst to secure permission to brew beer from the postwar occupying forces. He rounded up the necessary ingredients, and subsequently encouraged his fellow brewers to also produce the top-fermented, golden-yellow beer he called Kölsch. The local specialty is now virtually synonymous with Cologne.
* 05. Juni 1815 in Cologne
† 10. März 1876 in Cologne
An industrialist with sweet success.
Cologne heroes know how to enjoy the sweet side of life, and they do so on a grand scale. Industrialist Franz Stollwerck loved sweets, but it was another product – cough drops – that originally made him famous. So famous, in fact, that he was known throughout the Rhine valley as the “Candy Napoleon.” His fame spread around the world when he went back to his roots as a “sweets maker” and began manufacturing chocolate. The Chocolate Museum donated to the city by Hans Imhoff (1922–2007) tells the story of cocoa and the Stollwerck factory that successfully produced chocolates and sweets for many years.
Wallraf, Ferdinand Franz
* 20. Juli 1748 in Cologne
† 18. März 1824 in Cologne
A collector with a valuable heritage.
Collectors are a dime a dozen. But if you collect and preserve works of art associated with the long history of Cologne, you may fi nd yourself in the gallery of Cologne heroes. That’s what happened to Ferdinand Franz Wallraf. During the French Revolution, he rescued many works of art that would otherwise have been lost forever when the French occupiers began secularizing and tearing down Cologne’s innumerable cloisters, monasteries and churches. It was a huge job: After his death, it took appraisers two years just to view and catalogue the items in his estate. In recognition of his efforts, he was named the fi rst honorary citizen of Cologne.
Weisweiler, Hans „Hennes“
* 05. Dezember 1919 in Erftstadt-Lechenich
† 05. Juli 1983 in Aesch
A coach with twofold success.
No question: Anyone who was a member of the founding team of the Cologne’s fi rst football club in 1948 is a valid candidate to be a Cologne hero. Even more indisputable: Anyone who manages to make it a double by leading the football club to win the league championship and trophy exactly 30 years later is defi nitely a major Cologne hero. Only one man has (so far) achieved this feat: Hans “Hennes” Weisweiler – after whom the team’s mascot “Hennes the Billy Goat” is named. He not only led the Cologne team to success, he also coached the Borussia Mönchengladbach, Cosmos New York and Grasshoppers Zurich teams, achieving goals that elude many other teams.
* 29. Mai 1848 in Arzdorf
† 07. Juni 1935 in Cologne
A teacher with a social conscience.
Cologne heroes don’t close their eyes to social injustice. When they uncover unsatisfactory situations, they make changes. That’s what schoolteacher Heinrich Welsch did. When he was fi rst hired to teach at a Cologne elementary school, he noticed that intellectually challenged children were receiving no help at all. So in 1905 he founded a special school for children with learning disabilities. He also cared for unmarried mothers and the destitute residents of the east-side neighborhood of Kalk. He has been immortalized in a popular Karneval song about his school, In der Kayjass Nummer Null.
Wittgenstein, von Heinrich
* 20. April 1797 in Cologne
† 29. März 1869 in Cologne
An entrepreneur with a philanthropic bent.
Cologne heroes are less interested in “what’s in it for them” and more concerned about the benefi ts for others. In Heinrich von Wittgenstein’s case, that involved the benefi ts for very, very many others. He was the chairman of the board of the Cöln-Mindener Railway, but he didn’t simply go home and put his feet up after a long day in the offi ce. In his “leisure time” he acted as president of four different organizations. He was the president of the Offi ce for the Relief of the Poor in Cologne as well as the Dombau civil organization for Cathedral upkeep and maintenance, and also served as district president of the municipal administration and president of the Karneval organizing committee, the Festkomitee Kölner Karneval von 1823 e. V. In his role as “head Karnevalist” he funneled proceeds from Karneval festivities back to the poor and needy.
* 27. Januar 1908 in Cologne
† 23. November 1980 in Cologne
A cyclist with late-night success.
Cologne heroes don’t necessarily have to achieve fame in their chosen profession or discipline. There are other ways to become a legend in your own time. While it’s true that Hans Zims attracted a lot of attention as a cyclist by soundly defeating his opponents during the nighttime hours of the popular six-day bicycle races, it’s not at all clear that this was reason his nickname was “King of Nights.” That title may have been conferred on him because his nightclub called Haus Zims was a popular meeting place for local celebrities and athletes, and was a “Home of Cologne Heroes” in post-war days.